Joe Staley one of few 49ers holdovers deemed worthy of keeping around


Joe Staley one of few 49ers holdovers deemed worthy of keeping around

In three offseasons since their hirings, 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have turned over the team’s roster.

Only 10 players have remained with the 49ers from the roster Lynch and Shanahan inherited in February 2017.

Lynch and Shanahan have spoken about "taking care of our own." But there haven't been many holdover players the 49ers have wanted to keep around.

Safety Jaquiski Tartt, running back Raheem Mostert and tackle Joe Staley will open the season as the only players acquired during Trent Baalke’s time with the 49ers that the new regime has signed to multi-year contract extensions.

The 49ers also would like to sign Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to a long-term extension. The club this offseason picked up the fifth-year option on Buckner for the 2020 season.

“We’ve had to bring in a lot of people and we knew that before we got here,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said before the conclusion of the team's offseason program. “What’s been really hard is bringing in a lot of people. We want to reward our own.

“We’ve been waiting to do that, and we know Buck is right around the corner. Hopefully, that could be soon. To get that done with Staley, it’s something that we’ve wanted to do. We want to do a lot more of that.”

There was a time in the middle of the 2017 season when Staley was unsure if he wanted to continue to play. But after seeing eye-to-eye with Shanahan on the direction of the organization, he has been re-energized to the point that he signed a new deal that could pay him more than $36 million over the next three seasons.

The deal to lock up Staley is exactly what the 49ers want to do with their players who set the kind of standard the organization wishes to see from everyone in the locker room and field.

“It means everything,” Shanahan said. “First of all, you’re going to reward people who are good players, who can help you. But whenever you make a commitment like that to someone and you’re talking a certain type of money and things like that, you want to do it for people who do it the right way.”

Staley, 34, is a 12-year NFL veteran who did not earn his first Pro Bowl selection until his fifth year in the league. He now has been chosen to six Pro Bowls. Although he had one of his better seasons last year, he was not chosen for a spot on the NFC team.

“Joe’s a very good player, and in terms of doing it the right way he’s been perfect for us,” Shanahan said. “He’s gotten better since we’ve gotten here, which is very exciting, especially at his age and we all know he was real good before that, too.

“So the fact that you can see him improving, the way he carries himself, the fact that he really loves football, you can tell he enjoys playing it. That’s why when guys truly enjoy it, they can play later in their career. They’re not just collecting a check and things like that. It’s people you believe in.”

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These are the 10 players who have remained continuously with the 49ers from the roster Lynch and Shanahan inherited in 2017:

LT Joe Staley, 2007, drafted first round
TE Garrett Celek, 2012, signed as undrafted rookie
DB Jimmie Ward, 2014, drafted first round
*LS Kyle Nelson, 2014, signed as free agent
DL Arik Armstead, 2015, drafted first round
DB Jaquiski Tartt, 2015, drafted second round
DL DeForest Buckner, 2016, drafted first round
OG Joshua Garnett, 2016, drafted first round
DE Ronald Blair, 2016, drafted fifth round
RB Raheem Mostert, 2016, signed to practice squad/active roster

(*-Nelson is scheduled to serve the final six games of a 10-game suspension as a repeat offender of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances at the beginning of the season.)

Fewer snaps works out to more production for 49ers' rookie Deebo Samuel

Fewer snaps works out to more production for 49ers' rookie Deebo Samuel

SANTA CLARA – It was no reflection of what the 49ers think of rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel when coach Kyle Shanahan said after Week 1 he wanted him on the field for fewer plays.

Samuel played 59 of the 49ers’ 68 offensive snaps against Tampa Bay. He caught three passes for 17 yards.

In the 49ers’ 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Samuel played just 27 of the team’s 70 snaps. But his production increased significantly.

Samuel caught five of the seven passes quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw his way. The second-round draft pick from South Carolina accounted for 87 yards and a touchdown. Garoppolo likes what he has seen from the rookie.

“It’s moving in the right direction, especially when a guy ... he just has the right mindset on the field, you see it in the huddle, you see it in his eyes,” Garoppolo said. “The moment is not too big for him. So as a rookie, you’ve got to appreciate seeing that.

“He’s raw and has so much talent that we’ve got to bring out of him. He’s just moving in the right direction, so that’s the fun part.”

Samuel and Marquise Goodwin started the first two games for the 49ers. Dante Pettis and Goodwin shared the most playing time, with each playing 50 percent of the team’s snaps. Goodwin caught three passes for 77 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown. Pettis did not see a pass thrown his way, though he completed a 16-yard pass on a gadget play.

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Pettis got off to a slow start in training camp and Shanahan repeatedly challenged him to show more urgency and step up his game. The former second-round pick said he feels good about the direction he is moving.

“I think I’m pretty much there,” Pettis said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “It’s hard to tell, obviously, in the games, but I think in practices I’m not where I need to be, but I’m on my way.”

Why Justin Skule is thankful for 49ers O-line before first NFL start

Why Justin Skule is thankful for 49ers O-line before first NFL start

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers left tackle Justin Skule, who will take over for injured six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley at the position in Sunday’s home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is just a rookie. But Skule already has a huge supporting cast to help him prepare. 

The 22-year-old is an unknown to most in the Niners fanbase. The rookie has quietly kept his head down since he was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the 49ers in April. Staley, who has vowed to help Skule adjust to his new responsibilities, has already made an impact on his replacement. 

“He’s been awesome since I’ve been here just taking me under his wing and giving me little tricks of the trade,” Skule said Wednesday of the veteran left tackle, who is out six to eight weeks after breaking his fibula in Week 2. “He’s done a phenomenal job just these past couple days giving me pointers just showing me how he goes through his process and everything like that. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.” 

Staley isn’t the only offensive lineman to offer Skule helpful advice. The rookie had to fill in for Staley in the 49ers' 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and Skule said Mike Person imparted some wisdom when the two shared the field at Paul Brown Stadium. 

“He’s like, ‘Take a deep breath it’s still just football,'" Skule recalled. "So, I think that’s something that I’m really going to focus on this week. It’s still the game of football. Just take a deep breath, and don’t let anything get too big for myself.” 

Skule apparently has taken that advice to heart during his first week of practice as the team's starter.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t notice the nerves that were brewing in his newly appointed left tackle. Garoppolo that Skule appeared unfazed when he first filled in for Staley and has been the same ever since. 

“He’s been very consistent,” Garoppolo said. “Smart guy, came into the huddle during the game, didn’t blink or anything. Just one of those guys, he does the right thing and he’s in the right spot. He’s been the same guy every day, and you’ve got to appreciate that.”

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Thus far, Skule has taken it all in stride. Even with more than 20 media members surrounding him in front of his locker for the first time in his pro career, Skule seemed calm and deliberate. The rookie didn’t hesitate when answering any questions, and his replies seemed genuine. 

Still, Skule knows that even though he feels calm now, the nerves undoubtedly will come before his first start Sunday at Levi's Stadium. 

“No matter who you are replacing, you’re going to go in with some nerves,” Skule said. “Everyone has that competitive edge where you’re going to be nervous when you’re going in. The older guys and everyone in the huddle have just done a great job taking me under their wing and just making sure I’m good and relaxed and ready to go.”