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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman says 49ers ‘have the pieces to be a playoff team’

Jul 25, 2018 at 2:23 PM--

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Cornerback Richard Sherman won't make predictions in July but believes the pieces are in place for the 49ers to be good in 2018.

The Niner Faithful have high expectations this year for the San Francisco 49ers. Fans expect head coach Kyle Shanahan and company to be able to build on the strong finish from last season. Players, however, are focused on right now and not the potential for January football.

One player who believes it is premature to discuss the playoffs in July is All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman. The team is barely reporting to training camp and hasn't even played a preseason game yet.

"To say this looks like a playoff team after three minicamp practices and some OTAs is reaching," Sherman said on Wednesday. "I'd be hard-pressed to say we don't look like a playoff team or we do, you know what I mean? I'd be lying."

Observing his new teammates during training camp will help Sherman determine the team's true potential. The cornerback said the rigorous day-to-day grind of these July and August practices will reveal a lot about a player.

"Some days you're on, you've got it, you've got the energy, you're body's feeling great," Sherman continued. "Some days you're not. Are guys able to overcome that and still play at a consistently high level? And that's what you'll find out throughout training camp."

While he isn't ready to make an offseason prediction just yet, Sherman does believe the potential is there for the 49ers to play postseason football for the first time since the Jim Harbaugh era.

"I think we have the pieces to be a playoff team," he said. "We have the talent. We have the guys, the experience. We've got the receivers. We've got the quarterback. We have the mind in Kyle (Shanahan). We have the defensive mind in (Robert) Saleh. But it's about pieces playing together. It's not robots, so it's not like, 'Hey, on paper, this is how it's going to be out there.' Guys have to go out there and put it on tape."

49ers players are focused on the 2018 season and not what the team accomplished at the end of 2017. They know last year's strong finish means nothing going into the new season.

"I don't think anyone is thinking about last year or what happened," Sherman said. "It was a 6-10 team that didn't make the playoffs. The few positives that were from last year, they're taking and appreciating them. It's still a 6-10 team at the end of the day. You're still picking in the top 10 in the draft, so it's not a lot to celebrate.

"I think that's the way guys are approaching it. I think guys are hungry and they're excited to get out there and prove that this is a great team and that we can win ball games and consistently win ball games.

"Going 5-0 into a playoff run and doing damage is much different than going 5-0 after going 1-10. So I think guys understand that and guys are focused on right now and making sure they make this team. You rest on your reputation, and you're going to be resting at home this year."

Sherman's new quarterback feels the same way.

"[Last year] was a good end of the season," 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said on Wednesday. "It sounds very cliché, but it's a new year. We have new players. Every team is different around the league now so you kind of start from the ground up. I think we started with that in OTAs and got a good jump on it but now training camp is here, and we have to take it one day at a time. That sounds very cliché saying that but that's the best way to approach it."

The 49ers are scheduled to hold their first team practice on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. That practice at the SAP Performance Facility in Santa Clara will be open to fans.


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