By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — The last time the Seattle Seahawks faced the Panthers, they left Carolina with a victory in large part thanks to an incredible individual effort by Brandon Browner, who forced a fumble and recovered the loose ball in the third quarter to set up Seattle’s only touchdown.
Now, the Seahawks could be opening their season in Carolina without Browner. Listed as questionable with a hamstring injury, Browner did not practice Thursday or Friday and likely will go through a workout before Sunday’s game to determine if he can play.
“We’re going to wait and see on game day, see how he does,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
If Browner can’t go, Seattle has a couple of options to replace him. Walter Thurmond, who is currently the team’s third corner in nickel packages, could move outside to Browner’s spot in the base defense, then slide inside to the nickel spot in passing situations with Byron Maxwell playing outside. Or the Seahawks could just leave Thurmond in his usual role and have Maxwell take over for Browner.
Carroll wouldn’t say how that will play out if Browner doesn’t play, only offering: “Both those guys will play if he can’t go.”
While losing Browner would be a blow, the good news for the Seahawks is that cornerback is arguably their deepest position. When Browner served a four-game suspension at the end of last season, the Seahawks went 4-0 with Maxwell, Thurmond and Jeremy Lane all more than holding their own.
“I’ve never had this much depth at corner,” Carroll said. “… To have Walter, and Maxwell, and Jeremy, those guys can really go, now. Just as they showed last year, we won four games with those guys playing and we wouldn’t hesitate to play them again. So we have experience, we have tremendous athletic ability there, really big-time speed, and they (have) size, too. So, it’s a great group and we won’t hesitate to play those guys.”
Defensive end Cliff Avril did practice this week, but he is listed as doubtful with a hamstring injury. He also will be a game-day decision.
“He had a very good week of practice,” Carroll said. “We’re going to take him up to game time and run him and see how he does then.”
If Avril can’t go, O’Brien Schofield will start in his place.
The news is better on starting defensive tackles Tony McDaniel and Brandon Mebane, who are battling groin injuries. Both made it through the week of practice unscathed and are listed as probable for Sunday.
“Those guys look great,” Carroll said. “They finished the week practicing full-go.”
Meanwhile, defensive end Chris Clemons, who is coming back from knee surgery, is progressing well and will be a full participant in practice next week.
“He worked in the early parts of practice,” Carroll said. “Next week he’ll go full-go. He looks fine. It’s just a matter of him getting his confidence back and getting enough time pushing on big bodies and working against the resistance. In drill work, in space, all of that, he’s fine. He’s way ahead and we’re thrilled that he’s going to make it back likely in the next few weeks.”
Encouraging news on Harvin
Receiver Percy Harvin, who underwent hip surgery over the summer, wrote on Twitter earlier this week that he was “making serious progress” and mentioned Week 7 as a possible return date. That would be much earlier than anyone was expecting when Harvin suffered the surgery, and while Carroll admitted Harvin is being optimistic, the coach also sounded encouraged by Harvin’s progress.
“It was a real positive, optimistic thought from Percy, and I think he’s going to surprise doctors and all of that,” Carroll said. “He’s been extremely proactive, nothing but positive reports coming out. His attitude has been great about it in every way. He’s doing things twice a day here. He’s giving himself a chance to hit that mark. That’s optimistic, but he’s thinking it’s real, and we’re going with it and we’ll see what happens.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.