If the 49ers’ pass rush had a difficult time containing Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, just imagine how rough it could be for that unit going against elusive Russell Wilson.
But cornerback Richard Sherman on Thursday brushed aside the challenge the 49ers’ defense will face Sunday against his former Seattle Seahawks teammate.
“I’ve also seen him throw five picks in a game, so you see what he’s capable of on both sides,” Sherman said. "So you understand he can be defended."
Wilson’s career-worst five interceptions came in December 2016 against the Green Bay Packers. Sherman and then-Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett nearly got into a fight when Bennett disagreed with Sherman, who wanted to call out Wilson in a private meeting, Sports Illustrated reported.
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Sherman was asked Thursday about his relationship with Wilson.
“I don’t really have a relationship with Russell,” Sherman said. “We were teammates. We played at a very special time for the franchise.”
Sherman had his worst day of the season Sunday against Tampa Bay, yielding five catches for 113 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. Sherman said those plays mostly were a result of Winston buying extra time to enable his receivers to shake free.
"So when a quarterback is back there playing backyard football, you’re going to give up some completions," Sherman said. "So it’s not like, ‘Oh, man, we didn’t cover this play right.’ Most of the plays, we were all over. We broke before the receiver broke, and then the receiver went somewhere else once the quarterback starts to scramble. It’s tough to defend that.
"We’ll have to figure that out this week, so they’ll have to contain the quarterback a little better to give us a chance to cover."
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When NBC Sports Bay Area suggested Wilson was even more dangerous than Winston with his ability to buy time with his scrambling, Sherman cited Wilson's worst game in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Wilson, speaking at his own press conference in Seattle, had no problem giving praise to Sherman, whom he referred to as a Hall of Fame corner.
“The thing that I think I respect about Sherm more than anything else is how he brings it every day at practice, even when he’s hurt,” Wilson said. “He always practiced. He always was out there. And he didn’t have to be, an All-Pro player, a guy who’s done so many different things. And he always was able to do that. And not just that, but he was also able to teach the younger guys, as well.
“And so to be able to go up against him in practice every day helped my career, helped build my understanding of the game and just confidence and everything else. Going up against one of the best corners, it prepares you. So I’m grateful for that.”