By Nathan Wright
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman continued to praise Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos' offense on Wednesday, calling Manning "one of the best to ever play the game." But when asked about a critical comment he made about Manning four weeks ago, Sherman stood his ground.
In a column published on TheMMQB.com, Sherman listed the five smartest quarterbacks in the NFL, in his opinion. He rated Manning No. 1, lauding him for his adjustments at the line of scrimmage, but added this caveat:
"His arm, however, is another story. His passes will be accurate and on time, but he throws ducks."
Manning's arm strength has been questioned since he returned to the field in 2012 after a year off and multiple neck surgeries. But he is coming off a regular season in which he threw for a league-high 5,477 yards and an NFL-record 55 touchdowns.
"I still feel the same way I felt," Sherman said Wednesday to a large group of reporters during a 45-minute conversation that stuck more to the topic of football, as opposed to media day. "He's a great quarterback, he does a great job. But at the same time, when he catches the ball, he doesn't necessarily catch the laces all the time. But he throws an accurate ball, regardless of how he catches it, how he gets it - he delivers it on time and accurately."
When asked about the Broncos' receivers, Sherman said, "I think they've got a very strong receiving corps," then complimented Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker individually.
Thomas stuck up for his quarterback on Wednesday.
"It is funny to me, I think it's just people look at his numbers, what he's done and there is nothing to talk about, nothing, no questions there," Thomas said. "He's the best player in the game right now. We don't pay attention to all of that, we do our jobs, get ourselves to the right spot, and he always gets the ball there."
The Broncos remained complimentary of the Seahawks during Denver's media availability aboard the Cornucopia Majesty earlier Wednesday morning.
"I do feel like he's the best in the game," Thomas said of Sherman. "Watching film on him, he's in the right spot at all times. He knows what's going on on the field, he knows leverage and all this other stuff. I am going to have to figure something out."
Sherman may or may not be matched up with Thomas. It sounds like that will be up to the Broncos.
"Whoever lines up on the left. Whoever lines up on my side is who I'll match up with," Sherman said. "That's all it really comes down to."
Sherman said that he has already played Sunday's game several times in his head. "I think that's the kind of preparation you have to have when you go into a game like this," he said.
When asked how the game turns out in his mind, Sherman laughed and answered, "It works out pretty well."
The star cornerback sounded ready to get back on the practice field later in the day. And he is eagerly awaiting Sunday, when he thinks he and his defensive teammates have a chance to establish their legacy.
"I think it's definitely an opportunity for us to cement ourselves as a historic great defense," Sherman said, "because winning a Super Bowl is what does that."