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2008 Season Retrospective: Marcus Trufant

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Overview: Marcus Trufant was healthy and started all 16 games. With the pass rush hobbled and the secondary breaking apart at the seams, Trufant was again relied on to match one-on-one against the opponent's best receiver. He caught one interception and defended 13 passes.

What went right: In most ways, Trufant was the exact same cornerback that looked so special in 2007. He tackled well. He held tight coverage and was rarely beat. He showed good ball skills when afforded the opportunity.

What went wrong: He wasn't afforded the opportunity very often. Seattle played from behind and protected its run defense to the ruination of its pass defense. Marshall put Deon Grant in the box and left Trufant on an island. Trufant's talent tends to blind. He's fast and his coverage reliable, but should such a thing exist, he's not a shutdown corner. For too much of his career he's been treated as one, and it's led to some beatdowns and bad stats. Without a man behind him or a lead to protect, Trufant couldn't be bold, couldn't play the ball, instead reverted to atavistic Trufant (a sort of sturdier, stronger Kelly Jennings), was in the right place at the right time, but without the confidence to pick and risk allowing a touchdown.

Outlook: Seattle's been sorta tightlipped about how it will run its defense. Tampa is mentioned a lot, but that could reference the famous Tampa 2, Monte Kiffin's more recent work for the Bucs, an ideal or goal, or be a red herring entirely. Let's use Occam's Razor and assume Tampa -- when Seattle hired a ten-year proponent of the philosophy -- means Tampa 2. Let's say Seattle's bigger line, stronger strongside linebacker and healthy linebacker corps allows Grant to play back in a cover 2 shell. Marcus Trufant will benefit enormously. Trufant is a great corner. Great, great corner. He's very hard to gameplan against because he has no weaknesses, a suite of strengths and a few exceptional skills. He just needs some help. Give him some help over top, some rush to panic the quarterback and a lead to protect and his picks will return. And this Pro Bowler will return.