Rogers, 49ers pass defense prepares for challenge


Rogers, 49ers pass defense prepares for challenge

Carlos Rogers had an impressive day against the New York Giants on Nov. 13. And the 49ers' cornerback exited the game equally impressed with Giants receiver Victor Cruz.Rogers recorded two interceptions against Giants quarterback Eli Manning to help punch his ticket to the Pro Bowl. One of his picks came in the fourth quarter and led directly to a touchdown in the 49ers' 27-20 victory at Candlestick Park.REWIND: Smith manages another 49ers victory
And when Rogers sat down to fill out his personal Pro Bowl ballot last month, Cruz received one of his votes. Cruz finished third in the NFL with 1,536 receiving yards. Despite Rogers' support, Cruz was not chosen to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl.Cruz caught six passes for 84 yards against the 49ers in their face-to-face meeting. The challenge and the stakes will be much greater on Sunday at Candlestick Park when the teams meet in the NFC Championship Game, beginning at 3:30 p.m.REWIND: Giants expect to face the 49ers again
"A lot of my work will be done on the inside (slot) facing Cruz," Rogers said on Sunday. "He's a very good receiver who's come a long, long way. I'll have to do the same thing this game. . . . Any turnovers I can get, I got to get them."The Giants' 37-20 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday meant the 49ers would play host to the Giants on Sunday for the right to advance to Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis. If the top-seeded Packers had won Sunday, the NFC title game would've taken place in Green Bay."It's great," Rogers said of the Giants' victory. "It's a lot better than traveling to Wisconsin, so we'll take that any day. More important, we're playing a team that we already faced, so it's not as hard as preparing for another team we haven't faced yet.""It's a relief. The traveling is a big thing. We're getting a home game, facing them in front of our fans. We're familiar with the team. The team has gotten better since we played them. This team always sparks late in the season when it counts -- November, December and into the bowl season. We're still going to have our work cut out, and we still have a lot of work to do."Of course, Cruz isn't the only dangerous Giants receiver. In two playoff games, Hakeem Nicks has 13 catches for 280 yards and four touchdowns. Nicks, who returned in November to face the 49ers after missing a game with a hamstring injury, caught two passes in that game for 41 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown.When the 49ers and Giants first met, the first six scores were field goals. David Akers made four field goals, as the 49ers took a 12-6 lead in the third quarter.REWIND: Akers vital with four FGs and onside kick
This figures to be another closely contested game. Rogers, who faced the Giants twice a year for six seasons with the Washington Redskins, said the 49ers' pass-rush has to make it difficult on Manning to get the ball to his wideouts."In November and December, he's always stepped up," Rogers said. "Eli has a Super Bowl. You can get that Eli who throws for 300, 400 yards and you can also get the Eli who can throw you picks. You can frustrate him."Our defensive line can rattle him in the pocket. And when we get the chance, we're going to have to make the turnovers. But I always put Eli up as one of the elite quarterbacks."

49ers select DE Pita Taumoepenu in sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select DE Pita Taumoepenu in sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Defensive line
College: Utah
Height: 6-1 1/4
Weight: 243
Selection: Sixth round, No. 202 overall

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected Utah pass-rusher Pita Taumoepenu in the sixth round with the No. 202 overall pick.

Taumoepenu recorded nine sacks last season and figures to line up at the 49ers’ “Leo” position in their new 4-3 scheme under first-year coordinator Robert Saleh.

“I have a great ability to get after the quarterback,” he said. “That’s what I do. I have a lot of passion for it.”

Taumoepenu (pronounced tao-mo-eh-pen-new) was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection. In addition to tying for fourth in the conference in sacks, he tied for third in the Pac-12 with three forced fumbles.

In the Foster Farms Bowl against Indiana at Levi's Stadium, Taumoepenu recorded six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.

Taumoepenu took pre-draft visits to the Pittsburgh Steelers and had workouts with the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, he said.

49ers select DT D.J. Jones in sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft

49ers select DT D.J. Jones in sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft

Position: Defensive tackle
College: Ole Miss
Height: 6-foot 5/8
Weight: 319
Selection: Sixth round, No. 198 overall

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers selected nose tackle D.J. Jones from Mississippi in the sixth round with the No. 198 overall selection.

Jones started every game last season at nose tackle. He was credited with 30 tackles, two sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery.

“I’m able to play any interior (position), three technique, nose,” Jones said. “I’m very coachable. I take coaching from anyone who wants to teach me.”

Jones figures to compete for a roster spot behind veteran Earl Mitchell, the projected starter at nose tackle.

Jones spent his final two seasons at Mississippi after being listed as a top-10 junior college prospect at East Mississippi. In his first season after transferring to the SEC school, Jones recorded 40 tackles and four sacks.