49ers camp summary (812): Walker's injury provides scare

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49ers camp summary (812): Walker's injury provides scare

Summary: The 49ers' only open practice of training camp began on an ominous note when tight end Delanie Walker went down during the first 11-on-11 period with a right knee injury while in pass protection.Walker, with some assistance, eventually made it to the 49ers' bench at Candlestick Park. He watched the remainder of practice sitting down with his right leg elevated. He had ice on his right knee, and later wore a brace."We'll wait until we get some further results from the doctors, but I think we'll dodge another bullet there," Harbaugh said, indicating Walker is not expected to be out for a significant period.RELATED: Delanie Walker career stats 2011 game logs
The 49ers announced 32,000 fans attended the daylong Fan Fest event, which concluded with a 2 12-hour practice and half-hour autograph session. Harbaugh was the final person signing autographs.

The final period of practice was an 11-on-11 session in which the offense was given the ball at the opposition's 8-yard line with 4:54 remaining on the clock.

Alex Smith led the offense down the field on a 17-play drive that was capped by his 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Konrad Reuland against the coverage of Patrick Willis. On the drive, Smith completed 10 of 11 passes for 79 yards on the drive. He ran two quarterback sneaks to pick up first downs on third-and-1 situations. The big offensive play was an 18-yard pass to Kendall Hunter. The defense's best play was Demarcus Dobbs sack (with just a touch) after center Jonathan Goodwin's bad snap to Smith in the shotgun formation.After the offense won the drill, that unit was rewarded with four windsprints. That's right, the winner ran -- not the losers. And the reasoning behind that?
"The winners get to get better," Harbaugh said. "They get that opportunity."Cornerback Carlos Rogers jumped in and ran sprints with the offensive players.Injury report: Outside linebacker Aldon Smith is expected to miss more than a week with a right hip bruise, Harbaugh said. Smith sustained the injury in the first quarter of the 49ers' exhibition opener against the Minnesota Vikings. Smith might not play again in the exhibition season, but he is expected to be ready for the opening of the regular season on Sept. 9 at the Green Bay Packers. . . . Rookie outside linebacker Cam Johnson, who did not suit up for Friday's game, did not practice due to an undisclosed injury. Johnson has not looked up to speed during camp after undergoing arthroscopic surgery before camp. . . Receiver Joe Hastings (right leg) rehabbed and appears to be close to returning to practice after missing more than a week. Tight end Nate Byham and offensive lineman Garrett Chisolm also did not participate in practice. . . Running back Jewel Hampton (foot) is on the non-football injury list, while outside linebacker Darius Fleming (knee) is on the physically-unable-to-perform list.Returning to work: Running back Frank Gore, receiver Mario Manningham, and defensive linemen Justin Smith and Will Tukuafu practiced Sunday after being held out of Friday's game.Offensive play of the day: During a red-zone drill, quarterback Scott Tolzien drilled a 6-yard pass into the back left corner of the end zone to Manningham, who went up to catch the pass before cornerback Tramaine Brock could turn around to make a play.Defensive play of the day: Earlier in the practice, Tolzien attempted a pass to Moss (or rookie A.J. Jenkins), and Rogers was in the right spot to intercept the pass. The only other interception during 11-on-11 work was courtesy of Cory Nelms, who picked off Josh Johnson's pass after it deflected off Reuland's hands.
Eye on the stands: First, receiver Randy Moss played whipped the fans behind the 49ers' bench into a frenzy during a down period devoted to special teams. Moss threw the ball into the stands, asked for the ball back and threw it to someone else. He did that for several minutes. He autographed at least one ball thrown to him and tossed it back.During practice, a scruffy-looking, shirtless fan ran onto the field and approached Harbaugh, he seemed none-too-amused with the intruder. "I didn't say anything," Harbaugh said. "I'm glad he was clothed. I'm glad he wasn't naked." The trespasser left the playing field, but was taken down by security and handcuffed.
Notable: Tight end Vernon Davis wore No. 87, instead of his familiar No. 85 during practice. So was he paying homage to Dwight Clark, whose number has been retired? Not exactly."I'm sorry, Dwight," Davis said. "We were in a rush, me and some of the other guys, and we forget our jerseys. This is the only one they had for me. . . . This jersey. This is history right here. It feels good to wear No. 87."Transaction report: On Saturday, the 49ers signed outside linebacker Kenny Rowe and released safety Mark LeGree. Rowe will not be allowed to wear pads and go through team drills until Tuesday while he goes through a mandatory period to get acclimated to camp.
Quotable: "I didn't expect so many people to be here. In the past, it hasn't been this many people. But for them to come out, it shows how much effort they give to support us. We greatly appreciate that" -- Vernon Davis.Next practice: The 49ers return to practice Monday from 2:30 to 5:10 p.m. The 49ers will break camp after practice on Friday.

Paraag Marathe: My job is to stay in my lane, help the coach and GM

Paraag Marathe: My job is to stay in my lane, help the coach and GM

SANTA CLARA – As team executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe traveled the country during the 49ers’ search to fill their head coach and general manager positions, there was plenty of criticism that followed them at every stop.

York, the CEO, has been held accountable by the local media and on social media, as he publicly welcomed, in recent seasons when the 49ers fell from the NFC Championship game to 8-8, 5-11 and 2-14 under three different head coaches.

A year ago, Marathe officially was replaced as team president and became the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations. His duties with the football team have not changed.

In fact, York and Marathe roles with the organization took on a much-greater significance after the decision was made to fire coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke.

The 49ers interviewed six head-coach candidates and 10 individuals who were considered for the general manager position.

Along the way, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels bowed out, likely because his top choice to be his general manager partner, Nick Caserio, opted to remain as the Patriots’ chief of personnel. Then-Kansas City executive Chris Ballard declined an interview and another serious candidate, Green Bay’s Brian Gutekunst, removed his name from consideration to remain with the Packers on a new contract.

After more than a month, the 49ers finalized the hirings of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, who officially accepted the job the day after the Atlanta Falcons’ crushing defeat in Super Bowl 51.

“Nothing speaks better to the process than the quality of the two men that we hired,” Marathe told CSNBayArea.com. “I can’t tell you, just in the last two weeks even, how inspiring it’s been to be at work, just seeing these guys work together and how they’ve already transformed the building.”

Marathe joined the “49ers Insider Podcast” for a wide-ranging interview that touched on his personal life, as well as his responsibilities during his 16 years with the 49ers. The entire 43-minute podcast can be heard here.

Marathe has remained behind the scenes working for the 49ers mostly on contract and salary-cap matters. There has been mystery about his role while working with head coaches Steve Mariucci, Dennis Erickson, Mike Nolan, Mike Singletary, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula, Kelly and, now, Shanahan.

At one point during the search, Pro Football Talk, citing “thinking inside league circles,” described Marathe as being viewed as an “impediment” to the 49ers' ability to attract top candidates for their openings.

“It’s unfortunate that’s out there, if that’s out there,” Marathe said. “I won't say it’s something that doesn’t bother me at all. Of course, it stings. But I do know, I try to keep my head down and do a good job and support the people who are here. All I try to do is earn their respect and their trust on what I do. I feel like I’ve been able to do that. I think the individuals that you would talk to, if you talked to them, they’d probably tell you the same thing.

“I’m not trying to be anything other than what I am, which is a support to the coach and the GM.”

This offseason, former 49ers coach candidate Adam Gase told CSNBayArea.com one of the reasons he really wanted the head-coaching position in 2015 was because of his relationship with York and Marathe.

Arizona executive Terry McDonough, a finalist for the 49ers’ GM job, went out of his way to compliment Marathe shortly after he learned Lynch was hired.

“When I was done with that first interview, I said, ‘This is a guy I would want to partner with, along with Jed and whoever the new head coach might be,’” McDonough said of Marathe.

A source close to McDaniels reached out to CSNBayArea.com to dispel any notion that McDaniels’ decision to remain with the Patriots was any reflection on those running the 49ers’ search. McDaniels stated he was impressed with York, Marathe and Brian Hampton, the team’s director of football administration and analytics.

The roles of Marathe and the organization’s use of analytics have been a topic of intrigue for years. Marathe said his role is merely to support the individuals on the football side to provide the team with any kind of advantage.

“My job is to keep my head down, stay my lane, do my job and help the head coach and GM as much as I can," he said.

Marathe added, "Coach Harbaugh, as you know, was looking for every advantage. One thing why he has so much success, he’s always looking for every advantage he can get. He used to use that NASCAR example, if you can figure out how to go 1 mph faster.

"So anything that helped him, we would go through. We’d talk after other games in the league about, ‘Hey, that team, they had one minute left. How many plays do you think they could’ve gotten off in that time? I thought six. Well, I thought seven.’ We’d go through it and talk through it. So, yeah, they were receptive, and it was good.”

Marathe said Lynch and Shanahan have already asked for his opinions on the feasibility of some of the upcoming decisions the organization must make during the offseason.

“I come at it from a different perspective, which is from the salary cap and contract side of things and also just having seen a lot over the years, in terms of how deals get made or how trades happen,” Marathe said.

Without specifying a position of inquiry, such as quarterback, Marathe said he has already provided Lynch and Shanahan with reference material for what it has taken to acquire players in past NFL trades.

“Here are all the other examples of when this position was traded for, and what people gave up to trade,” Marathe said. “That would establish the range for us if we are curious about a player at that position. And then we have a discussion from there.”

As the 49ers prepare for free agency, Marathe said the personnel department and coaching staff will rank the players by position. Then, Marathe will come up with comparable players and provide a range of what he anticipates a player will command on the open market. That leads to more discussion about which players are seen as better fits when considering football and finances.

“It’s my job to keep our cap as flexible as possible,” Marathe said. “But from a football standpoint, making decisions on players, that’s those two guys . . . I’m not good at that. That’s what they’re really good at, and that’s who I take my direction from.”

The 49ers have approximately $80 million in salary cap space entering the offseason. But that does not necessarily mean the 49ers will be willing to pay above market value to attract any players.

“I think there are times when you want to be a little bit more aggressive, versus maybe not be as aggressive,” Marathe said.

“The beauty of how the salary cap works, you can roll over the room to future years. There won’t ever be a salary cap dollar that’s unspent. We’ll always spend it. It just may not be this month. It could be next month or it could be next year. We’ll spend ever dollar. It doesn’t change the values. The values are still driven by what the market dictates.”

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

Kyle Shanahan put together some of the final pieces of his coaching staff on Tuesday.

The 49ers announced the hirings of seven coaches, including confirmation of John Benton as offensive line coach.

The team hired former NFL standout linebacker DeMeco Ryans as defensive quality control coach. He was a second-round selection of the Houston Texans in 2006 and spent 10 seasons in the league. He finished his career playing four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 49ers also hired Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, Stan Kwan as assistant special teams, Vince Oghobaase as assistant defensive line, Adam Stenavich as assistant offensive line, and Michael Clay as strength and conditioning assistant.

Benton, 53, was hired away from the Broncos after being on the job for approximately a month. Benton served as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach last season. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Benton and Shanahan worked together for four seasons with the Houston Texans.

Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.