49ers add Seely, Tolbert to coaching staff

49ers add Seely, Tolbert to coaching staff

Jan. 25, 201149ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEO
The San Francisco 49ers today announced they have namedBrad Seely assistant head coachspecial teams coordinator andKevin Tolbert assistant strength and conditioning coach.Seely, 54,brings 22 years of NFL special teams coaching experience tothe 49ers. Most recently, Seely served as the special teams coordinatorfor the Cleveland Browns from 2009-10 where he worked with WRKR JoshuaCribbs, who earned Pro Bowl selections in each of the last two seasons.In 2009, Seely led the Browns to a league best special teams rankingaccording to the formula comprised by Rick Gosselin of theDallas Morning News. It marked Seelys fifth top-five finish for his special teams units since 1990.Priorto joining the Browns, Seely spent 10 seasons as the New EnglandPatriots special teams coach (1999-08), where he was part of threeSuper Bowl championships. Over the span of his tenure in New England,the Patriots led the NFL in kickoff return average (23.5), were fourthin field goal percentage (83.4) and ranked eighth in punt returnaverage (9.9). In addition, his units registered 11 returns fortouchdowns, including eight on kickoffs, a figure that tied for secondin the NFL over that 10-year stretch. Seely also helped produced atotal of 3 special teams Pro Bowlers (K Adam Vinatieri - 2004, LB LarryIzzo - 2004 and K Stephen Gostkowski - 2008). He also tutored the AFCsleading kickoff returner on two occasions (WR Bethel Johnson 2003 andRB Kevin Faulk - 2002) and leading punt returner (WR Troy Brown - 2002).Seelyworked with the Carolina Panthers from 1995-98, where he helped coachan expansion team to an NFC Championship Game appearance in just itssecond season. In 1996 and 1997, Panthers kickoff returner MichaelBates became the first player in 35 years to lead the league in kickreturn average in consecutive seasons, earning two consecutive trips tothe Pro Bowl for his efforts. In 1996, Seely earned Special Teams Coachof the Year honors. He also had the league's best kicker, as John Kasayset a then NFL single-season record with 37 field goals. In addition tothe success of Bates and Kasay, Carolina also boasted one of theleague's top coverage units as the Panthers led the NFL in opponentsaverage punt return (5.4 avg.) and ranked fifth in opponents averagekickoff return (20.1 avg.).Seelybegan his NFL career in 1989 with the Indianapolis Colts, serving astheir special teamstight ends coach for five years (1989-93). Duringhis time with the Colts, he assisted in the development of two Pro Bowlspecial teamers, P Rohn Stark and WR Clarence Verdin. In 1992, theColts had the NFLs top specials teams unit based on rankings by theDallas Morning News.Seely then coached the Jets special teams for one year (1994), and inthat season, New York ranked fifth in the league in kickoff returndefense (19.6 avg.) and sixth in punt return defense (6.8 avg.).Seelyscollegiate coaching career began as an assistant coach at South DakotaState in 1978. He then moved on to become a graduate assistant atColorado State in 1979, before being named the Rams offensive linecoach in 1980. Seely then served as the offensive line coach atSouthern Methodist (1981), North Carolina State (1982), University ofPacific (1983) and Oklahoma State (1984-88).A native of Vinton, IA, Seely earned all-conference honors as an offensive guard at South Dakota State University while majoring in economics and physical education.Tolbertjoins the 49ers after having served under head coach Jim Harbaugh atStanford from 2009-2010. In 2009, he worked as the assistant strength& conditioning coach for the Cardinal before being promoted to headstrength and conditioning coach the following year.Priorto joining Harbaugh at Stanford, Tolbert worked with the Detroit Lionsin 2008 as the teams assistant strength and conditioning coach. Beforemaking the jump to the NFL, Tolbert spent eight seasons (2001-07) atthe University of Michigan as the Wolverines strength &conditioning coach.Tolbertstarted his collegiate coaching career with the University of Miami in1998, serving as the Hurricanes weight training and conditioning coachfor three seasons. Tolbert also spent time as a volunteer strength& conditioning coach with the Philadelphia Eagles (1996-97).Anative of Hempstead, NY, Tolbert graduated from the United States NavalAcademy in 1981 with a bachelors of science degree in physical science.He was a three-year football letterman for the Midshipmen, helping thesquad to a pair of bowl appearances.
Courtesy San Francisco 49ers media services

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

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Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.

Uh-oh: Is Kyle Shanahan going to be Harbaugh-tastic in his timing?

Uh-oh: Is Kyle Shanahan going to be Harbaugh-tastic in his timing?

Until now, Kyle Shanahan’s hiring by the San Fracisco 49ers looked great because of his two-and-a-half predecessors – the last days of Jim Harbaugh, the misplaced concept of Jim Tomsula and the couldn’t-make-chicken-marsala-out-of-old-Kleenex problems surrounding Chip Kelly.

But now, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has told us all that Shanahan has a gift we in the Bay Area know all too well. Specifically, that Shanahan took too long to call plays to the Super Bowl the Falcons vomited up to the New England Patriots.

Now who does that remind you of, over and over again?

Yes, some things are evergreen, and too many options in this overly technological age seems to be one of them. Data in is helpful, but command going out is what bells the cow. Ryan said Shanahan was, well, almost Harbaugh-tastic in his timing.

“Kyle’s play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in,” Ryan told Bleacher Report. “As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you’re talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, ‘There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.’ You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

“With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You’re not being aggressive not running it there.”

And the reason this matters is because the Atlanta Shanahan had multiple good options on every play. In San Francsco, at least in the short term, he’ll be dealing with minimal options. That could speed up his choices, as in “What the hell, we don’t have Julio Jones.” But it could also mean more delays, as in, “Okay, him . . . no, maybe not . . . no, he just screwed up that play last series . . . oh, damn it, time out!”

In short, it’s growing pains season here, children. On the field, on the sidelines, and maybe even in Kyle Shanahan’s head.