To throw at Richard Sherman? Or to not throw at Richard Sherman?
That is not the question, at least not the question that’s weighing on the Packers’ minds.
“I plan to throw it to the open guy. That’s the way I’ve played for a number of years,” said Aaron Rodgers leading up the NFC Championship game against the Seahawks. The quarterback did not target – not one time – a receiver that was being covered by Sherman in their opening game this year. It may have merely been coincidence, but Green Bay doesn’t plan on schematically avoiding the cornerback on Sunday.
“If the guy to the right is open I’ll throw it to the right and if the guy on the left is open I’ll throw it to the left. I’ll go through my progressions and play the way I’ve always played,” Rodgers continued.
Throwing in Sherman’s direction is an occupational hazard. The three time All-Pro cornerback had the eighth most interceptions in the NFL this season (4) while likely being targeted significantly less. So if Rodgers’ does test him it will be in a limited capacity.
“I’m not surprised either way” Sherman noted. On a scale from 1-10, the ever-confident cornerback said he was a 12 in frustration that he didn’t get much action in the first game.
“I expect them to execute their game plan, whatever that may be. I’m not sure what they’re going to do,” he continued.
Seattle’s shutdown cornerback typically only works on the right side – in the perspective of the offense. So in the Week 1 contest when wide receiver Jordy Nelson went to the left side of the formation, they never faced off.
The Packers had said they were testing to see if Sherman would flip sides and when he didn’t they tried to exploit their matchup with Nelson versus Byron Maxwell. This time there won’t be any reluctance to have their most potent threat on either side – even if that means a head-to-head confrontation with Sherman.
“If we end up getting matched up then it would obviously be a great challenge and a great opportunity” Nelson asserted. “But I’m not going to go out of my way to go over there. We’re just going to run our offense and do what we need to do to win the game.”
Neglecting Sherman’s side completely is foolish – but so is going right at him.