Richard Sherman singlehandedly can change an opposing offense's game plan, since the 49ers' star cornerback has the ability to take away one side of the field.
But the 49ers are without his talents right now after Sherman landed on injured reserve with a strained calf following a Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers also are missing his of-the-charts football IQ.
"You've got to be more vocal," 49ers safety Jimmie Ward explained Wednesday on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky" show. "And also, the ball can go anywhere because when Richard Sherman's on the field, really, quarterbacks are scared to throw to his side. If he's not in great shape on a route, quarterbacks still won't throw to his side.
"It's only a handful of quarterbacks that have actually really tried Richard Sherman. He just has that respect and that presence around the league."
The Cardinals attacked 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, who bounced back against a less-talented New York Jets team in Week 2. Teams will take a lot more chances throwing on Moseley and Ahkello Witherspoon than they ever would on Sherman. Through the first two weeks, though, the 49ers' pass defense has been pretty solid.
The 49ers ranked No. 1 in the NFL in pass defense last season. They rank fourth, allowing 198.5 yards per game, this season. San Francisco has allowed two passing touchdowns and has one interception.
Losing a star like Sherman always is a gut punch. The 49ers haven't been hurt too much from his loss yet, but they certainly hope to get him back as soon as he's eligible to return ahead of their Week 5 game against the Miami Dolphins.