Alama-Francis has two-week window to prove himself


Alama-Francis has two-week window to prove himself

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers, a team short on outside linebackers in its exhibition game Saturday night, picked up three players at the position on Monday.Aldon Smith, still noticeably hobbled by a right hip bruise, put on pads for the first time since sustaining his injury on Aug. 10. Ahmad Brooks, the starter on the other side, also returned to the practice field after sitting out four practices, as well as Saturday's game.And making his 49ers practice debut was Ikaika Alama-Francis, 27, who played 35 games over the past five seasons with Detroit and Miami. Alama-Francis, whose first name is pronounced "e-KY-kuh," entered the NFL in 2007 as a Lions second-round draft pick.He signed a non-guaranteed, one-year 700,000 contract with the 49ers on Aug. 15. Per rules of the CBA ratified last summer, players newly signed in training camps must go through a three-day acclimation period before they are allowed to put on pads.So the first day Alama-Francis was allowed to fully suit up was Saturday -- for the 49ers' game against the Houston Texans. He was outfitted in full pads but did not play in the game.
"It's been pretty crazy," Alama-Francis said. "Game day was the first day I could put on pads. I'm just learning the playbook. Being in a 3-4 scheme the past three years in Miami, I can relate things, but the terminology is different. Everybody has different ways of doing things. There's a lot of studying ahead."Alama-Francis had recent tryouts with Kansas City and Oakland. The 49ers offer him a reasonable chance at a roster spot at outside linebacker, a position he played the past two seasons in Miami. Alama-Francis (6-foot-5, 275 pounds) was 15 pounds heavier as a defensive end earlier in his career.The 49ers carried just three outside linebackers last season, and they might want to open this year with a little more insurance. Parys Haralson appears set as the third outside linebacker.
The team's two draft picks at outside linebacker, Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson, do not figure to be on the 53-man roster after final cuts on August 31 due to knee injuries. Currently, journeyman Eric Bakhtiari is the No. 4 outside linebacker.Alama-Francis has been impressed in a short period of time with what he's seen with the 49ers. He has never been on a team with a winning record, and he played 13 games in 2008 for the winless Lions."Everything is really organized," said Alama-Francis, a native Hawaiian who played college football at the University of Hawaii. "Coach (Jim) Harbaugh, what he preaches really sinks in with the guys on the team. That's why they're winning. It's a great organization, and I'm glad to be a part of it."It's also going to be a hectic two weeks for Alama-Francis as he hopes to quickly prove he deserves one of the 49ers' coveted roster spots. Thirty-seven players must be trimmed from the roster over a five-day period, Aug. 27 to Aug. 31.
"I got a two-week window, so hopefully I can show them enough to be on this team for the 53," he said. "You know how the NFL works: 'Hey, come in, get the job done or go home.'"The train isn't stopping for anybody. It's not stopping for me, so I might as well ride it."

Instant Analysis: Turnovers cost 49ers in preseason loss to Broncos


Instant Analysis: Turnovers cost 49ers in preseason loss to Broncos


SANTA CLARA – The 49ers don’t have to worry about peaking too soon, that’s for sure.

The 49ers first-team offense was plagued by turnovers and penalties against the Denver Broncos at Levi’s Stadium in the second exhibition game for both teams. And things did not get much better when the backups entered the action.

After two days during which the 49ers more than held their own against Denver in joint practices, there was no debate about which team was better when it was time for a game.

The 49ers put together an all-around sloppy performance -- low-lighted by 11 penalties and five turnovers -- in a 33-14 loss to the Broncos on Saturday night.

While the starters were in the game, the 49ers were outscored 10-0. The 49ers committed six penalties for 53 yards and committed four turnovers in the first half, as the 49ers fell behind 20-0 through two quarters.

“I thought the D did a solid job,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said during his halftime interview on KPIX. “We put them in a bad situation four times, so I was happy that they just held it to what it was.”

Jaquiski Tartt was responsible for one of the giveaways when it was ruled he inadvertently touched the ball on a punt in the first quarter. The Broncos recovered the muffed punt to retain possession.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer lost a fumble when the ball slipped out of his hand as he was throwing. Hoyer was also tagged with an interception. Denver defensive back Chris Lewis-Harris ripped the ball away from Marquise Goodwin as he juggled a Hoyer pass that was thrown behind him.

Running back Tim Hightower lost a fumble in the second quarter.

The Broncos capitalized on those four turnovers for all 20 of their points while shutting out the 49ers through halftime.

The 49ers’ offense showed some signs of life with Hoyer at the controls. The team gained 111 yards on their 22 plays. Hoyer completed 8 of 11 passes for 89 yards before rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard replaced him late in the first half.

Beathard continued to make a strong case to win the backup job. Beathard is in competition with Matt Barkley as the 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback.

Beathard teamed up with his former Iowa teammate, tight end George Kittle, on a 29-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Kittle caught the short pass from Beathard, turned up the left sideline, ran through an attempted tackle by Lewis-Harris, then stiff-armed safety Orion Stewart en route to the end zone.

Beathard completed 7 of his 12 pass attempts for 110 yards. His passer rating was 116.7.

Linebackers Reuben Foster and NaVorro Bowman, who were limited in the 49ers’ final joint practice with Denver with shoulder ailments, started played 20 snaps apiece.

With Foster and Bowman on the field, the Broncos totaled just 63 yards of total offense. Bowman had two tackles, while Foster added one before the 49ers’ first-team defense was removed in the second quarter.

Foster underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder in February. Some NFL teams reportedly did not believe he would be available to play this season. He was cleared for full-contact drills on the eve of training camp.

The 49ers said Foster’s mild AC joint sprain in his right shoulder was not related to his previous injury. He was held out of contact drills on Thursday. Bowman was pulled out of practice Thursday with a similar condition.

Players who did not see action due to injuries were: Defensive linemen Aaron Lynch, DeForest Buckner and Ronald Blair, linebacker Sean Porter, defensive backs Will Redmond and Prince Charles Iworah, wide receiver Aaron Burbridge, and guard Joshua Garnett.

Jimmie Ward remains on physical unable to perform due to a hamstring injury. Ward could be activated when the 49ers return to practice.

--Undrafted rookie Victor Bolden supplied one of the lone highlights for the 49ers with a 104-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter.

--Eli Harold started at the strongside linebacker in place of Ahmad Brooks, who entered the game in the second quarter with the second-team defense.

--Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian connected with Jordan Taylor on a 19-yard touchdown pass against the coverage of newly signed 49ers cornerback Asa Jackson in the second quarter.

--Undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome started at free safety for the second game in a row. Jerome recorded two tackles and broke up a pass.

--Goodwin caught three passes for 44 yards. His first two receptions accounted for the first first downs from the 49ers’ No. 1 offense in the exhibition season.

--Rookie pass-rusher Pita Taumoepenu recorded a sack in the fourth quarter.

--The 49ers did not get much going from their top three running backs. Carlos Hyde gained 26 on eight carries. Kapri Bibbs had 6 yards on four carries. And Hightower had minus-1 yard on three attempts.

--Rookie running back Joe Williams entered the game with less than seven minutes to play. Guard Norman Price got blown back into the backfield on Williams second attempt, allowing Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris to, in essence, intercept the handoff from Barkley to Willliams.

Despite injury concerns, Foster, Bowman play 20 snaps in exhibition vs Broncos


Despite injury concerns, Foster, Bowman play 20 snaps in exhibition vs Broncos

SANTA CLARA -- Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster, who was limited in Thursday’s practice due to a shoulder sprain, started the 49ers’ exhibition game Saturday night against the Denver Broncos at Levi's Stadium.

Foster played 20 snaps and recorded one tackle before the 49ers’ first-team defense was removed in the second quarter.

There were some concerns when Foster was included on the 49ers’ pre-practice injury report Thursday with an injury to his surgically repaired shoulder. But the 49ers said the injury was not related to the torn rotator cuff he sustained for Alabama in the national semifinal game against Washington.

NaVorro Bowman, who was removed from practice Thursday with a similar shoulder condition, also started and played every snap alongside Foster. Bowman was credited with two tackles.

With Foster and Bowman on the field, the Broncos totaled just 63 yards of total offense.