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Focused 49ers emphasize red-zone work in final Super Bowl practice

Focused 49ers emphasize red-zone work in final Super Bowl practice originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

By Nicki Jhabvala, The Washington Post

LAS VEGAS — The San Francisco 49ers’ final practice ahead of Super Bowl LVIII was a 68-minute jog-through on Friday that emphasized red-zone work.

Clouds started to roll in as the team wrapped practice shortly after 3 p.m., making for a chilly and noisy session at UNLV’s Fertitta Football Complex amid the roar of airplanes taking off from Harry Reid International Airport less than a mile away.

To any other team, perhaps the noise would be a distraction. To the 49ers, whose facilities in Santa Clara, Calif., are near San Jose’s international airport, it’s a bit of normalcy in a chaotic week.

The team appeared focused as they ran through the game plan for a second time, and ended the week fully healthy. Every player on the active roster was a full participant Friday and the team did not list anyone on its injury report for Sunday’s game.

“Guys have worked hard these two weeks,” Coach Kyle Shanahan said. “The guys who have been banged up, they’ve done everything possible to be healthy for this game. It’s our first time everyone is full and healthy. It’s the right game to have it that way.”

After a brief warmup and some positional drills, the 49ers transitioned into 7-on-7 red zone periods and then full 11-on-11 work. The team went 11 periods before huddling and quickly changing for a Super Bowl team photo. Fans and UNLV students crowded the adjacent parking lot as players walked out wearing their white jerseys and gold pants to take their place on bleachers, which were situated to have the Sphere in the background.

Shanahan stressed to his players to keep the focus on the game and eliminate distractions, tasks he believes they handled well during the week of practice.

“I think the guys have done a real good job,” he said. “Just having the experience of being here before, some of the things we’ve been through, some of the leaders we have. We have a very football-oriented team and it’s really good in situations like this.”

Players and coaches were scheduled to spend much of Friday evening with their families at a scheduled team barbecue. Then on Saturday, they’ll meet early to review the tape of Friday’s practice and walk-through their game openers and situations. Players will have a few hours off before a final team meeting Saturday evening.

Although the game plan is set and the mental and physical preparation for Sunday’s game is complete, the work for Shanahan will continue.

“I’m always making contingency plans that I’m ready to tell them if things go a certain way,” he said. “But there’s only so many things you want to put in their head. We’re done with that. They’re just waiting to see what we open up with and I’ll study that. But any new plays, I won’t let them know until we have to do it.”

The 49ers’ final walkthrough is scheduled for noon Saturday.