Shanahan: 'We have to figure out how to finish one'


Shanahan: 'We have to figure out how to finish one'

Editor's note: 49ers Game Plan airs Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Bay Area.

SANTA CLARA – Three days after the 49ers’ crushing overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the team put together what Kyle Shanahan described as its best Wednesday practice of the season.

Shanahan, who sat down Thursday for an interview that will appear on “49ers Game Plan,” said he believes his team has responded well after the frustration of an 18-15 loss to Arizona to re-focus on facing the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

“You can usually tell how guys are after a loss by how hard they work,” Shanahan said. “I haven’t seen the guys step back at all. I think they’re putting even more (work) into it with each practice they have. I think we’re getting better and I think it’s a matter of time.”

Shanahan and the 49ers are still searching for their first victory of the season after going 2-14 in Chip Kelly’s only season as head coach. The 49ers are one of only four teams in the NFL to head into Week 5 without a victory.

“I think winning can become a habit,” Shanahan said. “When you get into these tight games, which most NFL games are, there are very few plays that separate a win and a loss. When you get into that fourth quarter and it’s tight and you haven’t won many of them, it’s hard to believe you’re truly going to. The only way you change it, is you start winning. True confidence is from having success that you’ve experienced. If you haven’t had that, it’s just talk.

“We’ve put ourselves in position to do it, which is close and it’s a step in the right direction. But it’s definitely not enough. We have to figure out how to finish one out.”

On Sunday, the Cardinals took advantage of miscommunication among the 49ers’ defense for Carson Palmer’s 19-yard walk-off touchdown pass to Larry Fitzgerald in overtime. It appeared 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman was late in relaying the defensive call to safety Jimmie Ward after throwing a shoe off the field. Ward did not get into position in time to prevent the touchdown pass.

“You got to make those plays in a moment of truth, and you’re not going to get a lot of opportunities,” Shanahan said. “Those opportunities have been there, but we’ve come up a little short.

“You can’t count on the other team to mess it up if you want to win consistently. You have to go do it yourself. You've got to make it happen, and we haven’t done that, yet. But I expect to do that Sunday.”

Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'


Kilgore: All of 49ers on same page 'for the first time in a long time'

The 49ers’ coaching staff made its feelings known to center Daniel Kilgore throughout the season.

But, in the past, that would not have necessarily meant everyone in the organization had the same thoughts about Kilgore, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The whole season, coaches and I had a good relationship,” Kilgore said Wednesday on conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Just talking and having one-on-ones with various coaches, I had a positive outlook for the future.

“But that’s just one thing. The coaches have an opinion of you, but then there’s also the front office. That’s two totally different things. And I think for the first time in a long time, our coaches and the front office are on the same page.”

Kilgore was working out back home in Tennessee on Wednesday when he signed a three-year contract to avoid hitting the free-agent market. Kilgore, 30, a seven-year NFL veteran, described the contract as a team-friendly deal.

The 49ers presented Kilgore with a contract offer during the season but negotiations did not get serious until just recently. While the 49ers expressed interest in retaining Kilgore, he said he did not know what the future held for him when he packed his belongings from the locker room on the day after the season ended.

“It kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys,” Kilgore said. “You just never know what will happen at any time, any given day, in the NFL. So toward the end, that last day of clearing out the locker, I didn’t know if I’d be back. I didn’t know if the Niners would want me back.”

Kilgore was named the winner of the organization’s top honor for an offensive lineman. Kilgore won the Bobb McKittrick Award for best exemplifying the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time 49ers offensive line coach. Kilgore started all 29 games in which he appeared the past two seasons, including a career-high 16 games last season.

"I've been here seven years and I consider the Bay Area my second home,” Kilgore said. “To be able to extend my career wearing the 49ers jersey was special to me. This team is heading in the right direction, I wanted to be a part of it."

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

Matt Maiocco

Why the 49ers did not hesitate to pay Garoppolo big money

When Jimmy Garoppolo signed a contract that could pay him up to $137.5 million over the next five years, he was asked what convinced him during his nine weeks with the organization that he wanted to be with the 49ers for the long term.

“I think it was a number of things,” Garoppolo said last week. “The team, the acceptance that they had of me when I first got here from the get-go, the coaching staff, Kyle and Rich. It was a very welcoming environment, and I really liked that. We had some success down the stretch, and you could see that pieces were falling into place. We've got a long way to go, but I think we're moving in the right direction.”

Kyle, of course, is head coach Kyle Shanahan. Rich Scagarello is the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach, and the person from whom Garoppolo spent the most time after arriving in Santa Clara on Oct. 31 after a trade with the New England Patriots.

Garoppolo earned $3.5 million in his first four NFL seasons. His new contract makes him the NFL’s highest-paid player, making an average of $27.5 million per season, with $48.7 million fully guaranteed.

Scangarello, appearing this week on The 49ers Insider Podcast, talked about what he learned about Garoppolo from working so closely with him to teach him Shanahan's offense. Scangarello said there is no question in his mind the money will not change Garoppolo’s approach to his work.

“That’s why it was easy for the organization and everyone to invest in somebody like Jimmy Garoppolo,” Scangarello said. “I just think that’s not the kind of person he is. If you met his family, you know where he comes from, what he’s about. His brothers, his parents, are just good, solid people people. He’s made of the right stuff and I just don’t see that affecting him in that way.

“It’s just not who he is. That’s the fun part of working with somebody like that every day. When they’re really talented and they appreciate everything and they work at it, you have a chance to be a successful organization and they can be a great player. And I don’t think those things will ever affect him.”