What is the definition of a “shutdown corner?”
According to the NFL experts, a “shutdown corner” is a corner who shuts down his side of the field. There are a few corners who are worthy of this title throughout the NFL’s history. The most popular name that pops up in most people’s mind is Deion “Primetime” Sanders. When Deion was in his prime, no quarterback could throw his way without fear of being picked off.
In today’s NFL, it’s nearly impossible for any corner to be a “shutdown corner” due to the rules now favoring the offense. If a corner even puts his hand on a receiver outside 5 yards from the line of scrimmage, it’s considered a penalty. For a corner to shut down a side of the field in today’s NFL, he has to be something special. That’s exactly what Richard Sherman did against the Green Bay Packers on the opening night of the NFL season.
Many will argue that this “loud mouthed” corner was never targeted, and that’s the reason why he was able to effectively shut down one side of the field. Those detractors failed to realize that the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers is Aaron Rodgers, one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Rodgers refused to throw to his side of the field all game — that, my friends, is the ultimate respect.
If Rodgers was confident that Sherman could be easily beaten, he would have thrown his way.
Another argument many bring up is the fact that Sherman stays on one side, and that he never switches sides or follows the opposing team’s top receiver. It’s no secret that the Seattle Seahawks play predominately a Cover-3 zone, and he is responsible for a third of the field.
Green Bay chose to place their third receiver Jarrett Boykin on his side, while placing Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb mainly on Byron Maxwell’s side. It’s clear that Rodgers wanted to take his chances with Maxwell on Nelson, which makes sense.
Nelson would more likely get more opportunities to make plays against Maxwell as opposed to being lined up against Sherman.
Maxwell isn’t a scrub at the opposite corner and he held his own pretty well, but by doing this Green Bay effectively shrunk the field themselves and made Sherman’s job that much easier. Regardless, it shows the respect that Green Bay has for Sherman, and if he wasn’t doing his job, he would have been targeted.
His job is to shrink the field, which is what a “shutdown corner” does.
For all the hate he receives, he continues to show why he’s one of the best corners in the game. If a great quarterback like Rodgers is respecting his skills, that speaks volumes about his ability to cover and make plays.
Continue to keep the detractors quiet Sherm!