49ers snap count: Heavy workload for defense and it showed

49ers snap count: Heavy workload for defense and it showed

SANTA CLARA – Coach Chip Kelly admitted his defense was worn down.

The 49ers have defended an NFL-high 914 plays from scrimmage through the first 13 games of the season.

On Sunday, while the 49ers’ offense was on the field for just 57 plays, the defense lined up for 84 snaps against the New York Jets in the 49ers’ demoralizing 23-17 overtime loss at Levi’s Stadium.

In the fourth quarter and overtime, the Jets dominated the game against a bedraggled 49ers defense that was a step slow and did not seem to have the strength to finish off tackles.

Six defensive players, including lineman DeForest Buckner, were on the field for all 84 snaps. And Kelly said the fatigue he witnessed contributed to his decision to go for it on a fourth-and-2 situation from the Jets’ 37 on the first possession of overtime. Carlos Hyde was stopped for no gain, and the Jets took over and easily marched 63 yards on six plays for the game-winning touchdown.

“I was a little concerned about putting our defense back out on the field in that situation,” Kelly said. “Obviously in the overtime rules, you kick a field goal there’s an opportunity for the other team to go back out there and match it. S we could take a little bit of pressure off of them by converting offensively.

“We didn’t take any pressure off our defense in the second half because of the three-and-outs. We weren’t helping our defense at all on the offensive side of the ball.”

The 49ers have run 101 fewer offensive plays than what their defense has defended this season. The 49ers’ defense has been on the field for seven minutes more than their offense per game.

Despite missing one game earlier this season, Buckner has played the most snaps of any interior defensive lineman in the NFL. The rookie from Oregon has lined up for 823 plays. Miami’s Ndamukong Suh is second at 785 snaps on the season. Moreover, Buckner also played eight snaps on special teams on Sunday.

Here’s a look at the complete playing time of every 49ers player on offensive, defensive and special teams:

57 -- QB Colin Kaepernick, RT Trent Brown, RG Joshua Garnett, LT Zane Beadles, LG/C Marcus Martin
49 -- WR Quinton Patton
47 -- LG Andrew Tiller
44 -- TE Garrett Celek
40 -- WR Jeremy Kerley
30 -- RB Carlos Hyde, WR Torrey Smith
27 -- RB Shaun Draughn
25 -- WR Chris Harper
17 -- TE Vance McDonald
13 -- TE Blake Bell
10 -- C Daniel Kilgore
8 -- WR Rod Streater
2 -- WR Aaron Burbridge

84 -- S Jaquiski Tartt, LB Nick Bellore, DL DeForest Buckner, CB Jimmie Ward, CB Tramaine Brock, S Antoine Bethea
73 -- LB Ahmad Brooks
61 -- LB Gerald Hodges
47 -- LB Eli Harold
46 -- CB Rashard Robinson
44 -- DL Chris Jones
43 -- DL Glenn Dorsey
39 -- DL Ronald Blair
24 -- LB Aaron Lynch
16 -- LB Michael Wilhoite
11 -- DL Mike Purcell
7 -- DB Dontae Johnson
6 -- CB Keith Reaser
2 -- DL Tony Jerod-Eddie
1 -- DB JaCorey Shepherd

Special teams
25 -- Wilhoite, Johnson
22 -- Bell
20 -- Burbridge
19 -- Vinnie Sunseri
16 -- Marcus Ball, Draughn
15 -- Streater
13 -- Tartt, Purcell
12 -- Celek
11 -- Bradley Pinion, Kyle Nelson
10 -- Bellore, Reaser, Shepherd
9 -- Phil Dawson, Robinson
8 -- Buckner
7 -- Kerley
5 -- John Theus, DuJuan Harris, Brown, Garnett, Beadles, Tiller, Jerod-Eddie
4 -- Ward
3 -- Brooks, Jones, Blair
1 -- Patton

Did not play
QB Blaine Gabbert

Not active
QB Christian Ponder
RB Mike Davis
CB Marcus Cromartie
LB Tank Carradine
T Joe Staley
TE Je’Ron Hamm
DL Quinton Dial

49ers Mailbag: New defensive line coach could pave way for top free agent


49ers Mailbag: New defensive line coach could pave way for top free agent

The revamped 49ers coaching staff is taking shape with the comings of defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and secondary coach Joe Woods to replace fired Jeff Zgonina and Jeff Hafley, who took a co-defensive coordinator position at Ohio State.

Quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello, the new offensive coordinator for Vic Fangio’s Denver Broncos, will likely be replaced with a shift of either Mike LaFleur or Mike McDaniel to a new title. The 49ers also have a couple other positions to fill, as coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch look to limit the number of preventable injuries.

Today, we solicit questions from our readers as the 49ers staff readies to get back to work next week as coaches of the South squad at the annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

How many FAs pass rushers will be signed in the off-season? (@chriscream)
The 49ers will sign one free-agent pass rusher who will be assured a spot on the 53-man roster. They might add another veteran along the lines of Jeremiah Attaochu of last year -- a player who would have to compete for a spot and win his way onto the team.

The 49ers will have some options in free agency, depending on which players are locked up via the franchise tag or contract extensions.

With the addition of defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, formerly of the Detroit Lions, the 49ers would have to be viewed as a favorite to land edge rusher Ziggy Ansah. In the past, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has also spoken highly of Dante Fowler Jr. Those two presumptive free agents could be attractive as upgrades.

The 49ers will set out to add a starter-caliber edge rusher in free agency, and come back with another impactful pass rusher in the draft.

If the 49ers plan to take an edge rusher at #2, do they look to move someone out of the current edge group in a trade and accumulate another pick? Another DE makes that room quite crowded. Does Thomas make a full time move inside next to DeFo? (@HausVonSchlegel)
I don’t know that any spare parts they have at defensive end would have much trade value. More than likely, the 49ers would hold onto everyone to cover their . . . uh . . . bases in case they have to account for injuries down the road. With the addition of a true pass-rush end, Solomon Thomas would be likely moved inside next to DeForest Buckner. But Thomas is not a nose tackle, so that anticipated move would probably not occur on most base downs.

Do you think that 49ers will try to give Armstead a new contract? Like 3-4 year with $6-$7 million yearly? (@Andersen49ers)
Right now, Armstead is on the books for $9 million for next season. There is no reason for him to take less money than that. If the 49ers do not want to devote that money to him for one year, they would have to cut him prior to the start of the new league year. Then Armstead would be a free agent and able to negotiate the best contract possible with any team in the NFL. More than likely, Armstead will play out this season on the fifth-year option, just like Jimmie Ward did in 2018.

And speaking of Jimmie Ward. . .

Fans don’t seem to care much for Jimmie Ward, however the coaches always talk him up. What, as fans are we missing that merits SF trying to retain his services considering he’s always hurt. (@LoMed1978)
Every coaching staff that’s had Ward – and there have been a few -- has really liked him because of his versatility and his toughness. Fans might scoff when they hear “toughness,” because of the injuries. Maybe “fearless” is the better description. The guy plays hard. Maybe he plays too hard. But that’s something coaches love.

And speaking of injuries . . .

Will cleaning out the training staff actually have an effect on the amount of injuries, or is it just about making moves because someone needs to take the fall? (@bathebay)
Injuries became such a huge talking point of the past two seasons, the 49ers obviously felt as if something had to be done. Will the changes help? The 49ers feel as if they needed to do something – so it can’t hurt. Ray Wright is out as strength and conditioning coach, and Jeff Ferguson was let go as the team’s athletic trainer. In my opinion, many of the football injuries that occur are unavoidable. The risk of injuries can be reduced, but they certainly cannot be eliminated. Bad luck plays into it, too. My prediction is the 49ers will sustain fewer injuries in 2019, and people will point to these changes – whether the staff moves actually played a factor or not.

What is one thing you miss about going to a game at Candlestick vs a game at Levi's? (@Random49ers)
I liked typing “Candlestick Park” more than I like typing “Levi’s Stadium.”

2019 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper Jr. has 49ers picking Josh Allen at No. 2


2019 NFL mock draft: Mel Kiper Jr. has 49ers picking Josh Allen at No. 2

Kyle Shanahan and the rest of his 49ers coaching staff won't have the opportunity of working with edge rusher Josh Allen in the Senior Bowl anymore, but that doesn't matter to ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. 

In his first mock draft of 2019, Kiper has the 49ers selecting Allen with the No. 2 overall pick. Here's why he believes the former Kentucky Wildcat is the perfect fit for San Francisco: 

If you're talking about pure pass-rushing ability, the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Allen is right up there with [Nick] Bosa.

The 49ers selected defensive linemen in three straight years from 2015 to 2017 -- Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas -- but none of those players get after the quarterback like Allen, who can play outside linebacker as well.

As a senior, Allen had 17 sacks, including three in a dominant bowl game performance against Penn State.

In the 2018 regular season, the 49ers ranked 15th in the NFL with 37 sacks, but 12 of those came from Buckner.

Allen was a consensus All-America selection, as well as the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year, Chuck Bednarik Award winner, and Bronko Nagurski Award winner. He was also chosen as the winner of the Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy, which takes into account on-field and off-field excellence.