49ers defensive review: The Aldon Smith Show


49ers defensive review: The Aldon Smith Show

If it weren't for Colin Kaepernick, all anyone would be talking about a day after the 49ers' 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears would be the performance of 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith.Smith was credited with 5.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits, seven tackles and two forced fumbles in his 48 snaps from scrimmage.He lined up at both end positions, and treated Chicago Bears left tackle J'Marcus Webb and right tackle Gabe Carimi with equal amounts of rudeness. In Pro Football Focus' rating system, Smith ended up with an extraordinary 9.8 grade.Smith was certainly not alone, as far as defensive standouts, but he stood above the rest and should now be considered on any short list of candidates for NFL Defensive Player of the Year with six games remaining.MAIOCCO: Aldon Smith leads strong defensive showing
--Usually, Aldon Smith and Justin Smith work together on the same side in pass-rush situations. Aldon lines up at end and Justin is on the inside, where he generally does a remarkable job of creating openings through which Aldon Smith can get a free run at the quarterback.On Monday, the two Smiths helped each other by playing on opposite sides. This made the Bears decide where to give help. On back-to-back sacks, Aldon Smith lined up at left end, while Justin Smith was at right end. They pretty much had a foot race to greet Bears quarterback Jason Campbell on two sacks.On the second sack, it would've been a shared sack, but Aldon Smith forced the fumble that ultimately resulted in a safety. Therefore, Aldon Smith got full credit for the sack.--Aldon Smith used power moves for 4.5 of his sacks, and he made Carimi whiff on an inside move for his other sack.
--Justin Smith had a 6.3 grade for the game, according to PFF. He was credited with only a half-sack, but he was just a step away from getting a couple others, as Aldon Smith beat him to the quarterback.Justin Smith and Ahmad Brooks, the left outside linebacker, were very effective in pursuit and making tackles from the backside.--Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga rebounded with a good game. He did a much better job at the point of attack. On the Bears' second drive, he fended off a double-team by center Robert Garza and left guard Chilo Rachal to drop Matt Forte for no gain.--Because Sopoaga did not allow the Bears' interior linemen to get to the second level, inside linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis had big performances. Willis was particularly impressive in pass coverage. He broke up two passes, but he also stopped completions for short gains.--Cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers played well. According to PFF, Brown was targeted nine times and gave up just five catches for 37 yards. Brown made an exceptional play to diagnose a Devin Hester route and break on the ball for a second-quarter interception. Rogers was targeted twice and did not allow a completion.--Safety Dashon Goldson teamed up for good coverage on Brandon Marshall, who was held to just two catches for 21 yards. Goldson made a nice interception of an overthrown Campbell pass and managed to get both feet inbounds at the sideline.--Marshall made only one play in the game, as he went over Chris Culliver's tight coverage to catch a 13-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.--The Bears' one touchdown came on a series that probably should have come to an end several plays earlier. Brooks broke through to sack Campbell and force a fumble. As Aldon Smith and Carimi were in pursuit of the fumble, Smith shoved Carimi from behind, just as Carimi was batting the ball out of bounds. Referee Tony Corrente ruled that Smith was making no attempt to go after the loose ball and, therefore, his shove in the back was illegal. The 1-yard penalty nullified Brooks' sack and it gave the Bears an automatic first down.--Punter Andy Lee and the coverage units had a strong game against Hester, who managed negative-1 yard on three returns. Lee's net average was a remarkable 47.3, thanks some good coverage by starters Goldson and Bowman, as well as C.J. Spillman, Tramaine Brock and Anthony Dixon.--Kicker David Akers got back in his comfort zone with field goals of 32, 37 and 32 yards.

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan is close to completing his 49ers coaching staff.

Shanahan will handle the duties of the offensive coordinator, the position he held with Houston, Washington and Atlanta over the past nine NFL seasons.

Robert Saleh is the 49ers' new defensive coordinator, while Richard Hightower has been hired as the special-teams coordiator.

Here's a look at the 49ers' coaching staffs under Shanahan and last season under Chip Kelly:

Position: Coach (2016 job)
Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (Falcons, offensive coordinator)
Defensive coordinator: Robert Saleh (Jaguars, linebackers coach)
Special teams coordinator: Richard Hightower (Bears, assistant special teams)
Assistant head coach/tight ends: Jon Embree (Buccaneers, tight ends)
Run game specialist: Mike McDaniel (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Quarterbacks: Rich Scangarello (Wagner, offensive coordinator)
Running backs: Bobby Turner (Falcons, running backs)
Wide receivers: Mike LaFleur (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Offensive line: Vacant
Offensive assistant: T.C. McCartney (LSU, offensive assistant)
Senior defensive assistant: Jason Tarver (49ers, outside linebackers)
Defensive line: Jeff Zgonina (N.Y. Giants, assistant defensive line)
Linebackers: Johnny Holland (Browns, inside linebackers)
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Offensive quality control: Taylor Embree (Chiefs, defensive assistant)
Defensive quality control: Bobby Slowik
Head strength and conditioning: Ray Wright

* * *

Position: Coach (current status)
Head coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive coordinator: Curtis Modkins (Bears, running backs)
Defensive coordinator: Jim O’Neil
Special teams coordinator: Derius Swinton
Quarterbacks: Ryan Day (Ohio State, quarterbacks)
Running backs: Tom Rathman
Wide receivers: Bob Bicknell
Tight ends: Jeff Nixon (Baylor, co-offensive coordinator/running backs)
Offensive line: Pat Flaherty (Jaguars, offensive line)
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford (South Carolina, offensive line)
Defensive line: Jerry Azzinaro (Cal, defensive line)
Assistant defensive line: Vince Oghobaase
Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver (49ers, senior defensive assistant)
Inside linebacker: Joe Bowden
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Assistant defensive backs: Roy Anderson (Bears, assistant secondary)
Assistant special teams: Michael Clay
Offensive quality control: Mick Lombardi (Jets, offensive assistant/assistant QBs coach)
Defensive quality control: Tem Lukabu
Senior analyst: Dana Bible
Director of human performance: Mark Uyeyama

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

John Benton, who coached on the same staff during Kyle Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, has reportedly received permission from the Denver Broncos to interview with the 49ers.

The Broncos hired Benton on Jan. 15 to work as the team’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

But Denver coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway provided Benton permission to interview with the 49ers, Denver’s 9News reported. The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were looking at Benton.

The offensive line coach is the last major position that remains vacant on Shanahan’s staff.

Benton worked last season as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Shanahan’s first NFL coaching job was with Houston in 2006, when he coached wide receivers. Shanahan became the quarterbacks coach with the Texans in 2007 before spending the next two seasons as offensive coordinator under then-coach Gary Kubiak.

The 49ers announced nine additions to the coaching staff on Friday.

Also, the 49ers are expected to hire Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, according to The Sporting News. 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.