49ers offensive player-by-player review vs. Vikings

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49ers offensive player-by-player review vs. Vikings

Here's the player-by-player breakdown of the 49ers's offense from their 17-6 exhibition victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Friday:OFFENSE
Quarterbacks
1-Josh Johnson: He was the fourth quarterback to enter the game. He played 18 snaps, including three kneeldowns at the end. His night got off to a rough start when he badly missed Ben Hannula on a quick slant. But Johnson made a nice throw a little later when he rolled right and threw a dart to Hannula for 22 yards in fourth quarter. Johnson completed 2 of 4 passes for 30 yards. He was also sacked once for minus-3 yards.
3-Scott Tolzien: He was the third QB to enter the game. He played well, completing 10 of 13 passes for 84 yards. There were a couple dropped passes as well. He threw an interception and he was sacked once for 9 yards. His best throw was when he hung in to take a hit from blitzing safety Andrew Sendejo. Tolzien's pass got out to Nathan Palmer, who dropped what would've been a 20-plus-yard completion. He ran some no-huddle at start of the fourth quarter. He did not see a wide-open Konrad Reuland in the red zone for what would've been an easy touchdown. Instead, he dumped off a pass to Rock Cartwright that went for a 2-yard loss.
7-Colin Kaepernick: He entered the game for the 49ers' second offensive series and immediately found himself in the comfort zone with a no-huddle offense and option offense. He faked an inside handoff to LaMichael James and took off running. He fended off cornerback Chris Cook with a stiff arm at the 12-yard line on his way to a 78-yard TD run. On second series, made an ill-advised late throw to A.J. Jenkins that could've easily been intercepted. He was lucky it was just incomplete. He completed 5 of 9 passes for 40 yards, and was sacked once for 6 yards.
11-Alex Smith: Started at quarterback and played the opening drive, which consisted of 12 plays, en route to a touchdown. Did very good job of beating blitz with pass to Kendall Hunter that gained 9 yards on first drive. Threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brett Swain with a back-shoulder throw. He completed all three attempts for 16 yards.RECAP: First half vs. Vikings -- Offensive playing time
Running backs
21-Frank Gore: Did not play.
23-LaMichael James: Lined up deep on first kickoff return unit. He averaged 23 yards on two kickoff returns and he handled one fair catch on a punt. On offense, he played 11 snaps, carrying three times for 15 yards.
24-Anthony Dixon: He played special teams, fullback and halfback and had an up-and-down night. He lined up on front line on first kickoff return unit. Did a respectable job as a blocker. He took down linebacker Tyone McKenzie on a 4-yard run by Rock Cartwright in third quarter. Linebacker Marvin Mitchell got past him and Joe Looney to drop Cartwright for a 6-yard loss. Dropped short pass from Johnson. Did not step up in front of Johnson to help in blitz pickup on play in which Johnson was sacked. Demonstrated good feet to get around outside when nothing was there to pick up 7 yards late in fourth quarter. Made another mental mistake when he ran out of bounds with 2:19 remaining. He did that in practice last week and was scolded for it. Dixon finished with 46 yards on 12 carries (3.8 average).
28 Rock Cartwright: Lined up on first kickoff coverage unit to open the game. Lined up on first kickoff return unit. Although his value to the team is on special teams, Cartwright also showed some good stuff on offense. He gained 44 yards on eight rushing attempts (5.5 yards), including a 19-yarder on the 49ers' opening drive. Cartwright played 26 snaps of offense.
32-Kendall Hunter: Started at halfback and played six snaps. Did a good job of picking up linebacker Erin Henderson on a blitz on first drive. He carried five times for 24 yards (4.8 average).
33-Jewell Hampton: Did not play; on non-football injury list.
44-Cameron Bell: He entered in the second half and played fullback while Dixon lined up at halfback. He did not touch the ball. But he made good block to enable Dixon to pick up 9 yards on a third-and-8. Good block on cornerback Bobby Felder on Dixon's 12-yard run late in the game.
45-Brandon Jacobs: He played just seven snaps of offense but made the most of it. Four times he got the ball on situations that called for 1 yard to get a first down, and four times he succeeded. He finished with 31 yards on four rushes (7.8 average). He simply outran safety Mistral Raymond to get to the outside on a 23-yard run on the opening drive. Showed very good feet to avoid Brinkley to pick up 2 yards on a second-and-1.
49-Bruce Miller: Entered the game at fullback on the 49ers' second offensive play and made the most of his three offensive snaps. He took down safety Jamarca Sanford with a block that opened the way for Cartwright's 19-yard run. Stood up linebacker Jasper Brinkley to open way for Jacobs' 23-yard run. Wide receivers
9-Brian Tyms: He played 35 snaps, mostly in the second half, and caught the only pass that came his way for a 12-yard gain.
10-Kyle Williams: He played 13 offensive snaps and caught two passes for 12 yards. More impressive, he handled three punts flawlessly on a in which the wind made it difficult. He demonstrated a quick burst to get threw three Vikings up the middle after hauling in second-quarter punt on a 22-yard return. He averaged 14 yards on two returns with one fair catch (when it appeared he had some room to run).
13-Joe Hastings: Did not play.
14-Mario Manningham: Did not play.
15-Michael Crabtree: Started at wide receiver and played five snaps. He saw one pass come his way, and he made the catch for a 3-yard gain.
17-A.J. Jenkins: He got into the game in the first half and played 31 snaps total. He saw six passes come his way, catching two of them for 20 yards. Made a nice catch on a Kaepernick pass at the sideline for a 15-yard reception. Two plays later, he dropped a short pass from Kaepernick. He dropped another pass, this one from Scott Tolzien, at start of the second half. But a couple plays later, made another strong catch of a pass thrown behind him.
18-Brett Swain: Lined up on first kickoff coverage unit to open the game. He beat cornerback Chris Carr with an outside release to make a 4-yard touchdown catch on a back-shoulder throw from Smith. He did a good job of holding up cornerback Chris Cook at the line of scrimmage on Kaepernick's 78-yard TD run. Swain played 12 snaps.
19-Ted Ginn: Started at wide receiver and played five snaps. He did not see any passes come his way. But he had a good block downfield on Carr to help Cartwright finish off his 19-yard run.
35-Ben Hannula: He entered for the final two offensive series, and played 16 snaps. Two passes were thrown his way. The first was uncatchable. He caught the other pass along the left sideline for a 22-yard gain.
81-Chris Owusu: He played 16 snaps of offense and ended up as the 49ers' leading receiver with three catches for 35 yards. He made catch and turned it back inside to 18-yard gain at start of fourth quarter. Made another nice move to catch short pass, cut inside and gain 8 yards on third-and-6. He also did a really good job beating a double-team as a gunner on punt coverage.
84-Randy Moss: Entered the game on the 49ers' third play and played four snaps. He did not see any action come his way.
89-Nathan Palmer: He played 18 snaps, catching three passes for 21 yards. He could've easily had another 20 yards, but he dropped a pass from Tolzien as he tried to spin and get up the field.Tight ends
40-Demarcus Dobbs: He played 16 snaps on offense, in addition to his duties on defense. He did not have any catches, and his blocking looked to be acceptable.
46-Delanie Walker: Started as the second tight end and saw action on seven snaps. He did not see any passes come his way.
47-Kyle Nelson: He did not play any on offense.
48-Garrett Celek: Lined up on first kickoff coverage unit to open the game. He played 28 snaps on offense. Made good block on linebacker Tyrone McKenzie on play in which Jacobs picked up first down on a third-and-1 run. Made 11-yard reception in third quarter, fumbled, but recovered it to retain possession. He finished with the one catch for 9 yards.
82-Nate Byham: Did not play.
85-Vernon Davis: Started at tight end and played 11 snaps, but did not see any passes come his way.
88-Konrad Reuland: He played 41 snaps and caught two passes for 17 yards. He also did a good job as a blocker. He made a pancake block defensive end D'Aundre Reed on play in which Jacobs converted a third-and-1 run. Helped create hole for Dixon on a 12-yard run with his block on outside linebacker Solomon Elimimian.Offensive line
59-Jonathan Goodwin: Started at center and played 14 snaps. Rode defensive tackle Red Evans out of the way to help open a lane for Jacobs on his fourth-and-1 run.
60-Garrett Chisolm: He played the final 10 snaps, including three kneeldowns, at left guard behind Mike Iupati, Derek Hall, Joe Looney and Mike Person.
61-Chase Beeler: He played just eight snaps at center behind Jonathan Goodwin and Daniel Kilgore. He looked good in one-on-one pass protection, and had a pancake block on Tydreke Powell on a play that resulted in a short run gain.
62-Jason Slowey: He played the final 18 snaps at center. He missed a couple practices last week, and there was some rust. But he had no glaring mistakes.
65-Al Netter: He played the final two series at left tackle after Joe Staley and Mike Person handled the first three quarters.
66-Joe Looney: He played 28 snaps at left guard and 18 at right guard. He mostly looked good, but there were a couple issues, too. Mitchell got past him and Dixon to drop Cartwright for a 6-yard loss. Did not spot blitzing Audie Cole coming his way until it was too late to prevent a 9-yard sack in third quarter. Called for a false start on the next play.
67-Daniel Kilgore: Lined up on first kickoff return unit. Entered with the second-team offense at center. He played 34 snaps and showed some promise. He needs to get a little more stout at the point of attack.
68-Leonard Davis: Entered with the second offense at right guard and played 20 snaps. He did a good job getting push in the inside run game.
69-Kenny Wiggins: Entered with the second offense at right tackle and played the final 60 snaps of the game at that spot. He provided a block on defensive tackle Trevor Guyton to open way for Jacobs to gain first down on a third-and-1 run in second quarter. Called for false start in third quarter.
71-Derek Hall: Entered with the second unit at left guard in the second quarter. On his first play, defensive tackle Fred Evans got past him to drop Kaepernick for a 7-yard sack. He settled down and did not experience many problems while playing 14 snaps at left guard and 22 at right guard.
74-Joe Staley: Started at left tackle and played 14 snaps without any problems.
75-Alex Boone: Started at right guard and played 14 snaps. Did a good job while working mostly against defensive tackle Christian Ballard.
76-Anthony Davis: Started at right tackle and played 14 snaps. He made a good block against defensive tackle Christian Ballard on Jacobs' fourth-down run in the first quarter. But committed false-start penalty on the next play. He took linebacker Marvin Mitchell completely out of the play to the left to open the way for Kaepernick on his 78-yard TD run.
77-Mike Iupati: Started at right tackle and played 14 snaps. Got kick-out block on cornerback Chris Carr to help Hunter gain 14 yards on opening drive.
78-Mike Person: Entered with the second unit at left tackle and played 42 snaps. Then, he switched to left guard, where he played eight snaps. While at left tackle, he surrendered a pressure on a spin move from Nick Reed, who got a hand on Tolzien's arm to force an interception.

Colts fire GM Ryan Grigson after five seasons

Colts fire GM Ryan Grigson after five seasons

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ryan Grigson spent tens of millions in free agency, trying to turn the Indianapolis Colts into a Super Bowl contender.

When most of those big investments went belly up, the first-time general manager paid the price.

On Saturday, Colts owner Jim Irsay fired Grigson after five up-and-down years that ended with Indy missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1997-98.

"It was a tough decision, well thought out and in the end the right decision for the Colts," Irsay said.

Initially, Grigson looked like a genius.

He hit it big on his first four draft picks - quarterback Andrew Luck, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen and receiver T.Y. Hilton - and used a series of shrewd, cost-effective moves to deliver one of the greatest turnarounds in league history.

But when Grigson's costly misfires like first-round bust Bjoern Werner in 2013, trading a first-round pick for Trent Richardson in 2014 or loading up on a group of aging, high-priced free agents to make a Super Bowl run in 2015 and an anxious fan base, Irsay had no choice.

The timing, almost three weeks after the season ended, was strange - and comes after many thought the delay meant Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano were both safe.

Each agreed to contracts last January that was supposed to keep them together through the 2019 season.

Thirteen months later, Grigson is gone and Pagano's fate may rest in the hands of a new GM.

Grigson, by trade, was a gambler who refused to play it safe.

"I think the guys that sit on their hands, they've got to live with themselves and look in the mirror and realize they didn't take any chances," he once said. "They've got to look at themselves and say, 'Did I even deserve this opportunity?' If you just sit on your hands and say, 'I'm going to play it safe all the time,' you might be middle of the pack. But if you don't take a swing, you're never going to hit it out of the park."

Irsay appreciated Grigson's unconventional style and penchant for taking chances.

What he didn't like was the underwhelming payout.

In five seasons, Grigson made 15 trades for players and only one, Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis, played in Indy's season finale. Grigson also drafted 38 players - 18 of whom finished the season with the Colts. Eleven were out of the NFL.

Then there was free agency, where Grigson signed dozens of expensive players. Only 11 were still on Indy's roster when the season ended, 18 others were out of the NFL.

With an estimated $60 million to spend in free agency this year and a chance to get the Colts righted for the prime years of Luck's career, Irsay couldn't afford to roll the dice again with Grigson so he made the change.

The 44-year-old Purdue graduate's blunt personality didn't always mesh with coach Chuck Pagano. Irsay even acknowledged last summer that the two men needed to resolve their differences before he gave them the extensions.

Players didn't always get along with him, either.

"Thank God. 'Unwarranted Arrogance' just ran into a brick wall called karma," Pro Bowl punter Pat McAfee posted on Twitter after word first leaked.

Grigson also drew the wrath of Patriots' fans by tipping off NFL officials that Tom Brady was using improperly inflated footballs during the 2015 AFC championship game. The Deflategate controversy eventually led to a four-game suspension for Brady as well as a fine and the loss draft picks for the Patriots.

And despite Irsay's repeated pleas to better protect Luck, Grigson, a former offensive lineman, never quite figured it out.

Luck missed 10 games because of injuries over the past two seasons and was sacked 41 times last season. The first real glimmer of hope appeared in December when the Colts held Minnesota and Oakland without a sack in back-to back games - the only times all season they didn't allow a sack.

When Grigson arrived, the Colts were coming off a 2-14 season and were about to release Peyton Manning and several other aging veterans in a salary cap purge.

So Grigson cleaned house.

He fired Jim Caldwell, hired Pagano and revamped the roster with low-budget free agents to work with the cornerstone of the future, Luck.

It worked. The man once dubbed by a previous boss as a "great" expansion team general manager, turned the Colts into a surprising 11-5 playoff-bound team.

Indy finished 11-5 each of the next two seasons, too, and advanced one step deeper in the playoffs each season.

The steady progression turned the Colts into a trendy Super Bowl pick in 2015, a trek that was derailed by a litany of injuries that forced the Colts to use five different quarterbacks just to finish 8-8.

Waiting for Shanahan could be a good thing for 49ers

Waiting for Shanahan could be a good thing for 49ers

The 49ers were willing to be patient in securing their next head coach.

Depending on the outcome of the Atlanta Falcons’ game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, they could be required to wait another two weeks.

The other five organizations with vacancies after the regular season have filled their head-coach positions with four assistants from teams that did not qualify for the playoffs and former Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, whom the Denver Broncos hired after his team was bounced in the AFC wild-card round.

Early in the 49ers’ search to replace Chip Kelly, the top targets appeared to be Josh McDaniels and Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinators for two of the top-three scoring teams in the NFL.

The coach-general manager team of McDaniels and New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio was the runaway favorite to be the package deal, according to sources close to the 49ers’ coaching search.

But when Caserio chose to remain as Bill Belichick’s top personnel lieutenant – just has he has in the past when other opportunities presented themselves – the job became less attractive to McDaniels, according to those sources. McDaniels announced on Monday he would remain with the Patriots for at least another year.

With McDaniels out of the picture, Shanahan became the clear favorite over Seattle assistant Tom Cable. And once Cable publicly stepped aside due to suspicions he was only being used to secure a commitment from Shanahan, only one candidate remained for the job.

Since the middle of this week, Shanahan has been the presumptive coach of the 49ers. Falcons coach Dan Quinn was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator two years ago when he was officially hired just hours after the Super Bowl. He knows he drill. And this week he announced to the Falcons staff that Shanahan would be the next coach of the 49ers, according to the NFL Network.

Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game, the 49ers will be allowed to interview Shanahan next week – most likely, Tuesday in Atlanta. Shanahan will be involved in the process to hire the next general manager. Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton appears to be the favorite. The 49ers expect the general manager position to be filled early in the week.

If the Falcons lose, the 49ers would be able to hire Shanahan on their own time frame. It would not be expected to take long.

But if the Falcons win, the 49ers would have to wait until after Feb. 5, when the Super Bowl will be played in Houston, to hire Shanahan.

There is an advantage to being forced to wait. In the long term, the 49ers could benefit from their next head coach gaining the experience of a Super Bowl week and calling a game on the biggest stage in all of sports.