Maiocco: 49ers Road Trip To London, Via Carolina


Maiocco: 49ers Road Trip To London, Via Carolina


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- This is an honest-to-goodness football road trip for the 49ers ... and those who cover them.

The 49ers took players on their active roster, as well as all eight players on the practice squad, on the charter Friday afternoon. Each person was allowed one piece of luggage and a carry-on for the 10-night, two-game road trip.

The 49ers will leave for London immediately after their game Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Meanwhile, the Broncos play a home game against the Raiders. They will have a normal work week in Denver, and make the flight Friday to the U.K.

"I'm not sure that anyone has gone to London as late as Denver has," said 49ers owner John York, the chair of the NFL's international committee. "But there have been a number of teams that have gone over on Wednesday or Thursday, and there have been an equal number of teams that have gone over after they have played the week before.

"I don't think at this point we have enough games under our belt to tell whether or not one gives you an advantage over the other. Denver took one extreme, and we took the other. It was our choice, and it was Denver's choice."

A long time ago, my former employer asked me to go ahead and price a flight to London for this game, which the league announced in mid-January. The 49ers asked the NFL for a game in the Eastern time zone the week before the London trip.

It figured to be either Atlanta or Carolina. I guessed Atlanta. I guessed wrong.

So I kept my San Francisco-to-Atlanta-to-London flight. And I added a car rental and 265-mile drive to my itinerary. So this morning, I left my home at 4 a.m. for a 6 a.m. flight out of SFO. Scribes Dan Brown and Matt Barrows were also on the flight to Atlanta, but they had flights from Atlanta to Charlotte.

I arrived at my uptown Charlotte hotel around 6:30 p.m. (ET). If my math is correct, from house to hotel, it took me 11 hours, 30 minutes.

The main priority this evening is to find a place to watch the Giants-Phillies game. Then, tomorrow it's a short walk to the stadium for the 49ers-Panthers game.

Then, I'll try to talk Brown and Barrows into ditching their Monday flights and accompanying me on a leisurely drive from Charlotte to Atlanta, where we'll be on the same plane with the destination of London.

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.