49ers notes: Jacobs, James hobbled; Gore, Hunter look ready


49ers notes: Jacobs, James hobbled; Gore, Hunter look ready

HOUSTON -- The 49ers' newcomers in the backfield had rough nights.The incumbents, however, were just fine.Brandon Jacobs sustained a left knee injury at the end of his first and only snap of the night in the 49ers' 20-9 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday night.He did not sustain any damage to his anterior cruciate ligament or patella, so that's good news, coach Jim Harbaugh said. It means Jacobs did not sustain a season-ending setback.Jacobs is scheduled for further evaluation Sunday, but the club is anticipating an early-season return for the short-yardage back.Running back LaMichael James, the 49ers' second-round draft pick, sustained a left ankle sprain late in the game. X-rays were negative, and James said he anticipates a speedy return to action. James tweaked the same ankle in the 49ers' exhibition opener and did not miss any practice time.James carried four times for 19 yards, and sustained his injury while blocking. He also averaged 25.7 yards on three kickoff returns and muffed one of his two punt returns.
Meanwhile, starter Frank Gore suited up after being rested as a precaution in the exhibition opener. Harbaugh declared Gore ready for the real games to begin."I think we're right on track with Frank," Harbaugh said.Gore played four snaps. On the second play from scrimmage, he gained 14 yards. On the next possession, he lost 2 yards to finish with 12 yards rushing on two attempts."They have a good defense," Gore said. "They have an active defense that can move real well. I was just happy to get out there and play with my guys and get into full contact."You could tell they (49ers offensive line) were doing a good job. From last year, they are feeding off of last year and they keep grinding. They're getting better. It's our second year in this offense and you can tell that we've grown."RECAP: 49ers' first-half report
Backup Kendall Hunter was on the field exclusively with the starting offensive line in the first half for each of his 17 snaps. He carried six times for 46 yards (7.7 average).
"It's just a compliment to the offensive line. Nothing would've been possible if the O-line wouldn't have got their blocks and opened the seams for me," Hunter said.Hunter also averaged 28.5 yards on two kick returns. The only blemish on Hunter's night was one breakdown in pass protection, to which Harbaugh alluded during his post-game comments.
In the two drives with Alex Smith at quarterback, the 49ers gained five first downs. Both drives stalled inside Houston territory. David Akers kicked a 50-yard field goal, and Anthony Dixon was stopped on a fourth-and-1 run attempt at the Texans' 20-yard line."Our drive stalled in the red zone. That's something we want to improve on going into next week," left tackle Joe Staley said. "I felt we were able to move the ball successfully. We had a lot of long drives. We just have to come away with touchdowns."We saw that last year. Too many field goals. It's a point of emphasis for us, so we'll watch the film and see what went right down there."RELATED: Smith blames self, not line, for punishment
Smith completed 5 of 9 passing attempts for 49 yards, including a 24-yarder to Ted Ginn on a third-and-5 on the opening drive. In three drives in the first two games, Smith has led the 49ers to 10 points and no punts."(We) got off to a good start last week and did some good things (Saturday)," Smith said. "It was kind of an up-and-down (night) for the starting unit. Put two long drives together, but didn't finish either of them. We'll learn from it, look at the film." Texans starting quarterback Matt Schaub played the entire first half. The 49ers' first-team defense was on the field for two series. The Texans drove 37 yards on seven plays to kick a field goal on the first drive of the game. The 49ers held Houston to a three-and-out on the second drive.On the first play against the 49ers' second team, Schaub hit All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson on a 43-yard pass against the coverage of safety Trenton Robinson and cornerback Tramaine Brock.The 49ers started Parys Haralson and Eric Bakhtiari at outside linebacker, as starters Aldon Smith (right hip) and Ahmad Brooks (left knee) remained in the Bay Area for rehab and treatment. Both Smith and Brooks are expected back at practice as early as this week.Bakhtiari played the entire game, and led the 49ers with seven tackles. He also had a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. The 49ers' only sacks came off second-half blitzes from linebacker Joe Holland and nickel back Michael Thomas. Rookie A.J. Jenkins' and third quarterback Josh Johnson hooked up for a beautiful 32-yard pass play on Johnson's second snap after entering late in the third quarter in place of Colin Kaepernick.Jenkins got separation against Houston cornerback Alan Ball, made an over-the-shoulder catch on a deep fade route and got both feet inboounds."It was a great ball by Josh," Jenkins said. "He threw it in the perfect spot. My job was easy. I just caught the ball."Jenkins had a prime opportunity for a touchdown on the next play, but Johnson overthrew him down the field.Jenkins had the one catch for 24 yards. Randy Moss had a team-leading three receptions for 24 yards.

Source: Benton agrees to become 49ers' O-line coach

Source: Benton agrees to become 49ers' O-line coach

New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan secured one of the major remaining pieces of his coaching staff.

John Benton, 53, who coached the offensive line during Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, on Tuesday agreed to terms to join the 49ers’ staff, a source told CSNBayArea.com.

The Broncos allowed Benton get out of his contract just one month after he joined Vance Joseph’s new staff as Denver’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

Benton served last season as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Shanahan’s first job as an NFL offensive coordinator was in 2008 and ’09 with the Texans under head coach Gary Kubiak.

Benton was the line coach during those seasons. Shanahan and Benton spent a total of four seasons together on Houston’s offensive staff. Shanahan coached wide receivers in 2006 and quarterbacks in 2007.

Benton was reportedly finalizing his contract on Monday, according to a report from Alex Marvez of The Sporting News and SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Benton takes over for Pat Flaherty, who served as offensive line coach under Chip Kelly. Flaherty is the new Jaguars offfensive line coach. Chris Foerster coached the 49ers' offensive line in 2015 under Jim Tomsula, and Mike Solari served as the O-line coach under Jim Harbaugh.

Source: 49ers make offer to free-agent cornerback Williams

Source: 49ers make offer to free-agent cornerback Williams

The 49ers are one of four teams to make a contract offer to free-agent cornerback K’Waun Williams, a league source told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday.

Williams, 25, had an effective first two seasons as the Cleveland Browns’ nickel back under position coach Jeff Hafley, who was one of two assistant coaches to be retained on Kyle Shanahan’s staff.

Detroit, the New York Jets and Miami have also made contract offers, according to the source. Williams is scheduled to visit with the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday.

Williams entered the NFL in 2014 as an undrafted free agent from Pittsburgh. Williams (5 foot 9, 183 pounds) played in 26 games in his first two seasons with 10 starts.

He reportedly fell out of favor with the new coaching staff due to a dispute about an ankle injury and a dispute over his availability to practice. Williams was suspended for two weeks during training camp.

The Browns waived Williams on Aug. 29. The Chicago Bears claimed Williams off waivers but he failed a physical. Williams did not see action last season due to bone spurs in his ankle.