Good news, Seahawks fans: Brandon Browner’s suspension starts immediately.
That’s good in a relative sense.
The slender upside to Wednesday’s news that the Pro Bowl cornerback would be lost for four games for violating NFL rules on banned substances is that his sentence will not be totally concurrent with that of fellow scofflaw cornerback Richard Sherman.
Sherman’s appeal of his suspension is set for Dec. 14, which means he won’t be shelved for at least another week. The staggered sentences, to a small degree, lessen the on-field impact.
Both reportedly tested positive for banned performance-enhancing substances. Even though privacy provisions redact details, we can at least suggest that Browner’s decision to cheat in search of a competitive advantage left the Seahawks vulnerable now as they gear for a stretch run toward the playoffs.
Sherman, apparently, is going to continue his appeal, which at least will allow the Seahawks a little time to get their subs in order.
It’s convenient at this point to toss out the axiom that cheaters never prosper. But we should be reminded that, in sports, their replacements sometimes do.
Coach Pete Carroll has been fairly convincing with his belief that one man’s absence is another man’s opportunity.
Early last season, the Seahawks lost both starting cornerbacks – Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond – to injuries. The next in line at the time were a couple of unknowns named Sherman and Browner.
They turned into one of the best, and certainly most physical, corner tandems in the league, with Browner going to the Pro Bowl and Sherman being named to the NFL All-Rookie team.
With Browner doing time, Thurmond most likely will step in at starting cornerback. Rookie Jeremy Lane as the best candidate to join them in nickel situations while Trufant is out with the hamstring injury that sidelined him Sunday.
Thurmond has started four games in his first two injury-limited seasons. Lane is a sixth-round rookie out of Northwestern State (La.) who’s been mostly visible in special teams action.
While he might be mostly anonymous on Sundays, Lane makes himself noticeable many days at practice because his style is somewhere between competitive and outright combative.
“That’s me all the time,” the 22-year-old Lane said, turning out to be a soft-spoken player with a pretty hard edge. “I like to hustle. For some reason I’m always around the ball. I guess that’s a good thing.”
Lane said he’d been hoping for an opportunity all season and considers himself ready to prove his worthiness on Sunday against the visiting Arizona Cardinals. He said he understands that the Cardinals will test him early and often.
“I expect them to come my way, and hopefully when they come my way, I shut it down (and) they’re gonna stop picking on me.”
Uh, Jeremy, have you heard of a guy named Larry Fitzgerald? He laughed.
“He’s a good receiver,” he said. “Larry Fitzgerald is a good guy, and we need to defend him.”
Ah, the innocence of youth. Yes, Jeremy, Seahawks defensive backs have been trying to defend him for quite some time.
Carroll’s theory on elevating the understudy has a different feel when the departed is out by volition and poor judgment rather than injury. But the team doesn’t look at it that way. Veteran fullback and team captain Mike Robinson said it doesn’t matter.
“Next man up,” he said. “That’s the great thing about this team, we stick together. We understand that. Pete does a great job of making us understand it. Everybody in the locker room knows about the situations, and I think guys are gonna step up.”
Another bit of timing seems beneficial to the Seahawks: None of the remaining four opponents is ranked higher than 22nd in the NFL in passing. The Cardinals, in fact, are 27th in passing yards, and the combined passer rating of their three quarterbacks this season is an anemic 67.6.
One other point seems to speak well of Thurmond and Lane as they assume greater responsibilities for the Seahawks: They’ve both been smart enough to not test positive for banned substances.Dave Boling: 253-597-8440 email@example.com @DaveBoling