How Shanahan is making sure 49ers are locked in for Cards


This is not your average Week 1 of the NFL season. 

Without minicamps, OTAs and preseason games, players are itching to get back on the field. Add the storyline of revenge into the mix and you have a 49ers team chomping at the bit to get on the path back to the Super Bowl. 

Throughout the week several players used the word “discipline" during their media availability. Coach Kyle Shanahan explained that there has been no lack of excitement for the game, so getting players hyper focused has been a priority heading into Sunday's season opener with the Arizona Cardinals. 

“Guys are fired up,” Shanahan said. “They’re ready to play, but you’ve got to go out there and make sure you execute. It’s always a message, but I think going against a player like Kyler [Murray], having the first week of the season, I think everything's heightened even more on that."

The 49ers won both of their matchups with the Cardinals in 2019 but they seem to have been a little too close for comfort. Murray and his offense put up 51 points in two games and no one in Santa Clara has forgotten. 

Shanahan loves the enthusiasm of his players but knows it could only take a small lapse in focus for things to go awry, especially with Murray and the Cardinals' high powered offense. 

The beginning of the 2020 season also brings with it several distractions. Levi’s Stadium will be a completely different environment without fans present. Nearby wildfires have darkened the skies and severely affected the air quality index. 


“No matter how excited you are to play, you’ve got to make sure you lock into doing your job, doing your assignment,” Shanahan said. “Both of those things don't always go hand in hand and it takes both of those things to be successful, but sometimes they can contradict each other.

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“I know the excitement's there. I know the guys will be ready to go, but you can't lose track of thinking that's all that you’ve got to worry about. You’ve got to be locked in. The team that executes better will win.”

Shanahan and his players have their work cut out knowing that their divisional rival heading to the Bay Area on Sunday will not be forgiving of any mistakes.