49ers’ Richard Sherman: Kyle Shanahan One of NFL’s Best Offensive Minds

Richard Sherman

Getty Richard Sherman at Super Bowl media day.

Richard Sherman has seen it all in his nine seasons in the NFL, experiencing great success with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks.

Since coming into the league, Sherman’s time in the NFC West has been prolific to say the least: four Pro Bowls in Seattle, another in San Francisco and another five All-Pro selections to boot.

Recently, the 32-year-old corner talked with NFL.com‘s about the differences in his time with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and Seahawks counterpart Pete Carroll, highlighting key differences between the two.

Pete has a way of making sure everybody feels good, making sure he pushes buttons with certain players and not pushing buttons on other players. Kyle is different. He’s one size fits all. I’m going to cut it to you as straight as I can, as best as I can, and I’m going to explain every single detail of what I understand about the game that either makes this a good play or a bad play or makes us a good team or a bad team. That honesty is something that I think is valuable in a head coach because there’s no gray area.

Carroll and Sherman won Super Bowl XLVIII together, while Sherman’s time under Shanahan has seen a resurgence in his second season at Santa Clara, California as the defensive back and San Francisco made a run to Super Bowl LIV.

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Shanny and Carroll’s Contributions to the NFL

While Sherman provided several comparisons, one of the most interesting is how he talks about the two coaches’ influence and how they’ve affected the league in different ways.

Kyle is one of the best offensive minds we’ve ever had in this game. That comes into it. With Pete, it’s the Cover 3 he brought to the league. It seems so simple, but nobody can run it like we ran it. The way both of them implement what they do — they talk to others on a personal level, then have the great coaches around them who believe in their philosophy.

Another interesting aspect of Sherman’s words is that he talks about how they both talk personally with players. Carroll is well-known for being a players’ coach and a consistent speaker in favor of players’ rights, while Shanahan has a public voice that is a bit less active.

Sherman On Shanahan’s Staff-Building

When asked about “staff assembly,” Sherman spoke extensively on Shanahan, saying that a major reason why the 49ers HC and the team is successful has to do with how his staff has been hand-picked and been together for years.

Kyle’s guys have been with him since he’s been an assistant or a graduate assistant. How you pick the staff is a big part of their success. That’s what makes the team great. It’s not just the head coach; the head coach gets all the credit, but it’s the pieces he puts around him because they still have to deliver his message, and they deliver it on a day-to-day basis. We might sit in a meeting with the head coach for 30 minutes a day, but I sit in meetings with the assistants for five to six hours a day. So the staff is critical.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh saw a dramatic turnaround in 2019 as the 49ers built their 13-3 regular season on defensive dominance, putting together one of the NFL’s best defensive fronts with the play of Sherman and the 49ers secondary.

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Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, Mont. Reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier and join our 49ers community at Heavy on 49ers on Facebook.