Aldon Smith up against 'serviceable' tackle


Aldon Smith up against 'serviceable' tackle

SANTA CLARA -- Outside linebacker Aldon Smith is already on a pace greater than any pass rusher since the NFL began keeping statistics in 1982.

His 31.5 career sacks are the most for any player in the first two seasons of his career. And he still has four games to create even more separation from the late Reggie White, a Hall of Famer who is No. 2 on the list with 31.

Andre Carter and Dana Stubblefield previously shared the 49ers mark with 19 sacks apiece in their first two seasons.

Smith leads the NFL this season with 17.5 sacks, which ties him with Hall of Famer Fred Dean (1983) for most single-season sacks in 49ers franchise history.

And Smith has a chance to challenge Michael Strahan's single-season NFL record of 22.5, which the former New York Giants defensive end set in 2001. Perhaps the person who has given Smith the biggest assist during his two seasons is convinced that the record — though highly achievable — is down on the list of priorities.

"He is chasing history, and he's going to keep doing what he does, and that's to make the plays to help the team win," 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith said. "And if, along the way, he gets the record, then so be it. We're all pulling for him, hope he gets it, and we're pretty confident he will."

The Miami Dolphins, who face the 49ers on Sunday at Candlestick Park, are scrambling this week to prepare for the right side of the 49ers' defensive front: Aldon Smith and Justin Smith.

That's because All-Pro left tackle Jake Long is out for the season with a torn triceps he sustained last week against the New England Patriots. The Dolphins will counter with a move that sends rookie Jonathan Martin, a first-round draft pick from Stanford, to the side in which the 49ers line up the Smiths.

Theoretically, that should make things easier. But the 49ers realize that the Dolphins will not leave Martin alone to deal with Aldon Smith.

"He's a serviceable tackle in this league," Justin Smith said of Martin. "It's definitely not Long in there. But there's things you can do. You can chip. You can slide the line. You can do some more bootlegs, which is a big part of their offense as well, to help him out. We kind of anticipate all those type of deals going on."

According to Pro Football Focus, Justin Smith might have paid Martin a compliment. Martin ranks 56th out of 60 offensive tackles in the league who have played 60-percent of more of the snaps this season. The ratings take into account in pass-blocking, run-blocking and penalties.

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

Kyle Shanahan put together some of the final pieces of his coaching staff on Tuesday.

The 49ers announced the hirings of seven coaches, including confirmation of John Benton as offensive line coach.

The team hired former NFL standout linebacker DeMeco Ryans as defensive quality control coach. He was a second-round selection of the Houston Texans in 2006 and spent 10 seasons in the league. He finished his career playing four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 49ers also hired Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, Stan Kwan as assistant special teams, Vince Oghobaase as assistant defensive line, Adam Stenavich as assistant offensive line, and Michael Clay as strength and conditioning assistant.

Benton, 53, was hired away from the Broncos after being on the job for approximately a month. Benton served as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach last season. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Benton and Shanahan worked together for four seasons with the Houston Texans.

Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.

John Lynch: 49ers will be up-front with Kaepernick

John Lynch: 49ers will be up-front with Kaepernick

The only promises new 49ers general manager John Lynch made quarterback Colin Kaepernick for this offseason are open communication and honesty.

Kaepernick has spent all six of his NFL seasons with the 49ers after being a second-round draft pick in 2011. He has started 58 of the 49ers’ past 71 regular-season games.

Kaepernick has the contractual ability to opt out of his contract in March. If he does not, it seems likely the 49ers would release him – even if they want him back – to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled $14.9 million pay for the 2017 season.

“The one thing we will do very well with Kap is we’ll communicate,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And I think that’s very important for both sides. Like everything else, that process is well in the works. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll be very up-front with him, in terms of what we’re thinking and we’ll want to know what he’s thinking, as well.”

Lynch said he developed trust and a good rapport with Kaepernick during the time when the 49ers were among the top teams in the NFL. Lynch was a broadcaster for FOX-TV and had occasion to meet with Kaepernick multiple times during production meetings.

“Every time we talk about Kap, I think of the guy who was in the Super Bowl not too (long ago),” Lynch said. “Things happen in guys’ careers. Injuries happen. Different things happen.”

Kaepernick began last season as the backup to Blaine Gabbert. After regaining his starting role in Week 6, Kaepernick put together his best season since 2013 – his first full season as a starter.

Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 90.7, and he added 468 yards rushing.

Lynch said he and coach Kyle Shanahan have been evaluating the players on the 49ers’ roster. The other three quarterbacks on the roster – Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis – are not under contract for next season.

“Like we said we would – and like we told Kap we would – we’re assessing everything,” Lynch said. “Both Kyle and I believe wholeheartedly that position is the most-important position in football.

“From every side of this thing, we’re evaluating. And we’re continuing to watch the film. We’ll continue to work toward that until we have made a decision.”