It’s always telling when a coach goes out of his way to praise a player. On Thursday, that’s exactly what San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan did with Jordan Matthews. We’re getting closer to when the 49ers will have to cut down their roster to 53, and wide receiver is arguably the most talked-about position on the team. Matthews has the experience. Aside from Marquise Goodwin, no other receiver on the roster was in the NFL in 2016. That’s how young this position group is.
Matthews was running with the third-team for the majority of training camp. When Trent Taylor went down, that created an opportunity. Matthews ran with the first-team during Monday Night Football. Here’s what Shanahan had to say about Matthews on Thursday:
“He’s had a hell of a camp. He’s done very good in practice. He’s been consistent in OTAs. He was very consistent in training camp. And we’ve seen him a lot on tape before he got here. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Jordan, and I know we can win with Jordan.”
Shanahan mentioned how he knows what the team has in Matthews, and that’s why he hasn’t played much in the preseason. Kendrick Bourne and Richie James have played the most snaps at wide receiver during the position. Which would explain this quote:
“We’re trying to find out a little bit more about other guys that we don’t know as well,” Shanahan explained, “and you’ve got to give those guys that opportunity. I did wish he played a little bit more versus Denver. We were going to have him go in at F, and then switch him later with (Jalen) Hurd. Then Hurd ended up having back tightness. We ended up giving Richie (James) those opportunities, but that says nothing about Jordan. We know what Jordan can do, and we’re trying to find out what more these other guys can do.”
Shanahan’s words would suggest that Matthews will make the team. If that’s true, it will come down to James or Bourne unless the team decides to go light at another position. It’ll be a fun week and a half, that’s sure to have a different answer on who will make the team every day.