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Managing expectations isn't usually one of the top tasks for NFL teams coming off six-win seasons.

 

Then again Carolina Panthers Jerseys Womens , no team has ever gotten to that underwhelming total with a season-ending, five-game winning streak fueled by the midseason acquisition of a quarterback who has shown signs of becoming one of the league's most promising passers.

That's exactly the situation the San Francisco 49ers find themselves in as they held their first training camp practice Thursday led by Jimmy Garoppolo and his $137.5 million contract.

"If our guys make a living just reading and listening to talk radio and stuff, that stuff could mess you up," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "I am aware that people have talked highly about us and that's what comes with the territory when you win your last five games after starting so bad. I mean, we all know that doesn't mean anything. It doesn't."

The 49ers were far from promising at the start of Shanahan's first season as coach, losing their first nine games for the worst start in franchise history. That vibe began to change after San Francisco dealt a second-round pick to New England for Garoppolo after the eighth loss and things really began to change once Garoppolo was able to get on the field.

He threw a late garbage-time touchdown in a loss to Seattle that dropped the Niners to 1-10 and then took over as starter from rookie C.J. Beathard the following week. San Francisco didn't lose again last season, posting the best record ever for an NFL team that lost its first nine games.

But there is little carry-over effect in the NFL with nearly half 鈥?19 of 40 鈥?of the teams that finished the season on a five-game winning streak the past 23 seasons missing the playoffs the following year.

"The way we finished last year was all positive and everything but this is a completely new season with new challenges," left tackle Joe Staley said. "Everybody has been very focused and understands that. It's exciting to be able to build on something positive from last year and carry it into the offseason. But there's no one in the locker room who thinks we arrived. We have a ton of work to do. We were a 6-10 football team. We were happy with the way we finished last year but that's in the past."

The presence of Garoppolo is the biggest reason for optimism for San Francisco even if he didn't look particularly sharp in the first practice of the summer.

He completed 67.4 percent of his passes last season, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with seven TDs, five interceptions and a 96.2 rating.

Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts last season, Garoppolo ranked first in yards per attempt, fourth in completion percentage. His 308.4 yards passing per game in his five starts also would have led the league had he played a full season.

San Francisco scored on an NFL-best 56.6 percent of their drives after Garoppolo took over as starter and ranked in the top five in the league in scoring offense (28.8 points per game) 49ers Fred Warner Jersey , yards per play (6.1) and yards per game (409.6).

That all came with Garoppolo barely knowing the offense, learning just pieces each week as he scrambled to get up to speed. This offseason he was able to start from scratch and has a much deeper understanding of the scheme and his teammates that he hopes translates to even more success on the field.

"The situation I was in last year was so difficult because you're preparing for a defense that you're learning in a week, but at the same time, you're learning brand new calls, new verbiage, all that stuff," he said. "So, it was combining all of that into one that made it so difficult. Being able to start from the ground up and learn the why's of the offense, how it all ties together, how one play helps dictate the next play, it just makes more sense."

The Niners made other upgrades this offseason, adding an explosive running back in Jerick McKinnon Customized Los Angeles Chargers Jerseys , beefing up the offensive line and signing cornerback Richard Sherman to upgrade the secondary.

San Francisco also was one of the youngest teams in the league last year and hopes to see natural improvement from all the rookies who got extensive playing time in 2017.

"That's the expectation," second-year safety Adrian Colbert said. "We just have to continue to get better. We can't get stagnant. We can't decrease in our production. We have to continue to go. That's our standard."

MILWAUKEE — Ryan Braun will be back in the starting lineup Sunday when the Milwaukee Brewers wrap up their four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park.

Braun left the team ahead of their scheduled game in Pittsburgh Wednesday morning to get an injection on his right thumb — a process he undergoes every few months after a nerve issue in the thumb robbed him of his power in 2014.

Braun returned to the team Thursday ahead of the series opener against St. Louis but despite being ready and available, according to manager Craig Counsell, Braun has yet to appear in a game since coming back.

“Ryan is doing fine, he’s doing great,” Counsell said Saturday before the Brewers’ 3-2 loss to the Cardinals. “I just think that if we can give him more time, great, that works out for both of us in that perspective. He’ll play (Sunday).”

With Braun sidelined, Eric Thames has seen most of the action in left field, a move that allows Counsell to keep hot-hitting Jesus Aguilar at first base.

Putting Thames in left also allowed the Brewers the flexibility to option slumping outfielder Domingo Santana to Triple-A Colorado Springs Saturday morning.

The 25-year-old Santana hit 30 home runs in a breakout 2017 campaign but with his playing time limited after Milwaukee added Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich during the offseason, Santana hasn’t made the most of his limited opportunities. He was batting .249 with three home runs, 17 RBIs and a .667 slugging percentage while going more than two series without a start.

“We need to get Domingo going Cheap Russell Bodine Jersey ,” Counsell said. “At some point, we’re going to need Domingo. We’d both prefer he’d be rolling and clicking when that time comes. It’s tough to do when you’re not playing that much.

“Eric and ‘Aggie’ are playing well. We’re trying to find ways to get them both in the lineup. That’s a factor in this.”

To replace Santana on the active roster, Milwaukee recalled infielder Brad Miller from Colorado Springs. That move could help the Brewers address another troubling situation: The season-long offensive struggles of shortstop Orlando Arcia.

Arcia is batting .201 with a .234 on-base percentage this season but has remained in Counsell’s starting lineup on a regular basis because of his stellar ability on defense and because the Brewers lacked other viable options.

Eric Sogard has struggled at the plate this season, too, batting .146 with a .255 OBP. Counsell prefers to keep Jonathan Villar at second base, where he moved after Arcia was promoted two years ago and Tyler Saladino, who performed well enough after joining the team in May for the Brewers to send Arcia to Triple-A is out indefinitely with a serious ankle sprain.

“Brad has played all over the field,” Counsell said. “He played a lot of shortstop for a while, then he played a lot of second base, then a lot of first base. So, he has moved around in different years, but it’s been a while since he played shortstop.”

One thing that has been constant for Milwaukee this season is right-hander Jhoulys Chacin.

As has been the case for most of his career Seahawks Elite Jerseys , Chacin has been especially effective at home this season where he’s posted a 2.31 ERA in six starts at Miller Park.

Overall, he’s made a team-leading 16 starts this season and is 6-2 with a 3.18 ERA. He’s held opponents to a .231 average and a 1.24 WHIP while striking out 66 in 87 2/3 innings.

“He’s pitching,” Counsell said. “He’s got some cunning and some craftiness out there, as well as good stuff.”

The Cardinals will be trying to get a split of the series after Yadier Molina hit two homers Saturday. The Cardinals dropped the first two games by committing four errors Thursday and allowing a game-ending homer to Aguilar Friday.

Molina has five homers in his last six games and guided Miles Mikolas through 6 2/3 strong innings.

“What he’s doing behind the plate is willpower,” St. Louis Mike Matheny said. “Being able to handle pain and discomfort. He’s smarter at the plate. He has such a great idea, and he’s dangerous, obviously. It’s hard to say, if he kept playing, where he’d be right now in the home run column and a number of others.”

Right-hander Luke Weaver gets the nod for the Cardinals as they try to build momentum after snapping a three-game losing streak.

Weaver will be looking for his first victory since May 11 when he threw five shutout innings in a 9-5 victory at San Diego. In seven starts since that outing, Weaver is 0-4 with a 4.46 ERA and has allowed four runs in each of his last three starts while recording only one out past the fifth inning.

He’s 2-2 with a 4.41 ERA in six career starts against the Brewers with a 2-2 mark and 3.68 ERA in four starts at Miller Park, where he lasted four innings and took the loss after giving up four runs on four hits in an 8-3 loss on May 28.

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