49ers

Roman on thwarted trick play: 'Next question'

905037.jpg

Roman on thwarted trick play: 'Next question'

SANTA CLARA -- Backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick was on the field for four plays in the first half against the New York Jets.An alert timeout by the Jets prevented him from a fifth snap . . . and a potential second touchdown.Kaepernick entered in the second quarter and made an inside handoff to running back Frank Gore, which resulted in a one-yard loss. Earlier in the game, Kaepernick rushed for 17 yards and scored his first career touchdown on a seven-yard run.When starting quarterback Alex Smith returned to the field after the Gore running play, Kaepernick appeared as if he was heading toward the sideline. Instead, he lined up wide on the left side.
The 49ers had a bunch formation on offense. And the Jets did not have anyone covering Kaepernick. But just before the snap, the Jets were granted a timeout. Smith could've taken the snap and thrown quickly to Kaepernick, who would've had clear sailing down the sideline.
Roman was asked on Thursday what he was thinking as this took place?"I don't know what play you're talking about," Roman said.When informed that the sequence was shown on TV, Roman quipped, "We have ways to get rid of that. . . Yeah, I think he was talking to the official about the previous play. Next question."Roman probably did not want any more attention drawn to this particular play because he knows that future opponents will now be on the lookout for the trickery.
"I don't look at as 'trick plays,'" Roman said. "They're football plays. The rules are the rules, and we're within the rules. I don't know that we have trick plays. They're what I like to call mixers, we might want to mix in from time to time."The 49ers have had option plays for Kaepernick in their game plan previously. But Sunday's game was the first time Kaepernick was used in multiple plays in the same game."We've had something up every week, but we chose to use it last week," Roman said. "He's our backup quarterback. He's in an understudy role, an apprentice type of role, and he's doing a nice job of it. It's just week to week. He did a nice job of what we asked him to do last week."The more guys we can get involved, the better."

Inactives: 49ers LB Reuben Foster to play vs Cowboys

reuben-foster-pointing-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Inactives: 49ers LB Reuben Foster to play vs Cowboys

After missing the last five games with a high right ankle sprain, rookie linebacker Reuben Foster is active for Sunday's game against the Cowboys.

Foster was injured just 11 plays into the season opener against the Panthers.

The 49ers have deemed these seven players inactive for the Week 7 showdown against Dallas:

WR Victor Bolden, DB Dexter McCoil, FB Kyle Juszczyk, LB Mark Nzeocha, LB Pita Taumoepena, DL Aaron Lynch and OL Erik Magnuson.

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

ahkello-witherspoon-knee-49ers-chargers-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

SANTA CLARA – Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon did not win the right to suit up for the 49ers’ first four games. Behind the scenes, he made it his mission to earn a contributing role.

“He really started to get better with his coordination with his feet from the bump-and-run coverage and from playing ‘off.’ There’s always a light that goes on,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And we felt that for a couple weeks from Ahkello. Once he did that, he definitely earned the right to be out there.”

The plan was for Witherspoon to rotate into the action and share time with starters Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson. But he played just six snaps on Oct. 8 against Indianapolis before sustaining a concussion. Witherspoon returned to action last week and played 34 of the 49ers’ 74 snaps last week at Washington. He showed enough to coninue getting significant playing time.

“He’s earned the right to play,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “He works his tail off in practice. He’s so deliberate in his approach. Whether it was scout team, whether it was team reps, whether it was walk-through, it didn’t matter.”

Witherspoon, the 49ers’ third-round draft pick at No. 66 overall, had a pedestrian training camp. Taking his lumps in August showed him what he needed to do to get into real games in October.

“I really turned up my focus, my intent every day in practice,” Witherspoon said. “What I did in camp wasn’t good enough to be a starting corner in this league, and that’s what I learned.

“I really focused on being aware of what it takes. That’s something I implemented these last four weeks -- that every day focus and competing on every single ball, and taking the mindset that no ball’s caught on me. I think that’s really helped my game, and helped these coaches trust me, as well.”

Witherspoon expected Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to attack him. But of the 25 plays he was in coverage last week, Witherspoon saw only three passes come his way. He surrendered two receptions for 33 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Just being a rookie, I thought it was going to come, where they were going to be taking that one shot,” Witherspoon said. “I kept waiting for it to happen, but it didn’t happen. Going up against a smart quarterback, I know he saw me out there.

“There were a few times he looked my way in coverage. I wasn’t perfect in coverage, but I think he was looking. And I thought I did a good job.”

Witherspoon (6 foot 3, 195 pounds) is comfortable lining up on either side of the field, which he did during his college career at Colorado. He said he has not put on much weight but he has added more muscle, which has allowed him a better chance to compete physically against bigger NFL receivers.

Witherspoon fully expects to be challenged on Sunday when he is expected to see considerable playing time against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. Witherspoon figures Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will be paying particularly close attention any time Dez Bryant lines up on his side of the field.

“They’re going to be looking at the ‘rook,’ ” Witherspoon said.

Said Shanahan, “They’re going to try to do that with all our DBs, so I don’t think it even matters who’s out there. They’re going to attack when we’re in single safety, which we are the majority of the time. They’re going to go outside and keep going out there until you stop them.”

* * *

EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch Kyle Shanahan's full sit-down interview with Matt Maiocco on "49ers Game Plan," which is scheduled to air Saturday at 9 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3).