49ers

Jullian Taylor describes rookie season as 'job interview every day'

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USATSI

Jullian Taylor describes rookie season as 'job interview every day'

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers defensive tackle Jullian Taylor saw significant playing time in the preseason, then had to wait until Week 12 to see his first NFL snap.

During the time in between, he tried not to concentrate on when he might play. Instead he looked forward to making the most of his opportunity. 

“I didn’t really focus on that,” Taylor said. “I just knew when I went in there, that I wanted to leave a positive mark.” 

While Taylor didn’t focus on when he might play, he did say that not getting onto the field until Week 12 did have its challenges. 

“Of course it was hard from a competitive standpoint,” Taylor said. “Because you want to get looks out there, but other than that, I didn’t really take it personally. I just wanted to wait for my chance and I knew when I got out there, at that time, it was going to be right." 

Taylor stood out in the preseason, registering two sacks, two quarterback hits and four total tackles over four games. One sack came in the first game against the Cowboys and the second in the final game against the Chargers. 

It appeared Taylor was headed for a role on the defense once the regular season started, but coach Kyle Shanahan and coordinator Robert Saleh showed tempered opinions of their young lineman. 

After the first preseason game, Shanahan was complimentary of Taylor’s first performance. 

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“He made a lot of plays that everyone saw,” Shanahan said. “And he also did his job, didn’t make many mental mistakes. He played a lot, which we needed him to. I thought he played good throughout the whole game.”

Saleh had similarly positive comments about Taylor’s first preseason appearance. 

“I thought Jullian did a good job,” Saleh said. “He competed. He represented all of the things that he has shown throughout practice, and that’s violence, that relentlessness that we like.

“Again, I know there’s a lot of exciting things for him and he made a lot of plays, but in this league, nobody really cares about what you did yesterday. It’s all about what you do today and the next day and the next day after that, so he’s got to continue to stack up great days and get better at what we’re trying to work with him.”

When Taylor described finally getting a chance to play in in Tampa, he remained reserved but positive. 

“It was unexplainable, to be honest,” Taylor said. “I was just happy to be out there with the guys and be as one unit, and have the opportunity to do something positive. It was fun. It was better than what I expected and everything I expected, being in an actual game.”

When asked about Shanahan’s end-of-season goals for the team, Taylor said he already sees the remainder of the season in the same fashion. 

“That’s already my mindset,” Taylor said. “So when he said that, it was kind of preaching to the choir. It’s a job interview every day in the league. If someone didn’t get it before, I’m sure they got it then.”

Taylor’s most poignant statement came when he was asked what he learned about himself in his NFL debut.

He simply replied, “That I belong out there.” 

NFL rumors: League seeks to add seventh playoff team in each conference

NFL rumors: League seeks to add seventh playoff team in each conference

The NFL’s playoff structure is expected to change to reportedly include seven teams in both conferences to advance to the postseason.

The current proposal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, would add one playoff team in each conference and only the top seed in the AFC and NFC would be rewarded with byes in the first round of the playoffs.

The changes to the playoff format would take effect this season when the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified. ESPN reports there is “mounting optimism” the new CBA will be agreed upon within the week.

Through last season, the top six teams in both conferences made the playoffs. If the playoff proposal had been in effect last season, the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers would have advanced to the playoffs as the Nos. 7 seeds.

As the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the 49ers would have still earned a first-round bye in the playoffs. But the Green Bay Packers, the No. 2 seed, would have played in the extra game against the Rams. If the Rams were to have upset the Packers in the wild-card round, the 49ers would have played Los Angeles in the NFC Divisional Playoff instead of the Minnesota Vikings.

But the new proposal would have had an even more major impact in the AFC, where the Kansas City Chiefs would have been forced to win three games in the playoffs just to advance to the Super Bowl.

"That's been agreed to for a long time," one source familiar with the CBA talks told ESPN about the NFL's new playoff structure. "There wasn't a lot of disagreement to that issue."

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Players on the top team in each conference will receive postseason pay for the bye weekend, unlike years past, according to the report.

Also, ESPN reported that the sides are also trying to work through a proposal for a 17-game regular season, while the exhibition season is shortened to three games. The earliest that change could occur would be the 2021 season, according to the report.

Deebo Samuel pleas for 49ers to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders in free agency

Deebo Samuel pleas for 49ers to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders in free agency

Before the 49ers officially had lost Super Bowl LIV to the Kansas City Chiefs, tight end George Kittle was already preaching they would be back next year.

But it didn't stop with him.

49ers players throughout the roster already are thinking of everything they can do to make another run at it, and that includes bringing back free-agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

Fellow wideout Deebo Samuel made it clear Wednesday on Twitter that he wants to see the 49ers bring back the 32-year-old veteran.

Sanders showed his appreciation later Wednesday morning.

After coming over from the Denver Broncos via trade in October, Sanders excelled with the 49ers. He caught 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season, and added five receptions for 71 yards in the postseason.

But Sanders could have been an even more critical part of 49ers lore, had it not been for Jimmy Garoppolo's overthrown pass with less than two minutes remaining in Super Bowl LIV. But it was not meant to be.

Sanders has been open about his love for the team that had just barely missed the championship and has spoken out about those second-guessing him due to his age. 

The receiver laughed at the fact that he has been "flying past 23-year-olds," and exhorted that he still has plenty of good years left in him.

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He also embraced the youth the other wide receivers brought to the team, such as Samuel and Kendrick Bourne. Sanders loved the loose vibes of the 49ers' locker room and assisted the younger players in prepping for the big moments of the Super Bowl. 

Deebo surely noticed that and knows he wants his teammate back for the team's quest to make another Super Bowl run next season.