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Christian McCaffrey: 49ers’ sense of urgency at an all-time high

Sep 13, 2023 at 7:11 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are ready to make a Super Bowl run. They showed that on Sunday by routing the Pittsburgh Steelers on their home turf—playing at a championship level on both sides of the football. If there is a weakness to this team, it didn't show in Week 1.

The team never likes to look too far ahead, always focusing on the next opponent. But the locker room knows there is an opportunity to win it all, and championship windows can close very quickly in the NFL. A late arrival last season, Christian McCaffrey was a big reason the 49ers reached their third NFC Championship Game in four seasons.

"Yeah, I would say the sense of urgency is at an all-time high," McCaffrey said in an interview with his college coach, David Shaw, for NBC Sports Bay Area. "You can feel it in everything. Not just practices, but in the weight room. You can feel it in the meeting room. ... Yes, we're starting from scratch, and each season is a new season, and you replace different players, and you have to add guys here and there, but the culture feels set."

That culture was quickly apparent to McCaffrey after the Carolina Panthers traded him to the 49ers last year. It's one of the things that made the transition to a new team easier. The running back was immediately impressed with the work ethic of his new teammates and the camaraderie inside the locker room. Winning and pursuing perfection were part of the 49ers' DNA.

On the field, that meant striving to play mistake-free football.

"The most important thing in football is execution, but it's very difficult to execute if the culture is not there," McCaffrey said. "And so, when that is there, now, you can focus on making plays, you can focus on doing your job at a high level. And when that's there, you start to get better, and you start to make these big strides.

"And we treat each year like a new year, but that'll definitely stick there. You want to remember that and know that this is what we did last year. We have a chance, if we play well, and then all you need is a chance."

Next up for McCaffrey and his 49ers are the Los Angeles Rams. The NFC West rivals will face each other on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

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