Richard Sherman can boast all he wants, but he’s nowhere near the player Darrelle Revis is.
No NFL offseason would be complete without a little unprovoked trash talk to rekindle a debate likely to fracture friendships, end marriages and perhaps even spark a bar-room donnybrook some place where people have no lives.
Antonio Cromartie, professional cornerback and amateur s— stirrer, started the fun on Tuesday by lighting Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on fire (not literally, of course) with a verbal salvo that made smack talkers everywhere smile.
Cromartie stood by his man, Darrelle Revis, while simultaneously torching Sherman, an impressive feat that deserved a round of applause. Cromartie made it clear that his Jets’ partner in crime is unquestionably the top cornerback in a league where they play for pay.
Cromartie’s rationale reduced to simplest terms: Revis tests himself against an opponent’s most lethal receiving threat 16 times each season. Sherman hangs out on one side of the field, happily takes on scrubs that come his way (see: Packers’ WR Jarrett Boykin in the 2014 season opener) and then races to the nearest camera or social media platform to extol his greatness.
Some might view it as a sad case of cornerback-on-cornerback crime, but Cromartie (or is it Yoda?) knows of what he speaks. The sentiment in league circles is apparent: Comparing Revis to Sherman is downright silly.
“Revis (is better),” one veteran front office executive said Wednesday. “Not even close.”
Delusional, homerific Seahawks fans aside, those who understand football know the challenges of tracking a top receiver all across the field each week. Revis has been tested in ways that Sherman can only imagine.
Sherman is closer to former Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha in his prime, a lock-down defender on only one side of the field. Some believed that Asomugha was better than Revis at one point before he was exposed when the Eagles attempted to move him all over the field in 2011.
Sherman, a three-time first-time All-Pro, is among the best at his position, but it’s much easier to look good when you’re playing alongside two safeties with a collective seven Pro Bowls and six All-Pro honors to help you out during your four-year career. It’s also simpler honing in on the same passing angles each week.
A grand total of zero safeties have made Pro Bowl or All-Pro teams while playing with Revis.
“Unlike Revis, Patrick Peterson or Joe Haden – who can all play in any scheme — Sherman is a scheme-specific corner,” the executive said.
Revis, a six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro, didn’t pour kerosene on a perfectly entertaining discussion during a time on the NFL calendar that includes nothing of actual importance (unless you “unintentionally” deflated footballs, of course).
“That’s Cro’s opinion,” Revis said three times with a straight face.
Darrelle Revis – unlike Richard Sherman – covers the opposing team’s best WR week after week.
It’s also Revis’ opinion – as it should be – but he wouldn’t go there.
“He’s a great player,” Revis said of Sherman. “He has the size. He has the speed. He makes plays. He’s one of the top corners in the league.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but surely it’s more challenging to track a player across the field than be confined to one side, right?
“Everybody’s got different schemes,” Revis said. “Every team has different game plans.”
Revis is the best true shutdown cornerback since Deion Sanders, a human eraser that impacts the game like nobody else in the league.
When he gave up a 45-yard catch-and-run touchdown to Packers wideout Jordy Nelson in Week 13, you had to rewind the tape two or three times to make sure No. 24 actually got beat. It was weird.
Sherman’s unnecessary (and foolish) taunting of Revis from the sideline after the then-Patriots cornerback was picked by a referee in the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown in the third quarter of the Super Bowl grabbed headlines. The real headline: That was the only reception Revis allowed in the biggest game of his life.
“I’ve been covering guys my whole career,” Revis said. “You followed my career. Everybody here has followed my career. Everybody here knows what I do. I do my job.”
Sherman, a fine player, injected Revis into the conversation in 2013 that set off an entertaining Twitter feud between the two cornerbacks.
“Women lie, men lie, numbers don’t lie,” the Seahawks’ Pro Bowler tweeted at the time.
The eyes don’t lie, either.
Sorry, Shermanator. There’s no comparison.
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