By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — As expected, the Seahawks will be without cornerback Marcus Trufant for a second straight game because of a hamstring injury. That injury, combined with cornerback Brandon Browner starting a four-game suspension this week, means the Seahawks are about to find out just how deep they are at cornerback.
The Seahawks have confidence in Walter Thurmond, who will take over in the starting lineup for Browner. Thurmond is, after all, a player they have had high hopes for, and who was ahead of Richard Sherman on the depth chart last year before breaking his leg.
Where the real mystery comes in, however, is when Seattle puts a third corner on the field in passing situations.
Pete Carroll said that third cornerback would likely be rookie Jeremy Lane, a sixth-round pick out of Northwestern State University. Seattle could also use Byron Maxwell in that role, but Carroll indicated early in the week that Lane was the leading candidate. Whoever steps in, the Seahawks will be giving a significant number of snaps to a player who has not seen the field this year on defense, but rather only on special teams, where Lane and Maxwell have both stood out.
And as much confidence as Seattle has in Thurmond, the fact remains that he just returned to game action last week after starting the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
“They had a lot of activity this week,” Carroll said of Thurmond and Lane. “Walter is very comfortable with the opportunity, and for Jeremy, it’s a first-time shot for him. A little more newness, but he’s a very talented kid, he knows what he’s been doing, he’s practicing well all year, so it’s not that big of a transition for him in that regard.
Lane said he fully expects the Cardinals to test him when he is on the field, and he welcomes that challenge. While unproven in games, Lane has shown playmaking ability in practice and seems to have a knack for the ball, which has also shown up on special teams — he seems to regularly be on the end of Jon Ryan punts inside the 20. This may be a new challenge for Lane, but it’s one he is embracing.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for my opportunity all year and I told myself I’d be ready when the time comes, and this Sunday I’ll be ready to prove that.”
Defensive end Red Bryant, who has been battling a foot issue for several weeks, returned to practice Friday after sitting the previous two days and is listed as probable. Linebacker Leroy Hill, who missed last week’s game with an ankle injury, was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable. Carroll said they’ll work Hill out before the game Sunday to determine his status. Safety Kam Chancellor (groin) and center Max Unger (hip), who were both added to the injury report Thursday, are also probable, as is receiver Sidney Rice (head).
Practicing in the rain
One small change to the Seahawks’ routine this season has been an increase in outdoor practices, even as the weather turns wet and cold in November and December. This week, the Seahawks used their indoor facility only on Thursday, and were in the rain on Wednesday and Friday.
Carroll said the reason for going outside is twofold. It helps players prepare for the elements and it also decreases the wear and tear on players’ bodies when they practice less often on turf.
“We don’t know what we’re going to get on game day, and we had a good day of work yesterday inside,” Carroll said. “So we got a little bit of the elements out there, it was good. It’s good for us to be on the grass and mix it so we don’t pound it every day inside.”
Even if there are sound reasons to be outside, this is a departure from the past two years under Carroll when the team rarely practiced outdoors after October.
“We’re toughening it up a little bit,” Carroll said.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.