SANTA CLARA -- After a decisive Monday night win over the Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers are not worried about an emotional letdown as they head into Week 11 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jags might have a 2-7 record, but there is no letting the foot off the pedal for the 49ers now. Tight end George Kittle knows the team will need to stay focused to keep their playoff hopes alive and it continues in Jacksonville on Sunday.
“We lost a lot already,” Kittle said on Thursday. “We don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t think there is a lull in this team. I thought we had one of our best practices today just energy-wise. I thought we were out there running fast, we were being physical.”
The 49ers are on a short week ahead of an East coast trip, which makes preparation that much more condensed and difficult. According to the All-Pro tight end, the energy at practice has been heightened. The team will not be heading into Sunday’s matchup flat like it appeared to in Week 9 when they lost to a beat-up Arizona Cardinals club.
The challenge, Kittle added, is how to stay physical as they hit the midseason mark when no one on the roster is 100-percent healthy. Everyone is playing with some sort of injury and on a short week there is one day less for recovery time.
“The longer the season goes on, I think it’s harder to stay physical and get better while being physical,” Kittle said. “Guys were out there hitting today. Guys were being physical in their routes. That is what you need to get better because this is a man-to-man team, they play a lot of it.”
Jimmie Ward has been through it all in his eight seasons with the 49ers. The veteran safety knows that no matter the record, every team has good players on it. Ward knows the 49ers cannot let their guard down for the Jaguars.
“With a record of 4-5 I don’t call that a letdown,” Ward said. “If you watch their film, there’s a lot of games where they were in it. They’re a pretty physical team and they have some good players on offense and defense too. They play hard. I don’t know what happened but the few games I watched we got to go out there and play our best game to get a win especially in their home.”
Ward, who recorded two interceptions against the Rams, his first since 2016, is not resting on his laurels. The veteran safety and his defensive teammates will need to force more turnovers of they want to see the postseason this year.
“We will go down there and lay an egg if we go down there taking that team lightly,” Ward said. “I don’t think that’s what me or my teammates have on the agenda. I think we are going to go there and handle business.”
Azeez Al-Shaair recorded eight total tackles - six solo, two for a loss in the win over the Rams. The third-year linebacker believes the team will not be overconfident because they will shut out the external voices.
“It’s consciously being aware of what you’ve been doing,” Al-Shaair said. “Not letting everyone pat you on the back. Because last week everyone told us how horrible we were, and this week it’s how great we are. It’s not riding the waves of the highs and lows but staying even keel and not listening to all the outside noise.”