You may have caught a practice report or two during the open media sessions for the San Francisco 49ers practice. Naturally, some conclusions are being drawn or some disappointment could be had. I’ve already spoken about how it’s early and the 49ers are getting back into the grind of things, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has offered some better context onto practice reports at his Wednesday post-practice press conference:
“We didn’t used to get reports of stats on our practices and I don’t get the reports and judge our guys off of them. You tell everyone to ignore them, but I guarantee people hear it, their wives hear it, someone hears it. You know Jimmy’s completion percentage every day, how many picks he threw and I just try to put myself in players’ shoes. You’re going out trying to practice and get better at stuff, trying new things, stuff you don’t always do in games and you’re getting reports on stuff that you had a bad completion percentage or you can’t do this. That stuff worries me for players because now I’m afraid they’re going to go there and be like, ‘Man, I know you want to try this new thing, but I don’t want this to go viral for the next week, I don’t want people to say I can’t throw this type of ball.’ Then they don’t get better and they just try to survive the day so they can please people who don’t really know what they’re working on. It takes a very mentally strong person to not care about that. “
Shanahan was referring to Richard Sherman’s play against Marquise Goodwin. On his first play back from injury, Sherman went up against none other than Goodwin and got burned. As some have pointed out, this may cause misplaced concern that Sherman had lost a step and slowed down. Shanahan wanted to use that more as a coaching point than a statistic, but ended up giving a great reaction to practice reports in general.
Something to also keep in mind. Kyle Juszczyk hinted in that the defense will often give them certain formations to help the offense out with new looks (by standing there in a formation). From there they are trying new stuff just to see what would work and what doesn’t. I can only think the offense does the same thing—maybe run a read option or something for the defense to see the ins and outs of.
We won’t really get a good idea of what this 49ers team is until Week 3 of the preseason, that’s when they do a dress rehearsal of sorts and will do some light game planning. Until then, what happens at practice is interesting, but probably should be taken with a grain of salt.