New Bucs cornerback Richard Sherman is one of the best in the league at his position … in his prime.
Sherman signed a one-year deal worth $1.35 million plus incentives with Tampa Bay to help the Bucs’ depleted secondary. The five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro was selected as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2010s All-Decade Team, alongside new Tampa Bay teammates Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski and Ndamukong Suh.
But the question is – is Sherman still in his prime at age 33?
Sherman suffered an Achilles injury in 2017 that ended his career in Seattle. Last year, he missed most of the season in San Francisco due to a calf injury after a tremendous season in 2019.
In fact, the veteran cornerback posted an 86.5 overall Pro Football Focus grade and an 88.0 coverage grade during his three years with the 49ers. Sherman was PFF’s highest-graded cornerback in 2019 when he had three interceptions, including a pick-six off Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay in Week 1.
His calf injury limited Sherman to just five games where he recorded one interception and 18 tackles.
CB Richard Sherman and Chiefs TE Travis Kelce – Photo by: USA Today
So is Sherman still fast enough to play quality football as he enters his 11th year in the NFL?
“Enough to get the job done,” Sherman said on his podcast on PFF. “When you play corner, whether you run 4.7 or you run 4.1, if you don’t play the guy right, if you don’t have the right technique, if you guess – you can beat by 10 yards on a go route at any point in time. The same can be said if you run a 4.5. Xavien Howard had 10 picks last year to lead the league and I’m pretty sure he’s not a 4.3 guy. People overemphasize that. It’s overrated in this league.
“Speed is important, but everybody is fast enough to play if you are out there and you’re a veteran and you’ve made it through 4-5 years in this league. You’re fast enough to get the job done. The rest comes down to anticipation and understanding body positioning, and I think I do that as well as anyone.”
Sherman was listed at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds on the Bucs’ press release announcing his signing. He’s been listed at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds on other rosters on the Internet, and Sherman indicates he’s thinner now. So he might be closer to 195.
“Obviously I lost a lot of weight – a lot of bad weight,” Sherman said. “You don’t realize that you get that weight. They say, ’Oh when you turn 30 it’s much harder to get that weight off.’ I can attest – it’s very difficult. But thankfully I was able to get it off, and I feel a lot better, a lot springier, a lot faster, a lot better conditioned and to take the wear and tear of a season. So we’ll see how it goes.”
Sherman has a lot of respect for Todd Bowles’ defense and the speed that the unit plays with.
“They have a great front seven and they play really fast, and I’m looking forward to seeing how I fit in that,” Sherman said.
The Bucs are looking forward to seeing how fast Sherman can play, too.
Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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