49ers key matchup No. 3: Aldon Smith vs. Jermon Bushrod


49ers key matchup No. 3: Aldon Smith vs. Jermon Bushrod

This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Saints matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (FOX), at the Superdome.49ers OLB Aldon Smith vs. Saints LT Jermon BushrodTale of the tape
Smith (99): 6-foot-4, 258 pounds, second season, Missouri
Bushrod (74): 6-foot-5, 315 pounds, sixth season, TowsonAldon Smith did not play favorites Monday night. He saw most of his action in pass-rush situations coming off the left edge, but he also achieved a couple of sacks working from the other side.Smith has been outstanding in his first season as an every-down player with a smooth transition to setting the edge in the run game. And, in his first two seasons, he's had few peers when he comes to going after the quarterback.With 29 sacks since breaking into the NFL, Smith has the third-highest total in NFL history for a player in his first two seasons since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Reggie White had 31 sacks in two seasons and Derrick Thomas recorded 30. Smith still has six games, including Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, to add or surpass those marks."He reminds me of Derrick Thomas, watching him with his arm length and the way he can slither, his great get-off," Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt said this week in a conference call with Bay Area reporters. "I think that's one of the best compliments I can givehim."Vic Fangio, the 49ers' defensive coordinator, said he believes Smith has an even greater variety of options than Thomas, the late Kansas City Chiefs' Hall of Famer."Aldon's more of a combination of strength, size, speed, slither, long arms," Fangio said. "I think Aldon's more of a variety-type pass rusher. Where Thomas, Hall of Famer in his own right, was a speed-rusher."Smith figures to be matched up plenty against left tackle Jermon Bushrod. He'll also take a few swings at right Zach Strief, if he plays after being limited this week with a groin injury. Bushrod has started at left tackle for the Saints the past four seasons. He was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team last season.It won't be easy to get to Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who gets rid of the ball quickly to a variety of threats in the passing game. Brees is averaging 306.6 yards passing per game and he's been sacked only 16 times in 10 games.
Smith recorded 5.5 sacks against the Chicago Bears on Monday night, as he destroyed left tackle J'Marcus Webb and right tackle Gabe Carimi. Carimi was benched this week after his struggles against Smith, who leads the NFL with 15 sacks.
Smith entered the league known for his speed-rushes, but he demonstrated overwhelming strength against the Bears with his bull-rushes."I think he's always had really good strength," Fangio said. "He has gotten stronger from Year 1 to Year 2 with an offseason in here working out with our strength staff. But he's always had good, strong, natural, brute strength and he's got strong hands, too. And the combination of that, his length, and his slither ability, he's a tough guy to block."Smith said he has always had a variety of pass-rush moves, but he has a better opportunity to show them this season with his every-down role."I'm just in a lot more, so you see it a lot more," Smith said. "It's there. It's been there. I'm playing more."As a rookie, Smith entered the game at defensive end only when the 49ers were in their nickel defense. He played 48.2 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps.Smith was slated to be the 49ers' every-down outside linebacker, replacing Parys Haralson even before Haralson sustained a season-ending torn triceps during the exhibition season.

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.