SANTA CLARA -- Detroit's starting defensive linemen are the same explosive four players the 49ers faced last season in their upset win at Ford Field.And San Francisco is preparing for an enhanced version of that defensive front Sunday evening at Candlestick Park."This year they are a lot more dialed in, more experienced," said right guard Alex Boone. "Working another year together, so they are more fluent with each other. (I've) seen a lot of great quickness and speed and power from all of them."That power and speed was front and center in Week 1. The Lions burst into the NFL season sacking St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford four times in their 27-23 victory. The defensive line was responsible for all of them. Starters Cliff Avril, Corey Williams and Ndamukong Suh each tallied a hit along with key backup Nick Fairley."They line their D-line up in different configurations. They pressure more. They blitz you more," explained 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. "I mean they are rushing, they are attacking. They are trying to destroy blocks, destroy blocking schemes on the way to the quarterback. Just because you're in pass rush mode, doesn't mean you're not playing the run. So, it's not just hey these guys are up the field, they're just playing the pass, not so fast."Those kinds of challenges are what drives Roman to create the unusual, yet highly effective, offensive formations he is becoming known for. Like a master chef who has the know-how to blend contrasting ingredients into flavorful fare, Roman takes a player's unique trait and mixes ideas until he comes up with a way to get that skill set in a game.There is no secret to the inspiration behind the new formation he rolled out against Green Bay. Roman gave new meaning to the term "jumbo package" when he put Leonard Davis (6-foot-6, 355 pounds) and Daniel Kilgore (6-3, 308) in to bulk up the blocking. Roman had the offensive linemen in positions they had never played before: Davis as a tight end, Kilgore as a wingback."You gotta press in and get in the book, the playbook, and learn a little more," Davis said. "It's a little more detail you have to pay attention to. It's kind of fun and kind of challenging at times being on the edge and controlling what's going on at the end of the line of scrimmage."Said Kilgore, "It's a first for me and Leonard. It's fun. I enjoy it. It's just getting in there and practicing it and getting used to the angles because it's much different from where I am at center."The super-sized package worked perfectly against the Packers as Frank Gore ran for a 23 yard touchdown with Davis, Kilgore and fullback Bruce Miller clearing the path. "Watching Leonard run out there is kinda funny," Boone said as he gave the 'G' version of the Packer's players reactions as they saw the massive three-time Pro Bowler come on the field. "'You gotta be kidding me. Come on seriously?' He comes out there and he's just so big."Roman does not want it known just how many new offensive schemes he's created incorporating Davis' rare size and strength."A lot," he said.But Roman is sure to unveil more of them against the Lions. Not forgotten is Kyle Vanden Bosch's hit on Alex Smith on the 49ers first offensive play of the game last year. The sack led to a fumble and a quick field goal off the turnover for the Lions.But Roman's big men formations are designed more for the benefit of what they bring to the 49ers offense than they are for the detriment of the opponent."More importantly, just attitude," Boone said. "Physicality, and that's one of the things that whole formation brings is just the fact that we are going to try and run an attitude play. We're not really deviating from anything.""We always have that mentality," Kilgore said. "That's the way our offense is ran. Coach Greg Roman and Coach Harbaugh and all the other coaches do a great job of putting us in a great position to win. We go out there and execute it during the week and on Sundays we're ready to go so yeah, our mentality is, try and stop us."AP Images
Running back Glen Coffee, who walked away from the 49ers during training camp before his second NFL season, was reinstated Friday off the reserve-retired list.
As part of the same transaction wire released by the NFL office, the 49ers released Coffee, making him a free agent.
After seven seasons away from the game, Coffee is attempting a comeback, his agent told on Saturday.
“I can tell you, he’s in great shape,” agent Ray Oubre said. “The man doesn’t have a six-pack, he’s got a 12-pack. He’s been waiting for the right time to hopefully get a workout with someone and show what he can do.
“He had a calling, and right now he feels like it’s his time to show what he can do. He explained to me, ‘I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was initially with the 49ers.’ That’s the kind of shape he’s in.”
Coffee, who turns 30 on May 1, was a third-round draft pick (No. 74 overall) of the 49ers in 2009. He was the sixth running back selected in that year's draft. Coffee appeared in 14 games as a rookie and carried 83 times for 226 yards and one touchdown. He also caught 11 passes for 78 yards.
During training camp the next year as his teammates were exiting the locker room for the practice field in August 2010, Coffee cut the tape from his shoes and left the team's Santa Clara practice facility. He later informed then-coach Mike Singletary of his decision to stop playing football. Coffee said he believed God had a bigger plan for him.
Coffee was a specialist in the Sixth Battalion of the Army Rangers after enlisting in 2013. He is no longer active, Oubre said.
“He’s been training several months,” Oubre said. “The rigors of the Army Rangers, he was already in shape. He’s taking it to another level now. He’s been training for more than four months.
“He feels like he served and now the time is right. He’s in a good place. He understands, you can’t play football forever and you can’t do any one thing forever. He’s in a place right now that he wants to use his God-given ability as a football player.”
Coffee turned pro after his junior season at Alabama. In his final college season, Coffee rushed for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Coffee has been training under Johnny Jackson at JDPI Sports Performance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Oubre said he will be in contact with all 32 NFL teams to see if there’s any interest in bringing in Coffee for workouts. He might also hold an open workout for any interested teams.
Former 49ers quarterback and current free agent Colin Kaepernick has been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People on Thursday.
Each person named to the list is represented by a sponsor who then writes on why they are worthy of the honor. For Kaepernick, his former coach Jim Harbaugh wrote on him.
Harbaugh coached Kaepernick for four seasons from 2011-2014. The two reached the Super Bowl together in the 2012 season.
Other sports figures named to the list include Conor McGregor, Theo Epstein, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Simone Biles, and Neymar.
Kaepernick made national headlines this past season for his decision to first sit and then kneel during the national anthem as a fight against social injustices.
Below is what Harbaugh wrote on Kaepernick's influence:
Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests last year when he boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system by refusing to stand for the national anthem. At times in our nation's history, we have been all too quick to judge and oppose our fellow Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to address things they believe unjust.
Rather than besmirch their character, we must celebrate their act. For we cannot pioneer and invent if we are fearful of deviating from the norm, damaging our public perception or—most important—harming our own personal interests.
I thank Colin for all he has contributed to the game of football as an outstanding player and trusted teammate. I also applaud Colin for the courage he has demonstrated in exercising his guaranteed right of free speech. His willingness to take a position at personal cost is now part of our American story.
How lucky for us all and for our country to have among our citizens someone as remarkable as Colin Kaepernick.