The San Francisco 49ers return to the practice field on Monday, beginning preparations for their Week 12 matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team will practice on Monday with locker room availability after the session. There will be no media availability on Tuesday, and then the team will return for practice Wednesday through Friday with availability still to be determined.
Prior to the break, head coach Kyle Shanahan met with the media to talk about looking ahead to the back stretch of the season. He was asked what kind of message he gave the players heading into the bye.
“Yeah, just to sit there and I want them to really reflect on the season so far and what they want coming back in these six games. We’ve got six games coming back. Lot of football to play, and a lot of important football to play. I want them to sit there and really think of what their goals are for the rest of the half. Do they want to solidify themselves as a starter, a backup? Do they want to be a part of it here? Do they want to be one of the answers or a solution to what we’re going through? And really when they think about all that and they understand it all and what they want, which I’m sure they all have high aspirations, I want their actions to come back and show that.”
The 49ers final six games offer an assortment of challenges. This week against the Bucs, will the offense be able to take advantage of extra planning time to face an atrocious defense, and how will the defense respond to a Bucs offense that is all or nothing in any given week?
After the Bucs, the 49ers face a string of really good defenses. The Seahawks are up and down, but can still make plays against shaky teams. The Broncos rank fourth in defensive efficiency, and the Bears rank first. We don’t know what Week 17 will mean for the Rams starters, but even if we ignore that game, Weeks 13-16 will be critical for assessing expectations heading into the 2019 offseason.
The 49ers will not make the playoffs, and there won’t be a Jimmy Garoppolo arrival that flips the script. We know more or less what’s out there, and we get six weeks to see if they can build some momentum on both sides of the ball heading into the offseason.