Seahawks coach Pete Carroll likes tall, physical cornerbacks, and he's got them this season. First-year players Brandon Browner (6 feet 4) and Richard Sherman (6-3) have played well for Seattle.
RENTON — Pete Carroll has had big cornerbacks on his teams before.
But two starting at the same time? Never.
Such is the unique luxury the Seahawks have in Brandon Browner (6 feet 4, 221 pounds) and Richard Sherman (6-3, 195), who have impressed not only in stature, but in production in their first years in Seattle.
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“I love the way these guys are playing,” Carroll said. “They have tremendous upside. They’re just getting started.”
The Seahawks’ Week 10 opponent, Baltimore, has noticed.
“Defensively, I can’t believe how well the two young corners are playing,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, referring to Browner and Sherman. “These two guys, they’re tall and long and they’re probably a pretty good matchup for our guys.”
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco looked to the same place when asked what he sees in Seattle’s defense.
“It’s going to be our job to make sure that we stay physical with them and get off them and beat them at the line of scrimmage, so that we can get some separation,” he said.
Having physical cornerbacks has been a continual pursuit for Carroll, who can recall several examples throughout his coaching career.
First there was 6-2 Perry Williams back in the early 1980s at North Carolina State, when Carroll was defensive coordinator. There was also 211-pound James Hasty with the New York Jets into the 1990s when Carroll was head coach.
Then with the New England Patriots, there was Tebucky Jones (6-2, 220), whom Carroll called “one of my big experiments.”
“We drafted a guy that was really big and strong and really fast and tried to make a corner out of him,” Carroll said. “We tried to get this type of impact and type of effect.”
What has made Browner and Sherman so effective is their unusual combination of size and strength, which allows them to effectively jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and disrupt the timing of the passing offense.
“The league wants big corners, and the reason why is they want guys to be physical with these (receivers) — that’s what I bring,” said the 27-year-old Browner, who played the past four years in the Canadian Football League and has been an every-week starter this season.
Sherman, a rookie out of Stanford, earned his spot in the starting lineup two weeks ago, due to injuries to Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond. The fifth-round pick has quickly shown a penchant for playmaking with a forced fumble at the goal line in last week’s loss in Dallas and an interception two weeks ago against Cincinnati.
Four weeks ago, Browner clinched a big road win against the New York Giants with a 94-yard interception return — the longest in Seahawks history — for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Big plays, big cornerbacks, but as is always the case in the NFL, there’s little room for error.
“You’ve just got to prepare,” said Sherman, who played receiver in college until his junior year. “It’s the same old; the game doesn’t change. If you prepare right and do your job, you’ll get the result you want.
“Obviously we haven’t gotten the wins the last couple weeks, but everybody’s just going to keep pushing on, doing their job and playing great, and eventually they’ll come.”
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @joshuamayers