The field is “too soft” for the Niners to practice on. Kyle Shanahan and the organization have a gripe. That could lead to poor footing and, in turn, injuries. We’ll find out how the players feel when they have their first media availability.
NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell interrupted the first question he received during an interview about whether there would be an alternative practice field for the 49ers. Cutting the reporter off, Goodell answered, “Do you mean the natural grass surface that we put down?”
“Listen, that work is being done every single day. We have 23 experts out there. We have a unit out there. It’s very playable. It’s softer than what they’ve practiced on, but that happens. It’s well within all of our testing standards. It’s something that we think all of our experts say: unanimously, it’s a playable field.”
You can watch Goodell’s expressions below:
Roger Goodell discusses the condition of UNLV’s field where the 49ers are practicing… pic.twitter.com/lTVbcoMALH— Heidi Fang (@HeidiFang) February 5, 2024
He’s coming off defensive, as if Goodell is tired of having this conversation or knows that the fields aren’t up to par. It could be neither. It could be both.
The word “playable” stands out when listening to Goodell. That word is in the eye of the beholder. Goodell sounds like he knows it’s not the best field.
The Athletic’s Matt Barrows wrote that “because there was no surface placed between the artificial field and the new sod, the 49ers practice fields had a sponge-like feel.”
When you’re the one running and cutting for the one game that you started preparing for ten months ago, it’s not asking much to practice on a field that grades out closer to a 50 than an 80, which ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier on Monday was how the 49ers felt about UNLV’s practice field.
Monday’s practice was a walk-through. Barrows believes the 49ers “are leaning” toward staying at UNLV on Wednesday. There’s an XFL team in Las Vegas called the Vegas Vipers. There’s also one of the most prominent high school football teams in the country, Bishop Gorman.
Not to say either of those teams have facilities up to NFpracticeL standards — that have also been approved by the league — but these are the decisions head coach Kyle Shanahan is discussing with his staff.
We’ll provide an update once Shanahan answers an inevitable question about the team’s practice conditions.