As difficult as it may be to believe now, Richard Sherman, one of the charter members of the Seattle Seahawks’ famed Legion of Boom secondary, knows something about lack of confidence. The Seattle cornerback has been where Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller appears to be right now.
“When I was really young,” Sherman recalled of his crisis of confidence. “I think in order to get to this level, you have to have a tremendous belief in yourself and what you do and what your abilities are.
“I haven’t not had confidence in a long time.”
Fuller’s confidence is open to question after the second-year cornerback has struggled through a shaky preseason and now two regular season games. While there can be questions over which is chicken and which is egg, whether confidence comes from playing well or playing well comes from confidence, if a cornerback’s confidence is shaky, so is his entire game.
What leads to coverage breakdowns, to penalties, to loss of composure, “I think ultimately it’s playing with confidence,” said Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. “Tiger Woods these past two years hasn’t been the Tiger Woods we know and everybody’s over-analyzing him. The fact is that he hasn’t been able to take his game from the range to the course and he’s not been playing with confidence.
“Kyle’s got to be able to take his game from the practice field to the game field and play with confidence. You’re not going to have confidence until you do good things. You can’t just can’t say ‘I’m whoever’ and go out and play and have results.”
A problem for Fuller and any cornerback, however, is that their football lives are so affected by the level of pass rush in front of them. Pass breakups or interceptions are so rare in seven-on-seven practice sessions because there is no rush on the quarterback.
And the Bears do not have a single quarterback sack through two games, something that last happened at this point of the 2010 season.
But Fuller’s problems ultimately lie with Fuller.
“He has to be a true professional, and he has to be a true studier of film,” veteran safety Antrel Rolle said during an appearance Tuesday on WSCR-AM 670’s “The Spiegel and Goff Show.” “And more importantly, he has to play with his strengths. If you’re going to press a guy, you have to make sure you put your hands on a guy. You can’t line up in front of a guy and then not disrupt him whatsoever.”
The Bears made Fuller the 14th overall pick of the 2014 draft and he flashed early with interceptions, eventually becoming just one of only six NFL rookies over the last 25 years to collect four interceptions and three forced fumbles.
So far this season he has none of either, with issues in his technique as well as his confidence, two intertwined essentials.
“If you’re playing well,” said Sherman, a three-time All-Pro cornerback, “your technique is usually on point, you’re playing well and you’re usually confident in what you’re doing.”