CB Richard Sherman
CB Richard Sherman
Press Conference – January 24,2020
San Francisco 49ers
QB Jimmy Garoppolo just spoke about how he’s very similar to you and he’s motivated by hearing criticism. He reacts differently, but does that surprise you at all?
“No, it doesn’t. You don’t become a great player by just letting people say whatever they want about you and not taking some of it as fuel. You just — you know, everybody responds different. Everybody has different personalities, but you can tell by his play that he’s heard it and he’s responded well.”
Obviously, your guys’ defense has been successful because you’re talented, first and foremost, but you guys are also a very confident group. How important is that confidence, especially when you’re about to face a team like Kansas City that has an offense that’s very explosive and puts up points quickly? How important is it to remain confident and just be confident in the abilities that you guys all have as a whole?
“I think confidence in this league, just in general, is one of the most important things. That’s what allows great players to be great, and that’s what kind of hampers and keeps other players from being great or reaching their potential is because you either get confidence early or you lose it, and once you lose it, it’s hard to find again, but once you have it, it’s hard to take from you. But I think we believe in each other. We believe in the scheme. We believe in what we’ve done all year, and we plan on going out there and putting a good product on tape and seeing how it goes.”
Why do you seem to relish those verbal sort of tussles? You seem to use those as fuel, like you said.
“Because I enjoy seeing people be wrong and myself be right. It’s one of those things.”
Your brother takes pride in pushing your buttons, and he says he’s been doing it since you were a kid. When he’s still doing it after all this time, does it still work?
“Yes, it works. No matter how old, we’re going to be 90 years old, and he’s still going to be able to push the buttons. That’s just kind of sibling rivalry, sibling connection. He understands what makes me tick as well as just about anybody. So he’ll still be able to push the buttons in our old age.”
What’s the key to defending Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes?
“You know, I don’t think there’s any individual key to defending him. You’ve got to play good defense. You’ve got to contain the receivers. You’ve got to do your job. You’ve got to limit the big plays, but it’s easier said than done for sure.”
Is there anything that makes him unique?
“There’s a ton that makes him unique. He got the MVP last year for a reason. He throws a great deep ball. He trusts his receivers. He’s creative with how he gets the ball to them. They have an explosive offense. He’s tailor made for [Kansas City Chiefs Head Coach] Andy Reid’s system.”
How has defensive coordinator Robert Saleh evolved over the last two years and kind of grow as a coordinator?
“I don’t know if he’s changed that much as a coordinator. He’s calling a lot of the same plays. He’s scheming it up just as he always has. I guess he has more talent, and I guess people are executing the calls that he calls. That was one of the things where I would get frustrated with his criticisms because people were like, ‘oh, my God, he’s calling a terrible game.’ I was like, ‘well, he’s calling a great game and poor execution more than anything.’ You call a blitz, and they don’t blitz. You call a cover two, they play cover three. You get poor execution, and then everybody is like, ‘oh, my God, he’s a terrible coordinator, and he’s calling the same stuff this year,’ and all of a sudden we’re number one in the league. It’s guys just executing the scheme that he called.”
Last week you switched it up a little bit early in the game and you played on the opposite side from where you normally play. How effective is that sort of surprise, and how wary of it are you as a defensive player going into a game like this, where you’ve got two weeks to prepare?
“Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know how much of an effect it had on them. I think some plays, it just perplexed their coordinator, and they didn’t know what we were trying to do. It doesn’t make a difference to me honestly. Whatever the coach calls, if he tells me to line up on the right for these plays or line up on the right the whole game, then that’s what I’m going to do. Like I said before, I don’t call the scheme. I just play the scheme that’s called.”
I wondered about the element of surprise, with two weeks to prepare, how you have to approach that?
“There’s always some wrinkles, especially on defense and offense. I’m sure they’ll put in some wrinkles. That’s the gamesmanship of it. That’s the gamesmanship of having a long time to prepare and having two very unique coordinators.”
You seem pretty attuned to conversations going on before games. A lot of people were talking about Kansas City’s team speed. How do you guys feel like you match up with that? How do you match up with speed schematically?
“It’s kind of an ambiguous question, but how do we match up with speed schematically? I guess we match up well. This is a fast football league. There’s a lot of teams with speed. There’s a lot of teams that have a tremendous amount of speed on the outside, on the inside. At the end of the day, you’ve got to go out there and execute your scheme regardless. You can go out there and face five receivers that a four-six, and if you don’t execute your scheme, you can get run out of the building. So at the end of the day, we expect to go out there and do what we’ve done.”
Does having Super Bowl experience help a player? Is that an asset, and do you feel your experience helps you?
“It’s overrated. Before I won a Super Bowl, we didn’t have any experience, and we won the game 43-8. It doesn’t make a difference. It’s a football game. If you said the Super Bowl, you’re going to play under different rules and unique XFL, there’s 80-yard field, you know, then cool, it would be something to have experience doing that. But if the field’s 53 and a third, whatever it is, if the end zone’s the same, if the field goal posts are in the same spots, then it’s the same game.”
When you came here, there was a lot of young eyes in that locker room that were looking at you to see what you were like, and some of them I’ve talked to, they were even a little bit nervous because of all you’ve done and your pedigree. How did you go about putting them at ease, and how much have you enjoyed that relationship with the young players?
“Well, I don’t know what I’ve done to put them at ease. I just communicate with your teammates, get to know them. I always told them it doesn’t really matter what you did in the past, you know what I mean? They’re like, ‘oh, my God, your Seattle days were so cool.’ I was like, ‘I’m about to show you even better.’ It’s not about what you’ve done in the past. It’s what I’m going to show you now, and what I’m going to show you now is the best product I can put out on the field. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s a lot of great players, great teammates, a lot of guys that have grown tremendously since I’ve gotten here, and I think we’ve enjoyed this journey together.”
Do you feel like there’s a little bit of unfinished business from the last time, just personally you, when you were last in the Super Bowl?
“I don’t think about the last time very much. It’s a different team, different organization. I look forward to another opportunity to go chase that trophy, and I think we have a great opp.”
You’ve been on different championship teams. What are the biggest factors that separate the teams that are great?
“They have great players. Just kidding. Great players, great execution, great coaching and poise. There’s a sense of brotherhood for sure in the building. There’s a trust in one another. There’s a bit of adversity, you know, overcoming adversity throughout the season, and we’ve had all those ingredients. Then it’s just guys that play hard for one another. They won’t take no for an answer.”
Every player that CB K’Waun Williams tackled facing the backers outweighed him by nearly 20 pounds or more?
“That’s it? It’s not enough.”
That was the minimum. But he said you can’t measure anyone’s heart.
“You can’t. If they could measure heart at the combine, they’d stop doing these pointless drills and all this other stuff, and they’d stop having busts in the second and third and fourth and fifth round. They’d stop having busts because if you could measure what K’Waun has, what [DB] Jimmie Ward has, what [DL] DeFo [DeForest Buckner] has, what [LB] Fred Warner has, what [TE George] Kittle has, what [QB] Jimmy Garoppolo has, then all these guys would be first day picks. You’re talking about [LB Dre] Greenlaw went in the fifth round in this last draft, and you’re not going to sit here and tell me he’s not a day one talent. But that’s just how it goes, you know what I mean? If you could measure the things that these guys have, then they wouldn’t make as many mistakes in the process. It is what it is.”
How good is Greenlaw?
“He’s really good. For a rookie to come in and play as well as he has, I would expect him to be on first team all-rookie teams and everything. He deserves it. He’s played at a high level since he got here. It’s hard to say enough about how well he’s performed.”