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."

49ers 2017 UDFA tracker: Southern Miss QB agrees to terms

49ers 2017 UDFA tracker: Southern Miss QB agrees to terms

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are reportedly adding a fourth quarterback to their 90-man roster.

Nick Mullens a four-year starter at Southern Mississippi, agreed to terms with the 49ers after the conclusion of the Saturday’s NFL draft.

Mullens posted a drawing on Twitter from his childhood of "Joe Montana, Football Star." He wrote, "I've known about the @49ers since 2nd grade & now I can't wait to be apart of the organization! Ready to get to work in San Fran."

Draft picks, players who sign as undrafted rookies and other rookies invited for tryouts are scheduled to report Thursday for the 49ers' rookie minicamp. Practices will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

As a senior, Mullens (6 foot 1, 196 pounds) completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 3,272 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Mullens joins a quarterback group that includes starter Brian Hoyer, backup Matt Barkley and third-round draft pick C.J. Beathard.

Other reported 49ers free-agent agreements include:

--TE Cole Hikutini, Louisville: He began his career with one-season stints at Sacramento State and City College of San Francisco before transferring to Louisville. Hikutini (6-4, 247) caught 50 passes for 668 yards and eight TDs in his final college season. Hikutini missed the Cardinals’ bowl game, the Senior Bowl and combine workouts due to a knee injury. He returned from the non-surgical injury to run at his pro day. Hikutini announced his signing with the 49ers via Twitter.

--RB Matt Breida, Georgia Southern: In three seasons at Georgia Southern, Breida rushed for 3,740 yards and 37 touchdowns while averaging 6.9 yards a carry. Georgia Southern announced Breida's decision to sign with the 49ers.

--OL Erik Magnuson, Michigan: Magnuson (6-6, 305) was a first-team All-Big Ten performer who started every game at right tackle. He announced on Twitter that he has agreed to terms with the 49ers.

--WR Kendrick Bourne, Eastern Washington: He caught 211 passes for 3,130 yards and 27 touchdowns in his four-year career. Bourne (6-1, 203) had his best season as a senior, with 79 receptions for 1,201 yards and seven touchdowns. Eastern Washington announced Bourne’s three-year contract.

--OT Darrell Williams Jr., Western Kentucky: Williams (6-5, 315) started 41 games. He played his final two seasons at right tackle after moving from right guard. Western Kentucky announced the contract agreement with the 49ers.

--WR KD Cannon, Baylor: Cannon caught 195 passes for 3,113 and 27 touchdowns in his three-year career. He turned pro after a junior season in which he caught 87 passes for 1,215 yards and 13 touchdowns. He announced his contract agreement with the 49ers via Twitter.

--DB Lorenzo Jerome, Saint Francis (PA): Jerome, a Senior Bowl invite, was named first-team FCS All-American. He intercepted six passes in 2016 with 59 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 11 pass break-ups. He added a touchdown on a kickoff return. Saint Francis announced the contract agreement.

--LB Jimmie Gilbert, Colorado (Colorado Football)

--OL J.P. Flynn, Montana (Flynn via Twitter)

--DE Noble Nwachukwu, West Virginia (@WVUSports247)

--LB Donavin Newsom, Missouri (Columbia Daily Tribune)

--WR Victor Bolden, Oregon State (Bolden via Twitter)

--OL Bret Treadway (Treadway via Twitter)

--DB Jihaad Pretlow, Fordham (Instagram @la_rivers)

Lynch: TE McDonald to return to 49ers after being on trade block

Lynch: TE McDonald to return to 49ers after being on trade block

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers explored trade options for veteran tight end Vance McDonald during the three-day draft, but he is scheduled be back with the team when the club reports Monday for the fourth week of the offseason program.

“I think that’s the reality of new regimes coming, new schemes,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Saturday at the conclusion the seven-round draft. “That’s not to say that he can’t fit into our scheme. Frankly, we received some interest from some other people, then we did explore some options throughout the league with Vance. Nothing ended up happening, so Vance will come back and have an opportunity to compete.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he called McDonald on Friday night to keep him updated on the team’s though process in pursuing trade options. McDonald was at his brother’s wedding, Shanahan said, so he left him a long voice message. McDonald responded Saturday morning with a text. Shanahan said the two men will speak on Monday in Santa Clara.

“We did take over a 2-14 team,” Shanahan said. “We don’t feel all the answers are here right now. We have a lot of work to do. We need to improve in any way possible. And we’re going to do that. We’re going to do that from an organizational standpoint. How can we improve the building? How can we improve the coaching staff? How can we improve the personnel department? How can we improve the players?

“Just from Vance’s text back, I think people understand that. I think it does make sense. I don’t think that’s something personal.”

Former 49ers general manager Trent Baalke signed off on a five-year contract extension for McDonald in December that consisted of a $7 million signing bonus. McDonald appeared in 11 games last season, catching 24 passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns. The 49ers acquired McDonald as a second-round draft pick 2013. In 48 career games, McDonald has 64 receptions for 866 yards and seven touchdowns.

The 49ers signed veteran tight end Logan Paulsen in the offseason. On Saturday, the 49ers selected Iowa tight end George Kittle in the fifth round of the draft. Kittle joins fellow tight ends McDonald, Garrett Celek, Paulsen, Blake Bell and Je’Ron Hamm on the 49ers’ 90-man roster.