Why 49ers' hot start has Kyle Shanahan eyeing another long road tip

Why 49ers' hot start has Kyle Shanahan eyeing another long road tip

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan appears ready to make an executive decision without consulting his veteran players.

After the successes the 49ers experienced with back-to-back victories in the Eastern time zone to open the season, Shanahan said he wants to again have a 10-day road trip when the 49ers play at the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 1, followed by a game at the New Orleans Saints the following Sunday.

“I think they know how it went, and I think they understand,” Shanahan said Monday upon the team’s return to Santa Clara. “I think everyone has different opinions, and I think no one will argue with the fact that it does make sense.”

Now, Shanahan said the pressure is on the 49ers’ travel logistics department of Steve Risser and Michael Slap to piece together the trip's details.

On The 49ers Insider Podcast, several members of the 49ers spoke about the advantage of the team spending the week to practice in Youngstown, Ohio, rather than traveling back to the Bay Area after the Week 1 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“All week we knew it was going to be a grind,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “We were in a new spot and those practices were tough and we grinded through them. We knew it would pay off in the end on Sunday. And, obviously, the result showed that. We came out firing with our hair on fire.”

The 49ers scored on seven of their first nine possessions in a 41-17 win Sunday and stretched their lead over the Cincinnati Bengals to 41-10 after the first play of the fourth quarter. Running back Raheem Mostert provided a big play early in the game when he blasted into the end zone on a 39-yard catch-and-run to give the 49ers a 14-7 lead. San Francisco came out energized, and Mostert’s speed in splitting the Bengals’ defense was apparent.

“The first couple of days (in Youngstown) we were trying to get acclimated to the change,” Mostert said. “It helped having the Tampa game because it was hot there. We came to Youngstown and there was more of a cool breeze, that brisk air.

“We had some challenges staying on the east coast, but we got through it. As you could see, that was the result.”

49ers cornerback Richard Sherman afterward admitted the decision to cut down on the back-and-forth travel was beneficial. But he said there were family issues that must be considered before the 49ers commit to another extended road trip later in the season.

“Obviously, we won this game and had a successful trip, so I’m sure we’ll take that into account,” Sherman said. “But I’m sure they’ll take what our wives have to say, and what his (Shanahan’s) wife has to say, and what the kids have to say.”

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Sherman joked that the traveling party might be bigger next time because the wives and children of the players and coaches might want to be included, too.

“We might be taking a bigger trip with a bigger group of people, because it would be another 10 days without the family in the middle of December or November -- whenever it is,” he said.

George Kittle returns to practice, expected to play vs. Washington

George Kittle returns to practice, expected to play vs. Washington

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers tight end George Kittle showed up on the injury report with a groin strain last Friday. Two days later, he looked completely healthy going up against the Los Angeles Rams.

Kittle was held out of practice on Wednesday, but he returned to limited work during the 49ers’ padded work on Thursday at their team facility. Kittle downplayed the team’s report of his physical condition and is expected to play Sunday against Washington.

Kittle caught eight passes for 103 yards in the 49ers’ 20-7 victory over the Rams on Sunday.

However, the 49ers had seven players who did not participate in Thursday's practice. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk, tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon remain out of action.

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Running back Raheem Mostert (knee), wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) and nose tackle D.J. Jones (hamstring) sustained injuries in the 49ers’ win over the Rams that have kept them from practicing thus far this week.

49ers practice report

Did not practice
DT D.J. Jones (hamstring)
FB Kyle Juszczyk (knee)
T Mike McGlinchey (knee)
RB Raheem Mostert (knee)
WR Deebo Samuel (groin)
T Joe Staley (fibula)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (foot)

DE Dee Ford (quadricep)
TE George Kittle (groin)
CB K'Waun Williams (hand)

Washington practice report

Did not practice
S Deshazor Everett (ankle)
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (hamstring)
G Wes Martin (chest)  
CB Josh Norman (thigh, hand)
RB Chris Thompson (toe)

TE Vernon Davis (concussion)

Full participation
QB Case Keenum (right shoulder, foot)
RB Adrian Peterson (quadricep)

Arik Armstead not thinking about contract amid breakout year for 49ers

Arik Armstead not thinking about contract amid breakout year for 49ers

SANTA CLARA — Not too long ago, 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead had trouble staying on the field and was labeled as someone who was not living up to first-round expectations. 

Armstead only was able to suit up for 14 games from 2016-2017, landing on injured reserve both seasons. But fast-forward to Week 7 of 2019, and Armstead is making a case for huge contract after he closes out his fifth season with San Francisco.

Armstead is set to have a career-best season, as he's already racked up 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and 20 total tackles, four of which were for a loss. The 49ers defense has been bolstered by several offseason additions, including edge rushers Dee Ford and Nick Bosa, and Armstead has been reaping the rewards. 

“It’s been great,” Armstead told NBC Sports Bay Area. “As a whole defense, they’ve had a big impact. It’s fun playing with great players. Those guys are extremely talented and they bring a whole different element to the defense.” 

With the edges sealed up, Armstead has been able to enjoy putting his hand in the dirt next to long-time teammate DeForest Buckner. The two have been playing together since their time at the University of Oregon. Both former Ducks stand 6-foot-7, and limit a quarterback's downfield vision tremendously. 

“Super fun, like it’s always been going out there with a great friend,” Armstead said. “We’ve been going to battle together for a long time. Just trying to go out there and dominate and have an impact on our team like we have had over the years.” 

Armstead won’t admit thinking about if his NFL future includes playing with the 49ers beyond this year. He has been focused on each opponent as they come, while enjoying the team’s victories -- at least just a little bit. 

“I’m just taking it week by week,” Armstead said. “Contract stuff, it’s out of my control. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen with that. All I can focus on is preparing for the game and try to go out there and dominate and win my matchups and show what I can do.”

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Armstead has used his production on the field not only to increase his own future contract value, but also to fund equal opportunities in education for underserved youth in his home town of Sacramento. He is donating $1,000 dollars for every sack and $250 for every tackle he makes this season to his foundation. He previously raised $100,000 at his charity gala to fund programs. 

One of the events that Armstead created with his foundation was a trip for 30 students to spend the entire day at 49ers headquarters. They participated in a career panel with 49ers employees as well as getting a tour of the facility.

For more information on donating to Armstead’s foundation, visit www.arikarmstead91.com.