A recap of the events at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 3:
Brandon Browner. The Seahawks’ right cornerback returned from his four-game suspension on Monday, practiced with the team for the first time in a month on Wednesday and today he fielded questions from the media at his cubicle in the locker room before practice.
“It’s really exciting,” Browner said. “I’m glad to be back out here with my team. Enjoying that.”
Browner returned to his offseason home in Southern California during his suspension for violating the league policy on performance-enhancing substances.
“I couldn’t find it in myself working out here,” he said. “I wasn’t coming up here (to VMAC). So it was weird to go to some park here.”
But Browner did watch the four games he missed – a 58-0 romp over the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field; a 50-17 victory over the Bills in Toronto; a 42-13 win over the 49ers in Seattle; and last week’s 20-13 victory over the Rams, also at CenturyLink Field.
“It was fun,” he said with a smile, “because we were kicking everybody’s butt. I missed not playing with the guys, but it was awesome to watch.”
Browner has returned just in time to experience the NFL postseason for the first time, as the Seahawks are preparing for Sunday’s NFC Wild Card game against the Redskins at FedExField. He was on a Grey Cup-winning team with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL in 2008. But this is different because it’s the NFL.
“It’s very exciting,” Browner said. “That’s what you play for, to get to the playoffs and eventually, hopefully, the Super Bowl.”
And his thoughts on this latest first in his career that took a radical turn last year when he was signed to a future contract by the Seahawks in January, won the starting job during training camp and ended playing in the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement after leading the team with six interceptions and 23 passes defensed?
“You don’t know yet until the game comes,” Browner said of the playoffs. “But I think we have a good game plan going into this and it will be a good matchup. I’ve got confidence in my team and my ability.”
Is Browner ready after sitting out a month?
“Most definitely,” he said. “It starts in the head, and I’m mentally tough. I know I’ll be a little tired out there, but at the end of the day I’m fighting for a playoff victory. So I’ll be all right.”
To help with the physical preparation, Browner got some reps today with the scout team that works against the Seahawks’ offense, as well as working with the No. 1 defense.
“It always takes a little bit of time to get back into it – the one-on-one’s, the coverage concepts,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “But he’s taking extra reps to get back on that.
“The mental part of it is all there. But the physical part, he’s getting sharp again. He’s looked pretty good.”
ANOTHER DAY IN THE SUNSHINE
The players practiced outside for the second consecutive day. It will help prepare them for the game against the Redskins, because the temperature along Lake Washington was 46 degrees and the forecast for Sunday in Landover, Md., is calling for a high of 49 and a low 39.
London Fletcher. We also featured the Redskins’ inside linebacker yesterday, but that was from the perspective of Washington coach Mike Shanahan. Today, we get Michael Robinson’s take on Fletcher, who is 37 and in his 15th NFL season.
These two ran into each other last season at CenturyLink Field, and Robinson puts Fletcher in the same class as the other great inside and middle linebackers he faced a season ago and this season – the Ravens’ Ray Lewis, 49ers’ Patrick Willis and Bears’ Brian Urlacher. And that is saying a lot.
“We spoke at the Pro Bowl last year. Good guy. Got a lot of love for him,” Robinson offered. “The old adage about London, if you don’t block him he’ll make every tackle. He’s one of those guys, he has a lot of big hogs up front and it’s hard to get on him. And he will make, literally, every single tackle if you don’t block him.
“So it’s a big, big challenge for us.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
CB Jeremy Lane (knee)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
An already encouraging injury report got even better today, when Lynch took part in all phases of practice after being limited on Wednesday – which has been his routine for much of the second half of the regular season. Lane was added to the list. He started the past three games for Browner.
For the Redskins:
Did not practice
CB Dominique Johnson (knee)
OG Kory Lichtensteiger (ankle)
Limited in practice
S DeJon Gomes (knee)
LB Lorenzo Alexander (shoulder)
DE Stephen Bowen (biceps)
QB Kirk Cousins (illness)
LB London Fletcher (ankle)
WR Pierre Garcon (foot)
QB Robert Griffin III (knee)
CB DeAngelo Hall (elbow)
LB Ryan Kerrigan (ankle)
C Will Montgomery (knee)
WR Josh Morgan (hand, foot)
S Jordan Pugh (ankle)
P Saverio Rocca (right knee)
S Madieu Williams (elbow)
Fletcher and Cousins practiced today after sitting out on Wednesday.
STAT DU JOUR
The Seahawks and Redskins don’t play that often, but there have been some memorable events during the series that the Redskins lead 11-4 during the regular season and the Seahawks lead 2-0 during the postseason. Here’s a look at some of the games that standout, and why:
1976: Redskins 31, Seahawks 7. First road loss in franchise history
1980: Seahawks 14, Redskins 0. Second road shutout in franchise history
1983: Redskins 27, Seahawks 17. Steve Largent catches eight passes for 130 yards and two TDs
1989: Redskins 29, Seahawks 0. Steve Largent’s final game
1992: Redskins 16, Seahawks 3. Loss No. 6 in a club-record eight-game losing streak
1994: Seahawks 28, Redskins 7. Chris Warren goes “home” and runs for 100 yards and two TDs
1995: Seahawks 27, Redskins 20. Chris Warren goes “home” again and runs for 136 yards
1998: Seahawks 24, Redskins 14. Steve Broussard returns a kickoff 90 yards for a TD
2002: Redskins 14, Seahawks 3. Bruce Smith beats Walter Jones for two sacks
2005: Redskins 20, Seahawks 17. Last loss before a club-record 11-game winning streak
2005: Seahawks 20, Redskins 10. Win in divisional playoff game sends Seahawks to NFC title game
2007: Seahawks 35, Redskins 14. Win in Wild Card game sends Seahawks to divisional round
2008: Redskins 20, Seahawks 17. Loss No. 4 in six-game losing streak
2011: Redskins 23, Seahawks 17. Only loss in a six-game stretch
The team will fly to Baltimore on Friday after the players hold a midday practice. Saturday’s walk-through will be held in the D.C. area.
Remember: Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, so the game will start at 1:30 p.m. on the West Coast.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Great football teams don’t shy away from success. We’ve been waiting on these moments our whole entire lives. I know for me, as an example, I’ve been waiting for this my whole entire life. I think with our football team, we’re determined to be successful; we’re determined to be great. And that mindset of staying focused on the positive, staying focused on the great opportunities that you have, staying focused on the now – one opportunity at a time, one play at a time; that mentality of just competing with that, I think that’s where you’re successful more times than not.” – quarterback Russell Wilson when asked if he and his team were comfortable with the level of success they’ve achieved