49ers

Dumervil sets sights well beyond 100-sack milestone

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USATSI

Dumervil sets sights well beyond 100-sack milestone

Elvis Dumervil, who agreed to a two-year contract with the 49ers this week, has his sights set well beyond just reaching the 100-sack milestone.

After being limited to nine sacks in 24 games over the past two seasons while struggling with an Achilles injury, Dumervil told NBC Sports Bay Area he believes the 49ers will be vastly improved from a team that went 2-14 last season under Chip Kelly.

"I think we’ll surprise a lot of people with the roster we have," he said. "Me personally, a lot of people will be surprised with the way I move this year. I’m excited."

Dumervil, a five-time Pro Bowl player, is confident he has plenty of good football remaining in his 33-year-old body, which influenced his decision-making this offseason after the Baltimore Ravens released him in March.

“If it was a situation where I felt it was my last year, that’s all I have left, I just want to win the Super Bowl (because) I just got one year left on my body, I could have gone about it different,” Dumervil said.

“A lot of people are confused about where I’m at physically and mentally. . . Mentally and physically, I feel great. I know I have a few years left, for sure.”

Dumervil matched his career-best with 17 sacks in 2014. But his production dropped to six sacks the following season while playing through an Achilles injury that plagued him from training camp. He underwent surgery in February 2016 to repair an Achilles that was 60-percent torn.

Dumervil returned in the fourth week of last season. After playing two games, he was sidelined five more games before finishing the season.

His two sacks in eight games gave Dumervil 99 career sacks in 146 games over 10 NFL seasons.

“The last two years, I really didn’t play because I was dealing with an Achilles injury.,” Dumervil said. “Sometimes you don’t know if you’re hurt or injured. It was a situation where I thought I was hurt. You play through hurt. But I was really injured.”

Dumervil said he spoke with a “handful of teams” during the three months he remained on the market as a free agent but decided to sign with the 49ers because of several factors, including his familiarity with general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.

In Dumervil’s first two NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos, Lynch was his teammate. Also, Shanahan’s father, Mike, was the Denver coach who selected Dumervil in the fourth round of the 2006 draft.

Dumervil said first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh helped sell him on the idea of signing with the 49ers during their meeting in Santa Clara last week.

“I was very impressed with coach Saleh, Robert Saleh," Dumervil said. "I really didn’t know him. But we sat down and talked football. I knew the offense. I’m really not concerned on that side. But I didn’t know the defensive coordinator. That’s why I wanted to go out and talk football. “

Dumervil has experienced a lot of different schemes in his career. During his first seven NFL seasons with the Broncos, Dumervil played under six different defensive coordinators. He said that versatility should enable him to fit wherever he's most needed.

“I’ve been around a lot of different defensive schemes: 3-4, 4-3, defensive end, outside linebacker,” Dumervil said. “I’ve done it. When I sat down with (Saleh), I was very impressed by his style and his vision and the way he makes things simplified. I was very impressed, ‘Man, I like what he’s talking about.’ I think he’s going to be a very good defensive coordinator.

“For me, it’s just a matter of hitting the quarterback. That’s what I envision.”

Long supports Eagles teammate, wraps arm around him during anthem protest

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USATSI

Long supports Eagles teammate, wraps arm around him during anthem protest

Chris Long supported his teammate, Malcolm Jenkins, Thursday night by wrapping his left arm around Jenkins, who continued to raise his right fist in protest of racial injustice during the national anthem prior to the Eagles' preseason game against the Bills at Lincoln Financial Field.

Long's intention Thursday night was not immediately known. While he's been outspoken on Charlottesville, Virginia, he did not specify how he would conduct himself during the anthem.

Long and Jenkins both publicly criticized President Donald Trump's response to the racial tensions that resulted in the tragic violence and the death of Heather Heyer last weekend in Charlottesville, Long's hometown.

Last Sunday, Long touched on his comments by speaking to reporters, reiterating his disappointment in President Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville, where white nationalists held a "Unite the Right" rally in protest of the removal of a statue honoring Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

"Some people are tired of hearing me tweet because they want me to stick to football but I like to use social media like I was a regular guy because I think I am," Long said Sunday. "I don't tell people to stick to their job when they want to talk politics. And this isn't political. That's the thing. Everybody is trying to turn this political. This isn't a political issue. This is right or wrong. I believe you're on one side or the other. For me, being from Charlottesville, no one wants to see you sit idly by and watch that stuff happen and not say anything. And I wish there was more categorical denial from some very important people in this country who have had the opportunity to strike it down but didn't."

READ MORE AT CSNPhilly.com

Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved

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AP

Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ passing game has ranked 29th or lower in each of the past four seasons.

If two practices against last year’s No. 1-ranked pass defense are any indication, the 49ers could be vastly improved under coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brian Hoyer.

“I think our guys were expecting to do good,” Shanahan said on Thursday after a second joint practice against the Denver Broncos in two days. “There’s a lot of stuff we can clean up. A lot of stuff we can do better. But I think our guys were happy with how they competed and, hopefully, that can continue to carry over.”

Hoyer hit more higher-percentage passes on Thursday. He teamed up with rookie Victor Bolden on his deepest completion -- down the left sideline against first-team All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris. After completing better than 80 percent of his passes against the Broncos a day earlier, Hoyer was 12 of 19 passing on Thursday.

Pierre Garçon, who figures to be Hoyer’s top target, was not as active during Thursday’s practice. But he did find himself in the middle of the action with a tussle against Harris.

Hoyer’s red-zone pass intended for slot receiver Jeremy Kerley was tipped and intercepted by safety Justin Simmons. Away from the action, Aqib Talib blocked Garçon, who retaliated by tossing him to the ground.

“That’s part of the game,” Garçon said. ‘You always expect one scuffle in joint practices. But it ended and you move on. It was nothing personal at all.”

Hoyer was especially sharp during the practices to strengthen his grasp on the team’s staring job. Meanwhile, rookie C.J. Beathard had a solid showing on Thursday. He will enter Saturday’s game after Hoyer and could play through the rest of the first half and open the third quarter.

The 49ers exited the field after their two most-significant practices feeling optimistic about where things stand.

“We did good the first day,” Garçon said. “We could’ve done better the second day. But we’re still learning each other and getting better. We still have a lot to do to get ready for the regular season, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

QUICK SLANTS
--Linebacker Reuben Foster wore shoulder pads and took part in all but the contact drills due to what the team described as a “mild AC joint sprain” of his right shoulder. That did not prevent Foster from getting into the middle of a skirmish that appeared to involve Broncos tackle Menelik Watson and 49ers linebacker Eli Harold.

The 49ers expect Foster to play Saturday night, Shanahan said.

--Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was pulled from practice on Thursday after experiencing soreness in his shoulder. Shanahan said Bowman's shoulder soreness is similar to what Foster experienced.

--The Broncos’ offense, which struggled to complete passes on Wednesday, made a lot more plays down the field on Thursday with Paxton Lynch at quarterback.

--Tight end Vance McDonald made an outstanding catch of a Hoyer pass at the sideline against tight coverage from safety Will Parks.

--The 49ers’ practice Thursday brought an official end to the team’s training camp. They will transition to a regular-season type of schedule next week leading up to the team’s third exhibition game, which is scheduled for Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings.

“Training camp is over, and what that means is we’re not all staying in dorms together and we’re not having night walk-throughs,” Shanahan said.