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Arizona Cardinals

Updated Jul 31, 2012 - 5:00 pm

Copious Thoughts from the Dark Corners of Cards Camp: Anthony Sherman

There’s something very cool about having a fullback on a
football team. The Cardinals have Anthony Sherman; he’s a
rolling boulder with ears…and a brain.

In the truest sense of the word, “fullback,” guys like
Sherman have got know so much and then be capable of
executing that knowledge. Other than the QB, nobody on the
offense needs to understand more about said offense as the
fullback. Like an offensive-lineman, Sherman needs to
understand defensive fronts and how those defensive fronts
change his run-blocking assignments and be able to adjust
on the fly.

In addition, a fullback must have command of
protection schemes, be able to adjust in an instant to
what the OL is doing while keeping his eyes open at all
times.
Like receivers, Sherman needs to understand route
combinations and where he
belongs in those combinations, when he might be the hot-
receiver and how his
route impacts a given play. And it’s not just
understanding these components
and knowing what to do and making the
adjustments in a split-second, it’s also about being
capable of successfully executing your assignment as a
crash-test-dummy.

Anthony Sherman does all of these things very well. So
well the Cardinals might be expanding his role in 2012.

The Cardinals may use more two-back personnel groups, like
Regular (2-Backs, 2-WRs, 1-TE), to move the ball this
season. Regular used to be the base personnel group of the
NFL. That is no longer the case, but it might be making a
comeback and Anthony Sherman is in the middle of that
maelstrom. The Cardinals ran the ball better out of
regular than any other grouping and used the talents of
Sherman well. Sherman is an excellent lead-blocker,
catches the ball out of the backfield and can run the ball
well enough to convert short-yardage and goal-line
opportunities.

And no running back in the Cardinals corral holds up
better in blitz pickup.

This is where Sherman’s role might really expand,
heralding a new trend in
the critical confines of third-down in the NFL. The
Cardinals are using
Anthony Sherman as a third down back.

What? Shotgun? Four-wides? Third & obvious?

Yes.

Traditionally, third down backs looked more like LaRod
Stephens-Howling than Anthony Sherman. Third down backs
have been more of a receiver coming out of the backfield
than a runner — and certainly didn’t look like Sherman!
But because of complex blitz packages and fire zones, the
NFL may be looking to super-size the position. Teams may
need a third down back that can hold up in protection,
while doing all the things a traditional third down back
has done in the past.

LaRod Stephens-Howling — the Hyphen — will still get the
majority of reps on third & obvious, but Anthony Sherman
and the Arizona Cardinals may have another option on
third-down: Tank Personnel.

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