Richard Sherman isn’t yet up to speed. The former Seahawks cornerback, now in his first training camp with the 49ers, is coming off an Achilles’ tendon tear last season, surgery and then rehab, so it wasn’t expected that the former All-Pro was going to be at the top of his game from Day 1 of summer workouts.
Still, in one-on-one drills Sunday, Niners wide receivers twice got the better of one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks, who’s now 30.
First, Marquise Goodwin sprinted past Sherman and got open to make an acrobatic catch along the sideline, according to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Then, Sherman was called for grabbing the jersey of Aldrick Robinson.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh isn’t worried, however. He believes Sherman will be holding his own and back to his elite status by the first game of the regular season in September.
“Just trying to get his football legs back,” Saleh told Branch. “He doesn’t have anything to prove. He just has to get back in shape and get his legs back.”
It was the first time Sherman was in pads in this training camp. And, according to Chris Biderman of Niners Wire, Sherman held his own in team drills, including on one play in which Sherman was able to break up a pass intended for tight end George Kittle.
As Biderman noted, Sherman has never been noted for his great speed. He’s risen to the top because of his intelligence, work ethic and the way he physically challenges opposing receivers. In the one-on-one duel with Goodwin – a former Olympian with blazing speed – Sherman was burned.
“Sherman’s issue was his inability to get a hand on Goodwin, who got a free release,” wrote Biderman. “When Sherman’s at his best, he stymies wideouts at the line of scrimmage, throwing off their timing and preventing them from accelerating properly early in the play.”
As training camp progresses, Sherman should start making gains. The 49ers will play their first exhibition game Aug. 9 vs. the Cowboys.