49ers

Why Donte Whitner believes 49ers need to add true No. 1 wide receiver

Why Donte Whitner believes 49ers need to add true No. 1 wide receiver

Somehow, the 49ers are 6-0 without a legit threat at wide receiver.

General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have tried to address the position through the last few NFL drafts, but Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd have yet to pay off.

Prior to the 49ers' 9-0 win over Washington on Sunday, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported, citing league sources, that San Francisco is "aggressively pursuing multiple options at wide receiver."

You can count NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Donte Whitner as a fan of that idea.

"You don't have that No. 1 guy. You have a bunch of No. 2s and No. 3s, and Kittle is your No. 1 guy, but as you saw today, they paid special attention to him," Whitner said on 49ers Postgame Live. "They were bumping him with defensive linemen, they were bumping him with linebackers, there was one play out there where he had three guys around him when they threw the football to him in the middle of the field. You need a definitive No. 1 guy to pull that extra guy out of the box, to allow this running game to continue to flourish, and that's when you can take another leap towards winning a championship."

Kittle, an All-Pro tight end, is nearly 200 yards clear of the 49ers' top receiver this season. Marquise Goodwin has 181 receiving yards, while Kittle is at 376 after Sunday's game. Samuel leads all San Francisco wideouts with 15 catches, and he didn't play in Washington.

La Canfora mentioned several intriguing names that are of interest to the 49ers: Cincinnati's A.J. Green, Denver's Emmanuel Sanders, Atlanta's Mohamed Sanu, Miami's DeVante Parker and Chicago's Taylor Gabriel.

Any of those five would instantly be an upgrade over what the 49ers currently have in house.

Whitner also brought up a name he's been pushing for the last couple of weeks: disgruntled free agent Antonio Brown.

"Hopefully they get a trade, sometime soon, maybe A.J. Green, maybe one of these guys that's on the trading block, maybe Antonio Brown once he clears up everything that he needs to clear up," Whitner said. "But they need this guy because as you go further in the playoffs or towards the end of the season, you play better defensive back units that are on the details of their job and it's hard to beat that coverage man-to-man, so they need that guy."

[RELATED: Whitner believes 49ers can go deep in playoffs]

The 49ers have made it this far without a true No. 1 receiver, but Whitner is right. If they want to win Super Bowl LIV in February, they are going to need a big-time target for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Time for Lynch and Shanahan to swing for the fences.

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Why Jimmie Ward's mindset is key to 49ers avoiding Super Bowl hangover

Why Jimmie Ward's mindset is key to 49ers avoiding Super Bowl hangover

Jimmie Ward didn’t watch Super Bowl LIV game film for a month, maybe two. Metaphorical wounds were too fresh, too painful to tolerate a replay of how the 49ers blew a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead to the Kansas City Chiefs in granular detail.

Time turned lacerations to scars and tempered raw emotion enough for the 49ers free safety to look at the game as a teaching tool. Ward didn’t just scan it once. He watched it again and again, maybe 20 times in total.

Viewing it critically dulled the heartache but not the motivation. Count Ward among those driven by dreams of a return engagement, hellbent reaching the Super Bowl again and winning the damn thing.

He has, however, put it in proper perspective. Ward knows the 49ers can’t win the Super Bowl in August. Can’t win it on Feb. 7, 2021 either, without doing what’s required every day prior.

“I hear a lot of my teammates say they want to get back to that spot and win it,” Ward said during a Tuesday video conference. “That’s what everybody wants to do, to get to the Super Bowl and win it. My approach is more about taking it one day at a time, one game at a time. I have been in that position, so I have seen what it takes to get to the Super Bowl, but you can’t look past the first game of this season.

"I can’t look past tomorrow’s practice. I just have to do everything the right way.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

That one-day-at-a-time cliché is easy to say, extremely hard to do for a team that was mere minutes from a championship and let it slip away. It’s human to dream about righting a wrong right away.

Spend all your time looking toward the horizon and you’ll trip over a rock at your feet. That happens to runners-up so often that there’s a term for it.

The dreaded Super Bowl hangover.

It can impact teams that win a title, but it plagues teams that walk away empty handed. Every team that loses a championship game wants to win the next one.

History says that is hard.

Only three teams have won the Super Bowl after losing it the year before. The Dallas Cowboys did it in the 1971 season, the Miami Dolphins won every game and a title in the 1972 campaign, and the New England Patriots rebounded well and won it all after the 2018 season.

That’s a short list, considering how many have trieds. Minnesota, Denver and New England have returned to the title game and lost again. We all remember the early 1990s Bills, who made four straight Super Bowls and lost every single one.

The 49ers certainly are capable of going on a redemption tour. They have all the talent and coaching required to win a stacked NFC West, go on a deep playoff run and end up playing in Tampa for Super Bowl LV.

Anything less, it seems, would be a disappointment. Realizing lofty expectations can’t happen if players are still living in the past. They can’t make dreams reality by skipping steps. That’s why Ward’s philosophy must pervade through the 49ers locker room.

Safety Jaquiski Tartt’s take on the topic suggests that it has.

“Everybody has that same mindset,” Tartt said. “Making it all the way there and not winning leaves that sick feeling in you. We want to get back to that stage and win it all.”

[RELATED: Steve Young believes 49ers must prove lasting power]

Exorcising a demon doesn’t happen in a day. It takes discipline over hundreds of them, and emotion over a missed opportunity can’t fuel you forever. The 49ers have to embrace the grind to realize expectations and do what few teams have done, getting back to the Super Bowl and winning it.

“I just feel like you have to get over it,” Ward said, “and think about how you can get better heading into Game 1.”

49ers give fresh start to Chris Foerster, longtime offensive line coach

49ers give fresh start to Chris Foerster, longtime offensive line coach

Chris Foerster, the offensive line coach who resigned from his position with the Miami Dolphins in 2017 when a video surfaced of him snorting a white substance in his office, continues to rebuild his career with the 49ers.

The 49ers promoted Foerster, 58, to a full-time position on the coaching staff, Jennifer Lee Chan reported on Wednesday. The 49ers confirmed Foerster’s new role as assistant offensive line coach.

Foerster enters his 27th season on an NFL coaching staff.

Coach Kyle Shanahan, who coached with Foerster for four seasons in Washington, was responsible for giving Foerster a second chance and a fresh start.

Foerster joined the 49ers in 2018 as a consultant. He will continue to work alongside offensive line coach John Benton.

“It was important to me because I knew him before he went through some tough times,” Shanahan said of Foerster at the Super Bowl. “I knew the man he was. I spent four years with him before he had gone through some of this, before he started this problem.

“I kept in touch with him through it all. I knew after it happened, what it did to him, what it did to his family. I know what he’s been through to try to get right. I don’t think that takes anything back that he has done. But I know the person he was before I know the person he’s trying to become. He’s a very good coach. I think he is really trying to make it right. I felt proud to give him another chance, because I think he’s done the right things. I know he’s doing everything he can to continue to prove himself.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Foerster recorded a video of him taking the substance in his office during the 2017 season. He sent the video to an adult entertainer, who shared the video on social media.

Foerster checked himself into a rehabilitation program the same day he resigned. Foerster previously told the NFL Network his alcohol abuse dated back 30 years.

[RELATEDWhat excites 49ers' Laken Tomlinson about Trent Williams, Javon Kinlaw add]

He regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to rebuild his life while quietly working the past two seasons as a consultant with the 49ers, focused primarily on writing scouting reports, Chan reported. 

In another coaching move, former NFL wide receiver Miles Austin is no longer on the 49ers’ staff. He left his position as quality control coach after one season.