49ers Review: Defensive player-by-player


49ers Review: Defensive player-by-player

Here is the entire defensive player-by-player review from the 49ers' 21-19 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday:Defensive linemen
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at nose tackle and had another strong game, as he helped limit the Cardinals to just 55 yards on 23 rushing attempts. . . Sopoaga had two tackles, but clogged the middle, and had one quarterback hurry. . . He got outside quickly to track down receiver Larry Fitzgerald to help hold him to 5 yards on a wide receiver screen. . . Did a good job of using his hands to shed center Lyle Sendlein and stop Beanie Wells for no gain in the fourth quarter.
91-Ray McDonald: Started at left defensive end, and was credited with two tackles. . . He didn't get much of a pass rush but pursued quarterback John Skelton on a scramble and was in the right spot to secure a second-quarter fumble.
93-Ian Williams: Inactive (coaches' decision). (Follow on Twitter @IWilliams95)
94-Justin Smith: Started at right defensive end, mostly against Cardinals left tackle Levi Brown, and recorded four tackles with a sack and forced fumble. . . He stacked up Brown to allow linebacker Larry Grant to stop Wells for two-yard gain on first defensive play of the game. . . Bull-rushed left guard Daryn Colledge to sack quarterback Kevin Kolb for a five-yard loss, causing a fumble in the first quarter. The Cardinals recovered the fumble on a play that lost a total of nine yards.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: Entered as a backup at nose tackle. . . Good play to fend off block attempt of right guard Rex Hadnot and stop Wells for a one-yard gain on a second-and-two in the fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @Freakyjean95)
96-Demarcus Dobbs: Saw limited play time.
51-Blake Costanzo: Played on the special teams, and downed a punt at the one-yard line after C.J. Spillman saved it from going into the end zone in the first quarter. (Follow on Twitter @BlakeCostanzo51)
52-Patrick Willis: Inactive (hamstring). His status will be evaluated through the week before the club determines whether he is ready to play Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Follow on Twitter @PatrickWillis52)
53-NaVorro Bowman: Started at the "mike" linebacker position and had a relatively quiet game with three tackles. (Follow on Twitter @NBowman53)
54-Larry Grant: Started at the "jack" linebacker in place of Patrick Willis and led the team with nine tackles. Was very good at filling gaps and stuffing plays between the tackles. . . Made good open-field tackle of Wells for three-yard gain in second quarter. . . Called for roughing the passer for a hit to Skelton's knee after he got taken to the ground by a LaRod Stephens-Howling cut block. . . Broke up a third-down pass to tight end Jeff King in the fourth quarter on a shallow crossing route. . . Had a chance to wrap up Fitzgerald, who spun out of his grasp at the 50-yard line and ended up gaining an additional 30 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @LarryGrant54)
55-Ahmad Brooks: Started at left outside linebacker, and recorded three tackles with two tackles for loss. . . Applied tremendous pressure on quarterback Kevin Kolb, hurrying him into a two-yard completion to King on the first drive. . . On the next play, Brooks inadvertently knocked Kolb from the game when his leg hit the back of Kolb's helmet as he scrambled for a fumble in the first quarter. . . Came flying off the left side to stop Stephens-Howling for a two-yard loss on a play run off the left side.
56-Tavares Gooden: Played solely on special teams.
98-Parys Haralson: Started at left outside linebacker. . . Blew up fullback Anthony Sherman on his side to stack it up and allow Brooks to drop Stephens-Howling for two-yard loss in the fourth quarter. . . Dropped Wells for a three-yard loss as he tried to get to the outside.
99-Aldon Smith: Entered the game in nickel situations, and had another fine performance. . . Pursued Skelton 10 yards down the field and stripped him of the football from behind. McDonald recovered it. . . Got second-quarter pressure on Skelton leading to a high throw and an incomplete pass. . . King held him on first play of the second half to prevent a sack. . . Recorded sack -- with a big assist to the coverage -- against right tackle Brandon Keith when Skelton couldn't find anyone open . . . Did a good job of setting the edge against two blockers on a play in which Wells gained three yards in the third quarter. . . Beat backup right tackle Jeremy Bridges badly and had a shot at Skelton. He got away and scrambled to his right but threw back across the field, where Tarell Brown intercepted it in the third quarter. (Follow on Twitter @AldonSmithJETS)Defensive backs
20-Madieu Williams: Played exclusively on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @MadieuWilliams)
22-Carlos Rogers: Started at left cornerback, and had a quiet game. . . Tried to cut under Fitzgerald on first play of the fourth quarter, but Fitzgerald made the catch, turned up field, broke a tackle and ended up with a 53-yard gain. . . . In coverage against Andre Roberts and did not attack him aggressively after the reception on the go-ahead three-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
25-Tarell Brown: Started at right cornerback, and recorded four tackles and an interception. . . Good coverage and sure tackle on Fitzgerald in first quarter to drop him after a five-yard gain. On the next play, on a third down, he was in coverage on an incomplete crossing route intended for Andre Roberts. . . Might have had a chance to make tackle and prevent Early Doucet's 60-yard TD catch in second quarter, but Fitzgerald leveled him with a block. . . In coverage on 17- and 15-yard Fitzgerald gains. . . Made third-quarter inception on a pass Skelton threw high over the middle that went of Fitzgerald's hands. (Follow on Twitter @RealTB25)
26-Tramaine Brock: Played on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @T26Brock)
27-C.J. Spillman: Did not play any on defense, but made a nice play on special teams in the first quarter. Lined up as a gunner on the right side, Spillman easily got past the man assigned to block him, A.J. Jefferson, and tackled Patrick Peterson for a one-yard loss at the end of a 61-yard punt. . . He made another exceptional play when he saved a punt from going into the end zone. He tossed it back to Blake Costanzo, who downed it at the one-yard line. (Follow on Twitter @CJSPILLMAN27)
29-Chris Culliver: Played as the 49ers third cornerback. He recorded one special-teams tackle. (Follow on Twitter @Cullyinthehouse)
30-Reggie Smith: Saw action on just a couple snaps when Dashon Goldson exited the game briefly with a hip bruise. (Follow on Twitter @superreg30)
31-Donte Whitner: Started at strong safety, and had five tackles and a pass defensed. . . He brushed through Andre Roberts block attempt to drop Wells for no gain in the second quarter. . . Perfect timing to deliver hit on Roberts, knocking the ball in the air, where Goldson intercepted it in the second quarter. (Follow on Twitter @DonteWhitner)
36-Shawntae Spencer: Was active for the game and saw limited action in the 49ers' dime defense. He matched up with Fitzgerald on those occasions and did not allow any catches.
38-Dashon Goldson: Started at free safety and recorded three tackles and an interception. . . Leveled the boom on Skelton at around the time Aldon Smith was forcing a fumble in the second quarter. . . Didn't take the best angle on deep post to Early Doucet and could not come up with a diving tackle on a play that went for a 60-yard TD in the second quarter. . . Made interception off deflection in the second quarter. He returned it 17 yards. . . Big hit on tight end Rob Housler for a third-quarter interception. . . Went up with Fitzgerald but could not prevent Fitzgerald from coming down with the football for a 46-yard TD in the third quarter. Fitzgerald made the catch and stayed on his feet, as Goldson fell. Fitzgerald took it the final 22 yards for the TD. . . Made hard hit on Chester Taylor to stop him for 11 yards in third-and-13 situation. (Follow on Twitter @thehawk38)
43-Colin Jones: Played exclusively on special teams, and made the initial block on Sam Acho that allowed Ginn to return a punt 52 yards on the final play of the first quarter.Specialists
2-David Akers: Made field-goal attempts of 46, 22, 27 and 22 yards. But he also missed a 50-yard field goal in the first half. (Follow on Twitter @DavidAkers2)
4-Andy Lee: Another exemplary game, as he averaged 53.1 yards on seven punts. But it wasn't just that he got a lot of distance, Lee also gave his return unit a chance with his directional punts aimed outside the numbers. Explosive return man Patrick Peterson averaged 8.8 yards per return, as Lee's net average was 46.9. (Follow on Twitter @Andy4lee)
86-Brian Jennings: He handled the long-snapping duties without incident. (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.”