Defensive notes: Aldon Smith's injury a short-term concern


Defensive notes: Aldon Smith's injury a short-term concern

SANTA CLARA -- Aldon Smith, making his first start at outside linebacker Friday, saw 10 fewer snaps than his fellow 49ers starters in the exhibition opener.And he will be out of action for at least a week with a right hip bruise. But defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Monday that he does not believe Smith's absence during camp will have any lasting impact."Concerned that he's missing a good bit of this week's work," Fangio said. "But, long term, I'm not concerned. But it is a setback in the short term."RELATED: 49ers Fan Fest: Aldon Smith, Delanie Walker injury updates
Smith will not play Saturday when the 49ers return to action against the Houston Texans. The 49ers are hopeful Smith will be 100 percent and see action Sunday, Aug. 26, at the Denver Broncos.Fangio would like to see Smith get back onto the field to play a little leading up to the regular-season opener Sept. 9 at the Green Bay Packers. If not, the 49ers might be inclined to work him in slowly as the every-down player."That's a possibility but I'm not anticipating that being the case, but we'll see how it unfolds as we move forward," Fangio said.Fangio touched on several topics Monday during his briefing with the media:--The 49ers' first-team defense allowed the Vikings to gain 59 and 63 yards on the opening drives of the game.Said Fangio, "We were not sharp at all. . . Kind of felt it might happen that way, but we definitely did not play the way we're capable of playing."Fangio confirmed the 52-yard pass that Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder hit to receiver Stephen Burton was a blown coverage. Cornerback Carlos Rogers was expecting safety help in the middle of the field from Dashon Goldson."We didn't play the coverage correctly," Fangio said. "We needed to have another person deep and we weren't there. It was a busted coverage."--Fangio feels good about the depth at cornerback. Currently, the team's top three corners are starters Rogers and Tarell Brown, and Chris Culliver. Are those positions set?"Not necessarily," Fangio said. "(Tramaine) Brock and (Perrish) Cox are having good camps. You see a little more of Cox than you do of Brock because he's playing nickel. And nickel gets involved in some more action. Brock has had a good camp also."Right now, I'm feeling good that we got five corners that we can feel confident playing in the game. Wish we had that depth at all of our positions, but that's a little unrealistic."Cox has seen action at both cornerback positions, as well as nickel back. Fangio is impressed."He's going to factor into our plans, somehow, someway," Fangio said.--Rookie safety Trenton Robinson had a solid first game, and Fangio reported seeing steady progress. Now, he wants to see it come along a little faster."Usually with a guy slow and steady, once they truly figure it out, you'll get a big spike one of these weeks," Fangio said. "Pleased with his progress so far, but looking for him to make that spike to where he has to play, we'll feel comfortable."Fangio said he looks for Robinson to get more confident and quick with his decisions.--Dilapidated Candlestick Park offered a unique challenge Friday for Fangio. The elevator broke, so Fangio did not make the trek through the stands to the 49ers' locker room at halftime during the 12-minute intermission.RELATED: 49ers reach agreement on disputed stadium funds
"I guess we need that new stadium," he said.So what did he do during that time?"I had a hot dog," he said. "I've had better."No communication is allowed other than coaches' box to sideline communication. So Fangio had no contact with the other coaches or players in the locker room during that 12-minute period before the third quarter.
Do the 49ers have a contingency plan in case the elevators break during the regular season?"Our contingency plan is to make sure it doesn't happen again," Fangio said.

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine


49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care


Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

SANTA CLARA – In less than a year since a group of former 49ers players came together to form the Golden Heart Fund, the non-profit organization has provided valuable assistance.

“We’ve made some progress with the idea of knowing there are some people in need, so we’ve been able to make some grants to some of the ex-Niners,” Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“We’ve been able to respond. This is more about us being able to give guys the ability to know they can have, as (former 49ers linebacker and Golden Heart Fund board member) Ron Ferrari says, a hand up not a hand out.”

The organization is in the midst of a fund-raising drive this week in conjunction with "Dwight Clark Day" on Sunday. The 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, and Clark will be the guest of honor. More than 35 players from the 49ers' first Super Bowl championship team are expected to be in attendance.

Clark played nine seasons for the 49ers and provided the most memorable play in franchise history with “The Catch” against Dallas in the 1981 NFC Championship game, which propelled the organization to its first Super Bowl. Clark served as a front-office executive for a decade after his playing days.

In March, Clark announced he was diagnosed with ALS. He is scheduled to attend Sunday’s game and make some remarks at halftime from a suite.

“It’s unbelievable we are having an opportunity to celebrate an incredible day for this gentleman,” Lott said. “We can all say there was a moment in time in which we stood on his shoulders after making that catch. Now, we get a chance to lift him up a little bit and let him know how much we all care.”

Lott said Clark has been a champion of the Golden Heart Fund from its inception. Past and current 49ers ownership has supported the organization, which provides financial support for former 49ers players in times of physical, emotional and financial need.

“It’s the spirit of Dwight,” Lott said. “It’s more about the funds going in through his efforts. He’s paying it forward.”

--The public can made a direct contribution to the fund at GoldenHeartFund.org.

--Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle at Sunday’s game will benefit the Golden Heart Fund.

--Twenty-five percent of proceeds from the sales of Dwight Clark apparel purchased on game day will go to the fund.

--Half of all proceeds from admission to the 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium throughout the year will go to the charity.

-- On Sunday, Nov. 19, Levi’s Stadium and race grand marshal Roger Craig will host the first Golden Heart 4.9K Run with all proceeds from the event going to the Golden Heart Fund. Runners can register GoldenHeartRun.com.