49ers

Melvin Gordon not a fit for 49ers in wake of Tevin Coleman ankle injury

Melvin Gordon not a fit for 49ers in wake of Tevin Coleman ankle injury

49ers running back Tevin Coleman suffered a left ankle injury in the first half of their 31-17 Week 1 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday and did not return. San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan admitted he was "concerned" about the injury, and that Coleman would undergo an MRI on Monday.

Coleman, of course, signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the 49ers in the offseason, well before some higher profile backs like Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon dominated the storylines with their contract-related holdouts.

Elliott reached an agreement on an extension with the Cowboys last week, in time for him to suit up for their Week 1 game. Gordon, however, remains steadfast in his insistence that he will not play for the Chargers this season until he gets a more lucrative contract. He is not currently with the team.

So, if Coleman is forced to miss an extended period of time, would San Francisco consider trading for Gordon?

The Wisconsin product's talent is undeniable. Gordon has topped 1,375 yards from scrimmage in each of the last three seasons, totaling 38 total touchdowns over that span while being named to two Pro Bowls. But, simply put, he is not a fit for the 49ers' roster, regardless of whether or not Coleman misses any time.

For one, San Francisco already is spending a boatload on the running back position. Between Coleman, Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jerick McKinnon, the 49ers have allocated nearly $12 million to running backs this season -- more than 5.1 percent of their total cap -- which ranks as the third-highest total running back salary of any team in the league. And no, that doesn't include fullback Kyle Juszcyzyk, who is making $5.95 million this season.

[RELATED: What we learned about 49ers in season-opening win over Bucs]

If Gordon is holding out from the Chargers despite knowing he won't accrue a year of service -- thereby not getting any closer to free agency -- why would he come to San Francisco when a large payday would not await him there?

More to the point, the 49ers don't need Gordon. Outside of the defensive line, one could argue running back is the deepest position on San Francisco's roster, and that's with Coleman banged up and McKinnon already on season-ending IR. Jeff Wilson, who looked great in the preseason, is sitting there on the 49ers' practice squad. If Coleman is forced to miss an extended period, it is far more likely San Francisco looks to a cheap, internal solution like Wilson than an expensive diva currently putting his own priorities in front of his team's.

Kyle Shanahan explains why Dante Pettis was not 49ers' punt returner

Kyle Shanahan explains why Dante Pettis was not 49ers' punt returner

INDIANAPOLIS -- No punt returner in the history of college football was as dynamic as Dante Pettis.

But in two seasons since the 49ers traded up to take him in the second round of the 2018 draft, Pettis has gotten only 11 opportunities to return punts.

All of Pettis’ chances came during his rookie season. While his play time at wide receiver dwindled to non-existent over the second half of the recently completed season, he was not even able to make a contribution special teams.

Why? Coach Kyle Shanahan said it was as simple as this: Richie James was better.

“We didn’t think he was our best guy,” Shanahan said of Pettis at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Pettis set the NCAA record with nine punt returns for touchdowns. After Pettis visited the 49ers, the club selected him with the No. 44 overall draft pick. As a rookie, he fumbled twice while averaging just 3.0 yards on nine returns. He also sustained a knee injury on an early season return against the Los Angeles Chargers.

In 2019, James was reliable. He was fifth in the NFL in return yards and did not have a fumble on 33 punt returns while averaging a respectable 8.0 yards per return.

Shanahan said he wants Pettis to put up a battle to compete with James for the job in 2020. He said he has expressed that expectation to Pettis, too.

“He knows that,” Shanahan said. “I think he’s got a chance to be (the punt returner). But we felt more comfortable with Richie. And I hope Dante tries to take that job from him.

“It’s his decision. He’s got to show it. I guess, it comes down to my decision, but he should make it for me.”

Pettis averaged 17.3 yards on 27 receptions and caught five touchdown passes as a rookie. But his production dropped off in his second season, as he caught just 11 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He will be fighting for a spot on the 2020 team.

Shanahan said he wants Pettis to be on a mission during his second offseason to come back as a stronger, better and more-focused player. He said Pettis took a “documented” step back in his second season.

[RELATED49ers' receivers could change in 2020]

Shanahan said second-year players who struggle after promising rookie seasons can go either way.

“They keep being like that, and they usually filter out,” Shanahan said, “or it’s a wakeup call for them and they come back and you see It in April. They treated January to April so much different than the year before, and then it usually changes their career.”

Tyrann Mathieu explains how Chiefs stopped 49ers at end of Super Bowl

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AP

Tyrann Mathieu explains how Chiefs stopped 49ers at end of Super Bowl

The 49ers entered the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV with a 10-point lead over the Kansas City Chiefs, before eventually falling, 31-20. Even as they began squandering their lead, San Francisco had its chances to become champions. 

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers found themselves in a 24-20 deficit with 2:44 remaining. The eight-play driving ended in four straight incomplete passes and Jimmy G being sacked on fourth down. 

After the Chiefs scored on a two-play drive to increase their lead to 11 points, Kansas City cornerback Kendall Fuller intercepted a Garoppolo pass intended for rookie Deebo Samuel down the field with only 57 seconds remaining. The rest is history. 

"We knew that obviously they were gonna try to get the ball to [George] Kittle," Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Mathieu said Thursday on Fs1's "First Things First." "But most importantly I felt that Deebo Samuel was their guy." 

[RELATED: Five defensive backs 49ers should watch during combine]

Mathieu said he and Fuller actually went over the route where Garoppolo was picked off ... one series prior to their prediction coming true. 

"On the interception that Kendall Fuller caught, we had actually communicated the series before about that same route concept," Mathieu explained. "We just thought that they were gonna put Kittle at No. 3 and try to force him the ball down the middle."

General manager John Lynch reiterated his confidence in Garoppolo on Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, and coach Kyle Shanahan certainly has gone over every situation from his latest Super Bowl loss this offseason. The two know they can't dwell on the past, though. 

It's time to look ahead and focus on making another run at the Lombardi Trophy.