49ers

Why Justin Skule is thankful for 49ers O-line before first NFL start

Why Justin Skule is thankful for 49ers O-line before first NFL start

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers left tackle Justin Skule, who will take over for injured six-time Pro Bowler Joe Staley at the position in Sunday’s home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, is just a rookie. But Skule already has a huge supporting cast to help him prepare. 

The 22-year-old is an unknown to most in the Niners fanbase. The rookie has quietly kept his head down since he was selected in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the 49ers in April. Staley, who has vowed to help Skule adjust to his new responsibilities, has already made an impact on his replacement. 

“He’s been awesome since I’ve been here just taking me under his wing and giving me little tricks of the trade,” Skule said Wednesday of the veteran left tackle, who is out six to eight weeks after breaking his fibula in Week 2. “He’s done a phenomenal job just these past couple days giving me pointers just showing me how he goes through his process and everything like that. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor.” 

Staley isn’t the only offensive lineman to offer Skule helpful advice. The rookie had to fill in for Staley in the 49ers' 41-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and Skule said Mike Person imparted some wisdom when the two shared the field at Paul Brown Stadium. 

“He’s like, ‘Take a deep breath it’s still just football,'" Skule recalled. "So, I think that’s something that I’m really going to focus on this week. It’s still the game of football. Just take a deep breath, and don’t let anything get too big for myself.” 

Skule apparently has taken that advice to heart during his first week of practice as the team's starter.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t notice the nerves that were brewing in his newly appointed left tackle. Garoppolo that Skule appeared unfazed when he first filled in for Staley and has been the same ever since. 

“He’s been very consistent,” Garoppolo said. “Smart guy, came into the huddle during the game, didn’t blink or anything. Just one of those guys, he does the right thing and he’s in the right spot. He’s been the same guy every day, and you’ve got to appreciate that.”

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Thus far, Skule has taken it all in stride. Even with more than 20 media members surrounding him in front of his locker for the first time in his pro career, Skule seemed calm and deliberate. The rookie didn’t hesitate when answering any questions, and his replies seemed genuine. 

Still, Skule knows that even though he feels calm now, the nerves undoubtedly will come before his first start Sunday at Levi's Stadium. 

“No matter who you are replacing, you’re going to go in with some nerves,” Skule said. “Everyone has that competitive edge where you’re going to be nervous when you’re going in. The older guys and everyone in the huddle have just done a great job taking me under their wing and just making sure I’m good and relaxed and ready to go.” 

Watch Kyle Shanahan's postgame speech after 49ers' win vs. Washington

Watch Kyle Shanahan's postgame speech after 49ers' win vs. Washington

Kyle Shanahan was quite pleased with his team's effort in San Francisco's 9-0 win over Washington on Sunday.

"We talked about making it our house, man," the 49ers coach said during his postgame speech in the locker room. "That was our house!"

It wasn't pretty, and how could it have been, given the unrelenting downpour and the mud that covered FedEx Field. But a win is a win, and Shanahan was happy to see his players get one last dip in the dirt after achieving victory.

"There was no cooler thing to me than watching 53 guys go sliding, doing angels across the field," he said of San Francisco's Slip-N-Slide procession.

The hard-fought win stood in contrast to previous successes, such as the 49ers' 24-point victory in Cincinnati in Week 2. Shanahan wanted his team to derive confidence from that knowledge, while also not losing sight of the ultimate goal.

"Guys we're just getting started, alright," Shanahan said in closing. "We can win a game in any way. We had seven starters out today. We bonded together, we'll get some back, but it doesn't matter. 

"This room, we've got something special. Let's keep this s--t going."

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Next up for San Francisco is a home game against Carolina in Week 8. Safe to say, there won't be as much mud in that one.

Why Kyle Shanahan believes 49ers' answers at wide receiver are on team

Why Kyle Shanahan believes 49ers' answers at wide receiver are on team

Eight days before the NFL trade deadline, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday that he does not feel as much urgency to add a veteran receiver in the middle of the season than in his previous two. 

“I think less (urgency) than we’ve had in the last couple of years because I do see that there are guys in our building that I do think the answers are here,” Shanahan told reporters Monday in Santa Clara, amid reports that the 49ers are in the market to add a wide receiver.

The 49ers played Sunday without rookie receiver Deebo Samuel, who injured his groin a week earlier against the Los Angeles Rams. Marquise Goodwin played just seven snaps before leaving with an injury Sunday. He was evaluated for a concussion but was cleared. Goodwin is not in the NFL’s concussion protocol, Shanahan said.

San Francisco also hopes to get Trent Taylor and rookie Jalen Hurd back later in the season. Both players are on injured reserve. They are eligible to return after sitting out eight games from the time they went on IR.

“It was tough not having Deebo last week and Marquise being a little bit banged up, we’ll get both of those two back,” Shanahan said. “The guys we have I still think can continue to get better. We’re still holding out hopes, too, for Jalen and Trent Taylor that they can heal up and hopefully return later this year.

“We’re always looking to improve, but I do like the guys we have here.”

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Tight end George Kittle is the 49ers' top pass-catcher with 34 receptions for 376 yards and one touchdown. Samuel leads the wideouts in receptions with 15 catches for 168 yards, while Goodwin has 11 catches for 181 yards. Samuel and Goodwin have one TD apiece. Kendrick Bourne had his best game of the season on Sunday with three catches for 69 yards in the 49ers' 9-0 victory over Washington.

Dante Pettis, a second-round pick in 2018, has not produced up to expectations. He has nine catches for 83 yards and one touchdown.