Brandon Jacobs, the New York Giants' 6-foot-4, 264-pound running back, was called "a little soft" this week by Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice.Jacobs' response on Thursday?"I've grown up a San Francisco 49er fan," said Jacobs, who grew up in Louisiana. "I've loved Jerry Rice, I still love Jerry Rice, I give him a lot of credit for the game being the way it is today. I have nothing negative to say about Jerry. If he feels that way, he feels that way. I bet you he won't tackle me."Laughter ensued and the interview with East Coast reporters was done.But Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride had a more philosophical approach. After all, Jacobs' 571-yard rushing season was the lowest output of his career since 2006, and his 3.8-yards-per-carry average was the third-lowest of his seven-year career.Still, Jacobs, soft?"I think it's just because you see this big, powerful man and if he's not running over somebody every snap then people are almost disappointed," Gilbride said. "Unfortunately, the people that he's going against are big, strong men, powerful men as well. I think once he gets going, as you've seen, I'm not sure there's many people that like to get in his way. It takes him, as it does any back, an opportunity to get his feet underneath him and get through the hole. But once he gets going he's really, and I mean this in a positive way, a freak of nature."To be that big and powerful and to run as fast as he does, there are not many people that have that combination. So when he is in the open space you see people shying out of the way. Until you get by the line of scrimmage -- those guys are 300-plus pounds -- they're bigger than he is, too. Plus he hasn't had a chance to build up much momentum. But once he gets going he's a powerful guy."Jacobs' words were just as powerful earlier in the day, when he was reminded of the 49ers knocking New Orleans running back Pierre Thomas out of the game early on a hit by Donte Whitner."To get knocked out, that means they hit you on the head," Jacobs said. "I wish like hell one of them would try to hit me in my head. That means they're staying up, not trying to hit in the legs."That means they're staying high, they're not digging in the ground trying to make tackles at the shoestring."In the 49ers' 27-20 defeat of the Giants at Candlestick Park on Nov. 13, Jacobs rushed for a game-high 55 yards on 18 carries.The 49ers limited the Saints to 37 yards rushing last week, with New Orleans becoming decidedly one-dimensional after Thomas was knocked out and lost a fumble at the San Francisco 2-yard line."(Knocking players out is) not really a thing they do on purpose," Jacobs said. "Guys are out there playing off instincts. It just so happens it went that way. And everyone tries to set a tone for their team -- offense, defense, it doesn't matter. It's a bunch of guys playing for the right to go to the Super Bowl. (The 49ers) went out there and played lights out. I'm looking forward to that challenge this week."
SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan will retain the role he held the past nine seasons in his first year as head coach of the 49ers.
Shanahan eschewed the formality of naming an offensive coordinator because he will keep those duties for himself. Still, Shanahan made it clear that he alone will not be able to fix the 49ers’ offense.
Shanahan has assembled a supporting cast that he said makes him comfortable to delegate responsibilities whenever his attention has to be focused on something other than the team’s offense.
“I mix it up,” said Shanahan, who previously held offensive coordinator roles with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. “Different guys have different attributes.”
Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan after time together on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive staff. McDaniel is the run-game specialist, while LaFleur, the wide receivers coach, is the pass-game specialist.
Tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly the head coach at Colorado, is Shanahan’s assistant head coach. Shanahan said Embree has a vocal role on his staff.
Moreover, long-time NFL running backs coach Bobby Turner is a trusted assistant after spending 14 seasons in Denver and four more in Washington with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. Turner coached under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons with the Falcons.
”Bobby Turner’s been an assistant head coach for our teams we’ve had in the past and anytime that I need him to take over, he does,” Shanahan said. “So it depends what period it is, depends what we’re talking about.”
The 49ers opened organized team activities last week. It was the first time the 49ers’ rookies and veterans were together on the field for offense vs. defense practices. Shanahan said it takes some adjustment for him to figure out how to best budget his time during the workouts.
“I’m used to knowing exactly where to go and what to do and I always did that from an offensive coordinator standpoint which I still do a lot of those responsibilities,” Shanahan said. “So, at times, I feel most comfortable when I go to do that because that’s something to do. But, when I pass it over to some other guys and let them do it, I find myself walking around a lot and I’m not used to that.
“It feels awkward, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think I should walk around and watch everyone and see it. I always see it on the tape, but that’s later at night. You want players to know you’re there and paying attention to everything and I usually try to cover that in meetings the next day also.”
Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants.
Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs.
“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.
"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."
On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him.
Biblical advice for @gatorboyrb Let all bitterness & wrath & anger & clamor & slander be put away from you, along with all malice.— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) May 27, 2017
Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.