Trent Taylor using difficult 2018 as motivation for third 49ers season

Trent Taylor using difficult 2018 as motivation for third 49ers season

SANTA CLARA — Trent Taylor is using the frustration he felt in his sophomore season as motivation heading into his third year with the 49ers. 

The wide receiver took an isolationist approach to training during the offseason, turning down working in Nashville with teammate George Kittle. Instead, he holed up in Santa Clara, working with fewer distractions a la Bruce Wayne in "Batman Begins." 

“I just liked the fact that I’m out here, there were probably five or six guys out here and I liked the fact that I was isolated out here, by myself, no family, no friends,” Taylor said. “All I had to focus on was work, and that’s all I wanted to focus on, and so I enjoyed it. 

"My parents were getting worried about me [that] I was getting a little lonely out here, but I was good with it. I enjoyed getting work done and getting ready for the season. I just thought it was a big deal for me to just stay here.”

Kittle joked that Taylor wasn’t invited, but Taylor said the reason was simpler. He wanted to stay focused on his preparation for the season.  

“Yeah, George was a little offended that I didn’t go and hang out with him in Nashville, but I had a lot fo work to do,” Taylor said. “It’s a business, so friendship can wait until later. After the offseason is over with and we make a lot of money, then we can do whatever we want but we had business to take care of.” 

Early in training camp, that decision is paying off. Taylor looks refreshed and able to run routes faster, with his body now able to do what he asks of it. 

That wasn't the case in 2018. 

Taylor never fully recovered from offseason back surgery, and struggled in his second NFL season. He caught just 26 passes for 215 yards, after catching 43 for 430 yards as a rookie in 2017. 

“Extremely frustrating,” Taylor said. “It was a major struggle for me. I never went through a huge injury like that ever before in my life. I’ve never missed a game all growing up and just to struggle like that and not be moving the way I know I can move was really tough. 

“So I kept that in the back of my head all through the offseason and I put in all the work that I possibly could. We will see what happens when the season gets here.”   

Taylor confirmed Tuesday that he was healthy through the break, and that allowed him to work on his strength training. The 25-year-old is listed at 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, and he said that getting stronger is a fundamental part of his preparation because of his stature.

“Whenever a guy my size doesn’t have an offseason to train and get ready for an NFL season, It’s tough to do,” Taylor said. “I’m not Julio Jones, who can just go walk out there and make stuff happen. So, the offseason is crucial for me. I know that so I’m glad to had this whole offseason under my belt to get work done.” 

A change to the 49ers coaching staff kept Taylor motivated throughout the offseason, too.

Two-time First-Team All-Pro wide receiver Wes Welker now coaches Taylor and the rest of the 49ers wideouts. The comparisons between Welker and Taylor are easy to see, given their respective size and playing style, and Taylor wants to learn as much as he can from his new position coach.  

“Just trying to soak everything that I possibly can from him.” Taylor said. “It’s just real cool having hime around. Just a Pro-Bowler who dominated the NFL like that, and having Miles Austin in the room as well it’s been really cool.  

“It’s just the way, where he puts my thought process throughout running routes and how to think about routes in the middle of them and how to play off defenders. I think just those little tips here and there are what makes him different.” 

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With Welker in his ear and health on his side, Taylor expects big things from his third NFL season. Above all else, he never wants to go through what he felt in 2018 again. 

"I feel good with where I’m at but every day is a new day to learn new things, so I’ve a long ways to go to reach my full potential," Taylor said. "It’s something that I’m still constantly working at so. I'm ready to see what happens when the season gets here."

How adjusting Fred Warner's workload has unleashed his speed for 49ers

How adjusting Fred Warner's workload has unleashed his speed for 49ers

BRADENTON, Fla. — For the second time in as many months, a member of the 49ers has been named NFC Defensive Player of the Month.

Linebacker Fred Warner took home the title for November after Nick Bosa had the honor for October. During the month, Warner tallied 44 total tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and two forced fumbles. 

49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh believes altering the linebacker’s responsibilities has given Warner an opportunity to play with more speed. 

“We’ve taken a lot off his plate so he can just go line up and play,” Saleh said Thursday. “Putting more of the onus on making sure that guys lineup and go play. We were playing some of those read-option teams, the Arizona teams, we’re asking him to make a lot of checks and see if he can get us in the perfect defense. 

“While he’s busy trying to do that, he’s not able to focus on his job. Even though he was getting everyone lined up and everything was perfect, it’s just not fair for him. So, to take a little bit off his plate so he can go ahead and go play, I think that’s really been the difference.”

Saleh is not alone in praising Warner. Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman also has been impressed with the young linebacker's work ethic and growth in his second season. The fact that Warner didn’t play inside until he was with the 49ers makes his accomplishments even more significant. 

“The inside linebacker already has so much on his plate,” Sherman said. “Being able to take some of that off—there was one game I think he had six calls in one play. Where if this guy moves here, he has to readjust the line. He has to tell the DBs this, he has to tell this guy this and sometimes that just doesn’t allow him to play fast.

“He’s getting everybody else lined up to play fast but he can’t play fast. He has to think about all these calls, all these adjustments. Maybe you put a little more strain on the rest of the guys. You spread out the strain and it allows him to play fast and for us to be a better defense.”

[RELATED: 49ers now have logjam at running back with Breida's return]

Now in his second year, Warner sees things developing on the field more quickly. No matter the workload given to him by Saleh, the BYU product has been able to adjust.  

“I think as the year has gone on, he has kind of started to realize what’s too much, what’s too little,” Warner said. “I agree completely. Ever since kind of the midway point of the season, I think he has lined it up for me to just go out and play fast.”  

49ers' Richard Sherman, Dee Ford speak out on Tim Ryan's comments


49ers' Richard Sherman, Dee Ford speak out on Tim Ryan's comments

BRADENTON , Fla. -- Following radio broadcaster Tim Ryan's one-game suspension for his comments regarding Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, several 49ers players spoke out, believing there was no malicious intent behind what the analyst said. 

Known as being outspoken on most topics, Richard Sherman did not mince words about what Ryan said. He even mentioned that the commentator had personally apologized to several players while at the team hotel after the announcement of his suspension. 

“I know Tim personally, and I listened to the dialogue and saw it, read it,” Sherman said. “Honestly, I wasn’t as outraged as everybody else. I understand how it can be taken in a certain context and be offensive to some. 

“But if you’re saying, ‘Hey, this is a brown ball, they are wearing dark colors, and he has a brown arm,’ honestly sometimes we were having trouble seeing it on film. He’s making a play fake and sometimes he’s swinging his arm really fast and you’re like, does he have the ball? And you look up and [Mark] Ingram is running it.

“So it was technically a valid point but the way he said it, you can always phrase things better. I’ve had a relationship with him since I’ve gotten here and he’s never been anything other than a great guy and a professional and a guy who takes his job seriously.” 

Edge rusher Dee Ford expressed similar sentiments about Ryan’s comments, and confirmed that the two had spoken since the incident. 

“He walked up to me earlier and before he even said anything I told him. ‘I got your back.’” Ford said. “I already knew the story. The words kind of got taken out of context, and of course, now he knows he could have used better judgment with his words. But we got his back. I knew what he was trying to say. 

“This era we live in, it is just what it is, but I know him personally. I speak to him a lot. He loves to watch the D-line and there’s not one -- type of bone -- you know what bone I’m talking about, in his body. So I got his back, so put that to bed really fast.”  

49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh also spoke about Ryan’s nature, not believing that there was negative intent behind his comments. 

[RELATED: How Payton, Saints are preparing for imposing 49ers defense]

“I’ve always, as a human being, tried to judge people on how I interact with them,” Saleh said. “And I love the man. He’s a very genuine human being and he knows he made a mistake and he’s just trying to move this on as quickly as possible.” 

Dennis Brown will be on the call with Greg Papa during Ryan’s absence for Sunday’s matchup against the Saints in the Superdome.