The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver competition has been heating up throughout training camp and even more so after the team’s first preseason game facing Dallas. Seventh round pick Richie James Jr. had been making a new for himself in camp and then made even a stronger impression in the first game facing the Cowboys scoring the game winning touchdown. It all seem just routine to James who says that if it were the Super Bowl, he’d be celebrating but for the first preseason game, “It’s juts football baby. Play ball, next game.”
James caught four of the five passes sent his way for 46 yards and a touchdown giving him an 11.5 yard per catch average. He also returned one kick off for 33 yards.
James has been working with all three quarterbacks, Jimmy Garoppolo, C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens and remarkably has been very productive with all three. His ability to adapt to them and vice versa is not an easy thing. James described how working with all three and getting reps in has helped him get a feel for it, and that it comes with time. While he mentions that Garoppolo is the true leader with the quick release, he added to not sleep on Mullens who he says, “has ... I’m not going to say the word, but he has ‘it.’ He has the ‘it factor.’”
James worked out of the slot in the first preseason game but has the mentality that it doesn’t matter where they put him. He just wants to play ball.
Can James look ahead to what could happen in regards to the roster?
You can’t. You put yourself in a hole if you do. So for me, I just play ball and learn. At the end of the day I’m learning, putting my athletic ability on tape. So whether it’s here or another team, it doesn’t matter, I just want to play ball. At the end of the day I’m not thinking about that, that’s the business part of it, I just want to play ball. I just got here so, I’m a rookie I want to learn as much as I can, gather as much information as I can.
For James, part of that gathering information will include picking the brain of Richard Sherman who has already given him a few tips. He said that time will come though, soon.