Beyond Richard Sherman's grandstanding

May, 16, 2013
5/16/13
6:40
PM ET
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman's outstanding play warrants the kind of in-depth study Cian Fahey conducted analyzing Sherman's every snap from 2012.

It is Sherman's combativeness, outspokenness and good humor that make him one of the more compelling figures in the NFC West. But as Fahey concludes, Sherman's brain might be his most underrated asset.

A Stanford graduate's smarts should not be underrated, but Sherman makes focusing on style over substance so easy. He has, in his brief NFL career, dismissed receiver A.J. Green as overrated, warned quarterback Peyton Manning, mocked receiver Michael Floyd, confronted Tom Brady, incited Steve Smith, played Optimus Prime to Calvin Johnson's Megatron, baited cornerback Darrelle Revis, put down receiver Roddy White, dressed down Skip Bayless, watched practice from a jetski and, perhaps most hilariously, claimed to have hired as a charity softball umpire one of the replacement officials notorious for his role in Seattle's controversial victory over Green Bay last season.

Sherman feeds off the attention, obviously. He has positioned himself prominently in any debate over which cornerback is best in the NFL, overshadowing a far more highly-drafted cornerback from his own division, Patrick Peterson, who goes about his business with only occasional references to his own prowess.

The analysis from Fahey affirms Sherman's status as a top cornerback while acknowledging that Revis, when healthy, faced more challenging assignments. Fahey concludes by pointing to Sherman's grasp of the rulebook, noting that the cornerback shoves down opponents once the quarterback leaves the pocket.

"This may seem like a cheap move to the uninformed, but it is the smartest way to stop receivers from making big plays against you," Fahey writes. "The quickness of thought to recognize the scenario and his understanding of the rules is something that not every player possesses, even at this level.

"Sherman finished last season with 64 tackles, one sack, three forced fumbles and eight interceptions. ... He is clearly an elite talent at the cornerback position who can play in a variety of schemes and scenarios against any type of opposition."

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