49ers review: Defensive player-by-player


49ers review: Defensive player-by-player

Here is the entire defensive player-by-player review from the 49ers' 19-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday:Defensive linemen
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at nose tackle, and had a very active game as the 49ers spent most of the game in their base defense. . . Did not get off block of center Max Unger on 18-yard run by Marshawn Lynch in the first quarter. . . Sopoaga recorded seven tackles total in the game, and was much more effective in the second half. . . Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch had 83 yards rushing in the first half, and the 49ers did a better job in the second half, as Lynch finished with 107 yards.
91-Ray McDonald: Started at left defensive end, and played every defensive snap. . . He finished with seven tackles and a sack. . . Blew past right guard Lemuel Jeanpierre for 10-yard sack of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in first quarter.
93-Ian Williams: Inactive (coaches' decision). (Follow on Twitter @IWilliams95
94-Justin Smith: Started at right defensive end and recorded five tackles with two quarterback hurries. . . . Sustained left knee injury on third play of the game when he got tangled up in a pile of bodies. After checking out fine, he returned in the second quarter. . . While engaged with left tackle Paul McQuistan, Lynch ran threw his attempted arm tackle for a 10-yard gain in second quarter. . . Got a pressure and knockdown of Jackson to force incompletion late in first half. . . Looped around on a stunt to pressure Jackson for an incomplete pass to force a punt late in the third quarter.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: Entered at right defensive end for injured Justin Smith for the fourth play of the game and continued in that role until the middle of the second quarter. . . He was not credited with any tackles during his time in the game. (Follow on Twitter @Freakyjean95)
96-Demarcus Dobbs: Saw play time on special teams, including running down on kickoff coverage.Linebackers
51-Blake Costanzo: Played on the special teams. . . Was called for what appeared to be a phantom illegal block above the waist to wipe out a nice Kyle Williams return in the third quarter. . . Made tackle of Leon Washington at 16-yard line on third-quarter kickoff. . . . Did not get enough of Heath Farwell on block to prevent blocked punt in fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @BlakeCostanzo51)
52-Patrick Willis: Inactive (hamstring). Barring a setback, he'll be healthy enough to play Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. (Follow on Twitter @PatrickWillis52)
53-NaVorro Bowman: Started at the "mike" linebacker position and was credited with a game-high 12 tackles. . . . Started off in coverage, but then closed quickly to drop Jackson for a 4-yard loss in the second quarter for his first career sack. . . . Came on blitz and hit Jackson as he was throwing for a third-down incompletion in the third quarter. . . Dropped into coverage and tipped away deep pass for receiver Doug Baldwin over the middle with 18 seconds remaining. (Follow on Twitter @NBowman53)
54-Larry Grant: Started at the "jack" linebacker in place of Willis for the third consecutive game. He made 11 tackles, including the big defensive play of the game. . . . . Got tied up by right tackle Breno Giacomini on 18-yard run by Lynch in first quarter. . . .Could not bring down Lynch in the backfield on play in which he scored a 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. . . Over ran Jackson deep in the backfield and nearly went to the ground, but stayed with the play to strip Jackson from behind for the key turnover that helped the 49ers preserve the victory with 1:07 remaining. . . Then, made tackle of Washington after a 24-yard punt return with :41 left. (Follow on Twitter @LarryGrant54)
55-Ahmad Brooks: Started at left outside linebacker, and was credited with two tackles. . . He went out of the lineup briefly in the first half with an elbow injury, but returned and finished the game. . . . Got good pressure around the edge to hurry Jackson into an incomplete pass on a third down in the third quarter.
56-Tavares Gooden: Played solely on special teams. He did a good job of hanging with Washington's attempted spin move on a third-quarter kickoff. Gooden stopped him at the 15-yard line.
98-Parys Haralson: Started at left outside linebacker, and was credited with one tackle. . . Got good pressure on Jackson and hit his arm as he was throwing to force first-quarter incompletion. . . . Run blitz off the edge and avoided block of Michael Robinson to trip up Lynch in third quarter as part of a three-and-out series. . . . Allowed Lynch to get to the outside on 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
99-Aldon Smith: He played mostly defensive end in nickel situations, but also saw some action at outside linebacker. . . Entered game at outside linebacker after Ahmad Brooks left for a few plays. On his first play standing up, he avoided tight end Zach Miller block attempt and stopped running back Leon Washington on 4-yard gain. . . . He finished with four tackles. . . Used a delay pass rush move -- after first holding his ground on a play-action fake -- and quickly got past left tackle Paul McQuistan to throw Jackson for an 8-yard sack in the fourth quarter. . . . Got enough push into Jackson's face against right tackle Brent Giacomini to make him throw off-balance on final fourth-down play of the game. (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 was credited with two tackles and one pass defensed. . . . In coverage against receiver Ricardo Lockette on 44-yard pass on second play of the game. . . . Well-covered deep ball on incomplete pass to Baldwin in the first quarter. . . . Made hit on Jackson at goal line for an exceptional play to prevent Seattle touchdown on what appeared to be a broken play in the second quarter. . . Good coverage on a high throw for Baldwin on a third down in the third quarter.
25-Tarell Brown: Started at right cornerback, and was credited with one tackle . . . On Seahawks' opening drive touchdown, he tossed receiver Golden Tate aside, but then did not attempt to use his body to tackle Baldwin at the 5-yard line. Brown tried to slap the ball awa from Baldwin, who easily scored a TD on the play . . . Called for 27-yard penalty for pass interference in the third quarter as he and receiver Ben Obomanu were jostling for position down the left sideline . . . Did a good job of keeping running back Justin Forsett inbounds on swing pass as 17 seconds ticked off the clock in the final minute. (Follow on Twitter @RealTB25)
26-Tramaine Brock: Inactive (coaches' decision). (Follow on Twitter @T26Brock)
27-C.J. Spillman: Credited with two tackles on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @CJSPILLMAN27)
29-Chris Culliver: Played as the 49ers third cornerback, and was credited with two tackles. (Follow on Twitter @Cullyinthehouse)
30-Reggie Smith: His play time was limited, as 49ers remained with base and nickel defensive packages. (Follow on Twitter @superreg30)
31-Donte Whitner: Started at strong safety, and was credited with three tackles and a fumble recovery. . . Leveled receiver Deon Butler but Butler held on for a 7-yard gain on third-and-6 in the second quarter. . . Secured fumble recovery with 1:07 remaining after Grant stripped Jackson of the football to preserve the victory. (Follow on Twitter @DonteWhitner)
36-Shawntae Spencer: Was active for a third game in a row, but did not see much action as the 49ers stuck with their base and nickel defense.
38-Dashon Goldson: Started at free safety, and was credited with three tackles. . . Did not take great angle on 44-yard pass to Lockette on opening drive. . . Let receiver Doug Baldwin get to the outside to turn a quick hitch into a 13-yard scoring pass on first drive. . . Made immediate tackle on Obomanu for 14-yard gain on a third-and-15 to force a fourth-quarter punt. . . . As fullback on punt team, he did not account for Farwell on fourth-quarter block. (Follow on Twitter @thehawk38)
43-Colin Jones: Played exclusively on special teams. Although not credited with any tackles, Jones was always around the action.Specialists
2-David Akers: Set the single-season NFL record with his 39th, 40th, 41st and 42nd field goals of the season. . . Sliced a 52-yard field goal attempt wide left (and short) in the first quarter. . . He was perfect on a 53-yard attempt early in the second quarter. . . Made his biggest pressure kick of the season as he nailed a 39-yarder with 2:57 remaining for the winning points. (Follow on Twitter @DavidAkers2)
4-Andy Lee: Things were going along just fine until his fourth-quarter punt was blocked. That contributed to his season-worst 28.0 net average. (Follow on Twitter @Andy4lee)
86-Brian Jennings: He handled the long-snapping duties without incident. (Follow on Twitter @Jennings141)

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

SANTA CLARA – Despite recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons and being named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Eric Reid said he believes he is now in a role that best fits his skillset.

Whereas in the past, the 49ers’ safety positions were considered interchangeable, there is a clear delineation this season under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“Even dating back to college, this is the first time there’s a distinct strong (safety) and a distinct free (safety),” Reid said. “I’ve been used to the interchangeability type of role.

“(In) some situations, certain calls where there’s a motion, we might flip. There are a couple situations where I might be in the post in the free-safety role, but it’s not nearly as much as it has been in the past.”

Reid, who is listed at 6 foot 1, 213 pounds, said he is excited to be stationed closer to the line of scrimmage for run support while free safety Jimmie Ward patrols the deep middle of the field.

The 49ers offseason program concluded Wednesday, and Reid found himself in the middle of the action with an interception on a short Brian Hoyer pass over the middle. While he will still be counted upon for coverage, his biggest impact could come to assist a run defense that last season ranked among the worst in NFL history.

“I love it, being around the ball more,” Reid said. “I anticipate making more tackles, hopefully making more plays. I feel like I was made for this position with my body type, being a bigger safety. I’m excited about this year.

“I feel like I’m using what God has blessed me with, more, which is my size and being in the box in the run game. In the past, I felt like I could do more. And being in the post, I can’t use my size as much when it comes to the run game.”

After producing seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid recorded just one interception in 26 games over the past two seasons.

As a first-round pick in 2013, the 49ers picked up the fifth-year option this season for $5.676 million. He is scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of the season. Reid said the 49ers have not spoken to his representation about a long-term extension. That will come, he believes, if he lives up to his end of the bargain in his new, streamlined role.

“I look at it from a business standpoint,” Reid said. “I majored in business. They have me under contract. They don’t have any reason to talk to right now. I imagine if I play well in the first half of the season, they’ll reach out to me. Maybe they’ll reach out to me before training camp, I don’t know. It’s whatever route they decide to take. It’s a business. I’ll treat it as a business. I have a job to do, so I’ll do it.”


Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan always wanted to coach football with his father. But, first, he knew he had to prove himself without any boost from his well-known dad.

Once the son established himself as one of the NFL’s respected offensive minds, the Shanahans teamed up for four up-but-mostly-down seasons with Washington.

Mike, the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, hired his son to serve as his top offensive assistant in 2010.

“I thought we saw football similar, but we quickly realized after a few weeks that we saw it differently,” Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area in February. “We grew together. He gave me a lot of leeway while I was there. It was fun to try a bunch of different things, having to even incorporate the zone read when we got Robert (Griffin).

“We did our deal in Washington, and I wouldn’t take that back for the world, but that was pretty much the end of it.”

Kyle Shanahan broke into the coaching ranks under Karl Dorrell at UCLA. He moved onto the NFL to work with Jon Gruden on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans. But nothing prepared him for the scrutiny he would face as offensive coordinator under his father.

Kyle Shanahan adjusted the Washington offense to take advantage of Griffin’s skills as a dual-threat quarterback as a rookie 2012. The club qualified for the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

But things blew up the following season as the Mike Shanahan-Griffin relationship soured. Shanahan and eight assistant coaches, including Kyle, were fired the morning after Washington’s 3-13 season concluded.

Mike Shanahan has remained out of coaching, though he was a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching job after the 2015 season. The 49ers hired Chip Kelly.

Kyle Shanahan rebuilt his career with one season as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and two successful seasons with the Atlanta Falcons to enable him to become CEO Jed York’s choice to replace Kelly.

There is no official role for Mike Shanahan, 64, on his son’s staff with the 49ers. But the father has attended several of the team’s practices this offseason, including both days of the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp this week. Mike has been issued his own iPad that gives him access to the 49ers playbook and coach's film. He will likely visit for an extended stay during training camp. But Kyle said he believes his dad will mostly remain home -- only a phone call away -- during the regular season.

“He’s enjoying life right now,” said Kyle, 37. “He’s got a pretty good deal in Denver, where he lives. He can help me out in other ways anyways without having to be here every day.”

Mike Shanahan does not need to be in the building every day to counsel and have influence on his son as he tries to navigate his first season as the head coach while also maintaining the responsibilities of running the team’s offense.

“You’re going 1,000 miles an hour,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Sometimes to see everything you’ve got to really slow things down and take your time to look at stuff and you don’t always have that time as a head coach.

“It’s nice when someone you know who thinks similar to you has a similar background and he just sits in a room all day and watches stuff. He doesn’t have any other responsibilities. He can see some things that I’m not always seeing and just to bring things to light that maybe I missed or other people have missed.”

Mike Shanahan was a successful NFL offensive coordinator for seven seasons. He won a Super Bowl on George Seifert’s staff with the 49ers in January 1995. His dad believes his time around the 49ers has a lasting impact.

“When I was with San Francisco, Kyle was at the 49ers training camps in Rocklin,” Mike Shanahan told Fangirl Sports Network. “He stayed with me at camp and we talked about football every night.

“He had the opportunity to experience an organization that had won four Super Bowls in nine years. He also had the opportunity to be around some great people and leaders. He still tells stories and talks about people like Steve Young, Joe Montana, Harris Barton, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Deion Sanders, and many others. What a great experience to see how these men handled themselves on and off the field.”

The Denver Broncos hired him to become head coach shortly after the 49ers’ 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Shanahan went on to win two Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the Broncos.

Kyle Shanahan was a wide receiver at Duke before finishing college at Texas, where he caught 14 passes for 127 yards in two seasons. He figured he would have a career in football and it would not be as a player.

“I’ve wanted to coach my whole life,” Kyle Shanahan said. “This is all I’ve known, just growing up around football. It’s almost all I’ve been into, too. Since I was little, it’s distracted me from everything I’ve done, especially school. I always tried to tell my mom, ‘Just be patient, it’ll play out for us in the long run.’ Fortunately, it did.

“Once I realized my genes were a little bit better as a coach than as a player, I pretty much locked into that – and that was about halfway through college. I haven’t looked back.”

During his short time with the 49ers, players on both sides of the ball have expressed amazement at how knowledgeable Kyle Shanahan is about the game of football. His dad told Fangirl Sports Network to succeed as a head coach he must always be dedicated to stuyding, learning and teaching the sport.

“He loves the game and knows it inside and out,” Mike Shanahan said. “My advice to him is to never lose the drive to study the game as he’s done over the last 13 years. To stay in the NFL as a head coach and have success for any length of time, you must never lose your drive to teach and stay abreast of what the top teams are doing every year: offense, defense, special teams. You must be able to coach all positions to really understand the whole game.”

Former 49ers president Carmen Policy said he remembers young Kyle serving as a ball boy during 49ers training camp in the early 1990s. Policy, who remains close to Mike Shanahan, has followed Kyle’s rise in the coaching ranks while playfully questioning the sanity of the family business.

Said Policy: “I used to tease Mike, ‘What kind of father are you to let your kid go into coaching?’ I said, ‘You should be charged with dereliction of parental duty.’ And he’d laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I tried talking to him and then my wife tried talking to him, but that’s his passion, and that’s what he wants to do, so I’m not going to dissuade him from it.’

“And, then, look at what happened. Here he is. He’s the head coach of the 49ers, and that’s just incredible.”