Harbaugh disagrees with Coughlin's disagreements


Harbaugh disagrees with Coughlin's disagreements

"NFL Turning Point" on Versus featured a segment Wednesday night on the 49ers' 27-20 victory over the New York Giants. The show pointed out how the Giants were predictable on their fourth-down play at the end of the game.
Throughout the season, the Giants showed a tendency when they needed to pick up some yards. The concept is for the Giants' slot receiver to run a clearing route up the middle of the field, and the outside receiver enters the vacated space over the middle, where quarterback Eli Manning usually finds him wide open.The 49ers' strategy on the game's most-important play is foreshadowed when linebackers coach Jim Leavitt tells Patrick Willis on the sideline, "Pick him up a little early . . . 85," referring to tight end Jake Ballard.
And on the fourth-and-2 play with the Giants in need of a touchdown, Willis steps up and uses his right shoulder to jam Ballard at the line of scrimmage. The two players tangle, with Willis' right hand momentarily appearing to grasp Ballard's left hip.With Ballard re-routed and unable to run his clearing route, slot receiver Victor Cruz could not get open. And it didn't matter, anyway, as Justin Smith batted down Manning's pass.The day after the game, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he thought Willis should have been penalized, and the Giants should've had a first down."I think that it's safe to say that that was defensive holding, yes," Coughlin told the New York media.On Wednesday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he believed Willis played the situation perfectly."His arms never got involved," Harbaugh said of Willis. "He was playing Ballard off the line, saw his head dip down and I thought it was an outstanding play. There's allowed to be contact within the first 5 yards. I have to disagree with coach on that, that he was tackled. I didn't see Ballard be tackled by Patrick Willis."The other play that Coughlin thought should've been called a penalty against the 49ers was the Delanie Walker shift that prompted Giants defensive end Dave Tollefson to jump into the neutral zone on a crucial third-and-2 situation in the fourth quarter.
"You have to understand that the intent to deceive is something that has to be determined," Coughlin said. "The officials did not think that that was intent to deceive. We can disagree all we want. But it's obvious that it's a part of their plan and they execute it very well."Harbaugh said the intent is not to get the opponent to jump offside, but rather to "change the strength of the formation." Harbaugh is adamant that it's a legal, normal shift.
Here is the exact language in the NFL rulebook. The key words are "quick, abrupt movement" in the officials judgment:Rule 7, Section 4: Action at or Before the Snap
Article 2: False Start. It is a False Start if the ball has been placed ready for play, and, prior to the snap, an offensive player who has assumed a set position charges or moves in such a way as to simulate the start of a play, or if an offensive player who is in motion makes a sudden movement toward the line of scrimmage. Any quick abrupt movement by a single offensive player, or by several offensive players in unison, which simulates the start of the snap, is a false start.Coughlin also pointed out that on the other side of the formation, tight end Vernon Davis flinched. Upon re-watching that play, Coughlin had a good argument. But all the focus was on Walker and Tollefson on the other side of the ball.

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


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."


Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved


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.”

--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.