After six months of quarterback talk, disappointments and resurgences, the 49ers are in the playoffs. With a matchup in Dallas looming this Sunday, they’ll return to practice this week with an eye on reigniting a decades-old rivalry with the Cowboys.
Practice report: Hope for Trent Williams
San Francisco notched their berth without the help of either Trent Williams (elbow sprain) or K’Waun Williams (late return from COVID-19 list).
The latter is expected to play Sunday, and the former, who has only played in two career playoff games in his Hall of Fame career, is progressing.
Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday that Williams was “better today than yesterday” and is hopeful he will play Sunday.
Below is the team’s full practice report, per Shanahan.
- Dre Greenlaw (groin)
- Azeez Al-Shaair (knee)
- Talanoa Hufanga (knee)
- Jimmy Garoppolo (thumb)
- Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder)
- Mitch Wishnowsky (concussion protocol) – backup punter Ryan Winslow was signed in case Wishnowsky can’t go
- Marcell Harris (Achilles)
- Elijah Mitchell (knee) – typical rest as they manage his knee injury
- Trent Williams (elbow)
- George Kittle (not injury related)
Shanahan talks ‘blacked out’ Jennings, ‘Mike Tyson’ Greenlaw and post-fatherhood Deebo
Wednesday provided a glimpse of a complimentary, borderline sentimental Shanahan. He talked about a handful of his players in a very endearing ways, reminiscing about his experiences with them throughout the season and the friendships he’s developed.
If all that positivity is a little nauseating, that’s understandable. But it was of course all couched in the football lexicon and the brutality of the sport.
For Dre Greenlaw, who made just his third appearance all season and had two personal fouls, but a team-leading 12 tackles on Sunday, Shanahan compared him to Mike Tyson.
He described his play is extremely impactful and simultaneously motivating to players, coaches and fans.
“I thought him playing out there was like Mike Tyson with a uniform,” Shanahan said. “First of all, I think he looks like him, his face, a little bit. He was so in the zone. Honestly if I was a fan, I probably would have been wearing his jersey in the stands that day. He plays a way that I love to watch.
“We got to be careful with that. He got a couple personal fouls and it’s a very fine line. But when you can play with that aggressiveness, that energy — guy hasn’t played all year and you can see how much he likes playing football. We didn’t know how much he was going to be able to go and he went pretty much every play. Just to see it in his eyes and the way he looks in his eyes are the way his actions are on the field.”
Jauan Jennings fits a similar mold.
He’s taken on the Kendrick Bourne role in more ways than one, as an aggressive, reliable blocker, a third- and key-down receiving option, and as a consistently positive, infectious personality.
Shanahan noted that they’re unique, but the similarities between the two are evident.
“He brings that same type of energy. Jauan, he’s going so hard, he’s, I’d say, 95 percent blacked out, which makes you play at a certain level, which is awesome,” Shanahan said. “But that five percent, he knows how to play within the lines and be smart about it. But guys feed off of him. I remember Deebo saying to me yesterday, he just couldn’t believe some of the stuff Jauan was doing out there during the game.”
And of course, there’s Samuel, who is coming off one of the more ridiculous seasons in NFL history, setting the record for most rushing touchdowns (8) ever for a receiver, along with 1,773 all-purpose yards.
He and Samuel tend to talk to each other one-on-one early on in practices, with Shanahan recalling a recent conversation they had about Samuel’s less-than month old fatherhood of his son.
“Sometimes it’s about how he’s feeling, it’s about the practice, sometimes it’s about the team we’re playing. Sometimes it’s about his family,” Shanahan said. “He has a little boy that — I think he’s three weeks old — and he’s already holding his bottle by himself, so he’s just convinced that means he’s gonna be a top pick in the draft, so he’s very proud. Deebo’s an awesome guy to talk to. I’m his coach, but I consider him a friend though, also.”