49ers

49ers snap count: Three receivers have earned Kyle Shanahan's trust

49ers snap count: Three receivers have earned Kyle Shanahan's trust

Wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders, Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne have earned the trust of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff.

“We feel those three guys have earned the right to be out there more than the rest,” Shanahan said Monday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “We feel they have been the most consistent and started playing the best here over the last month or so.”

Meanwhile, the 49ers’ other wide receivers have not shown the kind of reliability to earn significant roles on game days, as became evident in the 49ers’ 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

“Our three guys have really started to separate themselves a little bit from the group,” Shanahan said.

Sanders and Samuel were on the field for nearly every snap. Sanders took just one play off, while Samuel was on the sideline for just two of the 49ers’ 57 offensive plays. The team’s third receiver, Bourne, played 25 snaps.

Shanahan said he would like the other receivers to earn more playing time just so he can give Sanders and Samuel some rest.

“I don’t like how much they went,” Shanahan said. “I think we do have to rotate a little bit more and keep those guys fresh.”

Richie James saw action on just two plays, and veteran Marquise Goodwin never stepped on the field for an offensive snap. James' biggest contribution came on a block to help Raheem Mostert score on a 40-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Dante Pettis was inactive for the game due to a knee injury. But even before he got injured last week in practice, Pettis had fallen down the depth chart. He had just two receptions for 26 yards in his previous six games. Pettis is likely to miss at least another game with the injury.

[RELATED: Sherman's status for 49ers vs. Saints unclear with knee injury]

Here is a look at how much everyone on the 49ers played Sunday on offense, defense and special teams:

Offense

Total offensive snaps: 57
Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo 57
Running back – Raheem Mostert 42, Kyle Juszczyk 26, Tevin Coleman 10, Jeff Wilson 5
Wide receiver – Emmanuel Sanders 56, Deebo Samuel 55, Kendrick Bourne 25, Richie James 2
Tight end – George Kittle 57, Garrett Celek 6, Ross Dwelley 1
Offensive line – Laken Tomlinson 57, Mike Person 57, Mike McGlinchey 57, Weston Richburg 57, Daniel Brunskill 57
Did not play – QB Nick Mullens, OL Ben Garland

Defense

Total defensive snaps: 65
Defensive line – Arik Armstead 61, Nick Bosa 55, DeForest Buckner 54, D.J. Jones 33, Jullian Taylor 24, Solomon Thomas 18, Sheldon Day 17, Jeremiah Valoaga 4
Linebacker – Fred Warner 65, Dre Greenlaw 64, Azeez Al-Shaair 39, Mark Nzeocha 1
Defensive back – Jimmie Ward 65, Ahkello Witherspoon 64, Richard Sherman 63, Jaquiski Tartt 38, Marcell Harris 28, K’Waun Williams 21, Emmanuel Moseley 1

Special teams

Total special teams plays: 20
Tarvarius Moore 16, Elijah Lee 16, Moseley 16, Nzeocha 16, Al-Shaair 14, Harris 12, Mitch Wishnowsky 10, James 10, Celek 8, Ward 8, Armstead 8, Buckner 8, Bourne 7, Dwelley 7, Jones 7, D.J. Reed 6, Kyle Nelson 6, Mostert 6, Justin Skule 4, Robbie Gould 4, Person 4, McGlinchey 4, Tomlinson 4, Richburg 4, Thomas 4, Tartt 3, Juszczyk 2, Wilson 2, Greenlaw 2, Marquise Goodwin 1, Day 1

Not active

QB C.J. Beathard
K Chase McLaughlin
WR Dante Pettis
RB Matt Breida
DE Dee Ford
LT Joe Staley
TE Levine Toilolo

49ers' Mike Person, Ben Garland take unique paths become Super Bowl starters

49ers' Mike Person, Ben Garland take unique paths become Super Bowl starters

SANTA CLARA -- The last time the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl, their 2011 draft class played a key role in the club’s success.

Aldon Smith and Colin Kaepernick are no longer around, but the 49ers still have one starter remaining from that draft class of nearly nine years ago.

Seventh-round draft pick Mike Person will be starting at right guard when the 49ers’ offense takes the field in Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami on Sunday, Feb. 2.

“I’ve come full circle,” Person said in the victorious 49ers’ locker room after their win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday. “How about that? It’s been quite the journey. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything right now.”

Person, 31, was then asked to retrace his path since entering the NFL with the 49ers. He never made it to the regular season with the 49ers as a rookie. He was released at the end of training camp, and that began his football odyssey.

“All right,” Person said, taking a deep breath, “49ers; [Indianapolis] Colts for 10 days; [Seattle] Seahawks; [Los Angeles] Rams; [Atlanta] Falcons; Chiefs; Colts; back here.”

Lining up next to Person is another unlikely NFL success story.

Ben Garland, 31, comes from a military family, and that is the path he figured his life would take as he entered the Air Force Academy.

But in his sixth NFL season, Garland’s opportunity to be a starter came on Dec. 8 when center Weston Richburg sustained a season-ending knee injury.

“Coming from the Air Force Academy, I thought I was going to be a pilot right now,” Garland said. “It’s definitely unexpected.”

Not only are Person and Garland starters, but they also form part of a 49ers offensive line that helped dominate the Minnesota Vikings and Packers with a relentless running attack during the playoffs.

In those two games, the 49ers gained 471 yards and six touchdowns rushing on 89 attempts. Meanwhile, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was asked to drop back to throw just 30 times.

The 49ers’ offensive line helped Raheem Mostert to a career day in the 49ers’ win over the Packers. Mostert set the club record with 220 yards on 29 rushing attempts.

And Garland get in on the fun when Mostert presented him with the football to celebrate one of his four touchdown runs.

“I was surprised Raheem gave me the ball,” Garland said. “I’d never done something like that before: My first spike.”

Garland had seven career starts before this season. He was a backup on the 2016 Atlanta Falcons that went to Super Bowl LI with Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator. He played one snap on offense and eight on special teams in loss to the New England Patriots.

He was the 49ers’ primary backup at both guard positions and center for most of the season. Garland remained ready to enter at a moment’s notice at any of those three spots until Richburg’s injury forced him into action and onto the path to becoming a Super Bowl starter.

“It’s part of my military training,” Garland said. “Coming from the Air Force, you’re ready to adapt. So I’d always been ready every game to take on a role, whether it was left guard, right guard or center. So when he went down, I was ready to step in as a starter.

“There’s always pressure, especially with how well Weston did over the year. I’m filling big shoes.”

Person said he also owes a lot to his background, growing up in a small town in northeast Montana.

“There have obviously been some downs. And this is pretty damn high,” Person said. “Who’d ever thought a kid from Glendive, Montana, 5,000 people, would be playing in the Super Bowl? It means a lot because I carry my hometown with me and I know they’re always backing me, and I always got my family behind him. It’s pretty cool. It really is.

“It’s the work ethic that comes from being from a town like that. It’s a very rural town, but we got the railroad. We got oil fields and a bunch of ranchers. So that work ethic rubs off on everybody.”

Person had just 18 career starts before signing with the 49ers in 2018. Fourteen of his starts came in 2015 with the Falcons during Shanahan’s first season there as offensive coordinator. He started all 16 games last year to earn a three-year contract. And after missing two games late in the season with a neck condition, he started both playoff games.

[RELATEDThomas identifies 'love' as key to 49ers' Super Bowl berth]

Garland and Person are part of this team’s story of first-round picks, castoffs and everything in between who have formed to win 15 of 18 games this season. They all serve significant roles as the 49ers aim for the organization's sixth Lombardi Trophy.

“We have great team chemistry. Incredible coaches and we work so well together,” Garland said. “It’s not a selfish team, so every guy is helping the guy below them, beside of them, next to them.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re practice squad or Jimmy Garoppolo, everyone is getting an equal opportunity to grow.”

Why 49ers' Richard Sherman appreciates this Super Bowl run a little more

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Why 49ers' Richard Sherman appreciates this Super Bowl run a little more

SANTA CLARA – Richard Sherman crouched closer to the Levi’s Stadium turf, put his hat over his face and took a moment for himself. Chaos reigned around him, with workers setting up the NFC championship ceremony and those in red and gold reveling in the 49ers’ sixth Super Bowl appearance following a dominant 37-20 victory over Green Bay.

That game essentially ended, fittingly enough, with a Sherman pick. The 31-year old didn’t pause a beat to honor that play. He has four playoff interceptions and some game-sealing moments in his past.

The 30 or so seconds spent with his face covered, seemingly shedding a tear or two in private despite cameras all around, was about the bigger picture. It was about making his third Super Bowl in six calendar years/seven seasons. It was about coming all the way back from an Achilles’ tear few thought he’d fully recover from. It was about being older and wiser and more appreciative of the journey to this point.

His brother Branton, of all people, asked him about that wild Super Bowl ride Sunday in his postgame press conference.

“Six years ago, there was a different team with a different feel,” Sherman said. “We had a top team then. I feel the same way about this team. We’re incredibly talented. We have great coaches and weapons all around. I’m just a little bit older. Back then, they didn’t call me ‘Uncle Sherm.’ They do now. In Year 9, it is a different feel for me. You appreciate things a little more. My son gets to see me play. He turns 6 a few days after the Super Bowl and he wants a ring for his birthday. I’m going to do my best to try to get that for him.”

Being a proud papa and an “uncle” to the 49ers locker room hasn’t taken the edge off. He’s still the same man demanding respect, scrounging the floor for chips to place on his shoulder. His All-Pro-level play and experience will be invaluable when the 49ers descend upon Miami for a media circus unlike any other.

His goal is to keep the roster loose yet focused, confident yet respectful as the 49ers prep to play the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2 in Super Bowl LIV.

[RELATED: How 49ers' unique locker room culture starts at top with Kyle Shanahan]

Sunday night, however, he took time to reflect on the hard behind-the-scenes work required to get here.

“You give up your body and your time and your health and your mind,” Sherman said. “You're usually somewhere between going psychotic and you're locked in, you know what I mean? Because, it's such a crazy edge you've got to be on. That's why it's a little emotional. You get to appreciate it a little more.”

Sherman enjoyed a big moment against Green Bay but understands there’s more work to be done. Beating the Chiefs is essential to a positive Super Bowl experience. He should know, after winning one and losing another in heartbreaking fashion while with Seattle.

“It's always awesome to fight hard and everybody wants to be standing at the end, but it doesn’t matter unless you win the game,” Sherman said. “It could be the best day in your life if you win. It can be the worst day if you lose. That's the perspective that I'll keep putting through to these guys, somebody who has been there who has won and lost. We've got to put in the work. It's not a holiday. It's not a vacation. I'm sure it will be good for the families. It will be cool for everybody's experience, get their phones out, get the Instagram videos and all that. But at the end of the day, it's going to be a challenging game and it's going to be a dogfight.”