Key matchup No. 3: Rogers vs. Welker


Key matchup No. 3: Rogers vs. Welker

49ers key matchup No. 3: Carlos Rogers vs. Wes Welker This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Patriots matchups to watch Sunday, 5:20 p.m. (NBC), at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.

49ers CB Carlos Rogers vs. Patriots WR Wes Welker

Tale of the tape
Rogers (22): 6-foot, 192 pounds, eight season, Auburn
Welker (83): 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, ninth season, Texas Tech

Carlos Rogers has the greatest responsibility within the 49ers' defense. Covering the slot receiver is typically seen as the most difficult job for any defensive back. And that has been Rogers' role since arriving on the scene with the 49ers last season.

On Sunday night, he faces his most difficult challenge against one of the all-time best slot receivers in football.

Wes Welker has excelled as quarterback Tom Brady's most dangerous weapon because his short-area quickness allows him to get open quickly on throws in which Brady must get rid of the ball quickly.

Welker ranks third in the NFL with 95 catches for 1,116 yards and four touchdowns. He is closing in on becoming the first player in NFL history with five seasons of 100 or more receptions.

Welker averages nearly 40 plays a game from the slot position. And he can expect to look across the line at Rogers nearly every time he's there.

After facing the New York Giants' Victor Cruz, St. Louis' Danny Amendola and Green Bay's Randall Cobb this season, Rogers faces his biggest test. Brady is playing at an all-time best level with 29 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Brady has averaged 294.8 yards passing per game with a passer rating of 104.2.

"There is no one way to defend Brady, which to me is the definition of a great quarterback," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "Do you want to pressure him some? Yeah. Do you want to cover him some? Yes. Do you want to rush three? Yes. Do you want to rush five, six? Yes.

"You've got to do a little bit of everything, man, zone, because he's really good."

To read more about this matchup, check out Kevin Kurz's report, "Welker poses immense challenge for Rogers."

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.”