49ers safety Adrian Colbert back up to speed after disappointing 2018

49ers safety Adrian Colbert back up to speed after disappointing 2018

SANTA CLARA – In one year’s time, Adrian Colbert has gone from the 49ers’ clear-cut starting free safety to a player who enters the final three weeks of the preseason on the roster bubble.

After an impressive ending to his rookie season, Colbert took a significant step back in Year 2. Now, he considers the 2018 season a distant memory, as he tries to build on the player who entered the NFL in 2017 as a hungry seventh-round draft pick.

“I’m trying to get back to my old self -- the one everybody seen in my rookie year,” Colbert said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “I feel like I’m finally back in a good place mentally, physically to go out and perform the way I used to.

“There were a lot of reasons, just a lot of outside stuff that I was dealing with and the way I handled the offseason. Lessons, not losses.”

Colbert said he did not get complacent after locking down the starting job. He said he merely did not work as hard as he could have to prepare himself for a 16-game regular season. He ended up appearing in seven games with six starts and finished the season on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain.

“I’ve prepared tremendously this offseason in ways I wish I would have going into my second year,” Colbert said. “But I didn’t. Got to live it and build myself back up to what I used to be and where I used to be.”

Jimmie Ward, who is returning from a fractured collarbone he sustained in June, and Tarvarius Moore appear to rank ahead of Colbert on the depth chart. Moore played a team-high 70 snaps in the 49ers’ preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Colbert played in just seven snaps after getting disqualified for a targeting infraction.

“There’s a great competition going on in that safety room,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “There are legitimate safeties all over the place in that group. I’m very excited about them.”

Two plays before Colbert was ejected from the game, he made a play that impressed Saleh. Dallas rookie running back Mike Weber broke through the first two levels on a play that Saleh said looked like it would go for 50 yards. But Colbert came flying up from his spot in the deep middle of the field to upend Weber for a 9-yard gain.

On that play, Colbert reached the second-highest game speed on the 49ers (behind wide receiver Deebo Samuel), according to the team’s tracking devices, Saleh said.

“Those are the plays that made him special his rookie year, and when you watch that clip, it was awesome,” Saleh said.

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Colbert’s regression in his second season is nothing Saleh has not seen previously with other players after successful first years in the NFL.

“Not all of them understand what made them great their first year,” Saleh said. “They think they do, but they forget. They always go into that second year thinking they’ve got it. The three most dangerous words in the NFL are, ‘I’ve got it.’ For him, getting back in touch to what made him great as a rookie.”

Jimmy Garoppolo takes 'good step' in 49ers' preseason win over Chiefs


Jimmy Garoppolo takes 'good step' in 49ers' preseason win over Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan vowed to keep quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the game long enough to show he could get the offense into a rhythm and that is exactly what happened. 

“It was definitely better than the week before and that would have been hard not to do,” Shanahan said. “It was cool that they got to stay out there longer, get into a little bit of a rhythm.”

Garoppolo did his best to not pay attention to the negative publicity after his unproductive 11 snaps in Denver and ended up playing 37 snaps with the first-team offense in the team’s 27-17 win over the Chiefs. 

“You have to ignore it and just go play football,” Garoppolo said. “I thought it was a good step coming back here to K.C. the place where it all started. Just to get that out of the way, it’s another step in the right direction.” 

During pregame, Garoppolo even went to the exact spot where he tore his ACL to have a moment to reflect on what he has gone through since the injury happened. 

“Pregame I wanted to check on the spot,” Garoppolo said. “Once I did that, it was over with, time to move on. A lot has happened in the year since then. I don’t know, I just thought it’d be good to go back there and remember everything I’ve gone through.” 

That moment may have been just what the quarterback needed. Over five separate drives, Garoppolo threw to 10 different receivers and completed 14 of his 20 attempts for 188 yards and one touchdown -- giving him a 116.2 rating. Garoppolo’s longest throw was a 33-yard pass to Richie James in the first quarter. 

“It was good,” Garoppolo said. “It was a lot different than last week. Like I said once you get the first first down, then you start to get into a rhythm. The run game was looking real good. I barely got touched except for the one sack, but the line blocked tremendously upfront. So that makes everything a lot easier.” 

Shanahan explained that the progress from Garoppolo’s first game back to his second is natural. 

“It’s not a big surprise when a guy is out for a long especially coming off an ACL,” Shanahan said. “That’s just how football goes sometimes, especially in the preseason. Last week wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked. But it definitely did look that bad live. Today everyone was on the page a little bit better.” 

Shanahan reported that Garoppolo was relatively even-keeled throughout the week but he did see a little emotion out of his signal-caller. 

“A little bit,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy does get amped up sometimes which I think can be a quality. It’s definitely a quality at times. Sometimes when it’s hard to focus you have to bring them down a little bit so you deal with that ebb and flow in games and throughout the week throughout the season.” 

[RELATED: 49ers takeaways: What we learned in 27-17 preseason win vs. Chiefs]

Garoppolo’s productivity set the pace for the rest of the 49ers offense, which managed 23 first downs and 381 total yards over 68 total plays. The next time Garoppolo will see live game action is Week 1 in Tampa Bay. 

Kyle Shanahan plans to keep three QBs, but 49ers always will listen on trades


Kyle Shanahan plans to keep three QBs, but 49ers always will listen on trades

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kyle Shanahan said he believes the 49ers have three NFL quarterbacks, and they aren’t just going to let some team have one of them for nothing.

Following the 49ers’ 27-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the third preseason game for both teams, the coach said Saturday night that he plans for starter Jimmy Garoppolo and reserves Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard to be on San Francisco’s 53-man roster when the regular season begins in two weeks.

The message was sent that if another team — like the suddenly Andrew Luck-less Indianapolis Colts — wants Mullens or Beathard, it will have to pay something in return.

Mullens completed 8 of 11 passes for 84 yards Saturday. Beathard did not play, but he figures to see a lot of action in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“We have three very good quarterbacks,” Shanahan said. “We plan on having three this year. But just like every other person on our roster, if someone thinks there’s a way to upgrade our team, we’ll always listen.

“We’re not ever going to just get rid of NFL players. And I know we have three NFL quarterbacks who can help us.”

The 49ers haven't kept three quarterbacks at the start of the regular season in Shanahan’s two previous years as coach. Garoppolo, Mullens and Beathard all have NFL starting experience.

On the surface, it would appear the 49ers will have a difficult time keeping three quarterbacks to open the season because of injuries to such players as running back Jerick McKinnon, wide receiver Trent Taylor, center Weston Richburg, defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, and cornerback Jason Verrett.

The 49ers might have to carry an extra player at other positions to compensate for the injuries during the early part of the season.

“It’s very rough," Shanahan said. "That’s why it’s tough decisions. But that’s something when you have three NFL quarterbacks, they’re not easy to come by, regardless of where you draft them or anything.

“When you have that, you don’t just give that away. That’s something that takes years to find.”

[RELATED: How Garoppolo looked on five drives vs. Chiefs]

The Colts could be in the quarterback market because of Luck’s surprise retirement announcement Saturday night.

“I was just told about Luck before I came in here, and it probably shocked me as much as everyone,” Shanahan said. “He’s one of the best guys in our league and one of the most impressive people I’ve been around, just going through the interview process and stuff. I’m sure he has a very good reason and everything, but, yeah, that was crazy to just hear that.”