Arizona Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson: I don’t believe Seahawks’ Richard Sherman is a shutdown cornerback

May 22, 2014, 9:33 PM | Updated: 9:42 pm
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LISTEN: Patrick Peterson, Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback

“I don’t want to get into a debate as far as getting the stats that he has and things like that,” Patrick Peterson said. “Obviously his job is much easier than mine.”

The Arizona Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson and the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman are both looked at as two of the NFL’s best cornerbacks.

But as a guest of Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday, the Cardinal wasn’t bashful about explaining why he thinks he’s a superior player to his division rival and worthy of a greater salary, as he said last week.

Of course, Sherman didn’t see it that way.

Part of the reason Peterson believes that is over the last three seasons not only is he asked to be a shutdown cornerback, but he’s also been the Cardinals’ primary punt returner and even dabbled on the offensive side of the ball. Sherman plays cornerback very well, but it’s all he’s been asked to do.

But it’s not just his ability to do more that has Peterson, a three-time Pro Bowler who went as a rookie for his punt returning, thinking he’s a better player. It’s his ability to cover receivers, too.

“If you look at their scheme and you look at our scheme, he’s a Cover-3 corner, period,” Peterson said. “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 if you put him in our system, I don’t think he’d be able to last, honestly, because I’m asked to do much more than he is.”

Those are strong words from Peterson, especially given that Sherman is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he intercepted eight passes — his second straight year with that many picks — and has been a first-team All-Pro in each of the last two years.

But what Peterson is saying is he’s asked to follow and shut down the opponent’s top receiver wherever he lines up, while Sherman is merely assigned to a part of the field, regardless of which wideout lines up opposite him.

According to ProFootballFocus.com, Sherman graded out as the sixth-best cornerback in the NFL last season, while Peterson ranked 16th.

Player, Team PFF Rank Targets Catches Comp. % Yds. Avg. YAC Long TD INT PD Opp. QB Rating
Richard Sherman, SEA 6 58 30 51.7 421 14.0 112 73 2 8 5 47.3
Patrick Peterson, ARZ 16 90 49 54.4 688 14.0 284 72 7 3 6 91.3
Joe Haden, CLE 18 99 55 55.6 557 10.1 169 41 6 4 12 75.2

Peterson knows the statistics and understands why people think highly of Sherman, especially when they see his interceptions total; he just doesn’t think that tells the entire story.

“That’s all fine and dandy, but he’s only covering space, he’s not really covering a guy,” he said. “At the end of the day he has great stats, he has great playmaking ability — I’m 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.”

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