Kyle Shanahan

Shanahan updates Buckner's status after exiting early in preseason opener


Shanahan updates Buckner's status after exiting early in preseason opener

Defensive end DeForest Buckner aggravated a low-ankle sprain in the 49ers’ exhibition opener Friday night and is not expected to be available for this week’s game against Denver Broncos.

Buckner originally sustained a left ankle sprain during practice on Wednesday, Aug. 2. He missed three practices. Coach Kyle Shanahan said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters on Saturday that the plan is for Buckner to be held out of practice this week and not participate in the upcoming exhibition game against the Denver Broncos.

"It won't be a long thing, but I'd be surprised this week versus Denver," Shanahan said. "He keeps doing the same thing over and over again. We're going to rest him a bit and let him get fully healthy."

--Safety Jimmie Ward will undergo some tests Sunday and could be available to be removed off the physically-unable-to-perform list this week, Shanahan said. Ward sustained a hamstring injury during the conditioning test at the beginning of training camp.

--Defensive lineman Ronald Blair (groin) is also doubtful for this week’s game, Shanahan said.

--Rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas had a positive first game while seeing action on 28 snaps.

"We wanted him to get out there, play some, get his feet wet, get used to the speed of the game," Shanahan said. "By no means was it all perfect, but I think you guys all saw, he definitely got noticed out there and caused some pressure on the quarterback. He ran to the ball and had a big hit on the sideline."

--Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster saw action at both inside linebacker positions. He played 13 snaps at weakside linebacker and 14 snaps at middle linebacker, Shanahan said.

“We have him playing both positions,” Shanahan said. “He did a good job of making the calls. He wasn’t perfect by any means with his alignments and getting in the right gaps, but he showed why we wanted him. He flies to the ball, he’s a square hitter, good tackler, and got a chance to get his hands on the ball. . . . The more he plays, the better he’s going to get.”

--Undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome started at safety played 33 snaps, and Shanahan said he did a “solid job.”

--Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard will not have to wait until the third quarter in the 49ers’ next preseason game to get on the field. Shanahan said it is likely Beathard will be the second quarterback into the team’s next game. Beathard and Matt Barkley are competing for the No. 2 job behind starter Brian Hoyer.

“We haven’t discussed it yet as a staff, but I expect to see C.J. much earlier,” Shanahan said.

--Shanahan had strong praise for defensive lineman Aaron Lynch, who recorded two sacks.

“I was real happy for Aaron,” Shanahan said. “He’s battled his weight this offseason. He came to training camp in as good of shape as I’ve seen him. He’s been doing a good job in practice and you never know if you’re going to get rewarded and how it’s going to play out in a game. But for him to be in the amount of plays he was in (15) and make the number of plays he did, I think he did a very good job.”

Lynch, Shanahan get first chance to gauge 49ers' roster: 'It’s the oldest adage...'

Mindi Bach

Lynch, Shanahan get first chance to gauge 49ers' roster: 'It’s the oldest adage...'

John Lynch’s office sits on the second floor of the 49ers headquarters. At any time of the day, every day, he walks downstairs to Kyle Shanahan’s corner office to talk about the team.

“Usually after team meetings I’ve got a little bit of free time in my office, so he’ll come down and we’ll talk about whatever,” Shanahan said. “Sometimes he’ll come down and ask me questions about practice. Usually after walk-through at night, after dinner and stuff, when some of the coaches are in meetings with rookies, that’s when I have some time where I’m by myself and he can come down and we can talk about roster stuff or watch some of the practice together.”

The first-time general manager and first-time head coach will have much to discuss after the 49ers first preseason game against Kansas City. Lynch considers the exhibition game against the Chiefs “the next step” in their joint effort to rebuild the 49ers franchise.

“It’s the oldest adage in football, “What’s going to happen when the lights go on?” Lynch told in a recent 1-on-1 interview. “Throughout my career it’s something I realized, some guys look great in practice and you put them in a game and for whatever reason it just doesn’t translate. Other guys look OK at practice and then they step up to the moment. Then there are the guys you have a really good feeling just because they’re so consistent week in and week out. Those are our favorite, but there always are some surprises both ways.”

Lynch is pleased with the progress he’s seen from the overhauled roster. The good vibes at practices are pumping every bit as strong as the thumping tunes of DJ Kray. The general manager sees nearly 100 players who have embraced Shanahan’s coaching methods and becoming mentally tougher.

“We are going to either cut or get rid of some, in other ways, some NFL players. That wasn’t the case how we felt about this roster when we came in here six months ago,” Lynch said. “A good portion of it [the roster] I think we have a really good idea, but these final 10 roster spots, you have guys really playing for their careers, and that’s always fun about the preseason for me."

The decisions on who will remain on the 53-man roster begin to take form Friday night. Shanahan and his staff have a plan for who is going to play and for how long for all four preaseon games. But the head coach has not done much game planning for the Chiefs.

“To be honest with you it’s miserable for a coach. You never want to go out and look bad and get embarrassed. But I also am very well aware that any play that works in the preseason will not work in the regular season. So, you don’t want to waste anything either,” Shanahan said. “It’s that inner turmoil that you’re constantly battling as a coach. Try to be simple, try to be vanilla and try to win the game.”

Winning their first preseason game may or may not help Lynch and Shanahan gauge exactly how far the team has come in their six months on the job. But it certainly would be a nice conversation to have.

Shanahan, Lynch discovered they need to 'chill' with player evaluations


Shanahan, Lynch discovered they need to 'chill' with player evaluations

Coach Kyle Shanahan will not be scouring the stat sheet after the 49ers’ exhibition opener in Kansas City on Friday night.

Game statistics will play no role in his player evaluations, he said, as many factors are considered, including the talent level and execution of the opposition.

“I look at how good they are,” Shanahan explained on "The 49ers Insider Podcast" for how he evaluates his 90-man roster during the exhibition season. “I can get home at night and I promise you that my wife is going to have a much better idea of how good the guy’s stats were. I look at each play for what it is.

“If a bunch of guys fall down in a hole and the running back hits that hole and gets a 60-yard gain. He’s probably going to finish that day averaging 7 yards a carry, which everyone is going to read and that’s going to look very impressive. But the 60-yard play was bad defense. What did he do on the other plays?”

Shanahan said he and general manager John Lynch have tried to exercise patience when discussing the state of the roster and who are making an impression -- good or bad -- that could impact spots on the 53-man roster.

“When you get excited about someone, it’s hard not to talk about it,” Shanahan said. “But you quickly learn, I can be very excited about someone in a practice and then three days later I’m completely the opposite. I understand that going through this for a number of years, especially in training camp. There are a lot of highs and lows.

“John and I don’t sit and talk after every single practice. At the beginning, we tried to and we quickly realized we need to chill out a little, and wait and see how this plays out.”