49ers

Injury-riddled 49ers ready to 'bring on the challenge' as playoff spoilers

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AP

Injury-riddled 49ers ready to 'bring on the challenge' as playoff spoilers

With Trent Brown being shut down for the remainder of the season, the 49ers have now used the injured reserve list 21 times this season. Kyle Shanahan has seen how the rash of injuries has affected his team’s development.

“You get better when the same guys play week-in and week-out. When a group of guys struggle together, if that same group is out there the next week, they have a chance to improve,” Shanahan said from the podium at his Friday media session. “I think we went through a span where it seemed each week there was a different guy here and there. I think that kind of put us on hold for a little bit. But I feel this last month or so the continuity has been a lot better. I feel that’s why we’ve gotten a little better each week. The more you can keep those same people playing next to each other, the more it helps.”

With Brown out, Zane Beadles will start for the second straight game. He’s taken snaps at all of the positions on the offensive line throughout practices this season. But he’s picking up the nuances of right tackle working in the same position for most of the last two weeks.

“The biggest thing is in pass protection you have to get depth. On the inside everything happens on the line of scrimmage. Those guys are responsible for the depth of the pocket,” Beadles explained. “At tackle, you gotta get off the ball. Those guys are flying up the field. You have a lot more space to cover. It’s a little different mentality, a little bit different physical demands, so it’s just working on those things through out the week and getting comfortable with it.”

Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney gave Beadles plenty of attention last week, and Beadles expects more of the same from the Titans.

“Bring on the challenge. That’s the way this league is,” Beadles said. “You’re going to get challenged until you prove you can get the job done.”

That also applies to whatever player is pulled up from practice squad. Cornerbacks Ahkello Witherspoon (knee) and Greg Mabin (calf) are questionable for Sunday’s game, and Shanahan is likely to make a move by Saturday’s 1 p.m. deadline.

The 49ers last three games are against teams still in the postseason picture, and they expect a playoff atmosphere for each of them starting on Sunday. Jimmy Garoppolo is making his first start at Levi’s against a Titans team battling for the lead in the AFC South. Whatever setbacks the team has experienced through injuries this season, Shanahan sees these final three games as the biggest opportunity for its growth.

“They are going to feel an intensity from these teams, especially Tennessee on Sunday, that’s probably a little more intense than what they’ve felt from other teams throughout this year. I expect us to be the exact same way and learn from that,” Shanahan said.

“Our goal, and what we expect, is to be in that situation next year. I’d like that not to be our first time in that situation. I don’t see why our team can’t treat these three games like we’re playing for our playoff lives, too.”

An intriguing dynamic of Garoppolo's contract negotiations

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USATSI

An intriguing dynamic of Garoppolo's contract negotiations

If the 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are unable to reach a multi-year contract extension by March 6, the 49ers have no other choice but to designate him as their franchise player.

The estimated one-year salary for the franchise tag would be $23.307 million, according to former NFL agent Joel Corry, whose work now appears at CBS Sports. (That is assuming a 2018 league-wide salary cap of $178.1 million per team.)

There is a lot to consider for both sides as they look to enter into a long-term contract. Corry said if a deal is struck, he would expect it to be in the neighborhood of Derek Carr’s five-year, $125 million deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason.

“And then there’s the other dynamic, which I would not undersell or I think may not be appreciated as much as it should be,” Corry said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “(Garoppolo’s agent) Don Yee has a reputation – no fault of his own – of doing team-friendly deals.”

Yee also represents New England quarterback Tom Brady, whose average of $20.5 million annual pay ranks 15th among NFL quarterbacks. Brady is underpaid by design, Corry said, because one of the great quarterbacks of all-time realizes it helps the Patriots to maintain a strong supporting cast.

“That’s because Tom Brady dictates, ‘I want to do something good for the team, take less money so we can improve the roster to win Super Bowls.’ That’s not Don Yee who wants to do that,” Corry said.

“The agent works for the player, so he’s executing Tom Brady’s wishes. But he gets that held against him in recruiting. So this is his opportunity to erase that perception if Garoppolo allows him to do his job and gives him latitude to strike the deal that he feels is appropriate.”

For more on the potential negotiating strategies of both sides, listen here to the 49ers Insider Podcast.

49ers linebacker Foster named to NFL All-Rookie team

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USATSI

49ers linebacker Foster named to NFL All-Rookie team

Linebacker Reuben Foster was named to the NFL All-Rookie Team in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America.

Foster started all 10 games in which he appeared for the 49ers after being selected with the No. 31 overall pick out of Alabama. Foster finished second on the 49ers with 72 tackles. He had seven tackles for loss, ranking No. 2 on the team behind rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

Foster was one of three linebackers selected as an all-rookie performer. Thomas, the No. 3 overall draft pick, was not among the four defensive linemen honored.

[MAIOCCO: Ex-agent says Reuben Foster's arrest could void salary guarantees]

Foster was selected as the winner of the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November. He missed five games early in the season with a high ankle sprain and another game with a ribs injury.

The NFL’s top defensive rookie was New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who recorded five interceptions and scored a touchdown while making 13 starts.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
CO-OFFENSIVE ROOKIES OF THE YEAR: RB Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs and RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: CB Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints

2017 PFWA ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
Offense
QB – Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
RB – Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs; Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
WR – Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams; Juju Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
TE – Evan Engram, New York Giants
C – Pat Elflein, Minnesota Vikings
G – Dan Feeney, Los Angeles Chargers; Jermaine Eluemunor, Baltimore Ravens, and Ethan Pocic, Seattle Seahawks (tie)
T – Garett Bolles, Denver Broncos; Ryan Ramczyk, New Orleans Saints

Defense
DL – Derek Barnett, Philadelphia Eagles; Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns; Carl Lawson, Cincinnati Bengals; Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants
LB – Jarrad Davis, Detroit Lions; Reuben Foster, San Francisco 49ers; T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers
CB – Marshon Lattimore, New Orleans Saints; Tre'Davious White, Buffalo Bills
S – Jamal Adams, New York Jets; Marcus Williams, New Orleans Saints

Special Teams
PK – Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs
P – Rigoberto Sanchez, Indianapolis Colts
KR – Ryan Switzer, Dallas Cowboys
PR – Jamal Agnew, Detroit Lions
ST – Budda Baker, Arizona Cardinals