Saints have practice scheduled for Candlestick


Saints have practice scheduled for Candlestick

SAN FRANCISCO -- The best road team in the NFL over the past three seasons is coming to Candlestick Park on Friday to get acclimated to the surroundings.Is that a sentence you expected to read?After all, so much as been made this week about the New Orleans Saints being a different team outside of the Superdome. But the fact is that the Saints are one of just two NFL teams -- the Philadelphia Eagles are the other -- with a winning road record each of the past three seasons.
During that time, the Saints have compiled an NFL-best 18-6 record in road games, including a 25-22 victory over the 49ers at Candlestick as defending Super Bowl champs in Week 2 last season.
So, sure, the Saints have not scored as much away from the Superdome. In nine home games, the Saints averaged 41.5 points per game. In five outdoors road games, the Saints averaged 25.8 points. The Saints were 5-3 on the road this season.RELATED: New Orleans Saints 2011 scheduleresults
The Saints traveled to the Bay Area on Thursday evening. On Friday, they have a walk-through practice scheduled at Candlestick Park. The Saints and 49ers meet on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in an NFC divisional-round matchup."The years we've played well on the road, we've been a better football team," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "I think more recently we've done real well on the road. Starting in '09, '10 and '11, we're a team that's traveled a lot better and had success on the road. The years we struggled, we weren't as good as a team."Oftentimes that comes with a dome team, more than surface or home and away. One of the things we felt was important for us to be successful that we were going to have to not only play well at home, but we're going to have to travel and play well and fortunately we've been able to do that."The Saints are 0-4 on the road in the club's playoff history, including a 41-36 loss at Seattle last January against a Seahawks team that won the NFC West with a 7-9 record.

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.