Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - SPORTS -

Now the vet­eran spokesman of a young and largely un­sus­pect­ing re­ceiv­ing corps, San­ders is try­ing to lead them — par­tic­u­larly Deebo Sa­muel and Ken­drick Bourne — through their new fron­tier of pres­sure-packed, play­off-hing­ing at­mos­pheres.

“I try to be the voice of let­ting them un­der­stand why they feel the way they feel,” San­ders said. “You get in those games and, man, it doesn’t seem like Week 4. Ev­ery sin­gle play mat­ters. You’ve got to think that.”

That’s just what a 10thyear vet­eran should say with two pre­vi­ous Su­per Bowl trips.

So, how has he done in those ev­ery-play-mat­ters games? Of his 18 ca­reer 100-yard re­ceiv­ing games, only two have come in De­cem­ber or later, and none in his eight play­off games.

That’s not to say he wasn’t ef­fec­tive. He had six catches for 83 yards in the Bron­cos’ Su­per Bowl 50 win at Levi’s Sta­dium. In six games with the 49ers, he has 21 catches, 250 yards and two touch­downs.

With his Nov. 11 rib in­jury heal­ing, he could be more ef­fec­tive than past stretch runs. He has seven touch­downs in 31 games played af­ter De­cem­ber. He’s yet to record a play­off touch­down among his 36 re­cep­tions. He hasn’t scored for the 49ers since a touch­down in each of his first two games.

All of which is to say that while San­ders is in­spir­ing his team­mates to step up their game, he also will be needed to catch what Jimmy Garop­polo gives him and race to­ward first­down mark­ers, to­ward goal lines, to­ward Hard Rock Sta­dium.

Garop­polo said of San­ders’ lead­er­ship: “You feel it. You see it. It’s ev­ery­thing. Even if he’s not say­ing any­thing, guys are watch­ing him be­fore prac­tice warm­ing up and how locked in he is.

“The guy just does a great job,” Garop­polo added. “Some of that is nat­u­ral. He’s be­ing him­self it comes across as be­ing a leader. It’s awe­some hav­ing a guy like that. It makes ev­ery­one bet­ter and re­ally pick their game up.” IN­JURY UPDATES >> Nei­ther strong safety Jaquiski Tartt (ribs) and de­fen­sive tackle Jul­lian Tay­lor (el­bow) will play af­ter both missed prac­tice all week. Mar­cell Har­ris will re­place Tartt in the start­ing lineup.

Ques­tion­able are wide re­ceivers Mar­quise Good­win (knee, foot) and Dante Pet­tis (knee), plus left tackle Joe Sta­ley (fin­ger).

Run­ning back Matt Breida

(an­kle) and de­fen­sive end Dee Ford (ham­string) are ex­pected to re­turn and are not on the in­jury re­port, nor is cor­ner­back Richard Sherman de­spite Sun­day’s knee sprain. De­fen­sive tackle Arik Arm­stead par­tic­i­pated Fri­day af­ter get­ting Thurs­day off to rest.

The 49ers likely will in­ac­ti­vate Tartt, Tay­lor, quar­ter­back C.J. Beathard, tight end Levine Toilolo, left tackle Justin Skule, run­ning back Jeff Wil­son Jr. and ei­ther Pet­tis or Good­win. Pet­tis prac­ticed for a sec­ond straight day Fri­day af­ter in­jur­ing his knee last week. SAINTS DOWN LINEBACK­ERS >> Start­ing lineback­ers Kiko Alonso and A.J. Klein are out, as is guard An­drus Peat and full­back Zach Line.

Ques­tion­able is left tackle Ter­ron Arm­stead, guard Will Clapp and cor­ner­back Pa­trick Robin­son. RYAN FALL­OUT >> Coach Kyle Shana­han said this week’s con­tro­versy in­volv­ing ra­dio an­a­lyst Tim Ryan has not af­fected the 49ers’ prepa­ra­tions “at all.” Ryan was sus­pended by the 49ers for that game af­ter re­fer­ring to Bal­ti­more Ravens quar­ter­back La­mar Jack­son’s “dark skin” and how it dis­guises the foot­ball, com­ments he made Mon­day on KNBR 680-AM.

Shana­han spoke for the first time Fri­day morn­ing about Ryan’s sit­u­a­tion, telling KNBR it was not some­thing he felt com­pelled to ad­dress with his play­ers, sev­eral of whom spoke out Thurs­day in de­fense of Ryan, who’s since apol­o­gized.

“It didn’t af­fect our team at all,” Shana­han said. “Tim’s around a lot and the guys know Tim . ... We know he made a mis­take. He knows he made a mis­take. I don’t think it af­fected our team.”

Den­nis Brown, a for­mer 49ers de­fen­sive line­man in the 1990s, will re­place Ryan as Sun­day’s an­a­lyst along­side play-by-play voice Greg Papa.

“I don’t re­ally know too much about it or un­der­stand the con­text of it,” Bal­ti­more Ravens coach John Har­baugh told ESPN.com about Ryan’s com­ments. “It’s not rel­e­vant to what we’re try­ing to ac­com­plish right now.” The 49ers, in their state­ment announcing Ryan’s sus­pen­sion, said they reached out to apol­o­gize to the Ravens. MUL­LENS HON­ORED >> Backup quar­ter­back Nick Mul­lens aced his as­sign­ment on the scout team, pre­sum­ably an im­per­son­ation of Drew Brees at prac­tice. Mul­lens wore the scout-team, player-of-theweek cam­ou­flage jersey for Fri­day’s ses­sion. Mul­lens’ only ac­tion this reg­u­lar sea­son came in a mopup role with three kneel­downs in the Oct. 27 rout of Carolina. He went 3-5 in fin­ish­ing last sea­son as the 49ers start­ing quar­ter­back.


San Fran­cisco 49ers’ Em­manuel San­ders makes a catch against the Sea­hawks’ Neiko Thorpe in the first quar­ter at Levi’s Sta­dium in Santa Clara on Nov. 11.


San Fran­cisco 49ers wide re­ceiver Em­manuel San­ders re­acts af­ter catch­ing a pass against the Sea­hawks dur­ing the first half in Santa Clara on Nov. 11.

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