Richard Sherman walked onto the same stage inside the Virginia Mason Athletic Center auditorium where last week he made waves across the NFL by calling the league “hypocritical.”
This time he didn’t have a cardboard cut-out of Doug Baldwin with him.
“Apparently, someone kidnapped him, though,” Sherman said of the cardboard version of the Seahawks wide receiver. “We haven’t seen him after that. We were going to put out a search warrant for him, but you know how that goes …”
He didn’t have his good friend Baldwin, the real version, with him Wednesday, either. It was just Sherman with his long braided hair flowing from beneath his Seahawks beanie behind a podium as usual for his weekly, between-games press conference that’s been the routine since the start of last season.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“Decided I was going to be boring this time,” Sherman joked, six days after his two-interception game at San Francisco and four days before the Seahawks (8-4) play their next biggie, at Philadelphia (9-3).
Yet he was insightful, as usual.
Sherman said he heard from many fellow players around the league after last week’s skit in which he made multiple points that the NFL was two-faced.
“I did. I got a lot of positive feedback,” the All-Pro cornerback said, his eyes widening. “Any time you talk about the hypocrisy of the league, players are going to agree with you.”
Sherman said “everyone wanted me to say something about (commissioner Roger) Goodell. But it’s like …” Sherman rolled his eyes, “what don’t you say about Goodell,”
For all the news he makes with what he says, what he does on the field is worth a line or three, too. Sherman’s two interceptions last week give him 23 picks in his career. That’s the most over the first four years of any NFL career since Kenny Easley had 24 from 1980-84. The league record for most interceptions through a player’s first four seasons is 25, shared by Oakland’s Lester Hayes (1977-80) and Dallas’ Everson Walls (1981-84)
As for Sunday’s game at the Eagles, go-go coach Chip Kelly has Philadelphia running more plays than any other NFL team. That’s nothing new for Sherman and the Seahawks’ defense. They’ve gone against Peyton Manning’s hurry-up schemes with Denver, Aaron Rodgers’ with Green Bay and Tom Brady’s with New England numerous times the last few seasons.
Sherman made the point he thinks defenses get hurt by offenses like the Eagles’ when defenders try to get exotic and change calls with extensive communication between plays. When asked if the way Seattle often keeps its defensive schemes basic and doesn’t change from play to play benefits the Seahawks in games like Sunday’s, Sherman smiled knowingly.
He wagged his index finger and said, “You may be on to something there.”
That’s another way the return of middle linebacker Bobby Wagner to the defense has been huge for Seattle these last two games. When he was out five games with a torn ligament and broken bone in his right foot, Seahawks defenders were often running around trying to talk to each other and pointing every which way just as opponents were snapping the ball, and Seattle had to use outside linebacker K.J. Wright and undrafted rookie Brock Coyle at middle linebacker.
Wagner’s return restored communication, continuity and understanding — not to mention his speed and reliable tackling — is a large key to Seattle slowing down 1,018-yard running back LeSean McCoy, explosive receiver Jeremy Maclin and Philadelphia.
Sherman knows how valuable Wagner is to the Seahawks’ season.
“Hopefully this will be the year Bobby Wagner gets his Pro Bowl nod,” Sherman said.
The All-Pro cornerback then turned his head to address all the cameras directly. He held his palms out as if to say what gives.
“Bob-by Wag-ner. Pro Bowl,” Sherman said in a teaching cadence. “Lot of tackles.”
The Wednesday injury list was the shortest it’s been for a month. Only three players did not practice: C Max Unger, who will remain out until at least next week with a high-ankle sprain and twisted knee; TE Cooper Helfet, who may try to practice Thursday or Friday following a sprained ankle; and RB Marshawn Lynch (back), who missed the mid-week practice for the fourth consecutive week. … Jeremy Lane was limited by his gluteus injury but Carroll said the nickel defensive back may be able to play Sunday. … The Seahawks didn’t sign a player, as had been expected by now. They still have a spot open on the 53-man roster following the placement of rookie LB Kevin Pierre-Louis on injured reserve Friday.