49ers

Kyle Shanahan plans to keep three QBs, but 49ers always will listen on trades

Kyle Shanahan plans to keep three QBs, but 49ers always will listen on trades

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kyle Shanahan said he believes the 49ers have three NFL quarterbacks, and they aren’t just going to let some team have one of them for nothing.

Following the 49ers’ 27-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the third preseason game for both teams, the coach said Saturday night that he plans for starter Jimmy Garoppolo and reserves Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard to be on San Francisco’s 53-man roster when the regular season begins in two weeks.

The message was sent that if another team — like the suddenly Andrew Luck-less Indianapolis Colts — wants Mullens or Beathard, it will have to pay something in return.

Mullens completed 8 of 11 passes for 84 yards Saturday. Beathard did not play, but he figures to see a lot of action in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“We have three very good quarterbacks,” Shanahan said. “We plan on having three this year. But just like every other person on our roster, if someone thinks there’s a way to upgrade our team, we’ll always listen.

“We’re not ever going to just get rid of NFL players. And I know we have three NFL quarterbacks who can help us.”

The 49ers haven't kept three quarterbacks at the start of the regular season in Shanahan’s two previous years as coach. Garoppolo, Mullens and Beathard all have NFL starting experience.

On the surface, it would appear the 49ers will have a difficult time keeping three quarterbacks to open the season because of injuries to such players as running back Jerick McKinnon, wide receiver Trent Taylor, center Weston Richburg, defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, and cornerback Jason Verrett.

The 49ers might have to carry an extra player at other positions to compensate for the injuries during the early part of the season.

“It’s very rough," Shanahan said. "That’s why it’s tough decisions. But that’s something when you have three NFL quarterbacks, they’re not easy to come by, regardless of where you draft them or anything.

“When you have that, you don’t just give that away. That’s something that takes years to find.”

[RELATED: How Garoppolo looked on five drives vs. Chiefs]

The Colts could be in the quarterback market because of Luck’s surprise retirement announcement Saturday night.

“I was just told about Luck before I came in here, and it probably shocked me as much as everyone,” Shanahan said. “He’s one of the best guys in our league and one of the most impressive people I’ve been around, just going through the interview process and stuff. I’m sure he has a very good reason and everything, but, yeah, that was crazy to just hear that.”

49ers' George Kittle doesn't want to miss 'massive' game vs. Packers

49ers' George Kittle doesn't want to miss 'massive' game vs. Packers

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end George Kittle said he knew at the time he sustained injuries to his left knee and ankle in Week 9 that he would be out for a couple of weeks.

On Thursday, he returned to limited practice after sitting out two weeks of 49ers' practices and games.

“It went really well,” Kittle said after practice. “It was definitely a great step in the right direction. It was really fun being back out there with all the guys. I definitely don’t miss sitting in the training room all day. My goal definitely is still Green Bay.”

Kittle and wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and Deebo Samuel (shoulder) returned to limited practice on Thursday, suggesting there is a strong likelihood each player will be available to play Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.

“Unfortunately, that falls on the doctors and coach [Kyle] Shanahan, so whatever they decide, I’ll do,” Kittle said.

Kittle was forced to watch the past two games from a suite on the 800 level of Levi’s Stadium, rather than being on the sideline. Kittle described that experience as “absolutely brutal, absolutely awful.” At worst, he hoped to be allowed on the sideline with his teammates.

“I want to be down there, but they said I’d hurt myself if I put myself down there,” Kittle said. “I disagreed, but I understand.

“It’s a lower body injury, so it doesn’t make any sense to stand on it for three or four hours, and fatigue it. I agree with them, and I disagree with them.”

Kittle, as Shanahan has done in the past two weeks, declined to disclose the nature of his injuries. When asked if his ankle or knee is giving him the most difficulty, he quipped, “Yes.”

Kittle was injured on the 49ers’ first play of their Oct. 31 game against the Arizona Cardinals. He said he did not believe his decision to remain in the game caused the injuries to worsen.

“They said, ‘You want to play?’ And I said, ‘I’ll do everything I can to finish the game,’ and I got an extra three quarters out of it,” Kittle said. “I don’t think it affected my injury any further.”

Kittle leads the 49ers with 46 receptions for 541 yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers are atop the NFC West, as well as the conference, with a 9-1 record. The Packers are 8-2.

[RELATED: Why beating the 49ers at Levi's means so much to Rodgers]

“Every game is a big game, but definitely an 8-2 Packers team coming, it’s definitely a battle for the NFC, definitely a massive game,” Kittle said. “It’s one I don’t want to miss.”

How 49ers' Jeff Wilson is able to stay ready for number to be called

How 49ers' Jeff Wilson is able to stay ready for number to be called

SANTA CLARA  — Running back Jeff Wilson might have only played one offensive snap in the 49ers' victory over the Cardinals in Week 11 but it was an important one. 

The play had the potential for disaster. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo admitted he couldn’t see his running back and Wilson couldn’t see the pass coming out of the pocket. The ball arrived slightly behind Wilson, but the undrafted free agent was able to secure the ball and make his way 25 yards down the field to the end zone. 

The 49ers and Cardinals changed leads three times last Sunday at Levi's Stadium, but Wilson's touchdown with 31 seconds left put Kyle Shanahan's crew on top for good, winning 36-26.

Wilson’s first receiving touchdown comes after entering the year with no assurances he would ever see the field during the regular season. With a stacked running backs room to begin the offseason, Wilson was expected to have a spot on the scout team with Jerick McKinnon, Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert all ahead of him on the depth chart, not to mention fullback Kyle Juszczyk. 

Injuries hit the running backs room hard and Wilson's number was called. In seven appearances, Wilson has racked up four rushing touchdowns, filling in as needed. No matter how often his number is called, he stays ready to make an impact. 

“That’s just how the game goes,” Wilson told NBC Sports Bay Area. “That’s kind of what you get yourself into, That’s something you go into already expecting and knowing. Obviously, I knew that from the beginning of the season. Never know when I’m going to get called up.” 

The support of his position mates has made the process easier for the second-year running back. The group is very close. During pregame warmups they spend several minutes, arm-in-arm, huddled together in the end zone. Players who are inactive for the game or injured always are included.  
  
"To have Matt there, Tevin, Juice, the guys I’m in the locker room with, makes it easier,” Wilson said. “They are very supportive. It’s like if one of us is doing something, it’s like all of us are doing it. 

“At the same time if one person scores it feels like all of us scored. That’s kind of how we work. We want to make everyone to feel a part of it. We always call Jet, you know what I mean? He’s the leader of the group still. We always keep Jet involved. That’s kind of how we are.” 

[RELATED: 49ers' Kittle back at practice but off-limits for contact]

That support helped fuel Wilson’s dash to the end zone. His bouncing up and down in the huddle before the play might have made coach Shanahan a little nervous, but Wilson said he was ready thanks to playing 13 special teams snaps to stay warmed up. But he might not have expected the feelings that took over his body once he got into the end zone. 

“I don’t know, that was just a lot of emotion,” Wilson said. “A lot of stuff just built up on the inside that kind of came out all at once. I couldn’t control myself. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t in control of my body at that point. It was crazy, but it’s a blessing. It was a moment that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”