49ers

Dumervil sets sights well beyond 100-sack milestone

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USATSI

Dumervil sets sights well beyond 100-sack milestone

Elvis Dumervil, who agreed to a two-year contract with the 49ers this week, has his sights set well beyond just reaching the 100-sack milestone.

After being limited to nine sacks in 24 games over the past two seasons while struggling with an Achilles injury, Dumervil told NBC Sports Bay Area he believes the 49ers will be vastly improved from a team that went 2-14 last season under Chip Kelly.

"I think we’ll surprise a lot of people with the roster we have," he said. "Me personally, a lot of people will be surprised with the way I move this year. I’m excited."

Dumervil, a five-time Pro Bowl player, is confident he has plenty of good football remaining in his 33-year-old body, which influenced his decision-making this offseason after the Baltimore Ravens released him in March.

“If it was a situation where I felt it was my last year, that’s all I have left, I just want to win the Super Bowl (because) I just got one year left on my body, I could have gone about it different,” Dumervil said.

“A lot of people are confused about where I’m at physically and mentally. . . Mentally and physically, I feel great. I know I have a few years left, for sure.”

Dumervil matched his career-best with 17 sacks in 2014. But his production dropped to six sacks the following season while playing through an Achilles injury that plagued him from training camp. He underwent surgery in February 2016 to repair an Achilles that was 60-percent torn.

Dumervil returned in the fourth week of last season. After playing two games, he was sidelined five more games before finishing the season.

His two sacks in eight games gave Dumervil 99 career sacks in 146 games over 10 NFL seasons.

“The last two years, I really didn’t play because I was dealing with an Achilles injury.,” Dumervil said. “Sometimes you don’t know if you’re hurt or injured. It was a situation where I thought I was hurt. You play through hurt. But I was really injured.”

Dumervil said he spoke with a “handful of teams” during the three months he remained on the market as a free agent but decided to sign with the 49ers because of several factors, including his familiarity with general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.

In Dumervil’s first two NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos, Lynch was his teammate. Also, Shanahan’s father, Mike, was the Denver coach who selected Dumervil in the fourth round of the 2006 draft.

Dumervil said first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh helped sell him on the idea of signing with the 49ers during their meeting in Santa Clara last week.

“I was very impressed with coach Saleh, Robert Saleh," Dumervil said. "I really didn’t know him. But we sat down and talked football. I knew the offense. I’m really not concerned on that side. But I didn’t know the defensive coordinator. That’s why I wanted to go out and talk football. “

Dumervil has experienced a lot of different schemes in his career. During his first seven NFL seasons with the Broncos, Dumervil played under six different defensive coordinators. He said that versatility should enable him to fit wherever he's most needed.

“I’ve been around a lot of different defensive schemes: 3-4, 4-3, defensive end, outside linebacker,” Dumervil said. “I’ve done it. When I sat down with (Saleh), I was very impressed by his style and his vision and the way he makes things simplified. I was very impressed, ‘Man, I like what he’s talking about.’ I think he’s going to be a very good defensive coordinator.

“For me, it’s just a matter of hitting the quarterback. That’s what I envision.”

Why NFL Media's Peter Schrager believes Richard Sherman is underrated

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AP

Why NFL Media's Peter Schrager believes Richard Sherman is underrated

Richard Sherman's resume is as long as any other cornerback, but NFL analyst Peter Schrager believes the 49ers veteran is underrated. 

"I think Richard Sherman last year had a really good season," Schrager said on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" on Monday. "The Achilles didn't seem to bother him all that much. And then when it mattered most, [he] was shutting down the No. 1 wide receivers in the league, and that was with a completely depleted defense and an offense that had an undrafted rookie named Nick Mullens keeping them afloat. I think Richard Sherman [is] still underrated." 

Sherman started 14 games in his first season with San Francisco, defending a career-low four passes and intercepting zero passes for the first time in his career. Those low counting stats would be concerning for a defensive back's first season in their 30s, even excluding the season-ending Achilles injury he sustained in 2017, but Sherman's production wasn't the same as his best years with the Seattle Seahawks in large part because NFL offenses didn't seem to underrate him. 

According to Pro Football Focus, Sherman was targeted just once every 12.6 coverage snaps. No cornerback was avoided more than him, and Sherman also ranked first among corners in allowing a reception every 20.7 coverage snaps. In other words, opposing quarterbacks seemed to rate Sherman as one of the NFL's best cornerbacks. 

[RELATED: 49ers have important conversations beginning during OTAs]

How long that continues is an open question. Sherman is entering his ninth year in the NFL and turned 31 in March. Twenty-eight defensive backs were 31 or older last NFL season, and only 12 of them were 32 or older. Sherman will be 33 if he finishes out the three-year deal he signed with the 49ers last year, and it seems likely he will be targeted more the older he gets. 

But until then, it's clear Sherman's opposition under center view him as one of the best cornerbacks in the league even if Schrager's punditry peers do not. 

Ex-49ers linebacker Reuben Foster carted off field after suffering leg injury

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USATSI

Ex-49ers linebacker Reuben Foster carted off field after suffering leg injury

Organized team activities began Monday for NFL teams, and Washington suffered a loss shortly after the opening of camp.

Former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster went down during the second play of OTAs with what appeared to be a serious left leg injury. He was on the ground for several minutes before being carted off while in tears.

After an receiving an MRI, Foster's injury appears to be very serious.

That's a brutal development for Foster and Washington.

[RELATED: 49ers have important competitions beginning during OTAs]

Foster was drafted by the 49ers with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, which was the beginning of a tumultuous time in the Bay Area.

The Alabama product was arrested three times and suffered multiple on-field injuries during his time with the 49ers. San Francisco cut ties with Foster last November after he was accused of committing domestic battery at a team hotel in Florida.

Washington claimed the linebacker off waivers a few days later. Foster recorded  84 solo tackles in his 16-game career with the 49ers.

The 49ers have since revamped their linebacking corps after Foster's departure. They signed Kwon Alexander to a four-year contract in the offseason and spent a fifth-round draft pick on Arkansas' Dre Greenlaw.

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch hope Alexander, once he gets fully healthy, and Greenlaw can fill the role left by Foster's departure in the middle of the defense.