49ers

Shanahan confident in 49ers: 'I think we'll be able to surprise some people'

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AP

Shanahan confident in 49ers: 'I think we'll be able to surprise some people'

SANTA CLARA – A year ago, Kyle Shanahan was at the controls of one of the most high-powered offenses in NFL history.

He parlayed his success as the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator into his new role as the head coach of the 49ers – a team that featured one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

But Shanahan said on "The 49ers Insider Podcast" on NBCSportsBayArea.com that he believes his team could be a lot better than expected. The 49ers are coming off a 2-14 season under Chip Kelly, who was fired after just one season.

“I feel confident with our guys,” Shanahan said. “We got some guys who compete. Collectively, we have a smart group of people who can all play together. And I think we’ll be able to surprise some people. But the biggest thing that always comes into (play) is injuries.”

The 49ers targeted Brian Hoyer as the quarterback. Hoyer has performed well during training camp. And Shanahan is pleased with the improvements at running back and wide receiver.

“We didn’t want to do it by going out and investing in all top picks or tons of money to do that,” Shanahan said. “You want to build it the right way and add some competition to make your team better overall.”

The 49ers added more depth at running back behind Carlos Hyde, who enters the final year of his contract. The team signed Tim Hightower as a free agent, acquired Kapri Bibbs in a trade, drafted Joe Williams in the fourth round, and signed Matt Breida as a priority undrafted rookie.

Hyde has appeared to benefit from the competition while strengthening his hold on the starting job. Shanahan said he would never guarantee a roster spot to anyone, but he made it clear he expects Hyde to have a major role.

“I think he’s playing at a very high level right now in practice,” Shanahan said.

“He looks good out here. People who can help us, we’re not trying to get rid of. And Carlos is a very good back who I believe can help us a lot.”

Shanahan said he likes the competition that is going on at any number of positions on the team. The 49ers open the exhibition season on Friday at Kansas City, and battles will continue to take place throughout the roster.

“I feel like you’re in a good situation when you’re a week into training camp and you have no idea how the final roster is going to be like,” Shanahan said. “We’re as strong at the running back and receiver positions as any position on our team.

“I’ve been in plenty of camps where at the end of OTAs, I already knew what it’s going to be, unless there were injuries. I can’t say that here. And it’s a good problem to have.”

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

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USATSI

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

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AP

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”