49ers Defensive player-by-player review


49ers Defensive player-by-player review

Here is the entire defensive player-by-player review from the 49ers' 23-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday:Defensive linemen
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at nose tackle but played only about 15 snaps in the game. He rushed the passer eight times. He was not credited with any tackles.
91-Ray McDonald: Started at left defensive end and was on the field the vast majority of the time. He rushed the passer 36 times, and was credited with one tackle. . . . Good penetration against right guard Rex Hadnot to force Skelton incompletion on third down in first quarter. . . . Got pressure on Skelton, forcing him to throw off-balance on ball that Goldson intercepted in third quarter.
93-Ian Williams: Inactive (coaches' decision). (Follow on Twitter @IWilliams95)
94-Justin Smith: Started at right defensive end and played nearly every snap. and was credited with no tackles and two quarterback hurries. . . . Shoved left tackle Levi Brown into the backfield to blow up play, opening door for NaVorro Bowman to stop Wells for 1-yard gain.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: He saw limited action in the 49ers' base defense. He was not credited with any tackles. (Follow on Twitter @Freakyjean95)
96-Demarcus Dobbs: He played only a couple snaps on defense. He was not credited with any tackles.Linebackers
51-Blake Costanzo: He made one tackle on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @BlakeCostanzo51)
52-Patrick Willis: Started at middle linebacker and recorded a team-high seven tackles. He also had an interception, three passes defensed and one forced fumble. . . . His forced fumble of Beanie Wells was initially ruled down by contact, but Willis urged coach Jim Harbaugh to throw the challenge flag. . . . Called for unnecessary roughness on a fourth-down play when he hit Bartel as he was sliding. (Follow on Twitter @PatrickWillis52)
53-NaVorro Bowman: Started at inside linebacker and was credited with three tackles and one pass defensed. . . . Sniffed out a wide-receiver screen to stop Larry Fitzgerald for no gain at end of first quarter. . . . Right tackle Jeremy Bridges knocked him down as Chester Taylor gained 34 yards in the fourth quarter. . . Made hit on receiver Early Doucet short of the yard marker on fourth down late in the game. (Follow on Twitter @NBowman53)
54-Larry Grant: Played on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @LarryGrant54)
55-Ahmad Brooks: Started at left outside linebacker and was credited with two tackles and one sack. . . . Working against right tackle Brandon Keith got credit for the sack when he was first to touch Skelton after he slipped. . . . Allowed 12-yard pass completion to fullback Reagan Maui'a in second quarter for Cardinals first first down of the game.
56-Tavares Gooden: Played exclusively on special teams and was credited with one tackle and a forced fumble.
98-Parys Haralson: Started at right outside linebacker, and was credited with one tackle, as he played mostly on base downs. . . . Took on block of Maui'a and tripped up Wells for no gain.
99-Aldon Smith: He recorded a sack, two quarterback hurries and a pass defensed as part of the 49ers' nickel defense . . . . Taylor dropped him with a chip block, but Smith quickly got back to his feet and tracked down quarterback Richard Bartel for a fourth-quarter sack. (Follow on Twitter @AldonSmithJETS)Defensive backs
20-Madieu Williams: Inactive (coaches decision). (Follow on Twitter @MadieuWilliams)
22-Carlos Rogers: Started at left cornerback and was credited with four tackles and a pass defensed. . . Followed Larry Fitzgerald out of the slot and broke up third-down pass to end Cardinals' first drive. . . . Was in the right spot but Richard Bartel's pass went through his hands and was caught by Larry Fitzgerald for a 23-yard touchdown in fourth quarter. . . . He did not properly follow receiver Andre Roberts from the slot on a play that went for 45 yards in the third quarter.
25-Tarell Brown: Started at right cornerback and was credited with two passes broken up. . . . Got his hands on pass from John Skelton that was intended for Roberts, deflecting ball to Willis, who recorded the first-quarter interception. . . . Delivered big hit on Wells to break up fourth-quarter pass.
26-Tramaine Brock: Played defense in the fourth quarter as part of the 49ers' dime defense but was not credited with any tackles. . . . He had a rough day with penalties. . . . Called for holding on 49ers' first punt return of the game. . . Called for another holding penalty that was part of offsetting penalties. . . . Called for pass interference against DeMarco Simpson for a 21-yard penalty in fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @T26Brock)
27-C.J. Spillman: Played special teams, and recorded one tackle on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @CJSPILLMAN27)
29-Chris Culliver: Played more than 30 snaps as the 49ers' third cornerback. He recorded two tackles. (Follow on Twitter @Cullyinthehouse)
30-Reggie Smith: Saw action as the 49ers' sixth defensive back, then took over when Dashon Goldson was ejected early in the fourth quarter. . . . Was in deep zone on Fitzgerald's 23-yard touchdown catch. (Follow on Twitter @superreg30)
31-Donte Whitner: Started at strong safety and played every snap. He recorded two tackles, an interception and two passes defensed. . Had deep coverage on Larry Fitzgerald and made interception and 48-yard return to set up 49ers' second touchdown. . . . Brown up pass in end zone for Fitzgerald in late fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @DonteWhitner)
36-Shawntae Spencer: Did not see action on defense, but some some time on special teams.
38-Dashon Goldson: Started at free safety and recorded two tackles and one interception. . . . Had underneath coverage on Larry Fitzgerald and made diving interception in the third quarter. . . Got a hit on Doucet as ball was skipping through his hands for an incomplete pass at the goal line in the late fourth quarter. . . . He was ejected in the fourth quarter for retaliating against Cardinals receiver Early Doucet with several punches. The NFL told CSNBayArea.com that Goldson would not be suspended, but he is subject to a 25,000 fine. (Follow on Twitter @thehawk38)
43-Colin Jones: Played exclusively on special teams.Specialists
2-David Akers: He had a rough day, as he missed three of his six field-goal attempts in the first half. Two of the kicks were blocked, and he hooked a 49-yarder to the right. He made field goals of 22, 43, 29 yards. (Follow on Twitter @DavidAkers2)
4-Andy Lee: He averaged 45.3 yards (38.0 net) on just three punts.
86-Brian Jennings: Had a low snap that might have contributed to second blocked field goal. (Follow on Twitter @Jennings141)

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

SANTA CLARA – Despite recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons and being named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Eric Reid said he believes he is now in a role that best fits his skillset.

Whereas in the past, the 49ers’ safety positions were considered interchangeable, there is a clear delineation this season under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“Even dating back to college, this is the first time there’s a distinct strong (safety) and a distinct free (safety),” Reid said. “I’ve been used to the interchangeability type of role.

“(In) some situations, certain calls where there’s a motion, we might flip. There are a couple situations where I might be in the post in the free-safety role, but it’s not nearly as much as it has been in the past.”

Reid, who is listed at 6 foot 1, 213 pounds, said he is excited to be stationed closer to the line of scrimmage for run support while free safety Jimmie Ward patrols the deep middle of the field.

The 49ers offseason program concluded Wednesday, and Reid found himself in the middle of the action with an interception on a short Brian Hoyer pass over the middle. While he will still be counted upon for coverage, his biggest impact could come to assist a run defense that last season ranked among the worst in NFL history.

“I love it, being around the ball more,” Reid said. “I anticipate making more tackles, hopefully making more plays. I feel like I was made for this position with my body type, being a bigger safety. I’m excited about this year.

“I feel like I’m using what God has blessed me with, more, which is my size and being in the box in the run game. In the past, I felt like I could do more. And being in the post, I can’t use my size as much when it comes to the run game.”

After producing seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid recorded just one interception in 26 games over the past two seasons.

As a first-round pick in 2013, the 49ers picked up the fifth-year option this season for $5.676 million. He is scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of the season. Reid said the 49ers have not spoken to his representation about a long-term extension. That will come, he believes, if he lives up to his end of the bargain in his new, streamlined role.

“I look at it from a business standpoint,” Reid said. “I majored in business. They have me under contract. They don’t have any reason to talk to right now. I imagine if I play well in the first half of the season, they’ll reach out to me. Maybe they’ll reach out to me before training camp, I don’t know. It’s whatever route they decide to take. It’s a business. I’ll treat it as a business. I have a job to do, so I’ll do it.”


Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan always wanted to coach football with his father. But, first, he knew he had to prove himself without any boost from his well-known dad.

Once the son established himself as one of the NFL’s respected offensive minds, the Shanahans teamed up for four up-but-mostly-down seasons with Washington.

Mike, the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, hired his son to serve as his top offensive assistant in 2010.

“I thought we saw football similar, but we quickly realized after a few weeks that we saw it differently,” Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area in February. “We grew together. He gave me a lot of leeway while I was there. It was fun to try a bunch of different things, having to even incorporate the zone read when we got Robert (Griffin).

“We did our deal in Washington, and I wouldn’t take that back for the world, but that was pretty much the end of it.”

Kyle Shanahan broke into the coaching ranks under Karl Dorrell at UCLA. He moved onto the NFL to work with Jon Gruden on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans. But nothing prepared him for the scrutiny he would face as offensive coordinator under his father.

Kyle Shanahan adjusted the Washington offense to take advantage of Griffin’s skills as a dual-threat quarterback as a rookie 2012. The club qualified for the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

But things blew up the following season as the Mike Shanahan-Griffin relationship soured. Shanahan and eight assistant coaches, including Kyle, were fired the morning after Washington’s 3-13 season concluded.

Mike Shanahan has remained out of coaching, though he was a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching job after the 2015 season. The 49ers hired Chip Kelly.

Kyle Shanahan rebuilt his career with one season as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and two successful seasons with the Atlanta Falcons to enable him to become CEO Jed York’s choice to replace Kelly.

There is no official role for Mike Shanahan, 64, on his son’s staff with the 49ers. But the father has attended several of the team’s practices this offseason, including both days of the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp this week. Mike has been issued his own iPad that gives him access to the 49ers playbook and coach's film. He will likely visit for an extended stay during training camp. But Kyle said he believes his dad will mostly remain home -- only a phone call away -- during the regular season.

“He’s enjoying life right now,” said Kyle, 37. “He’s got a pretty good deal in Denver, where he lives. He can help me out in other ways anyways without having to be here every day.”

Mike Shanahan does not need to be in the building every day to counsel and have influence on his son as he tries to navigate his first season as the head coach while also maintaining the responsibilities of running the team’s offense.

“You’re going 1,000 miles an hour,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Sometimes to see everything you’ve got to really slow things down and take your time to look at stuff and you don’t always have that time as a head coach.

“It’s nice when someone you know who thinks similar to you has a similar background and he just sits in a room all day and watches stuff. He doesn’t have any other responsibilities. He can see some things that I’m not always seeing and just to bring things to light that maybe I missed or other people have missed.”

Mike Shanahan was a successful NFL offensive coordinator for seven seasons. He won a Super Bowl on George Seifert’s staff with the 49ers in January 1995. His dad believes his time around the 49ers has a lasting impact.

“When I was with San Francisco, Kyle was at the 49ers training camps in Rocklin,” Mike Shanahan told Fangirl Sports Network. “He stayed with me at camp and we talked about football every night.

“He had the opportunity to experience an organization that had won four Super Bowls in nine years. He also had the opportunity to be around some great people and leaders. He still tells stories and talks about people like Steve Young, Joe Montana, Harris Barton, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Deion Sanders, and many others. What a great experience to see how these men handled themselves on and off the field.”

The Denver Broncos hired him to become head coach shortly after the 49ers’ 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Shanahan went on to win two Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the Broncos.

Kyle Shanahan was a wide receiver at Duke before finishing college at Texas, where he caught 14 passes for 127 yards in two seasons. He figured he would have a career in football and it would not be as a player.

“I’ve wanted to coach my whole life,” Kyle Shanahan said. “This is all I’ve known, just growing up around football. It’s almost all I’ve been into, too. Since I was little, it’s distracted me from everything I’ve done, especially school. I always tried to tell my mom, ‘Just be patient, it’ll play out for us in the long run.’ Fortunately, it did.

“Once I realized my genes were a little bit better as a coach than as a player, I pretty much locked into that – and that was about halfway through college. I haven’t looked back.”

During his short time with the 49ers, players on both sides of the ball have expressed amazement at how knowledgeable Kyle Shanahan is about the game of football. His dad told Fangirl Sports Network to succeed as a head coach he must always be dedicated to stuyding, learning and teaching the sport.

“He loves the game and knows it inside and out,” Mike Shanahan said. “My advice to him is to never lose the drive to study the game as he’s done over the last 13 years. To stay in the NFL as a head coach and have success for any length of time, you must never lose your drive to teach and stay abreast of what the top teams are doing every year: offense, defense, special teams. You must be able to coach all positions to really understand the whole game.”

Former 49ers president Carmen Policy said he remembers young Kyle serving as a ball boy during 49ers training camp in the early 1990s. Policy, who remains close to Mike Shanahan, has followed Kyle’s rise in the coaching ranks while playfully questioning the sanity of the family business.

Said Policy: “I used to tease Mike, ‘What kind of father are you to let your kid go into coaching?’ I said, ‘You should be charged with dereliction of parental duty.’ And he’d laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I tried talking to him and then my wife tried talking to him, but that’s his passion, and that’s what he wants to do, so I’m not going to dissuade him from it.’

“And, then, look at what happened. Here he is. He’s the head coach of the 49ers, and that’s just incredible.”