49ers-Lions: Matchups to watch

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49ers-Lions: Matchups to watch

In the below "Tale of the tape," 49ers right guard Adam Snyder's dedication to being in better shape this season is noted. Officially, he is listed at 6-foot-6, 325 pounds.
But we're making a correction. While it's a fact that Snyder at one time weighed in at 325 (or heavier), he'll be less the man but more the player on Sunday against the Detroit Lions' Ndamukong Suh.Snyder said this week that he currently weighs 295 pounds after changing his diet and spending a lot of time on cardiovascular workouts during the offseason.
The result is a better athlete. But does losing that much weight put him at a disadvantage against the ultra-powerful Suh? Snyder does not believe that is the case."It's more about technique," Snyder said. "The weight thing is more about how I feel physically. I feel better. My knees don't hurt, my back, all that stuff. Am I quicker now that I've lost a lot of weight? Yeah, probably. I'm moving a little better and moving better."Tale of the tape
Snyder: 6-6, 325 295, Oregon, 7th season
Suh: 6-4, 307, Nebraska, 2nd seasonThe 49ers' offensive line has played very well since Snyder supplanted Chilo Rachal at right guard at halftime of the 49ers' Sept. 25 victory at Cincinnati.The Lions rotate as many as nine defensive linemen, but Suh plays nearly every snap in the 3-technique, over the right guard. Snyder will face a huge challenge nearly every snap of Sunday's game.Suh, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, recorded 10 sacks as a rookie and was named the NFL defensive rookie of the year. He is strong, quick and plays with a mean streak.
"It's going to be a challenge," Snyder said. "The guy's a good player. He's quick, really good with his hands. He's a big dude."Snyder is likely to get help throughout the game from center Jonathan Goodwin."This will be my first time playing against him, but from what I've seen hes definitely up-and-coming," Goodwin said. "He's definitely a great talent. He probably even has a chance to be one the best to ever play the game."Suh, speaking on a conference call this week with reporters who cover the 49ers, said teams are game-planning him differently this season. He said he is rarely being blocked one-on-one.He said that's all right with him because it opens the door for his teammates to put heat on the quarterback, too."There's definitely a competition for us to meet at the quarterback," Suh said. "The key words are, 'We'll meet each other at the quarterback.' It's really great to have a great group of guys that work together. There could be lot of selfishness in that locker room. But everybody's unselfish and plays together." Other matchups worth watching
49ers cornerbacks Carlos Rogers (22)Tarell Brown (25)Shawntae Spencer (36)Chris Culliver (29) vs. Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81): This is no one-man task for the 49ers. In fact, you can add safeties Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner and Reggie Smith into the mix, as the 49ers will use all of their resources in the defensive backfield in hopes of limiting the damage of Johnson, who has 29 receptions for 451 yards and nine touchdowns in five games. Johnson is like a basketball player. He can catch passes at a maximum height of 12-foot-5. The 49ers have emphasized boxing out and challenging him for the football. As 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio says, "We're basically trying to cover power forwards with point guards."49ers defensive end Aldon Smith (99) vs. Lions left tackle Jeff Backus (76): Smith is not a starter, but he will get a lot of playing time Sunday. That's because he enters the game when the 49ers go with their nickel defense. Smith is the team's "starter" when the 49ers put five defensive backs on the field. The Lions do not have a two-back formation, so they'll force the 49ers to match their three-WR formations with five defensive backs. So Smith, the No. 7 overall pick, should see a lot more action than starting right outside linebacker Parys Haralson. Smith has 3.5 sacks in the past two games. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sacked only six times this season, but his pass protection has been far from perfect. Backus is an 11-year veteran who has started all 165 games of his career. The Chiefs' Tamba Hali repeatedly beat Backus earlier this season, as he hit Stafford six times as he unloaded passes. It'll be a classic matchup of a young player against a savvy veteran.

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

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Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.

Uh-oh: Is Kyle Shanahan going to be Harbaugh-tastic in his timing?

Uh-oh: Is Kyle Shanahan going to be Harbaugh-tastic in his timing?

Until now, Kyle Shanahan’s hiring by the San Fracisco 49ers looked great because of his two-and-a-half predecessors – the last days of Jim Harbaugh, the misplaced concept of Jim Tomsula and the couldn’t-make-chicken-marsala-out-of-old-Kleenex problems surrounding Chip Kelly.

But now, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has told us all that Shanahan has a gift we in the Bay Area know all too well. Specifically, that Shanahan took too long to call plays to the Super Bowl the Falcons vomited up to the New England Patriots.

Now who does that remind you of, over and over again?

Yes, some things are evergreen, and too many options in this overly technological age seems to be one of them. Data in is helpful, but command going out is what bells the cow. Ryan said Shanahan was, well, almost Harbaugh-tastic in his timing.

“Kyle’s play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in,” Ryan told Bleacher Report. “As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you’re talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, ‘There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.’ You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

“With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You’re not being aggressive not running it there.”

And the reason this matters is because the Atlanta Shanahan had multiple good options on every play. In San Francsco, at least in the short term, he’ll be dealing with minimal options. That could speed up his choices, as in “What the hell, we don’t have Julio Jones.” But it could also mean more delays, as in, “Okay, him . . . no, maybe not . . . no, he just screwed up that play last series . . . oh, damn it, time out!”

In short, it’s growing pains season here, children. On the field, on the sidelines, and maybe even in Kyle Shanahan’s head.