49ers review: Defensive player-by-player


49ers review: Defensive player-by-player

Here's a player-by-player look at the 49ers' defensive performances from their 19-11 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday:Defensive linemen
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at nose tackle and played 29 snaps in the 49ers' base defense. Sopoaga did another strong job of holding the point and keeping the Redskins' line from getting to the 49ers' linebackers. Sopoaga was credited with one tackle
91-Ray McDonald: Inactive due to a left hamstring strain.
93-Ian Williams: Suited up for the game, but did not play. (Follow on Twitter @IWilliams95
94-Justin Smith: Started at right defensive end and played every snap. He was credited with three tackles, a quarterback hurry and a pass defensed. . . Got past guard Maurice Hart to hit John Beck as he was throwing to force incompletion on Redskins' first third down of the game. . . Got his hands up and nearly intercepted a Beck pass in the end zone in the first quarter. . . On the next play, he was called for defensive holding, as he did not allow running back Roy Helu to get out of the backfield without the ball on a pass play.

95-Ricky Jean Francois: Started at left defensive end in place of McDonald and played the majority of the game. He was credited with four tackles. Driven off ball by right tackle Jammal Brown on first play on Roy Helu's 16-yard run. . . . Jumped offside with a hard count in the first quarter. . . Got up the field against Hurt to cut down angle for running back Ryan Torrain, who managed just 2 yards on second-quarter attempt to his side. . . . Outstanding job of using his hands to separate from guard Chris Chester to chase Beck from the pocket and stop him after 2-yard scramble. . . . Got his hands up to deflect a pass at the line of scrimmage. But the play turned into the Redskins' biggest gainer of the game when Helu caught the deflection and picked up 17 yards. (Follow on Twitter @Freakyjean95)
96-Demarcus Dobbs: Saw action on only a couple snaps of defense and was not credited with any tackles. He played a snap to open a second-quarter drive and was driven off the ball by Chester on play in which Helu gained 11 yards. He was immediately replaced.Linebackers
51-Blake Costanzo: Played solely on special teams, where he recorded a tackle. (Follow on Twitter @BlakeCostanzo51)
52-Patrick Willis: Started at middle linebacker and had the kind of game that will begin the conversation as an NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He was credited with 13 tackles, two forced fumbles and a pass defensed. . . . Avoided block attempt of Chester to strip Helu of the football late in the second quarter. Donte Whitner recovered it, and one play later the 49ers scored a TD. . . . Had another forced fumble later in the game. (Follow on Twitter @PatrickWillis52)
53-NaVorro Bowman: Started at inside linebacker and was credited with eight tackles and two passes defensed. Provided first-quarter hit on Helu to force an incomplete pass on a third-down play. . . . Recovered fourth-quarter fumble that Willis forced. (Follow on Twitter @NBowman53)
54-Larry Grant: Played on special teams but was not credited with any tackles. (Follow on Twitter @LarryGrant54)
55-Ahmad Brooks: Started at left outside linebacker and was credited with a sack and four tackles. Fought off block of tight end Logan Paulsen to stop Helu for 4 yards when it appeared he had an opening for more. . . . Working against right tackle Sean Lockler, Brooks shook free to drop Beck for a 3-yard sack.
56-Tavares Gooden: Played exclusively on special teams and was not credited with any tackles.
98-Parys Haralson: Started at right outside linebacker and had another strong showing on first and second downs, as he played all 29 of the 49ers' snaps in their base defense. He was credited with four tackles and a quarterback hurry. . . Knocked Beck to the ground while he was throwing a 2-yard completion to Helu. . . . Angled down line of scrimmage to stop Helu for no gain on play that went the other way.
99-Aldon Smith: Entered as a pass-rusher at right defensive end in nickel situations and played about 30 snaps . . . He had on quarterback hurry and no tackles. . . . Showed tremendous athleticism to loop around on stunt up the middle and hit Beck as he was throwing for a third-down incomplete pass in second quarter. (Follow on Twitter @AldonSmithJETS)Defensive backs
20-Madieu Williams: Played solely on special teams, registering one tackle. (Follow on Twitter @MadieuWilliams)
22-Carlos Rogers: Started at left cornerback and played every snap. He did not see a lot of action to his side, as he recorded just one tackle. . . Had good coverage on incomplete throw to receiver Terrence Austin on Redskins' first third down of the game. . . . Had tight coverage on fourth-down incompletion in fourth quarter.
25-Tarell Brown: Started at right cornerback and was credited with three tackles. He came up from cornerback to upend Helu for no gain at end of the first quarter. . . . Gave up two-point conversion after it appears rookie Leonard Hankerson gave him a shove to create separation on a fade.
26-Tramaine Brock: Returned to action after missing several weeks with a hand injury. He played solely on special teams but was not credited with any tackles. (Follow on Twitter @T26Brock)
27-C.J. Spillman: Played on special teams and was credited with one tackle when he stopped Brandon Banks at the 3-yard line after a muffed punt. (Follow on Twitter @CJSPILLMAN27)
29-Chris Culliver: Entered game as 49ers' third cornerback and saw action on 34 snaps. . . . He recorded two tackles and broke up one pass. . . .Gave way too much cushion to receiver Jabar Gaffney on a third-and-7, allowing him to pick up 12 yards in second quarter. . . Jumped inside route in fourth quarter and nearly had interception. (Follow on Twitter @Cullyinthehouse)
30-Reggie Smith: He played 10 snaps when the 49ers were in their dime package. . . . He didn't make any tackles on defense, but he had two stops on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @superreg30)
31-Donte Whitner: Started at strong safety and had six tackles, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry. . . . Gathered in a fumble and returned it 3 yards to set up a 49ers touchdown late in the second quarter. (Follow on Twitter @DonteWhitner)
36-Shawntae Spencer: Inactive (coaches' decision).
38-Dashon Goldson: Started at free safety and had an interception in his second game in a row. He also had five tackles and a quarterback hurry. Came up fast from his spot to drop Helu for 2-yard gain on short pass. . . . Had tremendous break on pass intended for tight end Fred Davis to make diving interception late in the first quarter near midifield. (Follow on Twitter @thehawk38)
43-Colin Jones: Played exclusively on special teams.Specialists
2-David Akers: He was perfect, as he made field goals from 52, 34, 45 and 20 yards. He also kept the Redskins pinned back after kickoffs, as Washington's average starting point was the 22-yard line following their six kickoff returns. (Follow on Twitter @DavidAkers2)
4-Andy Lee: He averaged 44.6 yards on five punts with a net of 36.6. Lee had two touchbacks and two punts inside the 20.
86-Brian Jennings: Handled the long-snapping duties without incident. Have you ever noticed that holder Andy Lee never (or rarely) has to spin the football on field-goal attempts? That's because Jennings is so consistent at making sure the revolutions of the football on his snaps are perfect so that the laces are pointing toward the goal posts. (Follow on Twitter @Jennings141)

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

49ers begin final phase of offseason program

The 49ers have graduated back to the phase of the offseason when offense-vs.-defense drills are allowed.

Because of the hiring of Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers were allowed an additional “voluntary” minicamp before the NFL draft. That meant the 49ers were permitted to skip from the two-week conditioning phase of the offseason straight to what is allowed under Phase III.

But after the three-day minicamp in late-April, the 49ers were forced to retreat back to Phase II, when on-field drills but could not include offense vs. defense.

Beginning Monday – and over the next three weeks -- the 49ers can get back to conducting the standard one-on-one, 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 "non-contact" drills. The 49ers have the maximum number of 10 organized team activities scheduled. The official offseason program concludes with a mandatory minicamp scheduled for June 13-15.

The real competition does not begin until the pads go on during training camp. but here’s a look at the team’s most notable offseason competitions (one position you will not find is quarterback, where the depth chart of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard appears clearly set):

Running back: Carlos Hyde, entering the final year of his original four-year contract, has a lot of competition to hold onto his role as the featured back. He is coming off his most-productive season, finishing just 12 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark when he sustained a knee injury with one game remaining. Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner lobbied for Utah running back Joe Williams in the draft. They clearly see a fit for him within the system.

Pass-rush end: The 49ers’ pass rush was among the worst in the NFL the past two seasons. Arik Armstead will be given an opportunity to see if he can adapt to the “Leo” position. Aaron Lynch must earn the confidence of the coaching staff and front office. The 49ers added explosive, 243-pound pass Pita Taumoepenu in the sixth round.

Tight end: The 49ers confirmed Vance McDonald was available for a trade during the draft. After finding no takers, the 49ers brought back McDonald and he rejoins the competition among rookies George Kittle and Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

Cornerback: Rashard Robinson is the obvious choice to start on one side. And assuming Jimmie Ward remains at free safety, the 49ers have no other player on the roster who has started a significant number of games at cornerback. Rookie Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round draft pick, will have a legitimate opportunity to win a starting job, as long as he displays a willingness to stick his nose into the action and play with the requisite level of physicality. Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser and Will Redmond should also be in the mix to replace Tramaine Brock, who was released shortly after his arrest after an alleged domestic incident last month.

Center: Jeremy Zuttah, a Pro Bowl performer, was added in the offseason via a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Daniel Kilgore has been the 49ers’ center the past three seasons but injuries have limited him to just 23 starts over that period of time. Zuttah has position flexibility. The 49ers could determine the best thing for the offensive line is to move Zuttah to one of the guard positions – to challenge Zane Beadles or Joshua Garnett -- if he is not clearly better than Kilgore.

Weakside linebacker: The 49ers signed veteran Malcolm Smith on the first day of free agency, providing him with $11.5 million of fully guaranteed money. The 49ers ranked Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster as the No. 3 overall prospect in the draft. They traded up to select him at No. 31 overall. Assuming Foster is ready to compete at the beginning of training camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, it appears likely he would line up in that position and compete with Smith. The 49ers’ medical staff does not believe Foster will require any additional surgery, and Foster said he expects to be cleared for the opening of camp.

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent last offseason working with Tom House and Adam Dedeaux on his throwing mechanics.

Ryan went on to set career-bests in completion percentage (69.9), yards passing (4,944), touchdowns (38), interceptions (7) and passer rating (117.1).

New 49ers quarterback Matt Barkley worked with House and Dedeaux for the fourth offseason in Southern California before reporting to Santa Clara for the team’s offseason program.

“Kyle (Shanhan) is on board with what House and those guys are doing – I think, really, because of the year Matt Ryan had,” Barkley said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He’s a believer in that. He saw the benefits of what Matt did with some of his drops and the timing on routes, how he changed his feet on some things. So we’re kind of sticking with that plan. Everyone is a little different, but for the most part we’re all on the same page when it comes to what our drops are looking like, our footwork and how the ball is coming out.”

House is a former major league pitcher and pitching coach who founded the 3DQB training facility in Los Angeles. Dedeaux pitched at USC and is the grandson of USC baseball coaching legend Rod Dedeaux. Former NFL quarterback John Beck is a motion mechanics instructor.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer are among the NFL quarterbacks who have worked with 3DQB.

“I believe in those guys and what they’re doing,” Barkley said. “They’re at the top of their game, working with Brady and a bunch of other guys. They’ve helped me.

“He won’t change your throwing motion or really tweak how the ball comes out, but he’s going to try to maximize velocity and ground force production and torque -- a lot of sports science terms. But, really, just maximizing efficiency with your motion and making sure you’re sequencing is right.”

Barkley had never played for Shanahan before signing a two-year contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. But there are two obvious connections. Barkley’s offensive coordinator last season with the Chicago Bears was Dowell Loggains, Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Shanahan was the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator. The other connection is House.

"It’s kind of funny, he worked with Atlanta’s staff all of last year, helped Matt Ryan, kind of build his base from the ground up and helped him a lot and he had an MVP year," Barkley said of House.

"There may have been talks down the pipeline, who knows. I don’t think that was the deciding factor by any means, but it never hurts.”