49ers accept role as home underdog


49ers accept role as home underdog

Second seed in the NFC.Home field advantage in an NFC divisional playoff game.A 13-3 regular season record. Numerous league leading stats.Whatever measurement you want to consider to highlight the 49ers' level of success this season, it doesn't matter. The 49ers are 3.5-point underdogs for Saturday's playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.But second status isn't anything new for this team. They've dealt with it all season.

"I don't think it's relevant really. We really don't pay too much attention. Are you referring to the line?" 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh asked a reporter during his Monday press conference."I can honestly say there are weeks where I have no idea what the line is. Or pay much attention to it."Harbaugh's players share his sentiment about being underestimated, but unlike their head coach, they do pay attention to what's being said."Yeah, that's cool. I love it. They keep doing it, I like it," said right tackle Anthony Davis. "We don't worry about what anybody else is thinking. We come to work every day and approach it how we approach our jobs and how we're supposed to approach the game and our jobs and prepare."Here's what other players had to say:Rookie fullback Bruce Miller: "I don't think it matters. We enjoy the underdog role because we know what we have here and what we can do, the things that we've accomplished this year we've done as the underdog so hopefully that will continue."Cornerback Tarell Brown: "We fuel ourselves. These guys really believe. We trust in the coaching staff we trust in each other. Regardless if we get the respect from everybody else it doesn't really matter. Our main goal is to keep winning games and get where we need to go."Wide receiver Kyle Williams: "One thing about this team that I can credit is that nobody in this locker room really pays attention to the outside stuff, so whatever anybody says outside of here. It's nonsense to us and it doesn't really matter. We're going to take care of what we have to in the locker room, and the guys in this locker room knows what everybody in this locker room can do and we're confident in the game plan so we are going to go out there and be us."Left tackle Joe Staley: "We feel like we belong. We have a lot of confidence in this football team and the coaches and all the players around here. We don't feel like we're the outsiders spoiling the party we feel that we have a very good football team and if we don't get to the Super Bowl this year it won't be a success and that's our mindset and that's the way we look at it."

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely


Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead will be out indefinitely with a broken hand, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday.

“He’s going to need surgery, so it’s going to be some time,” Shanahan said of Armstead, the 49ers' first-round pick in the 2015 draft.

The 49ers will discuss placing Armstead of injured reserve, which would rule him out for at least eight weeks. The 49ers will also be without defensive end Aaron Lynch this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Lynch is week-to-week with a calf strain.

“The more guys you lose, the less you like that depth,” Shanahan said. “Losing Arik, which could be some time. We’ll have to discuss IR. We have to do that over the next couple of days. We know we’re going to have Lynch out, too, for at least a week or most likely more. That takes away two guys who were helping.”

The 49ers might make a roster move to add a defensive lineman to their 53-man roster. The 49ers also expect outside linebacker/defensive end Dekoda Watson to return to action this week after missing two weeks with a groin strain.