49ers notes: Person of interest in RG competition


49ers notes: Person of interest in RG competition

SANTA CLARA – A leader has quietly emerged in the 49ers’ only competition for a starting job.

Veteran offensive lineman Mike Person has not missed a practice since the opening of training camp. He started at right guard on Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys and did not allow a quarterback pressure on 25 pass attempts, according to Pro Football Focus.

“I’d say Mike’s been the same guy that we knew of, if not a little bit better,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of Person, who started 14 games at center in 2015 for the Atlanta Falcons when Shanahan was offensive coordinator.

“He’s got some experience. He’s been around the league. I think he’s gained some confidence, and I thought he looked similar to how he always looks in the game. I thought he did a good job.”

Person played the first 40 snaps at right guard in the 49ers’ 24-21 victory over the Cowboys. He rejoined the 49ers this offseason after entering the league in 2011 as San Francisco’s seventh-round draft pick. He never appeared in a game with the 49ers, but he has played in 43 NFL games (18 starts) with five other teams.

Person has taken the lead to be the 49ers’ starter because the only other competitor to this point has been second-year player Erik Magnuson. Veteran Jonathan Cooper, the favorite when camp opened, and Joshua Garnett have been watching from the sideline.

“I want to get the best guy there,” Shanahan said. “I know we’ve had a couple guys not competing there yet just because of injuries they’ve had. Once we can get everyone there and going and competing, it gives you a better chance to find the best guy. Hopefully, we’ll get Coop back and also get Josh back this week, so we can add two more guys to the mix.”

Cooper is slowly working back from a knee injury he sustained in the final game last season with the Cowboys. Joshua Garnett, the 49ers’ first-round pick in 2016, continues to battle knee discomfort. The 49ers have cleared Garnett to practice, but he has been out since July 28.

“Hopefully, we’ll get some news so we can ease them into individual and stuff on Sunday,” Shanahan said of Garnett. “Hopefully, we get him practiced fully by Houston.”

The 49ers had days off Friday and Saturday, and are scheduled to return to practice in Santa Clara on Sunday. The 49ers will travel to Houston for practices with the Texans on Wednesday and Thursday before the teams square off Saturday night in preseason game No. 2.

Sherman, Armstead, Williams Remain Out

The 49ers held out 14 players from Thursday’s game as precautions due to injury concerns. Cornerbacks Richard Sherman (hamstring) and K’Waun Williams (ankle) and defensive lineman Arik Armstead (hamstring) are not expected to practice or play next week in Houston. Armstead has been out since July 29 with an injury that was expected to keep him sidelined for four weeks. Among the players expected back at practice are are possible to play against Houston are: receiver Trent Taylor, tight end Cole Wick, defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu, linebackers Brock Coyle and Fred Warner, and safety Marcell Harris. None of the injuries sustained in Thursday's game are expected to carry over into the regular season. Linebacker Eli Harold is day-to-day with a knee contusion. Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and offensive tackle Garry Gilliam are in the concussion protocol. Tight end George Kittle and running back Matt Breida sustained separated shoulders but are expected to be available for the start of the regular season.

Sherman as Mentor

Rookie defensive back D.J. Reed sits next to a fellow fifth-round pick in the meeting room. That player is Sherman, whom the Seattle Seahawks chose on Day 3 of the 2011 draft. And after initially being a bit in awe of his new teammate, Reed has eagerly soaked in his knowledge of football and life.

“I’m not going to lie, I was,” Reed said. “He sits next to me, so when I first saw him, I thought, ‘Play it cool, D.J.’ That’s Richard Sherman. That’s a legend.”

Sherman’s most impactful advice for Reed when it comes to off-the-field matters?

“You can’t provide for your family right now like you want to,” Reed said Sherman told him. “You have to really save your money and budget. That’s hard to do because people think once you get in the league you’re a millionaire or something. It’s an illusion.”

Reed added, “He was just telling me, basically, take care of yourself first before you try to take care of others.”

This ‘N’ That

Rookie defensive lineman Jullian Taylor started and played 32 snaps. He helped set up the winning score with his quarterback sack late in the fourth quarter on a third-and-9 play. “He made a lot of plays that everyone saw and he also did his job -- didn’t make many mental mistakes,” Shanahan said. “He played a lot which we needed him to. I thought he played good throughout the whole game.” . . . First-round pick Mike McGlinchey received high marks for his 23-snap outing at right tackle. “By no means was it perfect, but it was very easy to see that the game is not too big for him,” Shanahan said. “He’s very comfortable out there. He looks like the player he looked in college when we studied him, how he’s looked in practice.” . . . After an injury-plagued rookie season, it was an emphasis for Kittle to put in as much offseason work as possible to get his body prepared for hte rigors of an NFL season. Shanahan said Kittle's shoulder injury appeared unpreventable. “Kittle is as much of a pro as there is,” Shanahan said. “That’s why he’s had such a good camp. He’s come back in as good of shape and as healthy as anyone on our team. I think that’s why he’s looked so good. He’s going to play aggressive. He’s going to put it all out on the line. Unfortunately, he dove for a ball, landed on his shoulder in an awkward position and that’s part of football.”

Joe Staley finally follows George Kittle on Twitter after huge game for 49ers

Joe Staley finally follows George Kittle on Twitter after huge game for 49ers

Joe Staley was following 257 people on Twitter as of Sunday.

George Kittle had to gain nearly that many yards against the Denver Broncos to convince his 49ers teammate to follow him.

Kittle’s seven-catch, 210-yard, one-touchdown performance in the 49ers’ win was the talk of the NFL, as he almost broke Shannon Sharpe’s league record for single-game yardage by a tight end.

After the game, Kittle got that sweet Staley follow, fam. And he quickly thanked the veteran left tackle for his support.

Staley, who had a catch of his own Sunday, opened up a can of worms, though, as another 49ers teammate felt left out.

One look at Staley’s Twitter account shows he’s right. He rarely tweets to his 136,500 followers, save the occasional ad message for a popular soda brand.

But Staley’s increased Twitter activity illustrated one thing: Winning fixes everything, even on social media.

49ers' Nick Mullens, Kyle Shanahan explain kneel-down gaffe vs. Broncos


49ers' Nick Mullens, Kyle Shanahan explain kneel-down gaffe vs. Broncos

SANTA CLARA — 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens made an error that could have been costly in the final seconds of Sunday's game against the Broncos. Thankfully for San Francisco, he learned his lesson without a bad ending.

The 49ers should have been able to run out the clock after having the lead and a first down at the 2-minute warning. A miscalculation, however, left four seconds on the game clock once the fourth kneel-down had been completed. 

Denver then had a chance to steal the victory after trailing by 20 points earlier in the game. Case Keenum completed a short pass to Tim Patrick, and the Broncos' offense attempted a few lateral passes before the ball finally was fumbled out of bounds, giving the 49ers a 20-14 win at Levi's Stadium.

Coach Kyle Shanahan explained how the miscalculation unfolded.

“We thought it was dead even, and then it was off one second,” Shanahan said. “The play clock and the game clock were off one second. So, when you get to fourth down, you have to have what we call a slow clock, where the quarterback comes back, pause just one second before he takes a knee. 

Shanahan added Mulllens knew that was the plan. 

“Nick was very ready for [it] and very ready to do [it], but he just snapped it with six seconds left on the play clock and took a slow knee. But, it stops on fourth down, so it was a good rookie mistake and rookie rep. 

“That was good, because he’ll learn it forever, and it won’t happen again and it didn’t cost us the game.” 

[RELATED: 49ers dedicate win over Broncos to Tony York, two days after his death]
When asked about the botched kneel-downs, Mullens appeared very relieved it didn’t end in a loss. 

“Yeah, we don’t really have to talk about that,” he said with a little chuckle. “I’ll go back and watch it, see how the time played out or whatever. But, I’m pretty mad at myself, yeah.”

Will it ever happen again?

“I shouldn’t have done it in the first place,” Mullens said. “Are you kidding me?”
Outside of that mishap, Mullens had a respectable performance. He completed 20 of his 30 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns for a rating of 102.1. His statistics were assisted by George Kittle’s yards after catch on his record-breaking day.

“I thought he played well,” Shanahan said of Mullens. “He did some real good things and was one of the reasons we won.”

Again, Mullens didn’t do anything to make Shanahan consider a quarterback switch heading into the 49ers' second matchup with the Seahawks in Week 15. He has simply stated that Jimmy Garoppolo is the quarterback of the team and Mullens and C.J. Beathard are in a heated competition for who will be his backup once he returns.