Both the Patriots and Seahawks have proclaimed their respect for one another on multiple occasions over the course of this week as they prepare to square off Sunday night.
Bill Belichick lobbed verbal bouquets in the direction of Pete Carroll and his players. Carroll did the same for Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. Brady did the same for the Seahawks defense and in particular their secondary.
It's all been very . . . nice. But there are enough gum-flappers on both sides for the occasional jab to be thrown, which is exactly what happened this week when Seattle corner Richard Sherman was asked about Brady's start to the season.
Things started out on the same track that Belichick, Carroll and Brady had taken previously.
"He looks great. He’s on fire," Sherman said. "He hasn’t thrown an interception yet. He’s completed 70-something percent of his passes. He’s on fire. He’s even taken off and run a couple times just to show that he can and he looks good moving around."
Then Sherman did what Sherman has never been afraid to do: He spoke his mind. Though his words weren't exactly directed at Brady -- they were intended more for the officials who officiate games played by Brady -- they could be considered relatively biting during what has been a quiet week of back-and-forth between clubs.
“You just have to tackle well," Sherman said. "You have to be ready for quick passes and the occasional shot. [Brady]’s very creative in the way he manipulates a defense. He does a great job with his eyes. Obviously staying off of him -- they’ve got several rules to protect him in various situations so you’ve got to be careful with how you sack him."
Odds are Sherman won't be drawing any flags for illegal hits on the quarterback; he doesn't have a sack, quarterback hit or quarterback hurry this season. But given how he has made it a point to get a photo-op with Brady during each of their last two meetings, it's worth watching to see if the All-Pro corner has an opportunity to get near the Patriots quarterback between whistles this weekend.