49ers

Richard Sherman sees 49ers' upside, calls 2018 'a good learning experience'

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USATSI

Richard Sherman sees 49ers' upside, calls 2018 'a good learning experience'

LOS ANGELES -- After being on very successful Seattle Seahawks teams, Richard Sherman has kept a realistic outlook on what his 49ers could be after a 4-12 season.

He still sees potential.

“It’s been up and down,” the veteran cornerback said Sunday after a season-ending loss to the Rams. “We’ve won some and we’ve dealt with the injury bug more than anything, but it’s been a good learning experience. It’s good learning for the young guys.

“Some guys got some valuable experience. It’s been good learning. Obviously, it’s unfortunate the way it played out, but next year, we’ll have another chance at it.”

Expectations were high for the 49ers heading into the season after their five-game winning streak that ended 2017. Sherman explained that losing running back Jerick McKinnon before the season and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 3 -- both to torn ACLs -- makes it difficult to determine how close the team really is to being successful.

“It’s hard to tell without your guys out there," Sherman said. "Without Jimmy G, you’ve got your franchise quarterback you lose, what, three games into the season? You lose the running back you just paid no games into the season. Your starting receivers get banged up. You lose a safety a game almost every game all the way up until the 10th, 11th game. I think it'll be tough to know how good we’ll be 'til we have a consistent unit out there and show some continuity.”

Sherman himself took some time getting back into game shape while rehabbing his Achilles during the offseason. With Sunday's game out of reach, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Greg Mabin went in for Sherman, who was dealing with a little soreness.

“I know he would have liked to play longer, but we wanted to be smart with that and also give the other guys a little more chance out there,” Shanahan said.

Sherman, who's under contract with the 49ers for two more seasons, said his offseason training won't be too much different than his usual maintenance program.

“You’ve got to rest to it,” Sherman said, “but you always need more maintenance to get it stronger. Obviously, I’ll have the offseason to actually work out and get it stronger and work on my quick twitch. Do the things that I didn’t have time to do once we got into season. It’s constant. Once you get to a certain age, it's constant body maintenance.”

How adjusting Fred Warner's workload has unleashed his speed for 49ers

How adjusting Fred Warner's workload has unleashed his speed for 49ers

BRADENTON, Fla. — For the second time in as many months, a member of the 49ers has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Month.

Linebacker Fred Warner took home the title for November after Nick Bosa had the honor for October. During the month, Warner tallied 44 total tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and two forced fumbles. 

49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh believes altering the linebacker’s responsibilities has given Warner an opportunity to play with more speed. 

“We’ve taken a lot off his plate so he can just go line up and play,” Saleh said Thursday. “Putting more of the onus on making sure that guys lineup and go play. We were playing some of those read-option teams, the Arizona teams, we’re asking him to make a lot of checks and see if he can get us in the perfect defense. 

“While he’s busy trying to do that, he’s not able to focus on his job. Even though he was getting everyone lined up and everything was perfect, it’s just not fair for him. So, to take a little bit off his plate so he can go ahead and go play, I think that’s really been the difference.”

Saleh is not alone in praising Warner. Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman also has been impressed with the young linebacker's work ethic and growth in his second season. The fact that Warner didn’t play inside until he was with the 49ers makes his accomplishments even more significant. 

“The inside linebacker already has so much on his plate,” Sherman said. “Being able to take some of that off—there was one game I think he had six calls in one play. Where if this guy moves here, he has to readjust the line. He has to tell the DBs this, he has to tell this guy this and sometimes that just doesn’t allow him to play fast.

“He’s getting everybody else lined up to play fast but he can’t play fast. He has to think about all these calls, all these adjustments. Maybe you put a little more strain on the rest of the guys. You spread out the strain and it allows him to play fast and for us to be a better defense.”

[RELATED: 49ers now have logjam at running back with Breida's return]

Now in his second year, Warner sees things developing on the field more quickly. No matter the workload given to him by Saleh, the BYU product has been able to adjust.  

“I think as the year has gone on, he has kind of started to realize what’s too much, what’s too little,” Warner said. “I agree completely. Ever since kind of the midway point of the season, I think he has lined it up for me to just go out and play fast.”  

49ers' Richard Sherman, Dee Ford speak out on Tim Ryan's comments

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AP

49ers' Richard Sherman, Dee Ford speak out on Tim Ryan's comments

BRADENTON , Fla. -- Following radio broadcaster Tim Ryan's one-game suspension for his comments regarding Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, several 49ers players spoke out, believing there was no malicious intent behind what the analyst said. 

Known as being outspoken on most topics, Richard Sherman did not mince words about what Ryan said. He even mentioned that the commentator had personally apologized to several players while at the team hotel after the announcement of his suspension. 

“I know Tim personally, and I listened to the dialogue and saw it, read it,” Sherman said. “Honestly, I wasn’t as outraged as everybody else. I understand how it can be taken in a certain context and be offensive to some. 

“But if you’re saying, ‘Hey, this is a brown ball, they are wearing dark colors, and he has a brown arm,’ honestly sometimes we were having trouble seeing it on film. He’s making a play fake and sometimes he’s swinging his arm really fast and you’re like, does he have the ball? And you look up and [Mark] Ingram is running it.

“So it was technically a valid point but the way he said it, you can always phrase things better. I’ve had a relationship with him since I’ve gotten here and he’s never been anything other than a great guy and a professional and a guy who takes his job seriously.” 

Edge rusher Dee Ford expressed similar sentiments about Ryan’s comments, and confirmed that the two had spoken since the incident. 

“He walked up to me earlier and before he even said anything I told him. ‘I got your back.’” Ford said. “I already knew the story. The words kind of got taken out of context, and of course, now he knows he could have used better judgment with his words. But we got his back. I knew what he was trying to say. 

“This era we live in, it is just what it is, but I know him personally. I speak to him a lot. He loves to watch the D-line and there’s not one -- type of bone -- you know what bone I’m talking about, in his body. So I got his back, so put that to bed really fast.”  

49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh also spoke about Ryan’s nature, not believing that there was negative intent behind his comments. 

[RELATED: How Payton, Saints are preparing for imposing 49ers defense]

“I’ve always, as a human being, tried to judge people on how I interact with them,” Saleh said. “And I love the man. He’s a very genuine human being and he knows he made a mistake and he’s just trying to move this on as quickly as possible.” 

Dennis Brown will be on the call with Greg Papa during Ryan’s absence for Sunday’s matchup against the Saints in the Superdome.