Seahawks Insider Blog

Sherman on being clutch: 'I think you either have it or you don’t'

Here's what Richard Sherman had to say today:

(On the value of beating the Saints 34-7 the last time…) “In terms of seeding I think it helped. Obviously it gave us another win and it allowed us to be the number one seed, but otherwise I think it has no bearing on this game. It’s going to start 0-0, they’re going to know what to expect from our crowd, they’re going to know what to expect from us, and we’re going to know what to expect from them. It’s almost like a division game in that sense because we just seen each other and you understand what the game is going to be and what it’s going to come down to.”

(On if he's surprised that the Saints are emphasizing the run game…) “Not at all, not at all. I think that’s a very effective way to run their offense. it allows them to be balanced, create the play-action fakes, and allow their offense to become more explosive in that sense with the play-action and then throwing it over the linebackers or bring guys up into the box, and then throw it over their heads. That’s good old school football.”

(On what it's like covering Percy Harvin…) “It’s fast. It is fast. He’s an explosive player, he’s a very quick twitch guy, and you have to be on everything and you can’t give up on the play. He may separate from you, he may get a step, but you have to keep fighting and give yourself a chance to tackle or try to get the ball out at the point of attack.”

(On if he’s as challenging as anyone to face…) “Yeah he’s as challenging because he creates so many different challenges. He’s quick, he’s fast, and he’s dynamic, if he gets a step on you there is no coming back from that.”

(On how Earl Thomas has changed as a football player since he’s first met him…) “He’s matured in his football and his knowledge of the game, his understanding of what he needs to do, and he’s become incredibly unselfish in his role. There were times that I heard about in his rookie year that he would see the play and he’s going after it, he’s attacking everything. Now he would see the same play and he’ll allow everybody else to do their job and he’ll do his job and when the ball comes to him he’ll make a play, but he won’t go after it to sacrifice the defense, the integrity of the defense. I think that’s the leadership role that he’s taken within our defense and within our team that everybody appreciates.”

(On if he believes that a player can develop into a clutch player…) “I think you either have it or you don’t. I don’t know if it’s something that you can just say okay I’m going to work on being clutch because it’s hard to get yourself in those moments and work on them. There are no practicing those moments. You’re either in the moment and you live in it or you don’t live in it. I think that’s what it comes down to.”

(On if he believes that Russell Wilson is a clutch player…) “Yeah I’ve definitely have seen it from him. I think the first time that we really saw it was in the Chicago game when he took us to overtime in his rookie year. He played outside of his mind. He managed the game, he ran it when he had to, he threw great passes when he had to and drove the ball down the field when he had to for the game winner. I think that’s as clutch as you can get.”

(On if this feels like a quarterback league…) “It’s still a quarterback’s league. As long as the rules are in place to be like they are, I mean you still have great teams running the ball like Seattle and San Francisco who have been predominantly run oriented teams. Carolina is also a defensive and run oriented team, but you also see the great quarterbacks in there. You see the Peyton Mannings, the Tom Bradys, the Drew Brees, the Russell Wilsons, the Andrew Lucks of the league and everybody just throwing the ball so well, but you also still have the great defenses and the great run teams. So I think it’s pretty balanced in that sense.”

(On what separates Russell Wilson and Drew Brees…) “I guess maybe experience. Obviously Drew Brees has won a Super Bowl, he’s had postseason success, and we’ve won a playoff game. Russell has been in those situations, but I think that’s the only thing that cans separate them. That’s nothing against Russell because he hasn’t had the opportunities. this is the second opportunity that he’s had to get some postseason experience, to win some ball games, to do what he has to do to win, and I think that’s about the only thing that separates them.”

(On if it means anything to Russell Wilson to lead the team…) “I think it’ll mean something to him. As a team you want to win and it obviously means something to us to win the game and to move on to the next round, but I think it’ll be a great accomplishment for him.”

(On the importance of playing with a chip on their shoulders…) “I think that’s how are team is made. Our team is made to play with a chip on our shoulder regardless of the situation, regardless of the notoriety that we’re getting, regardless of anything because you can’t change the chip, you can’t take it off. Once it gets on, it stays on, and a lot of our guys our like that. You can’t tell Doug Baldwin that he wasn’t an undrafted free agent, you can’t tell him that. You can’t tell Russell Wilson that he went in the third because he was under six foot, you can’t take those things away. So guys will always play with that edge, that fire, and that hunger. It’s something that is embedded in all of us, and that’s how Pete Carroll and John Schneider recruited us.”

(On what has changed for the defense that has allowed them to hold teams within 20 points in the last third of the regular season…) “Just understanding the principles. Everybody understanding what they need to do within the defense to make it work well. A lot of guys are being unselfish. Our defensive line does a heck of a job with their rotations and nobody is being selfish with their stats for numbers because they all can be number one guys. They all can go out there and be starters and play 100 percent of the snaps, but they’re very unselfish in a way that they rotate and they go. This guy might get a sack, this guy might get a sack, but everybody is going to keep rotating and keep going hard and doing their job. Nobody is going to jump out of their gap or do anything crazy or out of the ordinary to make a play because they want to get stats. Our linebacker core is the same way. They’re playing very unselfish, different guys are stepping in, Malcolm has played outstanding in K.J. Wright’s absence, Bobby Wagner has played very well the second half of the season. He’s picked up his game and starting to play like an all pro, and Bruce Irvin. He had the position switch, and I think he’s starting to finally figure it out. Everything is starting to come together for him, and in the back end we just play sound.”

(On if it’s an accident that the top 4 defenses in the league are in the NFC…) “I don’t think that’s any coincidence because you have to play defense in this league. There’s a lot of scoring that is going to happen and a lot of great quarterbacks, but if you have a defense that can stand up when you need to get a stop and get their offense the ball back in a crucial situation, that’s how you win ball games.”

(On the playoff game in Atlanta last year and what was the reason for going down early in the game…) “There is nothing that I can think of to tell you the truth, we just weren’t executing. Everybody wasn’t playing sound at the beginning of the game, and some of it comes down to schematically we were in some bad positions and they came out and out schemed us sometimes. We were able to correct those things in the second half and managed to get the stops and sometimes it was guys not doing what they have been doing all season. This year I think that’s what is different, everybody is doing their job the same way, everybody understands that being normal and doing your job is enough.”

(On if it puts more pressure on the defense if the offense is struggling to get things going…) “We don’t even think about it. Any chance we get to get out there and perform we’re happy about it. Whether it’s a sudden change opportunity and it’s coming off of a turnover and we get a chance to stand up and man up in the redzone and increase our redzone percentage that’s a god deal. We look at it as a positive opportunity any chance we get to go out there and showcase our talents.”

(On how much of being a good defender has to deal with being disciplined…) “I would say it’s 50/50 because when you get to this stage and you get to this point in the league everybody is great, everybody is athletic, and everybody has a talent to be great. Some players are selfish and are going to do whatever they can to get their stats. They’re going to jump out of gaps, they’re going to do this, they’re going to spin and they’re going to do whatever they can to get their stats. Then you have your guys that are going to take on the double team like Brandon Mebane does and hold that so that the linebackers can run through the gaps and get the stats. Big Red Bryant is going to hold the edge and make sure they don’t get around there. He may never make a tackle, but he’s going to hold the edge and do his job effectively the way our defense needs it done. You got lot of guys like that, Tony McDaniel, our whole front line does a lot of dirty work that you never about, that you never see, that never shows up in the stats sheet that is incredibly unselfish, and we appreciate it.”

(On if he expects the Saints to have a different game plan based on holding the Saints to 188 total yards…) “I think we expect them to run the ball like they did against Philadelphia because that worked very effectively in that game for them, but you can’t change the DNA of your team. You can’t change what you have done because you start making stuff up in the playoffs then what can you say after the game, how can you justify it? You can say that it didn’t the first time, but that’s what you do. If you throw shots, that’s what you do. You can’t change the makeup of your offense in what you do and your game planning for one team. They’re definitely sprinkled in some nuances and some new things, but I think at the end of the day they’re going to go back to who they are.”

(On the Arizona loss being an eye opening game for them to not under estimate teams…) “I definitely think it is. I think it is for guys who have become complacent and just expect to walk in and win. A lot of us hadn’t become complacent and went out there and played a hard game. I think it really opened eyes of everybody including the fans and everybody to know that you have to show up every week. You have to show up and play. They’re not just going to come in here and bow down and say all we’re not going to win this one because we’re in CenturyLink, especially in the playoffs. These guys want to win the Super Bowl just as bad as we do so it’s going to be a battle of will.”

(On if he expects this to be a chippy game…) “It’ll be a chippy ball game. It’s two teams in a competitive playoff environment and everybody wants to win. Everybody is going to be tuned up, hyped up and ready to go. So I’m sure there is going to be a lot of adrenaline and a lot of testosterone out there.”