49ers impress Romo with snap-to-whistle defense


49ers impress Romo with snap-to-whistle defense

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The Dallas Cowboys were cruising with a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter before incurring a total meltdown in their season opener against the New York Jets on Sunday night.--Quarterback Tony Romo lost a fumble inside the Jets' 5-yard line with nine minutes remaining.--Mat McBriar's punt four minutes later was blocked and returned for a game-tying touchdown.
--With less than a minute to play with the ball on their own 41, Romo threw an ill-advised pass on first down that Darrelle Revis intercepted and returned 20 yards.--Former Cowboys kicker Nick Folk booted a 50-yarder with 27 seconds remaining to provide the Jets with a 27-24 victory.In a departure from the norm, Romo insisted on holding his weekly conference call with 49ers reporters on Monday. Typically, the conference call is held on Wednesdays. He was clearly eager to put the Jets game behind him and begin the process of looking ahead to the next opponent.The 49ers and Cowboys meet at Candlestick Park on Sunday.
Here is what he had to say on Monday:Q: What are your impressions of the 49ers?
Romo: "Good. They play hard. It jumps off the tape that they're an aggressive team that goes to the whistle. When you watch them, you can tell they're going to play a little two-man against us, probably have some sort of secondary blitzes, some corners and stuff. It's an aggressive team. They want to attack people and you gotta be prepared for that."Q: What's a two-man?
Romo: "I said two-man -- that's just a coverage term that I think they like to play. It's just they play a man-under scheme where they have two safeties open."Q: Did you see any secondary blitzes in the Seattle game?
Romo: "I think when you watch them, it depends on who you're calling a secondary, but yeah, you see different forms of it. Without giving away too much of it to you guys, I just think that they're an aggressive, attacking style defense."Q: Did you watch any Stanford film to get a better idea of what this team's all about?
Romo: "Yeah, I think a little bit. We're just started the process here, but I want to say just instantly watching they have a little of the Dom Capers feel to them. I don't know all of the background there, but they look a little bit like when we play the Redskins or the Packers in some ways, and you know, little mix-ups so they'll go from a three-down front to a four-down, things like that."Q: Tony, has this been kind of cathartic for you just to get over Sunday night's game by looking ahead to the 49ers so fast?
Romo: "I mean, you gotta get ready and go. The games come up fast, you have to be in a position to come back fast. You gotta be ready to go. For us, that's why we get in here and play this game. Last night was disappointing and frustrating and you gotta make sure that doesn't happen again, and I'm going to make sure of that."Q: The 49ers seemed to get a lot of pressure against the Seahawks, not blitzing a whole lot. How difficult is it to prepare for an opponent's blitz package when they haven't really shown much the previous game?
Romo: "Well, that's why I said we were going to see some pressure because if you're able to get it like they did with the Seahawks game with just the front guys, you know, there's no reason to continually send it. So if they're able to continually do that, they'll do the same thing to us. I would think that they're going to have to, and they're going to end up bringing some secondary pressures against us. So, I just think you prepare for it within their system and we have to be ready for it."Q: Tony, was that a pretty subdued, quiet flight home? I can imagine you guys were pretty shocked at how it turned.
Romo: "Yeah, obviously like I said, it was disappointing and frustrating just to lose that football game yesterday. That's why we're up early to move onto the 49ers now. You have to get ready for the next one. We have to put that one behind us, and I have to come out and play my best game this week, and make sure that what happened last week doesn't happen again, and I'll do that."Q: You've only had one regular season game, but does it feel like defensive coordinators are going to be more aggressive against you guys, just because of all of the new guys on the offensive line?
Romo: "Yeah, I'd think that's a good assessment, I also think when you look at the tape, I think the sense is that people usually have a way of bringing different people against us because they feel it's in their best interest to attack us. When we see this week, we saw a lot of three and four man rush as they played last week, which usually means you won't see the same for the next week."Note: The Cowboys went through a nearly complete overhaul on their offensive line. They start two rookies -- right tackle Tyron Smith (USC) and left guard Bill Nagy (Wisconsin). But the Cowboys still have a potent offense. Romo completed 23 of 36 passes for 342 yards in the opener.Q: What time did you get home, and what time were you back to work Monday morning for the quick turn-around?
Romo: "We got the airport at 4:30, got home at 5, 5:15. Back in here at 10, just getting ready for the 49ers."Q: When you look at the 49ers defense on film, is Patrick Willis the guy who catches your eye or Ray MacDonald, what you see from 91? What do you see personnel from that team?
Romo: "What jumps off the tape is that they play hard. I mean, you don't see anyone not giving 100 percent. Obviously, Patrick Willis is a great player. We're going to have to account for him. MacDonald showed up obviously last week, and I should think, these guys go to the whistle. They're going to be tough to handle and it's going to be a great challenge for our guys up front this week."Q: You've played against Carlos Rogers a lot. What distinguishes him as a cornerback?
Romo: "He's got a good sense for the ball. He's got good timing, and good instincts. You just have to be prepared for him.Q: Tony, you've never played in San Francisco. You've played the 49ers a couple years ago, but you personally have never played in San Francisco. What familiarity do you have with the rivalry between these two teams?
Romo: "I obviously came about after it was, you know stuff in the old days, but I love reading about the game and hearing about the history. I know all about the great games of the 80s and 90s and hopefully we'll be able to resurrect that one day."

Why Shanahan chose Hoyer and Barkley over Kaepernick

Why Shanahan chose Hoyer and Barkley over Kaepernick

PHOENIX – Coach Kyle Shanahan walked into a position with the 49ers in which he had no quarterbacks on the roster.

On the first two days of free agency, the 49ers added Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. He determined they were better fits for the offense he would be installing over Colin Kaepernick, who started 64 regular-season and postseason games for the 49ers over the past 4 ½ seasons.

Shanahan appeared to be looking for quarterbacks who are more proficient at going through progressions and making plays from the pocket. Kaepernick was not deemed as a good fit for Shanahan's offense.

“Colin’s had a great career, and he’s done some really good things,” Shanahan said on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think Colin has a certain skillset that you can put a specific offense to it that he can be very successful in.

“When we first looked at it, you got to look at each quarterback and what type of offense you want to put in. That wasn’t necessarily the direction I wanted to go. I wanted to put in a different type of offense.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. General manager John Lynch has confirmed the 49ers would have released Kaepernick if he had not opted out of his deal.

“The type of offense I wanted to run was somewhat different and that’s why we went that type of direction,” Shanahan said.

The 49ers’ top target in free agency was Hoyer, who enters his ninth NFL season with his sixth different team. Shanahan was offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 in Hoyer’s second and final season with the club.

Hoyer started five games with Chicago in 2016 before getting sidelined with broken left arm. Hoyer completed 67 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions in 200 attempts.

“All these questions about what I like in a quarterback, Brian is like that,” Shanahan said. “He’s obsessed with the game. He will learn your offense. He’ll be able to execute and run it. That gives other guys a chance to perform in your offense. If your quarterback can’t execute it and go through it, it doesn’t always matter what the O-line or the receivers are doing.

“With Brian, you have a very smart guy who works at it, will hang in the pocket and is fearless, will keep his eyes down the field and deliver the ball to the right spots. It gives people a chance to be successful.”

The 49ers also reached a contract agreement with Barkley, who started six games with the Bears due to injuries to Jay Cutler and Hoyer. Barkley saw the most extensive playing time of his career. He completed 59.7 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

“Just watching Matt since college, Matt’s always been a solid player, even coming out and playing at an early age at (USC),” Shanahan said. “He’s battle-tested in that way. He’s gone through the pressure of college, the pressure of the draft, being in the NFL, being with some different teams. Even watching Matt in Chicago this year, I think he played better this year than he has throughout his career. That means the guy is continuing to work at it.”

The 49ers figure to go to training camp with four quarterbacks, so the team is not finished at the quarterback position.

“We’ll look to add anyone who can really help us,” Shanahan said. “I’m very happy with the two we got. You know we’re not only going to take two to camp. So we got to see how the draft works out and then you see what else is out there.”

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

PHOENIX – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he does not believe quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being “blackballed” in his attempt to continue his career.

“I haven’t heard that from our clubs in any way that that’s an issue,” Goodell said during his press conference to conclude the NFL owners meetings.

“My experience in 35 years is that our clubs make independent evaluations of players. They work hard to try to improve their teams. But if they think a player can help improve their team, they’re going to do that.”

Kaepernick remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his 49ers contract earlier this month. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman this week was asked on ESPN’s "First Take" whether he felt Kaepernick was being blackballed.

"I'm sure he is," Sherman answered. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand."

General manager John Lynch on Tuesday said the 49ers have not had any contact with Kaepernick since he and coach Kyle Shanahan met with Kaepernick on Feb. 22 in Santa Clara. The 49ers signed free-agent quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, 29, created a controversy last season when he opted to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States. Kaepernick has decided to stand for the national anthem this season.

Earlier in the day, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was “stupid” and “intellectually lazy” to think teams have colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the league. Last week, former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, said Kaepernick is still an outstanding player and can win championships.

“I absolutely think he’s going to get signed,” John Harbaugh said. “I agree with Jim. He can win games for people.”