Richard Sherman is Getting the Revis Treatment
Dec 8, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) waits for the ball to be snapped against the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Seahawks 19-17. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Coming into the 2013 season it was no secret that Richard Sherman was a great corner. What was in doubt was whether he was the best corner in the league. Sherman and Darelle Revis got in something of a Twitter war this offseason about who deserved that title and league-wide there probably still isn’t a consensus.
When Richard Sherman argued his case he continually cited the fact that had defended and intercepted far more passes than Darrelle Revis had. Those who felt that Revis was superior corner believed that this argument did not hold water because Sherman was simply being thrown at more and Revis was so good in coverage that opposing quarterbacks didn’t even look his way. That sounds like a credible argument, but is it true? Luckily thanks to PFF the numbers that tell the story are out there. The chart below shows a comparison between the two corners in coverage since the beginning of Richard Sherman’s career in 2011. Pay particular attention to Coverage Snaps per Target as that tells us how often each corner was thrown at by opposing quarterbacks.
|Player||Coverage Snaps||Targets||Receptions||Yards||Touchdowns||Interceptions||Passer Rating Against||Coverage Snaps per Target|
As it turns out Revis supporters have a bit of a point, but not a huge one. Sherman has been targeted more often, but that doesn’t account for the discrepancy in interceptions. The passer rating against gives a slight edge to Revis, but this is really too close to call. Sherman concedes more yardage but gets more turnovers.
The thing that this chart doesn’t account for is the way Richard Sherman’s numbers have changed year to year. It appears that this season, especially with the departure of Brandon Browner, Sherman is getting the Revis treatment. So far he is hardly being targeted at all in 2013:
Coverage Snaps per Target
This helps explain why Sherman is unlikely to come close to the eight interceptions and 24 passes defended from a year ago. He’s not getting worse, there is just less reason to test him with the inexperienced Brandon Maxwell to try and exploit on the other side.
The losses of Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond have created a scenario where there is less reason to risk throwing in his direction. Last week Colin Kaepernick targeted receivers covered by Byron Maxwell nine times and Sherman’s guys only three times. This is a pattern that is going to continue as long as the Seahawks are hurting for corners. In a sense, due to circumstances completely beyond his control, Sherman’s game is going to become more like Revis’s for the time being. If I were a betting man I’d say he doesn’t like that one bit. Richard Sherman seems like the type of guy who wants to be challenged.