Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) lines up against Denver Broncos strong safety Omar Bolden (31) during the first halfin Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Peterson Is Wrong About Seahawks Defensive Scheme and Richard Sherman

Yesterday, Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman kept the midnight oil burning brightly on their ever-developing rivalry, this time Peterson saying that he doesn’t believe Sherman is a ‘shut-down corner’ because of the Seahawks’ brand of defense.

Before I get into this for a minute, I want to point out that I read some stuff yesterday from Raising Zona about how these two should leave the bickering for the season. Some other stuff yesterday from Emerald City Swagger talked about it not mattering who the best CB in the game actually is and pointed toward there being no clear winner in these debates of who is best throughout the league because we’ll never see them matchup. I respect both points and they are terrific reads from our network, but…

I also wholeheartedly disagree with both. That’s the great thing about opinions, so let me give you another couple and then get to Peterson’s mistaken comments.

Dec 1, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) during warmups prior to playing the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Cardinals 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 1, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) during warmups prior to playing the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Cardinals 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

First major point I want to make is that this is who these guys are and this is what the NFL has become, it’s why we love the offseason! If everybody went about their business and just went to practice, did their thing and then went home without these awesome social media battles and whatnot, the league would not be as popular as it is today. Of course that said, some of it goes overboard and because some stupid fans cannot control their fandom, things can get out of hand.

Also the media overplays all of it, between ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, NFL Network, team sites like Seahawks.com, blogs like FanSided, general sports sites like SI, Bleacher Report and God knows how many others… we get 24/7 access to what, in reality is only a couple of comments between players.

That, however, does not mean the players should quit their verbal jousting and save it for football season. It simply means we have time to over-analyze it all. Folks these guys get paid to put on a marketing show and in a very parallel way, they also put on the marketing show to get paid. The silent warrior just doesn’t win in today’s NFL, and actually he never has. Just like Sherman sees it as his job to market himself I think it’s perfectly fine for Peterson to market himself by calling out Sherman. It is in fact, his job to sell his skills as more diverse and important to the Cards than Sherman’s is to his team.

Some players and fans also do not feel the way that I do about the business-like approach that should be taken and that’s OK.

Second major point, there are most certainly winners and losers in the game of marketing. Anybody who gets one of these big contracts wins, regardless of when they got it or what their bargaining chip ended up being. I think fans take too much for granted, especially when it comes to these ridiculous paychecks these guys are getting. $100,000-$500,000 in a year (depending on where you live) is a LOT of money folks. Let’s keep that in perspective, while remembering these guys are turning their talents into $10-12 million per year checks.

Dec 8, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Matthew Mulligan (88) tries to jump over Cleveland Browns defensive back Joe Haden (23) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Third major point, these guys actually do go against each other, every week in fact. It’s actually not just about lining up and playing one-on-one, it’s about being better than your opponent was that week while lining up at the same position . Doesn’t even matter if you’re playing on the same field, you gotta perform, he’s gotta perform and everybody else in the league has to perform. Just like earning a starting roster spot in training camp, who does it better is the only difference between which guys get paid millions and which guys sell cars for a living. If you don’t think these guys ever play against each other you don’t really understand competition at any level of sports.

The contract is based on such things as stats and performance, but it’s also a sell. So I’m not gonna hate on anybody who starts calling out a guy for his job not being as hard to try and promote himself. No, he shouldn’t save it for the season (he’s trying to get paid right NOW) and no, he’s not in the middle of a lose-lose situation with the next guy. When he gets his money, Peterson will buckle down and get ready for the season while Sherman does the same (at least to an extent). We know Sherm has to get a parting shot in though, right?

So let’s actually get into what Peterson said about Sherman yesterday. Again, I’m not hatin’ on him for using the stance to his advantage in his own contract negotiations, but I just wanted to clear something up; Richard Sherman is definitely a shut-down corner. He is one of, if not the best, in the entire league. Numbers don’t say everything, but they do tell us that Sherman makes more big plays than any other cornerback in the NFL. With that, he always seems to make them in the most crucial moments for his team, which is why I think he’s the best in the league right now.

If you don’t agree, I suggest you go back to the Carolina, Houston and San Francisco (NFC Championship) games from last season and turn on the 4th quarters again.

Peterson’s point about the Seahawks playing more zone than Arizona is also wrong, at least for the most part. Or at the very least a misunderstanding of application of terminology. The Seahawks did surprise Denver with what looked like an almost exclusive matchup-zone in the Super Bowl and earlier in the year the pick-6 against the Texans that tied it in the final moments was a surprise cover-2 look. But beyond that the Seahawks generally play as much or more man defense than any team in the league, including the Cards. You can’t play as much bump-and-run as the Hawks do without running almost exclusively man, it’s that simple.

There is a fundamental difference though between what Arizona and Seattle do, which may or may not have any consequence on this argument; Sherman plays exclusive left corner while Peterson generally follows the No. 1 receiver. Still, when QB’s do throw at Sherman they are throwing to their best guy, otherwise they wouldn’t test that side at all, because well, they already know.

In all actuality from a 12, it just sounds like Peterson is jealous of the help Sherman has around him that helps him to do that. Not that the Cards won’t boast a similarly skilled defensive backfield in 2014. Peterson will have every opportunity to prove it this season with the secondary they have. If he doesn’t produce what Sherman is bound to produce, the proof’s probably out on the field anyway.

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Tags: Joe Haden Patrick Peterson Richard Sherman Seattle Seahawks

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