When 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh originally considered the idea of keeping his team out East between last week’s game in Minnesota and this weekend against the Jets in New York, he got out a piece of paper and made a list of positives and negatives surrounding the extended stay. Harbaugh decided “the rewards to us, outweighed the risk.”
Far away from the Golden Gate Bridge, there is a bit of San Francisco on the campus of Youngstown State University this week as the 49ers make their home in fly-over country.
“There’s several [reasons]; I can’t really go down that list. I don’t have that list in front of me right now. The biggest one is playing back-to-back East coast games and taking out about eight hours of travel time is one of the very biggest reasons,” Harbaugh said. “There are others, but definitely it does give us today. We’re here today and we have the opportunities today to get ready for the Jets. Whether that was here or whether it was in San Francisco, the idea is to make the most out of today.”
Better “today” than last Sunday when his 49ers lost 23-13 at the Vikings.
The team is staying in a hotel not too far from the Youngstown campus in a move that harkens back to a similar extended stay from last season. Following a road win in Cincinnati, the 49ers stayed in Ohio for a week and then flew to North Carolina where they beat the Panthers on the road. Now after the Week 3 loss to the Vikings, Harbaugh hopes to tap into the magic that helped them last year.
For 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis that means being away from the comforts of home and his blue-nosed pit bull, Zeus.
“They always say there is no place like home. Obviously, I’d like to be sleeping in my own bed. I have a puppy so I’d love to be seeing him. Other than that, it’s good to kind of get away from the distractions back home — and by distractions I don’t mean distractions in a bad way. We just get to focus more on football,” Willis said. “Coming off the loss we just had, it gives us the chance to hone into what we need to do and hopefully be more focused and just continue to build team camaraderie. My take on it is that it’s good; it’s going to benefit us in a lot of ways.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.