Haggans likely headed to 49ers to provide OLB depth


Haggans likely headed to 49ers to provide OLB depth

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers tried to claim a young outside linebacker off waivers Saturday. Instead, the club is likely to acquire a 12-year veteran for the same role.The 49ers are expected Sunday to sign free agent Clark Haggans, 35, who started all 16 games last season at left outside linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals, a league source confirmed. Haggans' signing is pending a physical, the source said. The Sacramento Bee first reported Haggans' imminent signing.The 49ers must release a player to make room for Haggans, whom the Cardinals released on Friday. The 49ers have four tight ends, including two-way player Demarcus Dobbs, and five safeties on their 53-man roster.The 49ers kept three outside linebackers Friday when the club was required to make the cut to 53 players. Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks are slated to be the starters with Parys Haralson as a backup.Haralson's status is unknown. Haralson did not play in the exhibition finale, and he did not attend practice Saturday. Coach Jim Harbaugh has indicated Haralson has an injury. When asked if he expects Haralson to be available for the 49ers' regular-season opener next Sunday in Green Bay, Harbaugh answered, "We'll see."Haralson is scheduled to make 2.45 million in base salary with an additional 200,000 in a roster bonus. There is no indication the 49ers are trying to re-work his contract as a backup player.On Saturday, the 49ers' waiver claim on former New York Jets player Jamaal Westerman was denied. The Cardinals were awarded Westerman, based on their worse record last season. Westerman, entering his fourth season, played 16 games for the Jets last year and recorded 3.5 sacks.The 49ers cut three outside linebackers on Friday, including veteran Ikaika Alama-Francis and journeyman Eric Bakhtiari, who led the team with 2.5 sacks in the exhibition season. Bakhtiari saw considerable action this summer. Most of his production, and all of his sacks, came in the second halves against backups.Haggans played his first eight NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His best season was in 2005, when he recorded nine sacks. He spent the past four seasons with Arizona, where he played in 56 games (43 starts) and collected 14 sacks. He played nearly 75 percent of the Cardinals' defensive snaps last season and also contributed on special teams.It has not been determined whether Haggans faces any league discipline stemming from a 2011 DUI incident. An NFL spokesman told CSNBayArea.com on Sunday that the matter is "under review."Haggans served time in a Pennsylvania prison in June after pleading guilty to extreme DUI.
Haggans posted a statement on Twitter through his agent, Jeff Sperbeck, that explained he rushed home from a concert in April 2011 after receiving a call from the family babysitter, who said his 5-year-old daughter was having trouble breathing. His daughter had been on medicine and inhalers since she was born because of under-developed lungs, Haggans explained.Haggans said his wife had wandered off during the concert and he could not find her. He had been drinking and his wife was going to drive home. "I needed to get home to my daughter immediately," Haggans said. "I felt that my only choice was to drive home."After being stopped for running a red light, Haggans and the officers proceeded to Haggans' house, he said. His daughter received treatment and was OK."In hindsight, I should have found another way home, and I take full responsibility for my actions," Haggans wrote in the statement.

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals


Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.

49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?


49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?

Believe it or not, the 49ers’ offense is improved from last season.

The 49ers ranked 31st in the NFL in 2016, averaging 308.1 yards per game. Although the offense is producing just a little better (325.9 yards per game), their ranking this season has shot up to 21st in the league.

The 49ers have had a different head coach and different person running the offense in each of the past four seasons, so their continuity has been severely lacking.

Next season, the 49ers should finally have carryover from one season to the next.

The direction of the offense is one of the topics addressed on this edition of 49ers Mailbag (questions were submitted via Facebook):

Now that we have Jimmy G do you see 49ers getting an offensive coordinator or will it still be Kyle calling the plays? (Julio Orozco)
I'm not sure why the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo would have any impact on the 49ers’ offensive structure, but in any event, the answer is a resounding, “No.”

Kyle Shanahan has been hailed as one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL. The reason he was hired as 49ers head coach was, in large part, because of the success he achieved while designing offenses and calling plays.

Why would he give that up? It makes no sense.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN this week identified the 32 primary play-callers. There are 18 NFL head coaches with offensive backgrounds. Twelve of those coaches call their own plays.

Shanahan has a staff of assistant coaches on whom he leans. Passing game specialist Mike LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello are closely involved in working with Shanahan on the passing game, while running game specialist Mike McDaniel, offensive line coach John Benton and running backs coach Bobby Turner spearhead the involvement in the ground game.

But, make no mistake, it is Shanahan who calls the shots. And that's the way it should be. If Shanahan stepped aside as his own offensive coordinator, he would be diminishing his biggest strength as a coach.

What do you see happing with the Hyde situation? We drafted Joe Williams and Breida seems to be a bright spot. There’s a lot of talk about Barkley from Penn State with that high 1st rounder. (Manny Hinojos)
There does not seem to be any movement toward a long-term extension for Hyde. It is getting to the point in the season where it makes a lot more sense for Hyde to play out his contract and hit the open market.

There is no question in my mind the 49ers like Hyde a lot. He has scored some major points with the organization for his performance on the field and how he has responded off the field.

GM John Lynch loved it when Hyde came to the defense of quarterback C.J. Beathard, tussled with Arizona lineman Frostee Rucker and got ejected from the game.

That said, the 49ers are not going to break the bank for Hyde. A multi-year agreement has to come at the right price. My personal feeling is that running backs are luxury pieces when the remainder of a team’s roster -- especially the offensive line -- is set.

Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, and Turner (the assistant coach who served on both of their staffs) have achieved a lot of success without investing heavily in running backs. That’s why I think the 49ers would be best-served by investing elsewhere and using another mid-round draft pick on a running back.

With Joshua Garnett coming back next season how aggressive will Lynch and Shanahan be in trying to get guards this offseason? (David Hartless)
Garnett is not a particularly good fit for this offensive scheme. The presence of Garnett can help increase the competition next offseason, but I do not believe he is being penciled in as a starter.

The 49ers will certainly be aggressive in an attempt to upgrade the guard positions. Currently, Laken Tomlinson and Brandon Fusco are the starters. Neither will be assured a starting job when the offseason begins.

The 49ers did not see enough from Garnett to determine he has a future with the organization, but he will be given the opportunity to come back healthy and prove himself.

Is Eric Reid in long-term plans? (Grant Rasmussen)
I do not believe so. I think the 49ers would like their starting safeties next season to be Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt – with Adrian Colbert as the front-runner for the No. 3 job.

The 49ers can also be expected to add a player or two in free agency, as well as the draft, to provide a competitive environment in the offseason. The 49ers seemed to telegraph their intention with Reid when they moved him to linebacker with Ward and Tartt remaining as the starting safeties.

That position change lasted about a week, as Ward’s injury prompted the team to move Reid back to safety. Reid is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. It's entirely possible there will not be a big market for him, but I do not believe the 49ers are going to be ultra-competitive in retaining him on the open market.