The San Francisco 49ers kick off their 2020 season in just over two weeks, when the Arizona Cardinals come to Levi’s Stadium. Friday, the 49ers practiced inside Levi’s as they get prepped for Kyler Murray and Co.
Let’s Talk Offense
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was missing quite a few of his friends today, with Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Kyle Juszczyk, George Kittle and Ross Dwelley all sidelined.
Don’t worry 49ers fans. They’re being cautious with Kittle, who left Wednesday’s practice with hamstring tightness.
“…[He’s good with all the testing, so there’s nothing pulled or strained, just tightness,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan. “The way George moves and the way he goes, he only knows one way. So, when he’s tight, we’re going to protect him from himself and wait until he’s not tight.”
The first-team offense, or at least the first-team offense as it stood on Friday, saw a few missteps and when Daniel Brunskill snapped the ball way over Garoppolo’s head and possibly to Burlingame, Shanahan *politely* asked the group to leave the field.
But, Shanahan said his angst was par for the course.
“There’s really never a practice I’m not frustrated out there,” said Shanahan. “It’s probably the same way I look in games most of the time, too. The way I focus is kind of get irritated at everything, but I’m mad when every play doesn’t work. Then when you’re also counting on the defense to do the same thing too, and the special teams, it usually doesn’t put me in that great of a situation. I’m upset one way or the other at everything. I think guys get used to that out there. I think people used to take it a little more, like what’s wrong with coach, but I think now they kind of know how I am. I wouldn’t look into it too much, but there were some good and some bad, and it’s probably all I can ask for.”
A definite bright spot on offense was tight end Jordan Reed, who was able to show what the 49ers are hoping to get from him this season. He evaded Jaquiski Tartt and Richard Sherman on a five-yard TD pass from Garoppolo, while he looked good when working with QBs two and three (in no particular order), Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard.
The 49ers announced this week that were would be no fans for the home opener. Friday, they got a taste of what it might be like to play in a quiet stadium.
“…It’s awkward to play football in a silent place,” Shanahan said. “We don’t even do that at practice. We have music playing at practice, people going. So, to go in there, it was, I wanted to use the noise, but we don’t know exactly the rules on that yet. So, I didn’t want to experiment with that until we know. So, we experimented with a silent practice and that might be how the games are. We’ve got that experience down and it is what it is. I don’t think there’s a big advantage or disadvantage to it. Everyone’s in the same boat with that. It’s just guys getting used to it. Since even small in high school and you don’t have many people in the stands, there’s still noise. So, we’ll see how that goes.”
Garoppolo agrees that it was not the norm.
“It was definitely different,” said Garoppolo. “Just talking to guys when we were warming up and in stretch lines, it is what it’s going to be. Having you guys out there, the reporters, was the most fans we’ll probably have at home games this year. It’s something that you just have to get used to. Like a lot of these things, it’s out of our control…”
Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas continued his impressive training camp. He had two would-be sacks against the first team offense and stood out in 1-on-1s.
“He had a heck of an offseason, putting on some weight,” Shanahan said. “Put on some real good weight and it showed in the run and pass game throughout this whole camp. What people have been saying about him is true and I’m real happy for him because he’s earning it and deserves it.”
This year is a contract year for Thomas, but it’s also an opportunity for the former No. 3 pick to excel in the spot on the defensive line for which he is most suited.
“…[T]this year is huge for me,” Thomas said last week in a Zoom call with the media. “…I take it as a year to truly come into myself. I’m back inside, I’m back in the interior where I played in college, where I got drafted for in college. So, I’m back in a spot where I can go work hard and I can go play. So, it’s a year for me just to go off and play, just go have fun, go ball out. I got nothing to lose. I’m here to play for my teammates, play for those next to me and go ball.”