We squeezed ten minutes out of Deebo Samuel on Thursday. This is a game. We forget that this is for our entertainment. Here’s how the interview ended:
We just finished interviewing 49ers WR Deebo Samuel.— Niners Nation (@NinersNation) February 10, 2022
Funniest person on the team: Jauan Jennings
Most annoying person on the team: Also, Jauan Jennings
Player most likely to be late to a meeting/practice: Trent Williams
Player with the biggest appetite: Azeez Al-Shaair
I started with Mike McDaniel, who is a hot topic as he’s the Dolphins' new head coach. Earlier this week, a report came out explaining how Deebo would spend every Tuesday with McDaniel going over his responsibilities as a running back.
Samuel said he spent time with both McDaniel and Shanahan on Monday and Tuesday:
Every Monday and Tuesday I used to go into Mike’s office. Him and Kyle, I spent time with both. Just to get a glimpse of how the game went and what the plan is for the week.
Just about life in general, not all about ball.
They really didn’t ask if I wanted to play running back. They said, ‘Hey, Deebo, we’re going to give you a couple carries here.’ They know what type of guy I am. I’m not the type that would say ‘nah, I don’t think I should do that.’
Like I said, I’m a team-first player. Whatever they need me to do, I’m gonna do it.”
Samuel explained that you couldn’t teach somebody how to run the ball. He said that you can point to where the play is supposed to go, but “9 times out of 10, it’s not hitting at that spot.”
Who is the next Mike McDaniel? That’s unfair to McDaniel and whichever coach Samuel said. But I wanted to know who the next up and coming coach is in Deebo’s eyes:
Wes Welker. How he helps us with install. How he goes over the install with us. Just hearing how he talks about things that could actually help.
I think he makes it relatable. He’s been in the league for a long time and seen a lot of plays. I think it’s just the mindset that he has.
Shanahan naming Wes Welker as McDaniel’s successor as the 49ers offensive coordinator would’ve been quite the curveball. I don’t think anybody could say they saw that coming.
The takeaway here is that Welker is relatable to the players, and that’s leading to success at the position. Unfortunately for the 49ers, Welker is off to Miami to join McDaniel as the Dolphins' new wide receiver coach.
Which player in the 49ers secondary gave Samuel the most fits or struggles during 1-on-1? Jason Verrett: “Jason Verrett was really good. He used to give me fits. He’s real special. He’s real patient.”
Leading up to the 2020 season, Welker said Samuel would have to lose weight if he wanted to play in the slot. After ‘20, when Samuel missed multiple games due to injury, some suggested his weight was the cause for injury. I asked him about that:
I wouldn’t say there was a lot of concern about my weight. My second year, I was training very well. But I got hurt. Therefore, you can’t move the way you want to. I gained a little bit of weight there. This past offseason, you see I came in the best shape I’ve been in since I’ve been in the league.
Whatever you did the last offseason, do the same thing this offseason, Deebo.
Finally, Samuel answers what he’s focusing on this offseason to take his game to another level: “I kinda started slacking a little bit once I started playing running back this year with my route running. So get back into the lab and get to work.”
If you look at his numbers outside of the Titans game down the stretch, Samuel never had more than four receptions in a game after the 49ers played the Rams in November. Of course, he still had touches in the backfield, but what he’s saying shows up in the box score.
You can listen to the entire interview below:
Other topics include:
- Why the players love Jimmy Garoppolo
- Deebo explains the difference between a 40-yard dash and when somebody is chasing you