Why Aldon Smith got snubbed


Why Aldon Smith got snubbed

The 49ers had a league-high eight players selected to the Pro Bowl. They had more players chosen for the team than the entire NFC East.Yet, there was one player who was not on the initial roster, nor was he listed among the 10 players from the 49ers who will serve as alternates.Rookie Aldon Smith ranks fifth in the NFL with 14 sacks. Yet, he was snubbed by the fans, players and coaches in the Pro Bowl voting.
As best as I can surmise, there are several reasons for this:--He is not a starter, so he was not listed on the fan ballot.
--On the ballot players and coaches receive, every player on every team's depth chart is listed. But starters are denoted with an asterisk. Many players just scan the list, pausing only to consider the players with an asterisk next to their names.--Smith is listed as an outside linebacker, but he played only a dozen snaps at that position this season. More accurately, he was a defensive end in nickel situations.--Each of the defensive ends selected to the Pro Bowl team rank ahead of Smith in sacks: Jared Allen (18.5), Jason Babin (18) and Jason Pierre-Paul (15.5).--And it's difficult to argue with the picks at outside linebackers, either, because of their bodies of work: Veterans DeMarcus Ware, Clay Matthews and Lance Briggs.--And, then, there's reputation. Aldon Smith is a rookie, so he played against only nine NFC opponents. That means he likely wasn't even considered by players and coaches from six other NFC teams. But all of that should change next season.The 49ers coaching staff handled Smith wonderfully this season. They didn't put too much on his plate. They allowed him to get comfortable as a pass-rusher, while keeping him fresh so he could thrive late in games.Next season, Smith will be a starter. And a lot more people will be aware of him. With his sack against Seattle on Saturday, Smith passed Dwight Freeney for the second-most sacks in a single season by a rookie. Smith is just a half-sack from the record:Most rookie sacks
Jevon Kearse (Tennessee, 1999) 14.5
Aldon Smith (49ers, 2011) 14
Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis, 2002) 13
Leslie ONeal (San Diego, 1986) 12.5
Simeon Rice (Arizona, 1996) 12.5(Note: Von Miller, a Denver starter at outside linebacker, was named as a starter on the AFC Pro Bowl team. Miller is tied for third in the AFC with 11.5 sacks.)

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills


Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

Aquan Boldin is looking for a new football home.

And the former 49ers wide receiver is visiting with the Bills on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Boldin started all 16 games with the Lions last season, recording 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.

From 2013 to 2015 with the 49ers, he racked up 237 receptions, 3030 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 years old in October.

Boldin entered the NFL as the 54th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan


Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.