Maiocco: McDonald fits into 49ers' plan


Maiocco: McDonald fits into 49ers' plan

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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com

Defensive lineman Ray McDonald will not have to go anywhere to get his chance to be a starter in 2011.The 49ers anticipate nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin to sign a big free-agent contract and the club has made contingency plans to compensate for his potential departure, according to team sources.As previously reported, the 49ers have talked about moving Isaac Sopoaga to nose tackle, where he played earlier in his career. Sopoaga started all 16 games last season at left defensive end. Ricky Jean Francois, Franklin's backup last season, also returns.
McDonald, a four-year veteran eligible for free agency, would become among the team's top priorities to re-sign, and he would be the clear choice to start at left defensive end. McDonald started nine games in 2008 but has mostly seen action on third downs as an inside pass-rush specialist.
McDonald told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee this week that he yearns to be an every-down player."I know I'm an every-down player, a starter," McDonald said. "And that's what I'm looking to do this year. I'm not looking to back up anybody. I'm looking to start this year."Last season in a part-time role, McDonald tied for 10th on the team with 57 tackles, including five for losses. He did not record a sack, but he was credited with 56 pressures (second on the team, behind only Justin Smith) and his 26 hits on the quarterback tied him for third on the team. He added one interception and broke up three passes.
McDonald would have to earn his job if he re-signs with the 49ers. He is going about it the right way. McDonald has been a regular at the San Jose State conditioning sessions, often seen hanging out with right defensive end Justin Smith.McDonald will be a starter when the season gets going. And there's a good chance it'll be with the 49ers.

Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions


Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions

SANTA CLARA – While rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard is taking a micro view of his promotion, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is not shy about admitting he is looking at the big picture.

Shanahan said how Beathard performs after replacing Brian Hoyer as starting quarterback will have “a ton” of influence on how the 49ers proceed during the offseason.

After all, the 49ers know every position will come under tremendous scrutiny as the organization looks to add the pieces that will make the club competitive.

“That’s for every position. That’s for every player on our team. That’s for every coach on our team,” Shanahan said. “We’re 0-6, and that’s extremely tough. But I’m extremely excited about this place and excited about where we’re at and where we’re going. There’s not a moment that I don’t waste thinking about that stuff.”

Beathard will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium.

Hoyer failed in his bid to earn consideration as the 49ers’ quarterback for the remainder of this season and beyond during his six starts. Hoyer completed just 58 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 74.1.

Now, Beathard gets his chance. But he said he is not thinking about the big picture and what it might mean for the future.

“I’m really just trying to take it one day, one week at a time,” Beathard said. “I’m not looking that far ahead. Right now, my focus is on today’s practice and geared towards beating the Cowboys and doing the best we can to get better and improve.”

Beathard was pressed into action last week when Hoyer’s struggles continued at Washngton. Beathard stepped in and completed 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown and an interception. For the first time, Beathard is getting the first-team practice snaps with a game plan that is designed specifically for him.

Said Beathard, “Getting those extra reps, reps with guys that you don’t usually throw to, in the huddle with the guys that are out there, I think it’ll help a lot.”

Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates


Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates

More than 35 players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl champion will be in attendance on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium to show support for Dwight Clark, who revealed in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Clark, 60, will have ample opportunity to reconnect with some of his old friends on Saturday evening and again on Sunday. At halftime, Joe Montana, surrounded by most of the 49ers' 1981 team, will introduce Clark before a video tribute.

Clark is also expected to make some remarks while situated in a suite for the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Montana and his wife, Jennifer, have remained in close contact with Clark and his wife, Kelly. The Clarks recently watched the Blue Angels in San Francisco with the Montanas during Fleet Week.

“He’s getting pretty inundated with everyone staying in touch with him at this point,” Montana said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“It’s fun for him. At one point, he was telling his wife, Kelly, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is what I want and what I miss, seeing the guys.’ So any of the guys reaching out to him, he surely appreciates it.”

Montana said Clark has not lost his positive outlook or his sense of humor, as evidenced by some not-fit-for-print words he recently had about his wheelchair. Montana said there are always some good laughs and stories any time Clark gets together with his friends.

“That’s the fun part," Montana said. “You just try to get him to forget what’s there, and that you’re there for him whenever. I think the support is the biggest thing right now. In that stage of ALS, it's got to be getting tough, where all of a sudden, things are becoming more and more difficult.”