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

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

Here's the player-by-player breakdown of the 49ers' defense from their 20-9 exhibition loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday:Defensive line
40-Demarcus Dobbs: He played just 11 snaps on defense, as he entered the game as part of the 49ers' nickel package in each of the first six series of the game. He did not get any tackles or pressures. He was on the 49ers' starting kickoff coverage and kick return units.
63-Tony Jerod-Eddie: Entered at left defensive end in the second half and played 20 snaps. Did not get involved in any of the action during that time. He was not credited with any tackles.
69-Patrick Butrym: He entered in the second half and played 17 snaps. He was the only one on the 49ers' defensive line to play all three spots. He did not pick up any tackles. Guard Shelley Smith moved him out of the way on a play in which running back Justin Forsett picked up 14 yards in the fourth quarter.
71-Matthew Masifilo: He entered in the second half and played a combined 17 snaps at right defensive end and nose tackle. He was credited with two tackles.
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at nose tackle, and was removed in nickel situations. He played 12 snaps over a period of the first four Texans' drives. . . Stayed on his feet against right guard Antoine Caldwell's attempt at a cut block to drop running back Arian Foster after a 1-yard gain on the first drive. He finished with one tackle, but was outstanding at holding the point of attack.
91-Ray McDonald: Started at left end and played the first two possessions, nine snaps in all. He recorded one assisted tackle.
92-Will Tukuafu: He replaced McDonald at left end and played three series for a total of 20 plays. He was not credited with any tackles or pressures. . . Right tackle Rashad Butler handled him on a play in which Foster gained 24 yards late in the first half on the Texans' touchdown drive.
93-Ian Williams: Replaced Sopoaga at nose tackle in the first half, and played very well. He was credited with just one tackle, but showed good awareness on a couple of plays. He did good job of recognizing screen play at the start of the second half and then avoiding block of Shelley Smith on play in which Ben Tate gained just 2 yards. Kept eyes on backup quarterback T.J. Yates and was not fooled by bootleg and got his hands up to contribute to an incomplete pass.
94-Justin Smith: Started and played the first nine snaps of the game at right defensive end. He was not credited with any tackles, but Foster gained just 8 yards on four rushing attempts against the 49ers' first-team defense.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: Replaced Justin Smith at right end and played 23 snaps in all. Strengthened his hold on the team's No. 4 defensive lineman job. He was credited with two tackles and a quarterback hurry. Working against left guard Wade Smith, he got heat on quarterback Matt Schaub and hit him as he was throwing to force an incomplete pass on third-and-7 in the second quarter. Good penetration against Shelley Smith to force third-quarter incomplete pass.Linebackers
41-Kenny Rowe: Made his 49ers debut after being signed one week ago. He played nine snaps with time spent at both outside linebacker spots. On his first play, Garrett Graham blocked him out of the picture for a 24-yard gain for Foster. He was credited with one assisted tackle.
44-Eric Bakhtiari: He started at right outside linebacker and was removed in favor of Dobbs in nickel situations in the first half. He was the only player to be on the field to play defense throughout the entire game, playing 48 of the 49ers' 55 defensive plays. He recorded six of his game-high seven tackles in the second half, as he was dominant against the Texans' reserves. He did a good job of setting the edge against tight end Garrett Graham on back-to-back plays to open second half. Also, drew a holding penalty against guard Brandon Brooks in the third quarter.
47-Ikaika Alama-Francis: Did not play after being signed just three days earlier.
48-Kourtnei Brown: He played 18 snaps, mostly at right outside linebacker, and showed some good things with two tackles. Did a good job against the block of Owen Daniels to stop Foster for a 3-yard gain. But flew up the field on a second-and-23 play, which gave running back Jonathan Grimes a lane for a 16-yard gain in the third quarter.
50-Cam Johnson: Did not play (knee).
51-Joe Holland: Played every snap during the final four series at inside linebacker. He shot the center-guard gap with a perfectly timed blitz to pick up a 9-yard sack, getting to Yates before the back could pick him up. He finished with three tackles. On special teams, he ran past return man Trindon Holliday at beginning of his 87-yard punt return.
52-Patrick Willis: Started at inside linebacker and played the first nine snaps of the game, during which time he recorded three tackles. Willis closed hole quick against Foster cut-back to drop him for 4-yard gain in first quarter.
53-NaVorro Bowman: Started at inside linebacker and played the first nine snaps of the game. In coverage against tight end Owens Daniels on first play, jumped route and nearly got his hands on the ball, but Owens caught it for a 5-yard gain.
54-Larry Grant: Entered with the second unit and played 23 snaps. He recorded one tackle. He had a missed tackle on a third-and-1 play behind the sticks on James Casey, who gained 3 yards. The Texans went on to score a touchdown on the drive. Grant was credited with one tackle in the game. He was on the 49ers' first team kickoff coverage and kick return units.
55-Ahmad Brooks: Did not play (left knee).
56-Tavares Gooden: He played 23 snaps at inside linebacker on the second unit. He was credited with one tackle. He was on the 49ers' first team kickoff coverage and kick return units. He also made one stop on special teams.
57-Michael Wilhoite: He entered at inside linebacker and played the final 23 snaps of the game. He made a tackle on punt coverage in the third quarter and then played his first snaps of defense. He had good coverage on receiver Keshawn Martin and tossed him to the turf on a 3-yard gain. Wilhoite finished with two tackles on defense.
58-Darius Fleming: Did not play; on football injury list.
98-Parys Haralson: Started at left outside linebacker and played the first 21 snaps of the game. He was credited with two tackles. Took on Daniels, stood him up and dropped Foster for no gain on the first drive. Did another outstanding job of setting the edge against Graham, and then shedding him to stop Foster for a 3-yard gain in the second quarter. He was also on the 49ers' first-team kickoff return unit.
99-Aldon Smith: Did not play (right hip).Defensive backs
20-Perrish Cox: Did not play (leg).
22-Carlos Rogers: Started at left cornerback and played nine snaps with no action going his way.
23-Cory Nelms: He played just one snap on defense. On special teams, he did not do a good job as the gunner off the left sideline, as he overran Holliday out of bounds on his 87-yard punt return.
25-Tarell Brown: Started at right cornerback and played the first nine snaps of the game. For the second exhibition game in a row, he did not see any action go his way.
26-Tramaine Brock: He played 36 snaps at right cornerback and found himself in the middle of a couple of big plays. Did not turn to look for the ball on deep pass to All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson, who caught it for a 43-yard gain in the second quarter. Made good one-on-one tackle of Foster to drop him for 1-yard loss. Got turned around and was called for a 32-yard pass-interference penalty against receiver Keshawn Martin. A couple plays later broke up short pass to Lestar Jean.
27-C.J. Spillman: He played 36 snaps at strong safety with the 49ers' second-team defense. He made three tackles. And got inside Graham on a well-timed blitz to force running back Ben Tate inside on a 2-yard loss in the third quarter. He was also on the 49ers' first-team kickoff coverage and return units.
29-Chris Culliver: Entered as 49ers' third cornerback and played four snaps there over the first two possessions. Then, he played 36 more snaps at left cornerback in place of starter Carlos Rogers. In man coverage on third play of the game, he surrendered 22-yard pass to Martin on a deep-in route. Got a piece of Foster's jersey to slow him up after completion on third-and-8 to help limit him to 7 yards on a first-quarter play. He was credited with three tackles.
30-Trenton Robinson: He played 23 snaps with the second-team defense. On his first play, he got turned around in coverage against Andre Johnson on a second-quarter pass that went for 43 yards. Gave receiver Lestar Jean a little too much cushion a 9-yard pass that came on a third-and-8. He was credited with one tackle. He was on the first-team kickoff coverage and return units.
31-Donte Whitner: Started at strong safety and played the first nine snaps. He bounced off an attempted block by right tackle Derek Newton to stop Foster for a 3-yard gain on a screen pass on a third-and-9 play in the first quarter.
32-Darcel McBath: He played the final four series of the game, 23 snaps in all, at safety and was credited with one tackle.
33-Anthony Mosley: The undrafted free agent got his first taste of exhibition action on defense, playing the final 10 snaps at right cornerback. No action went his way.
36-Michael Thomas: He played 11 snaps on defense, spanning both halves, exclusively at the nickel back position. He blitzed out of the slot and got to Yates for a 9-yard sack before Tate saw him. He was in coverage against Martin, who caught an 11-yard pass on third-and-7. He was on the first-team kickoff coverage unit.
38-Dashon Goldson: Started at free safety and played the first nine snaps of the game. He was credited with one tackle.
40-Deante' Purvis: Entered the game at left cornerback for the final two series of the game, 10 plays in all. He was credited with one tackle on special teams.
43-Colin Jones: He played the final 10 snaps at safety. He also was on the 49ers' first units for kickoff coverage and kick return.Specialists
2-David Akers: He handled the placekicking chores and had a very nice night. Akers accounted for all of the 49ers' scoring with field goals of 50, 36 and 55 yards.
4-Andy Lee: He averaged 53.3 yards on four punts, including a 61-yarder. However, Holliday returned his knuckle ball near the left sideline for an 87-yard touchdown. Lee was the last person to beat, and Holliday squeezed past him along the sideline.
5-Giorgio Tavecchio: The undrafted rookie from Cal handled all four kickoffs in the game. The Texans' average starting point after those kickoffs was the 24-yard line. His final two kicks of the evening were touchbacks.
86-Brian Jennings: He handled the long-snapping chores.

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.”