49ers-Packers matchups to watch: 1. Smiths vs. Newhouse


49ers-Packers matchups to watch: 1. Smiths vs. Newhouse

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the final part in a series that spotlighted three 49ers-Packers matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (FOX-TV), at Lambeau Field.

Matchup No. 3: Anthony Davis vs. Nick Perry
Matchup No. 2: Vernon Davis vs. Charles Woodson
Tale of the tape
Aldon Smith: 6-foot-4, 258 pounds, second season, Missouri
Justin Smith: 6-foot-4, 285 pounds, 12th season, Missouri
Marshall Newhouse: 6-foot-4, 319 pounds, third season, Texas ChristianAldon Smith is set to make his first NFL start at outside linebacker.But it remains to be seen if he'll play all that much outside linebacker Sunday afternoon against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.The Packers figure to spread out their offense with multi-receiver formations and then go with mostly a no-huddle offense. That means the 49ers could spend almost all of Sunday's game with their nickel defense on the field.
And that means Smith is likely to play more defensive end. The 49ers play a four-man line when they have extra defensive backs on the field.The weak link of the Packers offensive line is left tackle Marshall Newhouse. Either way, he'll be going up against a Smith. If the 49ers are in their base defense, Newhouse will line up against Justin Smith. If the 49ers are in nickel, Newhouse will have to contend with Aldon Smith, who led all rookies last season with 14 sacks.Green Bay must come up with a plan against the Smiths. The 49ers' best hope for slowing down the Packers on Sunday will be for Aldon Smith and Justin Smith to get some hits on quarterback Aaron Rodgers and disrupt the offense's timing.
Newhouse, a third-year pro from TCU, probably will not be able to handle either Aldon or Justin Smith straight up. Newhouse, who started 13 games for the Packers last season, has good feet but he does not possess great upper-body strength. The Packers are likely to use running back Cedric Benson to help out."He's improved this preseason from last season," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said of Newhouse. "They give their guys a lot of help, too. In particular, their back. They do a lot of chipping. But their offensive line, their tackles, are young guys that have played well for them, and we'll see if we're up to the challenge."On run downs, Justin Smith should be able to use his strength to clog things up. He was the 49ers team MVP last season. How in the world can he possibly improve over what he did last season when he was named All-Pro at defensive tackle and defensive end?"Anticipation of what the offense is trying to throw at you," Justin Smith said. "It's more film study not just watching it but understanding why they're doing it, and down and distance all those tendencies."Smith has been pouring over Packers film off and on since the schedule was released in mid-April, and he knew a road trip to Green Bay was the next game on the schedule."We've been watching it for a while now," he said. "We know they're going to give us some wrinkles. They do a good job of self-scouting as well. We're pretty much get prepared for them and go from there."

49ers release Coffee after reinstating RB off retired list

49ers release Coffee after reinstating RB off retired list

Running back Glen Coffee, who walked away from the 49ers during training camp before his second NFL season, was reinstated Friday off the reserve-retired list.

As part of the same transaction wire released by the NFL office, the 49ers released Coffee, making him a free agent.

After seven seasons away from the game, Coffee is attempting a comeback, his agent told NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday.

“I can tell you, he’s in great shape,” agent Ray Oubre said. “The man doesn’t have a six-pack, he’s got a 12-pack. He’s been waiting for the right time to hopefully get a workout with someone and show what he can do.

“He had a calling, and right now he feels like it’s his time to show what he can do. He explained to me, ‘I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was initially with the 49ers.’ That’s the kind of shape he’s in.”

Coffee, who turns 30 on May 1, was a third-round draft pick (No. 74 overall) of the 49ers in 2009. He was the sixth running back selected in that year's draft. Coffee appeared in 14 games as a rookie and carried 83 times for 226 yards and one touchdown. He also caught 11 passes for 78 yards.

During training camp the next year as his teammates were exiting the locker room for the practice field in August 2010, Coffee cut the tape from his shoes and left the team's Santa Clara practice facility. He later informed then-coach Mike Singletary of his decision to stop playing football. Coffee said he believed God had a bigger plan for him.

Coffee was a specialist in the Sixth Battalion of the Army Rangers after enlisting in 2013. He is no longer active, Oubre said.

“He’s been training several months,” Oubre said. “The rigors of the Army Rangers, he was already in shape. He’s taking it to another level now. He’s been training for more than four months.

“He feels like he served and now the time is right. He’s in a good place. He understands, you can’t play football forever and you can’t do any one thing forever. He’s in a place right now that he wants to use his God-given ability as a football player.”

Coffee turned pro after his junior season at Alabama. In his final college season, Coffee rushed for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Coffee has been training under Johnny Jackson at JDPI Sports Performance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Oubre said he will be in contact with all 32 NFL teams to see if there’s any interest in bringing in Coffee for workouts. He might also hold an open workout for any interested teams.

Sponsored by Harbaugh, Kap named one of Top 100 most influential people

Sponsored by Harbaugh, Kap named one of Top 100 most influential people

Former 49ers quarterback and current free agent Colin Kaepernick has been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People on Thursday. 

Each person named to the list is represented by a sponsor who then writes on why they are worthy of the honor. For Kaepernick, his former coach Jim Harbaugh wrote on him. 

Harbaugh coached Kaepernick for four seasons from 2011-2014. The two reached the Super Bowl together in the 2012 season. 

Other sports figures named to the list include Conor McGregor, Theo Epstein, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Simone Biles, and Neymar.

Kaepernick made national headlines this past season for his decision to first sit and then kneel during the national anthem as a fight against social injustices. 

Below is what Harbaugh wrote on Kaepernick's influence: 

Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests last year when he boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system by refusing to stand for the national anthem. At times in our nation's history, we have been all too quick to judge and oppose our fellow Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to address things they believe unjust.

Rather than besmirch their character, we must celebrate their act. For we cannot pioneer and invent if we are fearful of deviating from the norm, damaging our public perception or—most important—harming our own personal interests.

I thank Colin for all he has contributed to the game of football as an outstanding player and trusted teammate. I also applaud Colin for the courage he has demonstrated in exercising his guaranteed right of free speech. His willingness to take a position at personal cost is now part of our American story.

How lucky for us all and for our country to have among our citizens someone as remarkable as Colin Kaepernick.