NFC Championship Q&A -- Victor Cruz

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NFC Championship Q&A -- Victor Cruz

The receiver who wasn't even drafted in 2010, who arrived in Giants camp as a free agent that year with little hope of making the team, has been transformed into one of the game's top targets. Victor Cruz made New York's 53-man roster two seasons ago after finishing the preseason leading the NFL with 297 receiving yards, but he spent much of the year on IR. In 2011, the team's No. 4 receiver stepped up following injuries to both Mario Manningham and Domenik Hixon and finished with 82 catches for 1,536 yards and nine TDs.

BOX SCORE: 49ers 27, Giants 20
WR Victor CruzJan. 16, 2012

Q: How proud are you of the win against the Packers?
Cruz: Of course, any time you go on the road against a tough opponent, a team that has gone 15-1 and you go in there and play as well as we did and do all the positive things we set out to do, its something were very proud of and were looking to continue that trend.

Q: How much of a motivating factor is it that you lost to San Francisco earlier in the season?
Cruz: Its very motivating. We understand that game came down to the wire and we were one play away from potentially winning that ballgame. Its a little sweet to go out there and play a team that weve already played and know that weve fought tooth-and-nail with. Hopefully it doesnt come down to the wire, hopefully we can win the game pretty well. As long as we can execute and do all the things we know how to do, well be okay.

Q: Chris Canty recently said that this time of year is all about the guys in the locker room and your teammates, is that true?
Cruz: Most definitely, its all about the moments you spend with the guys and understanding we can do something special. The guys we share it with, the guys on this team have been phenomenal all year. We understand this is a special time for us and we have to take advantage of it and soak in all the time and be ready to play this upcoming weekend.

Q: How important is the momentum the team is riding right now?
Cruz: We are riding a lot of momentum, a lot of confidence. Its great to play with that. Were a scary team right now because of the confidence were playing with and the amount of integrity and amount of passion we are playing with right now. At every position, not just Eli or myself or the defense. Everyone is playing with that same confidence and intensity. We are a scary team right now.
Q: Do you feel unstoppable?
Cruz: Thats a tricky word, but in a sense we do feel like, if were playing like weve been playing, if were executing at a high level the way weve been playing, were a tough team to stop.

Q: How is your injury?
Cruz: I am pretty good, I just got a little helmet to the thigh, but its nothing a little ice cant heal.

Q: What do you take with you from the first game against the 49ers
Cruz: Just the fact that we were able to move the ball pretty efficiently that game. We were going up and down, we had a few turnovers, unfortunately, early on in that game. We felt like we did some positive things. We basically controlled a lot of that game. Were looking to repeat that.

Q: Were you hoping to see them again at some point?
Cruz: We understood that they were a team we could potentially see again and that we wanted to see again in this situation. We got what we asked for.

Q: What does it say that you only need one more win to make it to the Super Bowl
Cruz: It says a lot. We had to battle through a lot of injuries early on this year and a lot of question marks in the receivers room early on as well. Just to overcome that and for guys to shine and step up and play well has been tremendous for our confidence. Weve been building off that ever since.

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

Comings and goings: 49ers coaching staff

First-year coach Kyle Shanahan is close to completing his 49ers coaching staff.

Shanahan will handle the duties of the offensive coordinator, the position he held with Houston, Washington and Atlanta over the past nine NFL seasons.

Robert Saleh is the 49ers' new defensive coordinator, while Richard Hightower has been hired as the special-teams coordiator.

Here's a look at the 49ers' coaching staffs under Shanahan and last season under Chip Kelly:

2017 49ERS COACHING STAFF
Position: Coach (2016 job)
Head coach: Kyle Shanahan (Falcons, offensive coordinator)
Defensive coordinator: Robert Saleh (Jaguars, linebackers coach)
Special teams coordinator: Richard Hightower (Bears, assistant special teams)
Assistant head coach/tight ends: Jon Embree (Buccaneers, tight ends)
Run game specialist: Mike McDaniel (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Quarterbacks: Rich Scangarello (Wagner, offensive coordinator)
Running backs: Bobby Turner (Falcons, running backs)
Wide receivers: Mike LaFleur (Falcons, offensive assistant)
Offensive line: Vacant
Offensive assistant: T.C. McCartney (LSU, offensive assistant)
Senior defensive assistant: Jason Tarver (49ers, outside linebackers)
Defensive line: Jeff Zgonina (N.Y. Giants, assistant defensive line)
Linebackers: Johnny Holland (Browns, inside linebackers)
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Offensive quality control: Taylor Embree (Chiefs, defensive assistant)
Defensive quality control: Bobby Slowik
Head strength and conditioning: Ray Wright

* * *

2016 49ERS COACHING STAFF
Position: Coach (current status)
Head coach: Chip Kelly
Offensive coordinator: Curtis Modkins (Bears, running backs)
Defensive coordinator: Jim O’Neil
Special teams coordinator: Derius Swinton
Quarterbacks: Ryan Day (Ohio State, quarterbacks)
Running backs: Tom Rathman
Wide receivers: Bob Bicknell
Tight ends: Jeff Nixon (Baylor, co-offensive coordinator/running backs)
Offensive line: Pat Flaherty (Jaguars, offensive line)
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford (South Carolina, offensive line)
Defensive line: Jerry Azzinaro (Cal, defensive line)
Assistant defensive line: Vince Oghobaase
Outside linebackers: Jason Tarver (49ers, senior defensive assistant)
Inside linebacker: Joe Bowden
Defensive backs: Jeff Hafley (49ers, defensive backs)
Assistant defensive backs: Roy Anderson (Bears, assistant secondary)
Assistant special teams: Michael Clay
Offensive quality control: Mick Lombardi (Jets, offensive assistant/assistant QBs coach)
Defensive quality control: Tem Lukabu
Senior analyst: Dana Bible
Director of human performance: Mark Uyeyama

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

Report: 49ers receive permission from Broncos to interview O-line coach

John Benton, who coached on the same staff during Kyle Shanahan’s four seasons with the Houston Texans, has reportedly received permission from the Denver Broncos to interview with the 49ers.

The Broncos hired Benton on Jan. 15 to work as the team’s assistant offensive line coach under line coach Jeff Davidson.

But Denver coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway provided Benton permission to interview with the 49ers, Denver’s 9News reported. The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were looking at Benton.

The offensive line coach is the last major position that remains vacant on Shanahan’s staff.

Benton worked 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 NFL coaching job was with Houston in 2006, when he coached wide receivers. Shanahan became the quarterbacks coach with the Texans in 2007 before spending the next two seasons as offensive coordinator under then-coach Gary Kubiak.

The 49ers announced nine additions to the coaching staff on Friday.

Also, the 49ers are expected to hire Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, according to The Sporting News. Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.