An All-American Rant: The narrative on Richard Sherman & Russell Wilson

Tom Pennington

I need to get this off my chest. This is going to be a lengthy rant, prepare yourselves.

People can be really stupid sometimes.

I see again and again that even though the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, there are people that insist on believing that "No, these guys really aren't that special. Russell Wilson isn't that good, he's on the best team in the league, but to be honest, they're not that good either".

It's an amazing cycle that really has no end.

You hear when people talk about Richard Sherman that they say that you have to see a person play and not just look at numbers to really understand what he does for that team, but then you turn the conversation to Russell Wilson and it's all about the numbers again.

Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the league. He's not the most athletic corner, that's certainly Patrick Peterson. The numbers are certainly in Sherman's favor and I get the argument that Peterson does something harder than Sherman does, but does it matter if you have straight-up bad numbers?

If Patrick Peterson did as well or nearly as well as Sherman did doing a harder job I'd have to give him the nod. I just can't if the numbers aren't just worse than Sherman's, they're bad. A passer rating allowed of more than 90, a TD:INT ratio almost the reverse of Richard Sherman's (7:3 to 2:8), and not even being responsible for one interception when there wasn't a blitz.

Peterson is more athletic, and he has more upside, but Sherman is straight up better at playing the cornerback position. Also, despite what the media would have you believe, Patrick Peterson doesn't always cover #1 guys. He plays across from #1 guys just over half the time.

I really think that most of the reason that people don't like Sherman as much is because of his attitude. He's abrasive. That's a fact.

Just like the fact that Independence Day isn't a great movie (but I still love it).

This gives people the impression that he's only in it for himself, when paying even the slightest bit of attention to anything he does outside of the spotlight clearly shows that it's not the case. But there's so much narrative out there that it's really hard for people to get around it.

Speaking of narratives there's one out there that Wilson wouldn't be anything without this amazing team around him. Charlie Casserly wasn't exactly flattering with his comments, though the folks in the accompanying video beg to differ. One thing that I have to get off of my chest: Charlie Casserly must hate Russell Wilson's game. Not only did he up some questionable names on his list of quarterbacks he'd rather have --  Tony Romo, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Matt Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matt Ryan, but he put Nick Foles on that list, and cited Seattle's ease of scheme and running game as two reasons why.

Forgive me if I'm wrong (and I know that I'm not), but didn't Foles have the NFL leader in rushing yards behind him? And didn't he play in one of the most wide open schemes in the league, against exactly one top-ten pass defense (the Giants) and only two others even in the top half of the league (Cardinals and Bears)? Isn't the next best pass defense that they faced ranked #23? Forgive me if I'm not sold on 11 games against outmatched defenses, with more than 25% of the flashy production coming in one single game against an over-matched Raiders team who wasn't at all equipped to handle the arsenal that the Eagles brought to the table.

I like Nick Foles, he seems like a nice guy, and a smart guy too, but it is a moronic take that Russell Wilson, who has had a much harder role in the offense, making throws like these to Kearse in the NFC Championship game and Week 1,

this throw to Doug Baldwin,

this to Miller,

and this to Tate,

... is seen as inferior to a guy who hasn't even started a full season is completely ridiculous. Tell me that this,

... this,

... or this,

... is a harder throw than any of the examples I used for Wilson, and I'll argue with you till the end of time. Yes these are cherry picked plays, but they illustrate the differences in the offense that the Eagles and the Seahawks run.

The Eagles openly run a very fast paced offense that opens up the field for the running back and wide receivers to work in space, and makes for pretty dang easy reads for Nick Foles, and, to his credit, he runs this offense to near perfection. At the same time, the Seahawks make one on one match ups by forcing defenses to respect the power of Marshawn Lynch with a power-zone run offense, this does make for fewer double covered receivers, but the Seahawks' receivers didn't have the space that the Eagles' pass catchers did, and it definitely shows on tape.

The one argument that there is, is that Foles plays with an inferior defense, but I would strike back with the opinion offensive personnel that the Eagles had was superior to what the Seahawks did. Would I take Desean Jackson, Jason Avant, Brent Celek, Zack Ertz, and Riley Cooper (off-field issues aside) over Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Golden Tate, Zack Miller, Luke Willson, and Riccardo Lockette? Yes I would. Would I take Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, and Todd Herreremans over Russell Okung, James Carpenter, Max Unger, JR Sweezy, and Breno Giacomini? You better bet I would. Would I take LeSean McCoy over Marshawn Lynch? Now we're getting a bit dicey, but the point remains.

I don't mean to rail on Foles, again, I like the guy, I think that he's the third best QB out of the 2012 draft, and considering the others are Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck, that's not an insult in the slightest. I just think that if a guy has an AV of 32 in two years, leads his class in total TDs by quite a margin, has limited his turnovers, maximized his opportunities, and led his team to a g**d*** SUPER Bowl like Wilson has, I think that there needs to be more recognition. This, this, and this, are prime examples of player evaluation done right. And I'm sick and tired of hearing that Wilson is anything but a top QB in this league, not a top-four QB, but arguably number five or six.

This has been my rant to you guys. I hope that I reiterated some of your thoughts, and that you don't think I'm completely insane...I am, but this isn't why.

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