Improving Aldon Smith still iffy for Sunday's game


Improving Aldon Smith still iffy for Sunday's game

SANTA CLARA -- Outside linebacker Aldon Smith put on the pads for practice Monday, but it's iffy whether he'll be available for the 49ers dress rehearsal for the regular season."At the rate I'm going, who knows?" Smith said Tuesday.He sustained a deep right hip bruise in the 49ers' exhibition opener Aug. 10 against the Minnesota Vikings. He spent most of last week hobbling around on crutches.When he went to the practice field Monday, Smith limped through individual drills and did not take part in any team work."I wasn't walking, now I'm walking," Smith said. "So we'll see what happens last week."When asked if he's still bothered, Smith answered, "A little bit."He added, with a smile, "It's really killing me. No, man, I'm all right. I'm healing up fast. I'm on track. I'll be good."The 49ers face the Denver Broncos on Sunday. It's the third exhibition game, the one week in which starters generally see more playing time than in any of the other tuneup games.
Smith was a pass-rush specialist for the 49ers last season, as he played 48.2 percent of the team's defensive snaps. The 49ers decided in his second year that it was best to have him replace Parys Haralson on first and second downs, too.That transition to a full-time outside linebacker role has been interrupted with the 49ers set to open the regular season Sept. 9 at Green Bay."I think everybody needs playing time," Smith said. "Reps are everything. Any time you can get better, why not?"I was feeling good (with the transition). I'm still feeling good. Can't move like I want to, but I'm feeling good mentally and physically, every day is getting better."Smith, who recorded 14 sacks as a rookie, wants to get a chance to play Sunday against the Broncos. Good friend Von Miller, last year's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, plays for Denver.When asked what he said to Miller in the offseason, Smith said, "I got more sacks than you, Bro."Miller recorded 11.5 sacks, but had 27 more tackles than Smith while starting 15 games."I was happy for him," Smith said. "He got the award. And we talked about it before the season started. He accomplished what he wanted to do, and I think I did, too. So we're both pretty happy with what happened."

Adam Gase offers advice to presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan

Adam Gase offers advice to presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan

Coach Adam Gase, a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching position two years ago, learned in his first season with the Miami Dolphins it is essential to have a solid staff around him in order to remain focused on calling plays.

Presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has spent the past nine NFL seasons as an offensive coordinator, including the past two with the Atlanta Falcons. His teams have ranked within the top-10 in total offense in six of those seasons. The Falcons play Sunday in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers.

Shanahan’s knack for game-planning and play-calling are, perhaps, the biggest reasons the 49ers have tabbed him to become head coach. And he is not likely to delegate those duties when he becomes the man in charge on the sideline.

But Gase, speaking on “The 49ers Insider” podcast, noted the importance of being surrounded by a strong staff in order to continue to run his team’s offense.

“It really comes down to how good your coaching staff is around you and how good your support staff is and how you can manage the game during the game and still be able to call plays,” Gase said.

The Dolphins’ staff includes special-teams coordinator Darren Rizzi and his assistant, Marwan Maalouf, who have studied game management and are responsible for alerting Gase to impending in-game circumstances that require his attention. Rizzi is on the sideline during games, while Maalouf is located in the booth.

“They were staying one step ahead on things,” Gase said.

Gase and Shanahan have never worked together, but Gase said they have known each other for a long time because they are approximately the same age and came into the league around the same time.

“You see guys at the combine and the Senior Bowl," Gase said. "You’re at these functions and you see each other once or twice a year. And it’s always good catching up and getting a chance to talk football.

“We grew up in different styles of systems on offense, but at the end of the day, football is football, and there’s always great conversations to have. He’s really smart. . . (We’ve) crossed up a little bit, where he’s worked with certain guys I’ve worked with and vice versa. And I’ve heard nothing but great things about him, with what he knows football-wise and how he goes about his day-to-day activities and work ethic. All I’ve ever heard are great things about him.”

Shanahan is expected to be included in the 49ers' process of hiring a general manager. The 49ers this week informed four of the remaining eight candidates for the position they would not be included in a second round of interviews. That leaves Green Bay’s Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Minnesota’s George Paton and Arizona’s Terry McDonough as those who are still under consideration.

When asked what advice he would give Shanahan, were he to officially become 49ers head coach, Gase said, “It’s all about communication.”

He added, “It’s all about that constant dialogue throughout the season. It’s really easy to get lost in doing your job as the head coach. But when you’re all invested in the same thing and you’re all striving to do the same thing and that communication is really rolling, that gives you your best chance to have success.

“It’s never guaranteed because there are so many factors that happen within the season with injuries and schedule and just all those little things you can’t predict, but when you have great communication and you’re all working toward the same thing, that’s going to give you your best chance.”

Jaguars retain offensive coordinator, pass on Chip Kelly

Jaguars retain offensive coordinator, pass on Chip Kelly

It appears the Jaguars have passed on Chip Kelly for a second time this month.

After reportedly not getting their head coaching job, Kelly reportedly interviewed for their offensive coordinator position on Monday.

But two days later, Jacksonville announced that Nathaniel Hackett has been retained as offensive coordinator under head coach Doug Marrone.

Kelly told recently he would take his time to determine his next career move.

“I’m not going to close the door on any opportunity, but I have to be very smart in what I do next,” Kelly said two days after his firing. “I don’t have to take anything, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I need to make sure that I’m in the right situation.

“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll do my due diligence. I’m not going to coach just to coach.”

The 49ers fired Kelly with three years, $18 million remaining in his contract. The 49ers hired Kelly just two weeks after the Philadelphia Eagles fired him. Kelly went 26-21 with the Eagles after leaving his successful program with the Oregon Ducks after the 2012 season.