In today’s NFL, the media circus is greater than ever before. During last season’s NFL Championship Game, Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman made headlines after a rant regarding his big play against San Francisco 49ers WR Michael Crabtree. “Well I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get! Don’t you ever talk about me!… Don’t you open your mouth about the best! Or Imma shut it for you real quick! L-O-B!”. After this adrenaline filled rant, Sherman did many interviews and consistently referred to himself as the best corner in the game. Obviously, Sherman is talented, but there is other competition in the league.
Sherman is considered to be a freak of nature. His speed is ridiculous, he hands are quick, and he plays some of the most aggressive cornerback football in the modern NFL era. Having said all of that, many believe that his defining quality isn’t any of physical characteristics, it is his mind. Richard Sherman is widely regarded as the smartest cornerback in the league. When you look at a cornerback like Revis, he goes toe to toe with receivers and tries to beat them every step of the way. In the 1990s, this was the best strategy for pas blocking; however, this is no longer the case. Modern NFL CBs are being trained in the art of “baiting”. This is when they present a view to the quarterback that makes it appear as those a receiver is open or a route is going well, and as soon as the ball is out of the hands of the QB, the real defensive play begins. This is where Richard Sherman separates himself from the competition.
Richard Sherman plays a mix of zone and man defense, and somehow also manages to always keep a strong defensive play alive. For example, when playing in a zone defense formation, Sherman has been known for looking for a few QB tells. He pays attention to a QBs eyes, the angle of his feet, and his pocket presence. From this, he is able to break out of zone defense as soon as the ball is in the air and make big plays. Also, if Sherman is able to break up a play but there is a chance that his team could capitalize further, he always tries to keep it alive. More than any other corner in the league, Sherman consistently tries to bat down balls that are going out of bounds and into the hands of his teammates. The same skill isn’t shown by him competition.
The corners that are in the same realm right now are Revis and Talib. Both of these corners are outstanding; however, they are simply elite pound for pound players. They play physical football and do their best to keep up with coverage. The issue with this is that they don’t understand the game as Sherman does, which is an advantage that allows Sherman force QBs to play into his traps.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks