The CFL Doesn’t Quite Measure Up
A lot can change in one week of NFL football.
Take Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, for example. Entering the 2011 season, he was one of the team’s most intriguing underdog stories. Now, a day after the Seahawks throttled 24-0 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Browner may be searching for the nearest hole to crawl into.
Even as far back as the end of his high-school days, Browner was an unlikely success story. He’s 6’4” and 221 pounds.
He’s a corner with the body of a rangy wide receiver. After he defied the odds to be a star player in high school just North of L.A., Pete Carroll actually could’ve recruited him for USC, but he didn’t.
Browner went Northwest and had a solid career with Oregon State. In 2005, the Denver Broncos signed him and moved him to safety. But he broke his arm and wound up on injured reserve.
Browner then went to football purgatory, playing four seasons with the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders. He was an All-Star his last three seasons and his outstanding performance earned him a ticket back to the NFL this season with the Seahawks.
“I had lost track of him – that he was playing in Canada for a few years and he was all-Canada or whatever and made the All-Star team [three”] years in a row,” Carroll said at the end of training camp. “Let’s see what we’ve got. I always knew that he was very effective at the line of scrimmage.”
Great redemption tale in the making, right? Not so fast. The transition back to the NFL hasn’t gone so smoothly for Browner. Yesterday’s loss to Seattle was nothing short of a nightmare. Ben Roethlisberger decided to test Browner.
And test him again.
Eventually, Big Ben was straight-up picking on Browner, exploiting a mismatch with lightning-fast Mike Wallace.
Browner had three passes completed against him during one third-quarter drive alone, including a two-yard touchdown catch to Mike Wallace.
The problem with Browner is that, as you’d expect given his size, he plays press coverage exclusively.
Sure, he’s “great at the line of scrimmage” like Carroll said, but what about the rest of the football field?
If he can’t even get his hands on the speedy Wallace, what can Browner accomplish?
It’s enough to wonder if he’s long for the NFL. Browner’s story has been a nice one but the modern NFL receiver is a freak – often strong enough to beat press coverage and fast enough to slip past it.
Browner might get picked on by several more quarterbacks this season unless he improves his game in a hurry. Is Wally Buono calling?