Cox will not be needed as much against Lions


Cox will not be needed as much against Lions

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers face offenses in the first two weeks of the season that share similar pass-first philosophies.But it does not mean the 49ers will employ the same kind of defense Sunday at Candlestick Park against the Detroit Lions that they used Week 1 at Green Bay.The Packers handed the ball off to a running back just nine times in 62 plays against the 49ers. Detroit's main running back, Kevin Smith, had 13 rushes while Matthew Stafford dropped back to pass 49 times in a 27-23 victory over St. Louis.
"They have similar personnel groupings and similar talent," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "So there is some carryover."But the 49ers will not have to spend much time preparing to face a four-wideout set. Green Bay's third-receiver, James Jones, played 62-percent of the time against the 49ers. The Packers' fourth receiver, Randall Cobb, was on the field for 38 percent of the snaps.In comparison, the Lions used their third receiver, Titus Young, on only 40 percent of Detroit's Week 1 offensive plays against the St. Louis Rams. Calvin Johnson was on the field for every snap, and fellow wide receiver Nate Burleson played 80 percent of the time.Chris Culliver, the 49ers' third cornerback, played 90 percent of the snaps against the Packers. He figures to again see a lot of action against the Lions.Perrish Cox, the 49ers' fourth cornerback, was in on 76-percent of the plays. Cox mostly replaced linebacker Patrick Willis in the 49ers' "dime" defense, which calls for six defensive backs. This week, Cox figures to see a dramatic reduction in play time, as the Lions will use two tight ends as much as they play three wide receivers."I just prepare for the most and prepare for the best, the most difficult," Cox said. "If it is less reps it'll be more just going all out and give it 100 percent and do whatever I can."Last week, Cox matched up mostly against Cobb, who lined up in the backfield. Cobb caught all nine passes from Aaron Rodgers that came his way, but he averaged just 8.6 yards per reception."He did well," Fangio said of Cox. "He played a lot of plays. He did a good job. There were things he could've done better and, hopefully, will do better."Cox said he could have been more physical with Cobb. Also, Cox overran a couple tackles out of habit from playing cornerback."I'm used to, at the corner position, rallying to the ball and cutting everything back in to my help," Cox said. "But (in that defense) I am the linebacker. I am the inside help."

Why Shanahan chose Hoyer and Barkley over Kaepernick

Why Shanahan chose Hoyer and Barkley over Kaepernick

PHOENIX – Coach Kyle Shanahan walked into a position with the 49ers in which he had no quarterbacks on the roster.

On the first two days of free agency, the 49ers added Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. He determined they were better fits for the offense he would be installing over Colin Kaepernick, who started 64 regular-season and postseason games for the 49ers over the past 4 ½ seasons.

Shanahan appeared to be looking for quarterbacks who are more proficient at going through progressions and making plays from the pocket. Kaepernick was not deemed as a good fit for Shanahan's offense.

“Colin’s had a great career, and he’s done some really good things,” Shanahan said on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think Colin has a certain skillset that you can put a specific offense to it that he can be very successful in.

“When we first looked at it, you got to look at each quarterback and what type of offense you want to put in. That wasn’t necessarily the direction I wanted to go. I wanted to put in a different type of offense.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. General manager John Lynch has confirmed the 49ers would have released Kaepernick if he had not opted out of his deal.

“The type of offense I wanted to run was somewhat different and that’s why we went that type of direction,” Shanahan said.

The 49ers’ top target in free agency was Hoyer, who enters his ninth NFL season with his sixth different team. Shanahan was offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 in Hoyer’s second and final season with the club.

Hoyer started five games with Chicago in 2016 before getting sidelined with broken left arm. Hoyer completed 67 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions in 200 attempts.

“All these questions about what I like in a quarterback, Brian is like that,” Shanahan said. “He’s obsessed with the game. He will learn your offense. He’ll be able to execute and run it. That gives other guys a chance to perform in your offense. If your quarterback can’t execute it and go through it, it doesn’t always matter what the O-line or the receivers are doing.

“With Brian, you have a very smart guy who works at it, will hang in the pocket and is fearless, will keep his eyes down the field and deliver the ball to the right spots. It gives people a chance to be successful.”

The 49ers also reached a contract agreement with Barkley, who started six games with the Bears due to injuries to Jay Cutler and Hoyer. Barkley saw the most extensive playing time of his career. He completed 59.7 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

“Just watching Matt since college, Matt’s always been a solid player, even coming out and playing at an early age at (USC),” Shanahan said. “He’s battle-tested in that way. He’s gone through the pressure of college, the pressure of the draft, being in the NFL, being with some different teams. Even watching Matt in Chicago this year, I think he played better this year than he has throughout his career. That means the guy is continuing to work at it.”

The 49ers figure to go to training camp with four quarterbacks, so the team is not finished at the quarterback position.

“We’ll look to add anyone who can really help us,” Shanahan said. “I’m very happy with the two we got. You know we’re not only going to take two to camp. So we got to see how the draft works out and then you see what else is out there.”

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

PHOENIX – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he does not believe quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being “blackballed” in his attempt to continue his career.

“I haven’t heard that from our clubs in any way that that’s an issue,” Goodell said during his press conference to conclude the NFL owners meetings.

“My experience in 35 years is that our clubs make independent evaluations of players. They work hard to try to improve their teams. But if they think a player can help improve their team, they’re going to do that.”

Kaepernick remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his 49ers contract earlier this month. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman this week was asked on ESPN’s "First Take" whether he felt Kaepernick was being blackballed.

"I'm sure he is," Sherman answered. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand."

General manager John Lynch on Tuesday said the 49ers have not had any contact with Kaepernick since he and coach Kyle Shanahan met with Kaepernick on Feb. 22 in Santa Clara. The 49ers signed free-agent quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, 29, created a controversy last season when he opted to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States. Kaepernick has decided to stand for the national anthem this season.

Earlier in the day, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was “stupid” and “intellectually lazy” to think teams have colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the league. Last week, former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, said Kaepernick is still an outstanding player and can win championships.

“I absolutely think he’s going to get signed,” John Harbaugh said. “I agree with Jim. He can win games for people.”