SANTA CLARA -- In a span of four plays in the 49ers' last game, veteran wide receiver Randy Moss revealed a new part of his game, as well as something for which he has always been known.Moss leveled Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes with a block at the end of Michael Crabtree's 30-yard catch and run. Then, he took a short pass and his speed turned it into a 47-yard touchdown.Offensive coordinator Greg Roman was asked on Thursday which play made him take notice?"Did we score on the knock-down block?" Roman asked."No.""Then, I'll take the touchdown," Roman deadpanned.But that might not have been the consensus among his teammates. Running back Anthony Dixon went up to Moss afterward and told him if Moss makes a block like that every game the rest of the season, the 49ers will not lose again."I've never seen him do that before," Dixon said. "You saw what it did to our sidelined. It inspired everybody to see him do that."Moss told CSNBayArea.com recently that he is having a great time with the 49ers because his football knowledge is expanding with his exposure to Roman's running game. Moss often peppers Roman with questions."He asks the questions on the smallest details, even in the running game, let alone the passing game that it makes you say, 'That's the question that should be asked right now,'" Roman said."He understands there are a couple different ways to do things. Also, he understands the game well enough, where he says, 'Have you thought about this?'"Quarterback Alex Smith said Moss shows a lot of attention to detail in the meeting room."Especially in the run game," Smith said. "You can tell it's something that he thinks about a lot and takes a lot of pride in."Not only is he asking the questions about the run game, Moss is sacrificing his own body to help the 49ers be successful"Starting in the Houston the game, in the preseason, Randy was wearing people out, blocking," Roman said. "And I can't stress enough how professional, how team-oriented Randy Moss is."All I can tell you, as a 49er, he's busting tail on everything."
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'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.