49ers review: Defensive player-by-player


49ers review: Defensive player-by-player

Here's a player-by-player look at the 49ers' defensive performances from their 20-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday:Defensive linemen
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at nose tackle and, of course, played both ways. See offensive review for his recap on offense. He recorded one tackle for a loss in the game, while playing most of the downs as part of the 49ers' base defense. . . . Dropped into coverage on the second play of the game and alertly recovered fumble on Ahmad Brooks' sack of Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.
91-Ray McDonald: Started at left defensive end and played 2 12 quarters before leaving with a left hamstring strain. . . . Injured his hamstring as he was pressuring McCoy for an incomplete pass in the second quarter.
93-Ian Williams: Inactive. (Follow on Twitter @IWilliams95)
94-Justin Smith: Started at right defensive end and played all but two snaps on defense. . . He was credited with four tackles and one quarterback hurry. . . . Held up left guard Jason Pinkston to stuff the middle on running back Chris Ogbonnaya's 2-yard gain in first quarter. . . . He played every snap through the middle of the fourth quarter. On the second play on which he was not on the field, the Browns hit a 45-yard touchdown pass. . . . Called for roughing the passer late in fourth quarter.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: Entered the game at nose tackle at the beginning of the second quarter to give a rest to Sopoaga, who had been playing a lot of offense. . . . Jean Francois played a lot of left defensive end in place of McDonald for the final 2 12 quarters. . . As part of the nickel package, he got pressure on McCoy, forcing him to throw in complete pass late in second quarter. . . . Immediately recognized screen pass and was right there to along with Patrick Willis to throw receiver Greg Little for an 8-yard loss. (Follow on Twitter @Freakyjean95)
96-Demarcus Dobbs: Played seven snaps of defense in the second half after McDonald's injury. . . He was not credited with any tackles. . . Entered in the fourth quarter on a nickel down and stood over the center and clogged up middle to allow Aldon Smith to loop around him on a stunt to pick up a sack.Linebackers
51-Blake Costanzo: Played solely on special teams, where he recorded a tackle. (Follow on Twitter @BlakeCostanzo51)
52-Patrick Willis: Started at middle linebacker and was credited with seven tackles, a sack and two tackles for loss while playing every defensive snap in the game. . . . Read a wide receiver screen and threw Little for an 8-yard loss early in the third quarter. . . . Timed blitz perfectly and made McCoy escape pocket and throw on the move on a pass Dashon Goldson intercepted in the end zone. . . . Beat block attempt of Ogbannaya to sack McCoy for 3-yard loss late in game. (Follow on Twitter @PatrickWillis52)
53-NaVorro Bowman: Started at inside linebacker, played every snap and was credited with a game-high 11 tackles . . . Came up rapidly to drop Ogbonnaya for 4-yard gain on completion over the middle in first quarter. . . . Surrendered 29-yard pass to tight end Ben Watson in third quarter. . . . Wrapped up Ogbonnaya for 2-yard loss in fourth quarter on short pass. . . . He also added a tackle on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @NBowman53)
54-Larry Grant: Played on special teams but was not credited with any tackles. (Follow on Twitter @LarryGrant54)
55-Ahmad Brooks: Started at left outside linebacker and played most of the game. He recorded three tackles and two sacks, along with a forced fumble. . . . Ducked inside of right tackle Tony Pashos, who knocked his helmet off, and sacked McCoy to force a fumble on the second play of the game. . . . Powered through blitz-pickup attempt of Ogbonnaya to drop McCoy for a 6-yard sack in third quarter.
56-Tavares Gooden: Had a good game on special teams with two tackles.
98-Parys Haralson: Started at right outside linebacker and played all 25 of the team's base downs. . . He was credited with three tackles. . . Avoided block of tight end Alex Smith to stop Ogbonnaya for 1-yard gain in second quarter. . . . Shoved to the ground by Pashos, he reached up and stripped McCoy of the football on next-to-last play of the game. McCoy picked it up and threw a short completition.
99-Aldon Smith: Played 26 snaps in the game as a defensive end in nickel situations and registered two tackles and a sack in the fourth consecutive game. . . . Shed the block to stop Ogbannaya for a 3-yard gain in first quarter. . . . Got his fingertips on a McCoy pass to force incompletion on a third-and-7 pass in first quarter. . . . Looped around on a stunt to throw McCoy for a 7-yard loss on a fourth-quarter sack. (Follow on Twitter @AldonSmithJETS)Defensive backs
20-Madieu Williams: Played solely on special teams, registering one tackle. (Follow on Twitter @MadieuWilliams)
22-Carlos Rogers: Started at left cornerback and played every snap. He had three tackles and broke up one pass. . . . Went low on attempted tackle of tight end Smith, who avoided tackle and ended up gaining 20 yards for a first down on a third-and-10 play in the third quarter. . . . Closed quickly on Little to stop him for 3-yard gain in third quarter. . . . Failed to wrap up and stop McCoy from gaining first down on a third-quarter scramble. . . Upended Ogbonnaya to break up pass on third-and-2 situation late in third quarter.
25-Tarell Brown: Started at right cornerback and played every snap. He recorded three tackles and broke up one pass. . . . Had good coverage in end zone on Little on play in which Dashon Goldson intercepted McCoy's pass. . . Playing cover-2, Brown tried unsuccessfully to get a hand on the pass to Cribbs for a 45-yard touchdown.
26-Tramaine Brock: Inactive (hand). (Follow on Twitter @T26Brock)
27-C.J. Spillman: Played on special teams and was credited with one tackle. (Follow on Twitter @CJSPILLMAN27)
29-Chris Culliver: Entered game as 49ers' third cornerback and played 35 snaps. He had another good showing in coverage and he broke up one pass and recorded five tackles. . . . Had good coverage on pass intended for Little on third down down in first quarter. (Follow on Twitter @Cullyinthehouse)
30-Reggie Smith: Played nine snaps on defense when the 49ers went with six defensive backs at the end of each half. (Follow on Twitter @superreg30)
31-Donte Whitner: Started at strong safety and played every snap in the game. He was credited with three tackles and a quarterback hurry. . . He and Goldson hit Ogbonnaya simultaneously to force fumble that jarred ball back 7 yards for a net 1-yard gain. . . . Came on blitz in third quarter that pressured McCoy into incomplete pass. (Follow on Twitter @DonteWhitner)
36-Shawntae Spencer: Did not play.
38-Dashon Goldson: Started at free safety. He and Whitner hit Ogonnaya at same time to force fumble in second quarter. . . . Penalized 15 yards for a blow to the head that helped the Browns get into position for field goal at end of the first half. . . . Had perfect deep coverage of Little in the end zone and intercepted McCoy's third-quarter pass. . . . While in Cover-2 defense, he took a poor angle toward sideline and was not there to prevent Cribbs' 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. (Follow on Twitter @thehawk38)
43-Colin Jones: Played exclusively on special teams.Specialists
2-David Akers: The Browns' average starting point on their five kickoffs was the 23-yard line. Akers had one touchback. He also made both of his field-goal attempts, connecting from 29 and 26 yards out. (Follow on Twitter @DavidAkers2)
4-Andy Lee: He had another outstanding game after not attempting a punt in the first half. Lee averaged 53.6 yards (42.8 net) on five punts, including two he landed inside the 20-yard line.
86-Brian Jennings: Handled the long-snapping duties with no problems. (Follow on Twitter @Jennings141)

Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts


Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts

The 49ers recently re-signed eight of the 10 players who finished the season on the team’s practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, who was not among the first wave of 49ers signings to 2018 contracts, signed Wednesday with the Indianapolis Colts, ending his three-season association with the organization.

Smelter was one of general manager Trent Baalke’s redshirt draft picks. The team selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft despite a torn ACL that ended his final season at Georgia Tech.

Smelter spent his first season on an injured list. He was waived at the beginning of the past two seasons, finishing both years on the 49ers’ practice squad. Smelter appeared in two games in 2016 and caught one pass for 23 yards.

Last season, the 49ers signed wide receivers Louis Murphy and Max McCaffrey to spots on the 53-man roster instead of Smelter, who remained on the practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Carter, who also spent the entire season on the practice squad, was signed recently to the team’s 90-man roster.

Others who finished the season on the 49ers practice squad to remain on the team’s offseason roster are: quarterback Nick Mullens, tight end Cole Wick, offensive linemen Andrew Lauderdale and Pace Murphy, linebacker Boseko Lokombo, and defensive backs Trovon Reed and Channing Stribling.

The 49ers also signed fullback Malcolm Johnson, who spent last season on injured reserve with the Seattle Seahawks. Johnson appeared in 19 games over the 2015 and ’16 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was a sixth-round draft pick in ’15.

Offensive linemen Cameron Hunt, who finished the season on the 49ers’ practice squad, remains unsigned. Guard JP Flynn is also unsigned. He sustained a torn patellar tendon in November and underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out up to nine months.

An intriguing dynamic of Garoppolo's contract negotiations


An intriguing dynamic of Garoppolo's contract negotiations

If the 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are unable to reach a multi-year contract extension by March 6, the 49ers have no other choice but to designate him as their franchise player.

The estimated one-year salary for the franchise tag would be $23.307 million, according to former NFL agent Joel Corry, whose work now appears at CBS Sports. (That is assuming a 2018 league-wide salary cap of $178.1 million per team.)

There is a lot to consider for both sides as they look to enter into a long-term contract. Corry said if a deal is struck, he would expect it to be in the neighborhood of Derek Carr’s five-year, $125 million deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason.

“And then there’s the other dynamic, which I would not undersell or I think may not be appreciated as much as it should be,” Corry said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “(Garoppolo’s agent) Don Yee has a reputation – no fault of his own – of doing team-friendly deals.”

Yee also represents New England quarterback Tom Brady, whose average of $20.5 million annual pay ranks 15th among NFL quarterbacks. Brady is underpaid by design, Corry said, because one of the great quarterbacks of all-time realizes it helps the Patriots to maintain a strong supporting cast.

“That’s because Tom Brady dictates, ‘I want to do something good for the team, take less money so we can improve the roster to win Super Bowls.’ That’s not Don Yee who wants to do that,” Corry said.

“The agent works for the player, so he’s executing Tom Brady’s wishes. But he gets that held against him in recruiting. So this is his opportunity to erase that perception if Garoppolo allows him to do his job and gives him latitude to strike the deal that he feels is appropriate.”

For more on the potential negotiating strategies of both sides, listen here to the 49ers Insider Podcast.