49ers preparing to thin safety position

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49ers preparing to thin safety position

Less than 24 hours after the 49ers play the Broncos on Sunday come the first cuts of the preseason. That's when the NFL requires teams to trim their rosters from 90 to 75 players. San Francisco's defense may be returning all of its starters from last season, but there are many backup positions still to be won between now and Monday.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he needs at least one of the five reserve safeties to step up and make it clear who should back up Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson. Those five being four-year veterans C.J. Spillman and Darcel McBath, second year player Colin Jones, sixth round pick Trenton Robinson and undrafted rookie free agent Michael Thomas. My colleague, Matt Maiocco, has more on the five here:
MAIOCCO: Fangio looks for reserve safety to step up

One aspect the safeties like about Fangios system is the free and strong positions are fairly interchangeable allowing the players to learn both simultaneously. They all feel fairly comfortable in either position, but getting reps at game speed has been difficult this preseason.

The one thing thats happened in these first two preseason games, which is a little unusual, is weve been in the low 50s in both games with plays. Usually youre in the mid 60s, Fangio said. Weve lost at least 20 to 30 plays that you normally would get, that we havent gotten, just because the way the games have turned out. Weve kind of lost some reps for our younger guys that way."

Though Fangio acknowledged the players get plenty of reps in practice.

I was able to talk to three of the players about their individual situations. Here is what they had to say:

COLIN JONES:

When Im given an opportunity I want to make the best of it. Special teams is primarily what Im here for, but whenever any opportunity comes up and I can help make this team better I just need to take advantage of it and do the best I can.

Actually, the last game was the first game Ive ever gotten defensive reps in before, so that was pretty exciting. (He played 10 snaps at strong safety against the Texans.) So kind of grow from there and get better, work things out on film that I did wrong. All I can do is get better each and every day.

MICHAEL THOMAS:

Im very comfortable just knowing the defense but obviously you want to have the more reps in practice. The more youre out there, the more comfortable youll feel. I feel like Ive grasped it, but Ive still got a ways to go. Like coach says, he wants somebody just to step up and take it. We are given the opportunity we just got to make it happen.

When youre a guy thats being played at both positions you have to know everything, and you might not even get as many reps as other guys but whenever they put you in, you have to know it. Ive been playing strong this whole camp but whenever they do put me at free safety Im able to pick it up right then.

DARCEL McBATH:

The way I work Im going to go out and try to get better, try to prove to the coaches that they can trust me on the field that Ill do the right thing. Im not really thinking about the third position or the fourth position, Im just trying to prove that I can be a player.

C.J. played a little bit in this system last year. I was little behind the eight ball trying to learn everything, and I dont want to think that I had a leg up on anybody, because of his NFL experience I just try to come to work and put my best foot forward.

Im feeling a lot more comfortable by the day, by the hour, by the meeting. Im happy about that. Not really thinking about the calls anymore. Just getting the call and going out and playing instead of going through it in my mind and things like that. Hopefully it will transfer over to the field, and I think it has been a little bit more and more in this past week, week and a half or so. Hopefully this week Ill get a little bit better and come up with some balls or something.

Report: 49ers strongly considering QB at No. 2

Report: 49ers strongly considering QB at No. 2

General manager John Lynch and the 49ers have created the desired intrigue about what the club will do with the No. 2 overall pick in this week’s NFL draft.

The team remains “open for business,” in the words of Lynch, to trade the second pick. If the 49ers are unable to find a trade partner, the team can do any number of different ways with that pick. The first round of the draft is scheduled for Thursday evening.

After edge-rusher Myles Garrett, widely projected to go to the Cleveland Browns with the No. 1 overall pick, there does not seem to be much separating the next dozen prospects on the board at a number of different positions.

Now, there is buzz the 49ers could go with a quarterback – likely, Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina – with the No. 2 pick. That possibility gained steam Monday morning with a report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, citing “several sources,” that the 49ers are “strongly considering” selecting a quarterback with the second pick.

One league source last week told NBC Sports Bay Area some around the league believe the 49ers would draft Trubisky or Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

“If the 49ers are waiting on Kirk Cousins, just remember that Trubisky is a better prospect now than Cousins was coming out of the 2012 draft,” the source said.

Cousins, who is set to play his second consecutive year as Washington’s franchise player, was a fourth-round selection under then-coach Mike Shanahan, New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was his father’s offensive coordinator when Washington drafted Cousins.

Lynch has been open in his scouting and praise of this year’s draft class. He has attended workouts of top quarterback prospects: Trubisky, Deshaun Watson (Clemson), DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame), Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) and Davis Webb (Cal).

"I think most of this quarterback class should be later down the line, whether it's first round or second round,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said recently. ESPN’s Mel Kipier and Todd McShay had Trubisky as the first quarterback selected by the Browns at No. 12 overall.

“I think these guys are somewhat getting a bad rap,” Lynch said at the NFL scouting combine. “You turn on the film, and there’s a lot to like.”

The 49ers head into this week’s draft with Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley as the only two quarterbacks on the roster.

The 49ers have shown no interest in re-signing any of the top three quarterbacks on the team’s roster last season: Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. Each of those players remains unsigned.

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.