Redskins' Hall provides scouting report on 49ers

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Redskins' Hall provides scouting report on 49ers

Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, an eight-year NFL veteran, provided an informative scouting report on the 49ers offense in a conference call Wednesday morning.Quarterback Alex Smith is showing he can win football games with a "controlled passing game" and the 49ers offer the unique challenge of putting tight ends on the field who are faster than their wide receivers, Hall said.The 49ers (6-1) own the 23rd-ranked offense in the NFL, but the Redskins (3-4) know they'll have a huge challenge against an offense that features a diverse run game and an efficient passing attack."Alex Smith is not losing the game," Hall said. "He's shown that he can win football games. And I think everybody knew he had it in him. He just had to be coached the right way, and I think coach (Jim) Harbaugh is doing a great job of coaching him the right way.
"Being an ex-player and ex-quarterback, he knows what it takes to go out there and lead teams to victory. He definitely has Alex Smith focused and knowing his job and knowing his assignment."RELATED: Where's the trash-talk from DeAngelo Hall?
Smith as the second-most stingy quarterback in the NFL with an interception percentage of 1.1. That means he averages just 1.1 interceptions for every 100 passes attempted. (The Rams' Sam Bradford leads with an interception percentage is 1.0.)"He doesn't give you great opportunities," Hall said of Smith. "It's a very controlled passing game. He's going take a couple of shots downfield when opportunities present themselves, but for the most part it's a controlled passing game. It's a passing game that works off timing, works off his reads. If he doesn't see it, he pulls it down and tries to extend the play. He's done a great job of doing that."The 49ers are unique because of the speed they can put on field. Hall said he was blown away Wednesday morning when he received the scouting report on the 49ers' pass targets and noticed the tight ends were faster than the wideouts."Any time you can keep your tight ends on the field and be able to throw the ball and run the ball, it's special," Hall said. "It's special when you have tight ends who run like receivers. We looked at 40 times today. Man, looking at personnel and the tight ends are faster than the starting receivers. That's rare to find. Those guys are gifted athletes and when they get the ball in their hands, they're special."Vernon Davis was listed on the report as running the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds. Delanie Walker was listed at 4.5. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was listed at 4.52, Hall said.
When asked if Crabtree is a deep threat that the Redskins have to worry about, Hall answered, "I don't know if he's a deep threat you have to worry about, but he's definitely a guy who can catch the ball and get down the field. I don't think anybody in this league playing receiver can't play, can't run."The 49ers' passing attack ranks 31st in the league in yards per game. But the team's main offensive threat comes on the ground. The 49ers' run game ranks sixth in the NFL, as Frank Gore has gained 125 yards or more rushing in each of the past four games."Man, they're just mashing guys," Hall said. "They're running the ball great with Frank Gore. They're bringing in a change-of-pace back (Kendall Hunter) and their offensive line is a monster. They're bringing in Isaac Sopoaga, extra tackles. They're just running it down people's throats."That's something we're definitely going to have to do, stop the run. They've done a great job over the last couple of weeks, and we know that that's something they're going to try to do."

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”