Garrett Celek gains confidence with each snap


Garrett Celek gains confidence with each snap

It was a simple catch. A shot gun formation. A toss short right. A four yard gain on a first and ten. The twelfth play in a 14 play touchdown drive. A mere .0064 of a record setting 621 total yards of offense. There was nothing extraordinary about this catch. But its a memorable one for Garrett Celek. It was the first reception of his NFL career.It was definitely exciting. They actually put the play in right before the game, the day before. When they called it, I was really excited. I didnt know if I was going to get the ball or not and when I did, it just felt really good, the 65 rookie explained. I only got four yards out of it, but it felt good to get it out of the way because I had some nerves about it.The catch came on the last play of the third quarter in the 49ers' blow out win over the Bills. It was lost amid the big double digit receptions and scores by the bigger names among the 49ers receiving corp. What stands out is how Celek was even in position to make the catch in the first place.

Celek came to the 49ers as an undrafted free agent rookie out of Michigan State. Five teams had asked the younger brother of Eagles tight end Brent Celek to join their training camps. Garrett felt San Francisco would give him the best opportunity to make a team. The team did not retain veteran tight end Justin Peelle after the 2011 season and an opening, though slight, was there. He chose wisely.Not only did Celek do enough to earn a spot on the regular season roster, he has worked himself onto the field more than any of the other four rookies available for game days. First round draft pick, wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, has been active for only one game, the season opener against Green Bay. He didnt play. Second and fourth round picks, running back LaMichael James and offensive lineman Joe Looney, have yet to be active. Sixth round draft pick Trenton Robinson had 11 special team snaps combined in the second and third games of the season. He has been inactive the last two. Celek has 28 offensive snaps over the last three games hes been active. His self analysis is he came in a better blocker than receiver and employs a whatever-it-takes attitude to get better at both. Though catching a ball on Sunday has been foremost on his mind.

Ive been thinking about it for the past few weeks, but once I got it, everything just felt smooth, Celek said. All my nerves went away. I felt more confident in my stuffso it was good.That confidence also comes from feeling more settled and gaining veteran advice from fellow tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker. And now Celek is turning his attitude toward gaining versatility, too. Im definitely trying to learn all positions, full back, receiving everything. I want to be as effective as possible If someone were to go down at any point at time, I want the coaches to be able to look at me and go, OK, we can trust him to go in and get the job done. Thats the kind of guy I want to be.

Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions


Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions

SANTA CLARA – While rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard is taking a micro view of his promotion, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is not shy about admitting he is looking at the big picture.

Shanahan said how Beathard performs after replacing Brian Hoyer as starting quarterback will have “a ton” of influence on how the 49ers proceed during the offseason.

After all, the 49ers know every position will come under tremendous scrutiny as the organization looks to add the pieces that will make the club competitive.

“That’s for every position. That’s for every player on our team. That’s for every coach on our team,” Shanahan said. “We’re 0-6, and that’s extremely tough. But I’m extremely excited about this place and excited about where we’re at and where we’re going. There’s not a moment that I don’t waste thinking about that stuff.”

Beathard will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium.

Hoyer failed in his bid to earn consideration as the 49ers’ quarterback for the remainder of this season and beyond during his six starts. Hoyer completed just 58 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 74.1.

Now, Beathard gets his chance. But he said he is not thinking about the big picture and what it might mean for the future.

“I’m really just trying to take it one day, one week at a time,” Beathard said. “I’m not looking that far ahead. Right now, my focus is on today’s practice and geared towards beating the Cowboys and doing the best we can to get better and improve.”

Beathard was pressed into action last week when Hoyer’s struggles continued at Washngton. Beathard stepped in and completed 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown and an interception. For the first time, Beathard is getting the first-team practice snaps with a game plan that is designed specifically for him.

Said Beathard, “Getting those extra reps, reps with guys that you don’t usually throw to, in the huddle with the guys that are out there, I think it’ll help a lot.”

Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates


Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates

More than 35 players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl champion will be in attendance on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium to show support for Dwight Clark, who revealed in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Clark, 60, will have ample opportunity to reconnect with some of his old friends on Saturday evening and again on Sunday. At halftime, Joe Montana, surrounded by most of the 49ers' 1981 team, will introduce Clark before a video tribute.

Clark is also expected to make some remarks while situated in a suite for the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Montana and his wife, Jennifer, have remained in close contact with Clark and his wife, Kelly. The Clarks recently watched the Blue Angels in San Francisco with the Montanas during Fleet Week.

“He’s getting pretty inundated with everyone staying in touch with him at this point,” Montana said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“It’s fun for him. At one point, he was telling his wife, Kelly, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is what I want and what I miss, seeing the guys.’ So any of the guys reaching out to him, he surely appreciates it.”

Montana said Clark has not lost his positive outlook or his sense of humor, as evidenced by some not-fit-for-print words he recently had about his wheelchair. Montana said there are always some good laughs and stories any time Clark gets together with his friends.

“That’s the fun part," Montana said. “You just try to get him to forget what’s there, and that you’re there for him whenever. I think the support is the biggest thing right now. In that stage of ALS, it's got to be getting tough, where all of a sudden, things are becoming more and more difficult.”