49ers

WATCH: Slimmed down Carradine hits sleds at 49ers OTAs

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WATCH: Slimmed down Carradine hits sleds at 49ers OTAs

OTAs are underway for the 49ers in Santa Clara, and players are getting acclimated in Chip Kelly's first year as head coach.

One player taking to a new role is 2013 second-round pick Tank Carradine, who is practicing as an outside linebacker.

CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco took video of the pass rusher on the field, describing Carradine as 'Slimmed down' and 'lighter on his feet.'

[MAIOCCO: 49ers notes: Carradine, Ward line up in new spots; depth chart]

In recent weeks, general manager Trent Baalke said that Carradine would be used as an edge rusher in the 49ers sub packages, but, instead, Carradine saw most of his work at right outside linebacker.

Carradine spent his first 2 ½ NFL seasons trying to put on weight to be able to handle the duties of a defensive tackle. Last season, the 49ers determined he was playing out of position.

“Toward the middle of last year, we switched that put him more in the nickel type role and you saw him start to progress as the season went on,” Baalke said in March. “So I think you can expect to see him lighter, playing more in the four-man fronts than the three-man fronts and being a strong contributor in that role.”

Watch Carradine hit the sleds and maneuver around to finish the drill.

Slimmed-down Tank Carradine looks lighter on his feet as an edge rusher. #49ers

A video posted by Matt Maiocco (@maioccocsn) on May 19, 2016 at 3:53pm PDT

Super Bowl 54 odds: Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes clear favorite to win MVP

Super Bowl 54 odds: Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes clear favorite to win MVP

The 49ers' defense will closely watch Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV. Just over a week before the teams square off in Miami, oddsmakers have their eyes on the reigning NFL MVP, too. 

Mahomes is the odds-on favorite to be named Super Bowl MVP on Feb. 3, according to Caesars Palace. The third-year pro is listed at +105, while 49ers counterpart Jimmy Garoppolo has the second-best odds at +275.

It's hard to go wrong with a QB for Super Bowl MVP, considering a signal-caller has won the award 29 of 53 times. Mahomes arguably is the most exciting player in the NFL, too, orchestrating double-digit comebacks in each of the Chiefs' wins to advance out of the AFC to their first Super Bowl since 1970.

Caesars clearly are banking on Garoppolo driving the 49ers' bus rather than being a passenger. Garoppolo threw the ball a combined 27 times for 208 yards in San Francisco's first two playoff games after averaging 29.75 attempts per game during the regular season, and his odds indicate an expectation -- whether that's the sportsbook's or bettors' -- that he'll return to form in the Super Bowl.

[RELATED: How Kittle's run-blocking enthusiasm rubs off on 49ers]

Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis was the most recent running back to win Super Bowl MVP, and only six running backs have earned the honor. A tight end has never won it, and those notions are reflected in Raheem Mostert (+600) and George Kittle's (+1000) odds, respectively. Mostert is coming off a franchise-record-setting performance in the NFC Championship Game, while Kittle led the 49ers in receiving for the second straight season and graded out as Pro Football Focus' best player this season.

Given their role in the 49ers' offense, they'd seem to be decent longshots if San Francisco wins its sixth Super Bowl. As those who picked the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional Round can tell you, you ultimately bet against Mahomes at your own peril, though. 

How George Kittle's run-blocking enthusiasm rubs off on rest of 49ers

How George Kittle's run-blocking enthusiasm rubs off on rest of 49ers

SANTA CLARA -- George Kittle loves to run block, and his joy for that aspect of the game has become contagious to his 49ers teammates. 

It’s not often that a player who has led their team in receiving yards in each of the last two seasons is also the biggest proponent of run blocking. But after amassing 1,053 receiving yards during the regular season, the tight end couldn't be happier after catching just four passes for 35 yards in the playoffs.  

Kittle wishes coach Kyle Shanahan would run the ball even more. His coach is very appreciative and realizes what effect it has on the rest of the offense.  

“I mean, he had more yards in the pass game as a tight end in the history of the NFL last year,” Shanahan said. “So, any time you have a guy like that who's one of the best players on your team who's always just talking about running the ball and playing the physicality in the game and giving everything you can, it helps you hold everyone else a lot more accountable, and rarely do you have to. 

“When people are watching guys like that do that type of stuff, when they watch guys like [cornerback Richard Sherman] play the run and things like that, it makes your job a lot easier. When your best guys are doing it, everyone else really doesn't have much of a choice.”

Because Kittle’s enthusiasm for the run game permeates throughs the offense, Shanahan has been able to make his schemes more elaborate. He has always involved fullback Kyle Juszczyk, but now the receivers are bigger parts of the run scheme as well. 

Veteran Emmanuel Sanders has mentioned that he enjoys being a “bully” while run blocking. He believes that Kittle sets the tone for what can be accomplished when everyone contributes to the ground game. 

“Kittle is one of the best tight ends in the league, but everybody wants to talk about his blocking as well,” Sanders said. “So, I think it's contagious around the building in terms of going out and doing your job. When you look at your best players and they're doing it, I feel like everybody else will hop on board as well. So, it's contagious.”

Kittle remains humble about his abilities permeating through the offense but will admit that Shanahan’s scheme has been able to grow over the years with everyone’s participation and effort. He describes the transformation with the same joy he shows on the field. 

“Our offense from my rookie year against [the Carolina Panthers in the] opening game is much different than what it is now,” Kittle said. “And, it's really fun too. Just being part of the evolution, how it's grown and how it's changed is really fun because you can look back, ‘Wow, man,’ that's what we were doing and now we're doing this stuff, and it was so much more fun. 

“Just the fact we basically install new plays every single week, we have a whole new playbook every single week, it makes football really fun. You get to learn every single week's techniques, how to block guys. The similarities always carry over, but the difference is what makes it really exciting.”

Sanders knows that Kittle’s efforts don’t just affect the offense. The tight end’s attitude is felt throughout the locker room. 

“I think it's a mindset,” Sanders said. “At the end of the day we've got a lot of guys who aren't 'me' guys, it's about let's get the job done and let's win. It's more about 'we' than 'me.' And I'm one of those guys as well. And I think everybody is a part of it.” 

[RELATED: How Shanahan, Lynch make 49ers CEO York's job easier]

Kittle doesn't need extra motivation to run block, but he might have some against the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 3 in Super Bowl LIV.

The University of Iowa product will line up opposite some former Hawkeyes teammates in Miami, and Kittle has revenge on his mind. 

“I'm looking forward to blocking the Iowa linebackers Ben Niemann and Anthony Hitchens [on the Chiefs],” Kittle said. “Hitch used to bully me in practice when I was on scout team at Iowa, and so I'm going to give it back to him a couple times.”