You football junkies will enjoy reading SB Nation's Seahawks blog, Field Gulls, this week. Danny Kelly and his team over there do a great job explaining the game and some of the concepts behind it. Even though they are the enemy, I encourage you to poke your head around there and see what they have cooking.
I talked with Danny about Sunday's Seahawks-Chiefs game and will be rolling out a few posts this week on our conversation. Today, we talk about Richard Sherman vs. the Chiefs.
Does Sherman stay on one side of the field or does he trail the best receiver? Should the Chiefs just plan on avoiding Sherman? Is Richard Sherman still playing like Richard Sherman this year?
"Sherman typically sticks to one side of the field," Danny told me. "In a few cases this year — namely against the Cowboys — he’s followed opposing receivers around, but Seattle tends to trust both of their cornerbacks enough that they don’t ask Sherman to mirror. It will be interesting to see what they do this week with the Chiefs and Dwayne Bowe.
"As for throwing in his direction, I wouldn’t say it’s folly to do so, but it’s certainly more difficult than throwing to the left side against either Byron Maxwell or Tharold Simon. Sherman just has such a strong command of route concepts and does such a great job of getting his head turned around at the right moment to intercept passes, that it’s a pretty dangerous proposition, relatively speaking.
"His interception numbers are down this year for a number of reasons — the pass rush hasn’t been as strong, the Seahawks have faced some of the cream of the crop in quarterbacks, and teams are being a lot more conservative his direction, but as Mike Clay pointed out today, offenses have targeted their right side a league-low 44 times against the Seahawks this year. Sherman still gets the respect he deserves from opposing QBs and coordinators."
Offenses have targeted their right outside WR a league-low 44 times against the Seahawks this year. That's Richard Sherman's side. #Respect— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) November 12, 2014
You can bet Andy Reid is going to scheme the shit out of his offense against this defense. It will be fun to see how Reid approaches this. It's all about matchups and the Chiefs make their receivers learn every receiver position on the field so that they can move players around and not get trapped in by a great corner like Richard Sherman. If Sherman plays on one side of the field and the Chiefs want to avoid him, they have their ways of making that happening.
"I’m dropping back and throwing the ball where it’s supposed to go," Chiefs QB Alex Smith said this week. "We’re not necessarily forcing the ball to anybody or shying away from anybody either. So really the play and situation, all that stuff is going to kind of dictate to where the ball goes."
The Chiefs have had their success with Dwayne Bowe lately, particularly the last four games. He makes his money on those comeback routes, back shoulder throws and slants. Against the physical Seattle secondary, I'm not sure how often that's going to work. I don't like the matchup with Bowe.
Where I do like the Chiefs (relatively speaking, because who really likes their offense against Seattle's defense) is in their short passing game. The Chiefs run a lot of plays that gets the ball into the hands of their playmakers near the line of scrimmage. A bubble screen to Travis Kelce, a quick out to De'Anthony Thomas or Jamaal Charles getting the ball in the flat and doing Jamaal Charles things. The Chiefs need to get the ball to their playmakers and hope they can make people miss.
I really don't know how the Chiefs are going to play the Seahawks which is the reason I'm so excited to see this game. Seeing how Andy Reid attacks certain defenses can tell you a lot about what he thinks of his team. This game should be no different.