San Francisco 49ers

49ers Q&A: Similarities between Camp Shanahan and Camp Harbaugh?

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, left, watches practice with general manager John Lynch during NFL football training camp Friday, July 28, 2017, in Santa Clara, Calif.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, left, watches practice with general manager John Lynch during NFL football training camp Friday, July 28, 2017, in Santa Clara, Calif. AP

sup‏ @rodman1122 What's your opinion on the Harbaugh camp vs. Shanahan's? Talent is different but you know when you see a team that can compete. Thoughts?

ANS: Yes, I'd say there are similarities. As you noted, the talent level and experience level isn't the same (Justin Smiths don't grow on trees). And Kyle Shanahan is not nearly as -- let's call it 'colorful' -- as Jim Harbaugh. But there's a similar intensity and a similar understanding of: 'We're behind the rest of the league; we have to press the pedal to the floor to catch up.' Harbaugh's 2011 squad was not supposed to flourish, especially since the entire offseason was wiped away by the lockout. He and the 49ers snuck up on opponents. My guess is that Shanahan's team could do the same, though hosting an NFC Championship game and taking the eventual Super Bowl champs to overtime is overly optimistic.

Matt Faust‏ @Faustmp Now that the games have started, I think reality is setting in on where this team is. What is a reasonable expectation? 4 wins? Maybe 6?

ANS: Back in the spring the over/under for wins was 5 1/2. I still think that's an accurate line. I'd take the over.

Brian M‏ @AFNinerFan Seems like PS material, but do you think Niners may keep Bourne on the active roster due to lack of size at WR?

ANS: After Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson and Jeremy Kerley, I don't think there are any 49ers receivers that other teams would look at and say, 'That's a guy we *must* have on our 53-man roster!' That is, the rest of the squad is full of practice squadders and street free agents. That's not to say someone like Kendrick Bourne isn't worth developing. He's probably the most worthwhile of the group and seems like just the sort of guy you'd want on the psquad. Then if there are injuries, you boost him to the active roster. … The guy who makes the most sense for sixth receiver is Aaron Burbridge because of his special teams ability. He's recovering from a hamstring injury and may not play the rest of the preseason.

D-Rock‏ @DK_England Will Trent Taylor replace Kerleys skill set and have him traded or released?

ANS: When Julian Edelman went down with an ACL, some of you asked about a Kerley-to-New England trade. The thought immediately occurred to me, too. I think they'd like him there -- very smart, very professional, though not as tenacious as Edelman. He's already shown he quickly can adapt to a new system. (He was in Detroit at this time last year). It seems possible. The 49ers admitted when they let go of Bruce Ellington that they had an abundance of smallish receivers who were similar to Ellington. Kerley is one of those receivers.

Joel Roy‏ @JoelRoy3 How many and which TEs make the 53 man #49ers roster??

ANS: Kyle Shanahan has been asked this question. He's said he's kept as few as two and as many as four. Most teams -- and most of his previous teams -- have held onto three. The top three at this point are: George Kittle, Logan Paulsen and Vance McDonald. The 49ers like Cole Hikutini, but he's someone they probably could stash on their practice squad.

Kyle Mauseth‏ @KyleMauseth Was releasing Jeremy Zuttah a mistake?

ANS: We shall see. There were positions there for the taking this spring and summer. He didn't take them. That's why the 49ers parted ways with him.

Ron Swanson‏ @JoeGilbert1992 May have already had this question, but what's your guess in the starting DLine for week one?

ANS: It's going to depend on whether they're in nickel or base. Base: Carradine, Mitchell, Buckner and Armstead. Nickel: Armstead, Buckner, Thomas and Dumervil. Given their opponent, my guess is that they're in base. (Covering my butt here: Ahmad Brooks and Dumervil usually were the defensive ends/edge rushers in nickel; dunno the preferred alignment now that Brooks is gone. That will be something to watch during today's game in Minnesota).

Vienners‏ @vienners Other than BH getting hurt, what are the scenarios of seeing CJ Beathard start for Niners ?

ANS: If the 49ers clearly are out of the playoff picture, Shanahan may want to get a look at Beathard before the team makes some very big and potentially very pricy quarterback decisions in 2018. History lesson: Kirk Cousins started one game as a rookie in 2012.

@DReese1979 Marcus Rush!

ANS: That's not a question.

Luke Walsh‏ @LukeyWalsh Who seems more sinister at press conferences. Robert Saleh or Dakota Watson?

ANS: Yes, Saleh seems like a James Bond villain with his bald dome and his promises of violence. All he’s missing is a Persian cat. But there’s a big discrepancy with his off-podium persona. Very thoughtful, extremely nice.

Mark Gonzalez‏ @RednGold23 No way 9ers would be to stash James on the scout team. Is it really possible he doesn't make the team cause of special teams with Ward back?

ANS: I don't know who James is. If you're referring to Jerome -- as in Lorenzo Jerome -- yes, I agree. Not only would another team (read: Seattle) swoop in and sign him if the 49ers waived him, he's worked so hard and done everything so well that it would be a bad signal to send to the rest of the squad.

SANFRAN6CO‏ @JohnNevels14 Can we get the team to wear black helmets during color rush games? Just was wondering.... Change gold to black?

ANS: Going with an alternate uniform is a looooooong process that needs league approval. Going with an alternate helmet is even harder. The 49ers, for instance, have wanted to do silver-and-red throwbacks for a while now as a nod to their 1950s era squads. But they can't get permission to change their helmets. It seems that if you change your helmet, that change must be for the entire season.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at