The San Francisco 49ers are making the most of a short week of practice ahead of Sunday’s matchup against the New Orleans Saints. Following the big win in Mexico City on “Monday Night Football,” the team hopped on an overnight flight that had them back in Santa Clara around six o’clock on Tuesday morning. To give the team a chance to get their bodies right after the international travel and to accommodate the Thanksgiving holiday, head coach Kyle Shanahan is scaling back from the team’s typical game week routine.
“We gave the players the whole day off (Tuesday),” Shanahan said. “We had to get going with the gameplan. We had a few extra hours this morning moving the stuff back. We’re starting a lot later, and we’ll just walk through today and mix in Thanksgiving a little bit on Thursday. We’ll dial some things back for that also.”
Coming off such a highly anticipated primetime international game, another challenge the team now faces is keeping that same energy up for three-straight games at Levi’s® Stadium. The Saints 4-7 record doesn’t accurately represent the caliber of competition the 49ers will be up against come Sunday. New Orleans’ offense is unique in its two-quarterback approach and also boasts a formidable dual-threat back in veteran Alvin Kamara.
“I think what helps is the tape,” Shanahan said. “New Orleans is a very good team. I don’t have to make that up. You just have to turn the tape on and watch it.”
The head coach has also floated a gentle reminder to his team to stay focused in spite of the fatigue from travel and the festivities.
“It was a lot of energy last week, you have to be aware of that,” Shanahan added. “You’ve always got to throw in the deal with Thanksgiving, which doesn’t change up much, but a lot of those guys have family members at home who are on their vacation. I have to remind some of these young guys that it’s their (family’s) vacation, this is your job… I think we have a mature group. They understand the deal, but we are working to get our bodies back.”
Several players mentioned they don’t expect to be doing too much on the Thanksgiving holiday outside of practice and sharing a meal with friends and family. Then, on Friday, it’s back to work.
“We’re going to spend Thanksgiving with some teammates, so that should be fun,” rookie defensive lineman Drake Jackson said. “Those (international) games are just the same as home games. We play them just the same. We’re going to be hyped regardless of what’s going on.”
“We handle every game the same. We have to go 1-0 every week,” safety Talanoa Hufanga added. “We’ve got to bring the juice every week. Energy is contagious, and we’ve got to continue to bring it every week. The guys know that.”
Injury Updates Following #AZvsSF
The head coach offered two injury updates on Wednesday, neither of which were new injuries emerging from Monday’s contest. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead (foot, ankle) did not practice, and fellow D-lineman Samson Ebukam (Achilles, quad) was a limited participant in practice. Left tackle Trent Williams did not practice, but his absence was not injury-related.