Myles Garrett

49ers have plan for Justin Skule to contend with Browns' Myles Garrett

49ers have plan for Justin Skule to contend with Browns' Myles Garrett

SANTA CLARA – Joe Staley invited 49ers teammate Justin Skule over to his South Bay home before the rookie made his first NFL start.

Skule has received advice and words of encouragement from Staley, a six-time Pro Bowl left tackle. And Mike McGlinchey, the team’s starting right tackle, had some cogent words for Skule, too, as the 49ers prepare to face the Cleveland Browns on Monday night at Levi’s Stadium.

“I don’t think you want to psyche yourself out,” Skule said. “That’s something Mike McGlinchey said to me.”

That advice is especially relevant this week with Skule likely to line up directly against Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, for the majority of Monday's game. Garrett broke out with 13.5 sacks last season. He is off to a great start this season with six sacks this season in four games.

“Myles Garrett, his name carries some weight,” Skule said. “And he (McGlinchey) said you can’t worry about the name on the back of the jersey. Every player is a good player in this league, and so you can’t psyche yourself out for who you’re going against.

“Myles Garrett is a phenomenal player, but you play phenomenal players every week, so I don’t know that I’d do anything different. Just prepare as much as I can and get ready to play.”

Skule held his own against Pittsburgh edge rusher Bud Dupree two weeks ago in his first NFL start in place of Staley, who was expected to miss six to eight weeks with a fractured fibula in his left leg. But Garrett offers a completely different challenge.

“He’s a special player just from a talent standpoint and he’s getting better at football every single day,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I watched him a lot in college, watched him a little bit last year and then watched him a ton over the last week. He’s exactly what I think everyone thought he was going to be.”

The 49ers owned the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft. The club had Garrett rated as the best prospect. The Browns selected Garrett. And after trading back one spot, the 49ers selected defensive lineman Solomon Thomas at No. 3 overall.

Garrett has not been a disappointment as the top overall pick.

“Just to have that size and fluidity and how he can move with his hips and arms,” Shanahan said. “I think he’d be very good at any sport he’d want to play. When you have the athletic ability to play basketball, but you have the physicality to play football, it’s guys who are just tough guys to block.”

Coming off the bye week, Shanahan has been afforded extra time to come up with a plan to contend with Garrett. There will be times when Skule will have to block Garrett straight-up, but there are a lot of ways in which they can provide help for him within the 49ers’ offensive system.

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“It’s on your mind on every play,” Shanahan said. “When you’re talking about the type of rushers you’re mentioning, it doesn’t matter. They are going to get guys no matter who it is if you become one dimensional or give them too many opportunities.

“So you’ve got to help out anybody in this situation, but especially a rookie in his second game. It’ll be more of a challenge. Everyone will be watching, but he’s a guy who as I’ve said doesn’t change at all. He won’t be out there doing it on his own.”

How 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo got head start on Browns prep during bye week

How 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo got head start on Browns prep during bye week

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo called an audible during the 49ers’ bye week.

“I know he had plans to go home and see his parents, and he ended up staying here and he was up at the office a lot, relaxing and evaluating what he’s done so far,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Thursday.

The 49ers went 3-0 before having an early bye in Week 4. They returned for scheduled practices at the team’s training facility on Monday and Tuesday, followed by a day off Wednesday. The club reported back for practice Thursday.

Garoppolo and some of his teammates remained in the South Bay even after Shanahan dismissed the team after practice last Tuesday. Garoppolo said it was “weird” to have a bye week so early. He opted to remain close to work during his time off rather than spend the time with his family in suburban Chicago.

“It’s not the best weather in Chicago I heard, so, it never hurts to stay here in this California weather,” Garoppolo said. “I’ve never had one (bye week) this early before, so I thought it was the right thing to do.

“I ended up staying here and everything, just to try and keep this thing going.”

The 49ers are the only unbeaten team in the NFC. They will put that record on the line Monday night against the Cleveland Browns (2-2) at Levi’s Stadium.

“Every week, we try not to put any more emphasis on one or the other, but we just try and go 1-0 every week,” Garoppolo said. “This week’s no different. Got a good opponent coming in, going to give us a lot of challenges, you know, the explosive offense and everything, so it’ll be good for us.

“It’ll be exciting, a lot of juice. Levi’s was rocking last time when the Steelers came and wouldn’t expect anything less from the Faithful. It’ll be a fun atmosphere, that’s for sure.”

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Garoppolo got a head start on preparing for the Browns’ defense with the extra time in the building last week. Shanahan said he did not have much one-on-one time with Garoppolo during the bye, joking that they need a break from each other.

In studying the Browns, Garoppolo said the 49ers will face a stiff challenge against a strong defensive line, headlined by Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2017 draft. After registering 13.5 sacks last season, Garrett already has six sacks in four games this season.

“It starts up front,” Garoppolo said. They’re very talented, have some guys up front who can just flat out go. And then across the board, their scheme overall, it’s pretty complicated, so it’ll be a good challenge for us.”

49ers' Nick Bosa rated No. 1 pass rusher in NFL after first three games

49ers' Nick Bosa rated No. 1 pass rusher in NFL after first three games

In the 49ers' Week 3 win over the Steelers, Pittsburgh completed only two passes that traveled at least one yard past the line of scrimmage. Granted, both of those completions went for explosive touchdowns, but the minuscule number speaks to the tremendous pressure San Francisco's defensive line has been generating so far this season.

It's been a team effort for the 49ers' D-line, as The Athletic's David Lombardi noted Wednesday, but within that, there have been some standout individual performances, most notably from Nick Bosa.

Believe it or not, three games into his NFL career, Bosa has graded out as the top pass rusher in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.

Bosa, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, has registered a 14.0 pass-rushing productivity grade, PFF's formula that places an emphasis on total pressures per pass-rushing snap. That 14.0 grade ranks as the best of all NFL edge rushers, and the top five consists of some standout company with 21.5 sacks between them.

Cleveland's Myles Garrett ranks second with a 12.8 pass-rushing productivity grade. He and Bosa have generated the same number of quarterback pressures (17), but Bosa has achieved that number in 18 fewer snaps, hence his higher grade.

Behind Garrett are Minnesota's Danielle Hunter (12.0), Green Bay's Preston Smith (11.9) and Tampa Bay's Shaquil Barrett (11.8).

Bosa has been improving on a game-by-game basis, and he's coming off his best performance yet in which he led San Francisco with seven pressures of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, the highest total of any 49er during Kyle Shanahan's tenure as head coach. This has all come after an offseason in which Bosa was significantly limited due to injury, but with San Francisco now enjoying its bye week, he believes he'll finally be at full strength coming out of it.

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If Bosa is the most effective pass-rusher in the NFL at less than full strength -- three games into his career, no less -- just imagine what he'll be capable of moving forward.