The San Francisco 49ers are still a work in progress. Yes, they are 5-0, but some areas can be improved, and that will happen as the season progresses. With each victory, the players gain confidence in each other and what the team is capable of, which could make this year's Niners squad a force down the stretch.

"Our guys believe that they can win," head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday. "We've done that so far, but by no means, do we feel we've arrived. I mean, there's lots of things we can do better, and we know teams are going to get better as we keep going. The main thing is that we do too."

With the 49ers' dismantling of the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams, the team which won the division crown during each of the past two seasons, the national media has taken notice. The skeptics are doing a full reverse and backtracking on their criticisms of the team as a whole.

The 49ers are among the best teams in the NFL, and finally being discussed as such.

Now, people are talking playoffs ... maybe more. Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice recently called this team a Super Bowl contender. Even Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk admits he would love to see a 49ers versus New England Patriots Super Bowl — a topic that might not have come up a few weeks ago.

While it's fun for fans and the media to look that far ahead, it's not what the 49ers are doing. They are laser-focused on the task at hand because, as Shanahan has noted in the past, all 5-0 means is that you are only guaranteed to go at least 5-11.

So if the players aren't looking toward what might happen in January, if there is no Super-Bowl-or-bust mentality, what does their head coach want their mindset to be each week?

"I want them to know that they can win every game that they go into no matter who's in front of them," Shanahan responded. "I think our team does believe that. We have the people, we can put the schemes together, we have the talent to do it, and we have the people who work at it, that no matter what type of game we're in, we do really believe that we can win any game. That's where it starts with a good team.

"Now, I don't care how good you are, it's very tough to do that, but when you have that mindset, and it's real from the work you've put in, from how talented you can see some of the guys are next to you, then it becomes real. The more you can win, the stronger it gets."

The 49ers are preparing to face the Washington Redskins at FedExField on Sunday. That's where the team's focus lies this week, not on something that may or may not happen further down the road.