Quarterback Alex Smith is having the best season of his career. Tyreek Hill’s numbers as a wide receiver are up over last year.
With one more interception, cornerback Marcus Peters will match last year’s totals. Linebacker Justin Houston has surpassed his sack total from 2016.
The statistics line for each player provides the proof.
But what about the Chiefs players for whom few recognized statistics exist?
How, for instance, can one measure the season of fullback Anthony Sherman, who has no rushing attempts, three receptions and a lone special teams tackle?
For starters, there’s the testimony of his coaches.
“He’s our heart and soul,” special teams coach Dave Toub said. “Solid player. I can count on him. I can put him anywhere, it doesn’t matter.”
Offensive coordinator Matt Nagy calls Sherman, who has spent five of his seven NFL years with the Chiefs, an ideal fit in the Andy Reid offense.
“The number one thing is he understands this offense inside out,” Nagy said. “He’s an aggressive, physical fullback. He a perfect fullback.”
But Nagy said Sherman also could line up at tight end if needed. Sherman has studied that position, as well.
He has thrived in every role during his years with the Chiefs. Entering Sunday’s home game against the Dolphins, Sherman has played 120 snaps (13.6 percent of the team’s total) this season on offense and leads the way with 300 special teams snaps (70.7 percent). He plays on all of the Chiefs’ kicking units, which is rarity for a fullback.
“Across the league, you’ll see other fullbacks, they don’t play that much,” Toub said. “Maybe two phases max. He does a lot more.”
Sherman lives play to play.
“My positions don’t get me a lot of snaps, so my job is to be consistent with blocking on a week in-week out basis, and make them all count,” Sherman said. “And be a leader on special teams, try to make plays. I want to be there when they need to rely on me.”
On offense, Sherman often leads the way for star rookie Kareem Hunt, whose 1,201 rushing yards rank second in the NFL. Over the years, Sherman has opened holes for Jamaal Charles, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West and now Hunt, among others.
“The thing with (Hunt) is how hard he works, every day, and he’s the same person now as he was the first day of the spring,” Sherman said. “He’s had all this success and you couldn’t tell because he’s the same humble person he’s been the entire time.”
Fullback has been Sherman’s position throughout his college and pro career. He was the 2006 Gatorade Player of the Year in Massachusetts, scoring 20 touchdowns as a senior running back at North Attleboro High.
He accepted his lone Division I offer, to Connecticut, and helped shape an offense led by running back Donald Brown, who led the NCAA in rushing in 2008 and became a first-round pick in 2009. Two seasons later, Sherman played in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma.
Sherman was taken in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by Arizona, but when the Cardinals changed coaches from Ken Whisenhunt to Bruce Arians, Sherman’s role was about to be greatly reduced. So Arizona traded him to the Chiefs for cornerback Javier Arenas, and Sherman fit the Chiefs’ system right away.
So much so that he’s one of four Chiefs — along with linebacker Frank Zombo, safety Ron Parker and punter Dustin Colquitt — to appear in every game in the Andy Reid era.
“He was one of those coaches that I watched growing up and I always wanted to play for him,” Sherman said. “I’ve had that opportunity for five years and it’s been great.”