By Brent Stecker
The Seahawks certainly don’t have a problem with depth at cornerback, but that itself could become an issue as training camp continues.
Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner have a stranglehold on the starting positions, but beyond that, there are a number of capable corners looking to solidify spots on the Seahawks’ roster.
Veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield (left) is a three-time Pro Bowler, but the 36-year-old is getting a run for his money for a roster spot with the Seahawks. (AP)
Fifteen-year veteran Antoine Winfield, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who the Seahawks signed to a $3 million deal in April, is one of those players, but he’s getting a run for his money from Jeremy Lane, Walter Thurmond and Will Blackmon.
They all could be auditioning for an even bigger role in 2014, as well, considering Browner will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.
Those topics were among the questions in the latest edition of “Hawk Talk” with Danny O’Neil. The full transcript of the chat can be found here. Highlights are below.
Cjk_04 asked who stays and who goes between Lane, Maxwell, Tharold Simon, Thurmond and Blackmon in the secondary.
Danny O’Neil: Great question, and we’ll have to see. I don’t see Jeremy Lane not being here. Walter Thurmond has looked great, and Antoine Winfield is still the savvy veteran you signed him to be.
An anonymous guest asked whether there’s any truth to the rumor that Winfield may not make the team.
Danny O’Neil: Not lying: I think that Walter Thurmond’s play makes you wonder how you’re going to get him on the field, and Antoine Winfield is a veteran. And remember back in 2011, this team traded a veteran it had signed with the intention of starting (Kelly Jennings). But even if you had decided that Walter Thurmond should be the nickel back ahead of Winfield, what about Thurmond’s history would lead you to assume he will stay healthy and believe you can let Winfield go?
JimmyA asked if the Seahawks giving Browner a raise last week shows that they want to re-sign him after 2013.
Danny O’Neil: I think that the raise might reflect a hope that you re-sign him. That you want to make it a scenario where the tie goes to him staying in Seattle rather than being squeezed for everything the team can get out of him before he runs out.
Vegas TEE asked if Danny thinks Browner will test free agency after the season.
Danny O’Neil: Well, I think he’ll test free agency. Not convinced he will sign elsewhere for sure. Remember, this is a flat-cap era. And last year, the cornerback market was nowhere near as lucrative as it had been. If he doesn’t get an overwhelming offer, Seattle might re-sign him.
AlanD asked who the surprise rookies at camp are.
Danny O’Neil: Well, Jordan Hill was getting repetitions with the first-unit defense (Sunday) so he has to merit mention. I would also say that linebacker John Lotulelei has been impressive, too. He’s undersized, but man, he guy seems to find himself in the right place.
James asked who Danny thinks will make the squad at wide receiver.
Danny O’Neil: Well, that now is going to depend upon Percy Harvin’s hip. If Harvin is available, I think that Jermaine Kearse and Stephen Williams are in a fight for that sixth receiver spot.
Beast asked if Danny is still high on Jesse Williams at the three-technique position and if his height will have an effect.
Danny O’Neil: I don’t think the height is an issue. Seattle likes that taller, basketball-body on the three-technique and five-technique players and Williams is actually built similarly to Red Bryant. The question with Williams is going to be durability. He has missed the past two practices after tweaking his knee on Friday.
Ross asked who will returns kicks if Percy Harvin is out with his hip injury.
Danny O’Neil: Harvin was going to return kicks. With him out right now, Golden Tate, Will Blackmon, Jeremy Lane and Bryan Walters are getting the shot.
Timmy asked for an update on Zach Miller’s ongoing foot injuries and why the team hasn’t conducted an MRI.
Danny O’Neil: We don’t know if they haven’t conducted an MRI. Teams conduct tests all the time and this isn’t something that is disclosed. The most telling sign about his availability is that coach Pete Carroll said he’s not worried about Zach being available for the season-opener, it means he’s progressing.
Ima Man asked how rookie running back Christine Michael is looking in camp.
Danny O’Neil: Fast, man. Very fast. Tom Cable told us that Christine Michael needs to take the “ugly four” sometimes: Translation, put your head down and don’t cut it back.
Jim Linhart asked which team has the best chance of beating the Seahawks this year.
Danny O’Neil: Playing on the road at Houston, at Atlanta and at San Francisco have to top the list, right?
Tory asked what the Seahawks’ window to win a Super Bowl with the current roster is.
Danny O’Neil: Depends on how good this quarterback is. If he’s as good as it looks, then it’s for the next decade.
Cbrew asked how the Seahawks’ attitude in practice is compared to last season.
Danny O’Neil: This defense has always had an edge/confidence to it. That’s true for players like Earl Thomas and guys like Red Bryant, and when you have a strong defense, there’s a certain amount of confidence that comes with it.