Maiocco: 49ers defense -- Player-by-player review


Maiocco: 49ers defense -- Player-by-player review

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The 49ers' defense recorded two interceptions, three sacks and surrendered just 214 yards of total offense in a 17-3 victory over the Raiders in the second exhibition game.Here's a player-by-player look how the 49ers' defense and specialists performed:
Defensive linemen (9)
61-Sealver Siliga: Entered at nose tackle for the third series of the second half and rotated with Ian Williams the rest of the way.
63-Will Tukuafu: Entered the game at left defensive end at the start of the second half. . . . He peeled off a block attempt of Raiders lineman Bruce Campbell to stop Rock Cartwright for a 1-yard gain in third quarter for his only tackle.
64-Ian Williams: Opened the second half at nose tackle, as he took over for Ricky Jean Francois. He split time at nose tackle in the second half with Siliga. . . . Credited with one tackle.(Follow on Twitter @IWilliams95
71-Brian Bulcke: Entered game at right defensive end for the second series of the second half. . . Didn't get blocked and got a big hit on Raiders quarterback Kyle Boller as he was releasing to force an incomplete pass in the third quarter.
78-Demarcus Dobbs: Entered the game at right defensive end at the start of the second half. . . . Completely bowled over Raiders left guard Alex Parsons to throw Boller for a 9-yard loss on a sack. . . He finished with three tackles.
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at nose tackle and played most of the first half, as he returned last week from a hamstring strain that kept him out the first two weeks of camp. . . . Credited with one tackle.
91-Ray McDonald: Started at left defensive end and played the first half. . . Got good penetration that freed up teammate NaVorro Bowman to make a stop for just a 1-yard gain in the first quarter.
94-Justin Smith: Started at right defensive end and played the entire first half. . . Although not officially credited with any stats, he was responsible for a sack and forced fumble on Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell in the second quarter.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: Entered the game as part of the 49ers' goal-line defense in the second quarter. . . He got outstanding penetration to help stack up Raiders fullback Marcell Reece for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-goal from the 1. . . Saw action, mixing in with Sopoaga, at nose tackle in the first half. He started second half, but played just one series. (Follow on Twitter @Freakyjean95)Linebackers (13)
47-Monte Simmons: Did not see any action on defense.
50-Kenny Rowe: Did not see any action on defense.
51-Blake Costanzo: Did not see any action on defense, but was on the first-team special-teams units for kickoff coverage and kickoff return.
52-Patrick Willis: Started at middle linebacker and played the entire first half . . . He closed quickly to tackle Campbell on a bootleg near the end zone. Willis dropped him for a 1-yard loss. . . . He was in coverage against Michael Bush on a 12-yard reception. . . . He finished with three tackles. (Follow on Twitter @PatrickWillis52)
53-NaVorro Bowman: Started at inside linebacker and played the entire first half. . . He made his presence felt immediately when he made the first two tackles of the game, then beat the attempted block of Michael Bush to put a hit on Campbell to force a third-down incompletion. (Follow on Twitter @NBowman53)
54-Larry Grant: Entered the game at the start of the second half. . . . On a third-and-1, he filled the gap nicely and stuck running back Michael Bennett for a 1-yard loss. . . . He was credited with one solo and one assisted tackle. (Follow on Twitter @LarryGrant59)
55-Ahmad Brooks: Started at left outside linebacker and played the entire first half. . . His hit on Campbell knocked him out of the game. Campbell was going to the ground to recover his own fumble when Brooks delivered the blow.
56-Scott McKillop: He saw practice time last week but he did not play in the game. (Follow on Twitter @smckillop56)
57-Keaton Kristick: Entered the game on defense at the start of the second half. . . . Came on a blitz and probably would've gotten a hit on the quarterback, if it hadn't been for Cartwright holding him (and getting penalized for it). . . . Credited with one tackle. (Follow on Twitter @KKRISTICK32)
58-Alex Joseph: Did not see any action on defense.
96-Antwan Applewhite: Entered the game at left outside linebacker at the start of the second half. . . . Made a quick move at the snap to get inside tight end Richard Gordon to stop fullback Manase Tonga for no gain in the third quarter. . . . Finished with two tackles.
98-Parys Haralson: Started at right outside linebacker, and played most of the first half. . . Got around Raiders left tackle Jared Veldheer to drop Campbell for a sack on a fourth-and-goal from the 2.
99-Aldon Smith: Entered the game briefly in the second quarter, but saw a lot of action in the second half. Had some difficulty working against Raiders tackle Seth Wand initially, but got him with an inside move to hit Boller as he was throwing for an incomplete pass in the third quarter. . . . He finished with two tackles. (Follow on Twitter @AldonSmithJETS)Defensive backs (18)
20-Madieu Williams: Entered the game at free safety at the start of the second half. . . . Had perfect coverage on a fourth-and-2 situation on Tonga to record the interception. . . . He was credited with three tackles, plus another on special teams.
22-Carlos Rogers: Did not play due to an Achilles strain.
23-Taylor Mays: Entered the game at safety with 3:33 remaining in the game, and played final three defensive snaps.
25-Tarell Brown: Started at left cornerback and played the entire first half and one series of the second half. . . . He started in the slot and then ended up at the left sideline to step in front of Raiders receiver Derek Hagan for an interception. . . . He recorded two tackles and two passes defensed.
26-Tramaine Brock: Started at right cornerback and played almost the entire game . . . He was in coverage on back-to-back completions to rookie receiver Denarius Moore for 17 and 11 yards. . . . He would've had an opportunity for an interception had Tarell Brown not gotten in front of him and gotten the pick himself late in the first half. . . . Did a good job of wrapping up to hold receiver Shaun Bodiford to just a 3-yard gain after a quick pass. . . . He finished with three tackles. (Follow on Twitter @T26Brock)
27-C.J. Spillman: He entered the game early in the second quarter as part of the 49ers' goal-line defense. . . . Came flying up to drop Boller for a 1-yard gain on a third-and-15 situation. . . . Stopped running back Louis Rankin for a 2-yard loss with a good open-field tackle. . . . He also made a tackle on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @CJSPILLMAN27)
28-Curtis Taylor: Entered the game at safety with 3:33 remaining in the game, and played final three defensive snaps.
29-Chris Culliver: Began the game as the 49ers' third cornerback. He failed to turn to look for the ball at the beginning of the second quarter on a play in which Darrius Heyward-Bey made a 22-yard reception to the 49ers' 2-yard line. . . . Also, in coverage against Hagan on a 14-yard gain in the third quarter. . . Came up in run support to help Spillman stop Rankin for a 2-yard loss. . . . Credited with four tackles. (Follow on Twitter @Cullyinthehouse)
30-Reggie Smith: Did not play after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Aug. 15. (Follow on Twitter @superreg30)
31-Donte Whitner: Started at strong safety and played the entire first half. . . . He was not involved much in the action. (Follow on Twitter @DonteWhitner)
32-Corey Nelms: Did not play on defense.
33-Phillip Davis: Did not play on defense.
35-Phillip Adams: Got a chance to return punts, and came through with a 32-yard return late in the game. . . . Saw action as the third cornerback in the second half, and moved to right cornerback late in the fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @phil_adams35)
36-Shawntae Spencer: Sustained left hamstring strain in practice July 31 and has not made it through a full practice since. He did not suit up for the game.
38-Dashon Goldson: Started at free safety, seeing his first action of the exhibition season. . . . Got to the ball a step late and could not prevent Heyward-Bey reception of 18 yards in the second quarter. . . . Finished with two tackles. (Follow on Twitter @thehawk38)
40-Chris Maragos: He saw action on special teams, recording one assisted tackle. Did not play on defense. (Follow on Twitter @ChrisMaragos)
41-Curtis Holcomb: Placed on injured reserve after sustaining ruptured left Achilles on July 28. He does not count against roster limit. (Follow on Twitter @C_Holcomb24)
43-Colin Jones: Played on all the special-teams coverage units. Again, demonstrated speed to be the first one down on coverage, but did not record any tackles.
45-Anthony West: Got into the game for the final play as an extra defensive back.Specialists (4)
2-David Akers: He made a 23-yard field goal and handled the punting chores after Andy Lee was knocked from the game. He had a 44-yard punt on his first try. His second attempt was deflected, as the 49ers had just 10 players on the field and the ball traveled just 13 yards. (Follow on Twitter @DavidAkers2)
4-Andy Lee: His evening got off to a rough start after he mishandled a low snap on a field-goal attempt. Lee tried to throw a pass up for grabs (it was intercepted) and Stevie Brown planted Lee on his right hip. Lee likely sustained a hip pointer and he was unable to handle the punting chores for the rest of the game. . . . He still managed to hold on kicks. . . . The 49ers will likely look for a street free agent to fill in until Lee is healthy again.
9-Fabrizio Scaccia: He had four kickoffs but managed just one touchback. . . One of his kickoffs sailed 3 yards deep into the end zone, but Denarius Moore returned it out to the 45.
86-Brian Jennings: His snap on the first field-goal attempt was not perfect, but Lee typically handles it with no problem. (Follow on Twitter @Jennings141)-Rookies

Day after retiring, Anquan Boldin challenges owners, execs to help protesting players


Day after retiring, Anquan Boldin challenges owners, execs to help protesting players

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Anquan Boldin didn't decide overnight he was going to quit football in order to speak out against longstanding concerns over inequality in America.

The recent deadly and racially charged conflict in Charlottesville, Virginia, did, however, become the tipping point that caused Boldin to reassess his priorities and led to the Buffalo Bills receiver's decision to retire after 14 NFL seasons.

"I think anybody with any sense can see how divided we are as a country, and Charlottesville only magnified what we were already seeing," Boldin told The Associated Press by phone Monday.

He was disturbed by the hateful messages directed at African-Americans, Jewish people and the LGBT community during a rally involving neo-Nazis and other right-wing groups in which a counter-protester was killed and two Virginia state police officers died on Aug. 13.

"That's not the America that I want to live in," he said. "And I think the only way that this America changes is that we as a people stand up and change it."

Boldin spoke a day after abruptly informing the Bills he was retiring some two weeks after signing a one-year contract with a base salary of $1.75 million.

The NFL's 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Boldin is no stranger to activism and humanitarian causes. He oversees the South Florida-based Q81 Foundation, which offers educational support for underprivileged children.

He has lobbied for criminal justice reform at the state and federal levels since his cousin was killed by a plain-clothes police officer along the side of a Florida highway in October 2015.

Difficult as it was to walk away from football, Boldin felt he could no longer stand silent on the sideline.

"There's not enough money in this world for me to continue to allow the things that are going on to continue to spread," the 36-year-old father of two boys said.

"I will not feel safe leaving this earth and having my kids have to live in the America that we have today."

Boldin then challenged NFL owners and executives to use their clout to demand change and back many of their players who are already doing so by protesting during the anthem.

"You have your players crying out for help. That's the reason why guys are taking knees during the anthem," he said.

"Just because we're professional athletes doesn't mean we're exempt from the things that go on in society," Boldin said, noting his position as an athlete couldn't save his cousin from being shot.

"If I'm an owner and I see one of my family members - players - hurting, I'd do whatever I can to make sure that my family is OK."

Boldin's decision to retire coincides with what he witnessed during the anthem before Buffalo's preseason game at Philadelphia on Thursday. Eagles defensive end Chris Long showed his support by putting his arm around cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, who stood in silent protest with a raised fist. Bills backup lineman Cameron Jefferson was so inspired by what he saw that he also raised his fist on Buffalo's sideline.

Boldin ranks in the top four among active receivers with 1,076 catches, 13,779 yards receiving and 82 touchdowns receiving.

He spent last season with Detroit, where he had 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 games.

The former Florida State star spent his first seven NFL seasons with Arizona, then played three years with Baltimore and three with San Francisco. He helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl in February 2013.

Lions safety Glover Quin credited his former teammate for having the courage for ending his career while knowing he can "have a bigger impact to do something else."

"I tip my hat to him," said Quin, one of several NFL players who joined Boldin in addressing Congress last year. "One day, we'll be able to look back on it and say, `That was the start of something great.'"

A day later, Boldin feels he made the right choice and pays no mind to those who suggest he simply stick to sports.

"I think it's absurd to tell a person to stick to playing football when the issues that he's talking about are affecting him," he said.

Earlier in the day in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Boldin said his decision to retire had nothing to do with the Bills trading their top receiving threat, Sammy Watkins, in a pair of blockbuster deals on Aug. 11 , or how the team's offense struggled in a 20-16 preseason loss at Philadelphia.

He also discounted the notion he might reconsider retirement and choose to play for a contender later this season.

"Do I feel like I can still play? Of course," Boldin said. "My passion for the advocacy work that I do outweighs football at this point, so I'm not coming back to play for a contender or to do anything else. I'm done with the game of football."

49ers rookie QB Beathard turns VR into reality

49ers rookie QB Beathard turns VR into reality

The 49ers made a late-night trade in April to move back into the end of the third round to select an unheralded quarterback from Iowa.

The deal did not come without some second-guessing. After all, why trade away a seventh-round pick for C.J. Beathard, when he was likely to be available five picks later with the 49ers’ next scheduled draft pick?

Beathard has done everything right since his arrival, seemingly justifying the 49ers' decision to make sure they secured him when they did. And a solid showing during training camp has placed him in position to overtake veteran Matt Barkley as the team’s No. 2 quarterback.

“That’s for the coaches to decide on and evaluate,” Beathard said. “I’m critical of myself and I feel like there were plays that I can improve on and get better at. That’s part of football. You’re never going to play a perfect game. I’m always trying to get better.”

Brian Hoyer strengthened his grasp on the 49ers’ starting job with an impressive training camp with his arm strength, accuracy, and knowledge and execution of Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

Beathard has saved his best performances for the two exhibition games with and against backup players. Beathard has completed 14 of 23 passes (60.9 percent) for 211 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating is 130.6.

“There were a couple third downs I thought he missed, but it was hard to get anyone in a rhythm that game,” Shanahan said after the 49ers’ 33-14 loss to the Denver Broncos on Saturday. “I think under the circumstances, he did solid.”

Beathard, the grandson of long-time NFL executive Bobby Beathard, led Iowa to a 12-2 record as a junior. His production dropped as a senior, as he completed 56.5 percent of his attempts with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the Hawkeyes' pro-style offense.

He entered training camp at No. 3 on the depth chart. He and Barkley have been assigned the same number of practice snaps since the team reported to Santa Clara in late-July.

But Beathard has taken advantage of technology to get more and more comfortable in the 49ers’ offense. The 49ers are one of six NFL teams that use STRIVR Labs as an aide in training players via virtual reality. The tool is especially useful for quarterbacks with the camera stationed approximately 10 yards behind the quarterback.

The 49ers have two stations inside Levi’s Stadium with VR headsets, and Beathard has taken full advantage of the resource to train his eyes to read defenses and route progressions. One source told NBC Sports Bay Area that Beathard recently reviewed more than 1,000 practice plays in a week with the technology on his own time.

“You only get limited reps in practice, but you’re able to watch through virtual reality, essentially every rep in practice – all of Brian’s and Matt’s and go back and watch mine, and kind of play things out in your head as you watch practice,” Beathard said.

Beathard's pedigree, football smarts and toughness are what originally drew Shanahan to him before the draft.

Beathard’s toughness was on display in the first exhibition game, when he hung in to deliver a pass down the field to Kendrick Bourne just moments before taking a hit from a Kansas City defensive lineman. Bourne turned it into a 46-yard touchdown.

On Saturday, Beathard executed a convincing play-fake to running back Kapri Bibbs before rolling to his left and tossing to tight end George Kittle, his Iowa teammate. Kittle turned upfield, ran over one would-be tackler, stiff-armed another and managed to stay in-bounds en route to a 29-yard touchdown.

Kittle, who caught two touchdowns passes from Beathard against Nebraska in their final game together at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium, is not surprised with how quickly Beathard has adapted in his first NFL training camp.

“He is the most competitive person I’ve ever met in my life,” Kittle said. “You’ve got a guy who just cares about football.”