Iupati, Sopoaga expected to play

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Iupati, Sopoaga expected to play

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers expect left guard Mike Iupati, who missed practice Wednesday with a right knee injury, to be in the starting lineup Sunday against the Detroit Lions."Mike's going to be fine, I believe," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Thursday.Chilo Rachal, recently benched as the starting right guard, has been getting work in practice at left guard. Rachal is the top backup at both guard positions -- or the "swing guard." So if Iupati was unable to play, Adam Snyder would likely remain at right guard, with Rachal coming in at left guard. Snyder will be matched mostly against Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.Defensively, the 49ers must contend with Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, the first player in NFL history to have nine receiving touchdowns in the first five games. The 49ers will not have Carlos Rogers shadow Johnson in coverage, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said.
"We feel basically the same about all of them," Fangio said.It's undetermined whether Shawntae Spencer or rookie Chris Culliver will be the team's third cornerback. The 49ers will employ a lot of nickel coverage against the Lions, who regularly use three wide receivers. Spencer missed last week's game with a toe injury."It becomes a health issue for Shawntae, whether he's healthy or not," Fangio said. "And No. 2, we'll see how it goes from that point forward. If Shawntae is only 85 or 90 percent, then we definitely go with the healthy guy."The 49ers also expect the return of nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, who missed last week's game with a staph infection."I believe he'll be available to play," Fangio said. "I haven't heard otherwise."

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

Shanahan: Brooks earns place on 49ers' first-team defense

SANTA CLARA – The eldest non-kicker on the 49ers’ roster is learning a new position this offseason.

But Ahmad Brooks has plenty of experience adapting to new positions during his 12-year NFL career. He has played inside linebacker, outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in pass-rush situations.

Now, Brooks has moved to the strong side linebacker position -- the “Sam” -- in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“He’s getting them (first-team repetitions) because he deserves them,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week. “Watching how he played last year and then going into this offseason, you never know when a guy who has been around a bunch, if they’re going to feel that they need the offseason like other people do. And Ahmad’s been here every day and he’s needed it just like everyone has anytime you’re learning a new scheme.

“But anytime you have a veteran like that, you worry that, hey, maybe they won’t think that they do need it. But Ahmad has and he’s been here. He’s worked at everything. He’s in good shape. He’s done what we’ve asked in the weight room with Ray and he’s done everything with the position coaches and coordinator on defense. So, I think he’s learning it and he should because he’s putting the work in.”

Brooks, 33, has entered the past three offseasons with his place on the 49ers seemingly in jeopardy. But the 49ers have not been able to find a younger, better player to replace him. Brooks has tied for the team-lead in sacks in each of the past four seasons with 27 sacks over that span.

Eli Harold, Dekoda Watson and undrafted rookie Jimmie Gilbert were the other players who lined up at the Sam position during the first week of 49ers organized team activities.

Brooks and Aaron Lynch, starters at outside linebacker for the 49ers in the previous systems, have the steepest learning curves in the transition to a new defense. Lynch has moved to the team’s pass-rush defensive end position, known as the “Leo.”

“I think techniques are totally different,” Shanahan said. “How you want to take on blocks, how you want to play the run. Ahmad has been around a little longer than Aaron. So he’s probably had a little bit more crossover, some similar schemes.”