The value of a shutdown cornerback in today's league has become increasingly valuable.
With quarterbacks running the show and a lethal passing offense critical to winning games, the market for guys who can slow these offenses down has been at a premium.
Fortunately for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, he doesn't have to worry about that. He's got a pair of cornerbacks who are getting the job done, and in a, ahem, big way.
Both in their first seasons in Seattle, Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman have gotten the attention of Carroll as well as their opponents. It's not hard to spot the duo, actually. Browner stands at 6-foot-4, with Sherman a tad shorter at 6-foot-3. With such dominating heights that most receivers don't even reach, it's been Seattle giving opponents trouble in the passing game and, as the Seattle Times takes a look, the key to keeping opponents out of the end zone.
Browner and Sherman are still young. Browner is in just his second season in the NFL. He spent the 2005-06 season with the Denver Broncos, followed by four years in the Canadian Football League. As for Sherman, he's halfway through his rookie season, drafted out of Stanford University in last April's draft.
Despite their inexperience, Carroll has said he's impressed with what he's seen so far, and that they both of plenty of room to grow. They'll get quite a test Sunday when the Seahawks host the Ravens and one of the game's rising quarterbacks.
For the Ravens, upgrading the passing attack was one of the keys in the offseason. The Ravens drafted speedster Torrey Smith in the second round and he's provided a nice complement to Anquan Boldin. Add in the tight end combination of Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, and Baltimore's passing game, despite its inconsistency, can attack with the best of them. It'll be up to the two giants in the backfield, Browner and Sherman, to put a stop to that.