RENTON – Just call him the Larry Fitzgerald stopper.
OK, obviously Brandon Browner is not ready for such lofty praise, particularly after he was repeatedly torched by Pittsburgh’s quicker receivers last week.
But one reason Seattle coach Pete Carroll signed the 6-foot-4, 222-pound Browner out of the CFL was he believed his length and size would matchup well against Larry Fitzgerald, the talented, 6-3, 218-pound Arizona receiver.
The five-time Pro Bowler has taken advantage of Seattle’s smaller cornerbacks in the past, including Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings. But both players are with other teams now after Seattle traded Wilson to Baltimore for a fifth- round pick in 2010 (Wilson signed with Washington as a free agent), and Jennings was traded to Cincinnati during training camp for defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.
So now Carroll will get an opportunity to see his plan in action Sunday.
“Part of the evaluation of Brandon going in was that he could match up against big receivers because he’s unusually tall and long,” Carroll said. “I’m a little anxious to see how it goes. He plays against Mike (Williams) and against (Kris) Durham and those guys, and he feels comfortable against those guys, but nobody’s really comfortable playing Larry Fitzgerald.
“There’s just no easy going here, but it’s different than having a guy that’s 5-10 on him all day long, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Fitzgerald has put on clinics against Seattle since being drafted No. 3 overall by Arizona in 2004. He has more receptions against Seattle than any other team in the league, with 88 catches for 1,158 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games against the Seahawks.
Browner understands the tough task ahead, but he looks forward to testing his skills. Browner said he faced a similar receiver to Fitzgerald’s skill set in Montreal’s Jamel Richardson, who leads the CFL in receiving yards this year.
“Most definitely,” Browner said. “Those are guys that you get up for. You get up every week, but being a cornerback, when you get guys like Larry Fitzgerald you get a little more amped about the game.”
And while he has had some work against bigger receivers such as Williams, Durham and Sidney Rice, he understands going up against Fitzgerald is different.
“It helps, but you know, that’s Larry Fitzgerald,” Browner said. “You know what I mean? You’ve still got to go out and play that guy. He’s not Mike Williams or Sidney Rice, not to take anything from my teammates, but you know how productive he is .”
Rice, Seattle’s go-to receiver, appears ready to play in his first regular-season game for the Seahawks on Sunday.
Rice missed the first two games of the season with torn labrum in his shoulder, but fully participated in a contact practice Wednesday, and appeared to get through it OK.
“It’s good to have Sidney out there running around,” Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “Again, it will be a day-to-day thing with him, and we’ll see how he progresses.
“One player can have an affect on your offense. He brings juice, and he brings some excitement. He brings the deep threat that you’re looking for just to back people off .”
Offensive lineman Paul McQuistan has some experience filling in for Robert Gallery. The six-year pro out of Weber State backed up Gallery in Oakland, starting six games in 2006 and six more in 2007.
Now, McQuistan will get his first start with Seattle because Gallery will be out four to six weeks to recover from groin surgery.
“I feel good,” McQuistan said. “I’ve just got to get out there and go do it. It’s just another week.”
When Gallery missed the first regular season game of the year at San Francisco because of a sprained knee, the Seahawks moved rookie James Carpenter from right tackle to left guard.
But offensive line coach Tom Cable said he likes how Carpenter played at right tackle against Pittsburgh last week, and wants to keep him there instead of moving him back to left guard.
“Losing Robert is a big deal,” Cable said. “So rather than shift it around like we did before, we’re kind of settled now on the right side. Both those kids (Carpenter at right tackle and John Moffitt at right guard) played extremely well, the two rookies. So rather than make two changes, make one and use the most experienced guy.”
McQuistan grew up in Lebanon, Ore., an hour southeast of Portland.
Twin brother Pat also played at Weber State, and was recently released by Tennessee during final roster cuts, and will be in attendance on Sunday.
Linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring) return to practice and was a full participant. Offensive tackle Jarriel King (ankle), fullback Michael Robinson (ankle), cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle) and defensive end Raheem Brock (non-injury related) did not practice. ... For Arizona, linebacker Daryl Washington (calf) did not practice. Tight end Jim Dray (chest), wide receiver DeMarco Sampson (hamstring), running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (hand) and wide receiver Chansi Stuckey (hamstring) were limited participants in practice ... Brock announced via Twitter that he was fined by the league for his low hit on Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. “Fined by the NFL today for being “TRIPPED” by an o’lineman and fallin into the QB’s legs! SMH (Shaking my head) if I only had super powers to stop in mid air.” No word on how much the league fined Brock.