49ers defensive review: The Aldon Smith Show

945785.jpg

49ers defensive review: The Aldon Smith Show

If it weren't for Colin Kaepernick, all anyone would be talking about a day after the 49ers' 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears would be the performance of 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith.Smith was credited with 5.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits, seven tackles and two forced fumbles in his 48 snaps from scrimmage.He lined up at both end positions, and treated Chicago Bears left tackle J'Marcus Webb and right tackle Gabe Carimi with equal amounts of rudeness. In Pro Football Focus' rating system, Smith ended up with an extraordinary 9.8 grade.Smith was certainly not alone, as far as defensive standouts, but he stood above the rest and should now be considered on any short list of candidates for NFL Defensive Player of the Year with six games remaining.MAIOCCO: Aldon Smith leads strong defensive showing
--Usually, Aldon Smith and Justin Smith work together on the same side in pass-rush situations. Aldon lines up at end and Justin is on the inside, where he generally does a remarkable job of creating openings through which Aldon Smith can get a free run at the quarterback.On Monday, the two Smiths helped each other by playing on opposite sides. This made the Bears decide where to give help. On back-to-back sacks, Aldon Smith lined up at left end, while Justin Smith was at right end. They pretty much had a foot race to greet Bears quarterback Jason Campbell on two sacks.On the second sack, it would've been a shared sack, but Aldon Smith forced the fumble that ultimately resulted in a safety. Therefore, Aldon Smith got full credit for the sack.--Aldon Smith used power moves for 4.5 of his sacks, and he made Carimi whiff on an inside move for his other sack.
--Justin Smith had a 6.3 grade for the game, according to PFF. He was credited with only a half-sack, but he was just a step away from getting a couple others, as Aldon Smith beat him to the quarterback.Justin Smith and Ahmad Brooks, the left outside linebacker, were very effective in pursuit and making tackles from the backside.--Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga rebounded with a good game. He did a much better job at the point of attack. On the Bears' second drive, he fended off a double-team by center Robert Garza and left guard Chilo Rachal to drop Matt Forte for no gain.--Because Sopoaga did not allow the Bears' interior linemen to get to the second level, inside linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis had big performances. Willis was particularly impressive in pass coverage. He broke up two passes, but he also stopped completions for short gains.--Cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers played well. According to PFF, Brown was targeted nine times and gave up just five catches for 37 yards. Brown made an exceptional play to diagnose a Devin Hester route and break on the ball for a second-quarter interception. Rogers was targeted twice and did not allow a completion.--Safety Dashon Goldson teamed up for good coverage on Brandon Marshall, who was held to just two catches for 21 yards. Goldson made a nice interception of an overthrown Campbell pass and managed to get both feet inbounds at the sideline.--Marshall made only one play in the game, as he went over Chris Culliver's tight coverage to catch a 13-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.--The Bears' one touchdown came on a series that probably should have come to an end several plays earlier. Brooks broke through to sack Campbell and force a fumble. As Aldon Smith and Carimi were in pursuit of the fumble, Smith shoved Carimi from behind, just as Carimi was batting the ball out of bounds. Referee Tony Corrente ruled that Smith was making no attempt to go after the loose ball and, therefore, his shove in the back was illegal. The 1-yard penalty nullified Brooks' sack and it gave the Bears an automatic first down.--Punter Andy Lee and the coverage units had a strong game against Hester, who managed negative-1 yard on three returns. Lee's net average was a remarkable 47.3, thanks some good coverage by starters Goldson and Bowman, as well as C.J. Spillman, Tramaine Brock and Anthony Dixon.--Kicker David Akers got back in his comfort zone with field goals of 32, 37 and 32 yards.

Source: 49ers plan second interview with Shanahan; Cable withdraws name

Source: 49ers plan second interview with Shanahan; Cable withdraws name

The 49ers will interview Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan after this weekend’s NFC Championship game, a source told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday.

The only remaining head-coach candidate, Tom Cable, formally withdrew from consideration, according to his agent, Doug Hendrickson. Cable interviewed with the 49ers on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the 49ers also have a general manager vacancy to fill. The team is in the process of narrowing down their list of eight candidates, a source said. Seattle’s Trent Kirchner pulled his name from consideration on Tuesday. The 49ers could have a round of second interviews for the GM job.

The 49ers fired coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after the club finished the regular season with a 2-14 record.

The 49ers conducted their first interview with Shanahan on Jan. 6, as allowed by NFL rules, when the Falcons were on their bye in the first week of the playoffs as the NFC’s No. 2 seed.

The 49ers are allowed to conduct a second interview with Shanahan next week, regardless of whether the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl or their season comes to a conclusion against the Green Bay Packers.

If the Falcons advance to the Super Bowl, the 49ers would not be able to make a formal contract offer to Shanahan until following the Super Bowl.

Shanahan, 37, is the son for two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan. He has served nine NFL seasons as an offensive coordinator. His offenses have ranked in the top-10 of total offense in six of those seasons.

Shanahan interviewed for the head-coaching vacancies with Jacksonville and Buffalo this offseason. Another scheduled interview with the Los Angeles Rams was canceled when Rams officials could not get to Atlanta due to weather conditions.

Source: 49ers GM candidate Kirchner to remain with Seahawks

Source: 49ers GM candidate Kirchner to remain with Seahawks

The 49ers’ search for their next general manager has been narrowed.

Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner, who interviewed with the 49ers on Monday, is remaining with the Seahawks, CSNBayArea.com confirmed on Tuesday. Kirchner was not comfortable with the working environment with the 49ers, the source said.

The NFL Network first reported Kirchner was removing himself from consideration to replace Trent Baalke, who was fired.

Kirchner and Seattle offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable were believed to be connected as the possible general manager-coach combination to fill the 49ers' vacancies. It is not known whether Cable will remove his name from consideration, too.

Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is considered atop the 49ers' wish list to replace Chip Kelly, who was fired after the team's 2-14 season.

Scott Fitterer, the Seahawks’ co-director of player personnel, interviewed with Jed York and Paraag Marathe after Kirchner met with the 49ers’ executives.

49ers general manager interviews
Thursday, Jan. 5
Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf (GM)
Green Bay director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst (GM)

Friday, Jan. 6
Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton (GM)

Sunday, Jan. 8
Indianapolis vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III (GM)

Monday, Jan. 9
Carolina assistant general manager Brandon Beane (GM)

Tuesday, Jan. 10
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick (GM)

Friday, Jan. 13
Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough (GM)

Monday, Jan. 16
Seattle co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer (GM)
Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner (GM)