By Brady Henderson
Veteran defensive back Marcus Trufant figures to be see plenty of playing time Sunday against a pass-heavy Falcons offense that often operates with more than two receivers at a time.
That’s a frightening possibility to those who see Trufant, Seattle’s nickel cornerback, as the weak link on a strong defense. There are plenty who feel that way.
Eric Williams of The News Tribune isn’t one of them.
“I think people are kind of sipping on the ‘Haterade’ on Trufant,” Williams told “Bob and Groz” on Tuesday. “I think he’s playing better than maybe people give him credit for.”
Williams noted Trufant’s performances over the last two games, saying he’s fared well while helping limit slot receivers Danny Amendola and Santana Moss. Amendola had four receptions for 27 yards and was the intended target of a Sam Bradford pass in the back of the end zone that Trufant knocked away. That Week 17 gamed marked Trufant’s return from a hamstring injury that had kept him out for a month.
Moss finished with three catches for 19 yards on Sunday.
“I don’t think he hurts them as much as people think that he hurts them,” Williams said of Trufant.
Much of that skepticism likely stems from Seattle’s Week 12 loss to Miami. Trufant was in coverage when Ryan Tannehill completed 19- and 25-yard passes to slot receiver Davone Bess during Miami’s game-winning drive. Trufant missed the next four games because of the hamstring injury.
Mike Salk, who has been critical of Trufant, asked coach Pete Carroll on Monday whether the nickel corner spot would be up for competition this week. Carroll, for what it’s worth, said Trufant “did a good job” against Washington and that all spots are always open for competition.
Williams thinks Trufant’s experience (he’s 32 years old and in his 10th season) outweighs the athletic upgrade younger cornerbacks Jeremy Lane or Byron Maxwell would provide. Lane is a rookie and Maxwell is in his second season.
In the video below, Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby discuss whether they think Trufant is Seattle’s best option.
You can listen to Tuesday’s podcast here.