49ers defensive player-by-player review vs. Packers

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49ers defensive player-by-player review vs. Packers

There is a lot of credit to go around on the defensive side the ball from the 49ers' 30-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.The pass rush got pressure on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers with three sacks and other pressure that either forced Rodgers to scramble five times or throw the ball away. The front was stout against the run. And the secondary generally did a good job keeping the ball in front of them and securing tackles.Here's the defensive player-by-player breakdown:Defensive line
83-Demarcus Dobbs: He played only two snaps on defense but was a core special-teams players with 20 plays on those units. . . He had no tackles.
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Because the 49ers spent most of this game with extra defensive backs on the field, Sopoaga played just seven snaps. . . He was not credited with any tackles.
91-Ray McDonald: He played all 72 defensive plays (including plays wiped out due to penalties). He was very active against right guard Josh Sitton and did a great job of helping take away the Packers' run game despite the 49ers playing with a DB-dominated alignment. . . Hustled after Aaron Rodgers on third-and-8 play late in first half to force his incomplete flip out of bounds and stop the clock. That played enabled the 49ers the time to tack on a field goal at the end of the half. . . . He was credited with four tackles.
92-Will Tukuafu: He did not play on defense, but had 14 plays on special teams. He was not credited with any tackles.
93-Ian Williams: Was not active (coaches' decision).
94-Justin Smith: He played 70 snaps on defense. . . Took on two blockers for most of the game. He pushed back center Jeff Saturday, then shed tight end Tom Crabtree, to stop Benson for 2-yard gain on first play of third quarter. . . Collapsed pocket on bullrush against left guard T.J. Lang to force Rodgers to scramble for 5-yard gain in third quarter. . . He was credited with just one tackle, but he did his job.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: He played just one snap on defense, as the 49ers went to their goal-line defense. He also saw action on four special-teams plays.MAIOCCO: 49ers slow down high-powered Packers offense
Linebackers
51-Clark Haggans: He suited up for the game but did not play.
52-Patrick Willis: He started but was on the sideline for 24 snaps on certain packages in which the 49ers had six defensive backs on the field. . . Did not stop Jordy Nelson in his tracks, allowing him to move forward a couple yards to convert a second-and-9 in third quarter. . . He was credited with six tackles.MAILBAG: Where was Patrick Willis?

53-NaVorro Bowman: He started and played 59 snaps, and had an outstanding game. . . He was involved in the tackles of Cedric Benson's first four run attempts (for 9 yards), and really set the tone for discouraging the Packers from running the ball. . . Was in coverage against tight end Jermichael Finley on a 16-yard pass on a third-and-12 in the second quarter. . . Might have gotten away with illegal contact on Finley on a third-quarter play, but had good coverage at beginning of fourth quarter to swat away second-and-6 pass. . . Baited Rodgers into an interception when he took three steps up and the quickly back-pedaled to get in the path of the pass for a huge fourth-quarter interception. His 11-yard return set up Frank Gore's touchdown run on the next play. Made the hustle play 49 yards down field to prevent a touchdown against James Jones. . . He was credited with a team-high 11 tackles with one interception and two passes defensed.
54-Larry Grant: He did not play any defense but saw action on 16 plays on special teams. Cobb got outside of him on 61-yard punt return on borderline illegal block in the back. . . He was credited with one special-teams tackle.
55-Ahmad Brooks: He started at left outside linebacker and played 56 snaps. . . Good job to set the edge on a second-down run that netted Benson just 1 yard. . . Looped around and hit Rodgers on incomplete pass and avoided roughing-the-passer penalty in third quarter. . . Dropped Rodgers for just 1 yard on scramble on Packers final drive. . . Called for neutral zone infraction on final drive. . . Blew past Bulaga with an inside move to force Rodgers incomplete pass on Packers' final set of downs. . . On the next play, he took an inside route past Lang and got through center Jeff Saturday for a huge 7-yard sack with less than two minutes to play. . . He was credited with two tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and three quarterback hits.
56-Tavares Gooden: He did not see any action on defense, but he was involved in 20 special-teams plays.
99-Aldon Smith: He played 70 snaps on defense, mostly at defensive end as the 49ers rarely played their 3-4 defense against the Packers' passing game. . . On second play of the game, he made outstanding play to dart inside and stop Benson for a 1-yard gain. . . On next play, he stayed at home on a misdirection rollout and dropped Rodgers for a 10-yard sack. But when he flipped his helmet off, he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, a 15-yard penalty. . . Called for offsides to give Packers a free shot at the end zone (it was incomplete) in second quarter. . . On a three-man rush, hustled to dump Rodgers, forcing a throwaway, on play late in first half. . . Bulaga was called for holding against him on a fourth-quarter pass play. . . He was credited with three tackles, one sack and one quarterback hit.Defensive backs
20-Perrish Cox: As the fourth cornerback, Cox saw 55 snaps on defense. . . Was in coverage and slipped after completion on 12-yard gain to Randall Cobb in second quarter. . . On next play, had good coverage against Finley in end zone incompletion. The officials announced a 49ers pass interference penalty but never identified Cox. . . Came on a blitz off the slot to put a hit on Rodgers as he was throwing incomplete on the Packers' fourth-down play with inside a minute remaining in the game. . . He was credited with two tackles.
22-Carlos Rogers: He started and played 71 snaps on defense. . . He had coverage on incomplete pass for Greg Jennings on second down, and then dropped Rodgers with blitz off the slot for his first career sack to end Packers' first drive. . . Ducked around block attempt from Bulaga to drop Benson for 1-yard gain in third quarter. . . . Had tight coverage on Greg Jennings on third-and-6 play in fourth quarter and managed to break up the pass with his back to the quarterback. . . Called for pass-interference on a 4-yard pass to Jennings in the fourth quarter. . . He was credited with four tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit.
25-Tarell Brown: He started and played 71 snaps on defense. . . The Packers did not take as many shots down the field as they normally would, and Brown turned away one potential big play when he slapped away 45-yard pass inside the 10-yard line on a Rodgers throw intended for Jones in the first quarter. . . . Then, on the next play, he peeled off his man to stop Jennings for a 5-yard gain on a third-and-8 play to force a punt. . . Gave up 28-yard pass to Jordy Nelson when Nelson came back for the ball on a Rodgers scramble. . . Carried Jones from the far left side of the field all the way across on a Rodgers scramble. Rodgers hit Jones, who broke a tackle, and gained 49 yards on the fourth-quarter play. . . He was credited with six tackles and one pass defensed.
26-Tramaine Brock: He did not play on defense, but he was on the field for 19 plays on special teams. . . As the gunner running down the left side, he got down the field but Cobb broke to the outside to avoid him at beginning of 61-yard kickoff return . . . Made a big tackle off the left side as a gunner to drop Cobb for a 1-yard punt return at start of final Packers drive.
27-C.J. Spillman: He played one snap on defense as part of the 49ers' goal-line defense. He also was a core special-teams player with 20 plays. . . He was called for a bizarre penalty on the opening punt. It appeared a Packers player committed an illegal block on him, but the officials got confused and flagged Spillman for the penalty.
29-Chris Culliver: The 49ers' third cornerback was on the field for 65 plays. . . Did not make tackle on short pass to Jones in the third quarter, but at least forced him inside, where there was help to stop him after 13-yard gain. . . On the Packers' final play, he was singled up on the outside against Nelson, had good position and turned to find the ball and knock it away on fourth down to preserve the victory. He was credited with four tackles and one pass defensed.
30-Trenton Robinson: He did not play any on defense, but he saw action on 15 special-teams plays.
31-Donte Whitner: He started at strong safety and was on the field for all 72 snaps. . . He was in coverage, along with Cox, on a second-quarter attempt to Finley in the end zone. Although the officials announced Dashon Goldson as the guilty party, it certainly wasn't him. Whitner more than likely is the 49ers player the officials targeted, but his coverage looked good, too. . . On the next play, Whitner was in coverage against Finley, and allowed an inside release and a quick 1-yard TD catch. . . Delivered huge hit from behind on Nelson, who held onto the short pass for a two-point conversion. . . Stepped in front of Jennings but could not hold onto potential interception on first play of Packers' final series of the game. . . He was credited with four tackles and one pass defensed.
32-Darcel McBath: He saw no action on defense, but he was on the field for 24 special-teams plays.
38-Dashon Goldson: He started at free safety and was on the field for every play. . . He was announced for a pass-interference penalty in the end zone in the second quarter, but the officials got the wrong guy. He was away from the ball and never made contact with any Packers receiver. . . Did a good job of locking down the deep middle when 49ers came with a blitz, Rodgers went play-action, and tried to hit Nelson deep on a third-down play early in third quarter. . . Delivered a big hit on Jennings at end of a third-and-6 play in the fourth quarter that was going to be incomplete anyway. . . Goldson appeared to miss an assignment when he left his responsibility in the end zone to cover a Cobb underneath route on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jones with 6:09 left in the fourth quarter. . . On third-and-17, made a secure tackle of Cobb for just 7 yards to set up the Packers' final play of the game. He was credited with four tackles.Specialists
2-David Akers: He had a remarkable first half with three field goals, including two kicks of 43 and 63 yards in the final 55 seconds. His 63-yarder as time expired in the first half tied Akers, a 14-year veteran, with Tom Dempsey (1970), Jason Elam (1998) and Sebastian Janikowski (2011) for longest field goal in NFL history. . . He also did a good job on kickoffs, as the Packers average starting point was their own 21-yard line.
4-Andy Lee: He averaged 51.2 yards on his five punts, but Cobb's 61-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter ruined his net average (35.2). Three of Lee's punts were inside the 20-yard line.
86-Brian Jennings: He handled all 11 of the 49ers' long snaps for placements and punts.

Owners of No. 1 overall pick, Browns still searching for franchise QB

Owners of No. 1 overall pick, Browns still searching for franchise QB

CLEVELAND -- Finding Bigfoot has been more productive than the Cleveland Browns' search for a franchise quarterback.

This flawed football quest drags on.

For nearly two decades, the Browns, once a standard of NFL excellence and now a league punching bag, have been running in circles as they try to find a quarterback to lead them from the darkness to relevance and respectability. Since the franchise's inglorious expansion return in 1999, they've started 26 quarterbacks, a roll call of names that haunt even the most loyal Cleveland fans holding out hope the team will one day get it right.

From Tim Couch to Trent Dilfer, from Derek Anderson to Cody Kessler, and let's not forget that year of fun with Johnny Manziel, QBs have cycled through Cleveland like tourists, with none sticking around for long.

It's been a running joke.

And until the Browns find that long-term answer at quarterback, they'll continue to be looked at as a laughingstock.

They'll have another chance to perhaps end this long pursuit in this week's NFL draft. With the No. 1 and No. 12 overall picks, and four more selections in the first three rounds, the Browns are positioned to finally fix the most important position on the field.

This could be the year Cleveland fans have longed for, the one when the Browns find their Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger. But as fate would have it, this year's QB class isn't highly regarded. Many draft experts feel there isn't a quarterback worth a first-round selection and that Cleveland should wait until 2018.

That's just so Browns, whose experiment with Robert Griffin III backfired last season, resulting in the latest QB confusion.

"We're going to keep searching," coach Hue Jackson said recently. "I think we all understand, no one's really claimed this position yet on our football team so we need to do everything we can to continue to add a player that we feel, as an organization, really good about, that can lead our football team and we'll continue to chase that."

The chase continues Thursday when the Browns try to find that elusive, essential piece. Or fumble again.

Here are some quarterback tidbits to chew on when the Browns go on the clock:

UP TOP: Cleveland seems locked in ON Texas A&M defensive stud Myles Garrett at No. 1, and while he's proficient at sacks, there are no three- or seven-step drops in his future. The Browns are impressed with North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, a former Ohio Mr. Football, despite his inexperience (only 13 college starts), but probably not enough to take him first. Landing Garrett and Trubisky would be a dream scenario, but Cleveland may have to trade up as the rebuilding Jets have sent out vibes they prefer Trubisky.

WHY NOT WATSON? Clemson's Deshaun Watson would seem to fit Jackson's profile of the ideal QB: mobile, dynamic, successful. The Browns, though, don't seem enthralled with Watson - not in the first round anyway - unless their silence is a smoke screen. There are other good options like Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer, Texas A&M's Patrick Mahomes or California's Davis Webb, who may all be available after Round 1.

DRAFT DEBACLES: The Browns' track record drafting QBs - or any position - is abysmal over the past decade, which is why many Cleveland fans fear the team will mess up again. Since 2007, only OT Joe Thomas and CB Joe Haden have proven to be good choices. Eight other first-round picks are no longer on the roster.

Along with Couch, the No. 1 choice in '99, the Browns have used first-round picks on Brady Quinn, Brandon Weeden and Manziel, who was Johnny Goofball in an orange helmet. Those mistakes shouldn't deter the Browns from selecting a QB early, but they are grim reminders that there are no givens.

WAITING GAME: Would waiting one more year be so bad? Draft experts point to the 2018 QB class, led by UCLA's Josh Rosen and USC's Sam Darnold, as being more talented than the 2017 group. That wouldn't preclude the Browns from taking a quarterback later in this draft, just not in the first round.

HOMETOWN HEROES: Trubisky is the latest in a long line of Ohio-born QBs tabbed as the Browns' next savior. Quinn, Charlie Frye and Brian Hoyer all grew up as Browns fans, but none was able to lead the turnaround. If Trubisky is picked, the pressure on him to be the team's leader and face of the franchise will be immense.

BYE-BYE BROCK?: The Browns made a shocking move in free agency, acquiring QB Brock Osweiler, his $16 million guaranteed contract and a 2018 second-round pick from Houston. Cleveland made it clear Osweiler was not part of the future, but he's still on the roster and could be part of a fall-back plan if the Browns don't get their desired quarterback.

 

Report: 49ers strongly considering QB at No. 2

Report: 49ers strongly considering QB at No. 2

General manager John Lynch and the 49ers have created the desired intrigue about what the club will do with the No. 2 overall pick in this week’s NFL draft.

The team remains “open for business,” in the words of Lynch, to trade the second pick. If the 49ers are unable to find a trade partner, the team can do any number of different ways with that pick. The first round of the draft is scheduled for Thursday evening.

After edge-rusher Myles Garrett, widely projected to go to the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 overall pick, there does not seem to be much separating the next dozen prospects on the board at a number of different positions.

Now, there is buzz the 49ers could go with a quarterback – likely, Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina – with the No. 2 pick. That possibility gained steam Monday morning with a report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, citing “several sources,” that the 49ers are “strongly considering” selecting a quarterback with the second pick.

One league source last week told NBC Sports Bay Area some around the league believe the 49ers would draft Trubisky or Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

“If the 49ers are waiting on Kirk Cousins, just remember that Trubisky is a better prospect now than Cousins was coming out of the 2012 draft,” the source said.

Cousins, who is set to play his second consecutive year as Washington’s franchise player, was a fourth-round selection under then-coach Mike Shanahan, New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was his father’s offensive coordinator when Washington drafted Cousins.

Lynch has been open in his scouting and praise of this year’s draft class. He has attended workouts of top quarterback prospects: Trubisky, Deshaun Watson (Clemson), DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame), Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) and Davis Webb (Cal).

"I think most of this quarterback class should be later down the line, whether it's first round or second round,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said recently. ESPN’s Mel Kipier and Todd McShay had Trubisky as the first quarterback selected by the Browns at No. 12 overall.

“I think these guys are somewhat getting a bad rap,” Lynch said at the NFL scouting combine. “You turn on the film, and there’s a lot to like.”

The 49ers head into this week’s draft with Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley as the only two quarterbacks on the roster.

The 49ers have shown no interest in re-signing any of the top three quarterbacks on the team’s roster last season: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. Each of those players remains unsigned.