49ers key matchup No. 2: Aldon Smith vs. Martin

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49ers key matchup No. 2: Aldon Smith vs. Martin

This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Dolphins matchups to watch Sunday, 1 p.m. (CBS), at Candlestick Park.

49ers ROLB Aldon Smith vs. Dolphins LT Jonathan Martin

Tale of the tape
Smith (99): 6-foot-4, 258 pounds, second season, Missouri
Martin (71): 6-foot-5, 312 pounds, rookie, Stanford

Aldon Smith is closing in on Michael Strahan's NFL record of 22.5 sacks in a single season. With a league-leading 17.5 sacks, Smith needs five sacks in the final four games to get there.

Smith figures to be a focus each week. And on Sunday, he appears to have a significant advantage as he goes against Miami Dolphins rookie Jonathan Martin, who makes his first start on the left side after starting at right tackle up to this point.

Martin, whom the Dolphins selected in the second round of the draft, was originally projected as a mid-first-round selection. But his stock took a hit when he hoisted 225 pounds on the bench press just 20 times at the NFL scouting combine.

Martin played for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh during his college career at Stanford.

"He was a good player for us at Stanford," Harbaugh said. "He's been doing a good job his entire rookie year, and to make the switch from right tackle to left tackle, he's adapted and doing a good job. With losing their left tackle, he'll be called on this week."

Martin takes over at left tackle after Dolphins All-Pro Jake Long was placed on injured reserve with a season-ending torn triceps. Defensive tackle Justin Smith described Martin this week as a "serviceable tackle in this league."

Martin will need to muster every bit of strength, as well as quickness, to keep up with Aldon Smith, who has demonstrated a wide array of moves as an every-down outside linebacker in his second NFL season. Smith already has recorded more sacks in his first two seasons than any other pass-rusher since the NFL began tabulating sacks in 1982.

"Some guys can get close but not finish," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "Those guys can get close and finish. It takes a special skill set. You've got to have something special, one way or another, either one thing or two things. In Aldon's case, he's got length. He's got slipperiness. He's got some strength."

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan will retain the role he held the past nine seasons in his first year as head coach of the 49ers.

Shanahan eschewed the formality of naming an offensive coordinator because he will keep those duties for himself. Still, Shanahan made it clear that he alone will not be able to fix the 49ers’ offense.

Shanahan has assembled a supporting cast that he said makes him comfortable to delegate responsibilities whenever his attention has to be focused on something other than the team’s offense.

“I mix it up,” said Shanahan, who previously held offensive coordinator roles with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. “Different guys have different attributes.”

Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan after time together on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive staff. McDaniel is the run-game specialist, while LaFleur, the wide receivers coach, is the pass-game specialist.

Tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly the head coach at Colorado, is Shanahan’s assistant head coach. Shanahan said Embree has a vocal role on his staff.

Moreover, long-time NFL running backs coach Bobby Turner is a trusted assistant after spending 14 seasons in Denver and four more in Washington with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. Turner coached under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons with the Falcons.

”Bobby Turner’s been an assistant head coach for our teams we’ve had in the past and anytime that I need him to take over, he does,” Shanahan said. “So it depends what period it is, depends what we’re talking about.”

The 49ers opened organized team activities last week. It was the first time the 49ers’ rookies and veterans were together on the field for offense vs. defense practices. Shanahan said it takes some adjustment for him to figure out how to best budget his time during the workouts.

“I’m used to knowing exactly where to go and what to do and I always did that from an offensive coordinator standpoint which I still do a lot of those responsibilities,” Shanahan said. “So, at times, I feel most comfortable when I go to do that because that’s something to do. But, when I pass it over to some other guys and let them do it, I find myself walking around a lot and I’m not used to that.

“It feels awkward, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think I should walk around and watch everyone and see it. I always see it on the tape, but that’s later at night. You want players to know you’re there and paying attention to everything and I usually try to cover that in meetings the next day also.”

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.