Heading into his 10th NFL season, Richard Sherman has played under two of the most respected head coaches in the league. Sherman spent his first seven seasons as a leading member of the Seattle Seahawks "Legion of Boom" under Pete Carroll, before joining Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco back in 2018.
Sherman reached the Super Bowl with both head coaches, earning one championship title with Seattle in 2014.
NFL.com columnist Jim Trotter examined which traits are most important for a successful head coach. He sought after the opinions of eight NFL stars at varying positions, including Sherman, Jared Goff, Larry Fitzgerald, Frank Gore and Travis Kelce among others.
While each player detailed the characteristics of what an ideal head coach looked like, Sherman took it a step further to discuss common threads (and difference) of Shanahan and Carroll's coaching styles.
According to Sherman, Carroll's "compete, compete, compete" philosophy stands on positivity and positive reinforcement. He explains Shanahan as more direct and plain spoken when it comes to communicating with his players and staff.
"(Carroll) has a way of coaching, a way of talking to his coaches, a way of having his coaches talk to his players. They don't do the whole rah-rah, curse-you-out style. He would never hire a coach like that," Sherman explained. "Kyle is similar in that he has a philosophy of the best man plays. He doesn't care about your draft position or any of that. He's more of a straight shooter than Pete. Pete has a way of making sure everybody feels good, making sure he pushes buttons with certain players and not pushing buttons on other players. Kyle is different. He's one size fits all."
Sherman also associated Shanahan's honesty to his ability to be "flexible" when listening to his players.
"That honesty is something that I think is valuable in a head coach because there's no gray area. You know where you stand at all times, almost to a point where you're like, 'Damn! That's how you really feel?' But you can respect that as a player because what he's saying is objective: Did we win or lose the down? Why did we win or lose the down? If you can give him a fair point back to him, he can take that. He's flexible in that way."
2) Knowledge of the game:
Shanahan has been regarded as one of the top play-callers and offensive minds in football. His ability to break defenses are evident through his highly-touted offensive system. The challenge of Shanahan's offensive innovation helped draw Sherman to San Francisco.
"Kyle is one of the best offensive minds we've ever had in this game. That comes into it," Sherman continued. "With Pete, it's the Cover 3 he brought to the league. It seems so simple, but nobody can run it like we ran it. The way both of them implement what they do -- they talk to others on a personal level, then have the great coaches around them who believe in their philosophy."
3) Staff assembly:
Sherman believes that the supporting staff of an organization is just as important as who's leading the team. Shanahan has formed one of the most progressive coaching staffs in the league, occupied by talented coaches and assistants who are like-minded in the same ideology. According to Sherman, staff is equally as significant to the success of a franchise.
"Kyle's guys have been with him since he's been an assistant or a graduate assistant," Sherman added. "How you pick the staff is a big part of their success. That's what makes the team great. It's not just the head coach; the head coach gets all the credit, but it's the pieces he puts around him because they still have to deliver his message, and they deliver it on a day-to-day basis. We might sit in a meeting with the head coach for 30 minutes a day, but I sit in meetings with the assistants for five to six hours a day. So the staff is critical."