SANTA CLARA – The 49ers (5-3) are back from their bye, they have another pass rusher in Chase Young, and they have fans still stocking our weekly mailbag with questions via social media:
What’s the team’s current vibe after a three-game skid and now on this bye? (@andyz65c10)
Chase Young raved about the 49ers’ culture after his first day on the job, and asked to expand on how it’s different from Washington, Young said: “Players’ spirit in the locker room. The spirit of the coaches. It’s just different. It’s that same thing at Ohio State, where you’re expected to win, and there’s this vibe like, ‘We’re going to win.’ ”
Is Nick Bosa teaching Chase Young some edge-rushing tricks? (@humblebee_srt)
Bosa is a big-time technician, and it seemed natural watching him go over hand movement with Young in Monday’s first practice together since their 2017-18 Ohio State days, where they were groomed by Buckeyes defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
Will Chase be an instant plug-and-play starter? (@a1_salsa)
That could depend on how adaptive he looks to the 49ers’ Wide-9 technique, and he was getting schooled up pretty good by defensive line coach Kris Kocurek on Monday, with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks applauding nearby. But, yes, Young should break into the starting lineup sooner than later. This week’s team-issued depth chart lists Young as the starting left defensive end. He played 85 percent of the defensive snaps with Washington this season en route to five sacks, proving capable of a three-down role some two years after his knee injury.
How does the atmosphere feel like on the practice field after the bye week? (@norman_garciaa)
Normal. That is a good thing. The 49ers do not do lackadaisical practices. They bounce from one period to the next. Each practice begins with a five-minute stretch, after which Bosa and Fred Warner sprint toward each other from opposite ends of the field like screaming warriors. That was the case Monday. Then, after 20 minutes, the media got booted out. I’d imagine the practices’ intensity will ratchet up Wednesday through Friday as coach Kyle Shanahan emphasizes perfection in the tiniest details.
How should Wilks mask the horrible play at nickel back? (@hmongsider)
Well, he has struggled in different ways, such as ill-timed blitzes or no blitzes at all. So, a personnel change might be an option, like benching Isaiah Oliver and shifting Deommodore Lenoir inside, a strategy which didn’t exactly pan out earlier in the season.
Is Danny Gray back from Injured Reserve? (@s_b_n36)
No, he was not among three players who saw their three-week evaluation window open on Monday. That trio were cornerbacks Sam Womack and Darrell Luter Jr., and defensive end Robert Beal Jr. Gray, who injured his shoulder in the preseason, has been running on the side the past two months, so his health is not likely an issue as much as a lack of need at wide receiver.
How did Luter, Womack and Beal look? (@matty_maff)
There were no team drills to evaluate nor much beyond positional warmups, after an initial query of, “Hey, what number is so-and-so?” So, they look somewhere between camp bodies and budding superstars.
Any chance Womack could see the field Sunday? (@ko_cheeze24)
The 49ers typically want to give players more than a couple days of practice before rushing them off injury lists and into a game. Womack looks healthy and hungry. He could return to a special-teams role. Or he could be available for reserve cornerback duty if they bench Oliver.
What are the keys to victory against the Jaguars to get back in the win column? (@FTTB_49)
My five keys to victory will post Saturday morning, but for an appetizer, just know that pressuring Trevor Lawrence into turnovers will be a top priority. Arik Armstead told me Monday that Lawrence looks more confident and obviously experienced since the 49ers beat him two years ago as a rookie.
When’s the last time two teams came off a bye the same week, after not playing overseas or on Thanksgiving? Usually one team has an advantage rest-wise? (@EVillegas1583)
You’d have to go all the way back to … Week 8, when the Panthers edged the Texans 15-13 after both teams’ bye week.
Two of the 49ers’ three losses are against teams coming off bye weeks (the Browns, the Bengals), making them 3-6 in regular-season action against bye-rested teams since Shanahan arrived in 2017. The 49ers are 3-3 after regular-season byes since then.
Cam, with Lynch getting the job title promotion but retaining GM duties, what does that mean for the future of Adam Peters? (@NTPJ_)
You’re referring to Lynch taking on the title of president of football operations/general manager. His and coach Kyle Shanahan’s contract extensions before the season in no way should be interpreted as them icing out Peters. Quite the contrary. Peters, the assistant GM, does so much behind-the-scenes work and is often at Lynch’s side, from watching Young at Monday’s practice to running stadium steps before games together. If and when Lynch transitions out of the GM role, Peters merits a promotion, though perhaps another team could woo him beforehand. He has garnered serious interest elsewhere in recent years, and the Cupertino kid has wisely stayed home to help shape a perennial contender.