Duck Fan’s Perspective
The suspension of Brandon Browner for the last four games of the 2012 NFL regular season and the lingering uncertainty as to whether or not Richard Sherman‘s appeal will go through has left the Seahawks in somewhat of a predicament as they are in the thick of the NFC playoff picture, currently finding themselves in the final NFC wildcard playoff spot.
With Browner and Sherman now heralded as the top corner positional unit in the NFL, the loss of one (and possibly both) of them is extremely significant when trying to figure out how this year could end up for Seattle.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, they have other, solid options at the cornerback position. One player that Seattle fans may already be familiar with is Walter Thurmond, Browner’s replacement and anticipated starter for the rest of the regular season at the corner position.
For those of you who need a brief refresher as to Thurmond’s background, this standout corner in college came from the University of Oregon where he terrorized opposing offenses and wreaked havoc against kickoff and punt coverage teams. He followed a long succession of great defensive backs at Oregon and looked to be a first or second round pick in the NFL Draft during his junior season as a Duck.
Unfortunately for Thurmond, however, he went down with a serious knee injury in just the fourth game of his senior season (2009) against the Utah Utes while returning a punt. The injury sidelined him for the rest of the season while he began a long road to recovery.
After being selected in the 4th round of the NFL Draft by the Seahawks in 2010, Thurmond saw action in 14 games during his rookie season while making one start. He finished the season with 37 combined tackles, no sacks, no interceptions, and seven passes defended.
His relatively promising start after coming back from an injury was derailed in 2011 as he once again went down with yet another leg injury that made him ineffective for all but 6 games.
Though he has made one appearance in 2012, the services of Browner and Sherman have kept him off the field for the most part.
Unlike Browner who is a beast of a corner (in height, weight, and physicality), Thurmond is more of your typical cornerback at 5’11”, 190 lbs., and very fast.
Whereas Browner will jam receivers at the line and prevent them from ever executing their routes, Thurmond has shown the ability to stick with the fastest of receivers throughout entire routes, an issue that Browner has had from time to time.
After coming back from two leg injuries it will be to see whether or not Thurmond can reach his peak level that he demonstrated at the collegiate level. With above average speed and the ability to remain with the best of receivers, it is not too hard to imagine Thurmond having breakout performances in the last few games of the regular season.
Fairing Against the Cardinals
Perhaps for the benefit of all Seahawks nation Thurmond will be making his first start since his rookie season against the Arizona Cardinals who have had the unfortunate problem with having trouble throwing a forward pass in their past few games.
In order to try and mitigate the issues they have had in recent weeks, the Cardinals have decided to continue their roller coaster quarterback rotation and go with John Skelton in their contest against the Seahawks on Sunday. And, while he did beat the Seahawks in week one of the regular season, Skelton has been hampered by injuries and inconsistencies this season, throwing just two touchdown passes compared to five interceptions.
The game against the Cardinals should give Thurmond the ability to adjust back to NFL game-speed while not testing him too much.
Don’t be surprised if the Cardinals attack Thurmond’s side of the field, thus giving him the opportunity to make an immediate statement in the NFL that he is back (albeit against the lowly Arizona Cardinals).