49ers key matchup No. 1: Davis vs. Wake


49ers key matchup No. 1: Davis vs. Wake

This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Dolphins matchups to watch Sunday, 1 p.m. (CBS), at Candlestick Park.

49ers RT Anthony Davis vs. Dolphins DE Cameron Wake

Tale of the tape
Davis (76): 6-foot-5, 323 pounds, third season, Rutgers
Wake (91): 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, fourth season, Penn State

The St. Louis Rams last week were successful putting pressure on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and keeping him in the pocket.

The Rams devised a blueprint for the Miami Dolphins, and the rest of the teams on the 49ers' schedule, to follow: Keep Kaepernick contained and don't allow him the time to throw down the field.

It's a strategy Kaepernick expects to see until he and the 49ers' offense prove they can defeat it.

"Yeah, defenses are always going to try to scheme to stop you and do what they think is best," Kaepernick said. "That's something we're doing on offense, trying to scheme them up as well."

The Dolphins have a strong defensive front seven that is fully capable of pressuring Kaepernick while also making things difficult on 49ers running back Frank Gore to operate.

Kaepernick offers a unique challenge because of his ability to gain huge chunks of yards with his long strides, too. His 50-yard run late in the fourth quarter against the Rams was the longest run for a 49ers quarterback in club history. Steve Young had a famous 49-yard touchdown run, stumbling across the goal line, against the Minnesota Vikings in 1988.

Miami's best player is defensive end Cameron Wake, who has 10.5 sacks on the season. He is ranked as the top 4-3 defensive end in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus' rating system. Wake knows he must never lose track of Kaepernick.

"I'm always the spy," Wake said on a conference call with reporters who cover the 49ers. "Every play I'm the spy. That's my job title. Wherever the quarterback is, you've got to get there."

Although the Dolphins list Wake as the team's right defensive end, he actually has seen most of his action this season on the left side. That means he'll be matched mostly against 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis.

Davis is coming off one of his better games of the season, as he neutralized Rams defensive end Chris Long in the 49ers' 16-13 overtime loss last week. Wake will be one of Davis' more difficult challenges of the season.

But, oddly, Wake's biggest test might come on plays in which he is not even blocked.

The 49ers are expected to activate rookie running back LaMichael James to work the zone read running plays with Kaepernick, whose job it is to decide whether to hand off to James of keep it himself. Kaepernick will read the defensive end to make that decision.

"There are plays that certain teams have schemed up to read the end to make sure he's wrong," Wake said. "If he's down the line, obviously, you're going to keep the ball and run around the edge. If you have a quarterback who can do something like that, that's going to hurt your defense. At the same time, if you're a defensive end and you're waiting on it, they hand the ball off and the running back is up inside and he's still running."

Wake said there will be times when he'll fake one action in hopes of tricking the quarterback into making the wrong read.

"That's the game inside the game," Wake said.

49ers release Ian Williams

49ers release Ian Williams

The 49ers on Thursday released nose tackle Ian Williams off the reserve/non-football injury list with an injury settlement.

The move, which was disclosed on the NFL, daily transaction report, is a procedural move, according to sources. It allows the 49ers to provide Williams with more compensation than he would have received if he had remained on reserve/non-football injury for the entire season. The move does not preclude the 49ers from re-signing Williams in the future.

The 49ers originally agreed to a five-year contract extension with Williams in the offseason. However, the contract was amended to a one-year deal after he underwent a team physical after undergoing surgery on his left leg.

Williams, 26, is a five-year NFL veteran. He originally signed with the 49ers as an undrafted rookie from Notre Dame in 2011.

He played his first 16-game season in 2015. He ranked third on the 49ers with 85 total tackles, according to the stats compiled by the coaching staff.

Williams took over as the 49ers’ starting nose tackle in 2013 after the free-agent departure of Isaac Sopoaga.

But he started just 10 games over the next two seasons due to two fractures of his lower leg.

Chip Kelly reveals why 49ers going with slower-paced offense

Chip Kelly reveals why 49ers going with slower-paced offense

Chip Kelly's offense with the 49ers is his slowest-paced version of his four NFL seasons.


“I think that’s what fits with this group of guys we have on the offensive side of the ball,” Kelly said this week.

Kelly did not expound on that thought. But it could be safe to assume his thinking is the same reason why it does not make sense to enter a Ford Pinto to race against pro stock dragsters.

The 49ers’ offense is running more plays this season. The 49ers snap the ball every 24.4 seconds on offense. That’s down from 26.1 seconds last season, and 29.7 seconds in Jim Harbaugh’s final season in 2014.

Last season in Philadelphia, Kelly’s team snapped the ball every 22.6 seconds. In Kelly’s final season at Oregon in 2012, the Ducks snapped the ball every 20.5 seconds.

“I don’t think we’re playing fast right now,” Kelly said. “So if someone said, ‘How are you playing offensively?’ I don’t think we’re playing fast offensively. I think we’re just not going back (to huddle). We’re saving seven yards of run time for our offensive line because they don’t have to run back in the huddle, get a play called and then do it.

“We’re just calling it at the line of scrimmage. So I think it’s a lot of what Denver used to do when Peyton (Manning) was there. But there’s a lot of times that we’re under 15 seconds when we’re snapping the ball and getting the play off. So we’re not playing fast and we’re not calling tempo-type plays in those situations. We’re just calling plays.”

Kelly said part of the problem is that the 49ers are not converting third downs. The team has a 36.3 percent success rate on third downs, which is actually an improvement over the 30.5 percent success of last season.

But the 49ers’ overall lack of offensive success this season cannot be camouflaged.

The 49ers are averaging just 4.5 yards per play. The 49ers have not averaged fewer than 5 yards per play since 2007, when Alex Smith sustained a shoulder injury and was replaced by Trent Dilfer.

While the 49ers are running more offensive plays than it has in the past, so is the opposition. The 49ers have averaged 64.3 plays per game. The 49ers have defended 69.9 plays per game – only 2.3 more plays than last season but 8.1 more plays than in 2014.

The biggest problem for the offense has been its run defense. The league’s worst run defense has surrendered 185.1 yards per game and is on pace to give up 2,962 yards this season, which would be the most in the NFL since the 1980 New Orleans Saints yielded 3,106 rushing yards.