Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Dre Greenlaw shares how Richard Sherman’s absence has impacted the 49ers defense

Oct 16, 2020 at 6:46 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers secondary has missed Richard Sherman lining up against opposing wide receivers. The veteran cornerback hasn't played since Week 1 as he deals with a calf strain. He won't play this weekend against the Los Angeles Rams. In fact, no one seems really sure when Sherman will be back on the field.

The 49ers miss Sherman, who has taken on a leadership role for his younger teammates over the past three seasons. In preparation for Sunday night's game, linebacker Dre Greenlaw sat down (virtually) with Liam McHugh of NBC Sports and shared what Sherman has meant to young players like him and the team as a whole.

McHugh asked Greenlaw which teammate has influenced him the most.

"You've got to give it to a guy like Sherm," Greenlaw responded. "He hasn't been with us the last couple weeks, but you can tell a big difference when Sherm is on the field, and when Sherm is in the classroom, when Sherm is with us as a team. Right now, he's been out because he's a little injured or banged up, whatever the case may be.

"He's just a guy that, even the coaches, when he talks, and he sees something, and he knows how it's supposed to be played, or how it was played maybe a couple of years ago, and it didn't work out, he's a guy that's been through it all, so you've just got to listen and respect what he is saying. Just his confidence and his voice gives that leadership that we've actually been missing these last couple of weeks."

Others have been trying to step into that leadership role with Sherman sidelined. Greenlaw mentions Kwon Alexander but it is worth noting that it was revealed this week that the veteran linebacker will be out indefinitely with a high-ankle sprain.

"We've got other guys like Fred (Warner) and Kwon and Arik Armstead that's really done a good job of trying to be more vocal," Greenlaw continued. "But having Richard Sherman back there in that secondary, and he's kind of the eagle eye of the defense. That's one guy who I really look to.

"(If) I'm going through something or something's not right or when I need a confidence boost, Sherm's that guy to come in and say, 'Hey, man, what's going on? I can tell your head has been down.' ... Whatever it may be. But just hearing it from a guy like Sherm, it's really big."

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