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Tre Brown makes a statement in debut

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tre Brown has arrived. If you want a reason to be excited after what we witnessed last night, just listen to the first year Seattle Seahawk and former Oklahoma Sooner diagnose his big third down stop of Ray-Ray McCloud in overtime.

Even in the most disheartening losses, talented players find ways to impress. And rookie Tre Brown did just that in the Seattle Seahawks’ overtime heartbreaker against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coming off the bench to replace Sidney Jones, Brown quickly made a statement with his tight and physical coverage. For a corner who stands all of 5’10”, this is certainly a tall complement, pun not intended. Working backwards, though, the play that will likely stand out in everyone’s memory is his tackle on third down which allowed the defense to get off the field and give the offense an opportunity to put the game away in OT.

Tre Brown is locked in on Chase Claypool, who finds the sticks and runs a quick hitch. Brown maintains good position and takes away the easy first down. While this is happening, Ray-Ray McCloud sneaks out of the slot into the flat for what seems to consistently be a source of trouble for this defense. Displaying a combination of plus instincts, athleticism, and textbook tackling, Brown makes an absolutely phenomenal play that could have been a game changer.

And this wasn’t the only play that Brown made during his brief but impactful stint in last night’s game. Perhaps even more impressive than his tackle on McCloud was his coverage on Diontae Johnson on this deep route.

Brown’s impeccable control and use of his body to box out Johnson is a sight to behold. Plays like this look like the work of a seasoned veteran, not a rookie coming off IR to make plays in crunch time. And for a team that has struggled at the position all season, seeing one of the team’s young players stepping up like this is a shining beacon of hope in the midst of an otherwise struggling defensive unit.

But this isn’t something new for Tre, as his diminutive frame betrays his physicality in coverage, which was highlighted by Samuel Gold at the time of his selection by Seattle in the 2021 Draft.

The statsheet remains pretty bare for Tre; according to Pro Football Reference, he was credited with three solo tackles in the game last night and no other stats. But this is where the film clearly shows a player who’s impact was much larger than can be seen in a box score. Ultimately, Brown played 40 defensive snaps last night, which translates to 53% — second only to D.J. Reed for corners. He was fourth overall for defensive backs behind Reed, Adams, and Diggs, outsnapping Ugo Amadi, Marquise Blair, and Ryan Neal; not that any of these players are in direct competition with Brown for snaps, but more just to illustrate that he played a significant amount in his first real action as a pro.

Season after season, we have watched as the Seahawks have struggled to fill the void left by Richard Sherman with the cadre of corners that Seattle has tried to plug and play with varying degrees of aptitude. And while it is far, far too early to crown Tre Brown the Sultan of Boom, his early performance indicates a player who has the potential to bring some excitement back to the position. While it would have been near impossible to fathom several seasons ago, the team looks to play not one but two outside corners who stand 5’10” or shorter. And after years of watching Tre Flowers do little more than use his lengthy frame to make tackles fifteen yards downfield, the time feels right for a change. Hopefully, this will be the start of something good. And in a season like this one, I will take what I can get and hope that the team is laying down some building blocks for seasons to come. Brown will get an opportunity to showcase his talents in primetime once again when the Hawks take on the New Orleans Saints one week from today on Monday Night Football.