Versatile defense does not short-change itself

879969.jpg

Versatile defense does not short-change itself

Vic Fangio mixed up a dizzying array of packages for the 49ers defense to use against Aaron Rodgers, the league's reigning MVP. They worked."It was really good," said cornerback Carlos Rogers about his defensive coordinator's game plan. "I played with some good coordinators and I think he's one of the best, if not the best."Everything we see out there on Sunday, we see during the week. He did a good job of preparing us. Most importantly, that scout team did a good job of giving us some looks that Green Bay was going to do, and it made it much easier out there on Sunday."Rogers and his teammates got their first look at Fangio's plan for Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions on Tuesday afternoon, and expect to see more of what they did at Lambeau Field."Yeah, especially when they like to spread it out and they have big-time receiving threats," safety Donte Whitner said. "We have multiple DB's that we can bring out on the football field. Whichever package coach wants to use this week, the matchups that he likes, he'll choose to do that."But please excuse Whitner, Rogers and the rest of the 49ers secondary if they can't remember exactly all of the different alignments they are in. The 49ers were in their base defense for only a handful of the 72 snaps they had against the Packers, causing Rogers to laugh as he tried to recall who was in on what situation.But here are the basic packages:Nickel -- The 49ers use two safeties and three corners in their nickel (five defensive backs) with Rogers moving to the nickel back position to cover the slot receiver. Chris Culliver comes into the game at cornerback, with nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga departing. Ray McDonald and Justin Smith are the tackles on the four-man line, with outside linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith shifting to defensive end positions. Tramaine Brock began last season as the third cornerback, but Culliver never gave up that job after Brock missed several games after undergoing early season hand surgery. Now, Brock is the team's fifth cornerback.
Dime -- This is a defense that includes the same four defensive linemen, one linebacker and six defensive backs. The opposition typically has four wideouts on the field when the 49ers employ this defense. The only difference from the nickel is a fourth cornerback, Perrish Cox, enters the game with either inside linebacker, Patrick Willis or NaVorro Bowman, going out of the game. On Sunday, it was mostly Willis who exited when Cox entered the game in this package. In this defense, Cox plays a quasi-linebacker position. He is on the field because he has a better chance of matching up against a wide receiver. The one remaining linebacker spot is more similar to Bowman's normal position, Fangio said.Dollar -- Designed mainly for third-and-long situations, this personnel package includes only three defensive linemen (Justin Smith, McDonald and Aldon Smith), inside linebackers Willis and Bowman, and the same six defensive backs from the "dime" defense. Fangio brought in a third safety in the "dime" and "dollar" packages last season and had Whitner move down. This season, the 49ers are going with two safeties and four corners to comprise the six defensive backs.With so many moving parts the communication is almost nonstop to ensure every player knows what his responsibility is."The whole back end, the safeties all the rest of us corners, we're all talking," Cox said. "Basically all of us have to come together and just talk it up."The secondary's performance at Green Bay is a good indication they're saying the right things."Just the poise that we showed out there on the football field," Whitner said. "When you play quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, they want to get to the line of scrimmage early. They want to get early looks, play around to make you show the coverage and we didn't do that against the Green Bay Packers. So it's a step better than we were last year."AP and US Presswire images

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.