It figures to be like the start of the 2011 season all over again for the Seahawks secondary if forced to operate the final month of the season without starting CBs Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner because of possible four-game suspensions for testing positive for a banned substance under the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (multiple reports are claiming the CBs took the prescription drug Adderall).
“You had Walter Thurmond at right corner and Marcus Trufant on the left side,” remembered one daily team observer. “But injuries changed everything.”
Thurmond, who started off on fire in training camp, suffered a high left ankle sprain that opened the door for Browner, who grabbed the starting RCB role and never let go. The same thing happened with Sherman after Thurmond, who had moved to the left side to replace an injured Trufant, broke his leg after colliding with FS Earl Thomas while defending a deep pass against the Browns in Week Seven.
The Seahawks genuinely believe Thurmond is a quality talent with great natural speed in explosiveness when healthy. But suffice it to say, Thurmond’s durability issues, combined with Trufant’s declining skills in the twilight of his career, could be grave concerns.
“And then there’s the question of who becomes the nickel back,” the observer said. “Byron Maxwell has had bad hamstring problems, and Jeremy Lane has performed mostly on special teams.”
It’s not a pretty picture.
“(Sherman and Browner) are two of the bigger reasons — literally — why the defense has been able to become such a physical, attacking unit,” the observer said. “Their special ability in press coverage helps so much against both the pass and the run.”
From a tactical standpoint, team sources suspect the defense would operate in more two-deep safety sets without Sherman and Browner.
"Trufant will need all the help he can get," the observer said.