With the 49ers, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has constructed perhaps the NFL's best defense, but from the sounds of it, he hasn't been sleeping well as of late.
"He's creating a lot of nightmares lately," Saleh said of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on Friday, just three days ahead of the highly-anticipated divisional matchup between San Francisco and Seattle.
Wilson might be the leading MVP candidate at this point in the season, having led the Seahawks to a 7-2 record while throwing for 22 touchdowns and just one interception. He's one of the most accurate passers in the league and only four other QBs average more yards per attempt, but it's Russell's mobility and elusiveness that makes him so tough to defend. It's an uncommon skillset, and one the 49ers can't accurately recreate within their current personnel.
C.J. Beathard reportedly learned that the hard way, having injured himself at Thursday's practice while playing Wilson's role on San Francisco's scout team.
Sherman revealed that C.J. Beathard strained his back yesterday on scout team trying to play the role of Russell Wilson.— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) November 8, 2019
He laughed as he said it - Not funny because he hurt himself - but funny because that's not his role.
Out of all the QBs on the 49ers' roster, Beathard is not only the biggest, but also likely the slowest, so it begs the question as to why he would be used to imitate Wilson, but regardless, it's a funny image. Hopefully, Beathard was able to laugh about it.
While the 49ers know they'll have their hands full with Wilson, Seattle's signal-caller is feeling the same thing on his end. Specifically, he expects cornerback Richard Sherman -- his former teammate -- to make his life tough on Monday night.
Russell Wilson on facing Richard Sherman Monday. pic.twitter.com/NNVQfVOLXy— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) November 8, 2019
"Classic Sherm," Wilson responded when asked about Sherman's performance this season. "He's a ballhawk, a guy who can make a lot of plays. He's smart as can be. Going up against him is always a tough challenge."
Wilson knows he can't ignore Sherman's side of the field entirely, and will need to pick his spots.
"I know not to go over there too much," Wilson continued. "He's as good as it gets over there. I've got a lot of respect for Sherm and how he plays the game. He really understands things, sees things well, so you've got to be really smart when you go over there."
Sherman leads San Francisco with three interceptions, and when quarterbacks have targeted him, they've produced a worse passer rating (35.7) than if they had simply spiked the ball (39.6).
Through nine games, Wilson has a passer rating of 118.2, easily the best in the NFL. Don't expect him or Sherman to shy away from the challenge.