Kyle Shanahan held a conference call on Sunday following the San Francisco 49ers 33-14 preseason loss to the Broncos. Here are five updates from the head coach following the 49ers second exhibition game.
1. Regular season trial run
As the team shifts focus/begins preparations for the Minnesota Vikings, Coach Shanahan will look to treat this week as a test run for the regular season. The team received Sunday off due to NFL rules. However, the remainder of the week will continue as a regular season schedule with Monday representing the day after a game, and Tuesday serving as a player's day off. The team will return to practice on Wednesday and travel to the Twin Cities on Saturday.
"This is a true normal week for us, in terms of this is really our only trial run before the season," Shanahan said. "So, we're doing everything the exact same way this week as we will Week 1 versus Carolina."
2. Return of Jimmie Ward
Ward started training camp on the physically unable to perform list due to a pulled hamstring. The team was hopeful he'd return by the second preseason game against the Broncos.
As the team looks ahead to practice on Wednesday, Coach Shanahan seemed optimistic that the fourth-year safety will be activated off of PUP and return to full practice.
"We're going to have our (defensive backs coach) Jeff Hafley go out there and really take him through a hard workout that's more pertained to exactly football," Shanahan said. "So, we're going to see how he responds to that on Monday and Tuesday and hopefully we'll get him ready to go by Wednesday."
3. Tight end battle
One of the biggest unknowns since the start of training camp has been the battle at tight end. There are currently six tight ends vying for a spot on the 49ers roster.
In the past, the head coach has held up to four tight ends on his roster, but the final decision will weight on the 49ers needs at other positions.
"It depends on how the other positions shape up," Shanahan said. "I feel like we've got some solid players there. Most teams keep about three tight ends. If you ever do want to keep four then that's alright, but another position's going to hurt because of it. So, we'll have to see how the final 53 turns out."
4. Quarterbacks Update
View photos from the 49ers second preseason game against the Denver Broncos.
Both quarterbacks Pierre Garçon and C.J. Beathard played over 20 snaps in Saturday's exhibition contest. Hoyer completed 8-of-11 passes for 89 yards and an interception. Beathard completed 7-of-12 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. The rookie held a 116.7 passer rating in the loss to Denver.
Despite an unfavorable end result, Shanahan is pleased with the performance of his quarterbacks.
"I thought Brian did a good job," Shanahan said. "Then C.J. came in and did the same thing well too. I didn't think he missed any bad ones. We just had a tough time getting those guys in a rhythm, staying on the field very long. Couldn't get the run game going. We did get it going a little bit more with the first group, we ended up having a turnover that caused that to derail." 5. SAM linebacker
It's been a revolving door surrounding the 49ers SAM linebacker. Twelve-year veteran Ahmad Brooks has been listed ahead of linebackers Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and Pita Taumoepenu on the unofficial depth chart. Harold got the start in Saturday's contest.
Over the remaining practices and two preseason games Shanahan and Co. will have their sights set on which option can offer the biggest return.
"There's not just competition going on at SAM linebacker, it's also as a rush nickel player," Shanahan said. "We're trying to figure out who can be our best SAM linebacker in base personnel and then which one of these guys is the best at putting his hand in the dirt and rushing the quarterback when we get to third down."