Sources: 49ers fire head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright


Sources: 49ers fire head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright

The 49ers this week fired head strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright, multiple sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

The 49ers plan to restructure the strength and conditioning department, according to the sources, and the status of the remainder of the staff remains unclear.

The 49ers were plagued by injuries during the two seasons that Wright served as head strength and conditioning coach under Kyle Shanahan. The team finished with records of 6-10 in 2017 and 4-12 in 2018.

This season, 17 players spent time on injured reserve, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon, who sustained torn ACLs. Garoppolo sustained his season-ending injury during a Week 3 game in Kansas City, and McKinnon went down one week before the start of the regular season in an injury sustained on the 49ers' practice field in Santa Clara.

In 2017, the 49ers placed 24 players on injured reserve.

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch suggested Monday during the team’s season-ending press conference that changes were being considered.

“It's been too big of a deal for two years,” Shanahan said. “Injuries are pretty random, but it's also affected us huge. So that's something that we definitely have to sit back and really look at it from all angles and put a lot of time into. Just try to find a better perspective at it.”

Lynch said the team was studying the reasons for the rash of injuries.

“There's an old adage in football,” Lynch said. “I don't know if it's exclusive to football, but your best ability is availability. We haven't had a lot of guys available and that's something we're looking into hard. It's been ongoing.

“We'll continue to do that because it's something that needs to change, and I don't think anyone's to blame. We have been studying it. We'll continue to, and try to get a handle on that.”

Prior to coming to the 49ers, Wright worked with Shanahan in two previous jobs. Wright spent five seasons with Washington (2010-14) and eight seasons with Houston. In Wright's final year in Houston (2009), he served as head strength and conditioning coach before joining Mike Shanahan's staff with Washington.

The most notable change Wright made after coming to the 49ers was the construction of a “hill” — 20 yards in length, reaching 30 feet at a 30 percent grade — used for rehabilitation and conditioning.

Here is the list of 49ers who spent time on injured reserve during the past two seasons:

Aaron Burbridge (hamstring)
Matt Breida (ankle)
Adrian Colbert (ankle)
Jonathan Cooper (knee)
Brock Coyle (concussion)
J.P. Flynn (Knee)
Pierre Garçon (knee)
Jimmy Garoppolo (knee)
*Marcell Harris (Achilles)
Jerick McKinnon (knee)
Emmanuel Moseley (arm)
Raheem Mostert (forearm)
Dante Pettis (knee)
Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder)
Jimmie Ward (forearm)
*Dekoda Watson (calf)
Ahkello Witherspoon (knee)

Arik Armstead (hand)
*Ronald Blair (thumb)
Victor Bolden (ankle)
Trent Brown (shoulder)
Aaron Burbridge (hamstring)
*Tank Carradine (ankle)
Jayson DiManche (hamstring)
Pierre Garçon (neck)
Joshua Garnett (knee)
Jimmie Gilbert (knee)
Garry Gilliam (knee)
Cole Hikutini (knee)
Asa Jackson (hamstring)
Chanceller James (knee)
B.J. Johnson (hamstring)
Chris Jones (undisclosed)
Don Jones (knee)
Erik Magnusson (shoulder)
Raheem Mostert (knee)
Donovin Newsome (concussion)
Malcolm Smith (pectoral)
Jaquiski Tartt (forearm)
Jimmie Ward (forearm)
Joe Williams (ankle)
*—Player returned from injured reserve to play during the season

Jalen Ramsey-Aaron Donald best NFL duo? Marcell Harris says this isn't NBA

Jalen Ramsey-Aaron Donald best NFL duo? Marcell Harris says this isn't NBA

The 49ers' much-improved defense has plenty of star power, but so do their rivals in Los Angeles after a blockbuster trade Tuesday. 

The Rams traded a trio of draft picks -- two first-rounders and one fourth-rounder -- to the Jacksonville Jaguars for star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, giving LA two of the NFL best players at their respective positions when you remember that defensive tackle defensive lineman force of nature Aaron Donald also plies his trade in Tinseltown. 

It'd be difficult to find a pair of players on the same defense better than Ramsey and Donald, ESPN's "SportsCenter" account posed the question on Twitter if there is a better duo of defensive cornerstones around the NFL. The problem, according to 49ers safety Marcell Harris? There are nine other players on a defense. 

Harris has a point. Star power can only get you so far in the NFL -- even at historically important positions like quarterback or edge rusher -- because of the league's commitment to parity above all else. When it comes to the NBA, a team with the two best players on the court wins in the regular season and playoffs more often than not. 

[RELATED: Shanahan busts out jokes leading into 49ers vs. Washington]

While this is not necessarily Harris' gripe, the 49ers have a strong case to have a duo under consideration. Whether pairing defensive lineman DeForest Buckner and edge rusher Nick Bosa or swapping out one for one of linebackers Kwon Alexander and Fred Warner, San Francisco has a few cornerstones in its front seven. It's that group that made the Ramsey trade a head-scratcher to NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco, who argued that the Rams' offensive line should have been a bigger concern than their secondary considering the 49ers' success in Week 6.

Still, Ramsey and Donald are as good as what they do as just about anyone else in the NFL. The 49ers will get their first look at them in the same defense in Week 16 at Levi's Stadium, and they'll see firsthand whether the duo's dominance lifts the rest of the Rams defense. 

49ers practice report: Raheem Mostert day-to-day for Washington game


49ers practice report: Raheem Mostert day-to-day for Washington game

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers added just one player to the Week 7 injury report ahead of Sunday's game in Washington. Raheem Mostert is day-to-day with a knee strain, according to the team.

Without any setbacks, the players who were active in the 49ers' Week 6 win over the Los Angeles Rams likely will see the field again in Washington. 

Injured left tackle Joe Staley pushed a weighted sled on the adjoining field near the 49ers' weight room during Wednesday's practice, indicating that his recovery from a broken fibula is on schedule. Coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday that he believes Staley could play as soon as Halloween against the Arizona Cardinals 

49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who has missed the last two games with a strained foot, is projected to return in Week 8 against the Carolina Panthers. Before each of the last two games, Witherspoon threw the ball around with the 49ers' wide receivers during warmups. 

49ers practice report 

Did Not Practice
DT DeForest Buckner (vet day)
DT D.J. Jones (hamstring)
FB Kyle Juszczyk (knee)
TE George Kittle (groin)
T Mike McGlinchey (knee)
RB Raheem Mostert (knee)
WR Deebo Samuel (groin)
T Joe Staley (fibula)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot)

DE Dee Ford (quadricep)
CB K'Waun Williams (hand)

[RELATED: Shanahan busts out jokes leading into 49ers vs. Washington]

Washington practice report

Did Not Practice
QB Case Keenum (right shoulder/foot)
S Deshazor Everett (ankle) 
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring)
G Wes Martin (chest)
CB Josh Norman (thigh/hand) 
RB Adrian Peterson (quad) 
RB Chris Thompson (toe)

TE Vernon Davis (concussion)
T Donald Penn (not injury related)