49ers

Garoppolo, 49ers face daunting challenge vs team with 'Super Bowl qualities'

Garoppolo, 49ers face daunting challenge vs team with 'Super Bowl qualities'

SANTA CLARA – With his quick release and surgical accuracy that enables his receivers the ability to turn upfield and run after the catch without breaking stride, Jimmy Garoppolo welcomes the opportunities that open when he sees a blitz coming.

On Sunday, the Tennessee Titans blitzed on more than half of Garoppolo’s dropbacks. He completed 16 of 23 passes while the Titans brought more than four pass-rushers for 214 yards and a 98.8 passer rating, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Every time you blitz, it leaves a hole somewhere,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “When you don’t blitz, sometimes you’ve got to wait on those holes to get open longer.”

And that is the challenge that awaits the 49ers on Sunday, as the Jacksonville Jaguars – owners of the No. 1 defense in the NFL – come to Levi’s Stadium to continue their quest for the AFC South title and a first-round bye in the playoffs. The 49ers and Jaguars ride into Sunday's game on three-game win streaks.

The Jaguars lead the NFL with 51 sacks. (The Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers’ opponent to close out the season, are second with 47 sacks.) The impressive part is that few teams blitz fewer times than Jacksonville under second-year defensive coordinator Todd Wash.

“It shows that you can get to the quarterback with four and that allows you to play much more sound, aggressive coverage,” Shanahan said of the Jaguars.

The Jaguars’ defense is loaded. Their top-ranked pass defense features two of the best cornerbacks in the game, Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Defensive lineman Calais Campbell is an NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate with 14.5 sacks.

“I think every week is a different challenge in the NFL,” Garoppolo said. “Every team is a good team, no matter what their record is. These guys have a very talented defense. It’s just a different type of scheme. A lot of teams are adapting the scheme that these guys run and it’s becoming pretty popular in the NFL.”

The Jaguars’ defense is an off-shoot of the Seattle defense. It’s similar to the system Robert Saleh has implemented in his first season with the 49ers after spending the three previous years as linebackers coach with the Jaguars.

But what distinguishes Jacksonville’s defense is the number of standout players at every level of the defense.

“It’s not that unique,” Garoppolo said. “A lot of teams are adapting to this and so you see it all over the league now. Seattle started it and now teams are adapting it. I think the players that they have make it unique. They have very talented players on every level of the defense. It’s going to be a good challenge for us on Sunday.”

Said Shanahan, “I do believe that they have as much qualities as anyone that it takes to win a Super Bowl -- a top defense, a very good running game, a good offense, good special teams. When you see a team like that on tape that you believe has that ability, it’s a good thing, it’s a good challenge for your team to go against them and see where you’re at.”

Report: Stubblefield taken into custody, booked into jail in no-bail case

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Santa Clara Sheriff Office

Report: Stubblefield taken into custody, booked into jail in no-bail case

Former 49ers defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield is behind bars. 

According to the Mercury News, Stubblefield was led away from court to jail in handcuffs Friday after a judge found there was probable cause to hold him over for trial on charges of rape stemming from May 2015. 

Stubblefield is charged with raping an intellectually disabled woman on April 9, 2015 at his Morgan Hill home when she had gone to interview for a babysitting job. 

According to the same report, Stubblefield had been free on $250,000 bail for more than a year. But the judge ordered him taken into custody Friday after prosecutors formally added the allegation that Stubblefield used a gun during the assault, which made it a no-bail case.

Stubblefield has pleaded not guilty and publicly denied the five felony charges and gun enhancement that prosecutors say could lead to at least 15 years to life in prison if he is convicted.

Stubblefield played 11 seasons in the NFL, including the first five with the 49ers. He later returned to the 49ers in 2001 and ’02, before finishing his career with the Raiders.

Stubblefield, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 1993, was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 10.5 sacks. He was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year with a career-high 15 sacks in 1997. He signed a lucrative contract with Washington in 1998.
 

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

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USATSI

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.