Browner vs. Fitzgerald is a matchup to watch

Dec 30, 2011, 6:51 PM | Updated: 6:55 pm

Brady Henderson is the editor at 710Sports.com, the
website of ESPN Radio 710, our sister station in Seattle.

The Seahawks’ and Cardinals’ elimination from playoff
contention has raised questions about each team’s
motivation heading into their Week 17 matchup.

Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals aren’t likely to find
any in the form of trash talk from Brandon Browner.

The Seahawks cornerback was a guest on “Seahawks Weekly”
Wednesday and talked about the challenge of facing the
Cardinals’ Pro Bowl receiver.

“I think Larry Fitzgerald’s greatest attribute is the way
he goes and attacks the ball,” Browner said. “I don’t
think he’ll show us any routes we haven’t seen, but when
the ball is in the air he’s a great competitor. I haven’t
seen too many guys do it like he do it when the ball’s in
the air.”

Browner would know. He saw it first hand earlier this
season.

In the first half of the teams’ Week 3 meeting at
CenturyLink Field, the 6-foot-4 Browner and safety Earl
Thomas were outjumped by Fitzgerald on a pass in the end
zone from Kevin Kolb.

“He may be the best at doing that,” Browner said of
Fitzgerald, who finished the game with five catches for 64
yards and the touchdown.

The matchup between Browner and Fitzgerald figures to be
one of the more intriguing ones in Sunday’s regular-season
finale. Fitzgerald, who’s 6-foot-3, 218 pounds and doesn’t
posses elite speed by NFL standards, is the type of
bigger-bodied receiver that Browner is best suited to
cover.

Furthermore, it will be a measuring stick of sorts.

Browner’s first NFL season has been a success — he has
six interceptions and was voted a first alternate to the
Pro Bowl — but, as he admits, his game still has room for
improvement. Specifically, Browner said he has to better
understand the threshold of allowable contact with
receivers. He leads the league in penalties, most of them
coming in pass coverage.

“In the offseason I’m just going to try to keep my body
light like I’m supposed to and come back ready to build on
what I’ve started,” Browner said. “I’ve got a Pro Bowl
alternate under by belt so I want to make some noise next
year.”

Finishing this season with a strong performance against an
elite receiver like Fitzgerald would give him a head
start.

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Browner vs. Fitzgerald is a matchup to watch