49ers defensive player-by-player review vs. Texans


49ers defensive player-by-player review vs. Texans

Here's the player-by-player breakdown of the 49ers' defense from their 20-9 exhibition loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday:Defensive line
40-Demarcus Dobbs: He played just 11 snaps on defense, as he entered the game as part of the 49ers' nickel package in each of the first six series of the game. He did not get any tackles or pressures. He was on the 49ers' starting kickoff coverage and kick return units.
63-Tony Jerod-Eddie: Entered at left defensive end in the second half and played 20 snaps. Did not get involved in any of the action during that time. He was not credited with any tackles.
69-Patrick Butrym: He entered in the second half and played 17 snaps. He was the only one on the 49ers' defensive line to play all three spots. He did not pick up any tackles. Guard Shelley Smith moved him out of the way on a play in which running back Justin Forsett picked up 14 yards in the fourth quarter.
71-Matthew Masifilo: He entered in the second half and played a combined 17 snaps at right defensive end and nose tackle. He was credited with two tackles.
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at nose tackle, and was removed in nickel situations. He played 12 snaps over a period of the first four Texans' drives. . . Stayed on his feet against right guard Antoine Caldwell's attempt at a cut block to drop running back Arian Foster after a 1-yard gain on the first drive. He finished with one tackle, but was outstanding at holding the point of attack.
91-Ray McDonald: Started at left end and played the first two possessions, nine snaps in all. He recorded one assisted tackle.
92-Will Tukuafu: He replaced McDonald at left end and played three series for a total of 20 plays. He was not credited with any tackles or pressures. . . Right tackle Rashad Butler handled him on a play in which Foster gained 24 yards late in the first half on the Texans' touchdown drive.
93-Ian Williams: Replaced Sopoaga at nose tackle in the first half, and played very well. He was credited with just one tackle, but showed good awareness on a couple of plays. He did good job of recognizing screen play at the start of the second half and then avoiding block of Shelley Smith on play in which Ben Tate gained just 2 yards. Kept eyes on backup quarterback T.J. Yates and was not fooled by bootleg and got his hands up to contribute to an incomplete pass.
94-Justin Smith: Started and played the first nine snaps of the game at right defensive end. He was not credited with any tackles, but Foster gained just 8 yards on four rushing attempts against the 49ers' first-team defense.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: Replaced Justin Smith at right end and played 23 snaps in all. Strengthened his hold on the team's No. 4 defensive lineman job. He was credited with two tackles and a quarterback hurry. Working against left guard Wade Smith, he got heat on quarterback Matt Schaub and hit him as he was throwing to force an incomplete pass on third-and-7 in the second quarter. Good penetration against Shelley Smith to force third-quarter incomplete pass.Linebackers
41-Kenny Rowe: Made his 49ers debut after being signed one week ago. He played nine snaps with time spent at both outside linebacker spots. On his first play, Garrett Graham blocked him out of the picture for a 24-yard gain for Foster. He was credited with one assisted tackle.
44-Eric Bakhtiari: He started at right outside linebacker and was removed in favor of Dobbs in nickel situations in the first half. He was the only player to be on the field to play defense throughout the entire game, playing 48 of the 49ers' 55 defensive plays. He recorded six of his game-high seven tackles in the second half, as he was dominant against the Texans' reserves. He did a good job of setting the edge against tight end Garrett Graham on back-to-back plays to open second half. Also, drew a holding penalty against guard Brandon Brooks in the third quarter.
47-Ikaika Alama-Francis: Did not play after being signed just three days earlier.
48-Kourtnei Brown: He played 18 snaps, mostly at right outside linebacker, and showed some good things with two tackles. Did a good job against the block of Owen Daniels to stop Foster for a 3-yard gain. But flew up the field on a second-and-23 play, which gave running back Jonathan Grimes a lane for a 16-yard gain in the third quarter.
50-Cam Johnson: Did not play (knee).
51-Joe Holland: Played every snap during the final four series at inside linebacker. He shot the center-guard gap with a perfectly timed blitz to pick up a 9-yard sack, getting to Yates before the back could pick him up. He finished with three tackles. On special teams, he ran past return man Trindon Holliday at beginning of his 87-yard punt return.
52-Patrick Willis: Started at inside linebacker and played the first nine snaps of the game, during which time he recorded three tackles. Willis closed hole quick against Foster cut-back to drop him for 4-yard gain in first quarter.
53-NaVorro Bowman: Started at inside linebacker and played the first nine snaps of the game. In coverage against tight end Owens Daniels on first play, jumped route and nearly got his hands on the ball, but Owens caught it for a 5-yard gain.
54-Larry Grant: Entered with the second unit and played 23 snaps. He recorded one tackle. He had a missed tackle on a third-and-1 play behind the sticks on James Casey, who gained 3 yards. The Texans went on to score a touchdown on the drive. Grant was credited with one tackle in the game. He was on the 49ers' first team kickoff coverage and kick return units.
55-Ahmad Brooks: Did not play (left knee).
56-Tavares Gooden: He played 23 snaps at inside linebacker on the second unit. He was credited with one tackle. He was on the 49ers' first team kickoff coverage and kick return units. He also made one stop on special teams.
57-Michael Wilhoite: He entered at inside linebacker and played the final 23 snaps of the game. He made a tackle on punt coverage in the third quarter and then played his first snaps of defense. He had good coverage on receiver Keshawn Martin and tossed him to the turf on a 3-yard gain. Wilhoite finished with two tackles on defense.
58-Darius Fleming: Did not play; on football injury list.
98-Parys Haralson: Started at left outside linebacker and played the first 21 snaps of the game. He was credited with two tackles. Took on Daniels, stood him up and dropped Foster for no gain on the first drive. Did another outstanding job of setting the edge against Graham, and then shedding him to stop Foster for a 3-yard gain in the second quarter. He was also on the 49ers' first-team kickoff return unit.
99-Aldon Smith: Did not play (right hip).Defensive backs
20-Perrish Cox: Did not play (leg).
22-Carlos Rogers: Started at left cornerback and played nine snaps with no action going his way.
23-Cory Nelms: He played just one snap on defense. On special teams, he did not do a good job as the gunner off the left sideline, as he overran Holliday out of bounds on his 87-yard punt return.
25-Tarell Brown: Started at right cornerback and played the first nine snaps of the game. For the second exhibition game in a row, he did not see any action go his way.
26-Tramaine Brock: He played 36 snaps at right cornerback and found himself in the middle of a couple of big plays. Did not turn to look for the ball on deep pass to All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson, who caught it for a 43-yard gain in the second quarter. Made good one-on-one tackle of Foster to drop him for 1-yard loss. Got turned around and was called for a 32-yard pass-interference penalty against receiver Keshawn Martin. A couple plays later broke up short pass to Lestar Jean.
27-C.J. Spillman: He played 36 snaps at strong safety with the 49ers' second-team defense. He made three tackles. And got inside Graham on a well-timed blitz to force running back Ben Tate inside on a 2-yard loss in the third quarter. He was also on the 49ers' first-team kickoff coverage and return units.
29-Chris Culliver: Entered as 49ers' third cornerback and played four snaps there over the first two possessions. Then, he played 36 more snaps at left cornerback in place of starter Carlos Rogers. In man coverage on third play of the game, he surrendered 22-yard pass to Martin on a deep-in route. Got a piece of Foster's jersey to slow him up after completion on third-and-8 to help limit him to 7 yards on a first-quarter play. He was credited with three tackles.
30-Trenton Robinson: He played 23 snaps with the second-team defense. On his first play, he got turned around in coverage against Andre Johnson on a second-quarter pass that went for 43 yards. Gave receiver Lestar Jean a little too much cushion a 9-yard pass that came on a third-and-8. He was credited with one tackle. He was on the first-team kickoff coverage and return units.
31-Donte Whitner: Started at strong safety and played the first nine snaps. He bounced off an attempted block by right tackle Derek Newton to stop Foster for a 3-yard gain on a screen pass on a third-and-9 play in the first quarter.
32-Darcel McBath: He played the final four series of the game, 23 snaps in all, at safety and was credited with one tackle.
33-Anthony Mosley: The undrafted free agent got his first taste of exhibition action on defense, playing the final 10 snaps at right cornerback. No action went his way.
36-Michael Thomas: He played 11 snaps on defense, spanning both halves, exclusively at the nickel back position. He blitzed out of the slot and got to Yates for a 9-yard sack before Tate saw him. He was in coverage against Martin, who caught an 11-yard pass on third-and-7. He was on the first-team kickoff coverage unit.
38-Dashon Goldson: Started at free safety and played the first nine snaps of the game. He was credited with one tackle.
40-Deante' Purvis: Entered the game at left cornerback for the final two series of the game, 10 plays in all. He was credited with one tackle on special teams.
43-Colin Jones: He played the final 10 snaps at safety. He also was on the 49ers' first units for kickoff coverage and kick return.Specialists
2-David Akers: He handled the placekicking chores and had a very nice night. Akers accounted for all of the 49ers' scoring with field goals of 50, 36 and 55 yards.
4-Andy Lee: He averaged 53.3 yards on four punts, including a 61-yarder. However, Holliday returned his knuckle ball near the left sideline for an 87-yard touchdown. Lee was the last person to beat, and Holliday squeezed past him along the sideline.
5-Giorgio Tavecchio: The undrafted rookie from Cal handled all four kickoffs in the game. The Texans' average starting point after those kickoffs was the 24-yard line. His final two kicks of the evening were touchbacks.
86-Brian Jennings: He handled the long-snapping chores.

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.