Maiocco: NFL Commissioner's Edict Won't Slow 49ers' Hitters


Maiocco: NFL Commissioner's Edict Won't Slow 49ers' Hitters

49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt Maiocco
CSNBayArea.comSANTA CLARA -- Linebacker Patrick Willis, the 49ers' most ferocious hitter, has more than 500 tackles and 25 passes broken up in his brief NFL career.Across the 49ers' locker room is safety Dashon Goldson, a fourth-year player who has the size at 6-foot-2 and more than 200 pounds to be an intimidating presence in the secondary.The NFL has never found reason to fine Willis for an illegal hit. And Goldson's only fines have come because he did not wear his socks up to code, he said.Willis and Goldson were united Wednesday in saying the threat of NFL suspensions for players who strike an opponent in the head or neck area will not influence how they approach their work.
"I can't play with the ruling in the back of my head because that could hurt my team," Goldson said. "Then, I'm not doing my job."NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sent memos to each team in the league Wednesday, accompanied by a message and video to NFL players and coaches. The head coach of each club was instructed to show the video and read the message to his players and coaching staff as soon as possible, the league said."One of our most important priorities is protecting our players from needless injury," Goodell said in a statement. "In recent years, we have emphasized minimizing contact to the head and neck, especially where a defenseless player is involved."It is clear to me that further action is required to emphasize the importance of teaching safe and controlled techniques, and of playing within the rules. It is incumbent on all of us to support the rules we have in place to protect players."On Tuesday, the NFL announced three players had been fined -- Pittsburgh's James Harrison (75,000), and New England's Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta's Dunta Robinson (50,000 apiece) -- for "flagrant violations of player safety rules."The league announced that enhanced discipline will be imposed even in cases of a first offense, including the possibility of suspension for first-time offenders.Willis expressed some confusion over the ruling."As a defensive guy, you're supposed to hit," said Willis, a three-time Pro Bowl player. "And as an offensive guy, you're supposed to avoid it. And if the quarterback leads you right where the defender is, then you should take it up with the quarterback."But another guy shouldn't get in trouble for it or get fined or a flag for just playing football. If it's ugly, hands down and leading with the head, that's one thing. I'm just going to play football."Coach Mike Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker with the Chicago Bears, said he does not believe the game is any more violent today than when he played. But he does believe the objective of player safety makes perfect sense."I think some of the same hits I see today, I saw them when I was playing," Singletary said. "I don't see a big difference. I really don't."I think overall, it will be a good thing going forward," Singletary said. "At least the guys are thinking about it, and any time we can help players be safe, it makes sense."

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's D-line coach

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's D-line coach

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington turned to internal candidates to fill two critical vacancies, promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator.

Cavanaugh was the team's quarterbacks coach and Manusky its outside linebackers coach last season. Washington announced the promotions Monday along with the hires of Kevin O'Connell as quarterbacks coach and Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.

It has been an offseason of upheaval for the coaching staff after Washington fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry and a few assistants and offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

In its efforts to replace Barry after ranking 28th defensively in consecutive seasons, Washington interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine and former Buffalo Bills assistant Rob Ryan before opting for Manusky. The 50-year-old Manusky has been defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and 49ers and worked with Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan in San Francisco.

Known for his fiery personality and booming voice on the practice fields, Manusky had only been on coach Jay Gruden's staff for one season as outside linebackers coach. Middle linebacker Will Compton tweeted: "Congrats to Coach Manusky!" when players were informed of his promotion.

Cavanaugh was Washington's quarterbacks coach for the past two years as Kirk Cousins twice set the franchise record for passing yards in a season. Cousins' status for 2017 remains in doubt after playing last season on the franchise tag, but with McVay gone he'll have a familiar face as his offensive coordinator.

After 13 NFL seasons as a backup quarterback, the 60-year-old Cavanaugh was offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 1997-98 and Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2004. O'Connell, Washington's new quarterbacks coach, was an assistant in San Francisco under Chip Kelly last season.

Tomsula, who replaces Robb Akey as defensive line coach, also most recently worked with the 49ers as their head coach in 2015.

Falcons coach Quinn: Kyle Shanahan 'totally nailed that' vs Packers

Falcons coach Quinn: Kyle Shanahan 'totally nailed that' vs Packers

The Atlanta Falcons have provided the 49ers with a window from Friday afternoon through Saturday to meet with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a source told

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has structured a normal work week to begin preparations to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51, Quinn said at a press conference on Monday. The Falcons will have a day off on Saturday before the team travels to Houston on Sunday.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

Shanahan is the presumptive 49ers coach -- the only candidate remaining among the six whom 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe interviewed. Shanahan's offense rolled up 493 total yards and converted 10 of 13 (77 percent) third-down opportunities en route to a 44-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game.

“I’m really proud of him,” said Quinn, who was hired by the Falcons two years ago after he served as Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator in Super Bowl 49.

“It’s not easy to do when there’s a lot of speculation and things going on outside your world to stay dialed in. I think it’s one that should be commended. Being on point and going for it, he totally nailed that.”

Shanahan is also expected to be heavily involved in the 49ers’ search for a general manager. The two remaining candidates among the nine who previously interviewed are Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough.

The 49ers have left open the possibility of adding more GM candidates to the list, according to a source.