Brandon Browner is indeed going to be a basketball-like matchup specialist defender against bigger receivers.
Ex-Oregon and Eastern Washington quarterback Vernon Adams did not get a Seattle contract after his weekend tryout at rookie minicamp, leaving Trevone Boykin and Jake Heaps as the current backups behind Russell Wilson.
The Seahawks have given up on Mohammed Seisay as a potential right cornerback, nine months after trading a sixth-round pick for him.
And former Washington Huskies defensive lineman Taniela Tupou is now a 6-foot-1, 284-pound fullback for the Seahawks after earning a contract from his weekend tryout.
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Those are the highlights from the team’s news and moves on Monday.
Seisay could not stay healthy after Seattle traded with Detroit to get him early last preseason. He injured his groin in the first exhibition game in mid-August then spent all last season on injured reserve. His injury settlement and release and what coach Pete Carroll said Monday on the radio about Browner’s role suggest the Seahawks are going to me mixing and matching at cornerback, safety and nickel back this season among Browner (signed in March to a one-year, veteran-minimum deal), Jeremy Lane (re-signed to a $23 million, four-year contract), DeShawn Shead, Marcus Burley, perhaps Tharold Simon (if he ever stays healthy) and whoever else emerges this preseason.
“We’re going to use him at safety on base downs,” Carroll said on 710-AM’s “Brock and Salk” show Monday morning about Browner. “And in nickel we are going to use him to match up in different spots and play inside. So we may be able develop a really unique role for him.”
Last year New Orleans signed him to a three-year, $15 million deal then played him at press corner. It was a disaster. Browner led the league in penalties and said he played through a knee injury he first got in the initial preseason game, in August.
Two seasons ago New England had him inside more against bigger targets, and he was a key defender on what became a championship defense when the Patriots beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49 in February 2015.
Browner was Seattle’s starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman during its Super Bowl-winning season of 2013
As noted here when Browner signed in March for one year and $760,000, not guaranteed, Browner is likely become a physical, match-up defender against bigger receivers, inside or outside, a specialist defending specific-sized and skilled opponents, much like a specialized defender in basketball.
Arizona’s 6-foot-3, 213-pound Larry Fitzgerald comes out for a key third down in a division game this season? Here comes the 6-4, 221-pound Browner to bang on him off the line for that play. That kind of situational use.
“We’ve seen him play in, back to his New England days, they used him quite a bit inside and matched up on tight ends and against slot receivers and things like that,” Carroll said. “See how that develops. Really love having him. He’s such a competitor, such a tough guy.”
Tupou beat out Kyle Coleman from Arkansas-Pine Bluff and 280-pound defensive tackle Cody Fulleton from Dartmouth in his tryout at fullback in the rookie minicamp. Tupou joins Brandin Bryant, a 6-2, 289-pound defensive tackle from Florida Atlantic in the competition to become potentially the biggest fullback in the NFL. Seattle, for that matter, is about the only NFL team still seeking one for a rare, run-based offense.
The Seahawks let more traditional running back Derrick Coleman and 293-pound Will Tukuafu go unsigned into free agency after last season. That leaves them with no experienced fullbacks to block for Carroll’s power running game.
How big is Tupou to be a fullback? The native of Marysville and veteran of Archbishop Murphy High School caught passes in drills this past weekend while wearing the largest number the team can issue: a D-tackle-like 99.
Now that’s he’s signed the Seahawks have issued him a fullback-like number, 45.
While he made it out of the rookie-minicamp tryout with a contract, Adams did not. The former college passing phenom in the spread offense was second and third behind Boykin and Heaps in running the offense last weekend. Adams said last Friday he has a tryout scheduled for this week with Washington. He said his biggest challenge this past weekend was reciting 11-word play calls inside a huddle, something he didn’t do in college.
For now Boykin, the undrafted free agent from TCU, and Heaps, the former Skyline High School star who played unsuccessfully at BYU, Kansas and Miami through 2014, are the only backups on the 90-man offseason roster. Boykin was impressive at times over the past weekend, and Carroll mentioned how his similar style to Wilson’s could be an advantage.
Seattle would still like to bring back unsigned, veteran backup Tarvaris Jackson, and the team has been talking to his agent.