A little over two weeks into the offseason program, the San Francisco 49ers have decided to cancel the remainder of OTAs, as well as next week’s veteran minicamp.
“…We’re totally done,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan. “We really finished up our exit meetings today, really with everybody. We’re still going to keep the rookies around here for a little bit…I rarely do minicamp when we get nine OTAs in; we usually do one practice and then we have like a team building thing throughout that. And kind of decided earlier in this, if we could get our OTAs in, I wasn’t going to keep them for minicamp because it’s a week longer than usual. I like the guys to get away for 40 days. And we started a week later this year than usual, the whole league did. So they only would have gone away for like 32 days. And I think that does add up. So we had such a big turnout too…[W]e really had 89 people show up to OTAs, which was unbelievable. And the guy who didn’t was here since February rehabbing the whole time now with [DL] Dee [Ford] so he just got away because he’d been here since February and he had to get away for just his peace of mind…I was going to surprise them on Thursday and take everyone bowling. But after our seventh practice with those two injuries and just the aura it gave to it, I wasn’t going to come back and do one more just to do one more. So I surprised them on day eight instead of day nine.”
The two injuries Shanahan was referring to were to S Tarvarius Moore (Achilles) and OL Justin Skule (ACL), both of whom were injured on Monday. A couple weeks ago, RB Jeff Wilson Jr. (Meniscus) was injured.
“…You know, Jeff got hurt sitting down in a chair in the locker room and he got out of it and his knee got in an awkward position,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan. “So, you know obviously it was a freak, unfortunate accident. T-Moore hurt his Achilles on air. No one was by him, he backpedaled and he went to go break forward and it just gave out. And Skule in a pass protection drill, going against someone put his foot down and his knee just buckled. So, three unfortunate injuries, two on the field. I think the hard thing was the two on the field. You know, we had a clean camp, no one got a serious injury like that. And then we had two guys in three plays with Tarvarius and Skule. So that was a little depressing. It’s always, you hate seeing that, but…last year we didn’t have an offseason, we lost four people before training camp started.”
Considering how the 49ers were decimated by injuries in 2020, losing three at this point in the offseason is cause for some concern.
“I think about everything every single day, seven days a week,” Shanahan said. “That’s my job to. And that’s why we’ve changed stuff up a lot and we always do, and we’re always re-evaluating things…[W]e change every year a little bit. We always learn from stuff. But to sit and say we’re going to do training camp differently because someone got hurt getting out of chair, because someone got hurt on air and a person hurt his knee playing football would be pretty irresponsible of me and extremely reactionary. I just try to do what’s right for a guys and provide them football and we try to do it the safest way as possible.”
With the practices and meetings they did that, Shanahan has a lot of confidence in his players as they head out for the summer.
“I think the guys felt like we accomplished a lot,” Shanahan said. “…I think the guys came in and really attacked it hard and that’s really what I appreciated. Our guys never came in and demanded anything. They wanted to know what my plan was. And I got a bunch of guys who really love football and who aren’t scared to work. And guys came in and did it each day, did everything we asked for. And when they did that, I just felt like our guys, and me included as a coach, I felt we’d accomplish what we’d set out to do. And you try to make decisions for 90 people. Yeah, there’s probably about 15 guys that I’d love to continue to put on a whole camp for. But I’m not going to do that at the expense of the other 75. Where about three weeks ago there, I want to put on a camp for 75 people and there’s really about 15 guys I’m not so worried about. But I still like everyone to be a part of it because you don’t want to just say, ‘Hey, these guys don’t have to do it, but these guys do.’ And that’s why I’m proud of our team and that all these guys showed up and came to work and a lot got better and a lot, some guys struggled in OTAs, but it’s crucial that you learn that now, because now you can do something about it. When you learn that a week into training camp it’s ‘Oh, what do I do now?’ It’s a little too late.”
And with that, the 49ers are off until training camp.