49ers

Versatile defense does not short-change itself

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Versatile defense does not short-change itself

Vic Fangio mixed up a dizzying array of packages for the 49ers defense to use against Aaron Rodgers, the league's reigning MVP. They worked."It was really good," said cornerback Carlos Rogers about his defensive coordinator's game plan. "I played with some good coordinators and I think he's one of the best, if not the best."Everything we see out there on Sunday, we see during the week. He did a good job of preparing us. Most importantly, that scout team did a good job of giving us some looks that Green Bay was going to do, and it made it much easier out there on Sunday."Rogers and his teammates got their first look at Fangio's plan for Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions on Tuesday afternoon, and expect to see more of what they did at Lambeau Field."Yeah, especially when they like to spread it out and they have big-time receiving threats," safety Donte Whitner said. "We have multiple DB's that we can bring out on the football field. Whichever package coach wants to use this week, the matchups that he likes, he'll choose to do that."But please excuse Whitner, Rogers and the rest of the 49ers secondary if they can't remember exactly all of the different alignments they are in. The 49ers were in their base defense for only a handful of the 72 snaps they had against the Packers, causing Rogers to laugh as he tried to recall who was in on what situation.But here are the basic packages:Nickel -- The 49ers use two safeties and three corners in their nickel (five defensive backs) with Rogers moving to the nickel back position to cover the slot receiver. Chris Culliver comes into the game at cornerback, with nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga departing. Ray McDonald and Justin Smith are the tackles on the four-man line, with outside linebackers Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith shifting to defensive end positions. Tramaine Brock began last season as the third cornerback, but Culliver never gave up that job after Brock missed several games after undergoing early season hand surgery. Now, Brock is the team's fifth cornerback.
Dime -- This is a defense that includes the same four defensive linemen, one linebacker and six defensive backs. The opposition typically has four wideouts on the field when the 49ers employ this defense. The only difference from the nickel is a fourth cornerback, Perrish Cox, enters the game with either inside linebacker, Patrick Willis or NaVorro Bowman, going out of the game. On Sunday, it was mostly Willis who exited when Cox entered the game in this package. In this defense, Cox plays a quasi-linebacker position. He is on the field because he has a better chance of matching up against a wide receiver. The one remaining linebacker spot is more similar to Bowman's normal position, Fangio said.Dollar -- Designed mainly for third-and-long situations, this personnel package includes only three defensive linemen (Justin Smith, McDonald and Aldon Smith), inside linebackers Willis and Bowman, and the same six defensive backs from the "dime" defense. Fangio brought in a third safety in the "dime" and "dollar" packages last season and had Whitner move down. This season, the 49ers are going with two safeties and four corners to comprise the six defensive backs.With so many moving parts the communication is almost nonstop to ensure every player knows what his responsibility is."The whole back end, the safeties all the rest of us corners, we're all talking," Cox said. "Basically all of us have to come together and just talk it up."The secondary's performance at Green Bay is a good indication they're saying the right things."Just the poise that we showed out there on the football field," Whitner said. "When you play quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, they want to get to the line of scrimmage early. They want to get early looks, play around to make you show the coverage and we didn't do that against the Green Bay Packers. So it's a step better than we were last year."AP and US Presswire images

Garcia: Best for 49ers to stick with Beathard over Garoppolo for now

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AP

Garcia: Best for 49ers to stick with Beathard over Garoppolo for now

A large portion of the 49ers’ fan base might be eager to see Jimmy Garoppolo take the field as the team’s starting quarterback. But four-time Pro Bowl quarterback Jeff Garcia believes it is best to stick with C.J. Beathard, for now.

“Because I know how important the mental side of the quarterback position is, I want to make sure Jimmy is fully comfortable and ready to grasp that,” Garcia said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“Right now, after this past game, I want to see C.J. respond with another game and start to show some consistency. This will be a great challenge against a West division rival in the Seattle Seahawks.”

Beathard has started four games since taking over for veteran Brian Hoyer. Garoppolo was acquired three weeks ago in a trade with the New England Patriots for a second-round draft pick.

Garoppolo spent his first two games with the 49ers as the team’s backup quarterback. The 49ers return to action Sunday against the Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

“They know what they like in Jimmy Garoppolo,” said Garcia, now an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area. “They’re able to see him every single day in practice, and they know what he brings to the table, as far as how he learns, how he mentally adapts, adjusts and grows within the system. It gives him more time to get confident.

“It’s not an easy system to pick up, especially when you haven’t had anything that really relates to that system in your recent past. Going from New England to San Francisco is like learning an entirely new language.”

John Lynch impressed with how Carlos Hyde is 'behaving and playing'

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USATI

John Lynch impressed with how Carlos Hyde is 'behaving and playing'

Running back Carlos Hyde has proven to be a good fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system.

And the man in charge of stocking the 49ers roster has taken notice of what Hyde has done on and off the field.

General manager John Lynch entered the playing field more than two weeks ago to greet Hyde with enthusiasm after Hyde was ejected for his tussle with Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Frostee Rucker.

Hyde got involved during the scuffle that ensued after Cardinals safety Antoine Beathea delivered an illegal hit on 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard as he was sliding.

“I was proud of Carlos because he fought for his teammate. He had his teammate’s back,” Lynch said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

Sticking up for teammates was a lesson Steve Young and Jerry Rice imparted on the current team when they spoke to the team during training camp in August, Lynch said.

“That’s what I saw from Carlos,” Lynch said. “He got sick and tired of the refs not doing anything about our quarterback getting hit in the head. He finally had enough. I think at some point – particularly when you’re trying to build something – someone’s got to stand up and say, ‘No, we’re not having it. We’re not going to pushed around any more.’

“And did my emotions get the best of me? Maybe. But I was proud of Carlos, and not because he was kicked out of a game, because of the reason why. Because he had his teammate’s back. And I wanted to let him know that. I appreciated that.”

Hyde, whose contract is set to expire after the season, ranks 11th in the NFL with 592 yards rushing while averaging 4.2 yards per rushing attempt. He is sixth among running backs in the leauge with a 49ers-leading 42 receptions for 274 yards.

“Carlos has been fun to watch this year,” Lynch said. “He’s made a big-time commitment to the way we’re asking him to do things -- the way (running backs coach) Bobby Turner and Kyle are asking him to do things. He’s walking around the building with a smile. He’s enjoying playing football. You have to if you're going to have success in this game. We’re really pleased with the way Carlos is both behaving and playing.”