Richard Sherman said there is something about the 49ers that has not been discussed enough coming off of their 2019 campaign. Despite the 13-3 record, an NFC West title and the organization's seventh Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, Sherman credits the team's chemistry as an underlying factor to San Francisco's success.
The 49ers will have to rely heavily on that chemistry following an abbreviated offseason due to the effects of COVID-19. Where clubs regroup and refine their teams during OTAs and minicamp, those 10-plus weeks are now wedged into a condensed and heavily regulated training camp.
Despite the modifications, Sherman believes the 49ers are "uniquely constructed" to overcome the limitations of the season. Much of that viewpoint weighs on the effects of San Francisco's heartbreaking end to the year and the team's desire to address its unfinished business.
"I think our team is incredibly focused because of how close we were to winning the Super Bowl last year," Sherman said. "That taste in their mouth is a bit of discipline in itself. That hunger, that angst is discipline in itself. I think our team is incredibly committed and driven towards that goal, and I think that in itself will be discipline enough."
Beyond the uncontrollable elements surrounding the season, there's an emphasis on accountability – both on and off the field. Players have spent the last four months preparing on their own and navigating the playbook virtually. However, San Francisco's returning personnel is an added benefit to the team's distance learning.
The majority of the NFC Championship roster remains intact heading into the season. That also includes nearly all of their coaching staff from 2019. Sherman believes the team's chemistry, built from continuity throughout the 49ers roster, should provide value that San Francisco can benefit from coming off of last year's Super Bowl defeat.
"It's about elevating," Sherman said. "Last year was a pretty good year. But there are a lot of things we could have done better. There are a lot of things we wish we could have back. A lot of things we could have been sharper on. A lot of communication that we need to be sharper on. And those things will be better this year. I think another year of continuity, another year of being in the same room, being in the same scheme, knowing each other, we'll be sharper."
The road back to the championship game won't be easy for San Francisco, and the challenges of the unique offseason certainly don't assist in the process. However, there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 49ers heading into 2020, beginning with ridding that bad taste from the close of last season.
"Obviously, it's an adjustment, and winning teams find a way to adjust the best in a situation," he added. "I think the team that would adapt the best will be the one holding a trophy at the end."