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Are Seahawks fans putting too much pressure on CB Shaquill Griffin?

Will Shaquill Griffin and the Seahawks' defense take a step forward in 2019? (AP)

Defensive back Shaquill Griffin is entering his third year with the Seahawks and his second season at the left cornerback spot, a position vacated by All-Pro Richard Sherman in the 2017 offseason.

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On paper, Griffin put together a solid sophomore season. He started all 16 games and finished with two interceptions (one more than his rookie year) and 61 tackles (up from 58 in 2017). However, the consensus among analysts was that Griffin took a step back.

Whether due to his performance on the field – for which Griffin himself gave a ‘D’ grade – or high expectations after a promising rookie season, it’s fair to wonder what kind of comparisons fans and critics have used for Griffin. According to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Groz and Tom, there’s one big factor that could also be warping the perception of his skillset.

Here’s what Bob Stelton and Tom Wassell had to say.

Are we putting too much pressure on Shaquill Griffin?

Wassell: “We interviewed him a couple of weeks ago. He graded himself a ‘D’ for last year. We know the positive attitude he has. But that is a lot of pressure being put on him. If Richard Sherman hadn’t been the last guy at that position before him, I don’t think there would be nearly as much pressure. They need him to be a good player so that they can have success defensively – there’s that pressure anyway. But on top of that, the fact that this team has been known for its great secondary over the years, I’m not sure he can win. Let’s say he gets to a type of performance where we give him a B-plus, I still think people are going to rag on him. (A busted play) will follow him around more than the big plays that he makes.”

Stelton: “Yeah, but I don’t think the majority of people would do that. If he has a great season, a B-plus season, there are going to be moments he doesn’t come up with a big play or somebody burns him. It happens to the best cornerbacks.”

Wassell: “The best cornerbacks don’t get the ‘yeah, but.’ With Shaq Griffin, or whoever, if you turn in a B-plus performance at cornerback, it’s, ‘yeah, but we’re used to better.'”

Stelton: “Well, people need to be realistic. Richard Sherman is a unique player, there aren’t many like him. It’s like blaming someone on the Mariners for not being Ken Griffey Jr. There are certain guys who are just above the rest. They’re a unique talent.”

Wassell: “Let’s talk about that. When Griffey left, Mike Cameron came in and replaced him. And Mike Cameron ended up being beloved here, but not in the same way as Griffey, but still beloved because he ended up being a great player. He was a tremendous center fielder and he could hit a little bit. But I think the fact that he played on a 116-win team definitely helped him. If this Seahawks team went out there and went 14-2 and Shaq Griffin turned in a B performance, he’s fine, nobody’s going to say anything. If they sneak into the playoffs again and they get into that first game and he has one missed coverage, it’s going to be on him.”

You can listen to the full segment from Bob, Groz and Tom at this link. The conversation about Griffin starts at about the 11:40 mark.

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