Dallas Cowboys

Inside the numbers point to Cassel and Sherman

kcasas@star-telegram.com

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman talks a good game, but hasn’t been all smiles this season.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman talks a good game, but hasn’t been all smiles this season. AP

Come Sunday evening, Dallas Cowboys fans might have a new perspective about their heroes.

Looking past the three interceptions and the critical NFC East loss to the New York Giants, Matt Cassel still has the swagger to win some games and all signs point to Seattle’s secondary being vulnerable.

Cassel, who passed for 227 yards and a touchdown to go along with those turnovers, was a kickoff return away from a chance to win the game. His confidence and body language never waned.

Through seven games, Seattle’s Richard Sherman-led secondary isn't what it used to be in pass coverage.

Last season, Sherman led Seattle with four interceptions among the team's 13 season total.

In the incredible 2013 Super Bowl run, Sherman had eight of the team’s 28 interceptions.

This year, the former Stanford standout has none through seven games and the team has only three.

Perhaps more alarming, opponents are completing 64 percent of their passes compared to 61.7 percent of the time last season and 58.9 percent in 2013.

Five percentage points are a big deal in the NFL.

Moreover, Sherman’s increasing workload has him among the team leaders in tackles and that’s not a good thing on a number levels.

He's played primarily at left corner, moved inside for stints early on this season and sees significant snaps on the slot receiver.

While that gives him more flexibility, it also means game-planners are almost forced to go at the two-time Pro Bowler more so than in years past.

Sherman (24 combined tackles) has half his season total from 2013 and is on pace to exceed the 57 he had last year.

Right corner Cary Williams has struggled some at his position and Sherman has stepped in to spell him especially against A.J. Green and Torrey Smith.

And while it makes sense on the surface to shift your best coverage corner around, it also means pulling him from a position he's dominated for two years.

Whether it's fixing something that isn’t broken or re-working the system because its breaking down at other positions isn't translating to success.

Seattle is 3-4. Dallas is 2-4.

Cassel or Sherman might ultimately determine Sunday’s outcome.

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