Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media late Monday morning and had good news as there were no new injuries for San Francisco 49ers. Shanahan spoke about the game against the Vikings and a few performances. Shanahan said that he wanted to let the team know who will start at cornerback before he tells the media, but I think we all know what direction he’s leaning in. To Ahkello Witherspoon’s credit, he continued to help the team. Shanahan said that Spoon went up to special teams coach Richard Hightower and told the coach that he was willing to take all of Emmanuel Moseley’s reps to help out the team and allow Moseley to remain fresh for defense. Shanahan said that spoke to the way this Niners team is built.
Witherspoon ended up playing seven snaps on special teams. He covered five punt returns and two kick returns for Moseley. It may not seem like much, but that’s a great team gesture. Despite not playing up to his standards, Witherspoon didn’t sit on the bench and pout. He put the team before himself. The only injury on the day came when Raheem Mostert cramped up after covering a punt, so that hints at the significance of Witherspoon’s gesture.
Quasi related: Shanahan was talking about how important it is for your tight end to be able to block on the edge in the run game. We all know his dominance as a pass catcher and run blocker, but it’s Kittle’s selflessness that impresses Shanahan. The head coach said Kittle hasn’t come up to him during a game once in three years to ask for the ball to be thrown to him or anything related in the passing game. Shanahan did say that Kittle comes up to him “about every seven plays,” suggesting what type of runs the offense should call, and who Kittle needs to hit. Kittle comes from Iowa, where you don’t play if you don’t block. That mentality will never leave the star tight end.
The gushing didn’t stop there. Shanahan was asked to quantify (Kwontify*) Kwon Alexander beyond the X’s and O’s and his value and what he brings to the team:
It’s extremely real with Kwon. He’s like that every second, and our guys gravitate towards him. The same way fans feel about him, that’s how we feel about him. Kwon is ride or die, in everything he does for this football team. He plays that way when he’s healthy; he plays that way when he’s hurt. He lives football. That’s why his football character is one of the highest I’ve been around, and his character as a man to me, I feel that way too.
The brotherhood and unity on this team is special, and a big reason why they’re projected to go to Miami.