The 1-0 San Francisco 49ers are practicing in West Virginia this week. As they prepare for a season without CB Jason Verrett and RB Raheem Mostert, the 49ers also have to keep moving forward and not fall into a pattern of thinking this is 2020 all over again.

“I think it kind of happens naturally too,” said 49ers quarterback and team captain, Jimmy Garoppolo. “Just I mean, with the last two days working out here, it’s been talked about. It’s something that you have to address…So it’s just one of those things. You’ve got to stay hydrated, do all the right things, the little things behind the scenes, getting with the trainers, getting with the body maintenance people. I mean, there’s a million little things that go into it and we just can’t get lazy, especially early in the season, it’s going to translate to later in the year and just on and on. It’s all tied together. So I think attacking it early and getting on the right page, we’ll be in the right spot.”

Let’s take a look at news and notes from Wednesday’s practice.

Wide Receivers

Let’s start with second-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who after a rookie season that promised super-stardom, is now sharing reps with Trent Sherfield. Aiyuk battled an hamstring injury during training camp and had more than a few drops in practice and preseason games. The combination has not done a lot to give his coaches confidence. In other words, practice this week is important for Aiyuk.

“…Aiyuk’s been a little inconsistent because he’s been in and out with his injury,” 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “…Aiyuk’s still got a chance to get that spot up and not rotate as much, Trent just doesn’t make that very easy. So, these three days are important in practice, how we balance out our game plan, how we balance out our routes. And I’m happy with Aiyuk. It’s nothing against Aiyuk. I’m just also happy with Trent too. And I think both of them can continue to get better.”

Aiyuk was a 2020 first-round draft pick and is tremendously talented, but he’s got to earn the chance to show it.

“…I know this is all kind of like we’re punishing Aiyuk or something, because Trent got even reps with them or we rotated those guys,” Shanahan said. “I’m not going to sit here and say, he’s got to do the A, B and C to get back out there. It’s more, we’ve been practicing the last month and one guy has been there every day and the quarterback’s got a lot of confidence in him. I do. If he wants to be out there every single play, he’s got to be a lot better than the guy behind him.”

As far as Garoppolo is concerned, the competition is a good thing.

“It’s one of those situations where competition is going to bring out the best in everyone,” Garoppolo said. “Trent and B.A., they bring it every day. They’re guys who you know, you can rely on them in tough situations. They’re always battling. As a quarterback, when you can have a receiver that you know where he’s going to be, when he needs to be there, it puts your mind at ease and it’s one of those things where you’re thinking about a million things as it is. If you could cut one of those things out, it makes for a lot easier of a play. So the two of them, just those little things like that go a long way in a quarterback’s eyes.”

Meanwhile, third-year wide receiver Deebo Samuel seems to have come into his own, starting the season with a nine reception for 189 yards and a touchdown performance in the 49ers’ Week One victory over the Detroit Lions.

“He’s been a player for us since he got here as a rookie,…so not too much has changed in that aspect,” Garoppolo said “But off the field and on the field…his leadership has come a long way. Just the way that he leads that group. One-on-ones, he’s the first one up to go. Usually he’s ready to roll and kind of sets the tone for those guys. And you know, I give him a lot of credit for that because I don’t think that came naturally for him, especially as a rookie, you’re kind of learning as you go, but he really embraced that role this year. It’s really helped us out.”

And Over at Running Back

On Tuesday, a day after the 49ers said they anticipated him being out eight weeks, running back Raheem Mostert announced that he was having season-ending knee surgery, which is a big loss to the offense and the team in general.

“…[L]ooking at other opinions, there’s a longer surgery you can do that will put him out for the year and that’s the way we’re going to go,” Shanahan said. “When I talked to him and I heard all the other stuff, it’s not a surprise to me. The first prognosis I got was what I told you guys and that’s all I got at the time. But once I heard more stuff after the press conference…it made sense. I don’t think there was much of a decision to make after hearing some of the stuff.”

With that said, it’s the rookie running backs time to shine. Elijah Mitchell got the ball rolling, literally, on Sunday, when he had 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. Trey Sermon was a healthy scratch, but he will play against the Eagles.

“You know, with Raheem it really sucks,” Garoppolo said. “It does. Just there’s no way around it. It’s one of those tough breaks for him, just get started, off to a hot start like that, and then you lose him. So we’re going to miss him. But the young guys, like [RB] Elijah [Mitchell] did in the game and [RB JaMycal] Hasty, I’ve seen it last year with Haste, he’s always ready to roll. He’s a gamer. And then we’ll bring [RB] Trey [Sermon] along, get him ready for this week. I mean, they’re a good group…They complement each other really well. It’s a little bit of different tastes with each one of them. They each have their own style of doing it, but it’s all effective. And I think with the O-Line we’ve got, tight ends, fullbacks, even receivers blocking it. It makes for a good group.”

Though it’s difficult to replace Mostert, Shanahan has confidence in the players on the roster.

“…[W]e have some depth there,” Shanahan said. “I think we always have, but I don’t think we’ve gone through a year here where we haven’t used all four of our running backs. So, I hope to not have to do that, but after one we’re down one and hopefully it’s sometime this year, we’ll get [RB] Jeff Wilson [Jr.] back too. But, it’s always that way in the league, especially with running backs, it’s next man up and we expect those guys to not miss a beat.”

Life at the Greenbrier

It may be a long road trip for the 49ers, but Garoppolo is happy with the setup.

“I’m liking it so far…,” the 49ers QB1 said. “It’s I think my third time here, I think so becoming a regular here kind of…I’ve learned the Greenbrier is a complicated layout. So just getting around in there, it was difficult at first, but I feel like I’ve come a long way with that. So yeah, just that and it’s a lot more humid out here than California. So got to get used to that…[K]nowing the layout is a big part of it, just with the scheduling and everything. It’s a little bit different than what we’re used to back home. So getting place to place, the bus drivers are awesome. Those guys, learn more about West Virginia every time from those guys. They’re a fun time. But yeah, just the familiarity with it getting used to it. And I mean, out here, it’s gorgeous. So you can’t beat this.”


  • DE Arik Armstead (adductor), LB Dre Greenlaw (groin), DT Javon Kinlaw (knee) and CB Emmanuel Moseley (knee) did not practice, while DE Dee Ford (ankle) and LB Marcell Harris (oblique) were limited.
    • On Armstead: “He can’t go today, which is always a concern,” Shanahan said. “But he wasn’t too concerned about it after the game. I think it started getting sore for him the last two days. So, we’re going to be smart with him today and I’d be surprised if he didn’t go, but I can’t guarantee that.”
    • On Kinlaw: “…[W]e’re trying to take it slow with him. And when we have it’s gotten better. So, we’ve got to see how that continues to react. I think we’ll be easy with him today. Hopefully if it continues to go well today, he’ll get out there more tomorrow. When he hurt his knee in Dallas last year, it was a pretty bad injury that he ended up going on IR for. He got it cleaned up, but it still hasn’t healed quite as right as we want. So, it seems like when he’s gone, it’s started to affect him. So, hopefully taking it easy these last 10 days or so, it’ll start to get better and we’ll see how it goes day-to-day.”
    • On Moseley: “I think we knew we had a chance last week, really which would make me feel pretty good this week. I think the traveling, stuff like that, doesn’t help a ton and that’s why he’s not practicing today. We’ll re-evaluate it tomorrow, but I don’t think it will be a long-term thing.”
Tracy Sandler

Tracy Sandler

I created Fangirl Sports Network as a place for female sports fans to follow their favorite teams with content and coverage that speaks directly to females. It started with one and then eight and now 32 NFL Fangirls and 15 NBA Fangirls.