By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
Sometimes, seasons just don’t go the way a team wants them to. In fact, that is more often the case than not.
However, for the San Francisco 49ers, 2018 didn’t just go slightly awry, it went completely off the rails.
I decided to check in with Jennifer Chan, 49ers writer for NBC Sports Bay Area to see how the offseason has gone in San Francisco.
Dayna O’Gorman: “San Francisco had a lot of hope going into the 2018 season. Then, due to a serious injury bug, the team was derailed and didn’t have the season they wanted. How do you feel the disappointment of last season has impacted the team this offseason?”
Jennifer Chan: “The most important thing that John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan did when they began working together as a team was to create a solid locker room filled with guys who love the game. The attitude last season with the 4-12 record was better than in Harbaugh’s final 8-8 season. This might partially be because the expectations were so high in 2014, but it also has to do with the people in the locker room.
The same can be said for 2017 when the team started the season out with nine losses before finally getting being able to put a notch in the win column. Winning, of course, is more ideal but the attitude of the 49ers locker room is really something remarkable.”
DO: “The 49ers had the second pick in the draft, taking Nick Bosa. We know what kind of impact he can make on the team, but looking at the other draftees, who has stood out to you as someone fans should keep an eye on?”
JC: “Injuries plagued the team and especially the WR group in 2018. The team selected Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd to bolster the group. All defensive eyes will be focused on TE George Kittle after his record-breaking season which means that the two rookies will not only be used as necessary decoys at times, they will be relied on for production.”
Samuel is a tough receiver who is known for getting YAC and Hurd is a big body receiver that was formerly a RB. Expect him to become a swiss army knife kind of player in Shanahan’s offense.”
DO: “Are there any injuries/surgeries from the end of last season or that may have happened so far this offseason that could impact training camp or the beginning of the season?”
JC: “There are a few players that are still being held out of OTAs that should be ready for Training Camp. Raheem Mostert had a second surgery on his shattered ulna bone but should be ready for training camp. TE Garrett Celek (concussion/back), C Weston Richburg (knee), Fred Warner (knee), Jason Verrett (Achilles), Kwon Alexander (knee), Nick Bosa (hamstring grade 1 strain) Matt Breida (ankle), Jerick McKinnon (knee), Jimmie Ward (collar bone) all out for OTAs but scheduled to be ready for TC.
It looks like one of the most important pieces, Jimmy Garoppolo is on schedule to be full-go for TC. He has been participating in 7-on-7s only in OTAs. He is rolling out as normal, wearing a light brace, and has good zip on the ball. They are just being careful.”
DO: “Are there going to be any camp battles we should be on the lookout for? Any position that could be up for grabs?”
They will be careful with Jerick McKinnon so Tevin Coleman – who has worked with Shanahan in ATL may have a leg up after taking a lot of the OTA reps.
Who gets utilized at WR might be the most interesting story – especially after the players they added. The two draftees as well as Jordan Matthews, the return of a healthy Goodwin, Trent Taylor, and Pettis. There’s a lot of talent in that room – and Wes Welker and Austin Miles are their coaches.”
DO: “What’s your overall feeling of the offseason so far? Is it hopeful? Jacked up excited? More “wait and see”? What is the feeling you get from the team?”
JC: “I personally always look ahead conservatively, but of course right now, everyone is undefeated. I think that the defense has the most momentum with the addition of Dee Ford and Nick Bosa. It seems to be what everyone wants to talk about.
Excitement is good and I think the mentality is positive, but it really always has been, because of the roster that they have put together. Everyone is happy at OTAs. Training camp is the grind. We will see how they all feel when the pressure and need to be healthy is upon them.”
A huge thank you to Jennifer for taking a few minutes to chat with us. Please give her a follow on twitter here.