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Golden Nuggets: Could Sunday’s game be delayed due to the Air Quality?

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Saturday, September 12, 2020

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San Francisco 49ers Training Camp Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

One day away from watching the San Francisco 49ers play a game, or are we?

49ers vs. Cardinals predictions: Jimmy Garoppolo remains the central variable

According to AccuWeather, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Santa Clara during the 49ers ‘ practice on Friday soared to 234, which is above the NFL’s limit of 200 for outdoor activity. All practices and games must be canceled if the air quality reaches that point. However, according to the 49ers, the team and the NFL use a more accurate AQI monitor than those publicly available online, and that one still registered a number under 200 on Friday.

There remains concern about air quality for Sunday’s game. However, the window for the league’s contingency plan — moving the game to Arizona — appears to have passed. Travel and hotel arrangements, which are all regulated by the league’s strict COVID-19 protocols this season, make such an endeavor much more complicated.

There’s a hope that a slight uptick in winds this weekend, which is in the forecast, helps improve air quality in the Bay Area. However, the chaotic wildfire situation in California makes the weekend AQI very difficult to predict.

Week 1 NFL Practice Squad Power Rankings 2020: 49ers’ Jauan Jennings starts season at No. 1

1. Jauan Jennings, WR, 49ers

Jennings almost cracked my Top 100 in the 2020 class (No. 105). While not especially fast or twitchy, during his career at Tennessee, Jennings had defenders bounce off him like Bo Jackson on Tecmo Super Bowl. According to Pro Football Focus’ Draft Guide, he led the class with 30 forced missed tackles on 59 receptions in 2019, an absurd, running-back type rate. At 6-3 and 215 pounds, Jennings is a moose. And he’s in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, the most YAC-predicated in all of football. Given San Francisco’s injuries at receiver, I’m surprised Jennings isn’t on the 53-man roster already.

49ers’ Jerick McKinnon expects emotions to run high in Week 1

“People on the outside won’t fully get it,” McKinnon said by phone. “To see a guy who hasn’t played in two years, yeah, you can say he’ll be excited and stuff. But words can’t even describe what it’ll be like to be back, to be honest.

“I ain’t going to lie, I’ll probably cry. It’s been a long road, a long journey, with a lot of emotions throughout that journey. I’m going to be amped up to go, but I’m definitely going to soak it all in and not forget what I had to go through and to overcome to get to this point. Then I’ll let all that stuff come out.”

49ers DE Solomon Thomas blasts Skip Bayless for his criticism of Dak Prescott’s mental health

Shame on @RealSkipBayless. Are you kidding me?” Thomas tweeted. “This is why we have a stigma against mental health, suicide, and depression. @dak being vulnerable is showing unbelievable strength and leadership. He’s impacting so many lives. Dak’s a true leader for speaking about his real emotions.”

Prescott opened up about his struggles with depression following the loss of his brother, Jace, to suicide in April, saying: “Before I can lead, I have to make sure my mind is in the right place to do that and lead people to where they want to be. I think that it’s important to be vulnerable.”

George Kittle responds to doubters, says 49ers are ready to ‘whoop up on some people’

“It is what it is,” Kittle responded. “I mean, you can either have a target on your back, or you’re chasing after other people. I don’t know who we’re really under the radar to other than like people that vote for us on ESPN. I don’t know if they know everything.

“I know that, around the league, people know what we can do, especially on offense. And I don’t know how you can take our defense not seriously because of our D-line and just what we do.

“I don’t think anyone in the league is underestimating us, and so we have to play at a high level every single week. We’re not going to get freebies. We know that, and if we don’t play at a high level, then we’re not going to win games.”

Mike McGlinchey explains how the lack of crowd noise might be an advantage for the 49ers O-line

“Actually, I think that it plays to our advantage with no crowd noise, especially if you go on the road,” McGlinchey explained. “Offensive lineman, it’s a tough deal when you don’t have a snap count, and you can’t hear your quarterback, so you have to go on a steady thing all day so you can keep it uniform so that everybody can get their timing right for the whole play.

“But when you’re able to use the snap count, you’ve got to be able to change it up, do different types of things to make sure the defense is on their heels a little bit. So I think the lack of crowd noise plays to an offensive lineman’s advantage if you’re disciplined enough to use the cadence.”