Torrey Smith could benefit from Shanahan's big-play philosophy

Torrey Smith could benefit from Shanahan's big-play philosophy

Wide receiver Torrey Smith has not lived up to the five-year, $40 million contract he signed with the 49ers in 2015.

Or have the 49ers been the problem for failing to properly take advantage of Smith’s skills as the deep threat that was sorely lacking in previous seasons?

New 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan figures to bring a more aggressive mindset to the team’s offense. Now, it’s a matter of finding the right players to plug into the right spots.

Smith could find a situation similar to what he enjoyed during most of his four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. In 2014, Smith caught 11 touchdown passes before leaving for the 49ers as a free agent.

“It’s not rocket science. Football is football. Plays are plays,” Smith said. “It’s the way they scheme it up and put it together. The way I watch it from afar, he (Shanahan) tailors it to people’s strengths, which is always a plus. So I’m excited to see what his plan is for us.”

The plan, according to new 49ers running backs coach Bobby Turner, is to use the running game to set up big plays down the field.

“At times, you can’t run it if they put eight or nine in the box,” Turner told CSNBayArea.com during Super Bowl week in Houston. “It’s tough to run the ball. We might only get a yard on that play. But by doing that, being consistent and continually trying to run the ball, you exploit them through the air with the play-action game.”

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan led the NFL with 17 passes of more than 40 yards in the regular season.

Smith caught a 53-yard touchdown pass against Buffalo for his only reception that covered 40 yards or more last season.

”The offense, I have experience with it,” Smith said. “I’m interested to see how he teaches it. You just have to execute. But with his track record, it kind of speaks for itself. I’m excited for him to have that opportunity. He’s a young guy. I feel like he could fit in in our locker room. He looks that young. He has a proven track record and he knows what he’s doing. It’s his time, so I’m excited for him.”

Smith has a scheduled salary-cap figure of $9.475 million for the 2017 season, but the 49ers are comfortably under the salary cap with an estimated $80 million in cap room heading into the new league year.

Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear


Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear

Safety Eric Reid, who has 69 career starts and one Pro Bowl appearance in his five-year NFL career, remains available on the open market more than a week after the opening of free agency.

Reid has received no reported interest from NFL teams in what has been an unusually soft market for free-agent safeties. But, with Reid, there is another variable that could be playing a factor.

Reid was at the forefront of the social activism that has been a major storyline in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial inequality in America.

Reid has remained outspoken and has taken a knee as a way to “make people uncomfortable about the issues.” Reid has been clear his protest has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.

“The anthem is just a vehicle to get us to have those conversations,” Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last season. “It’s the platform we have. It’s the only time we have to get the eyeballs on us to do that. If we just did locker-room talks afterward, nobody would even know. Strategically, this is the only way we thought we could do it.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10, had been the Seattle Seahawks’ player representative. He is a vice president of the NFL Players Association. Reid was the 49ers’ union representative.

Sherman said he is keeping a close eye on Reid’s situation.

“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”

Kaepernick never got so much as an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot during training camp last season. Could Reid, 26, be heading for the same fate?

Reid addressed the issue last week on social media:

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing Reid. The club already has potential starting safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert under contract for the upcoming season.

Reid, whom the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has 10 career interceptions. He appeared to thrive last season in run support as a safety who played closer to the line of scrimmage.