Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 10/20/14
Any Cornerback can call himself a “lockdown” corner, but only few are willing to shadow the best Wide Receiver on the opposing team week in and week out, and actually have a better game than that opposing receiver. In the last four years or so, we saw some of the most interesting performances in recent memory. All-everything CB for the Green Bay Packers Charles Woodson, and Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets had two very memorable seasons. Woodson ended up winning DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year), while several others would argue that Revis actually had a better season, recording 54 tackles, 6 INTs and an incredible 31 passes defensed. This season, Charles “Peanut” Tillman & Tim Jennings were dangerous on the outside in Chicago. Doomed by injuries and an average offense, Da Bears’ cornerback tandem stopped looking so elite, as teams found other ways to expose their defense, as their Safeties have average coverage skills and the anchor to their defense, Brian Urlacher missed countless games. The best cornerback this season was unanimously Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks. Sherman had a year reminiscent to the one Revis had in 2009, registering 61 tackles, 3 Forced Fumbles, 7 INTs and a sack. This led to the question: who had a better season, Revis in 09 or Sherman in 2012? Below is a list of notable Receivers both Revis and Sherman faced and shadowed for the majority of the game, as well as the numbers the Receivers put up.                                  Notable Opponents Revis vs. Sherman Opponent    Catches/Targets Yards TDs Opponent Importance Andre Johnson:  4/7 35 yds 0 TDs Larry Fitzgerald: 4/11 63 yds 0 TDs1/11 2 yds 0 TDs  Randy Moss: 4/7 24 yds 0 TDs5/11 34 yds 1 TD Dez Bryant: 3/7 17 yds 0 TDs  Marques Colston: 2/6 33 yds 0 TDs Jordy Nelson: 2/3 19 yds 0 TDs  Terrell Owens: 3/8 13 yds 0 TDs3/9 31 yds 0 TDs Calvin Johnson: 3/8 46 yds 0 TDs  Steve Smith: 1/6 5 yds 0 TDs Steve Johnson: 8/12 115 yds 1 TD  Roddy White: 4/10 33 yds 0 TDs Brandon Marshall: 10/14 165 yds 0 TDs  Reggie Wayne: 3/7 33 yds 0 TDs Randy Moss: 1/4 14 yds 0 TDs3/6 44 yds 0 TDs  Chad Johnson: 0/0 0 yds 0 Tds Steve Smith: 4/13 40 yds 0 TDs   A key component to Darrelle Revis’s game is his ability to be effective on both sides of the field, as well as at nickel against shorter Wide Receivers such as Wes Welker, which can be challenging. Richard Sherman usually lines up on the left side of the defense, while Brandon Browner is on the opposite side. But this season, Richard Sherman has been attempting to prove all doubters wrong, as he followed Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson and Calvin Johnson where ever they lined up on the field. Stevie Johnson had a good game against Sherman and the Seahawks defense, due in large part to Sherman’s development and learning process of lining up at Nickel. Johnson was in the slot on several occasions, including the post-corner he beat Richard Sherman on and scored his lone touchdown of the game. I’m sure Sherman’s performance against Johnson did not discourage him, because with his unorthodox style at Wide Receiver, Johnson has also been a nuisance to Darrelle Revis, as they see each other twice a year. Somehow, Johnson finds a way to always get open against the best cornerbacks in the league. A trait both corners share is their hands. Revis’s hands come to a surprise, as he can find a way to intercept back-shoulder fades, which happens to be arguably the most difficult route for a corner to defend. Richard Sherman’s hands might not come to a surprise to most people, as he was a Wide Receiver for the most part, then moved to Corner late in his college career at Stanford. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) One does not have to be the fastest to be an elite cornerback in the NFL. Richard Sherman is proof of that, as he has what would be considered average speed for a cornerback. He clocked in at a 4.54 40 time at the 2011 NFL combine. Standing at 6’3” and having fluidity in the hips is what has worked to Sherman’s advantage to make up for the lack of speed that he sees every week with all the speedy Wide Receivers in the NFL. As Sherman has the height advantage (Revis stands at 5’11”) Revis does have the speed advantage, if that means anything. Revis ran a 4.38 at the combine. But after tearing his ACL this season, we can expect Revis to use his veteran knowledge of the game and not necessarily his speed next season when he is back on the field. I am sure Revis will come back as good as he has always been, but unless he has Adrian Peterson’s physician, the loss of speed might become apparent in the open field chasing a Running Back down or any other similar acts in 2013. via blogs.mirror.co.uk While Sherman has recorded more tackles and one more interception than Revis in 2009, I think it is safe to say that Revis still had a better campaign than the one Sherman is having right now. The competition that the two faced is arguable, but I’d say the edge goes to Revis in terms of difficulty in opponents, and yet he still had eight more passes defensed than Sherman. Sherman can be intimidating for a Wide Receiver with his huge stature, similar to how Nnamdi Asomugha used to intimidate opponents, but that isn’t the case anymore. Teams used to think they can take advantage of Revis, primarily because most WRs are 6’2” and taller today. Many have tried, and many have failed, which gave light to the famous term “Revis Island,” a slew of Wide Receivers who have tried to put up numbers, but failed and are basically stranded on the island until they prove otherwise, which is highly unlikely. There are several good cornerbacks in the NFL, and more young guys emerging. Chris Harris of the Denver Broncos, Janoris Jenkins of the St. Louis Rams and Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns are earning recognition in the NFL at a rapid pace. But as of now, Revis is still the best cornerback in the NFL, and Richard Sherman has arguably earned the spot for 2nd best, eclipsing guys like Johnathan Joseph of the Houston Texans, Brandon Flowers of the Kansas City Chiefs and Brandon Carr of the Dallas Cowboys. No knock on any of those guys’ game, but Richard Sherman is something special to watch out there. And it will be interesting next season when Darrelle Revis comes back healthy, and comparing the play of the two young Locksmiths while they are both active in the league. -Johnson
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