Unlike against the San Francisco 49ers, there appears to be a mutual respect between Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and the Denver Broncos’ leading receiver, Demaryius Thomas.
Denver’s offense has been record-setting this season, led by quarterback Peyton Manning. While the Broncos have four receivers that could have big games in Julius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Demaryius Thomas, it’s the latter of the four that has been Manning’s most consistent target.
After a breakout season in 2012 that saw Thomas catch 94 passes for 1,434 yards and score 10 touchdowns, he had an equally efficient 2013 – 92 receptions, 1,430 yards, 14 touchdowns. He had less than four receptions in just two games this season, and in each of those he had three catches for 78 and 106 receiving yards, respectively.
When asked on Saturday about the prospect of being covered by Sherman, Thomas said he was excited about the potential challenge.
“He’s a great player,” Thomas told the Denver Post. “I’d love to have that matchup to show what kind of player I am. I don’t know if he’ll match up, but like I said, he’s a great player.”
Decker noted the Broncos are ready to face the most physical secondary they’ve faced all season in the Seahawks.
“I think all around, they have the best defense in the NFL, and they get after opponents,” Decker said. “I think you have to play from the first snap. You have to be physical, because these guys are going to get you at the line. They are going to get you at the top of routes, and they will come down to hit you. So you have to make sure to bring it to them as well.”
Sherman has been equally complimentary of the Denver receivers, starting in his column on Monday morning for MMQB.SI.com.
“The Broncos stand in our way, and it’s a large obstacle. They’ve got the smartest quarterback in football and receiver who are large (mostly, explosive with the football and run great routes,” Sherman wrote. “Wes Welker is elusive, Eric Decker is a great receiver with hands and speed, and Demaryius Thomas is as strong as they come. And Peyton knows how to get each of them in spots.”
Meanwhile the Denver defense is aware of the potential threat that Percy Harvin adds to the Seahawks passing game.
“That’s a dangerous man right there. He can change the game if you allow him to. I remember playing him when he was in Minnesota, and he’s one of the most explosive guys coming off the ball,” cornerback Champ Bailey said. I don’t know how they are going to use him. We don’t have a lot of tape on him, if any, but they are going to use him. You don’t have a weapon like that and not use it.”