By Danny O’Neil
INDIANAPOLIS — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has two words for any team seeking to replicate Seattle’s success with taller cornerbacks: Good luck.
“They don’t exist,” Carroll said. “Big fast guys are the fewest people around … There just aren’t many humans like that in the world. It’s rare when you find them.”
The 6-foot-3 Richard Sherman combined with the 6-4 Brandon Browner to form the NFL’s biggest and best cornerback duo, but that success won’t be easy for other teams to replicate. (AP)
And rarer still that Seattle was able to pair the 6-foot-3 Richard Sherman with the 6-4 Brandon Browner over the previous three seasons. Browner made the Pro Bowl in 2011 while Sherman was named All-Pro each of the past two years, and now that Seattle won a Super Bowl with the league’s best secondary, Carroll was being asked if he expected the rest of the league to try to copy Seattle’s blueprint.
Easy to say, almost impossible to do.
“The perfect guys aren’t there because there’s no really tall, exceedingly fast guys,” Carroll said. “Other than Calvin (Johnson). There’s a handful. You have to make those guys come to life through your coaching and how you adapt, their style and their ability to fit it.”
Sure enough, look at the list of top cornerbacks available in this year’s draft, and there are only two guys taller than 6-1 who are expected to be chosen in the first half of the draft: Nebraska’s Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Utah’s Keith McGill, both of whom are 6-3.
“That’s just how it goes,” Carroll said.
Then Carroll caught himself. After all, why should he discourage teams from following the potentially futile draft of finding taller cornerbacks the same way Seattle has.
“I’d love people to try and copy that,” Carroll said. “Get a bunch of tall guys out there. Awesome.”
Running back Christine Michael was the first of 11 players the Seahawks drafted a year ago, and like many rookies, he had a hard time seeing the field. Michael was inactive for all but four games during the season, and didn’t see any game time after mid-November.
He remains very much a part of Seattle’s hopes for the future, though.
“He’s really talented and is a really exciting guy in our program,” Carroll said. “Probably has the most breakout potential of anybody because you haven’t seen much of him yet. We’ve seen him. We know that he can do really special stuff.”
So what kept that hidden during a rookie season in which he carried the ball a total of 18 times?
“He played in a very competitive position,” Carroll said. “It’s hard to get in there with Marshawn (Lynch) and Robert Turbin there, but he’ll give those guys a real run when we come back to work. He’ll grow a lot from Year One to Year Two. We all know in our program that he’s going to be very explosive and a really exciting guy, and he showed that in his chances that he had.”
Okung hopefully OK
Left tackle Russell Okung hasn’t had surgery to repair the toe injury that sidelined him for half of last season, and there’s still hope he won’t need the surgery. That’s not the last word on Okung’s recovery, though, according to Carroll.
“It looks like we’re not going to,” Carroll said of surgery, “but that’s not done yet. There’s still some work being done there.”