No trade no problem — Sherman is the perfect corner and perfect leader for the rising 49ers

The Niners have no need to go outside the organization for secondary help

Tommy Call
October 16, 2019 - 6:39 am

When Richard Sherman first appeared in a 49er uniform, it was an awkward sight. At the time, when most Niners’ fans picturedSherman, they remembered him celebrating Thanksgiving in 2014, chomping down a turkey drumstick on the centerfield logo at Levi’s Stadium. 

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Fans had no choice but to accept Sherman after general manager John Lynch signed him coming off an Achilles injury. Little did anyone know Sherman would be a figurehead in the 49ers’ 2019 turnaround.

After a 5-0 start, the 49ers are officially on the rise and Sherman is the perfect mouthpiece this young team needs. 

Outside of Joe Staley and Sherman, the core of the 49ers is relatively young. Jimmy Garoppolo has experience as a winner from the sidelines during his time backing up Tom Brady, but the rest of the 49ers leadership hasn’t been on a stage set by a 5-0 record. 

The roster needs the confidence to know they can handle this type of pressure. They don’t want to be the team that falls apart when they have everyone’s attention. Sherman is here to provide that confidence.

Handling the hype of the national media’s attention is a real narrative the 49ers will face. Luckily, Lynch brought in Sherman exactly for this type of situation. Some call it cocky, but what Sherman brings is leadership. 

When Sherman was at his peak with the Seahawks he was in the shoes of many current 49ers. The Seahawks became an NFC powerhouse quickly with Sherman at the center of it all. Now he’s a veteran on a team that’s 5-0 for the first time since 1990. The 49ers need his experience as they rise the ranks of the NFL. 

After each win, Sherman steps to the microphone and speaks as a winner should speak. His words are creating a fire for the younger players to feed on. 

The 49ers were criticized for “not playing anyone” or for being a “fake undefeated team” and Sherman doesn’t want to let anyone forget. 

"Call us pretenders the whole time. You don't get to say hindsight is 20/20 at the end of this,” said Sherman. “Whatever your word was, please stick to it. The Faithful, continue to believe in us. We're going to fight as long as we can."

This is what you want to hear from your star players. The “we’re going to take it one game at a time” approach is stale. If Sherman is giving statements like this to the media, what do you think he’s saying in the locker room? 

Whether it’s the media, coaching staff or fellow teammates, Sherman is the smartest person in the room. Everything he says has a purpose. 

Yes, he may have slipped up with the Baker Mayfield handshake situation, but the whole thing showed the length he'll go to motivate himself and his teammates. 

Do you not believe Sherman was telling his teammates on the sideline that Mayfield curved him on the handshake? How would you feel if one of your team leaders was saying he was disrespected? It may have not been true, but there was a message he was trying to send. 

Winning five-straight puts a target on the 49ers' back. They will no longer sneak up on anyone. They will be the favorite going forward. They need to lose the "surprise team" motto and transition to being the bully. Sherman is making that happen.

Outside of all the talk, Sherman has been steady with his play, but the effect he’s had on the players around him this season might be his biggest asset to the 49ers. Every player in the secondary has improved in 2019.

Young players like Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley have developed nicely, while underwhelming, but talented pieces like Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward are playing some of the best football of their careers. Would these players be trending upwards without the guidance of Sherman? Doubtful. 

Heading into the season the 49ers secondary was one of their biggest question marks. Now with even two key injuries, it’s playing like the perfect cog in the league’s best defense.

Walk into the 49ers’ locker room and listen to the players speak — it can be an offensive player, a coach or a ball boy and they’re bound to mention the influence of Sherman. Sherman gets a ton of credit from his teammates, but he’s trying to flip that around. 

After the Rams victory, Sherman mentioned underrated players like Tartt, Ward and D.J. Jones need more credit. He spoke their names loudly and clearly into the microphone in hopes to give them the recognition they deserve. 

Sherman is about as good of a mentor for a young secondary as you could have in this league. Why wouldn’t you want to follow in his footsteps? Stanford educated, Super Bowl champ, All-Pro first team, Pro Bowler and let’s not forget his journey back from an Achilles injury. He’s done it all at the highest level and now he’s laying a roadmap for this young 49ers team. 

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