Maiocco: McDonald fits into 49ers' plan

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Maiocco: McDonald fits into 49ers' plan

JUNE 23, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com

Defensive lineman Ray McDonald will not have to go anywhere to get his chance to be a starter in 2011.The 49ers anticipate nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin to sign a big free-agent contract and the club has made contingency plans to compensate for his potential departure, according to team sources.As previously reported, the 49ers have talked about moving Isaac Sopoaga to nose tackle, where he played earlier in his career. Sopoaga started all 16 games last season at left defensive end. Ricky Jean Francois, Franklin's backup last season, also returns.
McDonald, a four-year veteran eligible for free agency, would become among the team's top priorities to re-sign, and he would be the clear choice to start at left defensive end. McDonald started nine games in 2008 but has mostly seen action on third downs as an inside pass-rush specialist.
McDonald told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee this week that he yearns to be an every-down player."I know I'm an every-down player, a starter," McDonald said. "And that's what I'm looking to do this year. I'm not looking to back up anybody. I'm looking to start this year."Last season in a part-time role, McDonald tied for 10th on the team with 57 tackles, including five for losses. He did not record a sack, but he was credited with 56 pressures (second on the team, behind only Justin Smith) and his 26 hits on the quarterback tied him for third on the team. He added one interception and broke up three passes.
McDonald would have to earn his job if he re-signs with the 49ers. He is going about it the right way. McDonald has been a regular at the San Jose State conditioning sessions, often seen hanging out with right defensive end Justin Smith.McDonald will be a starter when the season gets going. And there's a good chance it'll be with the 49ers.

Lynch: Armstead, Buckner fit 49ers' new defensive scheme

Lynch: Armstead, Buckner fit 49ers' new defensive scheme

Trent Baalke’s final two seasons as 49ers general manager brought defensive linemen to the organization with the club’s top draft picks.

And, for that, new 49ers general manager John Lynch said he is grateful.

Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner may have been chosen when the 49ers’ base defensive alignment was a 3-4, but Lynch said the two Oregon products are versatile enough to thrive in the new system defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will install.

“I think they fit very well,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And that’s one thing I think I want to make sure (to say) because I really believe it, I think Trent Baalke did a great job of getting guys that, yes, they were picked for one system, but I think they transition very well to our system.”

Buckner appeared in 15 games as a rookie after Baalke selected him with the No. 7 overall pick. He ranked second in the NFL among defensive tackles with 73 tackles and was fourth among rookies with six sacks. Buckner was chosen to the All-Rookie team by the Pro Football Writers of America.

Armstead, selected with the 17th overall pick in 2015, recorded 2.5 sacks in eight games last season. He sustained a shoulder injury during training camp and finally underwent season-ending surgery in November.

Buckner and Armstead may be asked to play different positions but they will also be taught to play a different styles this season, Lynch promised.

“They were very much in a read-and-react posture last year,” Lynch said. “I’m excited to cut them loose. When we say ‘aggressive,’ it doesn’t mean that we’re blitzing every play. It means we’re getting off the ball. At the snap, we’re taking the fight to them. And I think these are guys who fit what we’re going to do very well. We’re excited about it.”

The 49ers last week hired defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina, who played 17 seasons in the league. Zgonina served the past four seasons as an assistant defensive line coach with Houston (2013-15) and the New York Giants (2016).

“They’re going to be coached hard,” Lynch said of the 49ers’ defensive linemen. “They’re going to be asked to sprint to the football, wherever it is. That doesn’t just come natural. Those are habits that you have to pick up.”

Every defensive player currently on the 49ers’ roster was brought to the organization to play in a 3-4 defense. Lynch downplayed the practical importance of the team’s defensive label because of extra defensive backs being deployed against three-receiver personnel groupings.

“Seventy- to 75-percent of this game now is played in sub or nickel,” Lynch said. “At that point, that’s kind of out the door. It’s can you stop the run and, then, can you go get the guy throwing the football and bring him down? We think both of those guys have great potential to do that.”

Source: Benton agrees to become 49ers' O-line coach

Source: Benton agrees to become 49ers' O-line coach

New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan secured one of the major remaining pieces of his coaching staff.

John Benton, 53, who coached the offensive line during Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, on Tuesday agreed to terms to join the 49ers’ staff, a source told CSNBayArea.com.

The Broncos allowed Benton get out of his contract just one month after he joined Vance Joseph’s new staff as Denver’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

Benton served last season as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Shanahan’s first job as an NFL offensive coordinator was in 2008 and ’09 with the Texans under head coach Gary Kubiak.

Benton was the line coach during those seasons. Shanahan and Benton spent a total of four seasons together on Houston’s offensive staff. Shanahan coached wide receivers in 2006 and quarterbacks in 2007.

Benton was reportedly finalizing his contract on Monday, according to a report from Alex Marvez of The Sporting News and SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Benton takes over for Pat Flaherty, who served as offensive line coach under Chip Kelly. Flaherty is the new Jaguars offfensive line coach. Chris Foerster coached the 49ers' offensive line in 2015 under Jim Tomsula, and Mike Solari served as the O-line coach under Jim Harbaugh.