49ers-Bengals matchups to watch


49ers-Bengals matchups to watch

WRJosh Morgan vs. CB Nate ClementsTale of the tape
Morgan: 6-1, 215, Virginia Tech, 4th season
Clements: 6-0, 200, Ohio State, 11th seasonMorgan takes pride in being an all-around receiver, catching passes and delivering blocks in the run game. Clements has lost a step through the years, but his ability to step up in run support is one of the strengths of his game.The 49ers released Clements after the lockout lifted because of his exorbitant contract. It did not take him long to land with the Bengals. Of course, Morgan and Clements know all about one another."We practiced good against him, so hopefully it will roll over into the game," Morgan said. "You know from practicing against him all his little tricks and that's what makes him a good corner because everybody don't know that, everybody's not always ready."The 49ers believe Clements is such an aggressive cornerback that it makes him susceptible to double moves. Clements will get a chance to match up against each of the 49ers' wideouts at some point."My impression is the same as it was before -- a young, talented receiver corps that definitely has what it takes to have potential stars in this league," Clements said. "They definitely have speed, talent, size. I had a chance to face those guys every day in practice, so my perception has not changed."FS Dashon Goldson vs. QB Andy DaltonTale of the tape
Goldson: 6-2, 200, Washington, 5th season
Dalton: 6-2, 220, TCU, RookieGoldson will see his first action of the season after returning from a knee injury. His job will be to provide some plays for a secondary that ranks 25th in pass defense, allowing 291 yards per game through the air.Goldson certainly has something to prove, as he came back to the 49ers this offseason on a one-year, 2 million contract. With strong safety Donte Whitner playing closer to the line of scrimmage, Goldson will be responsible for providing deep coverage.Dalton has been phenomenal in the first two games, completing 66.1 percent of his passes for 413 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions."He's very efficient," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "He's got a really good understanding of the game. Gets the ball out of his hands quickly. He's an accurate passer. I don't think the aura of playing in the NFL has affected him like it kind of affects some rookies at times."Fellow rookie A.J. Green provides a deep threat with 11 receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns.TE Vernon Davis vs. OLB Manny LawsonTale of the tape
Davis: 6-3, 250, Maryland, 6th season
Lawson: 6-5, 240, North Carolina State, 6th seasonThey broke into the NFL together as fellow first-round draft picks of the 49ers in 2006. They played against each other in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They went up against each other a lot as teammates. And, now, they square off for the first time as opponents in an NFL game.Especially with receiver Braylon Edwards out of the lineup, Davis is the 49ers' top threat in the passing game. He expressed disappointment after the game Sunday that the 49ers' offense has not gotten all of their playmakers involved.Davis is the team's top receiver, though his stat line of seven receptions for 65 yards is not the least-bit imposing. Davis is a player the offense must feature with their passing attack.The 49ers selected Lawson to be a pass-rusher. But he developed into a better player in coverage. The 49ers made no attempt to re-sign him in free agency, and he settled for a one-year deal from the Bengals. In his first two games, Lawson has nine tackles and two pass-breakups.RDE Justin Smith vs. LT Andrew WhitworthTale of the tape
Smith: 6-4, 285, Missouri, 11th season
Whitworth: 6-7, 335, LSU, 6th seasonSmith is one of the stalwarts of a 49ers defense that has a league-best streak of 24 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. The 49ers' run defense allowed just 2.48 yards a carry in the first two games of the season to lead the NFL.Smith is a big part of the 49ers' defense, both in stopping the run and rushing the passer. He has 15 tackles and two sacks. And, of course, he'll be going up against his former team for the first time."I know his style and his attitude," Whitworth told Bengals.com. "I practiced against him for two years. He's like he was when he was here: a power rusher. They play almost identical to Pittsburgh. They don't move around as much, but they're fast and physical with good players inside and outside. It's pretty close to what we see in the AFC North and their three down linemen set the tone for them."

Report: Ravens signing arena league QB over Kaepernick

Report: Ravens signing arena league QB over Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick still does not have an NFL team.

The Baltimore Ravens, who were linked to Kaepernick after praise from head coach John Harbaugh, have reportedly signed David Olson, according to nfldraftdiamonds.com

Olson, who played at Stanford and Clemson, most recently took snaps for the Kansas City Phantoms of the Champions Indoor Football League (CIF).

"He’s a great guy," Harbaugh said on Thursday about Keapernick, who remains an unrestricted free agent. "He’s a guy right now that’s being talked about. We’ll just see what happens with that. Only speculation right now. He’s a really good football player and as I said at the owners' meetings, I do believe he’ll be playing in the National Football League this year."

Starting quarterback Joe Flacco is expected to miss time due to a back injury.

49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan takes pride in speed of offense

49ers' head coach Kyle Shanahan takes pride in speed of offense

SANTA CLARA – If there is any validity to Matt Ryan’s complaint that former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan struggled getting play calls to his quarterback in a timely fashion, it is difficult to find much evidence.

The past two seasons, only three teams went through an entire season without the play clock expiring on offense. The Falcons under Shanahan went without a delay-of-game penalty both of the past two seasons. The Denver Broncos of last season were the only other offensive unit in the NFL that was not penalized for the play clock hitting :00.

“Any play-caller that you talk to that’s usually one of the most important things and something I pride myself on a lot, is how quick can you get a play call into a quarterback,” said Shanahan, who will remain the playcaller for the 49ers while also serving as head coach.

"And the quicker you do the more comfortable it is, not just for him but the entire offense. They’re not panicked. They’re being able to move to the line. And with me as a coordinator personally, I try almost every situation to get it in as fast as possible. And I can be honest, there’s sometimes I do better than others. There are sometimes I don’t do it as good. There’s sometimes I do it real good.”

Shanahan said he took a lot of pride in the fact that the Falcons avoided any delay-of-game penalties the past two seasons. He said Ryan deserves credit, too.

“I was really proud of those guys on offense, which is a lot of credit to Matt and the rest of the guys, that regardless when we did get it in, two years straight without a delay of game and being the only team to even do that one year I think was a pretty impressive task,” Shanahan said. “We did a good job of that as a whole.”

In a recent interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, Ryan was critical of Shanahan’s timeliness in delivering the play calls in the Falcons' collapse in Super Bowl 51. (It did not appear the Falcons' offense was scrambling to get to the line of scrimmage and get the ball snapped after the built a 28-3 lead.)

“Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in," Ryan told Prisco. "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.”

Shanahan said on Thursday that he wants his offense to play fast. Shanahan said he sets his offense so there is no need to audible out of a play if the defense is geared to stop the primary option on a particular call.

“If it’s not the perfect play, there’s usually four other options that you’ve just got to adjust to and either get an incompletion or get a smaller gain,” Shanahan said. “But, it’s not, ‘Hey, if I don’t call the perfect play, you check and get us into the perfect play.’

"I’ve been in systems like that and it’s just what your opinion is, and there’s really no right answer, but I was pretty happy with how our system worked in Atlanta. And I’ve been confident with players playing fast and not putting so much pressure on them to fix every play that the coordinator calls. I like to put a little more on myself and I want them when I do call a bad play, we’ll give you an answer."

Shanahan will continue to call the plays from the sideline. Quarterback Brian Hoyer said he insisted on working on the radio communication during the offseason program. Hoyer played in Shanahan's offense in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns, and he said that experience should help him relay the calls more smoothly to his teammates in the huddle.

"I kind of have a method of I want to be just outside the huddle when the play is coming out," Hoyer said. "I don’t want to be in the huddle trying to give the play while he’s talking to me. I want to hear him say the play in my helmet, take a second, get in the huddle and then call the play.

"Back in Cleveland when I was just learning the system I was just trying to repeat what he was saying, get it to the team and then as I’m walking to the line of scrimmage think of the play. Whereas now, I hear the play coming in and I can paint a picture of what Kyle is trying to emphasize on that play, and then relay it to the rest of the offense and break the huddle and go. We’ve been doing that I think pretty much since day one is using that coach-to-quarterback communication.”