49ers notes: Harbaugh wins debut against rival


49ers notes: Harbaugh wins debut against rival

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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Jim Harbaugh was only going to get one chance to win his NFL coaching debut. And he accomplished that against Pete Carroll, his heated rival from their days together in the old Pac-10 Conference."What I'm thinking about right now (is) the great feeling of winning, the great thrill of winning a game," Harbaugh said after the 49ers' 33-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park. "That's what makes football fun."I'm sure it won't be too many hours until I really start thinking about this week."RATTO: Conservative Harbaugh ekes out first NFL win
Harbaugh's parents, Jack and Jackie, were in attendance at Candlestick Park, and even Mom has coachspeak down to a science."We take them one game at a time," Jackie Harbaugh said. "Every game is a momentous occasion."And the next momentous game will take place Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at Candlestick Park.Harbaugh became the sixth 49ers coach to win the season opener in his first year. Harbaugh is the seventh coach to win his first game. Defensive line coch Jim Tomsula won his first game after taking over as interim coach for fired Mike Singletary at the end of last season.Harbaugh's victory against Carroll did not include any catching post-game exchange at midfield, such as the "What's your deal?" back-and-forth after Stanford's decisive win over USC in 2009.Instead, the winning coach told Carroll, "See you on the road." Carroll responded, "Yep." The two men shook hands.
The 49ers travel to face Seattle in the return game on Dec. 24.CRABTREE NOT HEALTHY: Receiver Michael Crabtree, who did not play in any exhibition games, played just one snap in the second half due to soreness in his left foot. He underwent X-rays after the game, which proved negative, he said.That was a relief to Crabtree, who feared the pain in his foot was a recurrence of the fracture that required surgery in July. Crabtree returned to full practice last week.
"It was hurting so bad that I was concerned," Crabtree said. "If it's like that, I'll just have to fight through it."Crabtree played about a dozen snaps in the game and caught one pass for 4 yards. He did not start the game, but got onto the field for the second play of the game. He watched the final 1 12 quarters from the sideline.
Earlier in the game, Crabtree was clearly frustrated on one play deep in Seahawks' territory when quarterback Alex Smith did not spot him in the end zone on a failed third-down pass play that led to a short David Akers field goal.
"I shouldn't have done that," Crabtree said of his reaction. "I'm so competitive, and I spazzed out a little."APPLYING THE PRESSURE: The 49ers' pass rush had a field day against Seattle's offensive line, which was playing without left guard Robert Gallery. The 49ers sacked quarterback Tarvaris Jackson five times. Parys Haralson and Justin Smith recorded two sacks apiece, and Ray McDonald came through with a sack to end the Seahawks' first drive."We had a good game plan going in," McDonald said. "We knew we had to keep Tarvaris in front of us. We knew he was a good running quarterback. We stayed in our rush lanes and did our job."NO-FRILLS OFFENSE: It wasn't exactly a thing of beauty for the 49ers's offense. The unit managed just 209 yards of total offense and 12 first downs. But the 49ers did not allow any sacks or commit any turnovers, either."Yeah, we were on top of it," 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said. "That's where we are going with the blitz pickups. Just being smart with the football and not making dumb decisions. All in all, just coming out with the 'W.'"Quarterback Alex Smith got a bear hug from Harbaugh after his 1-yard touchdown run gave the 49ers a 16-0 lead with :12 remaining in the first half."We were all pumped up," Smith said. "I was jacked. You don't get to make plays like that as a quarterback very often, and to make it was special. To be able to be accountable to your teammates, to hold up your end of the deal, I was jacked."It was Smith's third career rushing touchdown and his first since scoring on a naked bootleg on Dec. 14, 2006, against Seattle.The play certainly had its share of risks. If Smith had been stopped at the goal line, the 49ers might not have been able to get the field-goal unit onto the field to get any points out of the situation. The 49ers were out of timeouts after Harbaugh lost a replay challenge earlier in the game."(If) he doesn't get in, we're scrambling to clock it and try to get the field goal before the half," Harbaugh said. "Rolling the dice, putting it in his hands, and he came up big for us. Toughness. Great job sticking it into the end zone by Alex."LEE'S CAREER DAY: Punter Andy Lee, a two-time Pro Bowler, set new career-highs in both gross average (59.6) and net average (54.2). Those marks were also the highest totals in 49ers' recorded history. THIS 'N' THAT: First-year defensive lineman Will Tukuafu made his NFL debut early in the second quarter. On his first play, Tukuafu caught a fumble out of the air after Haralson sacked Jackson. Tukuafu returned the fumble 12 yards to set up an Akers field goal. . . . Tramaine Brock, the team's third cornerback, made his first career interception on Jackson's desperation heave at the end of the first half. . . . On the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 911, recording star Brian McKnight sang the national anthem. Seahawks players, interspersed with military personnel, held the flag on their side of the field. "Coming out, 911, it was a very emotional time before the game," 49ers safety Donte Whitner said. "It's good to come out of it with a win." . . . . Rookie Aldon Smith saw significant action as a defensive end in the 49ers' nickel package, as he replaced Haralson in those situations. Smith batted down a Jackson pass attempt for his only stat of the game. . . . Safety Reggie Smith and Brock were also inserted into the 49ers' nickel defense, replacing nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga and starting free safety Madieu Williams. . . . The only known injuries were Crabtree and special-teamer Blake Costanzo, who appeared to sustain cramps at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The 49ers no longer release a post-game injury report.

Tom Rathman to be inducted into 49ers Hall of Fame

Tom Rathman to be inducted into 49ers Hall of Fame

Former 49ers fullback Tom Rathman, who was not retained this season on Kyle Shanahan’s coaching staff, will be coming back to the organization in a permanent fashion.

Rathman, 54, who spent a total of 23 seasons as a player and coach, will be inducted into the 49ers Hall of Fame, CEO Jed York announced on Tuesday.

“Tom Rathman embodies everything this organization wants in its players, coaches and staff,” York said in a statement. “Throughout his more than two decades with our team, Tom set a tone for the 49ers both on and off the field. As a player, he was selfless, hard-working and dedicated to bringing his best every single day. Tom coached very much the same way.

"It was his mission to help every man he coached realize his full potential, as both a player and a man. Tom is family and we are so thrilled to induct him into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame, where he will take his place among the all-time greats in our team’s history.”

Rathman discussed having a role on the 49ers’ coaching staff after the hiring of Shanahan. But Shanahan had already promised the position of running backs coach to Bobby Turner.

“It was all positive,” said Rathman told NBC Sports Bay Area in February. “I have no hard feelings. It’s just the nature of the business. Everybody just has to understand that. In pro football, coaches get fired and new guys come in and they bring their guys. I totally understand it. I don’t have a problem with it. Being in the business for 28 years, playing and coaching, you understand what it is. You can never take anything for granted.”

Rathman played for the 49ers from 1986 to ’93. He was a starter on two Super Bowl-winning teams and seven NFC West champions. Used mostly as a lead-blocker for Roger Craig, Rathman’s best season came in 1989, when he caught 73 passes for 616 yards.

After his playing career concluded with the Los Angeles Rams in 1994, Rathman entered into a career in coaching. He coached under Steve Mariucci from 1997 to 2002. He returned to coach with the 49ers in 2009, serving on the coaching staffs of head coaches Mike Singletary, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly.

“I’ve always considered myself a 49er and I always will consider myself a 49er," Rathman said in a statement. "I’ll take that brand with me wherever I go because that’s who I am. It feels great to be with the guys who are already in the 49ers Hall of Fame. Dating back to Joe Perry, it’s an honor to be associated with the likes of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig and Dwight Clark.

"That’s a lot of history right there. To be able to say that you’re in a fraternity with those guys so to speak, the 49ers Hall of Fame fraternity, says volumes. It’s pretty special.”

49ers draft board consists of nearly 200 prospects

49ers draft board consists of nearly 200 prospects

The 49ers new draft grading system is inspired by the New England Patriots, but their draft menu consists of a lot more options.

“We’ve got just under 200 players on our draft board, that we see as draftable players on our board,” 49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters Monday at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time in here and it was needed this year because I had a lot of catch-up to do. I can tell you that just (Sunday) night I finally got to the point, I always knew as a player like, ‘OK. I’m ready.’ That moment was (Sunday) for me where I said, ‘OK. I’m ready. I’m ready to go on this thing.’ That’s a good feeling.”

The 49ers have 10 draft picks scheduled for the three-day draft, including the No. 2 overall selection. With 73 players under contract, the 49ers figure to add approximately 17 rookies through the draft and as free agents. The NFL's seven-round draft will result in 253 players being selected.

Lynch was hired out of the FOX broadcast booth a week before the Super Bowl. The following week, Lynch assembled all of the team’s scouts for meetings in Santa Clara.

“When we first brought scouts in right after the Super Bowl we were kind of working off the old grading system,” Lynch said. “But what helped was the grading system that they use in Denver, which kind of derived from one that was developed in New England.”

One of Lynch’s first hires was former Broncos college scouting director Adam Peters as 49ers vice president of player personnel. New coach Kyle Shanahan was also familiar with the system because, like Peters, Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff worked in the Patriots’ scouting department.

“In these last three weeks of draft meetings we moved over to that grading scale,” Lynch said.

“I’ve always been someone who thinks you should listen to multiple opinions and we’ve been very collaborative. I believe in strong opinions. Someone once told me, ‘Strong opinions, weakly held.’ So are you open to different thoughts and someone makes you think? But ultimately someone’s got to make decisions.”

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio recently told Boston-area reporters that New England's draft board consists of only 50 to 75 players who fit as draft picks for their team. The Patriots have seven scheduled draft picks but none in the first two rounds.

"I would say it varies year to year, but I would say our draft board is smaller than most," Caserio said. "We are trying to find players that we feel comfortable with on all levels that we would actually draft -- not that are going to get drafted.

"It's players that we would draft, that we would actually feel comfortable with in our program in some capacity."

1. First round: No. 2 overall
2. Second round: No. 34 overall
3. Third round: No. 66 overall
4. Fourth round: No. 109 overall
5. Fourth round: No. 143 overall (compensatory)
6. Fifth round: No. 146 overall
7. Fifth round: No. 161 (pick acquired from Washington in 2015 trade for TE Derek Carrier)
8. Sixth round: No. 198 overall (from Baltimore in trade with C Jeremy Zuttah for No. 186)
9. Sixth round: No. 202 overall (pick acquired from Denver in 2015 trade for TE Vernon Davis)
10. Seventh round: No. 219 overall (pick acquired from Cleveland in 2015 trade for Andy Lee)