Laken Tomlinson has continually sort of had an unfair “meh” quality about him. When the 49ers traded with the Detroit Lions for him back in 2017, there was excitement at a new O-line prospect, especially one taken in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but then you realize how underwhelming he was with the Lions. His 2018 season wasn’t anything to write home about, by no fault of his. Kyle Shanahan’s playbook is hard, I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone to come in weeks before the first game of the regular season with dependability to execute it (Tomlinson started in Week 2 of 2017).
But now, with a new contract in place, Tomlinson doesn’t have to worry about flying by the seat of his pants anymore. While the 49ers did not pick up his fifth-year option, they did sign him to a three-year extension and were making their intentions clear rather early, as Tomlinson notes in his latest sit-down on Joe Fann’s 49ers Studios Podcast.
Beyond the contracts though, Tomlinson has an answer for one of the many rumblings the media has had over the 49ers momentum, being overhyped, and Super Bowl talk. He says the 49ers only looking to the next game:
“That [the five-game winning streak/momentum] was last year. Our focus is on this year. Our focus is on the next game. We’re doing everything we can right now here in camp to build that chemistry, to build that team bonding, build all of that going into our first game. I think we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with and I’m excited to just get out there and give it to the people.”
You’ll notice there’s none of this Super Bowl talk that has been blown out of proportion wasn’t said above.
I pasted the time stamps below if there’s a particular question you want to listen to, as he goes over the events leading to his contract extension and some great Joe Staley stories. You can listen to the interview here.
Note: This was done following the fourth 49ers practice so understand any time differences.
00:30 - Feelings of new contract/what happened after his fifth-year option not picked up
02:00 - The story behind the trade from the Detroit Lions to the 49ers
03:15 - Impressions of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch upon arrival
04:10 - Differences between responsibilities in SF vs. Detroit
05:40 - Expectations of conditioning for Kyle Shanahan’s offense
06:15 - Experience going into the starting lineup and winging it
07:34 - What going from a losing streak to the era of Garoppolo
08:34 - What Jimmy Garoppolo does for an offensive lineman
09:04 - Evaluation of first four practices [podcast done after fourth practice]
09:27 - Playing next to Joe Staley/Joe Staley stories
12:07 - Playing with Weston Richburg
13:52 - Mindset of the team
14:12 - Confidence level
15:00 - Staley’s comments about, “The best locker room I’ve been a part of”