"That guy (Sharpe), he's a legend in this game," Winborn said. "For him to even mention my name in a sentence, I'm happy about it. … But he knew who it was."
All Sharpe has to do is ask New York. Winborn sure showed the Giants – not to mention a national television audience – who he is last week. Winborn keyed the Niners' narrow 16-13 victory with 16 tackles, two tipped passes, one sack and a fourth-down stop of New York running back Tiki Barber behind the line of scrimmage.
Winborn will get an opportunity to show Sharpe exactly who he is and what he can do when the Niners tangle with the Broncos in an early battle of 1-0 teams on Sunday in San Francisco.
Winborn's star turn in New York featured the most tackles in a game by a 49er since 1998. It also was a performance that earned Winborn NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
"It was well-deserved," 49ers coach Steve Mariucci said. "He's another example of a second-year player really making considerable leaps. He's smarter, and more confident, and he understands. He's been through it all a complete year – in season, off season, the whole thing. And now he's just more in tune to what we're doing."
When asked Wednesday how much better an understanding he has of what he's doing now with the 49ers, Winborn talked about growing in leaps and bounds.
"I'd say from a 3-year-old to an 18-year-old," Winborn said. "That's the difference. I'm trying to grasp concepts each day and I'm learning more each day. I'm definitely getting better. I know I'm getting better. But am I where I need to be? Years away."
How many years away? Winborn smiled, then used another age analogy to make his point.
"I want to be like a 70-year-old person out there, you know?" he said. "Seeing it before the offense even sees it."