49ers notes: Roman's run game recalls Seifert days, etc.


49ers notes: Roman's run game recalls Seifert days, etc.

SANTA CLARA -- In going back to something the organization did in the past, the 49ers are showing the St. Louis Rams' outstanding inside linebacker James Laurinaitis something he has never before seen.While speaking with the Bay Area media on a conference call this week, Laurinaitis talked about the variety of run plays the 49ers have shown over the past two seasons."They run some weird running plays now," he said. "You'll see some running plays I don't think I've seen since Tecmo Super Bowl, that video game. They throw the house at you."He explained what the Rams have to prepare to face."They'll do the two backs flat with the double sweep, the wide sweep," Laurinaitis said. "Now they'll do two-back trap schemes and stuff like that you ' see a lot of teams doing any more. Teams will get in the one-back trap and do that, but the Niners will do little triple-trap kind of stuff."It's actually been quite successful for them. You don't really see a formation anymore where you have two backs lined up at the same depth, side by side. It's good stuff and they have the personnel to do it because their offensive line can pull and get out there, and when they want to they can just come up and maul you."Offensive coordinator Greg Roman draws up the 49ers' run game, and many of his ideas originate from three seasons (1999-2001) in which worked as an offensive assistant under coach George Seifert."I worked for George in Carolina and he had a tremendous impact on me as a football coach," Roman said. "I was privy to all that stuff back then, and got to watch all the films and what not and learned about it."The 49ers used a lot of split-back formations in the 1980s and '90s under Bill Walsh and, later, Seifert. Roman spent a lot of time during the lockout of 2011 watching Walsh installation videos."That used to be the norm a long time ago and then it kind of evolved in the 80's to I-Backs," Roman said. "I think certain types of backs can run that stuff and certain types of backs you really wouldn't want to run that stuff with. And we have backs that are multi-dimensional that can run that stuff. So, it's good."DOUBLE DUTY: The 49ers one rookie wide receiver (A.J. Jenkins) who does not play in games and another receiver on the practice squad (Ricardo Lockette). So when the 49ers need other receivers to run routes against the 49ers' first-team offense, they enlist the help of a couple rookie defensive backs.Safeties Trenton Robinson and Michael Thomas (practice squad) both see action as wide receivers in practice. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he believes that experience can make them better defenders."I think it helps them understand a receiver's perspective in running routes," Fangio said. "The more you understand what the offense is doing when you're a defensive player, the better off you are."Fangio was clear that neither is destined to play offense."Neither one of them has a future as a receiver, if that's what you're alluding to," he said.INJURY REPORT: The 49ers list nine players on their injury report, but each went through a full practice on Thursday.The players on the injury report are QB Alex Smith (right finger), WR Michael Crabtree (illness), RB Frank Gore (hand), LB Patrick Willis (shoulder), LB Tavares Gooden (elbow), G Daniel Kilgore (concussion), P Andy Lee (hand), WR Mario Manningham (shoulder), DT Will Tukuafu (wrist).

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles


49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

Veteran 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is expected to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl.

Staley, originally chosen as an alternate, is expected to be named to his sixth Pro Bowl to take the place of Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson.

The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, Jan. 28, in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Super Bowl participant Eagles and New England Patriots will not play in the all-star game. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The other Pro Bowl offensive tackles representing the NFC are Dallas’ Tyron Smith and Los Angeles’ Andrew Whitworth, who replaced Washington’s Trent Williams.

Staley got off to a rough start last season as the 49ers opened on a nine-game losing streak. The idea of his career coming to an end began to creep into his mind, he said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

But Staley said he had a talk with coach Kyle Shanahan that got him refocused for the remainder of the season. The 49ers finished with a five-game win streak to finish with a 6-10 record, and Staley played well down the stretch.

“I’m so far gone from where I was in that moment early in the year that I’m just focused on next year and, hopefully, years after that,” said Staley, 33, an 11-year NFL veteran. “I feel like I can still play.

“I think this last half of the season I played some of the best football of my career. I feel very confident in what we’re doing schematically with the people surrounding us, and it shows in my own play.”

Staley would join fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was the only 49ers player named to the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced last month.

Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII


Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII


PHILADELPHIA -- Hey Philly, maybe it's time to forget Carson Wentz. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first Super Bowl.

Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Philly made big play after big play on both sides of the ball in a stunning 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.

Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles' first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then, AFC champion New England.

Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.

His best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.

In doing so - helped greatly by the Eagles' domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson - Foles ruined the Vikings' hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium

Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.

OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia's defense looked confused on the play.

That didn't happen again for Philly.

Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson's 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.

Inspired, Philly's D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.

Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett, and the ball bounced directly to Long.

It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.

A blown coverage - another rarity for Minnesota - on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Elliott's 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.

DANCING IN THE LINC: Fifty seconds into the final quarter, with the score 38-7, Eagles players on the sideline and waiting to kick off on the field were dancing up a storm and fans were chanting "We want Brady."

They get Tom Brady and company in two weeks.

BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.

QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott's field goal to end the half.

THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league's best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.

NEXT UP: Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.

With the entire stadium singing "Fly Eagles Fly" during the NFC trophy ceremony, Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4