49ers

49ers-Packers injury report: Aaron Rodgers rests after knee setback

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USATSI

49ers-Packers injury report: Aaron Rodgers rests after knee setback

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers had a dozen players who did not go through a full practice due to injuries, while Green Bay’s headliner admitted he sustained setback to his left knee and did not step on the practice field, either.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was held out of practice after aggravating a left knee injury in the Packers’ loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

“Just hoping I get back out there tomorrow and have a feel-good Friday and a practice Saturday and be good to go — hopefully back to where I was in Detroit,” Rodgers told the Green Bay-area media in front of his locker Thursday.

The 49ers know Rodgers will be available for Monday's game. And they know exactly what to expect.

"He’s still the best or is tied for the best on the planet," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. "He always has been. He’s the man. I know he’s not 100-percent, everyone knows that, but he seems to be a little bit better each week. He’s still the best."

The 49ers had 12 players who did not practice or were limited on Thursday. The players who appear to be the most in jeopardy of not being available for Monday night’s game in Green Bay are running back Matt Breida and wide receivers Dante Pettis and Trent Taylor.

49ers practice report

THURSDAY

Did not practice
RB Matt Breida (shoulder, ankle)
WR Pierre Garcon (shoulder, knee)
G Mike Person (knee)
WR Dante Pettis (knee)
C Weston Richburg (knee)
T Joe Staley (knee)
WR Trent Taylor (back)

Limited practice
TE Garrett Celek (quadricep)
LB Reuben Foster (shoulder)
TE George Kittle (knee)
CB Richard Sherman (calf)
CB Jimmie Ward (hamstring)

Full participation
G Joshua Garnett (toe)
WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring, quadricep)
T Mike McGlinchey (knee)
S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder)

Packers practice report

THURSDAY

Did not practice
TE Jimmy Graham (knee)
QB Aaron Rodgers (knee)

Limited practice
CB Jaire Alexander (groin)
WR Geronimo Allison (hamstring)
CB Bashaud Breeland (hamstring)
S Kentrell Brice (ankle)
WR Randall Cobb (hamstring)
G Justin McCray (shoulder)
LB Nick Perry (ankle)
S Jermaine Whitehead (back)

Full participation
CB Kevin King (chin)

Kyle Shanahan explains why Dante Pettis was not 49ers' punt returner

Kyle Shanahan explains why Dante Pettis was not 49ers' punt returner

INDIANAPOLIS -- No punt returner in the history of college football was as dynamic as Dante Pettis.

But in two seasons since the 49ers traded up to take him in the second round of the 2018 draft, Pettis has gotten only 11 opportunities to return punts.

All of Pettis’ chances came during his rookie season. While his play time at wide receiver dwindled to non-existent over the second half of the recently completed season, he was not even able to make a contribution special teams.

Why? Coach Kyle Shanahan said it was as simple as this: Richie James was better.

“We didn’t think he was our best guy,” Shanahan said of Pettis at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Pettis set the NCAA record with nine punt returns for touchdowns. After Pettis visited the 49ers, the club selected him with the No. 44 overall draft pick. As a rookie, he fumbled twice while averaging just 3.0 yards on nine returns. He also sustained a knee injury on an early season return against the Los Angeles Chargers.

In 2019, James was reliable. He was fifth in the NFL in return yards and did not have a fumble on 33 punt returns while averaging a respectable 8.0 yards per return.

Shanahan said he wants Pettis to put up a battle to compete with James for the job in 2020. He said he has expressed that expectation to Pettis, too.

“He knows that,” Shanahan said. “I think he’s got a chance to be (the punt returner). But we felt more comfortable with Richie. And I hope Dante tries to take that job from him.

“It’s his decision. He’s got to show it. I guess, it comes down to my decision, but he should make it for me.”

Pettis averaged 17.3 yards on 27 receptions and caught five touchdown passes as a rookie. But his production dropped off in his second season, as he caught just 11 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He will be fighting for a spot on the 2020 team.

Shanahan said he wants Pettis to be on a mission during his second offseason to come back as a stronger, better and more-focused player. He said Pettis took a “documented” step back in his second season.

[RELATED49ers' receivers could change in 2020]

Shanahan said second-year players who struggle after promising rookie seasons can go either way.

“They keep being like that, and they usually filter out,” Shanahan said, “or it’s a wakeup call for them and they come back and you see It in April. They treated January to April so much different than the year before, and then it usually changes their career.”

Tyrann Mathieu explains how Chiefs stopped 49ers at end of Super Bowl

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AP

Tyrann Mathieu explains how Chiefs stopped 49ers at end of Super Bowl

The 49ers entered the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV with a 10-point lead over the Kansas City Chiefs, before eventually falling, 31-20. Even as they began squandering their lead, San Francisco had its chances to become champions. 

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers found themselves in a 24-20 deficit with 2:44 remaining. The eight-play driving ended in four straight incomplete passes and Jimmy G being sacked on fourth down. 

After the Chiefs scored on a two-play drive to increase their lead to 11 points, Kansas City cornerback Kendall Fuller intercepted a Garoppolo pass intended for rookie Deebo Samuel down the field with only 57 seconds remaining. The rest is history. 

"We knew that obviously they were gonna try to get the ball to [George] Kittle," Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Mathieu said Thursday on Fs1's "First Things First." "But most importantly I felt that Deebo Samuel was their guy." 

[RELATED: Five defensive backs 49ers should watch during combine]

Mathieu said he and Fuller actually went over the route where Garoppolo was picked off ... one series prior to their prediction coming true. 

"On the interception that Kendall Fuller caught, we had actually communicated the series before about that same route concept," Mathieu explained. "We just thought that they were gonna put Kittle at No. 3 and try to force him the ball down the middle."

General manager John Lynch reiterated his confidence in Garoppolo on Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, and coach Kyle Shanahan certainly has gone over every situation from his latest Super Bowl loss this offseason. The two know they can't dwell on the past, though. 

It's time to look ahead and focus on making another run at the Lombardi Trophy.