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Friday, January 21, 2022

49ers on Thursday: Fred Warner rally, Eliza Mitchell back in action, Dee Ford still out

Santa Clara – Meet All-Pro Fred, All-Games Warner?

Linebacker Fred Warner’s streak of starting every game since the 2018 rookie season is in danger, and Warner doesn’t seem quite ready to let it go this week when the 49ers move to Seattle.

He had a helmet and jersey on Thursday while testing his hamstring strain on a side field, under the supervision of trainers, for the first 20 minutes of practice.

Warner’s teammates are optimistic about his chances of playing.

“I hope it’s their mindset, which I think it is,” said George Kittel. “We have a similar mindset: We do everything possible to be available on Sundays. He’s working diligently to stay on the field.”

Defensive coordinator Demeco Ryans declined to comment on Warner’s situation after Thursday’s practice, deferring that question for coach Kyle Shanahan to answer on Friday. Warner has officially not practiced for the first time in his career this week.

Warner hasn’t missed a game since his 2014 freshman season at BYU. Since coming in as a 2018 third-round draft pick, he has played in all 62 games for the 49ers, including the playoffs. He leads the 49ers this year with 92 tackles and two fumble recoveries.

The 49ers (6-5) began a three-game winning streak in Sunday’s game in Seattle (3-8).

“If he plays, I wouldn’t be surprised,” Kittel said. “If he doesn’t, he’s doing something. … We still have games left that he needs to play.”

Defensive end Nick Bosa said he is “sure” that Warner is doing all he can to at least prepare to play, adding: “I’m asking how he’s feeling. I’m sure Fred has only one answer.”

Linebacker Dre Greenlaw (adctor) and safety Marcel Harris (concussion) have not practiced in team practice this week, leaving Aziz Al-Shirre and Demetrius Flanigan-Falls as expected starts.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday that as such Warner would not play and Al-Shair “Mike” linebacker would start in place. Friday’s injury report will provide a clear indication if Warner is ruled out, or perhaps listed as doubtful and a game-day decision.

“Fred is a leader, but on game day it’s not a big pump-up speech or anything, that’s how he works his way onto the field,” Shanahan said. “And Fred is the leader there because he is the quarterback of the defense. He gets calls, he puts everyone in line to be Mike linebacker and this week he will be Aziz, who I think is up for it.”

Ryans said of Al-Shayer: “He’s having the best years of his career and I see him getting better every week. When you fly around like this, that’s what you want.” You may miss out but it’s that I have 10 other people flying at the same speed.”

Michelle Returns

After resting Wednesday, rookie Eliza Mitchell returned to practice, and said her body was ready to await her and the 49ers in Seattle.

“My body is holding up very well. It doesn’t surprise me,” said Mitchell, who has recovered from injuries to his adductor, shoulder, ribs and finger since camp.

He made 37 touches in Sunday’s win over Minnesota on his return from finger surgery. His team-leading 693 rushing yards ranks sixth in franchise history among rookies, just 119 yards from Vic Washington’s record of 811 yards in 1971.

The only NFL rookie with more yards this season is Nazi Harris, an Antioch High product, who has 708 yards for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The coach said of Mitchell’s approach, to which he said: “It’s something I’ve done since I was little. Playing running back, you have to have vision. It’s good that Bobby (Turner) , Running Back Coach) reminds you to have a vision and keep seeing. It’s something you’re born with.”

That sight paid off with a fine cutback run in Sunday’s win over Minnesota. Mitchell also credits his detractors.

“Keeping that alignment up front, with Russ (Kyle Juszkic), and wide receiver, they tear them up and you can tell the defense is tired,” Mitchell said. “Even during the play, I see it chopping down the back door and they knock them down.”

Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel has enjoyed a bird’s eye view from the coaches’ box this season. “You can feel, especially from the box, the speed of the defenders and you can feel when plays are blocked for 3 or 4 yards and feel the runner’s pace drop to 7,” McDaniel said. said. “That vantage point is pretty impressive. It’s one of the reasons it’s an advantage to be there — to see that everything is going.”

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Next is an encounter with All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner.

“He’s aggressive, but you have to bring it up,” said Mitchell, who then said of Seattle’s stadium: “Everybody tells me the stadium is loud and there’s a good crowd. We all play every game a day. considered equal.”

Today’s thought

The Seahawks’ stadium is one of Kittel’s favorites because, as he put it: “When you look at a stadium and it’s made like that, and the sound is coming at you the whole time and you feel the passion of hate.” It’s his fans, that’s what football is supposed to be. We shouldn’t like each other and you definitely feel that from his fans. That’s football.”

other health updates

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel (Waist) worked Harris to a side field with the trainers. JaMycal rehearsed running past Hasty (ankle) and looks on track to return from a gap of three games.

Defensive end Dee Ford was not seen in practice for the second day in a row. The 49ers opened their three-week evaluation window last week and have until a December 12 game in Cincinnati to activate him from injured reserve.

Gore’s Five Year Plan

Frank Gore, the 49ers’ all-time pioneer Rush, wants to return to work for the franchise—in their front office, as he’s told in the past.

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