Cardinals' Bruce Arians: Shanahan-led 49ers similar to Harbaugh era


Cardinals' Bruce Arians: Shanahan-led 49ers similar to Harbaugh era

Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has prepared for four different incarnations of the 49ers over the past four years.

Under first-year coach Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers are similar to how the team looked under Jim Harbaugh, not Jim Tomsula or Chip Kelly, according to Arians.

“(They’re) a lot more like when Jimmy was there,” Arians said Wednesday morning on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“They’ve got an excellent offensive scheme that’s a proven winner. Brian Hoyer is a heck of a quarterback for that scheme. He knows it. He doesn’t make many mistakes. Good running back (Carlos Hyde). They’ve added some excellent receivers, so offensively they run the ball, great play action. A lot like those teams in the past.”

Arians said the 49ers’ defensive system is similar to what the Seahawks have done for most of the past decade but the 49ers have placed their own stamp on the scheme.

“Defensively, the personnel matches the defense perfectly," Arians said. "All those No. 1 picks on the defensive line look extremely impressive in this style of defense.”

The 49ers face the Cardinals on Sunday in Glendale, Arizona, and the 49ers will see a lot of familar faces:

S Antoine Bethea
After starting all 39 games in which he appeared for the 49ers over the past three seasons, Bethea has nine tackles in the first three games. He has started only one of the Cardinals’ three games. Tyvon Branch is the Cardinals’ starting strong safety, but Bethea sees plenty of action in Arizona’s sub packages.

"Having known ‘Toine back in Indianapolis, I know the type of player and leader he was," Arians said. "He was somebody I wanted in our locker room."

Arians credited Bethea as part of the reason the Cardinals have had great communication in the secondary thus far.

LG Alex Boone
The Cardinals signed Boone shortly after he declined to take a pay reduction, prompting the Minnesota Vikings to release him just one season into a scheduled four-year, $26 million contract. Boone saw five snaps as a replacement for Mike Iupati in the Cardinals' opener.

“He’s been a great addition because he’s so smart and so tough,” Arians said.

Boone started the past two weeks, but left the game Monday night late in the fourth quarter with a pectoral injury. Boone could move over to right guard when Iupati and Boone are healthy. Arians said he would not know who will be able to start on the offensive line against the 49ers until he sees the players in pads during Thursday’s practice.

K Phil Dawson
Dawson, 42, who made 86.1 percent of his field-goal attempts with the 49ers, has gotten off to a slow start with the Cardinals. Dawson has made five of his eight attempts through three games.

Dawson pushed his 36-yard field goal attempt on Monday night wide right, which proved to halt the Cardinals’ momentum against the Dallas Cowboys. Arizona could have gone up 10-0 early in the second quarter of their eventual 28-17 loss.

QB Blaine Gabbert
Gabbert has been inactive for all three games as the Cardinals’ No. 3 quarterback behind Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.

LG Mike Iupati
After starting 75 games over five seasons with the 49ers, Iupati signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2015. He started the season at left guard before missing the past two games with a triceps injury. His availability for Sunday's game will be determined later in the week, Arians said.

P Andy Lee
Lee, 35, a three-time Pro Bowl selection during his 11 seasons with the 49ers, is now with his fourth team in four years. The 49ers sent him to Cleveland in a 2015 trade. Then, he was traded to Carolina. The Cardinals signed him just prior to the start of the regular season after the Panthers cut him.

Lee is averaging 45.8 yards per punt (38.2 yards net) on 15 punts to open the season. Both marks are lower than his career average. The gross average is his lowest since 200, his third season in the league. The last time his net average was less than 39 yards was 2010, when he averaged 38.2.

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'


Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem


Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”