49ers review: Offensive player-by-player

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49ers review: Offensive player-by-player

This season, the NFL requires that either the team's staring center or the two guards wear microphones during games.

Veteran center Jonathan Goodwin has deferred, so guards Adam Snyder and Mike Iupati are outfitted with the devices that bring alive the sounds of the game. (The microphones remotely switch on after the team breaks the huddle and turn off after each play.)

That's why fans watching at home can hear a lot of what 49ers quarterback Alex Smith says at the line of scrimmage. Everyone has become accustomed to hearing Smith yell a couple of familiar commands: "Let it roll" or "Kill."

Over the past several weeks, some onlookers have believed that the 49ers to run the ball when Smith barks out one command and they throw when he says the other. That simply is not the case.

In the first half of the 49ers' game Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, there were 10 times in which Smith was given two plays to relay to his teammates in the huddle. Based on his pre-snap reads, Smith can either keep the first play ("Let it roll") or change to the second play ("Kill").

There might be two run plays called in the huddle or two pass plays. Or the options could be run and pass -- or pass and run. There is no pattern. And for the defense and fans who can hear Smith on TV, the calls mean nothing unless you know which two play calls -- in which order -- were called in the huddle.

Case in point: In the first half, the 49ers ran twice and passed four times on the "Let it roll" command; and they passed twice and ran once on "Kill."

OK, now that we got that out of the way . . . Here is the entire offensive player-by-player review from the 49ers' 26-0 win over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday:

Quarterback
3-Scott Tolzien: Inactive (coaches' decision).
7-Colin Kaepernick: He entered with 7:20 remaining in the game and played the 49ers' final six snaps of the game. He was 0-for-2 in passing attempts with an incompletion off tight end Justin Peelle's hands and a high throw to Delanie Walker. (Follow on Twitter @Kaepernick7)
11-Alex Smith: Made his 12th start of the season and had, statistically, his best game of his 71-start NFL career. Smith compiled a passer rating of 142.3 with a 17-of-23 game for 274 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. . . . He was sacked four times (he probably held onto the ball too long on one of them) and a couple of his incompletions were the results of pressure in his face. . . There were also two dropped passes on well-thrown balls. . . Made perfect deep throw to Vernon Davis that was dropped in the end zone. The pass was impressive on a couple of different levels: It was perfectly placed as it traveled 50 yards in the air, and Smith hung in to make the throw just before defensive tackle Fred Robbins hit him. . . . He also gained 8 yards on an option-read run play.Running backs
21-Frank Gore: He started at running back and played 37 snaps before leaving the game for good after his first carry of the fourth quarter. . . Gore became the 49ers' all-time leading rusher since the franchise entered the NFL in 1950, surpassing Joe "The Jet" Perry's total. Gore gained 73 yards on 21 carries. He did not catch a pass. . . Picked up blitz of safety Quintin Mikell to allow Smith to throw 12-yard pass to Ted Ginn to convert a third-and-4 situation.
24-Anthony Dixon: He played four snaps of offense. He was on the field for a failed "Wildcat" play with Kendall Hunter taking the direct snap. . . On the final drive, he carried three times for 2 yards. . . He also played special tams. (Follow on Twitter @Boobie24Dixon)
32-Kendall Hunter: He played 28 snaps in the game, and had five rushing attempts for 4 yards. . . . He took the direct snap in a "Wildcat" play that lost 7 yards in the third quarter. . . He also caught two passes for 24 yards. . . . Did a good job in pass protection. He picked up blitz on safety James Butler to allow Smith to get the ball out to Kyle Williams on his long TD catch.
44-Moran Norris: Inactive (coaches decision).
49-Bruce Miller: Started at fullback and played 30 snaps. . . Cut down linebacker Chris Chamberlain with a block that opened way for Gore to pick up 8 yards on first rushing attempt of the game. . . . Also played special teams. (Follow on Twitter @bmiller_49)
90-Isaac Sopoaga: He saw action on two snaps of offense and had a good block on a run play inside the 5-yard line on which Gore nearly scored.Wide receivers
10-Kyle Williams: As the team's No. 3 receiver, he played a career-high 34 of the team's 63 offensive snaps. He caught two passes for 66 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown. . . . He also fielded one fair catch as a punt returner. . . . Reached out to make catch away from defense for 10-yard gain in first quarter on a third-and-5 play. . . . Penalized for an illegal block in the back on a 19-yard Ginn completion. . . Showed his speed on a reverse that he turned into a 25-yard gain, a play that ended with a devastating stiff arm of Mikell. . . . Caught 8-yard hitch, got to the inside against cornerback Josh Gordy and took it 56 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown. (Follow on Twitter @KyleWilliams_10)
15-Michael Crabtree: Started at flanker and played 40 snaps. He caught four passes for 96 yards, including a 52-yard TD in the fourth quarter. . . Dropped pass on a third-and-7 play that likely would've picked up a first down in first quarter. . . . Ducked out of tackle attempt of cornerback Justin King to pick up final 10 yards on a 15-yard gain. . . Made block on safety Craig Dahl downfield on play in which Gore gained 20 yards. . . . Made nice stutter move and ran deep post to beat King for his long TD catch in the third quarter. (Follow on Twitter @KingCrab15)
17-Braylon Edwards: Inactive (kneeshoulder). With one week off to rest up, there is a good chance Edwards is available for action Sunday against the Cardinals. (Follow on Twitter @OfficialBraylon)
18-Brett Swain: Suited up for the second time this season and saw action on seven snaps from scrimmage as the 49ers' No. 4 receiver.
19-Ted Ginn: Started and played 34 snaps in the game. He caught four passes for 56 yards, and added another 16 yards on a "fly sweep" run play in the third quarter. . . Picked up Vernon Davis' fumble at end of the first half to enable 49ers to retain possession. . . Averaged 6.3 yards on three punt returns, and had one kickoff return for 31 yards.Tight ends
46-Delanie Walker: Played 37 snaps as the team's No. 2 tight end. . . He had two passes thrown his way but did not have a reception. . . . He also played special teams. . . . Took pitch on a reverse and made Mikell miss 3 yards behind line of scrimmage on play that gained 14 yards. . . Good protection one-on-one against defensive end James Hall on Smith's long TD pass to Crabtree. (Follow on Twitter @Dwalk46)
81-Justin Peelle: Entered as the No. 3 tight end and played seven snaps from scrimmage. . . He was targeted on a pass from Kaepernick that deflected off his hands in the fourth quarter.
85-Vernon Davis: Started at tight end and played the first 57 snaps of the game before heading to the sideline for the final two 49ers possessions. . . . He caught five passes for 32 yards, but let a big one get away. . . Picked up 9 additional yards after making Chamberlain miss tackle in first quarter on a 13-yard gain. . . . Got behind safeties Mikell and Craig Dahl but dropped perfectly thrown pass in the end zone for what would've been a 40-yard TD in the second quarter. . . . At end of 15-yard completion late in the first half, had the ball stripped but Ginn recovered. . . . Very good block on Long to allow Williams to get around right side for 25-yard gain on a reverse. . . (Follow on Twitter @VernonDavis85)Offensive linemen
59-Jonathan Goodwin: Started at center and played all but the final three-play possession of the game for the 49ers. . . Got block on Robbins to get Gore to next level on a play that went for 20 yards in the second quarter. (Follow on Twitter @Jgoody59)
62-Chilo Rachal: Played seven snaps at guard in the second half, including three snaps at left guard for the first time in his career. One the next possession, he switched to right guard.
67-Daniel Kilgore: Inactive (coaches' decison).
68-Adam Snyder: Started at right guard, where he remained for the entire game until he switched to center for the first time in his NFL career. He played the final three snaps at center. . . . Called for false start before a fourth-and-2 play in the second quarter to move the 49ers back and force a punt. . . . Blocked Robbins, then got to second level to take care of middle linebacker James Laurinaitis on a play in which Gore gained 20 yards in the second quarter. . . . On next play, Robbins got pressure inside that contributed to Chris Long's sack vs. Anthony Davis. . . Surrendered pressure to James Hall to force an incompletion. . . . Blocks on defensive tackle James Hall and safety Craig Dahl to allow Gore to pick up 6 yards on sweep in third quarter. (Follow on Twitter @ASnyds68)
74-Joe Staley: Started at left tackle and played all but the final two possessions. . . . He had a good showing all day against Rams defensive end James Hall. . . He capped the day with a glancing Gatorade dump on winning coach Jim Harbaugh. (Follow on Twitter @jstaley74)
75-Alex Boone: He played three snaps as an extra blocker, and finished off with the final two possessions at left tackle.
76-Anthony Davis: Started at right tackle and played every snap. . . Good block on Long to enable Gore to pick up 8 yards on first play of the game. . . . Good block on Long on Gore's 20-yard gain. . . .On next play, Long used a spin move to get past him and throw Smith for a sack of 2 yards. . . . That drive ended when Long got pressure on Smith to force incompletion on third down. . . . Long beat him with an inside move on final play of second quarter for his second sack. (Follow on Twitter @AnthonyDavis76)
77-Mike Iupati: Started at left guard and played all but one possession on offense. . . . He tied up Long when he pulled to right side, allowing Gore to pick up 5 yards. . . . Called for two holding penalties within three plays late in the first half. . . Hall beat him for a third-quarter sack.
78-Mike Person: Inactive (coaches' decision).

49ers offense: Top competitions entering training camp

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AP

49ers offense: Top competitions entering training camp

The 49ers open training camp next week in Santa Clara with a number of competitions going on simultaneously on both sides of the ball.

Coach Kyle Shanahan did not hire an offensive coordinator. He will assume the role of running the offense, as he atempts to remake the 49ers' offense to his specifications.

Brian Hoyer is set at quarterback. Joe Staley will line up at left tackle. Kyle Juszcyzk was signed as the highest-priced fullback in the NFL, and the starting wide receivers figure to be Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin.

After that, things are a lot less certain.

Here is a look at the 49ers’ top four training camp battles on offense...

INTERIOR O-LINE
The tackle positions appear straight-forward with Staley and Trent Brown – though Brown will have to hold off Garry Gilliam to retain his starting job.

But there are a lot of options for the 49ers at the three interior positions. Zane Beadles started all 16 games last season at three different positions. He enters camp as the front-runner to start at left guard.

Jeremy Zuttah, who was added to the Pro Bowl roster at center last season, came to the 49ers in an offseason trade with the Baltimore Ravens. Zuttah and Daniel Kilgore will compete for the starting job. Tim Barnes, who started 32 games the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, is in the mix, too.

If Zuttah is not the starting center, he can transition to either guard position to compete with Beadles on the left side or, more likely, the right side.

Joshua Garnett, whom former 49ers general manager Trent Baalke traded up to select in the first round of the 2016 draft, will have to show dramatic improvement over his rookie season to return as the starter at right guard.

Brandon Fusco, who spent his first six NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, started 16 games at left guard in 2015 and 14 games last season at right guard.

TIGHT END
It is within the realm of possibility the 49ers could have a complete overhaul at tight end, as none of the five players who finished the season with the team is a lock to win a roster spot.

The 49ers selected George Kittle in the fifth round. He showed a lot of promise with the best showing of any tight end during the team’s offseason program. The 49ers this offseason also added blocking tight end Logan Paulsen, who has experience in Kyle Shanahan’s scheme, and undrafted rookie pass-catcher Cole Hikutini.

Vance McDonald was the subject of trade talks during the draft – just months after signing a contract extension with $9.1 million in guaranteed money. Garrett Celek and Blake Bell also face stiff competition in order to be back on the 53-man roster.

RUNNING BACK
Carlos Hyde is entering the final year of his original four-year contract, and he has competition for the first time since Frank Gore’s exit cleared the way for him to be the featured back.

Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner handpicked former Utah running back Joe Williams for their scheme. Williams got off to a slow start after joining the offseason program, but he eventually put himself into a position to compete for a significant role in training camp.

Veteran additions Tim Hightower and Kapri Bibbs will be competing for roles in the backfield, as well. Undrafted rookie Matt Breida had an impressive offseason during the non-padded practices.

SLOT RECEIVER
Jeremy Kerley was one of the few free agents from last year’s team that the 49ers had any interest in re-signing. Kerley was the best receiver on the team a year ago -- and it wasn’t even close. He caught 64 passes for 667 yards for the league's least-productive passing game.

The 49ers selected Trent Taylor in the fifth round, and he made an immediate impact during the offseason program after catching 136 passes for 1,803 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior at Louisiana Tech.

A year ago, Bruce Ellington was the 49ers’ best receiver during training camp before his season came to an abrupt end with a torn hamstring in an exhibition game. The onus is on Ellington to remain healthy and prove himself to the new coaching staff.

O.J. Simpson a free man, granted parole in Nevada

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AP

O.J. Simpson a free man, granted parole in Nevada

UPDATE (11am on Thursday) -- O.J. Simpson is a free man. The San Francisco native was granted his parole on Thursday by the Nevada Parole Board with a unanimous 4-0 decision. 

Simpson, who turned 70 this month, can be released from prison as early as Oct. 1 after armed robery charges put him away for almost nine years -- the minimum of a 33-year sentence. 

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LOVELOCK, Nev. -- O.J. Simpson once thrilled crowds as he ran for touchdowns and hurdled airport seats in car rental ads to achieve Hollywood celebrity before he was acquitted of murder in the 1995 "trial of the century" in Los Angeles.

Now, an aging Simpson will appear as inmate No. 1027820 in a starkly plain hearing room in a remote Nevada prison Thursday to plead for his freedom. He's spent more than eight years behind bars for armed robbery and assault with a weapon after trying to take back sports memorabilia in a budget hotel room in Las Vegas.

Simpson, 70, will ask four parole board members who sided with him once before to release him in October, a likely possibility with his clean prison record.

It will be a stunning scene for a charismatic star once known as "The Juice" who won the Heisman Trophy as the best U.S. college football player in 1968 and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

He appeared to have it all.

He went on to star in Hertz commercials and movies like the "Naked Gun" comedies and do sideline reporting for "Monday Night Football" before his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman were slain in 1994.

Simpson is expected to reiterate that he has kept a promise to stay out of trouble, coaches in the prison gym where he works and counsels other inmates.

"I guess, my age, guys come to me," Simpson told parole officials four years ago.

The same commissioners granted him parole on some of his 12 charges in 2013, leaving him with four years to serve before reaching his minimum term.

At Simpson's side in his bid for freedom will be lawyer Malcolm LaVergne, close friend Tom Scotto, sister Shirley Baker and daughter Arnelle Simpson.

O.J. Simpson is expected to explain what he would do and where he would live if he is granted parole after reaching the nine-year minimum of his 33-year sentence.

He was convicted in 2008 after enlisting some men he barely knew, including two with guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier.

"My crime was trying to retrieve for my family my own property," Simpson told the parole officials in 2013 before apologizing.

"Make no mistake, I would give it all back," he said, "to get these last five years back."

The items disappeared after Simpson was found not guilty in the 1994 killings of his ex-wife and her friend and before he was found liable in 1997 in civil court for the deaths.

He was ordered to pay $33.5 million to survivors including his children and the Goldman family.

A Goldman family spokesman said Ron Goldman's father and sister, Fred and Kim, won't be part of Simpson's parole hearing but that they felt apprehensive about "how this will change their lives again should Simpson be released."

"They will remain patient and optimistic that the system will do what is necessary to ensure the public's safety remains a priority and that proper justice will be served," spokesman Michael Wright said this week.

The Goldmans believe Simpson got away with murder in Los Angeles, and many people felt the stiff sentence handed down in 2008 in Las Vegas wasn't just about the robbery.

Now, even the retired district attorney who prosecuted Simpson for the heist acknowledges that Simpson has a good chance to go free. But David Roger denied Simpson's sentence was "payback" for his acquittal in the Los Angeles slayings.

The former prosecutor said Simpson took a gamble when he rejected an offer to avoid trial by pleading guilty to a felony that could have gotten him 2½ years in prison.

"He thought he was invincible, and he rolled the dice," Roger said.