Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman looking forward to Jimmy Garoppolo having a Pro Bowl season in 2020

Jul 27, 2020 at 1:12 PM--


Cornerback Richard Sherman expects that to be the San Francisco 49ers' biggest advantage heading into an unprecedented and unpredictable season. NFL teams haven't had proper offseasons due to the coronavirus pandemic. When squads gather on the practice field during training camp, it will be their first time doing so since last season.

Yes, teams have been working hard this offseason. That work has been conducted virtually, though. Players have been training on their own, save a few player-organized practices that ended due to an increase in positive COVID-19 tests.

Sherman expects the 49ers' continuity to help the team overcome the strangeness of this offseason, and fuel a quest to return to the Super Bowl.

"This year, we won't catch anybody by surprise," Sherman said Monday during an Instagram interview with Pro Football Focus. "Fred Warner was in his second year; has been a huge impact playmaker for us. (Nick) Bosa was obviously a rookie. Dee Ford had his knee troubles throughout the year, and hopefully, that's quelled.

"We lose DeForest (Buckner), which is an enormous loss, but obviously, they drafted (Javon) Kinlaw to do that ... We get Ronald Blair back. Obviously, Kwon (Alexander) will be back and play more games, hopefully, this season. (Dre) Greenlaw got some valuable experience. Emmanuel Moseley was in his second year, playing in the Super Bowl, undrafted free agent from Tennessee. He played really well."

"So you've got to expect that the continuity -- any time that you've got the same secondary, same defense coming back, the communication is better, the continuity. That's what helps teams like us in this uncertain time, where practice will be different and everything."

Other than just having continuity, Sherman expects the young roster to improve with the added experience of the 49ers' deep playoff run last season.

"We'll have the same group, running the same scheme, and guys communicating the same, guys who know each other," Sherman continued. "So that will be helpful, but you've got to expect guys like Bosa to improve, Deebo Samuel to improve. They've got (Brandon) Aiyuk coming in — Kyle (Shanahan) is drafting guys he wants — and he'll come in and make an impact."

Then you have Jimmy Garoppolo. Even though he threw for nearly 4,000 yards last season, Sherman expects his quarterback to be even better in his second full NFL season as a starter.

Fair or not, the national media has placed much of the blame for February's Super Bowl loss on Garoppolo's shoulders. His reduced role in the 49ers' two playoff games and an offseason flirtation with potentially adding Tom Brady has only fueled the criticism and doubt.

In the end, Shanahan and company decided that Garoppolo was a better long-term solution for the 49ers than Brady, who will be 43 years old in a few days.

"And obviously, I think that Jimmy G, this being his second full season, hopefully, starting, will have leaps and bounds improvement, and he had a great season last year," Sherman said. "So, I look forward to him having a Pro Bowl season this year."

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