49ers enter offseason after Rams loss with eyes on future

The 49ers as constituted in 2021 are no more.

There were ties and commiseration Monday at the club’s premises as well as the return flight the night before after a 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium.

“You never accept that we lost, but I have to get over myself and realize we’ve had an exceptional season,” free safety Jimmie Ward said as the club released 15 players via video conference. “We won 10 games in the regular season, two in the playoffs, we reached the NFC championship game. . . I know we lost so I can’t really consider that an accomplishment, but at the same time it was still a great season.

While the 49ers have a strong talent base, it’s a fact of life that the NFL is a revolving door as players are retrained based on age, health, performance and state of play. contract. These are things that coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will work out over the coming days and months.

“It’s the business side. Every year the team is going to change,” Ward said. “Someone is going to go to another team and it could be heartbreaking, like when we lost (DeForest) Buckner. The same thing is going to happen. I trust John and Kyle to do their job and that is what they are paid for.

Middle linebacker Fred Warner realizes change is coming.

“It’s crazy. That’s how it works, isn’t it?” Warner said. “It’s never the same team year after year. There will always be turnover. Of course , I want us to try and keep as many guys as possible, but that’s just business and whatever happens will happen and we’ll ride with whoever we get next season.

Six things we learned on the day of the getaway:

Deebo OK with dual function

Wide receiver/running back Deebo Samuel was one of the most dynamic players in the NFL operating as both wide receiver and running back, a grueling combination that impressed and inspired his teammates all season. Samuel is okay with the role in the future.

“I’m okay with that,” Samuel said. “As I’ve said all year, I’m okay with anything that can help this team win.”

Samuel plans to spend time with his son – he said he hadn’t seen him in a month until after the game on Sunday – but has another obligation first which he has completely forgotten .

“They come up to me and tell me the Pro Bowl is next weekend,” Samuel said. “I had completely forgotten about all that. Afterwards I will spend time with my family, especially my son. I have to take time for my body and my mind, so I will take a few vacations before resuming training.

Mixing and mingling with other NFL stars in Las Vegas, the site of this year’s game, can serve as therapy.

“One of the main reasons was that it would take my mind off what had just happened,” Samuel said. “Even though it still hurts, it can sort of clear my mind a bit.”

No knife for Kittle

Tight end George Kittle missed three games on injured reserve with a calf injury that was worse than he let on, as he is notoriously cautious about his own injuries. But Kittle was proud to finish the season intact and the offseason shouldn’t include injury rehabilitation.

“Fortunately, I don’t need any type of surgery. It’s awesome,” Kittle said. “My recovery process will be to take a few weeks off, let the body heal, and if I’m still in pain in three to four weeks, I’ll call my coaches if I need anything else. is just rest, that’s what my body needs at this stage. I’ve been through the whole season and I’m pretty proud.

Deebo and Bosa ready for extensions

Samuel and defensive end Nick Bosa are both up for contract extensions to secure them to the franchise for the foreseeable future. This process begins and neither player is aware of the ongoing negotiations.

“I didn’t think of that. I was just trying to finish the year and have a great year,” Bosa said. “It’s definitely something to think about on the road.”

Bosa spent all of last season recovering from a torn ACL and is looking forward to an offseason program that doesn’t include rehabilitation. Like Kittle, he was pleased with its durability.

“I actually surprised myself,” Bosa said. “If you had asked me what I thought I could do a few months before the season, I certainly don’t know what I would have told you. I just knew I was in good hands who I was training with and I knew I was doing everything right. So I decided to stick to the plan and not dwell on the bumps in the road that I encountered along the way. It ended up paying off. I think my knee has improved throughout the season.

Players slated for unrestricted free agency include left guard Laken Tomlinson, right tackle Will Compton, safety Jaquiski Tartt, nickel corner K’waun Williams and defensive tackle DJ Jones. Both Tomlinson and Jones have expressed a desire to return.

Mack looks like he’s coming back

Center Alex Mack started all 20 games at 36 and looks set to take a chance on a 14th season. He played 12 seasons for Cleveland and Atlanta (where Shanahan was offensive coordinator) before signing with the 49ers.

“After year 10, I always said I was going to take it a year at a time, see how everything felt and go from there,” Mack said. “I’m so grateful to be part of this organization and to be able to play this year and have the run that we did. I didn’t quite make it, but I love this team, I love these guys and I’m really glad I made this choice.

Regarding his level of play, Mack said: “I think I played a really good ball. That’s why I chose this team and this attack. It’s a system I know very well, but I was able to learn something new and develop and keep adding tricks to my game.”

Arik Armstead (91) upped the ante on the defensive line when he moved inside to tackle. Getty Images

Armstead’s inner movement pays off

The 49ers defensive line took a leap forward in performance once Arik Armstead was moved inside to tackle after playing at the end of the base and then moving to the inside. interior on some downs.

“I saw it as beneficial to me and our team,” Armstead said. “Coming in and playing a different role was comfortable for my career, growing as a player, as a leader, showing that I can really play any position on the defensive line. I felt like I could have a bigger impact on the game. When I was playing at the end, the teams were running away from me. Once I moved inside, I was able to use my technique and my knowledge.

Williams excited about Lance

49ers left tackle Trent Williams was named a co-winner of the Garry Niver Award for dealing professionally with local media covering the team. He shared it with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

So, unsurprisingly, Williams was insightful when assessing the development of rookie quarterback Trey Lance.

“Trey is a very curious person. He’s not one of those people who thinks he knows everything,” Williams said. “He comes to learn, he comes to work. It always selects brains no matter what position you play. We even had a discussion last night about how the quarterback’s play marries with the offensive line for about an hour.

Williams thinks the 49ers’ plan to make Lance wait a year worked perfectly.

“I think everyone in the organization thought it would be,” Williams said. “They wanted to give him a year to continue developing, a 21-year-old who was just old enough to buy his first beer or a pack of cigarettes. We can’t just put the weight of the world on his shoulders. I think it went exactly the way they wanted it to. He developed well in the practice squad, was 1-1 as a starter, he came in and won a game for us. when we were in playoff mode. If we had lost, we wouldn’t have made the playoffs and we wouldn’t have played yesterday.

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