For a change, Richard Sherman has found himself out of the spotlight for most of this season.
Both on the field and when the Seattle Seahawks cornerback is standing behind the podium.
“I don’t feel like I’ve done any less. It’s just, you guys are so used to it,” Sherman said. “I guess you might be numb to it, or immune. I don’t think I do any less. I’ve always spoken confidently.”
Despite seemingly less attention, Sherman has put together another solid season heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale at Arizona. But because of the lack of fanfare surrounding him and the focus placed on other players – namely quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receiver Doug Baldwin – Sherman may not be in line for the individual recognition he’s received in previous seasons.
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One of the few individual honors Sherman has held with high regard is being voted to the AP All-Pro first team for each of the past three seasons. But for the first time during that stretch, whether Sherman is honored for a fourth straight season is in question heading into Sunday’s game.
His interceptions are at a career low with just two as quarterbacks have remained leery of throwing in his direction. His team will win its least number of games since 2011 no matter the outcome on Sunday’s game. And Sherman has seemed to take a backseat to the attention given to Josh Norman, Chris Harris Jr., Darrelle Revis and other top cornerbacks around the league.
“I would think I’m on the list. I would think I’m on there,” Sherman said. “It might be a closer vote than the past, but I would think so. … Everybody has been kind of up and down.”
Defining Sherman’s performance is difficult because quarterbacks have become careful when throwing in his direction and because of the type of defense the Seahawks often play. According to STATS, Sherman has been targeted 62 times this season, tied for 57th among all cornerbacks. He’s allowed 30 receptions and four touchdowns – including getting caught flat-footed and beat by Kenny Britt for a TD last week against St. Louis – and had 12 passes defensed, which is more than last season.
Last season, Sherman had four interceptions but was targeted 71 times. In 2013 when Seattle won the Super Bowl, Sherman had a career-high eight interceptions and was only thrown at 59 times.
What Sherman added to his game this year was versatility. After almost exclusively playing on the left side of the defense in previous seasons, Sherman has been more willing to float around and take on individual matchups.
He played in the slot as the nickel cornerback in Week 1 against St. Louis as Seattle tried to match him up against Tavon Austin. He quickly shifted in Week 5 against Cincinnati and followed A.J. Green after Green had a big first quarter.
San Francisco’s Torrey Smith had one catch in two games against Seattle with Sherman defending him.
Sherman’s already been voted to the Pro Bowl this season, but news about All-Pro will have to wait a little while longer. His coach believes there’s been no step back in Sherman’s play this season.
“I think he’s had another terrific season. He’s been there for the challenges. They’re going to catch some balls, at times. For the most part, they do stay away from him. He doesn’t get the activity that he had three or four years ago,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I know he was close to making two or three picks that he had during the year that he would love to have back. He doesn’t get very many chances. When he’s been matched up with the challenging matchups, he’s done a fantastic job and has been rock solid for us.”