With Richard Sherman starting, will the Patriots go right at him?

In the first game of the 2014 regular season, with then Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman locking down the left side of the Seattle defense, the Packers simply conceded that half of the field, rarely if ever throwing the ball that way.

Tonight, the Patriots could be throwing at Sherman early and often and repeatedly.

Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin expressed the point bluntly on NFL Network earlier in the hour, given the news that Sherman will start for the Buccaneers tonight.

“We are not expressing how difficult and how crazy it is to say, ‘Oh yeah, we just signed Richard Sherman off the street. Oh yeah, he’s starting,’” Irvin said. “We’re letting it slide. If I’m playing Richard Sherman, I’ll be like, ‘Let’s go right at this dude.’”

On Saturday, former NFL cornerback DeAngelo Hall said something very similar, specifically as to whether Sherman will be handed his usual starting spot at left cornerback.

“He’s not playing at a high enough level to really even make a difference,” Hall said on NFL Network. “If I’m the Patriots, I’m finding Richard Sherman on the football field, and that’s the guy I’m trying to attack. He just doesn’t change direction that well, the older you get. He never was a speed guy. He’s a zone, cover three, play things deep-type of corner. I mean, I love the fight and the competitiveness that he’s going to potentially bring. But, yeah, I’m not rearranging my defense and asking other guys to move a spot for a guy who’s probably my fifth best corner on my roster. I’m just not doing that if I’m [defensive coordinator] Todd Bowles.”

Sherman said after signing with the Buccaneers that he’d need a week to get ready. In the interim, the Buccaneers decided that they needed him, especially with Sean Murphy-Bunting out and Jamel Dean out and Carlton Davis downgraded on Saturday to questionable and Pierre Desir elevated from the practice squad.