Competition is antidote for complacency


Competition is antidote for complacency

One way to guard against complacency is to make it clear that competition continues within the team. And that is what coach Jim Harbaugh is doing with the 49ers.
For instance, Tramaine Brock recorded two interceptions in the first two games as the 49ers' No. 3 cornerback. Then, he sustained a broken hand and underwent surgery. Then, veteran cornerback Shawntae Spencer stepped in and played well.When Spencer missed a couple practices with a toe injury, rookie Chris Culliver was called upon against Tampa Bay and Detroit. Culliver certainly played well enough to keep the job.But, now, Culliver must continue to practice and play better than Brock and Spencer to hold onto the job, Harbaugh said.
"I think that's general rule," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday. "That's the way we always do it. There's no games. It's just who's practicing, playing better."There is a lot at stake in the competition for the No. 3 job. Culliver played about 60 snaps against the Lions. While Spencer really did not have a role on defense. And with Brock returning to the mix, even starters Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown know they must continue to compete a high levels.
There are some other positions where competition will continue, too:--Rookie Bruce Miller, after a rough first game, blocked well and showed a lot of versatility at fullback the past three games. Veteran Moran Norris, who struggled in the first couple games, will soon be returning from a broken fibula.--Adam Snyder has provided more consistency at right guard after Chilo Rachal was benched. But Rachal did his job in the fourth quarter against the Lions when Snyder left the game due to a shoulder stinger.--Braylon Edwards is due back at practice this week after undergoing Sept. 19 surgery to repair a torn meniscus cartilage. Ted Ginn, who got his first start with the 49ers two weeks ago against the Lions, is part of an ongoing competition that includes Kyle Williams for the order of the top four receiver slots.

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.

But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.

Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.

“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”

Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.

Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.

Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”

“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”