49ers camp summary (83): Again, defense dominates


49ers camp summary (83): Again, defense dominates

Summary: The 49ers' offensive struggles inside the red zone were apparent again on Friday. Or was it that the 49ers' defense was so good? Either way, coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged the obvious that the defense controlled the action "about every which way it could be dominated. It was an outstanding day for our defense."Conversely, the 49ers' offense looked completely out of sync with a lot of high passes, dropped passes and poor execution. It did not help that offense played most of the day without three presumptive starters on the line. Left guard Mike Iupati was excused from practice with his wife, Ashley, expecting the couple's first child. Right guard Alex Boone sat out most of practice after getting hit, uh, below the belt, Harbaugh said. Also, backup center Daniel Kilgore took most of the first-team reps with veteran Jonathan Goodwin getting rest for the second half of practice.Unlike Thursday when the 49ers' defense picked off seven passes, there weren't a lot of turnovers. Cornerback Chris Culliver intercepted Josh Johnson's pass intended for tight end Demarcus Dobbs. And the day concluded with safety Dashon Goldson's interception of an Alex Smith pass that was tipped by Tarrell Brown before it reached intended target Mario Manningham.In an 11-on-11 portion, Colin Kaepernick had Vernon Davis running all alone down the middle of the field but his pass attempt took a nose dive into the ground, far short of the target. Receiver Randy Moss was targeted on high, uncatchable passes from Johnson (twice) and Smith. Kendall Hunter, Manningham, Dobbs, Ted Ginn, Vernon Davis, and Garrett Celek each dropped a pass. Safety Donte Whitner broke up another pass that was intended for Dobbs when he got a helmet on the ball just as the pass arrived.The offense had little luck getting the ball into the end zone, even though most of the practice was devoted to red-zone situations. Brett Swain took a Scott Tolzien pass the final three yards into the end zone on a 9-yard scoring play. Chris Owusu caught a pass at the 2-yard line from Johnson for an 8-yard TD. And Hunter caught a pass out of the backfield from Smith for a 4-yard score.Injury report: Receiver Michael Crabtree (right leg) sat out his sixth consecutive day of practice. Harbaugh said he expects Crabtree back on the practice field soon. Tight end Nate Byham missed his first practice. Harbaugh indicated Byham has an injury that kept him off the field, but he declined to reveal specifics. Receiver Joe Hastings (right leg) and cornerback Curtis Holcomb also did not participate. Running back Jewel Hampton (foot) is on the non-football injury list, while outside linebacker Darius Fleming (knee) is on the physically-unable-to-perform list.Eye on reps: Veteran Leonard Davis, who worked extensively with the second team at right guard through the first six practices, took over at left guard Friday with Iupati's absence. "It's all been positive," Harbaugh said of Davis' short time with the 49ers. "He's working extremely hard to get up to speed. He is right on track and done that. . . . Probably the largest man I've ever stood toe-to-toe, knee-to-knee with is Leonard Davis."
Rookie report: Rookie guard Joe Looney, a fourth-round draft pick from Wake Forest, had his debut on the practice field. He lined up at right guard as a reserve and was seen doing a good job against fellow rookie reserve Tony Jerod-Eddie, a defensive lineman from Texas A&M. "It was awesome to finally get the pads on and compete and be out there with my teammates and my friends," Looney said. He was activated this week from the non-football injury list after being cleared to practice after undergoing offseason surgery to repair a foot fracture.
Punt returns: Rookie receiver A.J. Jenkins was back deep, along with Ginn, Kyle Williams and LaMichael James, catching simulated punts off the Jugs machine while special-teams coach Brad Seely worked at the line of scrimmage with his protection unit. Jenkins never returned punts in college, and he looked the most uncomfortable of the group. Jenkins had trouble judging punts, and muffed three balls.
Notable: Harbaugh gave the group of replacement officials high marks for their work during 49ers practices the past two days."I haven't seen the film from today's practice but after yesterday's practice it was very good," Harbaugh said. "They saw everything I was able to see and more. Today, they were right on it. I think they had another good day today."There was a humorous exchange at one point when an official threw a flag for pass interference against Chris Culliver. Tarell Brown came over from the sideline to ask whom the penalty was against. "You," said the official. "I wasn't in," Brown responded.
Next practice: The 49ers return the practice field Saturday with their first evening workout, scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. None of the 49ers' practices in Santa Clara this summer are open to the general public due to the ongoing stadium construction.

49ers Mailbag: Shanahan the overwhelming favorite, if he wants it

49ers Mailbag: Shanahan the overwhelming favorite, if he wants it

The 49ers have interviewed six head coach candidates and nine prospects for the general manager position.

During the search, 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe admitted to candidates that mistakes were made and the roster is in shambles. They have also promised all the resources necessary and plenty of patience in fixing the problem, according to multiple sources.

Three of the 49ers’ six original coach possibilities – Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams), Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills) and Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers) -- have already taken jobs elsewhere. Perhaps the top candidate, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, decided against uprooting his four children from the East Coast and remain in the no-lose situation of working with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady for at least another season.

That leaves Kyle Shanahan and Tom Cable as the last known candidates for the job. And this is where we go to our 49ers Mailbag to answer questions submitted on our Facebook page:

Do you think Kyle Shanahan will be our next coach?‬ (Praize Rodriguez)
I’m not able to predict how strongly Shanahan, 37, wants to become a head coach at this stage in his career. But it appears to be his job if he wants it.

The 49ers decided to wait on McDaniels and Shanahan. McDaniels announced on Monday that he has removed himself from consideration. That leaves Shanahan as the overwhelming favorite for the job. Really, he is the only legitimate candidate for the job.

Cable is regarded around the league as a good coach. In the right circumstances, maybe he will again get the opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL. But the 49ers might be the worst fit, considering what occurred when he was in the Bay Area as the Raiders coach. Cable's time with the Raiders ended with allegations he punched an assistant coach, breaking his jaw, and had a history of domestic violence.

The 49ers will be able to speak again with Shanahan after the NFC Championship. If the Atlanta Falcons lose, they can get the deal done immediately. If the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl, they must wait until after the game to make things official.

The last team to wait for a Super Bowl coach was the Atlanta Falcons, who ended up with Dan Quinn, who signed a contract in the early morning after the Seattle Seahawks’ loss to New England in Super Bowl XLIX in February 2015.

That worked out pretty well.

Who would be the best GM fit if the 49ers hire Kyle Shanahan?‬ (Brad Peltier) ‬
The 49ers were the only team with a general manager opening this offseason after firing Trent Baalke. With no competition, the 49ers compiled a strong list of interviews for the job.

Assuming Shanahan wants the coach job, he will be able to meet with the finalists for the general manager position and see which of the remaining candidates he believes is the best fit for his philosophy on building a roster.

York and Marathe set out two weeks ago to find the best pairing of coach/general manager, so their input and direction during the final phase will be pivotal, too.

Arizona’s vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough looks like a strong fit. McDonough is believed to have Shanahan ranked at the top of his list of coaches even though the men have never worked together. McDonough has experience on the pro and college scouting sides, and he has helped build one of the top defenses in the NFL with the Cardinals.

Green Bay director of football operations Brian Gutekunst also has extensive history as a college scout, and he impressed the 49ers with a strong interview on Jan. 5. There is also some buzz about Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner.

Who do you think will be the defensive coordinator if Shanahan takes the job?‬ (Ryan Cruz)
The 49ers last year received permission from the Houston Texans to interview linebackers coach Mike Vrabel for the position. Vrabel’s stock has only risen after the Texans ranked first in the NFL in total defense under coordinator Romeo Crennel. Vrabel turned down Chip Kelly's job offer.

Vrabel’s name surfaced for the first time this offseason as a head-coaching candidate, though he did not receive a formal interview. This would be a good opportunity to Vrabel to, in essence, be the head coach of the defense while Shanahan’s focus is solely on the offense. This could be a tempting situation for Vrabel because Shanahan's offense does not present the same issues and concerns that defensive coaches had working on the other side of Kelly.

Another strong candidate to join Shanahan’s staff as defensive coordinator is Falcons’ secondary/senior defensive assistant Marquand Manuel. Manuel played eight NFL seasons as a defensive back and worked with Falcons coach Dan Quinn at the University of Florida, then Seattle before moving onto Atlanta.

If Shananahan is coach, is Kap pretty much done in SF?‬ (Juan Ito Heredia)
Of course, that decision on what happens with Colin Kaepernick and the remainder of the roster will be up to the new head coach and general manager.

But one of the 49ers’ main selling points is a fresh start and a clean break from how things have happened in the past. That means the head coach will be free to choose his own staff. That means the general manager can structure the scouting department as he chooses.

That also means, of course, that the coach and general manager will have all the power to assemble the roster.

It is difficult to believe any new coach and new general manager will not want to hit the reset button and start over at the quarterback position.

Report: Chip Kelly interviews for Jags' OC job

Report: Chip Kelly interviews for Jags' OC job

Former 49ers coach Chip Kelly, who was fired hours after the club’s 2-14 season, is reportedly interviewing Monday to become the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive coordinator.

Kelly is interviewing with Jaguars new head coach Doug Marrone, reports radio station 1010 XL in Jacksonville.

Kelly told CSNBayArea.com recently he would take his time to determine his next career move. Kelly interviewed for the Jaguars’ head-coaching job, ESPN reported over the weekend.

“I’m not going to close the door on any opportunity, but I have to be very smart in what I do next,” Kelly said two days after his firing. “I don’t have to take anything, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I need to make sure that I’m in the right situation.

“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll do my due diligence. I’m not going to coach just to coach.”

The 49ers fired Kelly with three years, $18 million remaining in his contract. The 49ers hired Kelly just two weeks after the Philadelphia Eagles fired him. Kelly went 26-21 with the Eagles after leaving his successful program with the Oregon Ducks after the 2012 season.