Emmanuel Sanders’ influence still felt by 49ers WRs, Shanahan originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
Emmanuel Sanders spent less than a full NFL season in the 49ers’ locker room but his impact still is being felt to this day.
In the aftermath of the 49ers’ season-opening blowout win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, All-Pro tight end George Kittle brought up Sanders’ name when discussing the blocking ability of San Francisco’s wide receiver group.
On Friday, Sanders’ influence was mentioned to Kyle Shanahan, and the 49ers coach heaped glowing praise on his former wide receiver.
“Emmanuel is one of my favorite receivers of all time,” Shanahan told reporters after 49ers practice. “I think he’s one of the most underrated receivers. Emmanuel was great — how good he was in Denver, how good he was in Pittsburgh before we got him toward the end. But when he came in, he was still at that time, he was our best separator. He was so good. He helped those guys a ton.
“Just not only how he was our best separator, but his conditioning, he never took a play off. It seemed he was dead. It seemed he couldn’t go another play, but once that ball snapped, he was full speed. I think he showed a huge standard for that.”
Sanders’ mark can be seen on Kittle and 49ers star receiver Deebo Samuel, who was a rookie in 2019, and they are setting the example for the rest of San Francisco’s pass-catching unit.
The Week 1 play that epitomized Sanders was Christian McCaffrey’s 65-yard touchdown run that was aided by huge downfield blocks from 49ers receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Ray-Ray McCloud. They aren’t the biggest wideouts, but they didn’t hesitate to do some heavy lifting.
“Emmanuel Sanders when he came in and he listened to Kyle [Shanahan] and he blocked the way he wanted him to,” Kittle told reporters after practice Thursday. “Emmanuel’s a big guy, but he’s not the biggest guy in the room. You saw his effort on every single play – running routes when he wasn’t getting the ball to…
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Author : NBC Sports BayArea
Publish date : 2023-09-16 17:31:08
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