SANTA CLARA – Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman reached a milestone in his return from Achilles surgery this week as he began performing individual drills.
The 49ers wrap up their official offseason program on Wednesday, and Sherman said he easily could have been cleared for full work by now if he was in a position to be competing for a roster spot.
“It’s right on par with what we expected,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “The body is feeling good. If I wasn’t an eight-year vet, I’d probably be out there getting more reps in. But they don’t feel I need the reps, and I don’t think I need the reps. So it works out.”
Sherman is on pace to step be practicing without any limitations at or near the beginning of training camp, which is set to open in late-July. He sustained a season-ending ruptured right Achilles in November while a member of the Seattle Seahawks. He also underwent a procedure on his left heel early in the offseason to remove bone spurs.
“There’ve been no setbacks. I know that’s the goal. That’s what we’re targeting, really what we’re expecting,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We’re going to be very cautious, too. Not promising you it’ll be that day, but that’s what we’re looking to and there’s been no reason to think differently.”
Sherman went through drills before practice in which he backpedaled and changed direction to break on thrown passes. Once practice began, he took his standard position during organized team activities (OTAs) as a fully engaged bystander.
“It’s been fun to watch guys grow during the OTA practices, but it’s also frustrating when you know most of the plays that are coming and how they’re going to attack you but you can’t do anything from the sideline but tell guys where to be and when to be there,” Sherman said.
In other 49ers notes and observations:
--Wide receiver Trent Taylor underwent a procedure this offseason to remove bone spurs from his lower back, according to the 49ers. He has not participated in OTAs, but Shanahan said there is no concern about Taylor missing time once camp opens.
“We were patient with it and it was still bothering him right before OTAs,” Shanahan said. “So we went in and cleaned some things up. He’ll be good to go by training camp.”
--Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite target during practice Tuesday was tight end George Kittle, who made four catches over the middle out of the 13 passes Garoppolo attempted. Cornerback Tyvis Powell intercepted a Garoppolo pass intended for wide receiver Aaron Burbridge.
--Rookie receiver Dante Pettis had a standout day with four catches, including a 30-yard over-the-shoulder reception of a C.J. Beathard pass. The catch came against tight coverage from Tararvius Moore. On the next play of the move-the-chains period, Beathard hit Burbridge for a 6-yard TD pass against the coverage of Terrell Williams.
--Reuben Foster and Malcolm Smith lined up as the starting inside linebackers. Smith is playing middle linebacker, which is responsible for the communication on the defense. Foster is remaining at the weakside position, at which he played last season.
“We kind of like Reuben just running around and not having to worry about as much,” Shanahan said.