Just call him the Larry Fitzgerald stopper.
OK, obviously Brandon Browner is not ready for such lofty praise, particularly after he was repeatedly torched by Pittsburgh’s quicker receivers last week.
But one reason Seattle coach Pete Carroll signed the 6-foot-4, 222-pound Browner out of the CFL was he believed his length and size would matchup well against Larry Fitzgerald, the talented, 6-3, 218-pound Arizona receiver.
The five-time Pro Bowler has taken advantage of Seattle’s smaller cornerbacks in the past, including Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings. But both players are with other teams now after Seattle traded Wilson to Baltimore for a fifth- round pick in 2010 (Wilson signed with Washington as a free agent), and Jennings was traded to Cincinnati during training camp for defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.
So now Carroll will get an opportunity to see his plan in action Sunday.
“Part of the evaluation of Brandon going in was that he could match up against big receivers because he’s unusually tall and long,” Carroll said. “I’m a little anxious to see how it goes. He plays against Mike (Williams) and against (Kris) Durham and those guys, and he feels comfortable against those guys, but nobody’s really comfortable playing Larry Fitzgerald.
“There’s just no easy going here, but it’s different than having a guy that’s 5-10 on him all day long, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Fitzgerald has put on clinics against Seattle since being drafted No. 3 overall by Arizona in 2004. He has more receptions against Seattle than any other team in the league, with 88 catches for 1,158 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games against the Seahawks.
Browner understands the tough task ahead, but he looks forward to testing his skills. Browner said he faced a similar receiver to Fitzgerald’s skill set in Montreal’s Jamel Richardson, who leads the CFL in receiving yards this year.
“Most definitely,” Browner said. “Those are guys that you get up for. You get up every week, but being a cornerback, when you get guys like Larry Fitzgerald you get a little more amped about the game.”
And while he has had some work against bigger receivers such as Williams, Durham and Sidney Rice, he understands going up against Fitzgerald is different.
“It helps, but you know, that’s Larry Fitzgerald,” Browner said. “You know what I mean? You’ve still got to go out and play that guy. He’s not Mike Williams or Sidney Rice, not to take anything from my teammates, but you know how productive he is … .”