By Nicki Jhabvala, The Washington Post
LAS VEGAS – The San Francisco 49ers’ final practice before Super Bowl LVIII was a 68-minute jog on Friday that emphasized work in the red zone.
Clouds began to roll in as the team finished practice shortly after 3 p.m., making for a cold, noisy session at UNLV’s Fertitta Football Complex amid the roar of planes taking off from Harry Reid International Airport less from a mile away.
For any other team, perhaps the noise would be a distraction. For the 49ers, whose facility in Santa Clara, California, is near San Jose International Airport, it’s a bit of normality in a chaotic week.
The team seemed focused as it went over the game plan for the second time and finished the week completely healthy. Every player on the active roster participated fully on Friday and the team did not list anyone on its injury report for Sunday’s game.
“The guys have worked hard these two weeks,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “The guys that have been hit, they have done everything they can to be healthy for this game. It is the first time that we are all full and healthy. “It’s the right game to have it like that.”
After a brief warm-up and some positional drills, the 49ers transitioned into 7-on-7 red zone periods and then into full 11-on-11 work. The team went 11 periods before quickly huddled and changing for a team photo. Super Bowl team. UNLV fans and students filled the adjacent parking lot as players emerged wearing their white jerseys and gold pants to take their places in the stands, which were positioned to have the Sphere in the background.
Shanahan emphasized to his players to stay focused on the game and eliminate distractions, tasks he believes they handled well during the week of practice.
“I think the guys have done a very 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 they are really good in situations like this.”
Players and coaches were scheduled to spend much of Friday night with their families at a scheduled team barbecue. Then on Saturday, they will meet early to review tape from Friday’s practice and go over their game situations and openings. The players will have a few hours off before the final team meeting on Saturday night.
Although the game plan is in place and the physical and mental preparation for Sunday’s game is complete, the work for Shanahan will continue.
“I’m always making contingency plans and I’m ready to tell you if things go a certain way,” he said. “But there are only so many things you want to put into their heads. We’re done with that. They’re just waiting to see what we open with and I’ll look into it. But I won’t let you know any new plays until we have to make them.”
The 49ers’ final drive is scheduled for noon Saturday.