49ers pick up key first down with 'normal shift'


49ers pick up key first down with 'normal shift'

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers have struggled on third downs, but the New York Giants awarded them a gift Sunday to keep an important fourth-quarter drive alive.And Giants coach Tom Coughlin angrily objected on the sideline to a well-timed Delanie Walker shift off the line of scrimmage that drew defensive lineman Dave Tollefson into the neutral zone before the snap of a third-and-2 play.A week earlier, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was incensed when his team penalized for "simulating a snap," ruled referee Gene Steratore. Harbaugh argued that it was a legal shift.
Harbaugh spoke to the league for a clarification. While Harbaugh said the communication with the league office is confidential, he confirmed the 49ers did not have to change a thing in order to make the play legal.When tight end Justin Peelle was called for the penalty against the Redskins, quarterback Alex Smith was in the midst of a hard count. But Harbaugh said the penalty did not have anything to do with Smith's bobbing his head while shouting out the cadence.
"We feel like we know what to tell our players," Harbaugh said. "It's not vague. It's not arbitrary. It's a shift. It's a normal shift. And we do it all the time. We do it on first down. We do it on second down. We do it on third down. Teams have seen that we do it on third down."It's not the intent to draw the other team offsides. The intent is to change the strength of the formation. I don't see how anybody could have a problem with it. Shifting is a part of football and they've seen it every game that we played."Referee Tony Corrente's crew ruled in favor of the 49ers on Sunday. The penalty gave San Francisco a first down at the Giants' 37-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Alex Smith hit tight end Vernon Davis for a 31-yard touchdown. After the two-point conversion, the 49ers led 20-13.

Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions


Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions

SANTA CLARA – While rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard is taking a micro view of his promotion, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is not shy about admitting he is looking at the big picture.

Shanahan said how Beathard performs after replacing Brian Hoyer as starting quarterback will have “a ton” of influence on how the 49ers proceed during the offseason.

After all, the 49ers know every position will come under tremendous scrutiny as the organization looks to add the pieces that will make the club competitive.

“That’s for every position. That’s for every player on our team. That’s for every coach on our team,” Shanahan said. “We’re 0-6, and that’s extremely tough. But I’m extremely excited about this place and excited about where we’re at and where we’re going. There’s not a moment that I don’t waste thinking about that stuff.”

Beathard will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium.

Hoyer failed in his bid to earn consideration as the 49ers’ quarterback for the remainder of this season and beyond during his six starts. Hoyer completed just 58 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 74.1.

Now, Beathard gets his chance. But he said he is not thinking about the big picture and what it might mean for the future.

“I’m really just trying to take it one day, one week at a time,” Beathard said. “I’m not looking that far ahead. Right now, my focus is on today’s practice and geared towards beating the Cowboys and doing the best we can to get better and improve.”

Beathard was pressed into action last week when Hoyer’s struggles continued at Washngton. Beathard stepped in and completed 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown and an interception. For the first time, Beathard is getting the first-team practice snaps with a game plan that is designed specifically for him.

Said Beathard, “Getting those extra reps, reps with guys that you don’t usually throw to, in the huddle with the guys that are out there, I think it’ll help a lot.”

Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates


Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates

More than 35 players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl champion will be in attendance on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium to show support for Dwight Clark, who revealed in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Clark, 60, will have ample opportunity to reconnect with some of his old friends on Saturday evening and again on Sunday. At halftime, Joe Montana, surrounded by most of the 49ers' 1981 team, will introduce Clark before a video tribute.

Clark is also expected to make some remarks while situated in a suite for the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Montana and his wife, Jennifer, have remained in close contact with Clark and his wife, Kelly. The Clarks recently watched the Blue Angels in San Francisco with the Montanas during Fleet Week.

“He’s getting pretty inundated with everyone staying in touch with him at this point,” Montana said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“It’s fun for him. At one point, he was telling his wife, Kelly, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is what I want and what I miss, seeing the guys.’ So any of the guys reaching out to him, he surely appreciates it.”

Montana said Clark has not lost his positive outlook or his sense of humor, as evidenced by some not-fit-for-print words he recently had about his wheelchair. Montana said there are always some good laughs and stories any time Clark gets together with his friends.

“That’s the fun part," Montana said. “You just try to get him to forget what’s there, and that you’re there for him whenever. I think the support is the biggest thing right now. In that stage of ALS, it's got to be getting tough, where all of a sudden, things are becoming more and more difficult.”