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49ers hold first pre-Super Bowl workout at UNLV amid field concerns

49ers hold first pre-Super Bowl workout at UNLV amid field concerns originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

By Nicki Jhabvala, The Washington Post

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The goal is to find normalcy in a chaotic week, and the 49ers found a semblance of that Wednesday.

In their first pre-Super Bowl workout, the 49ers practiced for roughly 90 minutes on the practice fields at UNLV’s Fertita Football Complex.

“I’m glad to finally get out here,” Coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We got here Sunday, but it feels like we’ve already been out here a week.”

Players had Tuesday off, and Monday was inundated with media, so Wednesday was the first day of the week that resembled San Francisco’s usual game weeks.

After an early team meeting, the 49ers had a walkthrough at UNLV before transitioning to their non-padded workout.

Linebacker Fred Warner broke the huddle and players scattered for individual warmups and then positional drills. They followed with a team period that lasted about 25 minutes, a brief special-teams period for the field-goal unit and a final team period to close.

Although the rain finally subsided and gave way to sun and temperatures around 55 degrees, the wind reached 0-15 mph.

“Usually you deal with it [the wind] because you’re going to play with it on Sunday,” Shanahan said. “But we know we’re not, so we made sure the quarterback went with the wind all day so it wasn’t a problem for him.”

Tight end George Kittle (toe), defensive end Arik Armstead (knee/foot), cornerback Ambry Thomas (ankle) and linebacker Oren Burks (shoulder) were all limited in Wednesday’s workout. Defensive tackle Kalia Davis (ankle), whose practice window to return from injured reserve was opened two weeks ago, was a full participant. Tackle Trent Williams received his usual Wednesday veteran rest day and observed, but did not practice.

Although the 49ers reportedly had concerns about the softness of the practice fields at UNLV, which have a layer of natural grass on top of artificial turf, Shanahan said the setup “is what it is” and “we were all right.”

His bigger priority was ensuring his team was focused.

Shanahan said he’s pleased with how his players have handled the week so far and how they practiced Wednesday.

“Just want to keep sharpening our axe,” he said.

Striking that balance to ensure players are fresh but well-prepared 20 weeks into the season can be challenging, especially with the altered schedule of the postseason.

The 49ers put in their game plan last week and made some adjustments over the weekend before traveling to Vegas. They have two more practices left in the week — Thursday’s workout will be their most intense and Friday will be more of a walkthrough — before they face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

“You try to keep everything the same,” Shanahan said. “It was good to get back in the groove.”

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