After signing a one-year prove it-type deal with the Seattle Seahawks, cornerback-turned-safety Brandon Browner has been relatively quiet in the last couple of weeks. Coming into camp, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had identified a surprising, unique role for the 32-year-old defensive back:
“We’re going to play him at safety in base downs and then in nickel we’re going to use him to match up in different spots playing inside,” he said. “So we may be able to develop a really unique role for him.”
Traditionally, Browner had always lined up at corner. Jamming receivers at the line and playing at a highly physical level were some of his key attributes. Additionally, Carroll hinted at the possibility of Browner being the lone solution to the Legion of Boom’s famous tight end problem:
“They used him quite a bit inside, and he really matched up on tight ends and slot receivers … well, and we’re going to see how that develops,” he said.
Recently, we were provided with an update on the new backup safety’s progress:
"He’s going to need all four weeks," Carroll said. "He is going to need all these weeks to really get up to snuff at safety. The specialty work we can do with him, there is no question what he can do. We are just trying to see how far we can bring him along as a safety."
Transitioning to a different position this late in one’s career is difficult, regardless of the talent one possesses. With the recent emergence of Tyvis Powell, Browner might be an iffy bet to make the roster. However, ESPN’s Seahawks beat reporter Sheil Kapadia recently projected Browner to make the roster mainly due to the team’s infatuation with his matchup potential against tight ends.
“Browner is on the bubble. I still think the team is intrigued by the idea of him matching up with pass-catching tight ends on certain weeks. But he'll have to show enough as a safety to make the cut.”
Is the limited game time action we’ve seen from Browner due to his slow transition to the safety position or is Seattle trying to hide how they’ll use him? The deadlines for the 75 man roster cuts are August 30th at 4pm ET and then the 53 man roster cuts are due September 3rd at 4pm ET. I suspect that Browner will survive the 75 man cuts but he’s squarely on the bubble for one of those last few spots. If Carroll can’t use him regularly on defense, then you’d think he’s going to do what it takes to stash one of the younger players on the roster. It’s not that Browner has played poorly enough to warrant talk about him being released, it’s that he hasn’t played enough period for us to know where he actually stands right now.
But final cuts are right around the corner and he’s anything but safe.