For Jeremy Lane, it’s all about the more things you can do

Posted Aug 10, 2014

With Walter Thurmond now playing for the Giants, the line to replace him as the nickel back in the Seahawks’ top-ranked defense forms behind Jeremy Lane who is “trying to own it as much as possible.”

Forget about on any given Sunday. On this Sunday, on any given play, Jeremy Lane was lined up as either the nickel back with the Seahawks’ No. 1 defense or as the left cornerback with the second unit.

It’s all part of daily life for the third-year cornerback.

“How can I break this down?” Lane said through a smile after practice along the shores of Lake Washington at the Seahawks’ Training Camp presented by Bing. “Well, I am a corner. I like to consider myself as a corner. But I also know how to play nickel, too. And I also think I’m a good nickel.”

Earl Thomas, the All-Pro free safety, takes that “good” assessment to the next level when it comes to Lane as the nickel back.

“We lost Walter Thurmond at the nickel position,” Thomas said of the defensive back who signed with the New York Giants in free agency. “But J-Lane is going to be a great addition in the role.

“He’s just very comfortable out there. He knows what he’s doing. He’s in control. He’s very fast. And the great thing about him right now, he’s playing very fast.”

Fast enough that Lane made two impressive plays during Sunday’s practice against one of the fastest players on the team.

On the first, Lane reached over Percy Harvin to tip a low pass from Russell Wilson incomplete. But that play had to settle for honorable-mention status after Lane ripped a Wilson pass from the grasp of Harvin in the end zone during the 7-on-7 drill.

The line to replace Thurmond as the nickel back in a defense that led the NFL in average points, yards and passing yards allowed last season, as well as interceptions, forms behind the 6-foot, 190-pound Lane. But the coaches don’t have to wonder if Lane can get the job done, because he filled in for Thurmond last December.

In that five-game stretch to close the regular season, Lane had four passes defensed and 12 tackles.

But there is more to Lane’s role on this team. He also is a core special teams player, good enough at covering punts that he garnered some midseason All-Pro recognition last season. And if anything was to happened to either All-Pro left cornerback Richard Sherman or right cornerback Byron Maxwell, Lane would be the next man up – just as Sherman was in 2011, as a third-option injury replacement; and Maxwell was last season, when Brandon Browner was injured and Thurmond was serving a league-imposed four-game suspension.

“Next man up. I’ve always got to be ready,” Lane said. “I’m always prepared like I’m a starter anyway, so whenever those guys go down I’m going to fit right in like nothing happened.”

Lane filled all of his roles in Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Broncos in Denver, contributing three tackles in the 21-16 loss. But at the top of his can-do list right now is the nickel back spot.

“I’m trying to own it as much as possible,” he said. “Right now, I think I’m pretty much that guy. But I’ve just got to stay consistent with it and everything is going to work out how I want it.”

Just as it did on any given play on this given Sunday.