SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- To be sure, the San Francisco 49ers hoped and planned to win their first game long before Week 10 of this season. But if they were only going to win once in those 10 tries, doing so heading into their bye was probably the best time to make it happen.
After all, instead of having to abide by a 24-hour rule to bask in their 31-21 victory against the New York Giants, the Niners now get some extra time to enjoy it before having to get back to work.
"It's a whole lot easier," defensive lineman Ronald Blair III said. "You can sit back and relax and chill a little bit, go back and see your family. It's good to go into the bye on a win."
In the long and not-so-storied history of NFL bye weeks, you'd be hard-pressed to find a coach who believed his team's bye came at a bad time. But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan might be an exception. Asked Monday if he would have preferred the Niners' bye to come during their recent run of road trips to the Eastern Time Zone instead of in the middle of a three-game home stand, Shanahan said, simply, "Yes, definitely."
Alas, the 49ers have to take what's given to them and there's still plenty of things to accomplish between now and returning to practice next Monday. After the win against the Giants, the Niners put in a full day of film watching, meetings and taking the team photo on Monday before parting ways for the rest of the week.
In some instances, coaches will hold extra practices during the bye before letting players leave for an extended weekend. With the Niners having the latest bye possible on the NFL schedule and myriad injuries piling up over the past few weeks, Shanahan is allowing his team the extra down time. He will, however, stick around a bit to help quarterback coach Rich Scangarello work with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
"We are going to get away from each other for a while," Shanahan said. "I'm going to continue to work with Jimmy over the bye week, here and there. We've got some rotations of some coaches doing that to catch him up. We'll get a bonus practice next Monday, or a week from tomorrow where we get everyone back in and that will be to get everyone loose and get them back from their time off and we'll see where it goes from there."
Also of interest for the 49ers over the bye is getting some key players back from injury. Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas (knee) was close to returning last week but did not play against New York. An extra week should help him return and the same could be true for fellow linemen Tank Carradine and Aaron Lynch. Tight end George Kittle (ankle) and receiver Trent Taylor (ribs) also plan to stay in the area and continue recovering from injury.
In addition to that group, running back Raheem Mostert (knee) and free safety Adrian Colbert (thumb) will also rehab injuries. Colbert, in particular, is one worth watching. After stepping into the starting free safety job for injured predecessors Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt, Colbert broke his thumb against New York, an injury that will require surgery, according to Shanahan.
Shanahan said Monday that it's possible Colbert will be available for the first game after the bye, scheduled for Nov. 26 against the Seattle Seahawks.
"I believe there is a chance," Shanahan said. "We don't believe he'll be out too long. He did it early in the first quarter. He played through the whole game with it. It was extremely tough of him. But, it's something you have to get fixed right away. You don't want to play with it or it could heal wrong, so you we've got to get that fixed right away. Possibly could miss the Seattle game, but feel pretty good about him after that."