Big day in West: Skelton in, Browner out
December, 5, 2012
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
Arizona's John Skelton won't have to worry about Seattle's Brandon Browner intercepting him when the Cardinals visit the Seahawks in Week 14.
That sentence sums up two news items coming down simultaneously Wednesday: Arizona announced Skelton as its starting quarterback just as Seattle confirmed a four-game NFL suspension for Browner.
Both these developments improve the Cardinals' chances for pulling an upset in Seattle. But with Seattle's other starting corner, Richard Sherman, still available pending his own potential ban, I think Seattle should be OK at cornerback for now.
News broke last month that Sherman and Browner could face four-game suspensions for using performance-enhancing drugs. Sherman has denied using them.
Browner must miss the final four regular-season games. He can return Dec. 31, one day after the Seahawks' regular-season finale against St. Louis. Seattle recently welcomed back former starting corner Walter Thurmond from a serious leg injury. Sherman replaced an injured Thurmond last season and flourished, becoming the best corner on the team. Seattle has re-signed cornerback Ron Parker, who was on Carolina's practice squad. The Seahawks also signed cornerback DeShawn Shead from their own practice squad.
Jeremy Lane will serve as the nickel corner against Arizona, according to coach Pete Carroll. The team isn't yet sure whether veteran Marcus Trufant will return from injury this week.
There might not be a drop-off from Browner to Thurmond. However, the situation at nickel corner appears tenuous for Seattle. That position has been a vulnerability at times for Seattle. Arizona has very good talent at wide receiver, and with Skelton back in the lineup for struggling rookie Ryan Lindley, the Seahawks could be tested in the secondary more than anticipated prior to the news that came down Wednesday.