49ers

49ers head coach Shanahan: Lynch going in the right direction

49ers head coach Shanahan: Lynch going in the right direction

SANTA CLARA -- General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan sat down with 49ers pass-rusher Aaron Lynch shortly after assuming their new roles to give him an outline of what was expected.

Aaron Lynch entered the NFL in 2014 as a fifth-round draft pick despite having the talent worthy of a much-earlier selection. There were concerns about his commitment and character.

Lynch showed plenty of promise in his first two seasons. He tied for the club lead both seasons with six and 6.5 sacks, respectively. Last year, Lynch reported to the offseason program 30 pounds overweight. He was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy of substances of abuse. Then, he missed considerable time with an ankle injury. In seven games, Lynch recorded just 1.5 sacks.

John Lynch and Shanahan told Aaron Lynch his past transgressions would not be held against him, but he had to work hard and prove himself. As Lynch enters the final year of his original four-year contract, his spot on the 49ers' 53-man roster is anything but a certainty.

“Basically, everybody on this team, no matter what has happened before you came into the league or when you’ve been in the league, they’re not holding that against you and it’s a new clean slate,” Lynch said. “So I need to do everything I can to make sure I have a clean slate with them.”

Lynch is currently working with the second unit at the “Leo” position on the 49ers’ defensive line, behind Arik Armstead.

“’Leo’ is a lot of damn fun, so, yeah, I like it a lot,” Lynch said. “You get to set the edge and go get the quarterback.”

Lynch said he is in better physical condition than he was a year ago at this time. He said his target playing weight is in the 260-270 range. He said he is currently in the 280s.

“I came in heavy, but I’ve been working my (butt) off to get down to where my coach wants me to get down to, and where I feel I would be best to give everything I can for my team and do what I can for my team,” Lynch said.

While the 49ers did not witness any improvement in Lynch's commitment at the beginning of the offseason, things seem to be turning around. Shanahan said Lynch has missed only one day of the team's voluntary offseason program -- an excused absence to deal with a situation concerning his wife.

“There’s no doubt Aaron’s going in the right direction for us," Shanahan said. "He came in in the offseason, we challenged him hard with just the way we worked and stuff. He hasn’t shied away from any of it. He’s jumped in on all of our stuff.

"So he’s gotten better each day. He’s gotten more in shape each day and I’m seeing it on the field each day.”

Jimmy Garoppolo is back in the building, already at 49ers meetings

Jimmy Garoppolo is back in the building, already at 49ers meetings

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo already is back at the facility attending meetings after his ACL surgery. 

In his final press conference before Sunday’s match-up with the Los Angeles Rams, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed that Garoppolo was back with his team. 

“He got back on Tuesday,” Shanahan said, “so Wednesday he’s been in all the team meetings and stuff, and it’s been good to have him around. He’s still on his crutches and everything, so he’s not going out to practice or anything.” 

Similar to practice, injured players typically are not allowed on the sidelines during games because of the risk of further injuries. As a result, Garoppolo could be at the stadium on game day but not out on the field. 

Shanahan seemed genuinely pleased to see his franchise quarterback back in the building when he gave an update on Garoppolo’s appearance. 

“It was good to see his face,” Shanahan said. “Definitely has grown his beard out a little bit. You can tell he’s been sitting in a hospital or in a bed most of his time. Good to have him back in the building.

"He needs to make a few more strides just healing from his surgery and things like that, and we will get him around a lot more.”

Going through a season-ending injury is traumatic, but Shanahan reported that Garoppolo seems to be in good spirits. 

“Seems good,” Shanahan said. “Seeing him in the meetings, just talking to him a little bit, you know, I think he’s happy to be back with the team and to get back in this with us.” 

The only silver lining of both running back Jerick McKinnon and Garoppolo both going through ACL rehabilitation is that they will be able to do it together. 

49ers-Rams injury report: Ahkello Witherspoon in line to start after no snaps

49ers-Rams injury report: Ahkello Witherspoon in line to start after no snaps

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who is on pace to be cleared through the NFL’s concussion protocol, is likely to start Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday.

Witherspoon is expected to start in place of Jimmie Ward, who re-aggravated a hamstring condition late in the 49ers’ Monday night loss to the Green Bay Packers. Ward is listed as doubtful to play against the Rams.

Witherspoon did not play any snaps of defense in Green Bay, as the 49ers opted for Greg Mabin after Ward was injured in the fourth quarter.

The 49ers have an issue on the cornerback spots, too. Veteran Richard Sherman is listed as questionable after not practicing Friday because of a calf condition, the team announced. Nickel back K'Waun Williams is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Witherspoon was diagnosed with a concussion after colliding with Mabin on the Packers’ game-winning field goal on the final play of regulation. Witherspoon was limited with no contact in practices Thursday and Friday, so he has to pass the contact requirement before Sunday’s game, Shanahan said.

Wide receivers Pierre Garçon and Trent Taylor are listed as questionable after taking part in limited drills Friday.

The 49ers will not have wide receiver Dante Pettis' services for the third consecutive game. Pettis sustained a left knee sprain on Sept. 23 while returning a first-quarter punt against the Los Angeles Chargers.

For the Rams, wide receiver Cooper Kupp has been ruled out with a knee injury. Kupp is the Rams’ second-leading receiver with 30 catches for 438 yards and a team-leading five touchdowns.

49ers injury report

Out
WR Dante Pettis (knee)

Doubtful
CB Jimmie Ward (hamstring)

Questionable
WR Pierre Garcon (shoulder, knee)
CB Richard Sherman (calf)
WR Trent Taylor (back)
CB K'Waun Williams (shoulder)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (concussion)

49ers practice report

FRIDAY
Did not practice
WR Dante Pettis (knee)
CB Richard Sherman (calf)
CB Jimmie Ward (hamstring)

Limited practice
WR Pierre Garcon (shoulder, knee)
WR Trent Taylor (back)
CB K'Waun Williams (shoulder)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (concussion)

Full participation
RB Matt Breida (shoulder, ankle)
LB Reuben Foster (shoulder)
G Joshua Garnett (toe)
WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring, quadricep)
TE George Kittle (knee)
G Mike Person (knee)
C Weston Richburg (knee)
OT Joe Staley (knee)
S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder)

Rams injury report

Out
WR Cooper Kupp (knee)

Rams practice report

FRIDAY
Did not practice
WR Cooper Kupp (knee)

Limited practice
DE Michael Brockers (shoulder)

Full participation
DE Michael Brockers (shoulder)
LB Matt Longacre (back)
WR Josh Reynolds (hand)
G Rodger Saffold (knee)
C John Sullivan (not injury related)
OT Andrew Whitworth (not injury related)
K Greg Zuerlein (right groin)