Maiocco: Who's in, who's out for new-look 49ers

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Maiocco: Who's in, who's out for new-look 49ers

Aug. 4, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
Fans of the 49ers are working through the Seven Stages of Free-Agent Grief.Among their torrent of emotions, the ardent followers of the team have experienced shock. There's also been a healthy dose of anger. And they have begged the 49ers to bargain with any player whose name they recognize.After a busy past couple days for general manager Trent Baalke and chief negotiator Paraag Marathe, it seems a good portion of the fan base is stuck somewhere between acceptance and hope. (And if that doesn't sum up your position, you're free to express it in the comments section below).Here is a look at how the 49ers expect to fill the positions of the starters who are departing after a 6-10 season:Nose tackle
Isaac Sopoaga for Aubrayo Franklin
The 49ers never intended to bring back Franklin, as they did not place as high a value on his services as most thought they would. Apparently, the 49ers weren't alone. When Franklin hit the open market, he simply had a difficult time finding any interested teams. The 49ers brought Franklin in for a visit on Monday, and that might have prompted the New Orleans Saints to jump in and sign him to a one-year deal. The Saints did well to get a player of Franklin's caliber on the cheap. Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis was probably "crying in his milk." Sopoaga takes over for Franklin. He's bigger and stronger than Franklin, who played with great technique. Everything seemed to click last season for Sopoaga, who had a very good season at left defensive end. The 49ers are fully confident Sopoaga and clog up the middle and attract more double-teams.Left defensive end
Ray McDonald for Isaac Sopoaga
The 49ers locked up McDonald with a five-year, 20 million contract to assume the starting role. This should provide an upgrade in the pass-rush department. Although McDonald did not record a sack last season, he was the master of the near-miss. He was second on the team in quarterback pressures. McDonald will have to prove that he's as stout against the run because he did not get much playing time last year on base downs.Outside linebacker
Aldon Smith for Manny Lawson
The day the 49ers selected Smith with the No. 7 overall pick, it was apparent the club would make no attempt to re-sign Lawson. As it turned out, there was not much interest from anyone else, either. Lawson signed a one-year, 3.5 million deal with the Bengals. Lawson was a good player on first and second downs, but he never gave the 49ers much of a pass rush. And that's why they selected him in the first round of the 2006 draft. Smith, meanwhile, has looked impressive as a pass-rusher once the pads went on at training camp. Smith's job will be to rush the passer, and he should be better at that job description than Lawson, who recorded 14.5 sacks in 64 games with the 49ers.Inside linebacker
NaVorro Bowman for Takeo Spikes
The 49ers drafted Bowman in the third round last year to eventually play alongside Willis, providing the 49ers with another player with sideline-to-sideline range. Bowman struggled early last season as a nickel linebacker, while Spikes put together an outstanding year. When Bowman played the entire game in the season finale, he recorded 15 tackles and looked much more comfortable. Spikes received a three-year, 9.5 million deal from the Chargers, and the 49ers were never going to approach that kind of commitment to the 13-year veteran.Right cornerback
Carlos Rogers for Nate Clements
Obviously, Clements' salary was going to make his return unlikely. And the 49ers were looking for an upgrade at cornerback, anyway. Rogers has been in the league six years, and he still has his legs. Clements struggled with his cover skills down the field. One team source said Rogers impressed them as a cover man. He struggles with holding onto interceptions, but he is in position to make a lot of plays. Rogers was looking for a big contract that never materialized. So he signed a one-year deal with the 49ers.Safety
Madieu Williams for Dashon Goldson
OK, OK, we're jumping the gun on this one. The 49ers signed Williams to a one-year deal that does not include any guaranteed money. If Goldson re-signs, he'll be the starter. And the longer he goes without attracting interest on the open market, the more it looks as if the 49ers will retain Goldson's services. The Cowboys showed interest in Goldson. But on back-to-back days, the Cowboys re-signed Gerald Sensabaugh and added Browns free-agent Abram Elam. CSN colleague Mindi Bach reports that Goldson's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is scheduled to meet this week with the 49ers. (Rosenhaus also represents running back Frank Gore, who is in line for a contract extension.) Williams is a respected veteran, but he is not a slam-dunk starter. The 49ers have to be pleased with Reggie Smith, who has been the top performer in the secondary during training camp. He has put himself in position to win a starting job, regardless of his competition. Taylor Mays is yet to take that next step.
Center
Jonathan Goodwin for David Baas
Baas played very well last season in place of injured Eric Heitmann, and the 49ers placed a priority on re-signing him. However, when the New York Giants came strong with big money, the 49ers decided Baas wasn't worth the price. Baas has played only one season at center. Goodwin has played nine years in the league, including the past three as the New Orleans Saints' starter. He has a Super Bowl ring and a 2009 Pro Bowl appearance on his resume. The 49ers landed him Wednesday with a three-year, 10.9 million contract with 4 million guaranteed. He'll be the starter, freeing up Adam Snyder to potentially be the back up at every spot on the line.Kicker
David Akers for Joe Nedney
The 49ers replaced Nedney, the most accurate kicker in team history, with a five-time Pro Bowl player. But Nedney has been plagued by injuries, and the 49ers went after Akers, whom the Eagles had already replaced with a draft pick. Akers, 36, is still pretty good. He made 32 of 38 field-goal attempts last season with two misses in 11 tries outside 40 yards. The 49ers signed Akers to a three-year, 9 million deal.

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

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AP

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

Aquan Boldin is looking for a new football home.

And the former 49ers wide receiver is visiting with the Bills on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Boldin started all 16 games with the Lions last season, recording 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.

From 2013 to 2015 with the 49ers, he racked up 237 receptions, 3030 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 years old in October.

Boldin entered the NFL as the 54th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

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Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.