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Tuesday in Hawkville: Brandon Browner up to the challenge

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 8:

Brandon Browner

FOCUS ON

Brandon Browner. Pete Carroll admits he wasn’t sure what to expect from the Seahawks’ cornerback in Sunday’s Wild Card playoff game against the Redskins because Browner had just returned from serving a four-game suspension.

But the coach’s apprehension didn’t last long, as Browner was quickly back to being his physical self while helping put the clamps on the Redskins’ passing game in the 24-14 victory at FedExField.

“He slipped and fell one time, but other than that he played a very good football game,” Carroll said. “He exceeded my expectations of how he would go in this game. He took some deep balls and challenged some stuff underneath and did a great job.”

It was a promising – and needed – performance, with what the Falcons will throw at the Seahawks in their divisional-round game this Sunday in Atlanta. Or perhaps who they’ll throw at the Seahawks is a more appropriate way to put it, since the Falcons’ passing game features Roddy White and Julio Jones, who combined to catch 171 passes from QB Matt Ryan for 2,549 yards and 17 TDs.

“He’s ready to go,” Carroll said of Browner. “We needed him to comeback like he did – we didn’t know – and he pulled it off.”

POSITION WATCH

Right guard. Rookie J.R. Sweezy started Sunday’s Wild Card playoff game against the Redskins, but John Moffitt also played after being inactive the previous two games. Carroll liked the way the tag-team rotation worked.

“They both played well, they did a good job. Both of those guys were solid in the game,” said Carroll, with the Seahawks’ rushing for 224 yards as Exhibit A in that assessment. “They have a little different style about them, and they both came through alright.”

Will both continue to play against the Falcons this week?

“I don’t really care if it’s one guy or two guys,” Carroll said. “We just want to get good solid play out of it, and I think it was kind of nice in (the Redskins’) game to not have J.R. under the gun. He didn’t have to play every snap in the game and we got to rest him a little bit and keep him fresh – and keep his mind clear, too. It’s a lot to intake for a young guy at that spot, and these guys were coming after us and doing all kinds of things.

“I think Tom did a great job of mixing that for those guys.”

That would be Tom Cable, the line coach and also assistant head coach. As for which one might start against the Falcons, Carroll said, “We’ll see how the week goes and let Tom call that.”

STATS ’N STUFF

The playoffs are only a week old, and only eight teams participated, but the Seahawks emergence from the Wild Card round ranked No. 1 in rushing offense and passing defense. They are No. 2 in total defense and No. 4 in total offense.

Marshawn Lynch’s 132 rushing yards rank second to the Texans’ Arian Foster (140), and he is third in total yards (141) and fourth in first downs (six). Leon Washington is second in punt-return average (9.5 yards) and fifth in kickoff-return average (23.0).

Russell Wilson’s passer rating of 92.9 ranks third behind the Ravens’ Joe Flacco (126.5) and Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (104.9), and he is second in third-down passer rating (88.9) to the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (116.7).

Free safety Earl Thomas shares the lead with his one interception.

STAT DU JOUR

The Wilson wow-factor continues to grow. His 100.0 passer rating during the regular season ranks No. 2 in the League since 2001 for a player in his first 16 starts. Here’s a look at who the Seahawks’ rookie QB trailed and, more importantly, who he ranked ahead of:

Player, team (record)                               Att.  Comp.  Yards    TD   Int.   Rating

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (15-1)      335     219     3,133     21     9     105.2

Russell Wilson, Seahawks (11-5)           393     252     3,118     26   10     100.0

Aaron Rodgers, Packers (6-10)               536    341     4,038     28    13      93.8

Philip Rivers, Chargers (14-2)                 460     284     3,388     22      9      92.0

Tom Brady, Patriots (13-3)                      481     313     3,360      23    13     90.1

Jay Cutler, Broncos (7-9)                          437     275    3,385      22    15     89.3

Matt Ryan, Falcons (11-5)                        434    265     3,440      16    11     87.7

Cam Newton, Panthers (6-10)                 517    310     4,051      21    17     84.5

Carson Palmer, Bengals (9-7)                   529    332     3,683      26    20     84.0

Matt Schaub, Falcons/Texans (4-12)       474    298     3,424      16   16      81.8

Redskins’ rookie Robert Griffin III had a 102.4 rating this season, but he started 15 games.

UP NEXT

The players return from a couple of “off” days to begin practicing on “Competition Wednesday” in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Falcons.

YOU DON’T SAY

“The bottom line is, Wilson’s amazing. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s able to see those windows and get the ball in there, even though his official height is 5-foot-10 5/8. Before the draft, people were worried that he’d have an issue with blocked passes, but on Sunday, he didn’t have a single throw knocked down. (Andrew) Luck, on the other hand, had several passes blocked. I’ll tell you what, there are going to be a whole bunch of future quarterback prospects who measure around 6-feet tall who had better send Wilson a card. His performance as a rookie will really open the NFL up to a whole new type of player.” – former Cowboys VP of player personnel Gil Brandt, assessing the play of the three rookie QBs from Sunday’s wild-card games at NFL.com


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