Carroll describes Goldson, Whitner as 'ridiculous'


Carroll describes Goldson, Whitner as 'ridiculous'

Pete Carroll, a former defensive backs coach, used the word "ridiculous" to describe 49ers safeties Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner.

Of course, he meant it as a huge compliment.

The 49ers' defense, as a whole, is a unit that has earned the admiration of the Seattle Seahawks coach -- and former 49ers defensive coordinator -- entering Sunday night's matchup.

"There's stuff they do that's very challenging," Carroll said. "They're very tough on defense. They're so aggressive in their coverage style. Their front guys all make plays. Their linebackers are fantastic. Their safeties are ridiculous. So this is a very, very difficult defense. For two years, they've just been on top of the world."

Carroll said he loves the way Goldson and Whitner go about their work at the back line of the 49ers' defense. Whitner is the 49ers' fourth-leading tackler with 106 tackles, according to the coaches' review of game film, behind NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis and Justin Smith. Goldson ranks fifth with 103 tackles.

Whitner has forced two fumbles, including a big hit on New England's Stevan Ridley that Goldson recovered and returned 66 yards to set up a touchdown that gave the 49ers a 24-3 lead early in the third quarter Sunday night. Goldson leads the 49ers with three interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Carroll also expressed admiration for the job 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell has done with the 49ers' secondary.

"They're smart. They have great range. They knock the heck out of you if you give them half a chance," Carroll said of the 49ers' safeties. "Great tacklers. Goldson is an incredible tackler. They're waiting to make something happen, and they don't make many mistakes back there. It's just a really high-powered group, and they know it. They line up and they say, 'Come on.' It's a really nice group they have."

Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson knows he has a tremendous challenge ahead of him. In the first meeting this season, Wilson completed just 9 of 23 passes for 122 yards in the 49ers' 13-6 victory at Candlestick Park. Goldson intercepted one of his passes.

"They're very experienced and they make a lot of plays," Wilson said. "Obviously, they know what they're doing. They do a great job of trusting their reads and what they're seeing. And so you really have to be smart with the football and make smart decisions and make a lot of great plays. I have so much respect for them. You really got to play your best game."

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's D-line coach

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's D-line coach

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington turned to internal candidates to fill two critical vacancies, promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator.

Cavanaugh was the team's quarterbacks coach and Manusky its outside linebackers coach last season. Washington announced the promotions Monday along with the hires of Kevin O'Connell as quarterbacks coach and Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.

It has been an offseason of upheaval for the coaching staff after Washington fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry and a few assistants and offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

In its efforts to replace Barry after ranking 28th defensively in consecutive seasons, Washington interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine and former Buffalo Bills assistant Rob Ryan before opting for Manusky. The 50-year-old Manusky has been defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and 49ers and worked with Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan in San Francisco.

Known for his fiery personality and booming voice on the practice fields, Manusky had only been on coach Jay Gruden's staff for one season as outside linebackers coach. Middle linebacker Will Compton tweeted: "Congrats to Coach Manusky!" when players were informed of his promotion.

Cavanaugh was Washington's quarterbacks coach for the past two years as Kirk Cousins twice set the franchise record for passing yards in a season. Cousins' status for 2017 remains in doubt after playing last season on the franchise tag, but with McVay gone he'll have a familiar face as his offensive coordinator.

After 13 NFL seasons as a backup quarterback, the 60-year-old Cavanaugh was offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 1997-98 and Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2004. O'Connell, Washington's new quarterbacks coach, was an assistant in San Francisco under Chip Kelly last season.

Tomsula, who replaces Robb Akey as defensive line coach, also most recently worked with the 49ers as their head coach in 2015.

Falcons coach Quinn: Kyle Shanahan 'totally nailed that' vs Packers

Falcons coach Quinn: Kyle Shanahan 'totally nailed that' vs Packers

The Atlanta Falcons have provided the 49ers with a window from Friday afternoon through Saturday to meet with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a source told

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has structured a normal work week to begin preparations to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51, Quinn said at a press conference on Monday. The Falcons will have a day off on Saturday before the team travels to Houston on Sunday.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

Shanahan is the presumptive 49ers coach -- the only candidate remaining among the six whom 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe interviewed. Shanahan's offense rolled up 493 total yards and converted 10 of 13 (77 percent) third-down opportunities en route to a 44-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game.

“I’m really proud of him,” said Quinn, who was hired by the Falcons two years ago after he served as Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator in Super Bowl 49.

“It’s not easy to do when there’s a lot of speculation and things going on outside your world to stay dialed in. I think it’s one that should be commended. Being on point and going for it, he totally nailed that.”

Shanahan is also expected to be heavily involved in the 49ers’ search for a general manager. The two remaining candidates among the nine who previously interviewed are Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough.

The 49ers have left open the possibility of adding more GM candidates to the list, according to a source.