Good morning folks. Although it’s been a relatively quiet day for the 49ers, we’ve got an amazing Thursday night game tonight. The New Orleans Saints will travel to Atlanta to play the Falcons. Coming off three consecutive 7-9 seasons (and 4 of the last 5), the Saints are having a great season, in large part due to a defensive revival & an extremely talented 2017 draft class.
Exacerbating an already contentious relationship with the Falcons (fans), the annual series between the division rivals had it’s last split in 2012, with one team dominating the other every season. With the resurgence of the New Orleans Saints and the faltering of the Falcons since their Super Bowl appearance, the stage is set for a great Thursday night game, that will likely have playoff implications.
On Wednesday, the media got a chance to speak to some of the players, and some good stuff was recorded. FB/OW Kyle Juszczyk got a chance to clear up some perceived criticism from the fanbase - mostly in reference to his relatively high salary for his listed position, and then the expectations that were built up by his unofficial title of “Offensive Weapon”. The fanbase seemed to romanticize the concept into envisioning Juice as having the production of Delanie Walker or Mike Alstott, but he wanted to clarify that his role is one that conforms to the gameplan; he may serve 3 different roles in 3 consecutive plays, whether it be running a route, blocking, or taking a rare carry.
Kyle Shanahan’s interview gave a brief insight into how his past affects his present as a head coach. During a discussion about his time in Houston, Shanahan spoke at length about his experience as a position coach, and later offensive coordinator, with the Texans. Interestingly, he offered a comparison between coming into an offense that had established talent and taking over an offense that had very little talent, specifically his team in Washington. He spoke about having to tweak his philosophy in dealing with a team of little talent, and how he was tasked with forming the offense around the limited abilities of his roster.
At a different point in the interview, he spoke about the gameplan as far as Jimmy Garoppolo goes. For a second week in a row, Shanahan will deploy a limited offense that revolves around what Garoppolo already knows - plays that either Shanahan or Garoppolo are not particularly comfortable with will usually be removed. It sounds like his experience with the Redskins has positively influenced his current work with the 49ers.
In other news, Robbie Gould was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. It’s been a season generally devoid of honors, so it’s a welcome change. It’s hard not to root for the guy after he outscored the team he had previously spent over a decade with.
On to the good stuff-
Kyle Juszczyk on “OW”, expectations | Branch, SF Gate
49ers players are really excited about Garoppolo | Lynch, KNBR
Surprise! Bruce Ellington injured for 49ers game | Barrows, Sac Bee
49ers Mailbag | Barrows, Sac Bee
#1 overall pick looking unlikely | Wagoner, ESPN