49ers

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. 

Watch 49ers' Jason Verrett go full-speed in change-of-direction drills

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USATSI

Watch 49ers' Jason Verrett go full-speed in change-of-direction drills

Cornerback Jason Verrett did not take part in the 49ers’ practices during the offseason program with the plan of being ready to compete for a starting job when training camp opens in July.

After missing all of last season with a torn Achilles sustained in a conditioning test at the opening of Los Angeles Chargers training camp, Verrett appears on pace to be cleared at or near the beginning of camp this summer.

Verrett on Monday posted videos to his Instagram account that show him going near full speed in change-of-direction drills. During the last week of the team’s offseason program, Verrett said he expected to be ready for training camp. The 49ers are scheduled to report to camp on July 27.

"I’m going to be ready,” Verrett said. “That’s my main focus. It’s just worrying about what I can control and I’m excited to be getting ready for training camp. My health is pretty much everything and I’m on track to be exactly where I want to be. The day I get on that football field they are going to like what they see.”

Verrett, who turned 28 last week, has played in just 25 games since breaking into the NFL in 2014 as the 25th overall draft pick of the Chargers.

He was limited to just six games because of a shoulder injury as a rookie. After appearing in 14 games in 2015 and earning a spot on the AFC Pro Bowl team, Verrett sustained a partial tear of his ACL and played in just four games in 2016.

[RELATED: How will 49ers share RB carries?]

In the first game of 2017, Verrett reinjured his knee and sat out the remainder of the season. Verrett missed all of last season with the injury he sustained on the first day of training camp.

Ahkello Witherspoon had a strong offseason program as the starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman. Verrett is expected to compete with Witherspoon for a starting job.

49ers training camp starts July 26, includes joint Broncos practices

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USATSI

49ers training camp starts July 26, includes joint Broncos practices

The 49ers will open training camp at their Santa Clara practice facility on July 26, the NFL announced Monday.

The club’s first practice is slated for Saturday, July 27. The veterans and rookies are scheduled to report on the same date.

Team president Al Guido announced this month that the 49ers would have more open practices for the general public. Dates and times of those practices will be announced in the near future.

[RELATED: How will 49ers share carries with RBs?]

Here is the schedule of important dates for the 49ers in training camp and beyond:

Monday, July 15: Deadline for any club to sign franchise player (49ers, Robbie Gould) to a multi-year contract, 1 p.m. PT.
Friday, July 26: Reporting date for veterans and rookies in Santa Clara.
Saturday, July 27: First practice of training camp.
Monday, July 29: First padded practice of training camp.
Saturday, Aug. 10: Exhibition game vs. Dallas Cowboys, Levi’s Stadium, 6 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 16: Joint practice with Denver Broncos in Englewood, Colorado, TBA.
Saturday, Aug. 17: Joint practice with Denver in Englewood, Colorado, TBA.
Monday, Aug. 19: Exhibition game at Denver, 5 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 24: Exhibition game at Kansas City Chiefs, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 29: Exhibition game vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Levi’s Stadium, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 31: Prior to 1 p.m. PT, all NFL teams must reduce rosters to maximum of 53 players.
Sunday, Sept. 1: Claiming period for players placed on waivers at final roster reduction, 9 a.m.
Sunday, Sept. 1: Teams can establish 10-player practice squads, approximately 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 29: NFL trade deadline, 1 p.m. (PT).
Tuesday, Nov. 12: Deadline for a franchise player to sign one-year tender with club in order to be eligible to play this season, 1 p.m. (PT).