Wes Welker

Trent Taylor using difficult 2018 as motivation for third 49ers season

Trent Taylor using difficult 2018 as motivation for third 49ers season

SANTA CLARA — Trent Taylor is using the frustration he felt in his sophomore season as motivation heading into his third year with the 49ers. 

The wide receiver took an isolationist approach to training during the offseason, turning down working in Nashville with teammate George Kittle. Instead, he holed up in Santa Clara, working with fewer distractions a la Bruce Wayne in "Batman Begins." 

“I just liked the fact that I’m out here, there were probably five or six guys out here and I liked the fact that I was isolated out here, by myself, no family, no friends,” Taylor said. “All I had to focus on was work, and that’s all I wanted to focus on, and so I enjoyed it. 

"My parents were getting worried about me [that] I was getting a little lonely out here, but I was good with it. I enjoyed getting work done and getting ready for the season. I just thought it was a big deal for me to just stay here.”

Kittle joked that Taylor wasn’t invited, but Taylor said the reason was simpler. He wanted to stay focused on his preparation for the season.  

“Yeah, George was a little offended that I didn’t go and hang out with him in Nashville, but I had a lot fo work to do,” Taylor said. “It’s a business, so friendship can wait until later. After the offseason is over with and we make a lot of money, then we can do whatever we want but we had business to take care of.” 

Early in training camp, that decision is paying off. Taylor looks refreshed and able to run routes faster, with his body now able to do what he asks of it. 

That wasn't the case in 2018. 

Taylor never fully recovered from offseason back surgery, and struggled in his second NFL season. He caught just 26 passes for 215 yards, after catching 43 for 430 yards as a rookie in 2017. 

“Extremely frustrating,” Taylor said. “It was a major struggle for me. I never went through a huge injury like that ever before in my life. I’ve never missed a game all growing up and just to struggle like that and not be moving the way I know I can move was really tough. 

“So I kept that in the back of my head all through the offseason and I put in all the work that I possibly could. We will see what happens when the season gets here.”   

Taylor confirmed Tuesday that he was healthy through the break, and that allowed him to work on his strength training. The 25-year-old is listed at 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, and he said that getting stronger is a fundamental part of his preparation because of his stature.

“Whenever a guy my size doesn’t have an offseason to train and get ready for an NFL season, It’s tough to do,” Taylor said. “I’m not Julio Jones, who can just go walk out there and make stuff happen. So, the offseason is crucial for me. I know that so I’m glad to had this whole offseason under my belt to get work done.” 

A change to the 49ers coaching staff kept Taylor motivated throughout the offseason, too.

Two-time First-Team All-Pro wide receiver Wes Welker now coaches Taylor and the rest of the 49ers wideouts. The comparisons between Welker and Taylor are easy to see, given their respective size and playing style, and Taylor wants to learn as much as he can from his new position coach.  

“Just trying to soak everything that I possibly can from him.” Taylor said. “It’s just real cool having hime around. Just a Pro-Bowler who dominated the NFL like that, and having Miles Austin in the room as well it’s been really cool.  

“It’s just the way, where he puts my thought process throughout running routes and how to think about routes in the middle of them and how to play off defenders. I think just those little tips here and there are what makes him different.” 

[RELATED: Moore gets some first-team action on Day 4 of 49ers camp]

With Welker in his ear and health on his side, Taylor expects big things from his third NFL season. Above all else, he never wants to go through what he felt in 2018 again. 

"I feel good with where I’m at but every day is a new day to learn new things, so I’ve a long ways to go to reach my full potential," Taylor said. "It’s something that I’m still constantly working at so. I'm ready to see what happens when the season gets here."

49ers' Dante Pettis asks 'would you rather' questions in new 'Mic'd Up'

49ers' Dante Pettis asks 'would you rather' questions in new 'Mic'd Up'

When 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis is mic'd up, he takes advantage of the opportunity. 

During a recent practice, Pettis asked his fellow teammates an important "would you rather" inquiry that actually makes you think: For the rest of your life if you had to eat with just one utensil, would you choose a fork or a spoon?

Fellow wide receivers Jordan Matthews and Marquise Goodwin wouldn't be able to eat cereal without a spoon, so that's what they chose.  

But Pettis made a good point that "you can't eat pasta with a spoon," and eating a steak would be near impossible. And forget about chicken. He was gearing toward a fork as his decision. 

He was also exchanging a few words with newly hired wide receivers coach Wes Welker, who knows a thing or two how to play the position.

[RELATED: Goodwin has '100 percent interest' in 2020 Olympics]

Throw in a few singing lyrics to "Third Eye Blind," and you have yourself a successful day at camp.

You can watch part of the latest installment of "Mic'd Up," in the tweet above.

Wes Welker outlines plans for 49ers rookies Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd

Wes Welker outlines plans for 49ers rookies Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd

Wes Welker has a plan for 49ers rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Welker has been out of the game as a player for three seasons. But after practices in his first offseason as 49ers wide receivers coach, Welker remains on the field to run with Samuel while he goes through essential extra conditioning.

Samuel, who checked in at 5-foot-11, 214 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine, has the body of a running back. Welker wants him to have the body of a slot receiver.

“I think he’s a guy that he can play inside or outside,” Welker said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “He’s definitely a bigger body, but he does have good quickness and speed and all those different things.

“Me and him, we keep on talking. If he does want to play in the slot, he’s going to have to lose a few pounds, so that’s something we’re working on now, and he’s working hard to do it. We’re going to keep on harping on him to do that. He’s had a great attitude about just going to keep working on it.”

Welker said Samuel must drop some pounds to enable him to better maneuver his body, change direction and exhibit more short-area quickness from the slot position.

“I love his size and I love his physicality and everything, but we’re still going to want to be able to use him on some of those plays were you really want him to get in and out of those breaks,” Welker said. “The lighter you are when you’re doing that, the better off you’re going to be.”

The 49ers invested two of their top three draft picks in players for Welker to groom. After selecting Samuel of South Carolina with the No. 36 overall pick, the 49ers came back in the third round to choose Baylor wide receiver Jalen Hurd.

Hurd (6-5, 226) played just one college season at wide receiver after playing his first three seasons at Tennessee as a running back, where he was just 440 yards short of becoming the school’s all-time leading rusher. Hurd opted to transfer after the Tennessee coaching staff declined his request to move from running back to wide receiver.

Hurd has not played wide receiver long enough to develop bad habits, but he is severely lacking in experience. He has sat out the team’s offseason program as he recovers from knee surgery in December.

[RELATED: Wes Welker envisions many 49ers receivers fitting in the slot]

“He’s been a little banged up this spring, so it’s been about the mental part for him,” Welker said of Hurd. “He’s missing out on a lot of reps out there right now, and he’s just got to get his body right and then, on top of that, just staying on top of the playbook because he’s not getting all those reps.

“With his size and athleticism of being able to play running back, being able to play wide receiver, being able to do a lot of different things, that’s a great matchup for us. Losing these reps and the different things we want to do with him kind of sets him back. So he’s got a lot of making up to and a lot of work ahead of him to get caught up.”