NFC Notes: 49ers, Falcons, Giants

     

49ers

The 49ers and RB Jerick McKinnon both wanted to maintain their partnership for the 2020 season. But there were a few hurdles both had to overcome. McKinnon’s $6.8 million salary was untenable for a player who hadn’t even seen the field due to multiple knee surgeries, so he agreed to a pay cut. For McKinnon, he needed to know HC Kyle Shanahan would give him the chance to get on the field and prove himself. 

“He said, ‘Hey, Kyle, I just need to know if I’m coming back, I want to make sure there are no limitations on me,’” Shanahan said via NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco. “And I told him, ‘Yes.’ And I kept my promise on that. But he made it very easy just by watching him out there. He looked good right away. His knee has looked great.”

  • The Athletic’s Matt Barrows notes the 49ers appear to be targeting a Week 4 return against the Eagles for TE George Kittle.
  • 49ers CB Richard Sherman and WR Richie James are eligible to come off of injured reserve in Week 5 against the Dolphins.  
  • By Week 7 against the Patriots, 49ers C Weston Richburg and DE Ronald Blair will be eligible to come off the PUP list and return to play. 
  • 49ers QB Nick Mullens said he worked this offseason to address his arm strength which was seen as his biggest weakness: “Every drill, every ball, focus on those mechanics and things like that. Throwing programs and just relentless work in the offseason. You are what you are, but you can maximize that. That’s the growth mindset that I’ve always had and I worked very hard on it.”

Falcons

Falcons HC Dan Quinn told reporters that he’s unconcerned about his job status following another disappointing loss. 

“We visit every week, pregame, postgame, Mondays through the week,” Quinn said, via NFL.com. “All I can do is be in front of the team. They need me to be the same guy on our best days and our worst days. Stand tall for them, bring the energy and the coaching and the focus that we need to go win.

“Anything past that does not help the team, so all I can focus on is us playing better and finishing better. So that’s where my focus will be and remains to be.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan made it clear that the team hasn’t quit on Quinn. 

We’ve got his back,” said Ryan. “We have to play better as players, and that’s what you have to focus on. When things aren’t going well, it’s easy to look around and see what everybody else is doing or where everybody else is screwing up. The only way we’re going to improve as a unit is by looking in the mirror and finding ways to improve individually. Make sure we’re the best version of ourselves individually when we go out there.

Giants

Giants RB Saquon Barkley is on injured reserve and won’t be on the field for the team in 2020 as he rehabs. But the Giants still want to keep Barkley, one of the leaders of the team, around and integrated as much as possible, though the COVID-19 protocols make that more challenging. 

“As much as we can have him around here, we absolutely want him to,” Giants HC Joe Judge said via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. “This guy was elected captain by his teammates for a reason, and he’s an integral part of this program. . . . He’s a very positive guy, he’s a very team-first guy. The adversity he’s going through right now, he’s going to work as hard as he can. I can say that with absolute confidence. I’m very anxious to see him on the back end coming out of this thing, because I know the aggressiveness he’s preparing with. . . . But absolutely, we want Saquon around here as much as he can. Working around his schedule, he is a part of this team. He’s a part of this team, and we want him around as much as we can have him.”

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