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Richard Sherman focused on his craft

9/2/2014

RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman took a little dig at the NFL schedule makers in his opening comment to the media Monday.

"It's cool for our team to get a Thursday night football game to start the season, except we won't get very many at home for various reasons. I'll let you guys speculate those reasons," Sherman said.

Thursday is the only prime-time game at home this season for the defending Super Bowl champs. Their only Monday night game is Oct. 6 at Washington. The Seahawks have two other prime-time games on the road -- Thanksgiving night at San Francisco, and a Sunday night game at Arizona on Dec. 21.

Sherman has bigger things to worry about for the moment, like facing Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers Thursday night at CenturyLink Field.

"It'll be a chess match," Sherman said. "He's arguably the best quarterback in this league. I would say it's between him and Peyton [Manning]. Rodgers can move and he can manipulate the game the way he can move the defense with his eyes.

"He takes what the defense gives, whether it's with his legs or his arms. That's what you respect about him. He's a fantastic competitor."

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll feels the same way about Sherman. Since the end of last season, Sherman has become a national celebrity. He was named to Time magazine's top 100 list of the most influential people in the world, and is on the cover of "Madden 15."

Sherman also received a new four-year, $56 million contract extension from the Seahawks. So there were some concerns about whether he would have the same determination this season as a Super Bowl winner who got the big-money deal.

"He's had his best camp, clearly," Carroll said of Sherman. "He is so disciplined about what he's doing. His attitude has been perfect. He hasn't missed a minute of practice. He's taken all the reps and done everything we've asked him to do. I think he's been the most focused of his career."

Sherman said it was easy for him to get back in football mode when he walked into the Seahawks' facility in April.

"This is like our sanctuary," Sherman said. "When you walk into this building, everything comes into place. I think when you step in here, it allows you to free your mind of all the distractions and everything off the field. You focus on your craft and getting better at the things you need to get better at. I felt like I had areas that I had to get better at and I focused on those."

Sherman spends hours each week watching film of the receivers he'll face that weekend. The man he's studying the most this week is Green Bay receiver Jordy Nelson.

"Jordy has great hands and he runs very precise routes," Sherman said. "I think he and Aaron have a great chemistry. Anytime Aaron is out of the pocket, he looks for Jordy. Jordy knows where to be and he knows where to get to so Aaron can find him. I think he's a dynamic and very crafty receiver."

Knowing the opponent is one of the things that Carroll believes has helped make Sherman a Pro Bowl cornerback who leads the NFL with 20 interceptions in the past three seasons.

"There are a lot of things that make Richard special and why he's been able to do the things he's done and be so good early in his career,'' Carroll said. "Everything is pointing toward him have another great year this year.''