Richard Sherman’s decision to publicize defensive strategies on Jimmy Garoppolo should have the San Francisco 49ers concerned.
Richard Sherman has the cheat codes on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and he is open to sharing at least one of them with the rest of the world.
Besides his team colors and locale, not much has changed for the future Hall of Fame cornerback.
That same brash and cocksure bravado that helped him earn four consecutive Pro Bowl invitations, a Super Bowl ring and a first-class ticket out of Seattle haven’t washed out of the colors of his new jersey.
You can take Sherman out of the Seahawk, but you can’t take the Seahawk out of Sherman.
The 49ers might have to learn that fact the hard way after coming to terms on a three-year deal with the veteran defensive player in free agency.
He hasn’t even taken his first snap with the team, and he is already facing backlash for publicizing bad habits he’s picked up on in his short time practicing against Garoppolo.
“You just need to read him—hand off ball; he’s letting it go,” Sherman said, according to Patrick Holloway of Niners Nation. “You have to be decisive when you make those decisions. If he takes his hand off the ball and doesn’t throw it, I think he’ll throw guys off, but when he takes his hand off the ball, you’ve got to be ready to break.”
Sherman is a quick study and one of the more cerebral defensive backs to ever play in the NFL, and he has a Stanford University degree on his mantle to prove it.
Still, the 49ers didn’t need their veteran star tipping the hand of a 26-year-old quarterback preparing for his first full season as a starter. How hard would it have been to simply pull Garoppolo aside and give him insight from one of the greatest minds to ever play the cornerback position?
Other players around the league would have picked up on the bad habit eventually, if a predictable release truly is a reoccurring issue. They didn’t need a film study from one of Garoppolo’s teammates to help them do their job better.
Those expecting tranquil waters with Sherman in the Bay Area could be in for a rude awakening.
The 30-year-old veteran hasn’t shied away from publicly and privately lambasting teammates and coaches whenever he feels necessary.
Who could forget his blow-up on the Seahawks coaching staff when they opted to throw the ball from the 1-yard line in a divisional game against the Los Angeles Rams?
There have also been other incidents, including him saying quarterback Russell Wilson “[expletive] sucks” in practice and the verbal lashing he gave former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard in a regular season win over the Atlanta Falcons nearly two years ago.
An argument could be made that each of those incidents were simply moments where Sherman’s competitive spirit boiled over. Carroll made that same argument for several years before he was finally forced to move on from the star corner.
The 49ers would do well to address the situation succinctly and directly to avoid future incidents. One can only imagine what would have happened if Sherman made similar comments with a veteran quarterback like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers as a teammate.
Despite the national attention, don’t expect this situation to slow the momentum of a 49ers team hopeful for an offensive and defensive resurgence in 2018.
While not everyone agrees with Sherman’s methods, there isn’t a pundit alive that can deny his talent. That same, effervescent personality that polarizes fans and drives bleary-eyed coaches up the wall was the engine behind one of the all-time great defenses in Seattle.
And maybe the reason for an all-time great turnaround in San Francisco.