Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman grateful 49ers stuck with the defensive backs while bolstering the defense

Oct 14, 2019 at 11:00 AM--

Everyone figured the San Francisco 49ers would try to upgrade their safeties this offseason or even add a starting-caliber cornerback. They left the defensive backs, for the most part, unchanged, and in doing so, expressed confidence in the players who make up the group.

When starting cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon went down in Week 3, a vocal segment of the fanbase felt San Francisco's decision-makers should aggressively pursue Jalen Ramsey.

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan didn't flinch, and once again showed confidence in the roster they put together. Now, the 49ers are 5-0, thanks in large part to a dominant defense, and no one is questioning their decisions or unwillingness to be aggressive anymore.

The 49ers are among the best in the NFL, and few will be able to argue otherwise anymore.

Rather than address the defensive backfield, Lynch and Shanahan focused on the defensive front and successfully built one of the best pass-rushing units in the league, which has helped players like Richard Sherman because it means no longer having to keep up with receivers as long as they once did. And it has allowed the entire defense to feed off opponents' mistakes.

"Those guys (up front) are causing chaos, man," Sherman told Deion Sanders after the 49ers' impressive 20-7 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. "They're hard to contain, and in the back end, it makes it really fun to play when you can just sit back and watch them eat, and watch the quarterback get the ball out quick. It allows you to break on everything."

The 49ers defense held the Rams offense to just 157 total yards and quarterback Jared Goff to 78 yards passing.

"You've got to give Kyle, and John, and [VP of player personnel, Adam Peters] a lot of credit for putting this team together. Our scouting department, they did a great job bringing us (Nick) Bosa, and Dee Ford, and Kwon Alexander, and keeping Jimmie Ward.

"Everybody was sitting there like, 'What is the secondary going to do?' Thank goodness our front office had the wherewithal to just stick with our guys. They knew we could play better football than that, and the pass rush has made a huge difference.

"I just look forward to next game, and putting it on tape again, man. You know how it is when you've got a special defense. Everybody's playing fast. It's a good time."

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