49ers

What Packers' Davante Adams learned from watching 49ers' Jerry Rice

What Packers' Davante Adams learned from watching 49ers' Jerry Rice

Davante Adams is from Palo Alto and went to Fresno State. That’s why the Green Bay Packers receiver put in a huge ticket request for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.

This is a rare opportunity to play for a huge prize in front of family and friends.

“There are going to be a lot of people there,” Adams said. “I think I bought 18 tickets. It’s pretty crazy. This is really a dream come true for me. It’s obviously not playing a Super Bowl in the Bay Area, but it’s the next best thing. Being out here in Wisconsin and a Bay Area kid, you don’t get a lot of people coming out from California as much as you’d like.

“Being back home earlier this year and being able to come back for a big game like this means a lot to me. It’s going to be awesome.”

It’s also an opportunity to show off some of what he has learned from someone who thrived in this market and widely is considering the best receiver ever.

Adams has taken a ton from several influences, but his expert release off the line of scrimmage is due in part from what he has seen from 49ers great Jerry Rice.

“It’s must easier to run a route with a guy two yards away than someone right next to you,” Adams said. “That’s the biggest thing when I watched a guy like Jerry Rice back in the day. When you watch his clips you never see a guy hanging all over him. It’s never that. It’s always him running free. If that doesn’t work out, it was always something within the play that has nothing to do with the DB. I try to put myself in that position as much as possible.”

Adams creates consistent separation with releases, which 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman considers some of the best in the league. Sherman said so before a Week 12 clash with the Packers and that belief suggests he holds great respect for Adams.

That’s a two-way street and could produce great matchups when Adams and Sherman line up against each other. That won’t happen all the time, with Sherman locked on the left side and Adams splitting time between the right, left and the slot.

Adams has been highly targeted and red hot recently, with at least 93 yards in his last four contests. That includes an excellent showing in last week’s playoff win over the Seattle Seahawks, where he had eight catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

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Some of that comes from precise route running and chemistry with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. A large part is due to his elite-level releases.

Adams says he’s “obsessed” with creating separation at the line and works on it constantly. He doesn’t alter technique or approach, however, even with dealing with someone of Sherman’s caliber.

“It doesn’t change really. It’s not the same as playing anybody else because Richard’s definitely a great player,” Adams said. “People have wondered a lot if he has fallen off or whatever, but I don’t see that. He’s still the same guy out there making plays. He’s a respectable corner, but that doesn’t change how I attack it because you have more talent than the next guy. I just try to play my game and make you play my game. Hopefully that changes how [opponents go about their] business.”

Adams had a ho-hum day in the previous matchup with the 49ers, totaling 43 yards on seven catches. He’ll surely want to do better with family and friends in the crowd.

NFL rumors: League seeks to add seventh playoff team in each conference

NFL rumors: League seeks to add seventh playoff team in each conference

The NFL’s playoff structure is expected to change to reportedly include seven teams in both conferences to advance to the postseason.

The current proposal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, would add one playoff team in each conference and only the top seed in the AFC and NFC would be rewarded with byes in the first round of the playoffs.

The changes to the playoff format would take effect this season when the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified. ESPN reports there is “mounting optimism” the new CBA will be agreed upon within the week.

Through last season, the top six teams in both conferences made the playoffs. If the playoff proposal had been in effect last season, the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers would have advanced to the playoffs as the Nos. 7 seeds.

As the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the 49ers would have still earned a first-round bye in the playoffs. But the Green Bay Packers, the No. 2 seed, would have played in the extra game against the Rams. If the Rams were to have upset the Packers in the wild-card round, the 49ers would have played Los Angeles in the NFC Divisional Playoff instead of the Minnesota Vikings.

But the new proposal would have had an even more major impact in the AFC, where the Kansas City Chiefs would have been forced to win three games in the playoffs just to advance to the Super Bowl.

"That's been agreed to for a long time," one source familiar with the CBA talks told ESPN about the NFL's new playoff structure. "There wasn't a lot of disagreement to that issue."

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Players on the top team in each conference will receive postseason pay for the bye weekend, unlike years past, according to the report.

Also, ESPN reported that the sides are also trying to work through a proposal for a 17-game regular season, while the exhibition season is shortened to three games. The earliest that change could occur would be the 2021 season, according to the report.

Deebo Samuel pleas for 49ers to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders in free agency

Deebo Samuel pleas for 49ers to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders in free agency

Before the 49ers officially had lost Super Bowl LIV to the Kansas City Chiefs, tight end George Kittle was already preaching they would be back next year.

But it didn't stop with him.

49ers players throughout the roster already are thinking of everything they can do to make another run at it, and that includes bringing back free-agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

Fellow wideout Deebo Samuel made it clear Wednesday on Twitter that he wants to see the 49ers bring back the 32-year-old veteran.

Sanders showed his appreciation later Wednesday morning.

After coming over from the Denver Broncos via trade in October, Sanders excelled with the 49ers. He caught 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season, and added five receptions for 71 yards in the postseason.

But Sanders could have been an even more critical part of 49ers lore, had it not been for Jimmy Garoppolo's overthrown pass with less than two minutes remaining in Super Bowl LIV. But it was not meant to be.

Sanders has been open about his love for the team that had just barely missed the championship and has spoken out about those second-guessing him due to his age. 

The receiver laughed at the fact that he has been "flying past 23-year-olds," and exhorted that he still has plenty of good years left in him.

[RELATED: Sanders offers advice to teammates playing in first Super Bowl]

He also embraced the youth the other wide receivers brought to the team, such as Samuel and Kendrick Bourne. Sanders loved the loose vibes of the 49ers' locker room and assisted the younger players in prepping for the big moments of the Super Bowl. 

Deebo surely noticed that and knows he wants his teammate back for the team's quest to make another Super Bowl run next season.