Richard Sherman signed with the Buccaneers last Wednesday after roughly ten months away from football, as he spent the 2021 offseason as a free agent.
Four days and three practices later, Sherman was named a starting cornerback for Tampa Bay against the New England Patriots while typical starter Jamel Dean missed the game with a knee injury.
In the eyes of head coach Bruce Arians, Sherman didn't disappoint.
Sherman was far from perfect, but it was impossible to expect him to do so on such short notice. On the box score, Sherman was credited with an impressive seven tackles and a fumble recovery recorded in the third quarter of the game.
Pro Football Focus dings Sherman for allowing each of his eight targets in coverage to have been caught for 98 yards, but to give Sherman credit, 24 of those yards came after the catch. He finished the game without giving a touchdown, too.
Meaning, Sherman was able to keep receivers in front of him in coverage, allowing just 9.3 yards per reception at the catch point and only three yards after the catch on average. Sherman didn't let routes get by him and was able to prevent explosive plays, a feat that the entire Buccaneers' secondary - one of the most injury-plagued units in the NFL right now - can be proud of.
"It's amazing. He played really, really well," Arians spoke of Sherman on Monday. "He had the one penalty but, no, I was really, really pleased with ‘Sherm’ and [fellow cornerback] Pierre [Desir]. I thought they both went out there and played really, really good."
With Dean's status remaining up in the air, as well as fellow cornerback and star Tampa Bay defender Carlton Davis III dealing with a quad injury, the Bucs will need Sherman and Desir - who signed to the Bucs' practice squad in September and was promoted to the active roster last week - to continue providing "really really good" performances moving forward.
Against New England, Desir posted two tackles of his own, while allowing all three of his targets in coverage to be caught for 35 yards.
The fact that both Sherman and Desir allowed a completion percentage of 100 percent in the game is a concern, undoubtedly. However, Arians is confident that the two cornerbacks will be able to reduce that percentage in future games as they continue to learn the Buccaneers' defensive system.
"The bright side is, it's just going to get better, too," Arians exclaimed about Sherman and Desir. "The more they learn what the hell they're doing."
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