Seattle Seahawks

49ers' DeForest Buckner considers Ex-Seahawk Michael Bennett a ‘mentor’

49ers' DeForest Buckner considers Ex-Seahawk Michael Bennett a ‘mentor’

The 49ers' defensive line is undoubtedly one of the most formidable the NFL has to offer entering the 2019 season. The team will have five former first-round draft picks lining up in the rotation, including 2016 No. 7 overall selection DeForest Buckner.

The Oregon product recently joined the “RapSheet and Friends” podcast with the NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport and spoke about a particular player who has helped him improve throughout his career.

“Mike’s a great dude, he’s probably one of the best people you’ll ever meet,” Buckner said of Michael Bennett, an 11-year NFL veteran who won a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.

Bennett trains in Buckner’s home state of Hawaii during the offseason and reached out to the 6-foot-7 defensive lineman about joining him.

“I took advantage of that opportunity, it’s Michael Bennett. He’s a pro bowler, a Super Bowl champ. He plays on the edge and in the inside, and I really wanted to be able to pick his brain and learn from him.

"Since my rookie year, working out with him, seeing the different things in his game that I could instill in my game too, he helped me a lot on technique stuff.”

Buckner also emphasized that he’s learned a lot from Bennett off the field as well during their time together.

[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo has been impressed by 49ers' remodeled defensive line]

“Just being a good mentor, he’s one of those guys where, he doesn’t care who you are. He’ll bring in younger guys coming up in the league, and also older guys, and just try to bring them to Hawaii and we all just work out together," Buckner said. 

"It’s great every offseason being able to pick his brain a little bit, and he’s been getting better each and every year as he’s gotten older, so he’s got a little formula he's got going on that's really successful for him, and I’m trying to learn from him.

“It’s definitely cool to have a savvy vet like him being able to take in younger guys, and bring them under their wing. And help them out a lot and show them the way through the league, because he’s had a lot of success, especially for an undrafted player. And like you said, he doesn’t have to do those things but that’s the kind of guy he is.”

NFL rumors: Michael Crabtree won't sign with Cardinals despite report

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AP

NFL rumors: Michael Crabtree won't sign with Cardinals despite report

UPDATE: The Cardinals reportedly worked out Crabtree, but have "no intention on signing him," NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Monday evening. This article was published before that report.

Oct. 31 could be spooky for 49ers and Seattle Seahawks fans, and not just because it's Halloween. 

The Arizona Cardinals reportedly signed Michael Crabtree on Monday, a source told Pro Football Talk. Should Crabtree break camp with the Cardinals, he'll be in for a rematch in Week 9 of the NFL season. 

The Cardinals will host the 49ers on Halloween, setting up a Week 9 showdown between Crabtree and now-49ers cornerback Richard Sherman. The two infamously jawed during the 2013 NFC Championship game between the 49ers and Sherman's Seattle Seahawks, but Sherman had the last laugh and soundbite.

Sherman tipped Colin Kaepernick's pass intended for Crabtree to linebacker Malcolm Smith -- who also now is a 49er. In a postgame interview with Fox's Erin Andrews, Sherman called Crabtree a "sorry receiver."

Crabtree has not matched up with Sherman or the Seahawks since 2014. That was Crabtree's final season in San Francisco, and he was held to six receptions for 29 yards in two games. 

[RELATED: Jimmy G reveals lesson he learned after torn ACL]

If Crabtree and Sherman line up against one another in 2019, it will serve as yet another example of how much has changed since that NFC Championship game and how much hasn't, assuming Crabtree and Sherman talk trash once again. 

How 49ers defense reminds Richard Sherman of Seahawks' 'Legion of Boom'

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USATSI

How 49ers defense reminds Richard Sherman of Seahawks' 'Legion of Boom'

Richard Sherman knows the "Legion of Boom" as well as anyone. After, all the 49ers cornerback arguably was the face of Seattle's vaunted -- or, hated, if you wear red and gold in the Bay Area -- defense. 

So when the 31-year-old says San Francisco's defense reminds him of Seattle's, well, he's worth listening to. 

"I see similarities now, obviously, with all the pass rushers we have now, all the talent we have up front," Sherman said Saturday on NFL Network (via 49ers Webzone). "The linebackers are versatile. They can run, they can cover. And then in the backend, we've got tall, rangy corners. We've got Jason Verrett now, who's very versatile. K'Waun (Williams) is a great slot (corner), and we've got a hitter in the strong safety box.

"So I think we're going to be similar. Obviously, schematically, it's similar, but we'll see. We've got to be consistent. We've had some really good days out here. You've got to stack them, though, as you know."

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh coached for three seasons in Seattle (2011 through 2013), and then coached under ex-Seahawks assistant Gus Bradley for parts of three seasons (2014-2016) before coming to San Francisco. The principles were there, but the personnel was not last season. Verrett, linebacker Kwon Alexander and edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford all joined the 49ers defense this offseason in an effort to improve a unit that struggled to rush the passer (37 sacks) and force turnovers (NFL-worst seven) in 2018. 

[RELATED: Jimmy G reveals lessons he learned from torn ACL]

Pro Bowl defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, who posted a career-high 12.0 sacks last season, now has significant help flanking him in Bosa and Ford. With an improved pass rush, Sherman thinks the turnovers could follow. 

"It does make a huge difference," Sherman said. "No slight to anybody else that came before but these guys are getting to the passer, and they're putting pressure, making the quarterback uncomfortable in his footwork. So they are airing passes, they're off their back foot, they're not putting it exactly where they want it to be. So that gives DBs a chance."

The 49ers will get some game action Saturday in their preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys, although it remains to be seen just how much of their revamped defense will play. When the real games begin in Week 1 on Sept. 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sherman's comparison will be put to the test.