49ers Defensive player-by-player review


49ers Defensive player-by-player review

Here is the entire defensive player-by-player review from the 49ers' 23-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday:Defensive linemen
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at nose tackle but played only about 15 snaps in the game. He rushed the passer eight times. He was not credited with any tackles.
91-Ray McDonald: Started at left defensive end and was on the field the vast majority of the time. He rushed the passer 36 times, and was credited with one tackle. . . . Good penetration against right guard Rex Hadnot to force Skelton incompletion on third down in first quarter. . . . Got pressure on Skelton, forcing him to throw off-balance on ball that Goldson intercepted in third quarter.
93-Ian Williams: Inactive (coaches' decision). (Follow on Twitter @IWilliams95)
94-Justin Smith: Started at right defensive end and played nearly every snap. and was credited with no tackles and two quarterback hurries. . . . Shoved left tackle Levi Brown into the backfield to blow up play, opening door for NaVorro Bowman to stop Wells for 1-yard gain.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: He saw limited action in the 49ers' base defense. He was not credited with any tackles. (Follow on Twitter @Freakyjean95)
96-Demarcus Dobbs: He played only a couple snaps on defense. He was not credited with any tackles.Linebackers
51-Blake Costanzo: He made one tackle on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @BlakeCostanzo51)
52-Patrick Willis: Started at middle linebacker and recorded a team-high seven tackles. He also had an interception, three passes defensed and one forced fumble. . . . His forced fumble of Beanie Wells was initially ruled down by contact, but Willis urged coach Jim Harbaugh to throw the challenge flag. . . . Called for unnecessary roughness on a fourth-down play when he hit Bartel as he was sliding. (Follow on Twitter @PatrickWillis52)
53-NaVorro Bowman: Started at inside linebacker and was credited with three tackles and one pass defensed. . . . Sniffed out a wide-receiver screen to stop Larry Fitzgerald for no gain at end of first quarter. . . . Right tackle Jeremy Bridges knocked him down as Chester Taylor gained 34 yards in the fourth quarter. . . Made hit on receiver Early Doucet short of the yard marker on fourth down late in the game. (Follow on Twitter @NBowman53)
54-Larry Grant: Played on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @LarryGrant54)
55-Ahmad Brooks: Started at left outside linebacker and was credited with two tackles and one sack. . . . Working against right tackle Brandon Keith got credit for the sack when he was first to touch Skelton after he slipped. . . . Allowed 12-yard pass completion to fullback Reagan Maui'a in second quarter for Cardinals first first down of the game.
56-Tavares Gooden: Played exclusively on special teams and was credited with one tackle and a forced fumble.
98-Parys Haralson: Started at right outside linebacker, and was credited with one tackle, as he played mostly on base downs. . . . Took on block of Maui'a and tripped up Wells for no gain.
99-Aldon Smith: He recorded a sack, two quarterback hurries and a pass defensed as part of the 49ers' nickel defense . . . . Taylor dropped him with a chip block, but Smith quickly got back to his feet and tracked down quarterback Richard Bartel for a fourth-quarter sack. (Follow on Twitter @AldonSmithJETS)Defensive backs
20-Madieu Williams: Inactive (coaches decision). (Follow on Twitter @MadieuWilliams)
22-Carlos Rogers: Started at left cornerback and was credited with four tackles and a pass defensed. . . Followed Larry Fitzgerald out of the slot and broke up third-down pass to end Cardinals' first drive. . . . Was in the right spot but Richard Bartel's pass went through his hands and was caught by Larry Fitzgerald for a 23-yard touchdown in fourth quarter. . . . He did not properly follow receiver Andre Roberts from the slot on a play that went for 45 yards in the third quarter.
25-Tarell Brown: Started at right cornerback and was credited with two passes broken up. . . . Got his hands on pass from John Skelton that was intended for Roberts, deflecting ball to Willis, who recorded the first-quarter interception. . . . Delivered big hit on Wells to break up fourth-quarter pass.
26-Tramaine Brock: Played defense in the fourth quarter as part of the 49ers' dime defense but was not credited with any tackles. . . . He had a rough day with penalties. . . . Called for holding on 49ers' first punt return of the game. . . Called for another holding penalty that was part of offsetting penalties. . . . Called for pass interference against DeMarco Simpson for a 21-yard penalty in fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @T26Brock)
27-C.J. Spillman: Played special teams, and recorded one tackle on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @CJSPILLMAN27)
29-Chris Culliver: Played more than 30 snaps as the 49ers' third cornerback. He recorded two tackles. (Follow on Twitter @Cullyinthehouse)
30-Reggie Smith: Saw action as the 49ers' sixth defensive back, then took over when Dashon Goldson was ejected early in the fourth quarter. . . . Was in deep zone on Fitzgerald's 23-yard touchdown catch. (Follow on Twitter @superreg30)
31-Donte Whitner: Started at strong safety and played every snap. He recorded two tackles, an interception and two passes defensed. . Had deep coverage on Larry Fitzgerald and made interception and 48-yard return to set up 49ers' second touchdown. . . . Brown up pass in end zone for Fitzgerald in late fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @DonteWhitner)
36-Shawntae Spencer: Did not see action on defense, but some some time on special teams.
38-Dashon Goldson: Started at free safety and recorded two tackles and one interception. . . . Had underneath coverage on Larry Fitzgerald and made diving interception in the third quarter. . . Got a hit on Doucet as ball was skipping through his hands for an incomplete pass at the goal line in the late fourth quarter. . . . He was ejected in the fourth quarter for retaliating against Cardinals receiver Early Doucet with several punches. The NFL told CSNBayArea.com that Goldson would not be suspended, but he is subject to a 25,000 fine. (Follow on Twitter @thehawk38)
43-Colin Jones: Played exclusively on special teams.Specialists
2-David Akers: He had a rough day, as he missed three of his six field-goal attempts in the first half. Two of the kicks were blocked, and he hooked a 49-yarder to the right. He made field goals of 22, 43, 29 yards. (Follow on Twitter @DavidAkers2)
4-Andy Lee: He averaged 45.3 yards (38.0 net) on just three punts.
86-Brian Jennings: Had a low snap that might have contributed to second blocked field goal. (Follow on Twitter @Jennings141)

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals


Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.

49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?


49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?

Believe it or not, the 49ers’ offense is improved from last season.

The 49ers ranked 31st in the NFL in 2016, averaging 308.1 yards per game. Although the offense is producing just a little better (325.9 yards per game), their ranking this season has shot up to 21st in the league.

The 49ers have had a different head coach and different person running the offense in each of the past four seasons, so their continuity has been severely lacking.

Next season, the 49ers should finally have carryover from one season to the next.

The direction of the offense is one of the topics addressed on this edition of 49ers Mailbag (questions were submitted via Facebook):

Now that we have Jimmy G do you see 49ers getting an offensive coordinator or will it still be Kyle calling the plays? (Julio Orozco)
I'm not sure why the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo would have any impact on the 49ers’ offensive structure, but in any event, the answer is a resounding, “No.”

Kyle Shanahan has been hailed as one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL. The reason he was hired as 49ers head coach was, in large part, because of the success he achieved while designing offenses and calling plays.

Why would he give that up? It makes no sense.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN this week identified the 32 primary play-callers. There are 18 NFL head coaches with offensive backgrounds. Twelve of those coaches call their own plays.

Shanahan has a staff of assistant coaches on whom he leans. Passing game specialist Mike LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello are closely involved in working with Shanahan on the passing game, while running game specialist Mike McDaniel, offensive line coach John Benton and running backs coach Bobby Turner spearhead the involvement in the ground game.

But, make no mistake, it is Shanahan who calls the shots. And that's the way it should be. If Shanahan stepped aside as his own offensive coordinator, he would be diminishing his biggest strength as a coach.

What do you see happing with the Hyde situation? We drafted Joe Williams and Breida seems to be a bright spot. There’s a lot of talk about Barkley from Penn State with that high 1st rounder. (Manny Hinojos)
There does not seem to be any movement toward a long-term extension for Hyde. It is getting to the point in the season where it makes a lot more sense for Hyde to play out his contract and hit the open market.

There is no question in my mind the 49ers like Hyde a lot. He has scored some major points with the organization for his performance on the field and how he has responded off the field.

GM John Lynch loved it when Hyde came to the defense of quarterback C.J. Beathard, tussled with Arizona lineman Frostee Rucker and got ejected from the game.

That said, the 49ers are not going to break the bank for Hyde. A multi-year agreement has to come at the right price. My personal feeling is that running backs are luxury pieces when the remainder of a team’s roster -- especially the offensive line -- is set.

Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, and Turner (the assistant coach who served on both of their staffs) have achieved a lot of success without investing heavily in running backs. That’s why I think the 49ers would be best-served by investing elsewhere and using another mid-round draft pick on a running back.

With Joshua Garnett coming back next season how aggressive will Lynch and Shanahan be in trying to get guards this offseason? (David Hartless)
Garnett is not a particularly good fit for this offensive scheme. The presence of Garnett can help increase the competition next offseason, but I do not believe he is being penciled in as a starter.

The 49ers will certainly be aggressive in an attempt to upgrade the guard positions. Currently, Laken Tomlinson and Brandon Fusco are the starters. Neither will be assured a starting job when the offseason begins.

The 49ers did not see enough from Garnett to determine he has a future with the organization, but he will be given the opportunity to come back healthy and prove himself.

Is Eric Reid in long-term plans? (Grant Rasmussen)
I do not believe so. I think the 49ers would like their starting safeties next season to be Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt – with Adrian Colbert as the front-runner for the No. 3 job.

The 49ers can also be expected to add a player or two in free agency, as well as the draft, to provide a competitive environment in the offseason. The 49ers seemed to telegraph their intention with Reid when they moved him to linebacker with Ward and Tartt remaining as the starting safeties.

That position change lasted about a week, as Ward’s injury prompted the team to move Reid back to safety. Reid is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. It's entirely possible there will not be a big market for him, but I do not believe the 49ers are going to be ultra-competitive in retaining him on the open market.