First, a disclaimer: We do not wish injuries upon anyone.
That clarified, it is undeniable that lining up opposite the 49ers defense can be hazardous to your health. While none of the resulting injuries will be celebrated, the physical, punishing, will-imposing style of Vic Fangio's defensive unit can, and should, be lauded.In the first seven games of the season, only three opposing starting backs completed their contest in good health.Felix Jones was the first victim, suffering a separated shoulder in Week 2. Fortunately, he did not miss any time.
LeGarrette Blount was taken down by DaShon Goldson and sprained his MCL in Week 5. He missed the Buccaneers' next two games.Former Cal Bear Jahvid Best might have got it the worst. He quietly left the game in the fourth quarter, and, only afterward, reports surfaced that he suffered a concussion that would end his promising sophomore season.
"We had a hard time getting the run game going," Lions coach Jim Schwartz observed after the loss.After a bye week, it was malady for the Browns' Montario Hardesty, who tore a calf muscle and missed four games.At this point in the season, going into a Week 9 matchup with the Redskins, we took the time to ask, is it a bad week to be a Washington ball carrier?Since their statement stretch to open the year, the 49ers have mellowed out, allowing all but one of the remaining regular season opposing backs good health. Steven Jackson left the Week 13 game with a injured biceps muscle.But playoffs are playoffs.In his NFC Championship press conference, safety Donte Whitner said that a big hit early in the game "sets the tone, and lets the offense know they're in for a long day." The first seven games the 49ers defense put together let every offensive player in the league know they were in for a long season. And on the opening drive of the 49ers' Divisional-round matchup with the Saints, Whitner delivered that hit, laying into Pierre Thomas with a gruesome tackle that knocked Thomas unconscious, the football falling from his locked-up arms.Thomas would not return to the game, finishing with just one rush for six yards, a fumble and a concussion.Just as the 49ers set the tone for the season in their first seven games, they set the tone for their playoff run in the first series.Offensive players "dont want a physical game," Whitner said. "They want an easy day, they want to run out of bounds, they dont want guys hitting them."With Whitner, Goldson, Ahmad Brooks, NaVorro Bowman, and Patrick Willis among the 49ers tacklers, New York's offensive players won't get that wish.
Nate Stuhlbarg is a web producer with CSNBayArea.com. Follow him on Twitter @StuhlbargCSN.
ASHBURN, Va. — Washington turned to internal candidates to fill two critical vacancies, promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator.
Cavanaugh was the team's quarterbacks coach and Manusky its outside linebackers coach last season. Washington announced the promotions Monday along with the hires of Kevin O'Connell as quarterbacks coach and Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.
It has been an offseason of upheaval for the coaching staff after Washington fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry and a few assistants and offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.
In its efforts to replace Barry after ranking 28th defensively in consecutive seasons, Washington interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine and former Buffalo Bills assistant Rob Ryan before opting for Manusky. The 50-year-old Manusky has been defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and 49ers and worked with Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan in San Francisco.
Known for his fiery personality and booming voice on the practice fields, Manusky had only been on coach Jay Gruden's staff for one season as outside linebackers coach. Middle linebacker Will Compton tweeted: "Congrats to Coach Manusky!" when players were informed of his promotion.
Cavanaugh was Washington's quarterbacks coach for the past two years as Kirk Cousins twice set the franchise record for passing yards in a season. Cousins' status for 2017 remains in doubt after playing last season on the franchise tag, but with McVay gone he'll have a familiar face as his offensive coordinator.
After 13 NFL seasons as a backup quarterback, the 60-year-old Cavanaugh was offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 1997-98 and Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2004. O'Connell, Washington's new quarterbacks coach, was an assistant in San Francisco under Chip Kelly last season.
Tomsula, who replaces Robb Akey as defensive line coach, also most recently worked with the 49ers as their head coach in 2015.
The Atlanta Falcons have provided the 49ers with a window from Friday afternoon through Saturday to meet with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a source told CSNBayArea.com.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn has structured a normal work week to begin preparations to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51, Quinn said at a press conference on Monday. The Falcons will have a day off on Saturday before the team travels to Houston on Sunday.
The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
Shanahan is the presumptive 49ers coach -- the only candidate remaining among the six whom 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe interviewed. Shanahan's offense rolled up 493 total yards and converted 10 of 13 (77 percent) third-down opportunities en route to a 44-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game.
“I’m really proud of him,” said Quinn, who was hired by the Falcons two years ago after he served as Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator in Super Bowl 49.
“It’s not easy to do when there’s a lot of speculation and things going on outside your world to stay dialed in. I think it’s one that should be commended. Being on point and going for it, he totally nailed that.”
Shanahan is also expected to be heavily involved in the 49ers’ search for a general manager. The two remaining candidates among the nine who previously interviewed are Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough.
The 49ers have left open the possibility of adding more GM candidates to the list, according to a source.