49ers enter NFL record book

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49ers enter NFL record book

The 49ers capped their historical regular season Sunday with three entries into the NFL record book.--Punter Andy Lee set the NFL record for single-season net punting average of 43.99 yards. The previous record was held by Oakland's Shane Lechler, who averaged 43.85 net yards in 2009. On Sunday, Lee averaged 56.8 yards (51.4 net) on five punts.
--Kicker David Akers scored 165 points on the season to set the NFL record for most points scored in a single season with no touchdowns. Gary Anderson (Minnesota) held the previous record of 164 points in 1998.RELATED: David Akers 2011 game logs
--The 49ers committed just 10 turnovers on the season to tie the NFL record for fewest giveaways in a season. Last year, the New England Patriots had 10 turnovers. The 49ers went the final 22 quarters without turning the ball over.Among their other superlatives . . .
--The 49ers finished with a plus-28 turnover margin, tied for second-best margin in the NFL for a single season since 1970.--Quarterback Alex Smith finished the season with 160 attempts without an interception -- the second-longest streak in franchise history. In 1993, Steve Young attempted 183 passes without an interception.RELATED: Alex Smith 2011 game logs
--Smith finished with 17 touchdown passes and five interceptions. His 3.40 touchdown-to-interception ratio is third in franchise history behind Young's 3.57 and 3.50 in 1992 and 1994, respectively.--Smith threw for a career-high 3,150 yards on the season. Receiver Michael Crabtree set single-season highs with 73 catches for 880 yards.
--The 49ers' 13-3 record was the franchise's best mark in the regular season since 1997.--The 49ers won six road games, marking the most road wins for the team since 1996.--The team won five games with 10 a.m. (PT) start times for the first time since going 5-0 in those such games since 1990.RELATED: NFL standings
--Coach Jim Harbaugh became the fourth rookie head coach in NFL history to win 13 or more games. He is the first coach to accomplish the feat after inheriting a team coming off a losing record.
--The 49ers allowed just 23 touchdowns on the season, tying the fewest allowed in a single season in franchise history. In 1971, the 49ers also allowed 23 touchdowns -- but in a 14-game season.\RELATED: Final 49ers 2011 regular season stats--The 49ers allowed an average of 14.3 points a game, the third-best mark in franchise history.--After setting an NFL record for not allowing a rushing touchdown for the first 14 games of the season, the defense fell short of the record for fewest rushing TDs allowed in a season. The Rams scored two rushing touchdowns on Sunday to give the 49ers' defense three TDs allowed on the ground. The NFL record is two, set by four teams. "Many teams" have allowed three rushing TDs in a season, according to the league.--It's almost impossible to track the uniqueness of this, but . . . starting offensive tackles Joe Staley and Anthony Davis were not penalized for holding the entire season.

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

The 49ers have graduated back to the phase of the offseason when offense-vs.-defense drills are allowed.

Because of the hiring of Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers were allowed an additional “voluntary” minicamp before the NFL draft. That meant the 49ers were permitted to skip from the two-week conditioning phase of the offseason straight to what is allowed under Phase III.

But after the three-day minicamp in late-April, the 49ers were forced to retreat back to Phase II, when on-field drills but could not include offense vs. defense.

Beginning Monday – and over the next three weeks -- the 49ers can get back to conducting the standard one-on-one, 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 "non-contact" drills. The 49ers have the maximum number of 10 organized team activities scheduled. The official offseason program concludes with a mandatory minicamp scheduled for June 13-15.

The real competition does not begin until the pads go on during training camp. but here’s a look at the team’s most notable offseason competitions (one position you will not find is quarterback, where the depth chart of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard appears clearly set):

Running back: Carlos Hyde, entering the final year of his original four-year contract, has a lot of competition to hold onto his role as the featured back. He is coming off his most-productive season, finishing just 12 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark when he sustained a knee injury with one game remaining. Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner lobbied for Utah running back Joe Williams in the draft. They clearly see a fit for him within the system.

Pass-rush end: The 49ers’ pass rush was among the worst in the NFL the past two seasons. Arik Armstead will be given an opportunity to see if he can adapt to the “Leo” position. Aaron Lynch must earn the confidence of the coaching staff and front office. The 49ers added explosive, 243-pound pass Pita Taumoepenu in the sixth round.

Tight end: The 49ers confirmed Vance McDonald was available for a trade during the draft. After finding no takers, the 49ers brought back McDonald and he rejoins the competition among rookies George Kittle and Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

Cornerback: Rashard Robinson is the obvious choice to start on one side. And assuming Jimmie Ward remains at free safety, the 49ers have no other player on the roster who has started a significant number of games at cornerback. Rookie Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, will have a legitimate opportunity to win a starting job, as long as he displays a willingness to stick his nose into the action and play with the requisite level of physicality. Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser and Will Redmond should also be in the mix to replace Tramaine Brock, who was released shortly after his arrest after an alleged domestic incident last month.

Center: Jeremy Zuttah, a Pro Bowl performer, was added in the offseason via a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Daniel Kilgore has been the 49ers’ center the past three seasons but injuries have limited him to just 23 starts over that period of time. Zuttah has position flexibility. The 49ers could determine the best thing for the offensive line is to move Zuttah to one of the guard positions – to challenge Zane Beadles or Joshua Garnett -- if he is not clearly better than Kilgore.

Weakside linebacker: The 49ers signed veteran Malcolm Smith on the first day of free agency, providing him with $11.5 million of fully guaranteed money. The 49ers ranked Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster as the No. 3 overall prospect in the draft. They traded up to select him at No. 31 overall. Assuming Foster is ready to compete at the beginning of training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, it appears likely he would line up in that position and compete with Smith. The 49ers’ medical staff does not believe Foster will require any additional surgery, and Foster said he expects to be cleared for the opening of camp.

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent last offseason working with Tom House and Adam Dedeaux on his throwing mechanics.

Ryan went on to set career-bests in completion percentage (69.9), yards passing (4,944), touchdowns (38), interceptions (7) and passer rating (117.1).

New 49ers quarterback Matt Barkley worked with House and Dedeaux for the fourth offseason in Southern California before reporting to Santa Clara for the team’s offseason program.

“Kyle (Shanhan) is on board with what House and those guys are doing – I think, really, because of the year Matt Ryan had,” Barkley said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He’s a believer in that. He saw the benefits of what Matt did with some of his drops and the timing on routes, how he changed his feet on some things. So we’re kind of sticking with that plan. Everyone is a little different, but for the most part we’re all on the same page when it comes to what our drops are looking like, our footwork and how the ball is coming out.”

House is a former major league pitcher and pitching coach who founded the 3DQB training facility in Los Angeles. Dedeaux pitched at USC and is the grandson of USC baseball coaching legend Rod Dedeaux. Former NFL quarterback John Beck is a motion mechanics instructor.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer are among the NFL quarterbacks who have worked with 3DQB.

“I believe in those guys and what they’re doing,” Barkley said. “They’re at the top of their game, working with Brady and a bunch of other guys. They’ve helped me.

“He won’t change your throwing motion or really tweak how the ball comes out, but he’s going to try to maximize velocity and ground force production and torque -- a lot of sports science terms. But, really, just maximizing efficiency with your motion and making sure you’re sequencing is right.”

Barkley had never played for Shanahan before signing a two-year contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. But there are two obvious connections. Barkley’s offensive coordinator last season with the Chicago Bears was Dowell Loggains, Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Shanahan was the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator. The other connection is House.

"It’s kind of funny, he worked with Atlanta’s staff all of last year, helped Matt Ryan, kind of build his base from the ground up and helped him a lot and he had an MVP year," Barkley said of House.

"There may have been talks down the pipeline, who knows. I don’t think that was the deciding factor by any means, but it never hurts.”