Anthony Sherman isn’t into acclaim or hype. By all accounts, he’s one of those guys who lives and breathes football, and doesn’t let distractions get in the way.
That said, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that the Chiefs’ one-track-mind fullback isn’t a fan of video games, and never really has been.
But when told recently that his player rating in the most recent version of the “Madden” video game is a 90 (on a scale from the mid 50s to 99) — up from 71 last season — Sherman cracked a smile.
“Nice,” said Sherman, who quickly added the one thing that matters. “I’d rather prove it on the field than on a video game.”
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However, one could argue that Sherman, 25, did that last year. After the Chiefs acquired him for former second-round pick Javier Arenas before last season, he helped pave the way for star running back Jamaal Charles’ monster campaign, posting a Pro Football Focus grade of 15.7, tops in the NFL.
“The thing about Sherman is he probably has the most important job on our team,” running back coach Eric Bieniemy said. “Obviously he’s a great lead blocker for Jamaal, but he’s the least recognized player. He’s one of the most consistent players we have.”
Bieniemy said he also respects Sherman’s mental toughness.
“The thing I love about working with him is he’s the ring leader,” Bieniemy said. “When things aren’t going well and the rhythm is down, Anthony Sherman finds a way to pick it up.”
But don’t expect Sherman, who only has one year remaining on his contract, to rest on his laurels.
“Every aspect of the game can be improved on,” Sherman said. “Special teams, run blocking, pad level, leg drive, pass protection ... probably the biggest thing I worked on is just understanding defenses a little bit better.”
Sherman, who missed practice on Wednesday to be with his wife, Jessica, and witness the birth of their child, credited Bieniemy for helping him with that during offseason film study.
“When we started up with E.B., we watched quite a bit,” Sherman said. “We went over fronts, we went back to the basics to understand what defenses were gonna try to do against us in their different fronts.”
Sherman said he saw plenty of room for improvement in his own game, too.
“(I saw) different fronts that they would do, maybe different line stunts that I could be a tad quicker on understanding and reading better and making the hole a little bit bigger for Jamaal,” Sherman said.
That could be a scary proposition for defenses, considering how well Sherman played last season. But while people are finally starting to take notice, as his new Madden rating would attest, he only cares about winning the respect of his teammates and coaches — something he did long ago.
“Anthony Sherman,” Bieniemy said, “is a great professional football player.”
To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.