Carlos Rogers does 'The Cruz'

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Carlos Rogers does 'The Cruz'

Carlos Rogers phone blew up with voice mail and texts after his first career game with two interceptions. But the messages werent all congratulatory, specifically the ones from his friends who play for the team the 49ers just beat 27-20.Some of Giants players I know told me, Dont come on our sideline doing his dance, Rogers said flashing a larger-than-life smile.They were talking about the salsa-type moves Rogers busted out after his first pick in the second quarter. He performed the shimmy right in front of the Giants bench, and the New York players recognized the dance immediately.Victor Cruz, every time he scores he does that dance. So, once I got the pick on him I just did it right there. Surprised I didnt get the flag, Rogers said laughing loudly and noting that the Giants players calls were all in good fun.RELATED: NFL leaders -- interceptions
Rogers had reason to smile as he retold the event. The talented young Cruz, the Giants' leading receiver, had the veteran corner running all over Sunday, and Rogers admits, he often got the best of him causing a bit of frustration.That Victor Cruz is real hot right now. Hes an unbelievable player, Rogers said. When you get a quick guy like that in the slot youve got your work cut out for you.But Rogers remained patient and stuck to a philosophy of being aggressive and taking risks.You cant go in afraid to make a mistake. If you make a mistake, the game aint over, Rogers said. Thats my mindset throughout the game.Rogers patience paid off when Eli Manning went after Rogers on back-to-back plays. Cruz was the target both times. Rogers recognized that the receiver ran the same route on both plays, and on the second throw, grabbed his first pick of the game.The play before, I played off and he kind of gave me a move to the inside, and I went for it. Im glad he dropped the pass. The second one I pressed him, Rogers said. Once I seen him go up I was like, Ok, this man has got to be running the corner route. If he ran something else he had me.But Rogers isnt just relying on great guesswork. Head coach Jim Harbaugh praised Rogers instincts, his game preparation and for knowing when to take those risks within the 49ers defensive scheme. Rogers nabbed his second interception in the fourth quarter when he recognized a dig route and jumped Mario Manningham. The takeaway gave the 49ers the ball on the Giants 17 yard line and set them up for what would be the game winning touchdown. But the pick off of Cruz still holds favored status.Especially on him, I had to do it, Rogers said. After that man had caught a couple of passes, to get a pick at that time, going into the half, that was a relief. I was just happy so I had to do his dance.

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”