Cowboys' front seven poses big challenge for 49ers


Cowboys' front seven poses big challenge for 49ers

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It's bound to be a storyline throughout the week, as the 49ers' offense faces the Dallas Cowboys' challenging front seven in the NFL.Here's the Cowboys who started in the team's front seven Sunday against the New York Jets:
LDE: Kenyon Coleman (6-5, 295, 11th season)
NT: Jay Ratliff (6-4, 285, 7th season)
RE: Jason Hatcher (6-6, 305, 6th season) or Marcus Spears (6-4, 315, 7th season)
OLB: Anthony Spencer (6-3, 254, 5th season)
MLB: Bradie James (6-2, 240, 9th season)
ILB: Sean Lee (6-2, 245, 2nd season)
OLB: DeMarcus Ware (6-4, 257, 7th season) Center Jonathan Goodwin, in his first season with the 49ers after coming over as a free-agent from the New Orleans Saints, spoke about the 49ers' season-opening win against Seattle and looking ahead to the Cowboys.

Q: On the 49ers' problems in the run game against Seattle:
Goodwin: "In my opinion, it's a good sign that you still found a way to win the game even when you're not racking up yards. I think the drive to set up that last field goal was pretty big for us. I know, definitely, there's a lot of improvement we can still make. But hopefully we improve and head in the right direction. . . . For the most part, they did a very good job in the run game. That's something I know as a team we definitely want to improve."Q: Were the runs pretty simple?
Goodwin: "Yes. Nothing was too complicated."Q: Was that lockout-related or game-plan-related?
Goodwin: "I'm not sure. They have a pretty decent group up front. And for whatever reasons, they probably played a little better in the run game. I know we didn't have that many yards rushing. So that's something we won't be happy with."Q: Was that the plan to run quite a bit or did the plan change when you got up?
Goodwin: "I think we wanted to be balanced. Any time you can be balanced in both the run and the pass game, it keeps the defense off balance. I think any game you go into, you want to be balanced and keep the defense guessing."Q: It was almost like a preseason game in what you guys showed on offense and defense. Is that a nice thing going into Week 2 that your opponent hasn't see a lot?
Goodwin: "Yeah. If you can win a game by still doing some basic things, it's always a plus. Like you said, you go into Week 2 and the Cowboys haven't seen some of the things we're capable of doing. Hopefully, that will give us an advantage this week. They have a great front seven, so it's definitely going to be a big challenge for us. This is one we have to prepare for all week, and look at them on film and hopefully have some better results in the run game."Q: When was last time you played them?
Goodwin: "I played them the last two years. I played them on Thanksgiving last year. Between (Jay) Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware and some of the other guys up front, it's definitely a talented front seven. I think Ratliff is one of the better nose guards in the league."Q: He's right on your facemask all game long?
Goodwin: "Yeah, from my past experiences. I know they have a new defensive coordinator, but I know he was both on the center and guard."Q: What distinguishes him from other nose tackles you face?
Goodwin: "He has long arms. He's quick and he's very athletic. He's definitely one of the top guys at his position."Q: Would you rather face a team that was coming off a win or a tough loss like the Cowboys experienced against the Jets on Sunday night?
Goodwin: "You'd rather have the other team coming off a win. I'm sure they're going to come in here with the mindset that they don't want to start the season off 0-2. Either way, it was going to be a tough game. But it's definitely going to be a challenge for us, and hopefully we can find a way to get it done."

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills


Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

Aquan Boldin is looking for a new football home.

And the former 49ers wide receiver is visiting with the Bills on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Boldin started all 16 games with the Lions last season, recording 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.

From 2013 to 2015 with the 49ers, he racked up 237 receptions, 3030 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 years old in October.

Boldin entered the NFL as the 54th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan


Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.