49ers notes: Slant pattern makes return

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49ers notes: Slant pattern makes return

Aug. 17, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith remained after practice Tuesday evening working with 49ers receiver Braylon Edwards on a pass route that hasn't been seen around these parts in some time.The slant route, a staple of West Coast offenses past, is returning to the 49ers this season under coach Jim Harbaugh.
Smith and Edwards tried two of those patterns in the exhibition opener Friday night against the New Orleans Saints. Smith's first attempt was thrown behind Edwards, resulting in an incomplete pass. The next try was on target for a 12-yard gain.Fourth-year receiver Joshua Morgan said this is the first summer during his time with the team that the slant pattern has been a major part of the 49ers' offense. The 49ers are bringing back the Bill Walsh offense for the first time since Mike McCarthy as offensive coordinator after the 2005 season to become Green Bay Packers head coach.
"That's the first route you learn when you start playing football," Morgan said. "That's the West Coast offense. We ran them in the past, but there wasn't a big emphasis on them like there is now."Morgan said the 49ers' receivers have seen all the film of Jerry Rice and John Taylor catching quick slants, breaking a tackle and sprinting to the end zone. Now, the current group of receivers will try to make their own highlights.
Morgan, Edwards and Michael Crabtree are all likely to benefit from the play, as each is known as a powerful run-after-the-catch threat. Football Outsiders listed Morgan as second in the league last season with an average of 7.2 yards after the catch. Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson ranked first at 7.3."It's like heaven," Morgan said of the sensation of catching a perfectly thrown slant at full speed. "You know you might take it 80 for a touchdown like they used to do here back in the day." CENTER OF ATTENTION: It's the usual training camp ritual. Where is Adam Snyder going to line up today?Snyder, who has played every position on the offensive line throughout seven-year NFL career, is in the mix for a starting job on the line. The question is . . . where?"Right now, I'm focusing on what I'm doing at center," Snyder said. "That's the one position I haven't played much of. And the transition to guard is easier to what it's been playing center."Snyder has been working with the first-team offense at center this summer. But after the 49ers signed veteran free-agent Jonathan Goodwin to a deal that included 4 million in guaranteed money, it's reasonable to assume Goodwin will eventually work his way into the starting role.But Snyder continues to see action at center, while also working into the mix at right guard, where he is challenging Chilo Rachal."I've got a pretty good understanding of the offense," Snyder said. "Having Goodwin here has helped me. He's been giving me pointers. The competition is good. I'm excited about how this is going to end and see who the best five guys are. The road we're taking right now is getting the best five on the field."It was a difficult exhibition-season opener for the 49ers, as Smith and Colin Kaepernick were under constant duress against the New Orleans Saints' blitz. But Snyder has been encouraged with the steps that have been taken to remedy the 49ers' protection problems after the Saints rolled up six sacks and steady pressure.
"It's our job at center to call out the protections and all our calls were on point," he said. "From there, it was breakdowns of technique. Sometimes it's not the offensive line's fault either, but it always falls back on us. That's fine, too. That's just how it goes."Having that film was good for us, seeing where the breakdowns were and seeing what kind of communication happened and talk about it. For the first game, obviously it wasn't what we wanted. We've corrected those issues and looking forward to this Oakland game."

Cosell: It's fascinating that Kelly clearly didn't want Kaepernick to throw

Cosell: It's fascinating that Kelly clearly didn't want Kaepernick to throw

Colin Kaepernick was benched after three quarters on Sunday.

He completed 1-of-5 passes for four yards.

"To me, what's most fascinating about that is what Chip's approach was," Greg Cosell said on KNBR 680 on Monday evening. "Chip (Kelly) clearly did not want him to throw the ball ... it was clear to me that Kaepernick does not throw a wet or a cold ball very well...

"He has small hands so I'm wondering if he just couldn't really throw the ball effectively in this kind of weather.

"Hey, Troy Aikman always said, 'I couldn't throw a wet ball.'"

Kaepernick was sacked five times for -25 total yards.

"Looking at the sacks, there were opportunities for tighter window, but NFL throws -- and first of all, I don't think Kaepernick is that guy under normal circumstances -- and my sense is, he didn't feel comfortable in this weather," Cosell added. "He certainly wasn't gonna cut it loose on those kinds of throws in this weather.

"Maybe Chip knew that, maybe he didn't. But to me, as I said, it's more fascinating that he didn't have him throw the ball at all."

Blaine Gabbert supplanted Kaepernick and completed 4-of-10 passes for 35 yards. He was sacked once.
 

After getting benched vs Bears, Colin Kaepernick to start vs Jets

After getting benched vs Bears, Colin Kaepernick to start vs Jets

Colin Kaepernick will remain as the 49ers’ starting quarterback on Sunday against the New York Jets.

Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins made the announcement on Tuesday while coach Chip Kelly was in Maine for services for his father, E. Paul Kelly, who passed away on Friday.

Kaepernick has started the past seven games for the 49ers, during which time the club has gone winless. The 49ers (1-11) are on a franchise-long 11 game-losing streak.

Kaepernick went 1 of 5 on Sunday for just four yards in the 49ers’ 26-6 loss to the Chicago Bears. Kaepernick was also sacked five times for minus-25 yards before getting benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to be sacked five times and have fewer than 5 yards passing in the same game.

"We have been playing really good football, good football on offense and the thing had been trending in the right direction," Modkins said. "Obviously, Sunday didn’t bear that and we’ve got to go to work today and figure out how to get it back going in a direction we had it and obviously it has to be better than what it was on Sunday."

A week earlier against the Miami Dolphins, Kaepernick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 113 yards as the 49ers rolled up 475 yards of total offense.

Kelly said the 49ers made the switch at quarterback early in the fourth quarter on Sunday against the Bears in hopes Gabbert would provide a spark. Gabbert started the 49ers’ first five games of the season before Kaepernick replaced him.

"Kap is going to be the starter and we’ll go from there," Modkins said. "We just decided during the game to try to see if Blaine could give us a spark. Kap is back being the starter. It’s nothing other than that.”