49ers-Lions: Matchups to watch

561300.jpg

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.

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.”