“What kind of physical toll does a season exact on Williams at this stage of his career? Last year, two days after the NFC Championship Game, Williams was so weary that he declined to officially declare that he’d return in 2023.
“Having two long seasons back-to-back, it does get pretty grueling for a 34-year-old guy like myself,” Williams said at the time. “You do kind of think about what’s life like after football … You do get to that age, especially at the end of a year like this, as exhausting as it was.”
Last season, however, the NFC Championship Game marked the 49ers’ 12th straight game without a week off, a stretch that began with their Week 9 bye in early November. This season, Williams could conceivably get at least a 19-day break day between games if head coach Kyle Shanahan rests him in the regular-season finale Sunday against the Rams.”
“He stressed that practice is substantial in terms of preparation, and treating this week seriously on the practice field is key in avoiding any bad habits heading into the playoffs.
“I think it can be tough, but it’s not just playing, it’s how much you practice and everything, too,” Shanahan said. “You’ve got to make sure that you prepare for games by practicing. We’ve got a game this week on Sunday. When you give guys the game off, practice changes too. That can end up hurting guys a lot and you end up just developing bad habits. I’ve seen it cost a lot of teams.
Also, it does give some guys a chance to get healthy. When you do that and you sit people, then some of the names you guys mentioned, but then other people have got to double up and do a lot more because you only get two guys off a practice squad also.
If you want to get more than two off practice squad, we’ve got to cut people on a roster and then we don’t get those guys, just to get those guys up. So, it always can end up hurting. You rest players and that sometimes gets more players injured. That’s all that stuff you’ve got to balance out and that’s why there’s not a clear-cut decision on anything. You’ve got to look at each individual, in each situation and play it out as the week goes.”
“The 49ers experimented with some exotic blitzes Sunday. They sent six rushers on one third-down snap — Bosa, Hargrave, Young, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw and Tashaun Gipson Sr. — while Gregory dropped into coverage. Bosa pressured Sam Howell on the play and he threw an incompletion. Later in the game, Kinlaw dropped into coverage, just the second time he’s done so this season.”
“I went back and looked at what the 49ers did in 2019, the last time they had the top seed. It looks like they practiced on Thursday and Friday of that week. Of course, it was a bit of a different situation. The 49ers didn’t clinch until the final seconds of the Week 17 finale (See: Greenlaw, Dre; goal-line tackle) in Seattle, a night game. Their bye that season was in Week 4. Which meant that they were beaten up and exhausted — more so than this season — as the playoffs began. Kyle Shanahan’s top priority during the playoff bye that year was rest.
This year won’t be quite the same considering the 49ers won’t have the pedal to the floor Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. I think Shanahan’s priority will be to maintain the players’ routine. They’ll stick around during the week for sure. I anticipate Shanahan running the usual hyper-intense practice on Thursday of the bye week to ensure everyone stays sharp.”
“No need for a double take, it’s now Purdy — not Garcia, Joe Montana or Steve Young — who has the most productive passing season in Niners history.”
“The 49ers’ defensive line — when everyone is available — is very solid.
But the line is not a dominating force, period. And it seems to be mediocre when a piece or two are missing.”
“When they dealt me away for nothing, I still had a lot left in the tank,” Williams said after the 49ers’ 27-10 win at Washington on Sunday. “I think maybe my layoff, battling cancer and stuff, I think a lot of people would think nobody could come back normal, especially at that age. I bet on myself obviously to go to a new organization, but it’s all part of God’s plan. I’m really thankful for my nine years, ten years here, and I think it just made me a better professional overall going to my next chapter.”