Sher­man’s next job may be shad­ow­ing Jones

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Tim Booth

As his ca­reer has pro­gressed, Seat­tle’s Richard Sher­man has be­come more adept at shad­ow­ing a spe­cific wide re­ceiver in­stead of con­cen­trat­ing on cov­er­ing one side of the field.

He may have quite the chal­lenge com­ing up Sun­day: At­lanta’s Julio Jones, just two weeks re­moved from rack­ing up 300 yards re­ceiv­ing against Carolina.

“I watch the wide re­ceiver play in Julio, he’s one the very great­est foot­ball minds at his po­si­tion. He has a real un­der­stand­ing of the game, the cov­er­age, the lever­age and that was one of the things when I first met Sherm,” said At­lanta head coach and for­mer Seat­tle de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dan Quinn. “I was so im­pressed with his foot­ball knowl­edge grow­ing stronger through the years.

“That’ll be a clas­sic matchup that we’re look­ing for­ward to be­ing a part of.”

Yes, even the coaches are ex­cited to see how this one plays out.

While it’s not cer­tain Sher­man will match up on Jones ex­clu­sively, there have been plenty of as­sump­tions this week that that will be the case. And should they face off, there won’t be any ac­ri­mony.

Jones and Sher­man have be­come friends off the field af­ter meet­ing at the Pro Bowl.

“He’s a fas­ci­nat­ing dude,” Sher­man said.

Once crit­i­cized for only play­ing left cor­ner­back, Sher­man has taken on more re­spon­si­bil­ity for fol­low­ing the op­po­nent’s top wide re­ceiver in re­cent sea­sons. Among those he’s chased around are Dez Bryant, An­to­nio Brown, Tor­rey Smith, A.J. Green and two weeks ago, Bran­don Mar­shall.

Mar­shall got the bet­ter of Sher­man in the first half of the Week 4 meet­ing be­tween the Jets and Sea­hawks. But Sher­man came out on top , with Seat­tle win­ning 27-17 and Sher­man hav­ing his first two-in­ter­cep­tion game since the 2014 sea­son.

Jones said he doesn’t know what to ex­pect from the Sea­hawks.

“If that’s what they think is go­ing to slow me down or give them the best chance at be­ing suc­cess­ful, that’s what they’re go­ing to do. I’m not their coach to de­cide that. It’s what­ever they do,” Jones said. “I’m not call­ing any­one out or any­thing; nor am I go­ing to shy away from com­pe­ti­tion.

“I’m def­i­nitely go­ing to com­pete ev­ery play, it doesn’t mat­ter who’s guard­ing me.”

Two weeks ago, Jones posted one of the best games ever by an NFL re­ceiver. He fin­ished with 12 catches for ex­actly 300 yards in the win over Carolina, be­com­ing the sixth player to have 300 or more yards re­ceiv­ing in a game. Jones av­er­aged an as­tound­ing 25 yards per re­cep­tion.

But he was qui­eted last week against Den­ver. The Bron­cos weren’t go­ing to let Jones have an­other huge game, putting dou­ble cov­er­age on him for most of the game and hold­ing him to two catches for 29 yards.

The Sea­hawks are view­ing that game against Den­ver as an ano­maly.

“He’s been a great player for a long time,” Seat­tle coach Pete Car­roll said. “He came out as a great one. He’s just got marvelous tal­ents, and he’s re­ally fast when he gets go­ing down field, and he’s a big play­maker and all that.”

Sher­man’s shad­ow­ing of top wide re­ceivers is also an ac­knowl­edge­ment of the ver­sa­til­ity in Seat­tle’ sec­ondary. DeShawn Shead and Jeremy Lane both have ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing as nickel cor­ner­backs de­fend­ing slot re­ceives and play­ing on the out­side.

Their skills give Sher­man the free­dom to roam.

“It gets eas­ier the more you do it. If you never drib­ble with your left hand and they ask you to drib­ble with your right, you’re not go­ing to be great at drib­bling with your left hand. But if they ask you to drib­ble both, you’ll be adept at it,” Sher­man said. “It’s been some­thing that’s been fun for me.

“When­ever they ask me to do it, when­ever the chal­lenge presents it­self or a team, it’s al­ways their de­ci­sion. It’s not like I get to pick or choose which games I do it.” OC­TO­BeR 17TH - 21sT 9 holes w/cart $17pp • 18 holes w/cart $25pp (w/coupon)

DAVE MARTIN — AP FILE

In this 2013 file photo, Fal­cons wide re­ceiver Julio Jones, left, misses a catch as Sea­hawks cor­ner­back Richard Sher­man de­fends dur­ing the first half of game in At­lanta. No in­di­vid­ual matchup will top the ex­pected matchup be­tween Jones and Sher­man when the Fal­cons and Sea­hawks play in Seat­tle today.

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