49ers Mailbag: Early morning edition


49ers Mailbag: Early morning edition

Programming note: Log on today at 1 p.m. when we live stream today's 49ers press conference featuring head coach Jim Harbaugh, TE Delanie Walker and safety Dashon Goldson, live from Santa Clara.

I'm up for a couple hours early this morning to watch some live Olympics basketball action. So I figured it is a perfect opportunity to do a little multi-tasking.So every 30 minutes or so before I go back to bed, I'll answer a question from the 49ers Mailbag . . . Q: I personally think @pcox16 is better then @RealTB25, do u see Cox moving up to the number 2 spot eventually? (@thirddarchie)
The best cornerback in training camp through seven practices has been Tarell Brown. Veteran Carlos Rogers has also performed well. Those two are the starters. And Chris Culliver appears to be solid as the third cornerback.So, now, we're talking about the fourth cornerback. Although Tramaine Brock is ahead of Cox on the current depth chart at cornerback, Cox is ahead of Brock at the nickel back position.Cox's versatility is his strength. He can play outside, inside and he can also return punts. Brock began last season as the third corner and he intercepted passes in the 49ers' first two games. But when Brock missed several weeks after hand surgery, Culliver took advantage of the opening to take over for the rest of the season.Rogers still has several seasons ahead of him as the starter. Brown is a solid player whose best seasons are ahead of him. Culliver figures to be a starter at some point, too.So, unless there are injuries, it's difficult to see Cox becoming a starter any time in the near future with the 49ers. UPDATED: 1:40 a.m.
Q: In your opinion, whos pulling away with the second string QB position? (@mattyb0y)
That's easy: Nobody.Colin Kaepernick entered camp as the No. 2 quarterback, and I believe he'll replace Smith at some point early in Friday's exhibition opener against the Minnesota Vikings.Up to this point, though, he is certainly not pulling away from reserves Josh Johnson or Scott Tolzien.During practices, Kaepernick has seemingly been reluctant to throw the ball. His accuracy has been inconsistent. And he has seemed much more comfortable running with the football.My feeling is that Kaepernick is one of those players who will be a lot more effective in games when he'll be able to make some big plays with his legs. He is still in position to win the backup job because neither Johnson nor Tolzien has taken control, either. UPDATED: 2:05 a.m.Q: Is TO's try out with the seahawks a sign of desperation on their part at wide receiver (@ sbpatt)
Over the weekend, the Seahawks released former 49ers player Antonio Bryant. Last week, the club signed former 49ers receiver Braylon Edwards.Their other notable receivers in camp are:Doug Baldwin
Golden Tate
Sidney Rice
Deon Butler
Kris Durham
Ben ObomanuThings certainly got a lot more interesting when the Seahawks confirmed they will bring in former 49ers receiver Terrell Owens, 38, for a workout.Like Randy Moss, he did not play last season. But, unlike Moss, who retired for a year, Owens was unable to play last season after tearing his ACL. But, unlike Moss, the last time Owens played, he was productive. He caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine TDs with the Cincinnati Bengals.Seeing Owens face the 49ers twice a year in the NFC West would be a great storyline. However, the bigger concern for the Seahawks is finding a quarterback to emerge from a three-way competition that involves Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson.
UPDATED: 2:40 a.m.Q: What position are you most interested in watching in preseason games? (@chilifritos)
This is a good question to end on because I can touch on a few hot topics.
The one player I'm most curious to watch is LaMichael James. I'm very interested to see how his style translates to the NFL. I don't expect the 49ers to disclose any specialty packages for James -- that'll have to wait until the regular season. But I want to see how his quickness looks at this level.
James will be fighting for a regular role, along with every running back behind Frank Gore. Kendall Hunter will be on the team? But will he lose all his playing time to James? I think the 49ers have to find a way to get the ball into James' hands at least a half-dozen times a game.
James has also been getting a lot of work to hone his skills catching punts. Ted Ginn still has to be the team's primary return man, but James will have a chance to show if he can be a reliable option, too.Running back as a whole has good competition. Through seven practices, Brandon Jacobs looks to be in good shape for, not only a roster spot, but a significant backup role. Anthony Dixon has not gotten much action at fullback, which is not a surprise. That's not his style. He has been keeping his pad level down when he's running, and that's a good sign. But it'll be difficult for him to make this team after being a seldom-used No. 3 back last season.
Wide receiver is another position of interest.I believe Michael Crabtree is still the team's best receiver. He has yet to practice since the opening day due to a right leg injury. It remains to be seen whether Crabtree will be on the field Friday for the first time with the 49ers in the exhibition season.Veteran Randy Moss does not figure to see much action in the exhibition season. But the rest of the receiving corps should provide some interesting viewing.I expect the 49ers to keep six receivers -- Crabtree, Moss, Mario Manningham, Ginn, Kyle Williams and A.J. Jenkins -- on the 53-man roster.Nathan Palmer has been the most impressive undrafted rookie in camp -- and one of the more impressive rookies, period. It would not surprise me if the 49ers try to hide him during the exhibition games so they can bring him back to the practice squad. Chris Owusu is in a similar position. At a crowded receiver position, the undrafted rookies appear to be battling for spots on the eight-player practice squad.
OK, former Saint Mary's basketball player Patty Mills just hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lead the Aussie Boomers to an 82-80 victory over previously unbeaten Russia. And I'm going back to bed.The 49ers return to the practice field from 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday.If you have more questions, I'll answer them in the comments section below a little later.

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.