It often helps to have a shutdown cornerback to blanket half of the field in the pass-happy modern NFL. Arizona Cardinals star Patrick Peterson is commonly considered to be that type of elite player, but he doesn't regard his NFC West rival, Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks, to be categorized as such.
Adam Green of ArizonaSports.com reported what Peterson had to say about Sherman in an interview with KMVP-FM on Thursday:
I don't want to get in a debate as far as stats that he has and things like that. Obviously his job is definitely much easier than mine. But if you look at their scheme and at our scheme, he's a Cover 3 corner. Period. A lot of guys say he's a shutdown corner. But if you look at film and guys who understand the game, go back and look at film and see how his defense is. I believe that if you put him in our system, I don't believe he'll be able to last, honestly. Because I actually do much more than he is (doing).
[...] ...The fans [...] they see he's got tons and tons of interceptions. And that's all fine and dandy, but he's only covering space. He's not really covering a guy. So at the end of the day, he has great stats. He has great playmaking ability -- not taking that away from him, because he is a good corner. But as far as being a shutdown corner, man-to-man guy, in my eyes, I don't believe he's that.
Peterson continued on Twitter later:
That's what I always see someone helping. Last I check a lockdown corner is when it's him and WR. pic.twitter.com/ytHQcJsZCH— Patrick Peterson (@RealPeterson21) May 23, 2014
It's hard to deny Peterson's high football IQ, which is on display here as he breaks down a more intricate description of schematics than most other players in the league would even delve into. At the same time, calling out Sherman is not the smartest thing to do, because the Seahawks will play Arizona at least twice in 2014.
As might be expected, the outspoken Sherman's retort arrived in short order:
Lockdown everywhere but the field pic.twitter.com/5vUyyhNIvn— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) May 23, 2014
This continues an ongoing offseason saga that should only drive both players to become even better.
Statistics seem to be Sherman's lifeline to defend himself, but he has offered convincing arguments by using even the most basic numbers. More advanced measures are exacted by Pro Football Focus, whose experts, Pete Damilatis and Sam Monson, tend to side with Sherman:
Patrick Peterson has games where he can look like Richard Sherman. He also has games where he looks like DeAngelo Hall. Sherman doesn't.— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) May 22, 2014
Shadowing a receiver potentially adds value to a corner but it doesn't come close to bridging the gap in play between Peterson+Sherman— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) May 22, 2014
Who is the better cornerback?
The previous mention of "retort" reminds me of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction, when he utters the famous line, "Well, allow me to retort!" In that situation, Jackson's character has the leverage. In this instance, it's Sherman who has all of the ammo in his arsenal for this argument with Peterson.
Sherman has the statistics and the Super Bowl ring to back himself up. Although he does have the benefit of playing with elite safeties in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, there is no question that his presence and physical press coverage is part of what makes Seattle's "Legion of Boom" secondary so formidable.
The excellence of both Thomas and Chancellor gives some validity to Peterson's argument that his job is tougher. Until the Cardinals start winning more, though, Peterson would do well to remain quiet, focus on his own game and help Arizona build on its 10-win season.