49ers offensive review vs. Jets: Running backs

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49ers offensive review vs. Jets: Running backs

EDITOR'S NOTE: Matt Maiocco's offensive player-by-player review vs. Jets will be broken up by position. Stay logged on to CSNBayArea.com throughout the day for the breakdown on each position group.

Running backs

21-Frank Gore: The Jets focused on stopping Gore, and they mostly did a decent job of that. He ran hard, and managed 62 yards on 21 rushing attempts. His 2-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter came on a fourth down and gave the 49ers an insurmountable 17-point lead

Gore does so many things well in other areas, too. He caught two passes for 13 yards. He made block on cornerback Kyle Wilson to allow Kaepernick to easily get into the end zone on a 7-yard run at the start of the second quarter, and he picked up safety Eric Smith on a blitz to keep a clean pocket for Alex Smith's 23-yard pass to Vernon Davis late in the first half.

23-LaMichael James: Was not active (coaches' decision).

24-Anthony Dixon: The 49ers' third-string running back got into the game for the final seven plays, gaining 16 yards on seven rushing attempts. He also played 17 snaps as one of the 49ers' core special-teamers.

32-Kendall Hunter: He played 18 snaps on offense and gained 56 yards on eight rushing attempts. He did a good job of following his blockers and making the right cuts at the right times. He ran big near the goal line when he scored on a 1-yard run between the tackles midway through the fourth quarter.

45-Brandon Jacobs: Did not play (left knee). He returned to limited practice last week, and tweeted the following Monday night:

Just wanted to say thanks for everyone's support. I will be off of twitter for the remainder of the season. Time to work!! Brandon Jacobs (@gatorboy45) October 2, 2012

One would believe he should be available to play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

STUHLBARG: Jacobs -- 'I want to get hit'

49-Bruce Miller: He played 29 snaps at fullback, and even had a career-long 5-yard gain for some tough yards from the Jets' 11 to the 6 to help set up the 49ers' second TD. He made a good down-block on linebacker Garrett McIntyre on Kaepernick's 7-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and made another block in the hole on linebacker Bart Scott on 12-yard run by Hunter early in third quarter.

92-Will Tukuafu: He played 12 snaps of offense to go along with three on defense and 11 plays on special teams. On a third-and-1 from the Jets' two-yard line, Tukuafu could not budge Scott as Gore was stopped for no gain. On the next play, he had a block off the left edge on safety LaRon Landry on Gore's two-yard TD run.

Scott held him when Tukuafu was intended receiver at the goal line. The penalty gave the 49ers an automatic first down at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter.

49ers offensive review vs. Jets: Third-down struggles
49ers offensive review vs. Jets: Quarterbacks
49ers offensive review vs. Jets: Wide receiverstight ends
49ers offensive review vs. Jets: Offensive line

49ers extend one-year qualifying offers to Purcell, Bradford

49ers extend one-year qualifying offers to Purcell, Bradford

The 49ers on Monday extended one-year qualifying offers to nose tackle Mike Purcell and linebacker Carl Bradford as exclusive-rights free agents.

Purcell appeared in 15 games last season. He started the first five games of the season at nose tackle and was a reserve for the remainder of the season. Originally signed in 2013 as an undrafted rookie from Wyoming, Purcell has appeared in 25 games over the past three seasons.

The 49ers claimed Bradford off waivers in December from the Green Bay Packers. He appeared in the final two games of the season with the 49ers and was credited with two tackles.

Bradford entered the NFL out of Arizona State as a fourth-round pick of the Packers in 2014. After being inactive for every game as a rookie, Bradford was among Green Bay’s final cuts in 2015. He spent the season on the practice squad.

He appeared in four games for the Packers last year. The 49ers claimed him after he was waived in December.

Exclusive rights free agents are player who have fewer than three years of NFL service who have no outside negotiating power if a team extends a qualifying offer.

Mailbag: Which 49ers vets are on shaky ground?

Mailbag: Which 49ers vets are on shaky ground?

The 49ers’ new regime heads to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week with the first major wave of offseason activity set to kick off.

Already, the 49ers have made roster improvements. And there figure to be plenty of activity ahead in the coming weeks.

Here are some questions submitted by readers on Facebook for this edition of 49ers Mailbag:

Do you see the 49ers cutting ties with larger contracts like Bethea, Torrey Smith and Ahmad Brooks?‬ (Blair Wilkins)
The 49ers have approximately $75 million in space under the salary cap – and that’s before any adjustment of Colin Kaepernick’s contract. So it’s not as if the organization needs to create cap room.

Any decision made to part ways with veteran players will be made solely on how that player fits into what the 49ers envision on the field.

And that’s what general manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff are doing now. They are studying the video from last season to determine which players fit their ideals.

Safety Antoine Bethea is scheduled to earn $5.75 million. Bethea, 32, enters the final year of his contract. There is no question he is everything the 49ers want in a player off the field. If one of the younger guys is not better than Bethea, there is no reason to get rid of him.

Brooks is on the books to earn $5.3 million in 2017. That’s not a huge amount for a starting outside linebacker or defensive end – whichever spot he might fit best. The 49ers must look to upgrade their pass rush. Brooks turns 33 next month. He’s good for six sacks a season. Again, it’s not as if the 49ers can’t afford him. And, as of now, it’s not as if the 49ers have anyone better.

Smith is scheduled to earn $8 million. He has been vastly underutilized in his two seasons since signing with the 49ers. He’s the most interesting case of the high-priced veterans.

Kyle Shanahan’s offense is predicated on using the running game to set up the play-action shot down the field. Smith is limited. He’s not a possession receiver. He’s not going to make plays over the middle. He is an outside receiver whose contributions come in the vertical passing game. But that’s what Shanahan wants.

If Smith is paired with a strong tight end, a running back who catch the ball out of the backfield, a slot receiver with short-area quickness to get open underneath, a very good receiver on the other side and an accurate quarterback who can throw the deep ball, there should be a role for Smith in the 49ers’ offense.

Will the 49ers continue to be aggressive pursuing free agents this offseason? If so, what positions?‬ (Bradley Lodge)
The 49ers have zeroed in on two veteran free agents and they signed them both.

The organization has already spent more money than it did all of last offseason on veteran free agency with the four-year, $16 million deal to sign defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, whom the Miami Dolphins recently released.

Nickel back K’Waun Williams has a history with 49ers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley. The 49ers did not have to make much of a financial investment to sign him.

The 49ers will definitely go after a veteran quarterback or two in free agency or via trade. Pass rusher, inside linebacker and wide receiver are other positions the 49ers can be expected to look during free agency.

The opening of the new league year – when free-agent signings and trades can occur – is March 9. The draft is seven weeks later.

The 49ers must fill as many of their needs with smart deals that fit into the long-term plan with veteran acquisitions. Then, the draft is about taking the best players on their board when it’s time to select. Teams that reach for need generally strike out.

What are the chances of drafting a QB with first pick and playing them behind a Kap / Cousins until they're ready to become starter?‬ (Hillory Broussard)
If Colin Kaepernick returns, it will not be as a no-questions-asked starter. Just read what Lynch said on KNBR this week about the team’s needs:

“Do we have some places – probably the ultimate position, quarterback – where we need to improve? Absolutely. And we’re committed to doing that.”

That statement can easily be interpreted that Lynch does not believe the 49ers had a starting-caliber quarterback on the roster last season.

But if the 49ers were to go out and swing a trade for Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo, it’s going to take a big commitment – in terms of draft picks and a suitable new contract. Then, the 49ers would have that player.

Cousins or Garoppolo would unquestionably fill the 49ers’ need at quarterback for 2017 and beyond -- at least in the minds of the 49ers' new decision-makers. There would be no reason for the 49ers to then draft a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick – if the 49ers even had the No. 2 overall pick at that point.