Boone expected to get chance to compete at guard


Boone expected to get chance to compete at guard

When the 49ers' offseason programs begins Monday, offensive lineman Alex Boone is likely to get a chance to show his versatility.Boone, who was the 49ers' primary backup at both offensive tackle positions last season, is expected to get a chance to compete for a starting job at guard, according to multiple individuals close to the team.Coach Jim Harbaugh regularly referred to Boone last season as one of his seven "starting" offensive linemen. Boone spent all of 2009 on the 49ers' practice squad after being an undrafted free agent from Ohio State. He saw action in just one game in 2010.Boone, who is listed at 6-foot-8, 300 pounds, took over for veteran Barry Sims as the 49ers' backup tackle on both sides last season. He played 172 snaps on offense, including 55 at left tackle on Dec. 11 against the Arizona Cardinals when Joe Staley exited in the first quarter with a concussion. Boone also saw limited action at right tackle and was used regularly as an extra blocker, mostly in short-yardage situations.LeCharles Bentley, a two-time Pro Bowl lineman whose career was cut short after six seasons due to a knee injury and complications from surgery, has worked closely with Boone for several years at Bentley's O-Line Academy near Cleveland.
"Alex can play guard if it's the best thing for the team, but physically it's not the ideal position for him," Bentley said. "Good guards are easier to find than good tackles. I believe Alex is a very good tackle in the making."Harbaugh stated during training camp last summer that the team's five best offensive linemen would start. Boone is expected to compete for a full-time job in 2012 -- though it might require a position change.
The 49ers have four obvious starters on the line, but the club is looking to replace right guard Adam Snyder, who started 15 games, including the playoffs.Snyder signed a five-year contract with the Cardinals as a free agent. And the 49ers have not show much interest in re-signing backup Chilo Rachal, whom Harbaugh also considered a starter even after he was benched at halftime of the 49ers' third game of the season.Daniel Kilgore, whom the 49ers traded up to select last year in the fifth round, is expected to compete for the starting job. Kilgore might also see some time at center behind starter Jonathan Goodwin.The 49ers have looked at a handful of veteran guards in free agency. The team visited with Leonard Davis, Jason Brown, Deuce Lutui and Geoff Schwartz but have yet to sign anyone. Lutui (Seattle) and Schwartz (Minnesota) have since signed with other teams."Honestly, in their scheme, guards are a dime a dozen," Bentley said. "A good young offensive tackle is such a premium. It would be a waste of ability. . . . But if he's one of the five best, yeah, get him on the field."Bentley said he believes the 49ers' best option would be to move right tackle Anthony Davis to guard. It's a switch that is not likely to happen after the 49ers traded up to select Davis with the No. 11 pick in the 2010 draft. The 49ers expect Davis, with his first offseason of work with coaches this year, to develop into one of the game's top right tackles."I believe they have to figure out who the best five are first," Bentley said. "Then, figure out the proper configuration. Alex is my guy. He still has to show he's ready to be an NFL starter. Potential is just unproven talent. There are four guys we all know are starters. They need one more. I believe Alex is a starter, but he's going to have to earn it."

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.