On September 1st the Seahawks acquired cornerback Justin Coleman via trade from the New England Patriots. The move didn’t exactly make waves in the news cycle, but here in late December, it’s become apparent that the transaction was indeed significant.
Most people don’t realize that this is Justin Coleman’s second stint for the Seahawks. Don’t feel bad, I was one of those people too. I think we probably deserve a pass given that Coleman’s first tour only lasted about three days. In 2015, the rookie was reclaimed off of the practice squad by the Patriots before he could unpack his bags in Seattle.
The brief background only adds to the feel good aspect of how well Coleman has played this season. When the third year corner came back to Seattle this season it was considered a depth move. The Seahawks had Richard Sherman and standout rookie Shaquille Griffin on the outside and a solid veteran in Jermey Lane entrenched at the nickel spot.
Coleman quickly made an impression with his coaches and teammates upon his arrival. He seemed to pick up the technique and scheme with ease. A few games in, it was apparent that Coleman might be the team’s third best corner. The staff felt similarly after they were ready to trade Jeremy Lane following the Texans game. Lane of course returned to the Seahawks when he failed his physical.
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Coleman’s contributions bigger than they seem at first glance
Justin Coleman’s play doesn’t jump off of the screen to the average viewer. Trust me, he has been invaluable to this team. Having a guy as versatile as Coleman allows defensive coordinator Kris Richard to throw a lot of looks at an offense. Most offenses expect success throwing to their slot receivers. They know they’ll get a favorable match-up with a lesser defensive back. Coleman has proven to be anything but a favorable match-up. Guys seem to have a tough time getting separation from Coleman. His instinct and change of direction are rather impressive.
Coleman has also shown he can be dangerous with the ball in his hands. He’s returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns this season. Speaking of which…
When the team owner tweets about what you did, you know it’s special. That pick-six at Dallas that turned into a Salvation Army donation was beautiful. It might have been the biggest play of Seattle’s season. If that play doesn’t happen, who knows if the Seahawks would still be alive in the playoff race heading into the final week of the regular season.
Let’s hope Coleman continues to get better as his career progresses. I have a feeling that Justin will earn a spot on the team again next year, and don’t be surprised if he ends up playing more on the outside in the coming seasons.
In a season that’s had more than its share of ups and downs, Coleman has been a model of consistency.