49ers

Richard Sherman was 'out there on one leg' in first season with 49ers

shermanusa.jpg
USATSI

Richard Sherman was 'out there on one leg' in first season with 49ers

The Warriors late Wednesday night alleviated a lot of concerns about the long-term health of Kevin Durant, stating the star forward did not sustain an Achilles injury.

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman knows first hand how much an Achilles injury can linger through the next season.

Sherman tried last season to downplay the impact a torn Achilles had on him during his first season with the 49ers. Sherman started 14 games for the 49ers and did not record an interception for the first time in his eight-year career. Sherman, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, ranks fourth among active players with 32 career interceptions.

Now, as the 49ers are in the third week of the team’s offseason conditioning program, Sherman feels free to admit the difficulty he experienced as he returned from the Achilles injury last year.

“I’m much healthier. I was kind of out there on one leg,” Sherman, 31, told Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee this week.

Sherman sustained a torn right Achilles on Nov. 9, 2017, while playing for the Seattle Seahawks. After the Seahawks released him, Sherman signed with the 49ers in March and started 14 games last season after his entire offseason was devoted to rehab.

Sherman’s physical condition did not prove to be a detriment to the 49ers. He was rarely tested as the team’s starting left cornerback. Quarterbacks, instead, chose to go after the 49ers’ right side, where Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward, Greg Mabin and Tarvarius Moore started games.

[RELATED: The 49ers add some veterans for depth on the offensive line]

The 49ers set a dubious record with two interceptions – an all-time NFL single-season worst. Yet, the only notable moves the 49ers made to the defensive backfield this offseason were to re-sign free safety Jimmie Ward and sign cornerback Jason Verrett. Ward and Verrett have battled injury issues in their careers. Both signed one-year contracts. The 49ers invested a sixth-round draft pick in Virginia cornerback Tim Harris.

"I'm 100 percent good with (the defensive backfield). I don't think it'll be an issue," Sherman told the Bee. "The secondary wasn't the issue last year. We'd lose games by a touchdown down the stretch, the last second. It's not like, 'Oh man, the secondary was just getting killed the whole game and that's why we lost.' It was just guys' immaturity, mistakes, just not executing. Not knowing how to finish, not having finishers."

The 49ers took the offseason approach that the best way to improve the production in the secondary is to focus on a better pass rush. The 49ers acquired edge rusher Dee Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs and used the No. 2 overall pick on Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa.

49ers inactives: Tight end George Kittle active in Week 6 vs. Rams

kittleinactivesap.jpg
AP

49ers inactives: Tight end George Kittle active in Week 6 vs. Rams

49ers tight end George Kittle is active for San Francisco's Week 6 game against the Los Angeles Rams. 

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he expected Kittle, who injured his groin Friday, to suit up for the undefeated 49ers against the reigning NFC champions. However, the 49ers reportedly have "some concern" whether Kittle will be able to finish the game. 

The 49ers officially will be without four starters. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk (knee), left tackle Joe Staley (fibula), right tackle Mike McGlinchey (knee) and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (foot) were among the team's inactives Sunday. 

Here's the 49ers' full list of inactives:

[RELATED: Why 49ers' game plan won't change with Gurley out]

Both teams will be short-handed. Rams All-Pro running back Todd Gurley, starting cornerback Aqib Talib and starting linebacker Clay Matthews all will be out Sunday at the LA Memorial Coliseum. 

Given the absences on both sides, this pivotal NFC West matchup should be up for grabs.

NFL rumors: Kyle Allen could keep Panthers’ QB job, start vs. 49ers in Week 8

kyleallenusatsi.jpg
USATSI

NFL rumors: Kyle Allen could keep Panthers’ QB job, start vs. 49ers in Week 8

When the 49ers return home to Levi's Stadium in Week 8, they could play against an unfamiliar quarterback. 

The Carolina Panthers reportedly will wait until Cam Newton is healthy to decide whether to start him or second-year pro Kyle Allen, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. A Panthers source told Rapoport that Carolina's eventual win Sunday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium would mean "Allen likely keeps his job as Newton makes a slow and steady return to the field from his mid-foot sprain."

The Panthers are now 4-0 with Allen under center after Sunday's victory across the pond. He has completed nearly two-thirds of his passes for 901 yards and seven touchdowns, along with no interceptions. Carolina lost both of Newton's starts, and he completed 56.2 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and one interception. Newton's yards per attempt (6.4) would be the lowest of his career over the course of a full season, as would his passer rating (71.0) and QBR (23.1). 

Whether Newton is healthy or Allen continues his winning ways, Week 8 marks the beginning of a stretch in which the 49ers play some of the NFL's best and most promising QBs. From then until the end of the season, San Francisco will see 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray twice, Russell Wilson twice, Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and Matt Ryan. Drew Brees could return to the Saints lineup by the 49ers' Week 14 game in New Orleans, but Teddy Bridgewater has yet to lose any of his three starts in Brees' place. 

[RELATED: Jimmy G will embrace his role as long as 49ers win games]

The undefeated 49ers first have to worry about Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams this week before traveling to Washington to play against one of Case Keenum, Colt McCoy or rookie QB Dwayne Haskins in Week 7. 

But as long as Allen and the Panthers keep winning, Week 8 is a game on the 49ers' schedule to keep an eye on.