49ers' defense responds after big plays by Shanahan's offense in minicamp

49ers' defense responds after big plays by Shanahan's offense in minicamp

SANTA CLARA – Before the 49ers hit the practice field on Tuesday, safety Eric Reid talked about how offensive play-caller Kyle Shanahan is always trying to set up the defense to surrender a big play.

The use of the run game to lay the groundwork for a big play through the air became apparent Tuesday during the first day of the team’s mandatory minicamp.

After run plays for Carlos Hyde and Tim Hightower, 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer used a play fake to and coax a blown assignment in the secondary, allowing rookie tight end George Kittle to break free for a 60-yard touchdown.

A short time later, Hoyer struck down the field again, this time with a pass that traveled 45 yards in the air for speedster Marquise Goodwin, who beat the coverage of cornerback Keith Reaser and safety Jimmie Ward for a touchdown.

“When you're moving the ball and scoring points, and hitting stuff in rhythm people can feel it,” said Shanahan, the team's head coach who calls in the plays to the quarterback. “It's usually contagious and it gets going. Then usually you go in and human nature, you feel good about yourself and the other team doesn't and they come out and kick your (butt) the next day.”

The 49ers’ offense did not have to wait that long to come back down to earth. That came during a red zone sequence a short time later.

The offense managed to get into the end zone just once in 10 plays, and that came from the fourth unit. Undrafted rookie quarterback Nick Mullens’ touchdown pass to undrafted tight end Cole Hikutini against the coverage against cornerback Zach Franklin.

Linebacker NaVorro Bowman collected an interception of a Hoyer pass while in coverage against Kittle in the end zone. Linebacker Malcolm Smith batted down a pass. DeForest Buckner had an interception, Aaron Lynch got a would-be sack on a C.J. Beathard pass that safety Vinnie Sunseri intercepted. Dekoda Watson had an interception, and Tank Carradine batted down a pass.

Here are other notes from the practice:

--Mike Shanahan, the Super Bowl-winning coach and father of Kyle, watched the practice session from the sideline.

--Veteran Elvis Dumervil, who agreed to a two-year contract last week, reported to the team but was held out of practice.

“I just want Elvis to come in here, learn the schemes, and really get a chance to meet everyone,” Kyle Shanahan said. “I did want to get him signed fast to get him in here, but we didn’t think getting him involved in the work and everything was important at least for now.”

--Eli Harold got first-team snaps at the Sam linebacker with Ahmad Brooks being held out of practice due to an undisclosed condition.

--Rashard Robinson did not practice. Dontae Johnson and Keith Reaser worked at the cornerback positions with the first team. Johnson broke up a pass intended for Pierre Garçon.

--Lynch had a strong day, including his second sack of the day while working with the second-team against right tackle Garry Gilliam.

--Backup quarterback Matt Barkley hit tight end Garrett Celek on a 25-yard seam route.

--Tank Carradine had a couple of quarterback pressures, along with Arik Armstead. Practice concluded with rookies Pita Taumoepenu and Jimmie Gilbert combining for pressure/sack on Beathard.

--Jeremy Zuttah, who earned a Pro Bowl trip with the Baltimore Ravens last season at center, saw action at right guard with the second-team defense. Zuttah missed a large portion of organized team activities with a hamstring strain.

--The 49ers announced the signing of quarterback C.J. Beathard to the mandatory four-year contract for a draft pick. Beathard was selected in the third round. Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, whom the 49ers selected No. 3 overall, is the only remaining unsigned 49ers draft pick.

Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear


Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear

Safety Eric Reid, who has 69 career starts and one Pro Bowl appearance in his five-year NFL career, remains available on the open market more than a week after the opening of free agency.

Reid has received no reported interest from NFL teams in what has been an unusually soft market for free-agent safeties. But, with Reid, there is another variable that could be playing a factor.

Reid was at the forefront of the social activism that has been a major storyline in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial inequality in America.

Reid has remained outspoken and has taken a knee as a way to “make people uncomfortable about the issues.” Reid has been clear his protest has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.

“The anthem is just a vehicle to get us to have those conversations,” Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last season. “It’s the platform we have. It’s the only time we have to get the eyeballs on us to do that. If we just did locker-room talks afterward, nobody would even know. Strategically, this is the only way we thought we could do it.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10, had been the Seattle Seahawks’ player representative. He is a vice president of the NFL Players Association. Reid was the 49ers’ union representative.

Sherman said he is keeping a close eye on Reid’s situation.

“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”

Kaepernick never got so much as an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot during training camp last season. Could Reid, 26, be heading for the same fate?

Reid addressed the issue last week on social media:

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing Reid. The club already has potential starting safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert under contract for the upcoming season.

Reid, whom the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has 10 career interceptions. He appeared to thrive last season in run support as a safety who played closer to the line of scrimmage.