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Sherman's March To Greatness A Look Back At His NFL Journey

2011 Seahawks Training Camp: July 31st News & Notes Richard Sherman caught my eye in his very first practice

Originally posted on July 31st, 2011

Fans were finally reunited with players this weekend when the public got its first chance to witness Seahawks training camp at the VMAC in Renton. Change is a constant with this team, and today was no different as defensive leader and former Pro Bowler Lofa Tatupu was granted his release. There is a ton to cover, so let's dive right in.


Rookie CB Richard Sherman

Sherman is a tall (6'3") defensive back, and extremely aggressive. The word was that he loved press coverage, and he proved that to be true today. He jammed receivers at the line all afternoon. Mike Williams and Sidney Rice were not on the field, so it will be worth keeping an eye on Sherman to see if he can be as successful against top talent. Sherman's aggressiveness carries on down the field, and he was penalized at least once for pass interference. That may be his toughest adjustment to NFL football.

CB Brandon Browner

Browner is even more of a freak than Sherman, standing at 6'4". Seeing him next to Walter Thurmond shows just how different two players can look at the same position, and Thurmond isn't small for a DB. Browner played with the 1st team opposite of Marcus Trufant, and looked very fluid and physical. He is quiet, but demands attention on the field.

WR Doug Baldwin

Baldwin may have gotten a little more attention from me because I was watching WR Chris Carter much of the afternoon, but he's got a suddenness to his game, and plays with a ton of swagger. Seeing him in a pre-season game will tell us much more.

RT James Carpenter

This is a big man. He will have a lot of success by the looks of it. His strength and footwork in pass-blocking is impressive. Drive blocking is curiously less effective. I did not see him drive players back, but then again, he was matched against Red Bryant much of the day.


Mike Williams, Sidney Rice, Walter Thurmond, Roy Lewis, Colin Cole, Cameron Morrah, Deon Butler, Leroy Hill did not practice. Hill and Rice cannot practice until August 4th. Cole and Butler are injured. Not sure about the rest. Could just be a day off.


  1. Rookie 7th round pick Malcolm Smith is the starting weakside linebacker, at least until Leroy Hill can start practicing August 4th. 
  2. David Hawthorne is the starting middle linebacker in place of Lofa Tatupu
  3. Rookie 4th round pick KJ Wright is backing up Hawthorne at MLB, but told me he is not certain where he will play yet.
  4. Josh Pinkard will get some looks at safety, not just CB
  5. Anthony McCoy was the 2nd tight end behind John Carlson


The tempo of practice seemed quicker than last season. The pace of the drills, and the players running them seemed faster. The defensive backs stole the show. Sherman, Browner, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Mark LeGree all had their moments. The corners were rolled up in press coverage seemingly every play. It was almost like watching the lineman blocking drills as receivers and cornerbacks were colliding every snap. Sherman not only played physically, but with confidence. On one play, the ball was thrown while he was in full sprint with his back to the line of scrimmage, and he swiveled his head around as the ball left the QBs hand, and was able to tip the pass in the air for LeGree to pick off. LeGree is more thick-bodied than I'd expect from his highlight clips. He did not make any especially encouraging plays, but there was something about him that inspired confidence. 

The quarterbacks were pretty bad. Charlie Whitehurst did fine, but was far from commanding. He made a few nice touch passes over the top. Josh Portis is a major project. He fumbled at least three snaps, and was inconsistent throwing the ball. Zac Lee looks like a more promising player at this point. 

Jameson Konz is an interesting talent at tight end. He seems to have good hands and good speed. It was hard to tell about his blocking. Ryan Travis is small for the position, and was not the most inspiring blocker. 

Golden Tate had a nice practice. His routes seemed crisper, although there were a few rounded corners for sure. He continues to flash reliable hands. He needs to prove it in games. Baldwin got a ton of snaps behind Tate. He is fast and looks to have strong hands. Chris Carter looks like he is behind Baldwin in the depth chart, but had a nice series where he caught three in a row, including his first against 1:1 coverage from Earl Thomas. Carter runs nice routes, and was getting separation. He did look to run a little slower when he knew the ball wasn't coming his way. The wide receivers were tough to gauge without Mike Williams or Sidney Rice out there. Where does Ben Obomanu play when they are both available? Kris Durham looks sleek and fluid, but did not get the ball thrown to him that I can recall. I could see the team keeping 6-7 receivers this year.

Pep Livingston flashed a few times rushing the passer. He's a strong kid. Red Bryant continues to just be a massive individual. When he and James Carpenter collide, the field shifts a few inches. Max Unger checked in  with a gorgeous pancake block (didn't catch who he pinned). Unger has never struck me as a particularly physical lineman, so that was good see. John Moffitt seemed to play fine. Nothing great or terrible there.

The running backs looked good, even great at times. Marshawn Lynch was hammering people as usual. Leon Washington was flitting around, but Justin Forsett looked special at times. He drew oohs and ahhs as he juked defenders on multiple occasions.

The offensive philosophy of Darrell Bevell is hard to pick-up after just one practice. They ran a ton of screen passes today, but that may just have been what they chose to install this afternoon. The same could be said of the defense. I'll be back on Tues and Thurs of this week, and should have a much better feel after seeing some more action.

Secondary To None A story written before the Legion of Boom was born

Originally posted on August 14th, 2011

One of the best parts about being a sports fan is when you know something before casual observers and national experts. You know this thing, not because you are smarter than those folks, but because you are obsessed enough to pay attention to details. The state of the Seahawks secondary may be the best example of this right now. Ask any national expert, and they will tell you the Seahawks should have signed Jonathan Joseph or Antonio Cromartie. They will tell you they have no depth at the CB position. The casual fan and radio show host will see Kelly Jennings out there and think it's more of the same crap we've seen the past few years. They are all wrong. Pete Carroll and John Schneider have made over the blindingly bad roster they inherited in 2009, and no place demonstrates the shift more than the secondary.

Be warned, reading the following may result in an upset stomach. Let's look back at the 2009 secondary Carroll and Schneider inherited:

In truth, this was not the worst crap the Seahawks have run out in the secondary. Babineaux was a disaster as a starter, and Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings were hopeless against receivers over 6'0" tall, but there was some talent in there. They managed a combined 10 interceptions and 2.5 sacks. At 24, Josh Wilson was the only player with legitimate upside in that group.  Note that the average height of the top four corners was under 6'0", and their average weight was close to 190 lbs. Now, take a look at the likely 2011 secondary for the Seahawks:

I'll be the first to point out Roy Lewis is not listed, and would be in the top four, when healthy. He is not healthy right now, and will likely start the year on PUP, so let's stick with guys who should start the year filling these roles. The first thing that jumps out at me is that even with Marcus Trufant two years older and Brandon Browner brought in as a 27-year-old free agent, the secondary is still far younger. Earl Thomas is still a baby, and he had half as many interceptions (5) as the entire 2009 secondary during his rookie campaign. The rest of these players are largely unknown, but each have legitimate upside potential. Carroll employs a very different defensive philosophy than the one Mora Jr. ran out in 2009. There is a much greater emphasis on press coverage and assistance from the safeties. There is a reason there were no All-American cornerbacks out of USC during Carroll's tenure and multiple impact safeties like Troy Polomalu and Taylor Mays.

The job of the cornerback is much more simple. They need to get their hands on the opposing receiver, and then be able to turn, run, and understand where their help will be coming from. There will be very few instances where these guys will be left out on an island to shut down a receiver 1-on-1. Browner and Sherman are great examples of just how different the corner in Carroll's defense will look. Both guys are over 6'3" and are extremely physical. They can press, run and can compete for the ball in the air. They are also both strong in run support. Browner checks in at over 220 lbs, which is unheard of for a corner. Time will tell if he gets exposed, but in the four practices and one pre-season game I've seen, he's been the best corner on the field without question. Sherman has flashed in practice, but is not as consistent as Browner. Both guys will struggle if the receiver can avoid their jam at the line. Seahawks fans may start to hate those evasive little receivers like Steve Smith more than the towering guys like Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald will no longer be able to pat Kelly Jennings on the head with one hand while catching the ball above him with the other.

Kam Chancellor joins Thomas to create a safety tandem with as much potential as any in the NFL, and any in Seahawks history. Nobody can truly estimate Chancellor's upside yet. Thomas may end up being the best player at his position in the NFL. He has that ability. Chancellor looks more and more like Pro Bowls are not out of the question. Remember the 2.5 sacks the 2009 secondary had as a whole? Lawyer Milloy had 4.0 all by himself last year. Chancellor will be used in much the same way, and has shown great blitzing instincts in practice. He also is better in coverage, and has the hitting ability to force a number of fumbles.

All of this doesn't even take into account Walter Thurmond or Roy Lewis. Thurmond is just the coaches likely choice to start and a former All-American corner for University of Oregon who is supposed to be back from an injury. Lewis was among the top corners in all the NFL last season as a slot player. He allowed the 6th lowest completion percentage against him, and was in a list with players like Darrelle Revis. This is not your father's Seahawks secondary.

These changes in the cornerback position are not accidental. The coaching staff wanted to get younger, taller and stronger. Check, check and check.

That's some serious ageism Pete and John! The emphasis on building around the safety position is obvious. The front office filled both of those positions in their first draft class. Note, that this was not where they got taller. They did add some serious bulk in the form of linebacker-like Chancellor, which indicates how they are one of the remaining NFL teams that plays a true strong safety. Other teams have started to play two interchangeable safeties. Seattle will use Chancellor near the line of scrimmage and to cover tight ends. You will not see him on slot receivers anytime soon.

The overall group gets far younger, and moderately taller and stronger. Bringing in a older cornerback could make some sense, but that would mean the money would be spent there instead of another position that is likely in greater need, and would keep one of these talented youngsters from getting on the field to grow. Carroll and Schneider are not building to win just in 2011. You may have heard there is some desire to win forever. Getting younger and more talented in the secondary is a huge part of that mission. 

Play Rewind: Richard Sherman Snags First Career Interception Says after the game that A.J. Green is, "just a lot of noise talking and bad routes"

Originally posted on November 3, 2011

Way back during the build-up to the free agent signing period there was a bunch of chatter from fans and national "experts" that the Seahawks had a major need at corner back, and would be spending big bucks to lure a player like Jonathan Joseph. One famous expert said, "You don't get starting NFL corners from the CFL and the 5th round of the draft." It turns out, you can if you run the right defense. After injuries to Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond, Richard Sherman got his chance to step forward as a rookie starter on Sunday. He yielded an early touchdown, where it was unclear if his technique was off or if Earl Thomas blew his inside help, but then was the catalyst behind two turnovers, including his first interception. The way he made the play was just as encouraging as the play itself.

Sherman is at the top of the formation, opposite fellow rookie, WR A.J. Green. Both Browner and Sherman are in their familiar press coverage, rolled all the way up.

Sherman gives Green an outside release, channeling him toward the sideline. This indicates he knows he will not have help from a safety in the middle of the field. This is what they call "being on an island," as a corner. Note, though, that Green gets a free release. No actual press contact happened at the line.

This is the key to the play, and the most encouraging sign for Sherman's development. Sherman had terrible trouble in training camp and during the pre-season about turning his head to pick-up the ball, and would instead get flagged for pass interference. This is not an uncommon problem for DBs to have. Browner has this challenge as well. Sherman clearly has turned his head here before the ball has even been thrown, likely keying off of the receiver who has turned his head as well. Green has closed the gap with Sherman, but both are running in full stride now. Again, note the total lack of safety help (by design). This was Sherman's play to make or break.

Sherman is perfectly positioned between the ball and Green.

The chances of a completion at this point are slim.

Green doesn't even attempt a reception, and Sherman looks far more like the receiver going up for the ball.

The hardest part of interceptions for defensive players is making the catch. Sherman makes a tough one here.
This ain't Kelly Jennings. Sherman makes sure Green gets an earful before taking the ball back to his sideline.

Sherman has unique physical talents, appears to be a hard worker who learns quickly, and plays with a swagger well-suited for the cornerback position. He will have his "Mike Wallace" game as Browner did, but he is going to be fun to watch for a long time.

The Sherman Effect His impact was felt almost immediately in the passing game

Originally posted on November 16, 2011

Seattle needed a cornerback. Everybody knew it. Draft experts had the Seahawks looking at Jimmy Smith at the #25 overall pick. John Clayton had corner as the #3 priority on the team's free agent needs. People were talking about Tom Cable recruiting Nnamdi Asomugha, or going after a guy like Jonathan Joseph. All the while, the Seahawks front office was telling anyone that would listen that they were comfortable with their depth at cornerback after spending a fifth-round pick on Richard Sherman, a sixth-round pick on Byron Maxwell and signing little-known Brandon Browner from the CFL. Even the front office could not have predicted the impact Sherman has had on the pass defense since he took over for an injured Walter Thurmond in the second half of the Browns game.

In the five games before playing at Cleveland, the Seahawks pass defense was allowing opponents to complete 67% of their passes for an average of 8.1 yards per attempt, and a gaudy 91.4 passer rating. That would rank 26th in the NFL right now. Since pairing Sherman with Browner the past four games, the results are quite different.

Even with Tony Romo having a great game and finishing with a 112.2 passer rating, opposing quarterbacks have only completed 58.5% of their passes for an average of 6.0 yards per attempt and a 75.8 passer rating. That rating would rank 5th in the NFL among defenses. 

Sherman has played a role in 3 of the team's 4 interceptions the last four games. He grabbed one himself against Cincinnati, tipped one to Kam Chancellor in the same game, and forced a quick throw from Joe Flacco that was tipped by KJ Wright before David Hawthorne picked it off.

It takes a whole secondary to produce numbers like this, so it is clearly not all about Sherman. In fact, Walter Thurmond appeared on the cusp of having a very similar impact when he took over.

Ask yourself this, if you could trade Sherman for Asomugha straight-up right now, would you? 

Seahawks CB Sherman Always Doubted, Never Deterred An exclusive feature story before the nation knew him

Originally posted on June 10, 2012

It was a Pop Warner practice. Richard Sherman was a 9-year-old running back who shied away from contact, and he had just received more contact than he asked for during a tackling drill. It was the second time he'd been told to try and run through this bigger player, and the outcome was not getting any less painful. He picked himself off the ground and took account of all his limbs to make sure they were still working when something odd happened.

"I felt all my weight leave me," Sherman said. "And I was like, 'Why am I flying?'"

Sherman was not flying...for long. His father--and coach--Kevin, was so livid that his son was not running tough enough that he had picked him off the ground and slammed him down.

"It felt worse than getting hit." Sherman said. "And he was like, 'Do it again,' so after that, I ran right through the dude's face and never [avoided contact] again on that football field."

A.J. Green and Danario Alexander got a first-hand look at Sherman's fiery demeanor and physical play during a stellar rookie season for the Seahawks cornerback. It began with a role on special teams and nearly ended with a spot in the Pro Bowl. Football is a team game, but it would be hard to argue Sherman's impact on opponents passing games last year. Seattle yielded a cumulative 91.4 passer rating in the five games before he became a starter. That number dropped to 65.9 in the eleven games that followed. Sports Illustrated writer Peter King called Sherman the best rookie corner in the NFL. Don't expect Sherman to spend any time reading that. He needs more fuel to keep that fire burning.

"Football is a game of pride," Sherman said. "There's a lot of things that challenge your pride. I carry a lot of the things I read off the field, onto the field. I read everything. The good stuff, I try to stay away from, but I read every knock on me. I still remember stuff from before the draft when people were saying I couldn't do this or that. I just couldn't wait to get on the field and prove everybody wrong. I'm trying to get all those people fired."

"Football is a game of pride"

Sherman's past is littered with examples of people selling him short. Those Pop Warner years? Sherman turned in a couple great seasons, but failed to be selected for the all-star game. He was not a five star recruit while playing at Dominguez High School in Compton, CA. despite averaging 31.5 yards per reception as a senior. Only a select few people saw greatness in Sherman. He gives credit to his Dominguez track coach, Darryl Smith and football coaches Willie and Keith Donnerson for seeing more in him than he knew was there.

"I was kind of lanky and uncoordinated [as a freshmen]," Sherman said. "I didn't think I was going to win anything. [Coach Smith] just believed in me every year, and by the time I was a junior, I was an All-American in track."

There were no college recruiters coming around before Sherman had that success as a junior. He was considering University of Washington, USC and Stanford at the end. Tyrone Willingham's offer came late, and by then, he had made up his mind that he wanted to set an example for his home town by going to Stanford. Academics had always been a focal point in the Sherman household, where a "B" on a report card was treated like an "F." Walt Harris was the Stanford coach at the time Sherman signed on, but Jim Harbaugh took over by his sophomore year.

It was a great marriage at the beginning. Harbaugh stack-ranked all the players he had on the roster in terms of value, and put Sherman at the top of that list.

"When he first came in, he was great," Sherman said. "He's such a [hardass] when you're not on his good side, but it's great when you are."

Sherman would see both sides of Harbaugh before his Stanford career would wrap up. After a promising freshmen season, he was enjoying a breakout sophomore year and Harbaugh took notice.

"[Coach Harbaugh] came up to me at one point and told me, 'Hey, you're on pace to have an incredible season,'" Sherman said.

The passes stopped coming Sherman's way after that conversation. He caught a combined six passes in the last three games of the season, including three in the final two games that went for a total of 16 yards. This, for a receiver who averaged 16.7 yards per catch that season. It could have been a coincidence, or it may have been Harbaugh's way of keeping Sherman's feet on the ground heading into his junior year.

Everything changed as a junior. Sherman tore his patella tendon during camp. He wanted to get surgery, but the team's receiving corps was inexperienced behind him, with only sophomores Doug Baldwin and Ryan Whalen there to pick up the slack. He talked with the coaches and decided to play through the injury for a while, which ended up being four games, before having the surgery and missing the rest of the season. Four games was the maximum he could play while still preserving his medical redshirt eligibility.

Sherman moved to defense to avoid Harbaugh at Stanford.

Harbaugh had publicly said that Sherman's MRI did not show a tear. He was less than thrilled with Sherman's decision to go through with the surgery, and when camp re-opened the following year, he had Sherman at the bottom of the receivers depth chart, even below the walk-ons. Some people would have thought about transferring when faced with that type of environment, but not Sherman.

"You can't transfer from Stanford," Sherman said. "That would have killed everything I came for. It's one of the hardest schools to get into, and I came to get my degree from Stanford. I wasn't going to let anyone change the course of my life like that."

Locked in the doghouse, Sherman decided to bust out the back door. He told Harbaugh he wanted to switch to defense, and would be willing to start at the bottom of the depth chart because he knew he'd become a starter. It didn't hurt that Harbaugh spent almost no time with the defense, and had little to say about who played on that side of the ball. Harbaugh would later admit to doubting the move would succeed. It takes a special kind of arrogance to not only punish a player for an injury, but then willingly let one of your best players move to a position where you do not believe he will succeed.

Sherman was no stranger to being underestimated, and quickly moved up the depth chart once Harbaugh was not standing in his way. He started every game, and turned in a standout senior season with four interceptions and 13 passes defensed. NFL scouts had trouble imagining a 6'3" corner succeeding at the next level, which allowed him to slide all the way to the fifth round. Thirty-three cornerbacks were selected before Sherman went off the board with the 154th pick to the Seahawks. Players like Buster Skrine and Chris Prosinski had their names called before him. A certain new coach in San Francisco used a pick nearly 80 spots earlier to take CB Chris Culliver.

It was just more fuel for the fire that drives Sherman. He did not play a full game as a starter for Seattle until the seventh game of the season. That did not keep him from ending the season in the Top 12 in interceptions (4) and passes defensed (17). He paired with Brandon Browner (6'4") to form the tallest cornerback tandem in the NFL. Browner made the Pro Bowl, along with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. It is not hard to imagine how Sherman feels about being left off the roster.

He has big expectations for the coming year. The level of competition will leave little doubt where Sherman fits in the NFL cornerback rankings. Receivers like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith and Greg Jennings will be waiting. Sherman will be ready.

"I prepare for every receiver the same way," Sherman explained. "All receivers have tendencies. It's not their fault that they have them. It's their offense, or their quarterback, or the formations that reveal those tendencies. The receiver can run the greatest route in the world, but I don't care about the route because I'm not guarding the route. I'm guarding the offense."

It is hard to believe a player would prepare for Steve Smith and Larry Fitzgerald in the same way.

"If you start preparing for the receiver, you start getting beat by the receiver, " Sherman said. "Receivers aren't calling the plays or choosing when to get the ball. They are running mostly [isolation] routes in the NFL. There aren't many option routes where they can run whatever they want."

Playing receiver has helped Sherman anticipate offensive play calls better and understand the route tree his opponent will be running. He relishes the moments when the offense needs to run a quick pattern. It could be a 3rd and 4, or a two minute drill. Those are the times when preparation and anticipation can allow a corner to jump a route and take it the other way.

Sherman is looking forward to more situations like that this season with the addition of players like Bruce Irvin and Bobby Wagner. He mentioned those as two players that have stood out to him during early organized team activities (OTAs).

"Bruce is going to force the opposing quarterbacks to get the ball out quicker," Sherman said. "And Wags already has a few picks of his own."

Seahawks fans are chomping at the bit to see this defense back on the field. National media and other teams continue to overlook or downright ignore what is happening in Seattle. Pete Carroll and John Schneider drafted Sherman last year with the hope that he could grow into a starting corner with strong press coverage skills. What they may not have known is that they added a guy that represents the Northwest sports fan perfectly. Respect has never been handed to Richard Sherman. He has had to earn it every step of the way. Where some may see arrogance, those that really know him see confidence bred from a lifetime of proving doubters wrong. He has come to expect those doubts, to even seek them out. He no longer needs his dad, or anyone else, to knock the motivation into him. Sherman has reached motivation fission, and NFL opponents would be wise to seek shelter.

Being Richard Sherman Misunderstood, but never misquoted

You may not have heard, but the Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers Sunday night to win the NFC title and earn a trip to their second Super Bowl. It was kind of a cool game, too. Lead changes, big hits, breath-taking plays in all phases of the game made this a game to remember. Yet, mere seconds after the game ended, all anyone wanted to talk about was how Richard Sherman handled himself. The controversial cornerback is the best in the game and a fascinating person. People continue to try to fit him into a box, but he is not one thing. He is abrasive. He is intelligent. He is brash. He is caring. One thing he is not, is selfish. What he did on Sunday is being described as a selfish act. The outcome certainly supports that assertion, but the responsibility for that outcome is shared.

Michael Crabtree is a mediocre receiver. Sherman is the best corner in the game. These were the points Sherman drove home repeatedly on Sunday. Evidence suggests he may be right on both accounts.

Sherman made the biggest play, at the biggest moment, of the biggest game of the year thus far. He is also a first team All-Pro corner that led the NFL in interceptions despite being thrown at less than nearly any other corner. Only two players since 1980 have had more interceptions in their first three seasons in the NFL than Sherman. There is not a better resume in the NFL for that position.

A play that will go down as one of the best in NFL playoff history

Crabtree has played in six games, including this past Sunday, against the Seahawks since Sherman came into the league in 2011. He has totaled 22 receptions in 39 throws (56% catch rate) for 277 yards and zero touchdowns. That works out to a per game average of 3.7 receptions, 6.5 targets, and 46.2 yards. It would be hard to call that production anything but mediocre.

There is undeniable truth in what Sherman said. That is one aspect of his personality that people fail to grasp; he rarely makes a statement he cannot back up either on the field or with numerical proof. Trash talking does not do him justice as a descriptive term since it implies his words are worthless. Perhaps "evidence-based derision" makes more sense.

Crabtree can hate Richard Sherman, but he can't argue his numbers versus Seattle are mediocre

I spent some time with Sherman when he broke into the league, and came away with a clear feel for who he is and what drives him. He told me that he idolizes Muhammad Ali and has always liked to talk big to put more pressure on himself to perform. We saw this happen last season when he initially tested positive for a PED and was at the center of controversy during the appeals process while playing his best football of the season. He asserted that he was the best corner in football during the off-season, and then put together a definitive season to back up the claim. But he does not only make controversial statements to challenge himself. He is a brilliant marketer, and knows taking this approach would be his best chance for recognition of his accomplishments and attract sponsorships to supplant his tiny rookie contract salary.

Going after Tom Brady last season introduced him to the nation. NFL Network had him on for the first time. Taking down Skip Bayless on national television went viral and birthed #BALTY (Better At Life Than You). His Twitter exchange with Darrelle Revis was talked about repeatedly. All these controversies raised his national profile. Much of the attention was negative, but it forced all of them to talk about him as a player as well.

Most people do not compile statistics and look at advanced numbers or watch film to determine who the best players are. They name people they have heard of. They repeat what they hear. And what they hear is that Sherman is a really good player that says things they might not like. Both messages get through.

Contrast that with Doug Baldwin, Sherman's friend from Stanford who plays on the opposite side of the ball for the Seahawks. Baldwin is soft-spoken and mild-mannered. He plays in an offense that throws the ball less than almost any other in the NFL, but he makes the most of his opportunities. After leading the league in catch rate for most of the season, he dropped off in the last month as Russell Wilson's accuracy dropped. Still, he finished 12th among NFL receivers that played at least 50% of the snaps this season for their team. Only DeSean Jackson and Kenny Stills averaged more yards per catch and had a higher catch rate than Baldwin. In other words, he is efficient and explosive in an offense fully focused on running the ball. He is also unknown nationally. People constantly talk about the Seahawks receivers, including Baldwin, being average or a weakness on the team. A significant reason that narrative has taken hold is that people do not know these players and will not spend the time to see just how productive they are given the offense they play in. Put Baldwin on a team running an offense like what they do in Denver, New England, Philadephia, Indianapolis or New Orleans, and he would be well over 1,000 yards receiving.

Sherman understands this.

@hawkblogger@DougBaldwinJr lol I have explained it to him .... Very fickle
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) January 4, 2014

There is no way he would have the status he does now without the controversies he has created. And you know how they say there is no such thing as bad press?

Sherman's Twitter followers literally doubled overnight
— Sam Girard (@hwkbgr) January 21, 2014

This incident was one Sherman almost certainly wishes he could do differently now. Not because he regrets what he said, or the resulting public backlash about him as a person, but because it overshadowed a monumental team accomplishment. Sherman is always careful to recognize his teammates when interviewed. He is beloved in that locker room. Selfish people are not beloved. All talk, no walk people are not beloved. Sherman is neither. He is a brilliant young man who is fiercely competitive that is experiencing more success than at any other time in his life. Mistakes will happen. They do not define who he is. Just like the fact that all of us who have perseverated on this topic instead of the game are not defined by our gossip-mongering and propensity for superficial judgment of people we do not know.

Do not expect any of this to keep Sherman quiet now. The show is just beginning. Sherman will take full advantage of the stage the Super Bowl provides. Watch and listen for what he will say next. He is counting on it.


Find out about the next great Seahawk player before the rest of the world. Stop by for in-depth analysis of all things Seahawks all year around.

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