Deebo reaping benefits of preseason promise he made Shanahan

Deebo reaping benefits of preseason promise he made Shanahan
Deebo reaping benefits of preseason promise he made Shanahan

Deebo reaping benefits of preseason promise he made Shanahan originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Deebo Samuel vowed to be better in 2023 after describing his previous season as “awful” due to his lack of conditioning in the summer before the 2022 campaign.

And so far he’s fulfilling a promise he made in a private meeting with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan during mandatory minicamp in June.

Samuel continued his strong 2023 season by hauling in seven receptions for 149 receiving yards and two total touchdowns in the 49ers’ 28-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

In speaking to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Carlos Ramirez, Donte Whitner and Rod Brooks on “49ers Postgame Live,” Samuel was asked about his promise and if he would attribute his success to his improved offseason workouts.

“Yes sir. This offseason I took very serious,” Samuel said. “Me and Kyle had a heart-to-heart before I got going at the mandatory minicamp and I told him I’ll never put things like that on tape again. I was full head of steam training to come back in the best shape I’ve been.”

Second-year quarterback Brock Purdy, who started developing a connection with Samuel last season after taking over as the starter, has noticed a change in how his star receiver approaches the game.

“I feel like he’s just more intent with the little things,” Purdy said. “And then, obviously his effort when he is not getting the ball, carrying out fakes to open up [RB] Christian [McCaffrey] or play-action pass, he’s doing it right. Last year was my first year with him, so I didn’t really know a whole lot. I thought he balled last year. You get the ball in his hands and he still killed it. But, he came back this year in great shape, looking good and then has given everything to this team. So, very proud of him. And obviously, when you do get him the ball, he’s the same old Deebo, makes plays.”

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Shanahan is impressed with what he’s seen from Samuel so far and could tell he looked different out of the gate this season before suffering a shoulder injury that sidelined him for two weeks.

“It’s been very good,” Shanahan said postgame. “We’re not done yet, so there’s a lot more football to play so we’ll see at the end of the year. But I thought Deebo came into this season very ready to go. I thought he was looking really good those first couple weeks. Didn’t have the stats to show it, but that’s just the way the ball went but he was really ready to go.

“Then he had a setback with his injuries which took him a while to get back from and when he did it still took some time to get back in football shape. But starting a few weeks ago you could see it and I think he’s at the top of his game right now.”

Fellow receiver Brandon Aiyuk had simple, yet very high praise for his counterpart.

“That boy cold. That boy cold,” Aiyuk said of Samuel. “I ain’t ever see anybody (like him). That boy cold. Cold.”

In 11 games this season, Samuel has hauled in 45 receptions for 739 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns with 30 carries for 161 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

After recording 864 all-purpose yards and five total touchdowns in 2022, Samuel already has surpassed both marks this season and could eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the second time in his career.

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