49ers rookie Deebo Samuel ready to respond from mistakes in NFL debut

49ers rookie Deebo Samuel ready to respond from mistakes in NFL debut

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — 49ers rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel wasn’t expected to play 88-percent of San Francisco's offensive snaps in 31-17 Week 1 win over the Bucs, but he’s chalked it up as a great learning experience. 

“Honestly I really didn’t know how long I was going to play,” Samuel said. "I just know I was out there and was trying to do the best at my job. I think there’s a lot of things I need to work on as far as being consistent, getting in better shape and being locked in.” 

Every rookie goes through a learning curve, and Samuel made a few notable mistakes in his debut. Just before the half, Samuel caught a short pass from 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, but fumbled and cost the team at least three points. 

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Samuel jumped offsides on a play that was likely going to get him the ball. The drive eventually stalled and the 49ers were forced to punt.

Understandably, nerves played a little bit of a role in the rookie's performance. 

“Kind of more anxious than anything,” Samuel said. “You know it was kind of first-game rookie jitters. You hear the play call and kind of figure it’s coming to you and you’re ready to make the play, but rather than being locked in, I was jumping offsides.” 

While coach Kyle Shanahan wants to minimize mistakes, he's been impressed with how Samuel has responded to criticism.

“He’s really as good as anyone I’ve been around right now,” Shanahan said. “As a rookie, we’ll see how it goes, but you can be hard on him. He doesn’t make excuses, he works at it and he definitely takes accountability and doesn’t mind you calling him out in front of the team. It’s important to him and usually responds when you do it.”

Garoppolo also vouched for Samuel’s mettle after making mistakes, specifically the false start. 

“He came back and answered with that two-point conversion,” Garoppolo said. “That’s a tough play, quick catch, get it in there. Yeah, he had a good mindset the whole day in the huddle. 

"You know, he’s still got a long way to go and everything, but he has natural talent. He’s powerful, he can run through defenders as you saw on Sunday. It’s nice having a guy like that. Just when he’s in tight spots, he makes the tough catches. It’s incredible, the guy doesn’t sweat even in Tampa. It’s mind-blowing."

Even as a rookie, Samuel is his toughest critic. He's all ears when coaches speak and greatly wants to improve.

“Me personally, I was hard on myself about it because it’s not something that we do as a group and it’s not something we do as a team,” Samuel said. “You have to take yourself and be accountable for that, but as far as how hard they get on you they just want you to become a better player and I take coaching very well.” 

Shanahan took responsibility for having Samuel in the game for too long and only playing second-year receiver Dante Pettis for two snaps

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“I think he learned what the NFL is like,” Shanahan said. “I think it was our fault for playing him too much. We should’ve had Dante in for more and taken those reps down a little bit, but that’s the standard in this league and how hard you have to go and how every play matters. 

“I think he learned that. There’s some good learning examples in that game. He did some good things for us, but he also played like a rookie at times, too. To be able to do that and still be able to get away with a win where we can be hard on him for certain things, I think it was a good learning moment for him.”

Jimmy Garoppolo becomes first 49ers QB to win Player of the Week since 2012


Jimmy Garoppolo becomes first 49ers QB to win Player of the Week since 2012

Jimmy Garoppolo, who was at the center of the 49ers’ emotional 48-46 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.

Garoppolo becomes the 49ers’ first NFC Offensive Player of the Week since Week 1 of the 2013 season when wide receiver Anquan Boldin won the award. He is the first 49ers quarterback to win since Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick both were honored during the 2012 season.

The 49ers have been recognized three times as winner of the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Nick Bosa won it twice (Weeks 5 and 8), and Fred Warner (Week 12) was honored for his game against Green Bay.

{RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo putting up historic stats among 49ers quarterbacks]

In Week 14, Garoppolo completed 26 of 35 pass attempts for 349 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. His passer rating was 131.7. He also picked up a key first down in the fourth quarter with a 2-yard scramble.

“Jimmy is a baller,” 49ers receiver Emmanuel Sanders said. “You can look at him and see what kind of player he is. He works hard. When you’ve got somebody like Jimmy with the personality that he has, in the clutch moments he’s not going to fold because of all the hard work that he’s put in.”

The biggest play of the game came in the final minute of the fourth quarter, when Garoppolo completed a pass to tight end George Kittle on a fourth-and-2 situation to get the first down. Then, Kittle did the rest by himself, dragging defenders for a 39-yard gain. A facemask penalty put the 49ers in position for Robbie Gould’s game-winning 30-yard kick as time expired.

The 49ers lead the NFC West and own the top record in the NFC at 11-2.

Garoppolo is heating up for the 49ers at the right time. He has produced passer ratings of 110 or better in six of his past seven games. In the past seven games, Garoppolo completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 1,931 yards with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions.

The Saints pressured Garoppolo on 34.2 percent of his dropbacks, the second-highest pressure rate he has faced this season, according to Zebra Technology, the official on-field tracking technology of the NFL. He completed six of eight passes for two touchdowns on passes of 10 yards or more in the air for a passer rating of 156.3.

It did not come easy, either. Garoppolo also threw into tight windows on 22.9 percent of his throws, according to Zebra, which is significantly higher than his season average of 15.5 percent of throws to receivers who are well-covered.

49ers place receiver Marquise Goodwin on season-ending injured reserve


49ers place receiver Marquise Goodwin on season-ending injured reserve

The 49ers placed wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on injured reserve Tuesday, ending his season and, possibly, his time with the organization.

Goodwin did not play in Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints after being listed as questionable with knee and foot issues.

“He’s dealing with some chronic stuff,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday. “We’re evaluating treatment options right now.”

Goodwin, 29, appeared in nine games this season with six starts. He had just 12 catches for 186 yards and one touchdown.

The 49ers signed Goodwin on the first day of free agency in 2017. After four seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Goodwin had a breakout season in his first season with the club. Goodwin posted career-best numbers with 56 catches for 962 yards and two touchdowns.

Goodwin appeared in 36 games with the 49ers over the past three seasons, catching 91 passes for 1,543 yards and seven touchdowns.

[RELATED: Jimmy G putting up historic numbers among 49ers QBs]

Goodwin is signed through the 2021 season, but it appears unlikely the club will bring him back next season due to his contract, which has exceeded his production. He is scheduled to make $4.5 million in salary and bonuses. Goodwin has also stated his intention of trying to qualify for the Olympics next year in the long jump.

After winning the U.S. Olympic trials in 2012, Goodwin competed in the 2012 London Olympics. He placed 10th after heading into the final as the No. 1 qualifier. Injuries derailed his bid for a spot on the 2016 U.S. Olympic team that competed in Brazil.