49ers-Browns: Matchups to watch

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49ers-Browns: Matchups to watch

Aldon Smith leads the 49ers and ranks second among NFL rookies with 5.5 sacks. And on Sunday at Candlestick Park, he'll go up against Joe Thomas, whom many consider to be the top offensive lineman in the league.
Tale of the tape
Smith (99): 6-4, 258, Missouri, Rookie
Thomas (73): 6-6, 312, Wisconsin, Fifth seasonIn six games, Thomas has surrendered 1.5 sacks. In 16 games a year ago, he surrendered four sacks. Thomas has been outstanding since entering the NFL as the No. 3 overall pick of the 2007 draft.Thomas has not missed an offensive snap in 70 games since coming into the NFL. In August, Thomas signed a seven-year, 84 million contract extension. With the strength throughout the 49ers' front seven, Thomas will likely be left alone to handle Smith in Sunday's game. It's important that the Browns provide ample protection for quarterback Colt McCoy, who has been sacked 13 times this season.McCoy is averaging a lowly 5.46 yards per passing attempt, and the Browns might need to hit on some big plays down the field to stay in the game. The Browns will rely on Thomas to keep the rookie away from McCoy.
"He's a good pass protector," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said of Thomas. "Obviously, he's a good run-blocker. He's what you're looking for from a left tackle. You don't tend to worry about him so much because he's such a good player."Now, we're going to get challenged this week for sure. So I think we're counting on him to have one of his better games against an opponent that's going to be a big challenge."Smith does not start for the 49ers, but he will enter the game in place of Parys Haralson at right defensive end in nickel situations. Other matchups worth watching
49ers left guard Mike Iupati (77) vs. Browns defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (71): The 49ers like to run to the left side behind 331-pound Iupati, and he'll have perhaps his stiffest challenge of the season. Rubin, a 330-pounder, might be the best player on the Browns' defense. The club signed him to a three-year, 27 million extension in the offseason with 18 million guaranteed. Rubin rarely comes off the field, as he stuffs the run and also adds quickness off the snap to get up the field as a pass-rusher. Rubin leads the Browns with three sacks on the season.49ers punter Andy Lee (4)kicker David Akers (2) vs. Browns return man Joshua Cribbs: The Browns have struggled on special teams, while the 49ers have excelled. That switch in fortunes has coincided with special-teams coordinator Brad Seely's move from Cleveland to the 49ers this season. Cribbs will be in the starting lineup at wide receiver, replacing Mohamed Massoquoi, who will miss the game with a concussion. Cribbs, the all-time NFL career leader with eight touchdown kickoff returns for touchdowns, will still be asked to make a healthy contribution in the return game, He ranks 12th in kickoff returns with a 25.0 average. Cribbs is also 12th in punt returns with a 10.8 average. Akers has done a good job of limiting the chances for the opposing kick returner. Twenty-two of his 37 kickoffs have been touchbacks. And the average start point for the opposition is the 21-yard line. Likewise, Lee's 44.4 net average is tied for the best in the league.

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

Shaun Draughn is now a member of the New York Giants, but he won't ever forget his brief stint with the 49ers. The running back posted a long thank you to the organization and its fans on Thursday:

"I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community," Draughn posted on Instagram. "You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever.

"Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!!"

Draughn, 29, averaged 3.1 yards per carry over two seasons with the 49ers, totaling 459 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. 

I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community. You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever. Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!! To the @nygiants I want to say thank you for allowing me to be apart of such a first class organization!! I am excited to go to work in the quest for #5 and to the Fans I can assure you, you will get my ABSOLUTE best and nothing less, put a stamp on it‼️‼️ thank you God for ALWAYS making a way!! #Proverbs3:5-6 #BigBlue #GMen

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