49ers

49ers' flourishing defensive line has impressed Rams coach Sean McVay

49ers' flourishing defensive line has impressed Rams coach Sean McVay

SANTA CLARA — Richard Sherman might think that no one has taken notice of how well the 49ers defense has been playing. But he has got at least one believer in Rams coach Sean McVay.

A large part of the Rams' preparation for their division rival Sunday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum is breaking down how to counter the 49ers' pass rush that has flourished with the offseason additions of Dee Ford and Nick Bosa

“That’s a huge point of emphasis every week,” McVay said Wednesday. “But especially this week with just how aggressive and what a great job they do hitting home. Especially when they only bring four the majority of the time. To be able to apply that much pressure with a four-man rush consistently, is really impressive.” 

McVay praised the collective energy level of the group, noting the defense really embodies coach Robert Saleh’s core principle: “All Gas No Brake.” 

“They do an excellent job rotating guys and they play with an energy, snap to whistle,” McVay said. “You hear them say ‘All Gas No Brake’ and that’s what it looks like when you watch them play.” 

The 49ers defense has put together a pretty good résumé in their first four games, tallying 13 sacks, 26 quarterback hits, 20 tackles for a loss, seven interceptions and seven forced fumbles, six which have been recovered. 

Although the Rams have an ultra-talented offense, QB Jared Goff has not been immune to pressure. He has been sacked eight times, hit 18 and hurried 83 times in five games. He also has thrown an equal number of interceptions and touchdowns (seven). The 49ers' dominant front-seven has another chance to feast.

"It’s been really impressive just watching them,” McVay said. “They’re taking the ball away. They’re mixing in some different coverage principles but there’s a sound core philosophy that they have that they are committed to. Guys have an ownership of what they are trying to get done.” 

McVay also has been impressed with 49ers rookie Nick Bosa, even before his breakout game on "Monday Night Football." He believes that the rookie fits in seamlessly with the rest of the group. 

“Relentless,” McVay said. “A mature player for a rookie. Got a great feel, a great motor.”

[RELATED: How Bosa has impressed Sherman on, off the field]

Like most pundits who have high hopes for Sunday's NFC West showdown, McVay knows Sunday will be a hard-fought game between division rivals. The Rams coach not only is a believer in the defensive line, but also the players who stand behind it.

He was complimentary of veteran Richard Sherman's skillset and football IQ and was impressed with what he saw from Emmanuel Moseley in his first NFL start. He noted that the second-year cornerback showed lateral quickness and good technique. 

“What you see is a really sound defense,” McVay said. “They make you earn every single yard.” 

49ers' George Kittle 'really proud' of team's offseason work, effort

49ers' George Kittle 'really proud' of team's offseason work, effort

George Kittle was ahead of the game in preparing for what has been the most unusual offseason in NFL history. He built up his home gym before supplies ran out, permitting him to maintain his physical shape.

But, as we know, there's a difference between working out at home and playing football. Players can independently lift and train all they want, but on-field reps in a team setting are essential to success.

That's why several of the 49ers' offensive skill players have met up at various points over the last couple of months to get those reps in while team facilities remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. They've had local workouts at San Jose State, and a large contingent got together in Nashville last month.

Kittle was present for that session, which was the most-attended one yet. On the latest episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast, he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that he came away very impressed with the work his teammates have been putting in.

"Really, everyone looked good," Kittle said of the Nashville session. "It was just fun to see. You could tell guys have been working. That's the effort you want to see. My last two OTAs, guys have come back and everyone might be a little stiff because maybe they weren't training the absolute hardest because there's phase one and phase two of OTAs for you to get fully back in shape. But when everyone showed up, everyone looked good. Everyone was moving fast, catching the ball, communicating well. 

"I think one of my favorite parts is trying to teach guys the motions of our offense, because I think we motion like twice as much as any other team, and trying to coach that was really fun and interesting to watch with the rookies. But I think it was very important for us to get that time together, just so we could install a little bit. Because in the Zoom meetings, you can only do so much, and I think most guys are on-the-field learners. They need to feel it, they need to see it, and we tried our best to replicate a practice."

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

It might not have been the equivalent of a traditional practice despite their efforts, but Kittle still views those sessions as a significant benefit.

"To some extent, you can do that," Kittle continued, "but you don't have coach [Kyle] Shanahan there, you don't have coach [tight ends/assistant head coach Jon] Embree, you don't have [wide receivers coach] Wes Welker there yelling at you, you don't have the defense yelling at you. So, I think it was a good start, but we have a long way to go, and I think the foundation we have put in and that everyone has put in this offseason will definitely give us a step ahead on some teams."

[RELATED: Kittle cites 49ers captaincy, leadership as holdout deterrents]

Whenever the offseason ends, San Francisco's still will have been shorter than all but one other NFL team. That's the price of advancing to the Super Bowl, one every team surely would pay, but only two actually do each year. Given the additional wear and tear the 49ers endured on their path to Super Bowl LIV, it would have been understandable if they took more time before delving into offseason work.

But as Kittle explained, the ending of that game remains fresh in the team's mind and has served as motivation to get back to the grind.

"I'm just really proud of the team," Kittle said. "I've been talking to guys the entire offseason, even guys that don't put up videos and stuff, to just check in. I think everybody feels that. Everyone was disappointed with how the season ended, and everyone's hungry, and I think that's the best thing for a team. If you don't lose that hunger, you come back stronger than ever. So, it's just fun to watch the guys work out and really train. 

"Like I said, OTAs are a big deal, especially for rookies. Like, I can't imagine going into my rookie year without an OTA, just going straight into training camp. But I think we have a mature team, even though we're still really young, and being able just to communicate with my rookies, between Chase [Harrell] and Charlie [Woerner], they're both preparing in the right ways. I think we're all just kind of itching and we're just waiting to play football again."

Throughout league history, teams that lose in the Super Bowl often have gone on to struggle the following season. Despite it being an unprecedented offseason, the 49ers clearly are determined to buck that trend.

Raheem Mostert's agent responds to fake account rescinding trade request

Raheem Mostert's agent responds to fake account rescinding trade request

Don't believe everything you see on the internet, kids.

On Thursday, a fake Twitter account pretending to be Raheem Mostert's agent Brett Tessler appeared to rescind the trade request the running back made Wednesday. The account duped people across the internet, by putting an uppercase "I" in place of the lowercase "L" in Tessler's actual Twitter handle.

The real Tessler logged on to respond to the fake account, and make it known that his client has not changed his mind about wanting to be traded from the 49ers.

You know you've made it when the internet starts fake accounts.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Tessler and Mostert requested a trade from the 49ers on Wednesday, citing "unproductive talks" as the playoff hero looks to get the pay raise he believes he's earned after a massive postseason performance that saw him rush for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the 49ers' NFC Championship Game win over the Green Bay Packers.

Mostert, 28, went from key special teams player to lead running back during the course of the season. After a long NFL journey, it's understandable that Mostert would want to cash in, as the expiration date for most running backs is before the age of 30.

With the financial situation in the NFL uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic, it's easy to see why Mostert and the 49ers are at a standstill. Mostert currently is the 23rd highest-paid running back in the NFL, which is, by definition, starter's money. Unfortunately for Mostert, he has no leverage in this situation.

[RELATED: Sherman blasts NFL's 2020 jersey swap policy]

Back to the plague of fake Twitter accounts.

Now, you might be wondering who would get bamboozled by an uppercase "I" replacing a lowercase "L?" Oh, no one in particular.

Sorry, Matt. Even the best get got.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]