Dante Pettis

49ers Mailbag: How will rain impact crucial Week 13 game vs. Ravens?

49ers Mailbag: How will rain impact crucial Week 13 game vs. Ravens?

The NFL schedule-maker did the 49ers no favors this season with back-to-back road games multiple time zones away twice within the team's 16-game regular-season schedule.

When the team buses rolled out of Santa Clara on Friday afternoon en route to the airport, the 49ers packed for a lot longer than just their normal three-day business trip. The 49ers will be on the road for a while.

A question about the reasoning of spending five days in Florida tops this edition of 49ers Mailbag.

Coach Kyle Shanahan was skeptical when he took the 49ers job in 2017 about the negative effects of West Coast teams traveling East. But after experiencing it, he became convinced it is a huge competitive disadvantage.

So the 49ers will remain East after the game Sunday in Baltimore in order to get ready for their Week 14 game at New Orleans on Dec. 8.

The club will practice next week at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. Why not stay again in Youngstown, Ohio?

There are several factors, most notably the weather. Early in the season, the 49ers stayed in Youngstown between their Weeks 1 and 2 games at Tampa Bay and Cincinnati. With the weather in Northeast Ohio being a little, um, unpredictable this time of year, the 49ers decided to go to Florida.

“I think it definitely helped us in Cincinnati,” Shanahan said on 49ers Game Plan, which airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3). “The week was tough at first, but our guys got used to it.

“We still got the challenge on Sunday (at Baltimore). But by the time New Orleans comes, that week, we’ll be East Coast people because we’ll be used to that time change and nothing will be different for us.”

Also, the 49ers want to be able to practice on grass, which takes less of a toll on the players’ bodies. The only option available at Youngstown State University was an artificial surface. After concluding practice on Friday in Florida, the 49ers will have a shorter flight to New Orleans.

There is a 100-percent forecast for rain on Sunday. The elements will impact Lamar Jackson more than Jimmy Garoppolo because Jackson is more reliant on his footing as a dual-threat quarterback.

But, at the same time, the 49ers’ defense will be impacted, too, as they try to keep pace with Jackson.

Another way the weather could affect the Ravens is with their overall running game, which places a premium on Jackson’s ability to handle the football flawlessly, whether he is faking handoffs and keeping the ball or sticking it into the gut of running backs Mark Ingram or Gus Edwards.

The Ravens practiced with wet footballs this week to get ready for that challenge. Turnovers could be the difference on Sunday.

The 49ers must pay a lot of attention to Jackson, but it is not so simple as having all 11 defenders focus on Jackson as a runner. It does not work quite that way.

All 49ers defenders have their responsibilities against the run and pass. Everyone has to be on the same page and each individual must take care of his responsibility.

“Every guy is just as important because they’re all tied together to play 11-on-11 football, and if you have one weak link, it kind of goes down the line,” Shanahan said.

So if the defensive linemen don’t do their jobs, it makes it difficult on the linebackers. And if the linebackers are in the wrong places, it makes it nearly impossible on the defensive backs with a lot of open space for Jackson to operate.

Then, when the defense gives up a big play, it’s especially important to diagnose what happened and why so defensive coordinator Robert Saleh can make the necessary adjustments.

“So you got to stick to your rules, get to the sideline, talk about what happened and keep playing hard,” Shanahan said.

It never is one factor. There are probably a lot of reasons Dante Pettis’ production has fallen off so dramatically from the end of a promising rookie season.

He has been available to play every game during that stretch, but he has already been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Baltimore with a knee sprain, which is a difficult break for Pettis.

The injury likely will not have much impact on the game against Baltimore. Pettis has just two receptions for 26 yards over the past six games, and in the past two games, he has seen action on just two and seven offensive plays respectively.

Pettis was never able to build on the momentum with which he ended last season. That has clearly been a source of frustration for Shanahan.

It probably goes back to the offseason. Pettis did not make noticeable gains in his strength and skills when he came back for his second season. This offseason is going to be huge for Pettis, who will have to earn his way onto the team’s 53-man roster next season.

When Pettis gets healthy, he should be in a weekly fight for a uniform on game days, too. Veteran speedster Marquise Goodwin was a healthy scratch against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12.

Both Goodwin and Pettis have to prove they can help the team down the stretch of the regular season in order to be one of the team’s active wide receivers.

Richard Sherman is signed through the 2020 season, so there’s no rush to work out a contract extension. They can let this play out a little longer before approaching Sherman’s agent about working out a deal.

(Sherman’s agent, by the way, is Richard Sherman, in case you didn’t already know that.)

The 49ers now have some flexibility and options for the future at cornerback.

[RELATED: Tartt among five 49ers players to watch Sunday vs. Ravens]

Ahkello Witherspoon was playing the best ball of his career before leaving the lineup in Week 3 with a foot sprain. That would have been a big blow for the defense, except Emmanuel Moseley stepped in and played like a starter.

So, now, the 49ers feel good about their cornerback depth. They believe that they have three starting-caliber NFL cornerbacks on their roster and will probably try to keep each of them around as long as they are playing at high levels.

NFL rumors: Dante Pettis’ injury not serious, but 49ers-Ravens status uncertain


NFL rumors: Dante Pettis’ injury not serious, but 49ers-Ravens status uncertain

49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis left Wednesday's practice early after injuring his knee

Following the news, it was uncertain whether or not he would be good to go for Sunday's matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. He tweeted he would "be good," and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Pettis' injury is "not a cause for concern," citing a source.

That's good news as far as any long-term severity goes, but Sunday's availability remains in question.

[RELATED: Five 49ers to watch against Ravens]

Pettis' usage has depleted in recent weeks, including just two offensive snaps in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals and only seven plays in Sunday's 49ers' 37-8 victory over the Green Bay Packers. 

The 10-1 49ers appear to be able to handle responsibilities without him, but it's nice to know it's not a serious injury at the moment. 

Watch all eight of 49ers' dropped passes from their loss to Seahawks

Watch all eight of 49ers' dropped passes from their loss to Seahawks

Jimmy Garoppolo was far from perfect Monday night. The 49ers' big-money quarterback fumbled twice -- one which was returned for a touchdown -- threw an interception and completed just 52 percent of his passes in a 27-24 overtime loss to the Seahawks. 

But his receivers failed him miserably. And that's not an understatement. 

The 49ers accounted for six dropped passes, but it felt like more. Video proves it was more, too. 

This video provided by John Chapman of the 49ers Rush Podcast counts eight dropped passes in San Francisco's first loss of the year. Players seen dropping passes include receivers Marquise Goodwin (2), Dante Pettis (2), Kendrick Bourne (2), Deebo Samuel (1) and fullback Kyle Juszczyk (1). 

Garoppolo's lone interception came right off Bourne's hands and into the arms of a Seahawks defender. The pick was returned 44 yards and Seattle scored on the ensuing drive to take a 14-10 lead. 

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan showed clear frustrations with second-year pro Dante Pettis on Tuesday after the loss. 

“He’s had a number of opportunities,” Shanahan said to reporters. “I’m one of the guys that believes in him the most. That’s why he’s here. He’s had his opportunities.

“The more he doesn’t take advantage of his opportunities, the less opportunities he gets.”

Despite dropping two passes, including one crucial miss, Shanahan still has confidence in Bourne

"I think Bourne has as good of hands as anyone in this league, and sometimes when you do that, you don’t focus, you don’t concentrate on it because you’re never scared of dropping it," Shanahan told reporters.

[RELATED: 49ers clarify Kittle hasn't been officially ruled out vs. Cards]

The 49ers were without injured tight end George Kittle in the loss and sure-handed receiver Emmanuel Sanders exited early with a rib injury. Losing both of those players completely changes San Francisco's passing game. 

Kittle and Sanders both are game-time decisions for the 49ers' battle against the Cardinals on Sunday at Levi's Stadium in Week 11.