Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was zipping passes to a variety of receivers at all different levels of the defense.
Running back Jerick McKinnon lined up at a number of spots in the 49ers’ offensive formation and caught passes with ease, showing the skills that prompted Kyle Shanahan to target him for his offense.
Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner looked as if he is ready to take the next step to become one of the NFL’s top defensive players.
But the star of the first week of 49ers organized team activities was a veteran player who has yet to be cleared for takeoff.
When the 49ers signed Richard Sherman shortly after the Seattle Seahawks released him, he said he envisions his contributions to his new team to be split equally between on and off the field. And, sure enough, nobody appeared to be as engaged in the practices in Week 1 of OTAs than Sherman.
“It’s always nice when you have someone who has a lot of experience in a very similar system,” Shanahan said. “The foundation of it all came from the same spot, and when you’ve got a guy that has played in it that long and really started in that system and has kind of excelled in it as good as anyone, it’s nice to have.”
"Coach Sherman," as he's already being called, is embracing his role as a leader on the defense, as he mentors cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward and all of the newcomers. In his seven seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, Sherman was named to the Pro Bowl four times. The 49ers' defensive scheme is based on the Seattle defense.
During a period of practice this week when special teams took over, Sherman was also seen engaging in an animated conversation with Shanahan on the sideline going over some of the topics discussed in a team meeting.
“We both have a lot of history playing against each other’s teams so there’s lots of stuff that when we talk X’s and O’s, it brings up a couple plays from year’s prior,” Shanahan said. “We could sit there and hang out and talk all day about.”