49ers

49ers talking Super Bowl in offseason training

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AP

49ers talking Super Bowl in offseason training

Throughout the 49ers’ State of the Franchise event, which served this week as a pep rally, fans in attendance routinely and randomly shouted their expectations for the 2018 season.

“Super Bowl!”

As it turns out, that goal is being expressed within the 49ers’ locker room during the offseason program, too.

When asked on The 49ers Insider Podcast about what he and his teammates talk about four months before the start of the regular season, new 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon said the conversation is centered on posting a victory on the first Sunday of February.

“The Super Bowl,” McKinnon said. “That’s what the eyes are on. That’s the prize. That’s the ultimate goal.

“The whole team has talked about it. We had a thing with the Navy SEALS. They were asking us, ‘What’s the goal?’ It was equally collaborated on: 'Win the Super Bowl.'”

Early in the 49ers’ offseason program, coach Kyle Shanahan brought a NAVY SEALS program to the team’s training facility to foster camaraderie and work on team-building exercises.

Left tackle Joe Staley, the longest-tenured 49ers player, spoke enthusiastically Wednesday night in front of a crowd of approximately 1,100 fans in downtown San Jose about the upcoming season.

"I've never been more excited for a football season to get here,” Staley said. “The locker room, the energy, not only do we all get along, it's all built on respect of work. I'm really excited.”

McKinnon, whom the 49ers targeted as an upgrade over Carlos Hyde for coach Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, was mostly a third-down back during his four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.

McKinnon came to within one win of the Super Bowl last season, as the Vikings lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game. He believes it is important to set high goals with a long season ahead.

"In the season, you're going to have ups and downs," McKinnon said. "That's just part of a 17-week NFL season. But at the end of it, you've just got to keep the eye on the prize, and that's the Super Bowl. So whatever it is that happens, we have to stick together as a team to get to that common goal."

49ers sign OL Laken Tomlinson to three-year extension

49ers sign OL Laken Tomlinson to three-year extension

Guard Laken Tomlinson appears to have wrapped up a starting position on the 49ers’ offensive line, as the club signed him to a three-year extension on Thursday.

Tomlinson, who started the final 15 games of last season at left guard, is now signed through the 2021 season, the 49ers announced.

“Laken is a very talented player who has improved consistently since joining the team one week before last year’s season opener,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement. “This offseason, his hard work and dedication paid off as he continued to progress and performed at a high level. We were confident we could work out a contract extension with Laken and we are fired up to get that done before training camp.”

The 49ers acquired Tomlinson in a trade from the Detroit Lions for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick shortly before the start of last season. The Lions selected Tomlinson with the No. 28 overall pick from Duke in 2015.

The 49ers did not pick up the fifth-year option on Tomlinson for the 2019 season, which would have cost $9.625 million. Instead, the 49ers and Tomlinson agreed to a three-year extension worth up to $18 million with $10 million guaranteed, reports the NFL Network.

Tomlinson, 26, started 24 of 30 games in his first two seasons with Detroit. He entered the 49ers’ starting lineup in Week 2 and every game for the remainder of the season.

The 49ers appear to have four starting positions set along the offensive line, with Tomlinson and tackle Joe Staley on the left side. Veteran center Weston Richburg is slated to start at center, while rookie Mike McGlinchey is settling in at right tackle.

Joshua Garnett, Jonathan Cooper and Mike Person will compete at right guard during training camp, which opens on July 25.

Rookie LB Fred Warner is setting the tone for 49ers, but he might be a little too loud

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AP

Rookie LB Fred Warner is setting the tone for 49ers, but he might be a little too loud

When the 49ers selected inside linebacker Fred Warner of BYU in the third round of the draft, it was easy to see how he fit into the team's plan with the degree of uncertainty surrounding Reuben Foster.

While Foster remained away from the team’s offseason program for five weeks, Warner felt a need to get up to speed quickly if he was needed to be a starter for Week 1 of the regular season. Warner said he was determined to learn as quickly as possible at whatever position he lined up.

“They want consistency over a guy who can make a play here and there,” Warner said on The 49ers insider Podcast. “Because if you’re a liability and you’re out there missing assignments, stuff like that, that’s going to get you cut. You have to be able to retain this information very quickly and be able to produce on the field and put a good product out there. That’s the biggest thing.”

The 49ers consider the middle linebacker (mike) and weakside linebacker (will) positions as nearly interchangeable. The major difference is the mike position is the player who communicates in the huddle. Malcolm Smith is lining up with the first team at mike, while Foster is at will. Warner is leading the second team at mike.

Foster joined the 49ers’ offseason for the final four weeks after a judge dismissed two felony charges of domestic violence. Warner knew all about Foster, the player, before meeting him as a teammate.

“He’s a very physical player, and something I didn’t know about him that I know now, he’s probably the smartest guy in the room,” Warner said. “This dude has the memory of an elephant. He doesn’t have to write notes down. He just retains things very quickly. And I think that’s what allowed him to play at such a high level as a rookie last year, aside from his physical talent.”

Warner has also learned a lot from Smith, who played six NFL seasons before sitting out last year with a torn pectoral.

“We’ve worked after practice on man coverage on tight ends and running backs.,” Warner said. “Even though that might not be something we touch on in practice or a meeting, he just wants to touch on that with me because he said, ‘If you can do this, you can play on any team in the NFL.’ “

One of the few critiques of the rookie during the offseason program is that Warner, who said he was a quiet kid as a youngster, has been a little too loud.

“He’s very smart and he plays like it on the field,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said during the first week of OTAs. “He doesn’t hesitate. He’s a rookie out there, but he’s calling the plays maybe even too loud because I can hear him from the offensive side. But, he doesn’t mind speaking up. He’s confident in what he’s doing.”

Warner said he wanted to win the confidence of his teammates, so that might have contributed to his increased decibel level.

“I want to make sure that when I get in that huddle and I’m talking to these guys, that they know that I know what I’m doing and I’m ready to go,” Warner said. “I’m the one who’s going to set the tone in the huddle before the play even happens.”