49ers Mailbag: When will James contribute?


49ers Mailbag: When will James contribute?

We opened the floor for questions Friday morning on our Facebook page, and here's what was delivered to the 49ers Mailbag . . . Will we see a LaMichael James or Brandon Jacobs sighting this week? (John J Francis)
Don't expect running back Brandon Jacobs to play Sunday night against the Detroit Lions. He has been out with a left knee sprain since Aug 18. And he did not take part in practices Wednesday and Thursday, and those are the days when the bulk of the game plan is implemented.So I can't imagine the 49ers would send Jacobs -- or Ted Ginn -- into action without a full week of practice.
Meanwhile, James, the second-round draft pick, is healthy. But he has not earned the right to suit up for games.
James does not have a defined role on the team, yet. The coaches made him one of the seven inactive players Week 1 against Green Bay. Even with Jacobs injured, James is the No. 4 running back behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon.Dixon brings special-teams play to the table. James does not have value covering punts or kickoffs, so the 49ers could not find a way to make him one of the team's 46 active players.Originally, I thought James might be in uniform and a backup safety, such as Darcel McBath or Trenton Robinson, would be inactive. But McBath played 24 snaps on special teams, and Robinson played 15.The only way James gets on the field is if he practices well and offensive coordinator Greg Roman comes up with a plan to use James' talents against a specific opponent.Your thoughts on the Niners opening the playbook more? (Kyle Fletcher)
I thought the 49ers opened up the playbook Week 1 against the Packers with their wide variety of personnel packages and formations. They showed the Green Bay defense a lot of different looks.But if you're talking about the passing game, I don't think anything is going to change.Why would the 49ers change what's been working? Alex Smith has not thrown an interception in a team-record 185 attempts (not including 68 passes in the two playoff games). And the 49ers have gone 26 regular-season quarters without a giveaway. That's a team record, too.
So, no, I don't expect Roman to begin dialing up a bunch of low-percentage passes down the field. Smith will take calculated shots, but the 49ers are not going to become vertical all of a sudden. Smith will pick his spots, but you should never expect to see a steady diet of deep passes.
How valuable is Justin Smith to the interior of the 49ers defensive line and to the defense as a whole? (Jim Scales)
Justin Smith was credited with just one tackle in the 49ers' 30-22 victory over the Packers. The 49ers coaches, after a review of the game film, came up with three tackles, three quarterback hits and four pressures.Smith's contribution to the 49ers cannot be measured in statistics. He probably should've been in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season. But might not ever put up the gaudy statistics needed for such an award.Don't let the statistics fool you. Smith was his usual dominant self against the Packers. In large part because of Smith and the constant double-teams he faced, NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis combined for 20 tackles. Smith also deserves a lot of credit for Aldon Smith's success.Justin Smith, without question, is the guy who makes that 49ers defense tick. Unfortunately, there's no statistic available that proves that point.

Report: Former 49ers cornerback will sign with Seahawks again

Report: Former 49ers cornerback will sign with Seahawks again

Perrish Cox is reportedly heading back to the Pacific Northwest.

The former 49ers cornerback will sign with Seattle, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

He appeared in 16 games for the 49ers in 2012 and nine games the next season before being released in November 2013.

Cox signed with the Seahawks a couple of weeks later, was released after appearing in two games, and then re-signed with the 49ers right before the playoffs began.

In 2014 with San Francisco, he started 14 games and recorded five interceptions.

He appeared in 24 games (22 starts) over the last two seasons with Tennessee.

The Titans released him in late November.

Adam Gase sets the record straight: Trent Baalke hired Jim Tomsula

Adam Gase sets the record straight: Trent Baalke hired Jim Tomsula

Two years ago, it appeared as if Adam Gase would be hired to replace Jim Harbaugh as 49ers head coach.

But on a day in which Gase was hopeful of receiving good news, he heard from then-general manager Trent Baalke that Jim Tomsula had gotten the job.

Gase, who recently completed his first season as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, spoke candidly Wednesday on CSNBayArea.com’s “49ers Insider Podcast” to set the record straight on what occurred in mid-January 2015.

At the beginning of Gase's first interview with Baalke, 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe, and co-chair John York, it was made clear to him that Baalke was responsible for the decision.

“I knew that Trent was the final decision-maker in San Francisco heading into the interview process,” Gase said. “When we first met, when it was all four in there, that was explained to me from the get-go, that Trent ran the organization, as far as who’s getting hired for the head-coaching job. I knew that going in.”

Gase went through a second marathon interview with only Baalke, the day before the decision was made, he recalled.

“I felt like I was in good position heading into that next day,” Gase said. “I did know it was down to two of us. . . It was down to Jim and myself. I felt like going into that morning, I had a good shot. I felt like my interview went really well. But until you get that call from the GM, nothing’s ever 100 percent.

“So heading into that morning, I felt good about it. But never got that final word. The last call I got was they hired Jim. I really felt we had a great meeting and felt that I was in a good position. It went the other way.”

Next season, the 49ers will have their fourth head coach in four years. Tomsula was fired at the end of a 5-11 season. The 49ers fired Baalke and coach Chip Kelly after the club’s 2-14 season. The club is now expected to announce Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as head coach after the Falcons’ season has concluded. 

Things have worked out well for Gase, who spent one season as Chicago’s offensive coordinator before earning the Miami job. The Dolphins went 10-6 in Gase’s first season and advanced to the playoffs for just the second time in the past 15 seasons.

Gase said he was never offered the 49ers job two years ago. And when asked if he was told he had to promote Tomsula as defensive coordinator, Gase answered, “I don’t remember that being a conversation. We spit-balled a lot of different scenarios of how we were going about putting a staff together.”

Gase said he would have been inclined to retain a number of 49ers assistant coaches from Jim Harbaugh’s final staff because he already knew some of those individuals.

“It’s not as easy to get coaches as you think, because guys get locked into contracts," Gase said. "I was always told when I went into these interviews, ‘Don’t promise something you can’t come through with.’ Because you can’t control some of these things. You kind of have to have an idea of who’s available to get out of their contract or who’s up on their contracts.

“It looked like there were going to be some holdovers based on the relationships I had with a lot of those guys. It was really just trying to figure out what was the best fit for the entire group at that time.”

In a conference call with Bay Area reporters prior to the Dolphins’ November game against the 49ers, Gase confirmed Tomsula offered him the position of offensive coordinator with the 49ers. Gase turned it down to work with his previous head coach, John Fox, with the Bears.

Gase said one of the elements of working for the 49ers that attracted him to the job was the opportunity to reconnect with Jed York and Marathe, whom he got to know during his season as an assistant coach in 2008.

“I wanted to find a way to be a part of what they had really got going on there,” Gase said. “The main reason was because of Jed. I wanted to do whatever I could to help him. And felt like he knew I’d be invested in that organization because between Jed and Paraag, my relationship with them was really good with them when I was there previously. That’s why I was heavily interested in getting that job because I wanted to do something to help those guys. With them there, that was very positive for me.”