Ladies and gentleman, football is back! The San Francisco 49ers reported to training camp today and they came to play…and more importantly, to work.
The Niners won their last five games, but they still ended the season 6-10, so there is plenty of work to be done. They are light years beyond where they were last year at this time, but they are far from the Super Bowl. And they know it.
Here’s what Kyle Shanahan and Company had to say on the eve of their first practice of the season.
Richard Sherman is “100 Percent” Healthy
Richard Sherman has been 100% cleared to practice and will do so tomorrow. Because he passed his physical and isn’t starting the season on the PUP list, Sherman earned his $2 million bonus. He’s having a good day.
“…I never had any doubt, Sherman said. “My body was recovering and healing at the rate that they wanted it to heal and working with our strength and conditioning coach, Ray Wright, and getting all of those workouts in was incredibly beneficial and doing the conditioning test and things like that.”
The 49ers will be careful with the veteran cornerback though, starting with a couple days on and then a day off.
“I just want to see him get comfortable,” Shanahan said. “…Richard is also a guy…we trust how he thinks, how he works. We know it’s as important to him to get out there as anyone in this world. So he’s someone we are going to communicate to a lot…We have got to be careful. We have got to be sure if Richard is being a little too aggressive, it’s our job to pull him back a little bit. But we have got to communicate the right way because, really, all I care about Richard is him getting himself back to being Richard Sherman by Week 1. And if he can’t do it by then, just be honest with us, because it’s a matter of time when he gets back.”
In Less Great News
LB Malcolm Smith has been placed on the NFI list with a lower leg injury. Smith was out all of last season with a torn pectoral muscle, so the 49ers have to hope this is minor. Marcell Harris and Kentavius Street are also on the NFI list, but those were expected.
Wide receiver Trent Taylor continues to nurse a back injury and has been placed on the PUP list, as has guard Jonathan Cooper and LB Dekoda Watson.
That QB1 Spotlight
The normally private Jimmy Garoppolo got a lot of attention for a very public date with an adult film star last week.
When Shanahan was asked about it, he joked, “I never heard anything about those articles. What are you talking about?”
Garoppolo, for his part, is learning that being QB1 in California is very different from being QB2 in New England – something that is true on and off the field.
“I’ve never really been very big on being public with things, even social media…but my life’s looked at differently and I’m under a microscope,” said Garoppolo. “It’s like Kyle said. It is a good learning experience. Just have to take it in stride. I mean, it is what it is.”
Miles to Go Before the Playoffs
With their hot finish and franchise quarterback, a lot of expectations have been put on the 49ers for this season, but they are trying not to listen.
“The way we finished last season was all positive and everything, but this is a completely new season, with new challenges,” said left tackle Joe Staley. “I think everybody’s been very focused, and understands that. It’s exciting to be able to build on something positive from last year, and kind of carry it into the offseason, but there’s nobody in that locker room saying we’ve arrived or anything like that.”
It’s also a little early to call them a playoff team.
“I think we have the pieces to be a playoff team, we have the talent,” said Sherman. “We have the guys, the experience. We’ve got the receivers. We have the quarterback. We have the mind in Kyle. We have the defensive mind in [Robert] Saleh, but it’s about pieces playing together.”