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Rams coach Sean McVay explains why 49ers’ Richard Sherman is among the NFL’s elite CBs

Sean McVay, Richard Sherman, Rams, 49ers

Bad news Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, Richard Sherman is playing for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Sherman, in year nine, stands as one of the NFL’s best lockdown cornerbacks. He will return from a one-game break (hamstring) on Sunday to prove that. According to Pro Football Reference, he allows a 58 passer rating in coverage, tallying three picks, and 11 pass deflections to no touchdowns allowed.

Stats can’t tell the story of Sherman’s outstanding coverage, but Sean McVay can.

“I think you can see – very talented, he’s got great concept recognition, elite ball skills. That’s the one thing that you see with him,” McVay said on Thursday, via Cameron DaSilva of The Rams Wire. “Then, he seems like a guy that, when he does recognize those concepts, he’s excellent in being able to trigger and you feel like, ‘All right, this might be a guy that’s a good double-move candidate.’ But, he seems like he’s always ready for those. Plays with good technique. You can see he plays with great vision back to the quarterback and he understands how the quarterback’s timing – in terms of his footwork, his drops – are married with route combinations and where that ball can come out.

“I think that’s why you see some elite production from him. You look at a couple of the picks that he’s had this year, it’s great concept recognition, he’ll come up and tackle. He’s a complete player, he’s been doing it at a high level for a long time. When you get a chance to talk to him a little bit, this is a player that has a really unique, big-picture understanding – extremely intelligent. I’ve always been a big fan of him and very impressed with what he’s done. It’s not surprising, but he’s playing at a high level.”

Sherman’s 49ers will host McVay’s Rams on Saturday. A Los Angeles loss would mean the ultimate hangover for McVay and Co.: going to the Super Bowl, losing and not making the playoffs.