Aug. 28, 2010MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comRookie Phillip Adams, who did good work as a cornerback a week ago, might have wrapped up a spot on the 49ers' 53-man roster with an 83-yard punt return in the first half.The 49ers led 17-14 at the end of the first half.Receiver Michael Crabtree was a late scratch from the game for unspecified reasons. Coach Mike Singletary said on Thursday that Crabtree would play approximately one quarter. Crabtree had returned to full practice after missing nearly two weeks with a neck strain.Tight end Vernon Davis (right knee strain) and cornerback Shawntae Spencer (hamstring) did not play. Also, left tackle Joe Staley played one quarter before leaving with a right knee sprain. He appeared fine on the sideline, standing and walking without a limp.The game also featured the exhibition season debut of running back Frank Gore. He tore off on a 49-yard run the first time he touched the ball. But that drive eventually stalled when he mishandled a pitch from quarterback Alex Smith.Smith completed 9 of 15 passes for 113 yards and touchdown. He tossed a 16-yarder to Josh Morgan, who had three catches for 31 yards in the first half. Gore had two rushes for 58 yards. Here's what Gore had to say, courtesy of the 49ers' public relations department:On how it felt to get back out there: "It feels great man, especially going through training camp all month and I didn't get to go against another team. I was like a little kid out there. I was happy.On the 49-yard run: "Our O-Line and (fullback) Moran Norris, they did a great job and the receivers did a great job down field, and it was there and I hit it. I was patient, I was patient and I exploded through.On how comfortable he feels on the field: "I feel great, man. Coming off a great camp, you know, I'm happy to be out there. My new O-linemen (left guard Mike) Iupati, (right tackle) Anthony Davis, and you know my old boys, they have all been doing a great job up front too. You know, we just have to keep working and get ready for the first game.On how it felt to run behind Iupati: "It was wide open. He's a big guy, a wide space so they can't see you behind him and I was there, waiting for the hole to open and I just hit it."On what happened when he fumbled: "You know, I saw touchdown. I didn't look the ball all the way in, I was looking up the field because I saw a touchdown and the ball slipped. It's something that won't happen in the regular season."
Trent Baalke’s final two seasons as 49ers general manager brought defensive linemen to the organization with the club’s top draft picks.
And, for that, new 49ers general manager John Lynch said he is grateful.
Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner may have been chosen when the 49ers’ base defensive alignment was a 3-4, but Lynch said the two Oregon products are versatile enough to thrive in the new system defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will install.
“I think they fit very well,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And that’s one thing I think I want to make sure (to say) because I really believe it, I think Trent Baalke did a great job of getting guys that, yes, they were picked for one system, but I think they transition very well to our system.”
Buckner appeared in 15 games as a rookie after Baalke selected him with the No. 7 overall pick. He ranked second in the NFL among defensive tackles with 73 tackles and was fourth among rookies with six sacks. Buckner was chosen to the All-Rookie team by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Armstead, selected with the 17th overall pick in 2015, recorded 2.5 sacks in eight games last season. He sustained a shoulder injury during training camp and finally underwent season-ending surgery in November.
Buckner and Armstead may be asked to play different positions but they will also be taught to play a different styles this season, Lynch promised.
“They were very much in a read-and-react posture last year,” Lynch said. “I’m excited to cut them loose. When we say ‘aggressive,’ it doesn’t mean that we’re blitzing every play. It means we’re getting off the ball. At the snap, we’re taking the fight to them. And I think these are guys who fit what we’re going to do very well. We’re excited about it.”
The 49ers last week hired defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina, who played 17 seasons in the league. Zgonina served the past four seasons as an assistant defensive line coach with Houston (2013-15) and the New York Giants (2016).
“They’re going to be coached hard,” Lynch said of the 49ers’ defensive linemen. “They’re going to be asked to sprint to the football, wherever it is. That doesn’t just come natural. Those are habits that you have to pick up.”
Every defensive player currently on the 49ers’ roster was brought to the organization to play in a 3-4 defense. Lynch downplayed the practical importance of the team’s defensive label because of extra defensive backs being deployed against three-receiver personnel groupings.
“Seventy- to 75-percent of this game now is played in sub or nickel,” Lynch said. “At that point, that’s kind of out the door. It’s can you stop the run and, then, can you go get the guy throwing the football and bring him down? We think both of those guys have great potential to do that.”
New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan secured one of the major remaining pieces of his coaching staff.
John Benton, 53, who coached the offensive line during Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, on Tuesday agreed to terms to join the 49ers’ staff, a source told CSNBayArea.com.
The Broncos allowed Benton get out of his contract just one month after he joined Vance Joseph’s new staff as Denver’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.
Benton served 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 job as an NFL offensive coordinator was in 2008 and ’09 with the Texans under head coach Gary Kubiak.
Benton was the line coach during those seasons. Shanahan and Benton spent a total of four seasons together on Houston’s offensive staff. Shanahan coached wide receivers in 2006 and quarterbacks in 2007.
Benton was reportedly finalizing his contract on Monday, according to a report from Alex Marvez of The Sporting News and SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Benton takes over for Pat Flaherty, who served as offensive line coach under Chip Kelly. Flaherty is the new Jaguars offfensive line coach. Chris Foerster coached the 49ers' offensive line in 2015 under Jim Tomsula, and Mike Solari served as the O-line coach under Jim Harbaugh.