Defensive notes: Aldon Smith's injury a short-term concern

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Defensive notes: Aldon Smith's injury a short-term concern

SANTA CLARA -- Aldon Smith, making his first start at outside linebacker Friday, saw 10 fewer snaps than his fellow 49ers starters in the exhibition opener.And he will be out of action for at least a week with a right hip bruise. But defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Monday that he does not believe Smith's absence during camp will have any lasting impact."Concerned that he's missing a good bit of this week's work," Fangio said. "But, long term, I'm not concerned. But it is a setback in the short term."RELATED: 49ers Fan Fest: Aldon Smith, Delanie Walker injury updates
Smith will not play Saturday when the 49ers return to action against the Houston Texans. The 49ers are hopeful Smith will be 100 percent and see action Sunday, Aug. 26, at the Denver Broncos.Fangio would like to see Smith get back onto the field to play a little leading up to the regular-season opener Sept. 9 at the Green Bay Packers. If not, the 49ers might be inclined to work him in slowly as the every-down player."That's a possibility but I'm not anticipating that being the case, but we'll see how it unfolds as we move forward," Fangio said.Fangio touched on several topics Monday during his briefing with the media:--The 49ers' first-team defense allowed the Vikings to gain 59 and 63 yards on the opening drives of the game.Said Fangio, "We were not sharp at all. . . Kind of felt it might happen that way, but we definitely did not play the way we're capable of playing."Fangio confirmed the 52-yard pass that Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder hit to receiver Stephen Burton was a blown coverage. Cornerback Carlos Rogers was expecting safety help in the middle of the field from Dashon Goldson."We didn't play the coverage correctly," Fangio said. "We needed to have another person deep and we weren't there. It was a busted coverage."--Fangio feels good about the depth at cornerback. Currently, the team's top three corners are starters Rogers and Tarell Brown, and Chris Culliver. Are those positions set?"Not necessarily," Fangio said. "(Tramaine) Brock and (Perrish) Cox are having good camps. You see a little more of Cox than you do of Brock because he's playing nickel. And nickel gets involved in some more action. Brock has had a good camp also."Right now, I'm feeling good that we got five corners that we can feel confident playing in the game. Wish we had that depth at all of our positions, but that's a little unrealistic."Cox has seen action at both cornerback positions, as well as nickel back. Fangio is impressed."He's going to factor into our plans, somehow, someway," Fangio said.--Rookie safety Trenton Robinson had a solid first game, and Fangio reported seeing steady progress. Now, he wants to see it come along a little faster."Usually with a guy slow and steady, once they truly figure it out, you'll get a big spike one of these weeks," Fangio said. "Pleased with his progress so far, but looking for him to make that spike to where he has to play, we'll feel comfortable."Fangio said he looks for Robinson to get more confident and quick with his decisions.--Dilapidated Candlestick Park offered a unique challenge Friday for Fangio. The elevator broke, so Fangio did not make the trek through the stands to the 49ers' locker room at halftime during the 12-minute intermission.RELATED: 49ers reach agreement on disputed stadium funds
"I guess we need that new stadium," he said.So what did he do during that time?"I had a hot dog," he said. "I've had better."No communication is allowed other than coaches' box to sideline communication. So Fangio had no contact with the other coaches or players in the locker room during that 12-minute period before the third quarter.
Do the 49ers have a contingency plan in case the elevators break during the regular season?"Our contingency plan is to make sure it doesn't happen again," Fangio said.

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

Kyle Shanahan put together some of the final pieces of his coaching staff on Tuesday.

The 49ers announced the hirings of seven coaches, including confirmation of John Benton as offensive line coach.

The team hired former NFL standout linebacker DeMeco Ryans as defensive quality control coach. He was a second-round selection of the Houston Texans in 2006 and spent 10 seasons in the league. He finished his career playing four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 49ers also hired Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, Stan Kwan as assistant special teams, Vince Oghobaase as assistant defensive line, Adam Stenavich as assistant offensive line, and Michael Clay as strength and conditioning assistant.

Benton, 53, was hired away from the Broncos after being on the job for approximately a month. Benton served as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach last season. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Benton and Shanahan worked together for four seasons with the Houston Texans.

Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.

John Lynch: 49ers will be up-front with Kaepernick

John Lynch: 49ers will be up-front with Kaepernick

The only promises new 49ers general manager John Lynch made quarterback Colin Kaepernick for this offseason are open communication and honesty.

Kaepernick has spent all six of his NFL seasons with the 49ers after being a second-round draft pick in 2011. He has started 58 of the 49ers’ past 71 regular-season games.

Kaepernick has the contractual ability to opt out of his contract in March. If he does not, it seems likely the 49ers would release him – even if they want him back – to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled $14.9 million pay for the 2017 season.

“The one thing we will do very well with Kap is we’ll communicate,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And I think that’s very important for both sides. Like everything else, that process is well in the works. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll be very up-front with him, in terms of what we’re thinking and we’ll want to know what he’s thinking, as well.”

Lynch said he developed trust and a good rapport with Kaepernick during the time when the 49ers were among the top teams in the NFL. Lynch was a broadcaster for FOX-TV and had occasion to meet with Kaepernick multiple times during production meetings.

“Every time we talk about Kap, I think of the guy who was in the Super Bowl not too (long ago),” Lynch said. “Things happen in guys’ careers. Injuries happen. Different things happen.”

Kaepernick began last season as the backup to Blaine Gabbert. After regaining his starting role in Week 6, Kaepernick put together his best season since 2013 – his first full season as a starter.

Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 90.7, and he added 468 yards rushing.

Lynch said he and coach Kyle Shanahan have been evaluating the players on the 49ers’ roster. The other three quarterbacks on the roster – Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis – are not under contract for next season.

“Like we said we would – and like we told Kap we would – we’re assessing everything,” Lynch said. “Both Kyle and I believe wholeheartedly that position is the most-important position in football.

“From every side of this thing, we’re evaluating. And we’re continuing to watch the film. We’ll continue to work toward that until we have made a decision.”