© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
MIAMI — The first two days of Super Bowl media availability were a shock to the senses. The kickoff opener was representative of the vibe that surrounds the festivities: the full unit of sweatsuit-uniformed players and coaches descending into a crowd of far too many media members.
“This is crazy,” said Dante Pettis, eyes wide at the assault to the sense inside Marlins Park.
But the insanity and the superfluous nature of the week also means we learn more about the 49ers in a shorter period of time than we have all year.
Richard Sherman’s appreciation for Kyle Shanahan
On Monday night, Sherman reiterated his disdain for Jim Harbaugh explicitly, saying he’d accomplished his goal of running Harbaugh out of the league. On Tuesday, he did the same in a less direct route, explaining what he didn’t like about some of his past coaches, who stick more to the regimented, military-type, order-driven coaching mentality.
Kyle Shanahan has never been a traditional NFL coach. For as much as looks are cosmetic, Shanahan’s entire vibe is that of a guy who’s younger than the 40-year-old he is. He’s the Lil Wayne-loving, Yeezy-wearing, sarcastic coach who grew up trying to look like Deion Sanders.
And he coaches in a way that represents that energy. It’s demanding, intense, but understanding.
“He talks to you in a reasonable way that still holds you accountable and still holds you accountable to the team, but doesn’t demean you,” Sherman said. “And I think that’s a form of coaching to rub some people the wrong way.
They’re like, ‘Oh my god that’s football, you gotta be tougher on these guys you gotta yell at them, you gotta…’ and you don’t. You don’t. We got the number one pass defense in football, we’re the number one yardage defense for most of the season. Like, it just shows you, there’s more than one way to get the job done.
I don’t know if a majority because I’ve only had two coaches. I’ve only been on two teams, but I’d say in general my history of playing football, it’s been that way. That’s just football culture: yelling, holding you accountable, embarrassing you kind of in front of the team and that’s the way you do things and that’s what you accept as a player you say, ‘Yes sir coach, I’ll get it done, I’ll be better,’ you take it.
And with this style of coaching it’s still accountability, but it’s a way where you like you don’t feel like crap. You know you don’t just sit there like, ‘Man, do I really want to play this game?'”
Jimmy Garoppolo: bad texter, liar?
On Opening Night, George Kittle said Jimmy Garoppolo’s worst quality was his refusal to respond to messages, frequently leaving him on read:
“He is the worst texter of all time. I’m telling you, he leaves me on read all the time. I’ll be like, ‘Hey Jimmy, I got a question. Maybe on this play, should I run my route like this?’ No response. ‘Jimmy, you want to go to a movie?’ No response. And then the next day, he’s like, ‘Yeah, I got your text, I just didn’t respond.’ Thanks Jim, that’s awesome. So yeah, he’s a bad texter. Bad communication.”
Joe Staley reiterated that fact on Tuesday.
“It’s very true. He’s very hard to get ahold of,” Staley said. “Everybody. It’s every single person. He’s just not… he’s not gonna hit you back on the phone at all.”
On Monday George Kittle said that Jimmy Garoppolo's greatest flaw is his poor texting. Joe Staley agrees.
"It's every single person. He's just not… he's not gonna hit you back on the phone at all." 📱🙅♂️ pic.twitter.com/1AT76z59Ux
— KNBR (@KNBR) January 28, 2020
Garoppolo was asked about his texting habits on Tuesday, and laughed off Kittle’s criticism, saying, “I returned his last one.”
Kittle disputed that, telling KNBR: “No he did not. No. He’s lying.”
Fred “Pop” Warner
The fact that the potential nickname of “Pop” hasn’t come up in Fred Warner’s two years in the NFL is only surprising because of how obvious that nickname opportunity is. Jimmie Ward said on Tuesday that he gave Warner that nickname because of the way he hits players, as a means of appreciating his impact on the field.
Ward said he’s seen a massive improvement from Warner in his second NFL season.
“I’ll call him Pop Warner,” Ward said. “Every time he tackles, it just makes a noise. He’s a very special guy. He just sprouted his second year. He did big things his first year, but the second year he really took a huge step and he’s a great friend, great teammate, a great brother and he helps with the communication. I just love his energy out there. With him going out there and Dre [Greenlaw] out there, man, there aren’t too many running backs or quarterbacks that are breaking through.”
Tevin Coleman’s shoulder
Coleman is the only real question mark for the 49ers going into the Super Bowl. He dislocated his right shoulder in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. Shanahan said he felt optimistic that he’d play on Sunday, but it would take that first week of rest and a second week of getting back comfortability in the shoulder.
KNBR caught up with Coleman on Monday. His general assessment is that he needs to establish range of motion and get over a pain threshold.
“I’m moving in the right direction, just listening to the trainers and just trying to take it one step at a time to get my shoulder back right,” Coleman said. “[Practice last week] definitely felt it was going OK, but I definitely just wanted to feel the pain and just see how I could manage it… Definitely [dealing with] the pain and the range of motion.”
Azeez Al-Shaair’s return home
Two weeks ago, Azeez Al-Shaair found out that his mother, Naadhirah, who was unable to leave the state of Florida due to an outstanding arrest warrant for the past seven years, had the warrant dismissed. The news came to close to the NFC Championship game for Al-Shaair to fly his mother out to the game, but he told KNBR he was committed to his now-accomplished goal of playing in front of her and his seven siblings again in Florida.
Al-Shaair’s mother saw him play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the two haven’t seen each other since that point. On Thursday, that will change.
“I haven’t seen her yet, but she’s coming on Thursday, so I’m very excited,” Al-Shaair said. “Honestly, it’s gonna be amazing. Obviously everything she had the past seven years, eight years of her legal troubles and really a big thing stemming from when we were homeless. This is gonna be amazing to be in a whole nother space now with a week being removed the charges being dropped and the case being dismissed. I can’t even speak to you of how the last three, four weeks have been for me, let alone this last year.
The excitement of returning home (Al-Shaair said lives about 30 minutes from Miami, and grew up in Tampa), made it impossible for Al-Shaair to sleep on the five-hour flight from Santa Clara to Miami.
“I mean, I could barely go to sleep I was just up on my chair the whole time. I just couldn’t wait to get here, because I just felt like, once I’m here, it’s real. Obviously in San Francisco, you don’t see it. Now you see everything, you’re experiencing everything, it’s amazing”