Early on in the game last Sunday, the Titans started picking on Brandon Browner a little bit. As a result, Pete Carroll took Browner out of the game and replaced him with Walter Thurmond. Byron Maxwell also got some playing time. And since we have the deepest secondary in the NFL, not only did we not miss a beat, but we significantly improved what we were trying to do out there.
Now, to kick it all off, let me say that this isn’t a post that’s setting out to bash Brandon Browner. There are ways to expose a player like Browner and one of those ways is to put a smaller, faster guy on his side and let him run around Browner before he can put his big, physical hands on him. Nobody’s perfect (except for Richard Sherman) and matchup problems are a part of the game. Put Browner on a bigger, slower receiver and guess what! He’s shutting that guy down.
I happen to like Brandon Browner quite a bit. He has seemed a little off this season in comparison to last season, but maybe that’s because he’s dealing with a nagging injury, or maybe that’s because teams are playing him differently. Either way, he’s an asset for this defense and he’s one of a couple guys in this secondary whose contracts expire at the end of this year.
If you asked the average Seahawks fan this time last year who you’d rather extend if you could only extend one – Brandon Browner or Walter Thurmond – I’m thinking the vast majority would have sided with Browner. Now? I’m not so sure. Walter Thurmond, in his healthiest extended run since he entered The League, has opened some eyes. Browner is obviously the more physical and disruptive of the two, but Thurmond is probably the better cover-guy. What qualities do you value more? It’s so hard to choose!
Here’s the thing: this is just small potatoes when compared to the rest of the L.O.B. Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Byron Maxwell are all free agents after the 2014 season. So, not only is it possible we might lose either Browner or Thurmond, but it’s possible we have to lose BOTH just to ensure we have enough money to re-sign Sherman & Thomas!
This is a subject that I’ve been trying to avoid since the season started, but it’s something I’m bound to obsess over through the rest of the year. All of our great, young players are going to come home to roost! They’re all good, and they’re all going to be looking for bigtime contracts. We won’t be able to pay everyone what they’re worth on the open market, so it stands to reason that we’re going to have to make some difficult decisions on who to keep and who to cut.
Here’s the rub: the 2013 Seattle Seahawks might be the best Seahawks team of this current Championship Run they’re on. It’s not necessarily all downhill from here, as you expect Russell Wilson to continue to get better for a number of years. But, the overall talent quality will be on a slight decline as good players are forced to look elsewhere for the paydays they deserve.
Remember those 1997 Mariners? Remember how good that lineup was? Remember how we had three sure-fire Hall of Famers on that team (before A-Rod was exposed as a cheater), and how slowly but surely, those great players were chipped away because we couldn’t offer them what they wanted? This is that, all over again.
Which is why it’s oh so important for these 2013 Seahawks to win the Super Bowl. If right now is as good as it gets, and we FAIL to go all the way, that’s going to put a very big damper on my hopes going forward.
Of course, a big part of why we’re a championship ballclub is the L.O.B. I get the sense that the team will look to extend Thurmond and will probably let Browner walk. And when that happens, the first of many dominoes will have fallen. So, enjoy the L.O.B. while you can. Don’t fret if Browner gets beat a few times. Don’t whine if Thurmond loses his man on a crossing pattern. Don’t freak out if Sherman gives up a fluke long ball touchdown. Instead, think back to how this secondary looked as recently as five years ago. And bask in the glory that it is now.
We’ll never have it as good as we do this year. When you’re not worrying yourself into an early grave, take a step back and reflect: this is some of the best football we’ll probably ever see in our lives, and it’s happening in our own backyard.