Dixon lobbies for chance to play fullback


Dixon lobbies for chance to play fullback

SANTA CLARA -- Running back Anthony Dixon, who was a source of frustration for 49ers coaching staffs of the previous two seasons, has an uphill climb to retain his spot on the team's 53-man roster.He was the seldom-used No. 3 back a year ago behind Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. And this offseason, the 49ers added to the depth at the position with Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James, as well as special-teams ace Rock Cartwright.One of the knocks on Dixon in previous seasons was his reluctance to use his 235-pound body to his advantage. Dixon has typically done a little too much "dancing" in the hole.But Dixon is apparently willing to prove he can be physical. And he has asked if he can see some action at fullback.
"(Dixon) is really doing everything he can do to contribute to the football team, special teams, running back, (and) he has asked to be given an opportunity to compete at the fullback position, which we have done and we're very pleased with," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Great idea by him. We'll take the best idea on the table. He's responding with a great focus. We've seen it all throughout the offseason and he continues to elevate that."Dixon was not seen taking any snaps during the first three days of practice at fullback. The 49ers' second padded practice is scheduled to begin Monday at 2:30 p.m.Bruce Miller, a defensive end in college whom the 49ers drafted last year, appeared in 15 games with seven starts as a rookie. Miller does not appear to have any serious competition for his full-time role.
"(We) certainly don't think of him as a defensive end with how far we've come in a year with Bruce," Harbaugh said. "I think he's one of the finer fullbacks in this league."The 49ers might keep just one true fullback on this year's roster, as the team can also use a tight end, such as Delanie Walker, or defensive lineman Will Tukuafu in that role. Undrafted rookie running back Jewel Hampton will not participate in training camp after recently undergoing surgery on a "lower extremity" to remove a bone spur, Harbaugh said. Hampton will likely remain on the non-football injury list into the start of the regular season, Harbaugh said. Harbaugh spoke at length Sunday about rookie receiver A.J. Jenkins, but it was another rookie who made a big impression during practice. Nathan Palmer of Northern Illinois was the 49ers' top target among the 49ers class of undrafted rookies. And he has not disappointed. It might be difficult for the 49ers to retain Palmer on the 53-man roster, but he is a strong candidate to bring back to the practice squad."He has done a good job here, learning the system," Harbaugh said. "He had an excellent day yesterday. That really stood out to all of us." Meanwhile, another undrafted rookie receiver, Brian Tyms, had a rough day. He upended rookie safety Trenton Robinson and then Tyms was observed taunting Robinson. Harbaugh ordered Tyms off the field."It was an incident, the way we do things, how we do them, it didn't meet that standard -- well below it," Harbaugh said. "And we addressed it, and we'll handle it better going forward." Veteran Leonard Davis has spent most of his time working at right guard, but he has also been seen taking a few snaps on the left side, too.When asked for his evaluation of Davis after three practices, Harbaugh said, "Good to real good right now, especially in certain areas we ask our linemen to do. Technique looks outstanding. Fundamentals look real sharp."It doesn't like like there's any rust there. He's been working real hard with (offensive line coach) Tim Drevno. The two of them are meeting extensively. Leonard is coming along real fast, getting up to speed with the system."

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan is close to completing his 49ers coaching staff.

Shanahan will handle the duties of the offensive coordinator, the position he held with Houston, Washington and Atlanta over the past nine NFL seasons.

Robert Saleh is the 49ers' new defensive coordinator, while Richard Hightower has been hired as the special-teams coordiator.

Here's a look at the 49ers' coaching staffs under Shanahan and last season under Chip Kelly:

Position: Coach (2016 job)
Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (Falcons, offensive coordinator)
Defensive coordinator: Robert Saleh (Jaguars, linebackers coach)
Special teams coordinator: Richard Hightower (Bears, assistant special teams)
Assistant head coach/tight ends: Jon Embree (Buccaneers, tight ends)
Run game specialist: Mike McDaniel (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Quarterbacks: Rich Scangarello (Wagner, offensive coordinator)
Running backs: Bobby Turner (Falcons, running backs)
Wide receivers: Mike LaFleur (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Offensive line: Vacant
Offensive assistant: T.C. McCartney (LSU, offensive assistant)
Senior defensive assistant: Jason Tarver (49ers, outside linebackers)
Defensive line: Jeff Zgonina (N.Y. Giants, assistant defensive line)
Linebackers: Johnny Holland (Browns, inside linebackers)
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Offensive quality control: Taylor Embree (Chiefs, defensive assistant)
Defensive quality control: Bobby Slowik
Head strength and conditioning: Ray Wright

* * *

Position: Coach (current status)
Head coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive coordinator: Curtis Modkins (Bears, running backs)
Defensive coordinator: Jim O’Neil
Special teams coordinator: Derius Swinton
Quarterbacks: Ryan Day (Ohio State, quarterbacks)
Running backs: Tom Rathman
Wide receivers: Bob Bicknell
Tight ends: Jeff Nixon (Baylor, co-offensive coordinator/running backs)
Offensive line: Pat Flaherty (Jaguars, offensive line)
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford (South Carolina, offensive line)
Defensive line: Jerry Azzinaro (Cal, defensive line)
Assistant defensive line: Vince Oghobaase
Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver (49ers, senior defensive assistant)
Inside linebacker: Joe Bowden
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Assistant defensive backs: Roy Anderson (Bears, assistant secondary)
Assistant special teams: Michael Clay
Offensive quality control: Mick Lombardi (Jets, offensive assistant/assistant QBs coach)
Defensive quality control: Tem Lukabu
Senior analyst: Dana Bible
Director of human performance: Mark Uyeyama

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

John Benton, who coached on the same staff during Kyle Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, has reportedly received permission from the Denver Broncos to interview with the 49ers.

The Broncos hired Benton on Jan. 15 to work as the team’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

But Denver coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway provided Benton permission to interview with the 49ers, Denver’s 9News reported. The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were looking at Benton.

The offensive line coach is the last major position that remains vacant on Shanahan’s staff.

Benton worked last season as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Shanahan’s first NFL coaching job was with Houston in 2006, when he coached wide receivers. Shanahan became the quarterbacks coach with the Texans in 2007 before spending the next two seasons as offensive coordinator under then-coach Gary Kubiak.

The 49ers announced nine additions to the coaching staff on Friday.

Also, the 49ers are expected to hire Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, according to The Sporting News. 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.