The only thing faster than a Colin Kaepernick slant pass is his answer to a reporter's question. When asked what he learned from the Rams loss, Kaepernick responded:
"Can’t make mistakes. That’s the biggest thing."
Much of the attention for what went wrong for the 49ers in that game is focused on the pitch out that went horribly awry. Head coach Jim Harbaugh called it a "loser of a call" and the execution wasn't much better. But the mistakes in that game do not just belong to Kaepernick, and they're not unique to the team's trip to St. Louis. The 49ers' penalty problems surfaced in New Orleans the week before. San Francisco has racked up 21 penalties for 165 yards over the last two games.
"We’re looking at it," Harbaugh said. "Definitely, there have been some big ones that have stopped drives or extended drives for the other team. That’s not the 49er way of playing football."
Offensively, eight of the 49ers 21 holding calls this season have come over the last two games as well.
"We just have to do a better job with our techniques." said left tackle Joe Staley. "You see some of the holding penalties, there is a technique flaw here or there. Sometimes those penalties happen. You get caught in an awkward situation, you don’t really know where a play’s going or it’s designed to go one way and it goes another way. But as far as getting your hands in the right place or running your feet It’s all correctible."
There were mumblings in the locker room that the refs were tight in their calls in St. Louis. Maybe so. But only three teams have been flagged more than San Francisco this season. St. Louis, Washington and Dallas all have 97 penalties on the year while the 49ers and Ravens each have 88. San Francisco's 744 total penalty yards are the seventh most in the league.
The 49ers' current penalty outbreak comes at a time when the team is looking to build momentum toward a playoff push. If the 49ers don't correct the problem, as Staley suggests they can, the 49ers could could very well place their postseason plans in the hands of the officials.
ASHBURN, Va. — Washington turned to internal candidates to fill two critical vacancies, promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator.
Cavanaugh was the team's quarterbacks coach and Manusky its outside linebackers coach last season. Washington announced the promotions Monday along with the hires of Kevin O'Connell as quarterbacks coach and Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.
It has been an offseason of upheaval for the coaching staff after Washington fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry and a few assistants and offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.
In its efforts to replace Barry after ranking 28th defensively in consecutive seasons, Washington interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine and former Buffalo Bills assistant Rob Ryan before opting for Manusky. The 50-year-old Manusky has been defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and 49ers and worked with Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan in San Francisco.
Known for his fiery personality and booming voice on the practice fields, Manusky had only been on coach Jay Gruden's staff for one season as outside linebackers coach. Middle linebacker Will Compton tweeted: "Congrats to Coach Manusky!" when players were informed of his promotion.
Cavanaugh was Washington's quarterbacks coach for the past two years as Kirk Cousins twice set the franchise record for passing yards in a season. Cousins' status for 2017 remains in doubt after playing last season on the franchise tag, but with McVay gone he'll have a familiar face as his offensive coordinator.
After 13 NFL seasons as a backup quarterback, the 60-year-old Cavanaugh was offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 1997-98 and Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2004. O'Connell, Washington's new quarterbacks coach, was an assistant in San Francisco under Chip Kelly last season.
Tomsula, who replaces Robb Akey as defensive line coach, also most recently worked with the 49ers as their head coach in 2015.
The Atlanta Falcons have provided the 49ers with a window from Friday afternoon through Saturday to meet with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a source told CSNBayArea.com.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn has structured a normal work week to begin preparations to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51, Quinn said at a press conference on Monday. The Falcons will have a day off on Saturday before the team travels to Houston on Sunday.
The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
Shanahan is the presumptive 49ers coach -- the only candidate remaining among the six whom 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe interviewed. Shanahan's offense rolled up 493 total yards and converted 10 of 13 (77 percent) third-down opportunities en route to a 44-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game.
“I’m really proud of him,” said Quinn, who was hired by the Falcons two years ago after he served as Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator in Super Bowl 49.
“It’s not easy to do when there’s a lot of speculation and things going on outside your world to stay dialed in. I think it’s one that should be commended. Being on point and going for it, he totally nailed that.”
Shanahan is also expected to be heavily involved in the 49ers’ search for a general manager. The two remaining candidates among the nine who previously interviewed are Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough.
The 49ers have left open the possibility of adding more GM candidates to the list, according to a source.