Tag Archives: Russell Wilson

WTF:Bad Play Call Dooms Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX

2 Feb

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

New England's Vince Butler makes the game-saving interception for the Patriots in their 28-24 win over Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX.

New England’s Malcolm Butler makes the game-saving interception for the Patriots in their 28-24 win over Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX.

I have been an observer of pro football since I was six-year-old kid growing up in Baltimore back in 1968 and I like to say that I’ve seen it all.

But the minute you start thinking that something else happens to boggle your mind and make you say, “Huh?”

With under 30 seconds left in Super Bowl XLIX, the Seattle Seahawks had the football at the New England Patriots one-yard line on second down after a four-yard run by Marshawn Lynch. Two plays earlier, an improbable juggling catch by wide receiver Jermaine Kearse put the Seahawks at the Patriots five-yard line.

With the score 28-24, most of America is expecting another run by Lynch to put the game away for Seattle.

Instead the unthinkable, the unfathomable happens.  Russell Wilson passes the ball on a slant to Ricardo Lockette, but Patriots rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler jumped the route and made the game-ending interception. Game over, the Patriots win their fourth Super Bowl in an unforgettable football game.

“The last play we had a formation where we could throw it on them,” Wilson said after the game. “Lockette was coming underneath and the guy made a great play. That’s what it really comes down to—the guy just made a great play.”

The Patriots are the Super Bowl Champions and looking forward to their parade in Boston while Seattle fans at home and at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. were no doubt uttering the phrase, “What the f…..?!”

Let me get this straight, you have one of the league’s most powerful running backs, you’re one yard from pay dirt with one timeout left and you call a risky pass in that situation?

It was a dumb call.

“There’s really nobody to blame, but me and I told them that clearly,” said Seattle head coach Pete Carroll.  “A very, very hard lesson. I hate to learn the hard way, but there’s no other way to look at it right now.”

Granted, it wasn’t the only thing that beat the Seahawks. You have to take your hat off to Brady and the Patriots for overcoming a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit against the league’s best defense. The Seahawks offense didn’t take advantage of chances to increase their lead and let the Pats hang around.

All that said, you don’t pass at the one-yard line with one time out when you have Lynch, who gained 102 yards on 24 carries and was averaging 4.1 yards running through the Patriots defense. Carroll tried to rationalize the call when he spoke with reporters after the game.

“It’s just because of the matchups,” Carroll said. “At this time, it seems like overthinking, but they have goal line guys on. We have three wide receivers, a tight end and one back in that situation; they’ve got extra guys at the line of scrimmage. So we don’t want to waste a running play at that.

“Yeah, I just told them ‘Make sure, let’s throw it here.’ We’ll run on third or fourth down.’ “

Third down, along with their second straight Super Bowl victory never came for the Seahawks, who will be second-guessed ad infinitum all winter until minicamp and organized team activities in the spring. In the lore of NFL history, the fans will talk about this game for a long time.

But when you get beyond what was an extraordinary moment in an exciting, well-played Super Bowl, there were some other moments that determined the outcome of this game.

As much as folks may not like Brady, he made the big plays when it counted. He rallied the Patriots from a 10-point deficit with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns passes. For the game, he was 37-of-50 for 328 yards and four touchdowns.  It was not surprising that he was named the game’s most valuable player.

“(Brady) is so calm and collected. He’s the best,” said Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola. “He gets everybody to play at a higher level. He’s our leader emotionally. … He’s the best quarterback we all love playing for him.”

After taking a 10-point lead in the third quarter, the Seahawks offense failed to extend their advantage. On their third possession of the third quarter, the Seahawks had a third and two at the New England 47.  Wilson found Kearse streaking down the sideline.

Kearse had the ball in his hands but dropped it deep in New England territory. Seattle was forced to punt.  The Seahawks went three and out on their next two possessions before that fateful final drive.

“They busted their tales and did everything they needed to do to put us in position to win and unfortunately, it didn’t work out,” Carroll said. “(Seahawks) were on the precipice of winning another championship and unfortunately the play goes the other way.”

 

 

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Wilson Overcomes Early Struggles With Fantastic Finish!

19 Jan

“If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too. … If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds’ worth of distance run…Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, and which is more, You’ll be a man, my son.“-Rudyard Kipling.

By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Russell Wilson launching his game-winning overtime touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse to send the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl. Photo courtesy of the StarTribune.com

Russell Wilson launching his game-winning overtime touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse to send the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl. Photo courtesy of the StarTribune.com

As the confetti flew all over Seattle’s Century Link Stadium, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had tears of joy streaming down his eyes as his teammates gathered around him. His touchdown pass in overtime had just put his team in the Super Bowl.

Thanks to his game-winning 35-yard touchdown pass to teammate Jermaine Kearse, Wilson pulled off the improbable mother of all comebacks in the NFC Championship with a 28-22 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers.

“(Wilson) did a remarkable job with the finish of this game,” said Seattle head coach Pete Carroll. “It took so long for the good stuff to happen. It was a long, hard day for him. We were throwing for nothing. I think 10 yards at halftime. It was a crazy game. But with the game on the line, this is what (Wilson) has totally believed would happen and he never thought that it wouldn’t.”

Seattle will head to Super Bowl XLIX take on the New England Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Pats punched their ticket to the Super Bowl with an easy 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game.

Wilson’s happy tears were perilously close to being somber and sad ones. He had been sacked five times, threw four interceptions including what looked to be a game-clinching pick for the Packers with 5:13 left. But out of the ashes of what was a terrible game for him, Wilson found a way to win.

“It was just staying the course, trusting the protection, trusting the routes, trusting the timing, trusting the preparation, trusting the film study…That’s where I went to, going back to the fundamentals of the game,” Wilson said. “The ball didn’t bounce our way the whole game but it bounced our way at the right time.”

Wilson fought through his mistakes and was great he needed to be, especially in the last 3:52 of regulation and in overtime. What was most impressive was the fearlessness Wilson displayed down the stretch. He wasn’t afraid to make a mistake after four picks and he kept firing until he got it right.

“If we’re going to down, I’m going to go down swinging, that’s for sure,” Wilson said.

Wide receiver Doug Baldwin said Wilson’s performance reflected the heart and resilience of the team.

“Indicative of this team,” Baldwin said. “He never counted himself out. We never counted him out. We always believe in the guy in the next to us no matter what the situation is, no matter what he’s going through. He had a rough first half, we all did.

“But when you make a throw like that in the fourth quarter and when Jermaine (Kearse) comes through, I think he had two drops in the first half and I told him don’t worry about that, you’re going to have your opportunity and he comes and makes that crucial touchdown catch. That’s what this team is made of.”

Not only did Wilson believe in himself, he still had faith in his teammates, especially Kearse. Two of Wilson’s interceptions came off catchable balls that caromed off Kearse’s hands. Wilson never wavered in his belief that Kearse would come through with a big catch.

“Because I’ve seen him make so many plays before,” Wilson said. “That’s the first thing I told Kearse after that last interception. We’re going to win this game and I’m going to keep coming back to you, we’re going to find a way to win the game. …When I found a chance to hit Jermaine one-on-one on that deep post, we went for it and we hit it.”

During those times that Wilson and the offense struggled, it was the defense that kept the Packers from turning the game into a rout in the first half. Green Bay had the ball inside the red zone four times in the first quarter and came away with just one touchdown and three field goals to take a 16-0 lead.

The special teams came up with a pair of huge big plays for the Seahawks and put them in position to win the game. Seattle got their first score of the game in the third quarter on a fake field goal. Punter Jon Ryan threw a 19-yard to pass to tight end turned offensive tackle Garry Gilliam.

After a Wilson touchdown one-yard brought the Seahawks to within 19-14, reserve wide receiver Chris Matthews recovered Steve Hauschka’s onside kick that led to a spectacular 24-yard run by Marshawn Lynch that gave Seattle its first lead of the game.

Speaking of “Beast Mode,” Lynch gained 157 yards on 25 carries and that spectacular run for his touchdown.

After Lynch’s score, Wilson made another improbable play on the two-point conversion when he sprinted to his right and floated a ball up for grabs to his left that was miraculously caught by tight end Luke Willson to give Seattle a 22-19 lead.

That play was important because Green Bay would tie the game and send it into overtime on a 48-yard field by Mason Crosby.

Once the Seahawks won the coin toss, Wilson knew he had the Packers right where he wanted them.

“I told (offensive coordinator) Darrell Bevell on the sideline after that coin toss, I’m going to hit Kearse with a touchdown on a check,” Wilson said.

Seahawks Defense, Russell Wilson Too Much For Eagles

8 Dec

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Rough day for Mark Sanchez and the Eagles offense at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks.  Photo by Webster Riddick

Rough day for Mark Sanchez and the Eagles offense at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. Photo by Webster Riddick

PHILADELPHIA—To break down the Eagles 24-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, you don’t have to be some over-hyped ex-player turned broadcaster or someone well-versed in the Xs and Os.

The Seahawks were simply better than the Eagles, especially on defense. Looking at the numbers, Seattle’s famed “Legion of Boom” just shut down the Eagles fast-paced offense that came into the game averaging over 400 yards per game.

Seattle held the Birds potent offense to just 139 yards. The Eagles were held to under 100 yards rushing (57) and passing (82). The Seahawks held the Birds offense to just nine first downs and limited them to 45 plays. They also sacked quarterback Mark Sanchez three times and forced two turnovers.
“You can hurry up all you want but if you cannot complete passes, then it’s just quick three and outs,” said Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. “We had a lot of guys play fantastic football today.”

The Eagles managed to sustain just one scoring drive over 50 yards. That drive ended with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to tight end Zach Ertz to cut the Seahawks lead to 17-14 early in the third quarter.

“We tried to establish the run. Thought we could do a better job up front,” said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. “Obviously, we didn’t get stated the way wanted to get it started and they did a good job. ..We got them with (Zach) Ertz on one play, but besides that, there wasn’t a lot to write home about.”

The Birds other scoring drive was set up by a fumbled snap by Seahawks punter Jon Ryan early in the first quarter that was returned by Ertz to the Seattle 14.

Six plays later, the Eagles got a one-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Jeremy Maclin for a 7-0 lead—the Birds first and only lead of the game.

The turning point of the game came in the third quarter on the Eagles first play from scrimmage in the second half when running back LeSean McCoy’s fumble was recovered by safety Earl Thomas at the Birds 19. Two plays later, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson hit running back Marshawn Lynch with a 15-yard touchdown pass to give them a 17-7 lead.

“Obviously, it was terrible timing. That was my fault,” said McCoy, who became the Eagles all-time leading rusher. “I should have been more aware of ball security. The situation of the game, trying to come back and to get a turnover that fast, that was really bad.”

On offense, Wilson outfoxed the tough Eagles defense with both his feet and his arm. Scrambling around the pocket like a modern-day Fran Tarkenton, Wilson kept the Eagles defense off balance, completing 22-of-37 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns.

Wilson also had 10 carries for 48 yards including a 26-yard touchdown run for the Seahawks first score of the game.

“There were a couple times when we had missed an assignment and that hurt us. You can’t do that against a good quarterback,” said Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin. “Russell Wilson did a really nice job. He made some plays tonight.”

After the Eagles cut the Seattle lead to 17-14 on Sanchez’s TD pass to Ertz, Wilson led the Seahawks on a five play, 91-yard drive that was aided by a 44-yard pass interference call on Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher against Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin.

Two plays later, Wilson hit Baldwin for a 23-yard touchdown pass to put Seattle up by 10. The Eagles would get no closer.

Seattle’s Defense Reigns Supreme in Super Bowl XLVIII

3 Feb

Today’s Super Bowl Report is powered by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society

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By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Seattle's Kam Chancellor talks to reporters after Seahawks win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Photo by Chris Murray

Seattle’s Kam Chancellor talks to reporters after Seahawks win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Photo by Chris Murray

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—Right from the very first play, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos couldn’t get out of the way of themselves and they definitely couldn’t navigate their way through a relentless, tenacious Seattle Seahawks defense.

By the time the game reached the third quarter, the Broncos found themselves in a deep hole from which they never recovered. To be quite frank, Denver did nothing to make this a competitive game.

“We needed to play really well to win and we didn’t come close to that,” said Manning, who was 34-of-49 for 280 yards with one touchdowns and two interceptions. “We weren’t sharp offensively from the get-go.”

Led by an aggressive defense that completely dominated the NFL’s No. 1 offense, Seattle surged to its first NFL Championship in franchise history with a 43-8 blowout win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII in front of 82,529 fans at MetLife Stadium.

“It was a fantastic night on defense,” said Seahawks head coach Peter Carroll. “It’s still hard to get to (Manning), but we got to him in key situations and made the ball come our way.”

Seattle’s No. 1 ranked defense simply unhinged and dismantled the league’s most explosive offense by just punching them in the mouth early and often. In the first half, the Seahawks defense intercepted Manning twice-including a pick-six for a touchdown by linebacker and Super Bowl XLVIII MVP Malcolm Smith.

“We had excellent pressure, somebody got their arm on the ball, I didn’t see who,” Smith said. “I guess the ball came out high and I was just fortunate that the running back was kind of sitting there waiting on it. I just attacked it and took off.”

Smith was the guy who got the game-winning interception off a tip ball by Richard Sherman in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.

“I’ve always imagined myself making great plays,” Smith said. “Never thought about being the MVP.”

The Seahawks led 22-0 at half time and they held the Broncos to just 123 yards of total offense.  For the game, Seattle held Denver offense to 306 total yards. They forced four turnovers.

Russell Wilson managed the Seahawks offense well. He was an efficient 18-of-25 for 206 yards while tossing a pair of touchdown passes. The former Wisconsin star became the second African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

“To be the second African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl, that’s history, man,” Wilson said. “It’s something special. It’s real. There are some many guys before me that have tried to change the game and done a great job at it. God is so good. It doesn’t matter if you’re Black, white, Latino, Asian or 5-foot-11…It’s the heart that you have.”

The Seattle special teams also got in the act as wide receiver Percy Harvin, who missed most of the season with various injuries, took the second half kickoff 87-yards for a touchdown to give Seattle a 29-0 lead.

“W e knew it was a great chance we would catch them off guard,” Harvin said. “Those guys cleared out the right side of the field. There were two defenders over there. I just took the gap and did all I could.”

A pair of touchdown passes by Wilson to Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin rounded out the scoring for Seattle. Denver got its lone score on a TD pass from Manning Demaryius Thomas late in the third quarter.

Place kicker Steven Hauschka kicked two field goals and his kickoffs into the end zone kept the Broncos pinned in their own territory.

The day started going South for the Broncos from their first play when center Manny Ramirez snapped the ball over Manning’s head. The ball was kicked out of the end zone by running back Knowshon Moreno.

“I thought I heard (Manning’s voice),” Ramirez said. “Supposedly, we were almost three seconds late on the snap. Unfortunately, things happen.”

In 12 seconds the Seahawks had a 2-0 lead. It was the fastest score in Super Bowl history.

After the free kick, Seattle drove the ball from its own 36 to the Denver nine but settled for a 33-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka to increase the lead to 5-0.

On the Seahawks next possession, after the defense held Denver to a three and out, they drove from their own 28 to the Denver 14, but settled for a 31-yard field goal by Hauschka to give them an 8-0 lead.

When the Broncos offense got back on the field for their next possession late in the first quarter, things started getting progressively worse.  On third and seven from the Broncos 23, Manning was picked off by Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor at the Denver 37.

Seven plays later, Seattle scored the game’s first touchdown on a one-yard plunge by running back Marshawn Lynch to up the margin to 15-0 with 12 minutes left in the half.

If you want to point to when the competitive portion of this game ended. It was the 69-yard interception return for a touchdown by Smith that gave the Seahawks an insurmountable 22-0 lead.

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The Other Quarterback in Super Bowl XLVIII: Don’t Sleep on Russell Wilson

1 Feb

Today’s  Super Bowl XLVIII Report is powered by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society 

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By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson fields questions from reporters and a few fans during Super Bowl Media Day. Photo by Chris Murray.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson fields questions from reporters and a few fans during Super Bowl Media Day. Photo by Chris Murray.

JERSEY CITY, N.J.—Lost in all the back and forth trash talk about ducks between precocious Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is the other quarterback in Super Bowl XLVIII, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

In the midst of all the noise of Sherman comparing Manning’s passes to ducks along with the rancor of Marshawn Lynch’s stubborn refusal to play nice with the media all week, Wilson has been as quiet and unassuming in his preparation for Sunday’s game.

“I think the thing that I’ve been able to do is go through my check list and understand what I need to look at all the third down pressures, all the red zone pressures, all the two-minute situations, four-minute situations, backed up situations and really understanding those moments and making sure I’m prepared for those things,” Wilson said.

“When it happens in the game, I’ve already visualized it, I’ve already seen and I’ve already practiced it over and over inside my head.”

Conventional wisdom coming into Sunday’s game says if you stop Lynch in the running game, then you’ll force the Seahawks passing game with their receivers to beat you. Wilson said that’s an opportunity he relishes.

“Most teams try to throw the box at us because of Marshawn and our offensive line and what they can do,” Wilson said. “I look forward to do that if that’s the case.”

Late in the regular season and throughout the playoffs, Wilson wasn’t necessarily putting up the numbers that would have stat geeks jumping for joy. In wins over the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers, Wilson never panicked when he was struggling and always made that one big play to put his team over top.

“Even when the numbers weren’t there, which everybody focused on, we were still winning and he was doing his part to win the game,” said head coach Pete Carroll.  “He didn’t force things he stayed with the game plan, he stayed with the formula we wanted to win with and managed the game in great fashion in the championship game.”

Wilson is more than just a game manager if you look at the numbers. During the regular season, he completed 63 percent of his passes, threw for 3,357 yards with 26 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.

In the win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game, Wilson made plays to get his team going. With Seattle down 10-0 in the second quarter and the offense struggling, Wilson did a Fran Tarkenton-like scramble around the pocket for what seemed to be an eternity and found Doug Baldwin for a huge 51-yard gain that got the Seahawks offense going and eventually led to field goal.

“I think (Wilson’s running) is a great advantage for us because not only can he make plays running the ball, but when he gets forced out of the pocket, he looks down field to makes plays in the passing game and that gives us huge opportunities as receivers to make plays down the field and get open,” Baldwin said.

Early in the fourth quarter, with his team facing a fourth and seven from the 49ers 35, Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for the touchdown to put the Seahawks on top for good. For the game, Wilson was 16-of-25 for 215 yards and that one touchdown.

“(Wilson) is an incredible competitor in every way. In preparation, in game day, he’s the epitome of what you want in your competitor. He’s got tremendous work habits,” Carroll said.

“He’s got a general all-around savvy that allows him to make great decisions under pressure. He’s extremely confident too, so no matter what is going on, he’s not going to waver in his focus and ability to handle things.”

If fans and the sports media are underestimating what Wilson can do in the passing game, the Broncos secondary won’t because of his ability to create plays with his feet.

“He extends plays,” said Denver safety Mike Adams. “If you have his receivers locked down, he can create something that’s what makes Russell Wilson unique. One thing he does do, he keeps his eyes down field and if he has to run, he going to run. We’ve got to contain that.”

With all the focus on Manning and the Broncos offense, Wilson said he’s ready for the challenge of matching throws with a legend.

“To compete against Peyton Manning is an honor and a privilege … It should be a great game,” Wilson said. “He’s been consistent on a regular basis and that’s where I want to be.”

The Champ Is Here: Bailey Finally Gets to Enjoy Super Bowl Spotlight After 15 Years

31 Jan

 

 

Today’s Super Bowl XLVIII Report is powered by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society 

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By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey fields questions from reporters during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day. Photo by Chris Murray.

Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey fields questions from reporters during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day. Photo by Chris Murray.

JERSEY CITY, NJ.—Most of the talk during the buildup to Super Bowl XLVIII has been about players and their lasting legacies in the game.

For a player like Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, it’s about solidifying an already outstanding legacy as one of the game’s great quarterbacks by taking two different teams to a Super Bowl win.

In the case of young players like Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman, it’s about establishing themselves and their team as one of best in the game in the here and now.

But let’s face some reality here, they’re a lot of great Hall of Famers who played in the NFL with distinction and have never come close to winning or even playing in a Super Bowl.

In the eyes of some football fans and observers in the age of sports talk radio and 24-hour cable sports networks a player not having that Super Bowl ring is that one thing that diminishes his greatness.

Considering that football is the ultimate team game, it’s a pretty silly notion.

“Championships define the greatness of teams. That’s the way it is,” said Tedy Bruschi, who won three Super Bowl rings as a linebacker with the New England Patriots. “I don’t need a Cris Carter to have a championship ring to know how great he is.”

The same could be said for the 15-year career of Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey, who will be playing in his first Super Bowl on Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Seattle Seahawks.

Bailey has done it all as a cornerback in this league and has done it longer than some of the guys who are in the Hall of Fame now. He’s a 12-time Pro Bowl selection and a five-time All-Pro selection, making the first-team three times. His career Pro Bowl selections are the most in NFL history by a defensive back.

Not many corners have lasted as long as Bailey and not been moved to safety. He is still playing the game and his position at a high level.

Going through a plethora of interviews during Super Bowl week, Bailey isn’t measuring his ring size or even thinking about what it would be like to win a championship. He’s more focused on trying to shut down Seattle’s passing game and helping his defense contain running back Marshawn Lynch.

“All I been thinking about is the things we got to clean up from yesterday,” said Bailey, who has 52 career interceptions. “We had a good practice. It’s never perfect. That’s really all I been thinking about. … I haven’t thought about what kind of ring or anything. I’m just worried about winning.”

Some of Bailey’s teammates, especially his colleagues in the Broncos secondary, want to win this game for him because he has been a leader and mentor to them. Safety Mike Adams, himself a 10-year veteran in the league, said the joy Bailey would experience, if Denver wins,  would be indescribable.

“I cannot imagine what he would be feeling because I know I would be feeling tears of joy and everything and I was in it for 10 years. [Bailey] has been in it for 15 years,” Adams said. “For him to get to this point and if he wins, that’s the ultimate. That’s what we play for.”

This season, Bailey played in just five regular-season games while playing through a foot injury that he suffered during the preseason. Though he was on the sideline, Bailey was coaching and advising his teammates during the course of games and in practice.

“He spent many games inactive, but he was always there,” said Denver head coach John Fox. “And in that defensive room, his guidance, his leadership was always there and that never wavered.”

While Bailey, who spent his first five years with the Washington Redskins, appreciates the encouragement of teammates, he said he’s just happy to be with a solid group of players, the best team he’s played on in his long career.

“I finally got with the right group of guys,” he said.

Bailey said whether his team wins on Sunday or not, he will not leave the game with any regrets.

“It’s been a journey to get here, but I don’t regret anything that’s happened in my career,” Bailey said. “I’m not worried about winning or losing right now. I’m just worried about going out and making sure we’re prepared to play and give ourselves a chance to win.

“If I feel like on (Sunday) that we’ve done enough to prepare and we don’t win, I’m cool with that because we gave it our best.”

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Student of the Game: Seattle’s Richard Sherman Says He’s the Best because of His Intellect

29 Jan

Today’s Report from Super Bowl 48 is fueled by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society

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Sherman says He Regrets Postgame Interview with Fox

By Chris Murray

For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

Richard Sherman addresses reports during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Photo by Chris Murray

Richard Sherman addresses reporters during Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Photo by Chris Murray

NEWARK,N.J.—Even if you thought Richard Sherman’s bombastic postgame interview with FOX’s Erin Andrews was unsportsmanlike, loud and the obnoxious immaturity of a 20-something athlete, he did give you something think about.

When he proclaimed himself the best cornerback in the NFL, you have to ask yourself is he lying?

In his three years with the Seahawks, Sherman has certainly put in the work to make that claim. The former Stanford star has 20-career interceptions including a league-leading eight in 2013. Sherman is a two-time All-Pro including the 2013 season.

Since his rookie season in 2011, Sherman’s interceptions are more than Tampa Bay’s Darelle Revis and Cleveland’s Joe Haden—the other two cornerbacks who also believe that they are the best in the game.

“We know that Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the league and we believe in that,” said Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson during Tuesday’s Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day at the Prudential Center. “In terms of what he does on a regular basis, he puts in the work. … He’s one of the best. He backs it up by his play, his actions and everything he does.”

The six-foot-three, 195-pound Sherman is more than a guy with tremendous athleticism with a penchant for talking trash. With all his physical ability to keep wide receivers from making big plays, Sherman is also a solid student of the game, a trait not often associated with African-American athletes.

“A lot of people do have that misconception that athletes don’t think the game through and that it doesn’t take a ton of intelligence to play this game because it’s such a brute sport because of guys running into each other,” said Sherman, who had a 3.99 grade-point average in the class room at Stanford. “It takes a lot of intelligence and quick thinking. You have to think on your toes, study the concepts and you have to be able to translate what you learn in the classroom onto the field and that takes a tremendous amount of talent.”

Perhaps the biggest edge that Sherman has as a cornerback was that he played in 37 games as a wide receiver and accumulated 81 receptions for 1,340 yards during his days at Stanford. He said his understanding of the receiver position has enabled him to play the cornerback position well.

“That’s given me a tremendous amount of insight just being able to understand route concepts, understand formations, tendencies and things that they like to do,” Sherman said. “It’s situational football. When receivers split outside the numbers, what they’re trying to do inside the numbers. It really helps, especially in the West Coast offense.”

Sherman also credits his coaches at Stanford-Vic Fangio, now the defensive coordinator with the 49ers and Derek Mason, former Stanford defensive coordinator and new Vanderbilt head coach for helping him to understand the Xs and Os of the game.

Denver wide receiver DeMaryius Thomas said he considers Sherman to be among the league’s best corners and is looking forward to going up against him.

“He’s a great player, I’ve watched him on the field and he’s smart,” said Thomas, who caught 92 passes for 1,340 yards and 14 touchdowns during the regular season. “He knows a lot that’s going on. I’m looking forward to a good game.”   

During the course of Super Bowl Media day interviews, Sherman was inevitably asked about the postgame interview and the things he said about San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, he admitted that it was something he wished he could take back.

 “Last week I felt like I was just attacking a man—attacking it and taking away from teammates,” Sherman said. “You never want to talk down to a man to build yourself up and things like that. So I regretted that and I regretted taking away from teammates. That’s the one thing that I wish I could do again.”

Sherman said the viscerally racist reaction to his post-NFC Championship on the social media site Twitter may have been a blessing in disguise in terms of generating a dialogue on race.

“I feel that anytime you can restart that conversation and you get people past that,” he said. “You get people on the other side of that conversation to be accepting and have no color lines.

“Understand that everybody ought to be judged for who they are as a person and what they do for the community instead of just how they look and their appearance, regardless men, women, child, whatever their religious beliefs are. People should be judged by their character and who they are and not by anything else.”

 

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