SEATTLE - OCTOBER 02: Wide receiver Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons makes a catch against Brandon Browner #39 of the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Falcons defeated the Seahawks 30-28. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
No "tape" analysis from me this week, I just don't have the time. It's a shame, I really want to look at our defensive line's pass-rushing non-performance against a terrible Falcons offensive line, which is massively worrisome.
Instead, I wanted to follow up on Pro Football Focus' Samual Monson tweeting a quick note about the pass coverage numbers of Jets CB Darelle Revis (3.6 quarterback rating) and our CB Brandon Browner (a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating). It's not exactly a serious bit of analysis and the quarterback rating stat is a rather poor one, but still such a high rating is telling, as it requires a very high YPA, completion percentage and multiple TDs allowed on throws to Browner.
Football Outsider's Doug Farrar took umbrage, first over twitter and later in dedicating the whole of Cover-2 to Browner. It's absolute must-read material for Seahawks fan, detailed scouting on several throws made to Brandon Browner covering Julio Jones. As Farrar points out, Browner's performance against Jones might seem poor at a casual glance, but that would be ignoring how many of Jones' catches went for only a few yards or even negative yardage, or how many times he was targeted but did not make a catch. What Farrar seems to have failed to realize was that Monson's rating notes were for week 1-3, not including week 4.
Those familiar with Pro Football Focus know it as a play-charting site, though one that lacks the reliable advanced statistics of Football Outsiders (DVOA, DYAR) or Pro Football Reference (ANY/A), instead relying on an ill-defined "rating" system. By their ratings, both Marcus Trufant and Brandon Browner grade out badly, with Browner adding to his overall rating with good plays against the run, but again taking away from it by negative penalty rating.
The up-to-date numbers provided by PFF are a bit more positive on Browner but still underwhelming. Targeting Brandon Browner, quarterbacks go 24-29 for 342 yards, with two touchdowns for a rating of 138.8. Targeting Marcus Trufant, quarterbacks go 22-37 for 268 yards, with one interception for a rating of 70.6. They played roughly the same number of snaps (275 for Trufant, 271 for Browner), and exactly the same amount of passing snaps, 154.
Browner's performance is clearly inferior to Trufant's by the numbers, allowing 82.8% of the passes to be completed compared to 59.5%. Trufant allows a middling 7.2 yards per attempts, but Browner allows 11.8. Both corners had tackle for losses on wide receiver screen passes. Browner does have more stops (short on 3rd or 4th down, or for less than 40% of the 1st down marker) with 7 compared to Trufant's 4.
If you're thinking "yeah but those penalties are pretty awful too", you're right. Per PFF, Browner has two defensive pass interference penalties, one roughing the kicker penalty, one illegal contact penalty and one defensive holding called. That's an impressive set for four weeks into the season.
Other corners logging snaps for the Seahawks are Walter Thurmond (98) and Richard Sherman (8). As the nickelback, Thurmond was targeted 8 times, allowing 5 passes for 35 yards.
So really, the numbers just confirm what we've seen so far. Our corners aren't very good, and Browner has been downright awful, but he improved significantly with the Atlanta game, which improved his overall stats. Is this going to hold up as he finds his groove in the NFL? Perhaps. A serious test awaits the team this weekend as we're facing a team with a strong receiving corps, led by the excellent Hakeem Nicks