SANTA CLARA -- What first impression helped the 49ers prove to linebacker Dan Skuta that they're an ideal destination? The flight into town sure helped.
"The scenery on the way in definitely was a good selling point," Skuta said Friday on a media conference call. "Being from Michigan, it's covered in snow right now. Being out here, it's just amazing, coming over the mountains and everything."
Of course, there are several other reasons Skuta left the Cincinnati Bengals to sign a two-year deal Thursday, doing so after visiting the 49ers for some five hours:
1.) They are the reigning NFC champions, and they've got the work ethic to go with that enviable stature. "Seeing them on TV and word around the league is that the guys here are strong, always in shape and ready to go. That speaks a lot of training staff and guys in the weight room. The guys are all hard workers." Asked if he fits the blue-collar mentality instilled in Jim Harbaugh's two seasons as coach, all Skuta needed to state was his hometown: Flint, Mich.
2.) Skuta will be asked to stabilize a special-teams unit, which had early-season struggles before doomsday breakdowns in the Super Bowl. If the 49ers aren't pegging him as the next Blake Costanzo (see: 2011), then they at least hope he'll have a better impact than Larry Grant or Tavares Gooden, free agents who also were key special-teams players and backup linebackers.
3.) Learning behind Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. Skuta knows his place on the linebacker depth chart, which is easy to figure out when a pair of All-Pros are on the first string. "I'm excited to learn from those guys. It's well known around the league they're two of the best."
4.) The 49ers love multitalented players, and Skuta has experience as a short-yardage running back. He served briefly in that capacity for the Bengals in 2010, and he was a running back in high school. "I'm an athlete that can do anything asked."
5.) Rather than beat around the bush or talk in back channels, the 49ers coaching staff is as direct as any. "They tell you exactly what they want from you, which is nice from my stand point," Skuta said.