Your daily San Francisco 49ers news for Friday, February 9th, 2024

49ers great Patrick Willis elected to Hall of Fame Class of 2024

“As a rookie, he delivered a crushing hit on Minnesota rookie running back Adrian Peterson early in a game at Candlestick Park.

Willis set the tone on a day Peterson had the worst game of a career in which he finished with 14,918 yards to rank fifth in NFL history. Peterson gained just 3 yards on 14 rushing attempts that day, while Willis had eight tackles and a fumble recovery.”

Fire alarm gives 49ers early wakeup call, another Super Bowl week annoyance (paywall)

“Brian Roshon, a security manager at the Hilton, told the Chronicle, “Moving forward, we shouldn’t have a problem.” The engineering department is investigating what triggered the alarm and is involving the fire marshal. They believe they found a solution, Roshon said. Police are not involved at this point.

The alarm is part of the 49ers’ less than ideal lead-up to Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday against the Chiefs.

The 49ers have been upset about the condition of their two practice fields at UNLV, where the artificial-turf surfaces recently were covered with sod. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has said the fields are soft and he didn’t conceal his displeasure after the team’s first full practice Wednesday.”

Kyle Shanahan Is No Longer Running the Shanahan Offense

“Much like “condensed formation” could serve as a good new moniker for the Shanahan offense, these plays show why “pre-snap motion” is also a tempting explanation. Heck—maybe it’s just “fullback.” But in reality, there isn’t just one code word, one magic spell to summon the Shanahan system. As the man himself said, there are so many ways you can change your presentation—personnel, motion, splits, alignment—that there isn’t one immutable characteristic of the offense. It’s not play-action, it’s not pre-snap motion, it’s not condensed formation, it’s not wide zone, it’s not the fullback. Sure, it feels right now like the Shanahan offense needs tight splits—but maybe, in three years, I’ll be writing about how they’re using spread formations. Right now it feels like they need 21 personnel, but what if defenses start to treat that as passing personnel? What if they start running it out of 11 personnel?

Everything is on the table. Because the keystone of the 49ers offense isn’t any one thing. The keystone of the 49ers offense is that you think it’s one thing, and it turns out it’s something else. It’s putting a fullback on the field to make you think run, so that they can pass. It’s bringing wide receivers tight to the formation, so you think of out-breaking routes, so they can run in-breaking routes. It’s motioning to a formation that you don’t think is empty, but actually is. The keystone of the 49ers offense is your perpetual wrongness. Shanahan better. Skill issue.”

Deebo Samuel Could Be the X Factor of Super Bowl LVIII

“Put it all together, and Deebo can be the straw that stirs the drink in San Francisco’s matchup with Kansas City this Sunday. As 4for4’s Connor Allen points out, the Chiefs defense leads the league in two-high safety looks—and when the 49ers have faced those types of coverage shells this year, Samuel has been Purdy’s favorite target. Two-high shells dissuade quarterbacks from throwing up deep passes and instead invite offenses to run the ball or dink and dunk underneath. The Chiefs are comfortable with this tack, in part, because they’ve had one of the best defenses in the NFL at limiting yards after the catch. But they haven’t played Deebo and the Niners, who collectively run after the catch like few teams can. I’m picturing lots of sweeps, screens, and quick throws on Shanahan’s menu, with Deebo as the focal point.

In fact, depending on how the Chiefs decide to match up, Samuel may have an even bigger role than normal. Kansas City has been excellent this season in limiting opposing no. 1 receivers—both with the way it deploys its coverage shells and with its penchant for lining up star corner L’Jarius Sneed on its opponents’ top pass catcher. If Sneed shadows Aiyuk (who finished tops on the team in both receptions and yards this year, with 75 catches for 1,342 yards), Deebo will need to step up.”

49ers shrug off soft field, hold ‘super intense’ Thursday practice

““It was super intense,” Williams said. “I didn’t even notice it at first. And then I overheard some guys saying at the table, ‘Man, there were people flying off the ball.’ I just kind of took myself back, like, ‘Damn, we were going pretty hard.’

“But I just think it’s the same way with anybody, you get to this stage, we’re practicing with a purpose at this point. We know what’s at stake.

We know what we’ve got a chance to do, so pretty sure Kansas City practiced hard today. It’s just what’s required to get to this spot.”

While San Francisco had four players who were limited Thursday, in George Kittle, Arik Armstead, Ambry Thomas and Oren Burks, all are expected to play Sunday. All that remains is the last walkthrough of the week on Friday.”

Nguyen: Inside 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl matchup: What to watch when the Niners have the ball (paywall)

“The Chiefs struggled against zone runs because they like to have light bodies on the field to match up when they blitz and they simply don’t have a lot of sturdy defensive tackles. Also, they thrive on creating negative plays with a lot of movement pre- and post-snap to cause confusion, but good zone-running teams can just sort through the chaos by staying on their zone tracks.

For Spagnuolo to put together his masterpiece, he could very well borrow from Belichick’s Super Bowl LIII defensive game plan. The Patriots primarily lined up in a 6-1 front with a soft zone behind it to take away the Rams’ outside zone game and explosive play-action shot plays. The 2019 Patriots defense shares a lot of similarities with the 2023 Chiefs defense. They’re elite pass defenses that major in man coverage but can be soft against the run. The 6-1 clogged up running lanes while relying on the secondary to keep a lid on the offense. Again, this 49ers offense is much more complete, so the Chiefs can’t lean into the 6-1 front as frequently as the Patriots did, but I suspect it’ll be a major component of their early-downs game plan.”

Thompson: Christian McCaffrey, Kyle Juszczyk and Bobby Turner — a precise 49ers fit (paywall)

““Ahhh man,” McCaffrey said, smiling as he shuffled through his memory. “I like when he says, ‘I ain’t gonna write you a book.’”

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk smiles when reminded of this one, then repeats it, impersonating his coach’s tone and twang.

Turner will for sure spend time with a player. He’ll go over film. He’ll motivate. He’ll correct. But if he’s teaching and getting the sense the focus of the player isn’t where it needs to be, this Bobby T-ism might come out. It’s his way of saying, “Pay close attention.”

“If you get it, you get it,” McCaffrey said. “If you don’t, you don’t.”

49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek is ready for this Super Bowl rematch (paywall)

“With our group, it always starts with technique. When you’re playing an attack front, you’ve got to be great in the technique of attack football. In my opinion, there’s less room for error when you’re attacking and getting into blocks quickly than if you’re reading. Because if you’re sitting up at the line and reading, you have time to recover from an error.

So whether it’s your first step, or getting explosion through your hips and getting a knock-back, or getting leverage with your hands, gap integrity, it’s all about technique.”

49ers’ Brock Purdy loves being Mr. Irrelevant, and predecessors cheer for Super Bowl QB (paywall)

“Before Purdy slid to the last pick in the draft, he had no idea all that comes with being a Mr. Irrelevant: the weeklong celebration in Orange County, the trophy that depicts a player fumbling a football, the souvenirs from every NFL team. All the attention made him uneasy at first. But within a couple of days, Purdy came to appreciate his unique place in NFL draft history.

It didn’t hurt that Melanie Fitch, Irrelevant Week, Inc., CEO, catered Mr. Irrelevant week to Purdy’s interests. Instead of taking the customary trip to Disneyland, he visited Knott’s Berry Farm, where he panned for gold and played catch with the mascot, an old-timey prospector named Whittles. Purdy also took a surfing lesson and canoed with former Olympians.”

Silver: Why 49ers’ George Kittle is the anti-Kelce, and both Super Bowl tight ends dig it (paywall)

“Given that Claire was an Iowa state high-jump champion before playing college basketball — at Iowa, where she met George — it’s not surprising that the 6-footer makes it look effortless. Before suffering a string of knee injuries, her athleticism was eye-popping.

“Freshman year of high school, she dunked a tennis ball, which is pretty sick,” George said. “She was a freak. Then, unfortunately, she had five knee surgeries starting her sophomore year of high school.”

Claire Till found her niche with the Hawkeyes as a hyper-physical role player, something that delighted her future husband.

“She was gritty,” Kittle said proudly. “She was a 2-3 guard that played 4-5 in college; she had to guard the big girls in the Big Ten. She threw her elbows around. If you went into the lane, she was gonna foul the hell out of you. If she didn’t foul out, I was disappointed.”

49ers are relying on the veteran savvy of safeties Logan Ryan and Tashaun Gipson Sr. (paywall)

“I have about 20 playoff games in my career, so I told the guys to be themselves, to trust themselves. Mistakes are going to happen. I showed vulnerability, talking about games where I felt like I was playing safe, playing scared, when I was playing not to lose a game. That happens. … I’ve been in that situation. I was scared to death to lose the game. But then I didn’t like how I looked myself in the mirror after. There’s going to be moments of adversity in these playoffs, moments that we’re behind. We’ve got to believe in ourselves.”

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