It’s unknown whether Sherman did the same thing to 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo yesterday. Or today.
Sherman has intercepted Garoppolo in consecutive practices. Coach Kyle Shanahan addressed the situation with reporters on Saturday.
“Practices are great because you get to experience it from practice and you can coach it the exact same way you would in a game, but it’s a little bit easier because the emotions aren’t there of winning and losing the game and everyone in the world seeing it,” Shanahan said. “So, that’s what’s fun about practice. It’s never fun when a guy makes a mistake, but it’s always fun to coach it because you can actually get better from that for when it does count. You talk about, I don’t think those are necessarily being aggressive. It’s Sherm playing with vision.
“Both of those passes weren’t to the guy Sherm was covering, but if you sail anything over guys, or you look at one guy too long and you’re not knowing where he is, Sherm’s just going to follow your eyes and go and come out of nowhere. That’s happened to him twice in the last two days and that’s something that does happen in games if you’re not aware of those type of players. It’s great to remind him, ‘Hey, you’ve got to work on your eyes here. Just because you’re looking here, it doesn’t mean someone else isn’t looking at you and showing up at the end of the play.’ If no one reminds you of that, like Sherm, for an entire training camp or throughout the preseason and you get reminded in Week One, you’re like, how the hell did that just happen? It’s, well, no, that’s bound to happen, but one of our players showed you that, so you correct it.”
It’s a great point, and it’s a way to avoid the complacency that can happen when, during the preseason, a team never faces an opponent.
“It always goes back to iron sharpening iron,” Shanahan said. “A DB, if he’s squatting on every single route and covering the heck out of us, I’m hoping that we can call a ‘go’ route versus him to show him, ‘Hey, yeah, you’re doing good in these coverages, but we’re going to run by you in this coverage.’ I’m hoping we can generate that in practice so he learns from that and that’s a really good rep. . . . Now, instead of learning that in Week One in a big moment, you learn in a practice and it helps keep everybody honest. That’s the key because you practice against the same guys, the same coverage over and over. That’s why you do like scrimmages. That’s why you do like some preseason games, just so you can go against something different.”
It’s one of the major benefits of having a really good team; a good offense makes the defense better in practice, and a good defense makes the offense better in practice.
Sherman’s interceptions will, in theory, make Garoppolo better. But it sounds like Garoppolo eventually may turn the tables on Sherman, letting a receiver do what Davante Adams did in the NFC Championship and what Sammy Watkins did in the Super Bowl.