49ers’ 2019 ‘Who Is?’ series: Cornerback Richard Sherman

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Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman had a down year in 2018, yet arguably was one of the league’s better shutdown defenders. What’s on tap for 2019 now that he’s healthier than a year ago at this time?

You could make the argument San Francisco 49ers veteran cornerback Richard Sherman had the worst year of his pro career in 2018.

After all, Sherman earned a 68.9 overall grade on the year, according to Pro Football Focus, which was his lowest mark since joining the Seattle Seahawks back in 2011. That put him 50th among 112 qualifying cornerbacks.

Still, considering PFF ranked the Niners secondary worst in the NFL last season, San Francisco would have gladly taken two or three defensive backs of Sherman’s 2018 caliber.

Part of the reason was the 49ers’ inability to force turnovers. Overall on the season, the Niners generated just two interceptions, Sherman had zero which marked the first time in his career where he failed to record a pick.

Richard Sherman Defense & Fumbles Table
7 yr7 yrSEA105993239525899525141.0377286916
1 yr1 yrSFO14140000400101.0373073
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/30/2019.


Yet the stats are a bit misleading. Teams targeted Sherman only 40 times last season, instead electing to go after his counterpart, Ahkello Witherspoon, on a far more-frequent basis.

In that sense, Sherman still did his job shutting down one side of the field. And he still wasn’t fully recovered from the 2017 Achilles tear, which eventually led to Seattle parting ways with him early last year.

Fully healthy, what will the 31-year-old Sherman be asked to do this upcoming season? Is it possible he actually gets better during his second season in San Francisco?

Or is Sherman destined to hit the inevitable regression associated with many a player on the wrong side of 30 years old?

Niner Noise’s 2019 “Who Is?” series takes a deeper look.

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