Kyle Shanahan lauds consistency of offensive line in difficult season


Kyle Shanahan lauds consistency of offensive line in difficult season

SANTA CLARA — 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan finds the consistency of the offensive line a positive in the team’s challenging 2-9 season. Unfortunately, the consistency has been lacking in several other position groups. 

In Pete Carroll’s conference call with local Bay Area media, he referenced 49ers Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh’s theory that it takes five years for players to get the reservoir of knowledge they need within a particular system. 

When Shanahan was asked if he was in agreement with that statement, he confirmed that he believes consistency is key to a team’s success. He also pointed out that one position group that has been able to play with consistency this season for the 49ers -- is the offensive line. 

“It’s extremely important,” Shanahan said. “You know, when you run a system, it’s about 11 guys moving together and that's the thing that I’ve been really excited about this year. 

“I know there hasn’t been a lot of success and things like that, but the one place I can say we’ve gotten a lot of continuity this year is our O-Line.”

Center Weston Richburg missed the Week 8 match up in Arizona, but outside of that one game, the offensive line has been the same. Joe Staley, Laken Tomlinson, Mike Person, Mike McGlinchey and Richburg have all appeared together in the other 10 games. 

Shanahan points towards this consistency as one of the reasons running back Matt Breida has been successful. Breida has had three 100-yard games and is on pace for a 1,000-yard season. 

“I think that’s why we’ve run the ball so well,” Shanahan said, "and I think that’ll be huge for us going into next year.” 

Unfortunately for the 49ers, several other position groups have not shown the same consistency. 
Injuries have decimated the wide receivers, safeties and -- of course -- the quarterbacks. 

Shanahan noted that there have not been two games in a row where the 49ers have had the same wide receiver group active. They will be without Marquise Goodwin in Seattle. Pierre Garçon could be inactive as well, battling a knee injury that has kept him out three out of the past four games. 

[RELATED: 49ers leaning on young wide receivers vs. Seahawks]

“I wish we had more continuity at our receivers,” Shanahan said. “We’ll see how this week goes with Pierre and Marquise not being here. And if that’s the case, it’ll be the first time this year that we’ve had the same receivers start and play the same positions two weeks in a row. So, the continuity at receiver has been tough.”

Having three different starting quarterbacks has probably not helped develop the chemistry with the receiving group, either. 

Goodwin leads the group with 339 receiving yards in his eight games, 67 of which were from one play. Garçon is not too far behind with 286 yards, also in eight games played. 

The 49ers will need a well-balanced game if they want to have a chance against their division rival Seahawks. When Nick Mullens is on the field, it starts with the offensive line. 

Why Le'Veon Bell unlikely to be right fit for 49ers in NFL free agency


Why Le'Veon Bell unlikely to be right fit for 49ers in NFL free agency

The 49ers spent big money on a running back in free agency last year. But the contract Jerick McKinnon signed doesn't even compare to the kind of deal that would satisfy scheduled free agent Le’Veon Bell.

McKinnon signed a four-year, $29.75 million deal with the 49ers in 2018. Bell, meanwhile, refused to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season for $14.5 million on the team's franchise tag.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Wednesday that the organization would not place the franchise tag on Bell again this year. So, Bell is scheduled to be available to any team as an unrestricted free agent in mid-March.

Don't expect the 49ers to get seriously involved, though, said former NFL quarterback Chris Simms, an NBC Sports analyst and close friend of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.

“That’s a position where Kyle, the Shanahans in general, look at and go, ‘I can get more out of that position than the normal guy; I don’t need to waste money to get a special player there to get special results,’ ” Simms said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“Their offense, their design, can get special results as long as the player doesn’t have any huge, glaring weaknesses. Yeah, I’d be shocked if Le’Veon Bell ended up on the 49ers.”

McKinnon missed all of last season after sustaining a torn ACL one week before the start of the regular season. McKinnon is on pace to be cleared for the start of training camp -- if not sooner -- according to general manager John Lynch.

[RELATED: If 49ers add running back, who falls off the depth chart?]

In McKinnon's absence, the 49ers turned to Matt Breida, Alfred Morris, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. Breida led the way with 814 yards with a 5.3-yard average. Breida, Morris, Mostert and Wilson combined for 1,769 yards with a 4.9 average.

Bell, 27, gained 1,291 yards (4.0 average) and nine touchdowns while catching 85 passes for 655 yards and two touchdowns in 2017. McKinnon, 26, gained 570 yards (3.8 average) and three touchdowns with 51 catches for 421 yards and three TDs in 2017 as a part-time player with the Minnesota Vikings.

Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey offers NBA stars another way to show solidarity

Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey offers NBA stars another way to show solidarity

Recently, some prominent NBA stars have come out in support of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, displaying their solidarity in different manners.

The Warriors' Kevin Durant, for instance, donned a black No. 7 jersey to and from a recent game at Oracle Arena, bearing the phrase "#IMWITHKAP" on the chest.

Steph Curry, wearing the same attire, recently posed for a photo with his son Canon.

The Lakers' LeBron James wore a nearly identical jersey getting off the plane when he and Los Angeles made the trip to Oracle to face Golden State earlier this month.

James took his support of Kaepernick a step further when he was asked about Kaepernick's reported settlement with the NFL at All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

[RELATED: NFL compensating Colin Kaepernick for not playing football]

If Durant, Curry and James -- or anyone else for that matter -- like the black-and-white look, and want to show further solidarity for Kaepernick, well, they're in luck.

On Wednesday, Nike announced the release of a limited-edition Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey -- the same one James wore as a tease getting off the plane in Oakland. As Kaepernick explained in a tweet, the jersey is dedicated to "those true to themselves on and off the field. Proudly, unapologetically and against all odds."

"We believe Colin Kaepernick is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” a Nike spokesperson told The Undefeated. “The jersey marks Nike’s continued product collaboration with Colin."

The NFL logo is notably absent from the jersey, which should not come as a surprise given Kaepernick's recent litigation with the league. 20 percent of all proceeds from the sale of the jerseys will go to the Know Your Rights Camp he founded, which raises awareness for youth "on higher education, self-empowerment and instruction on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios."

So, if you're in the market for a new black-and-white look, or simply want to show more support for Kaepernick, there are certainly worse ways you could spend your money.