For Buckner, improving 49ers' pass rush is one-step process


For Buckner, improving 49ers' pass rush is one-step process

SAN JOSE -- The 49ers may need just one quick step in order to improve their biggest area of concern this season.

The 49ers ranked tied for 26th in the NFL last season with 30 quarterback sacks. The club declined this offseason to pick up the option on veteran Elvis Dumervil, who led the 49ers with 6.5 sacks. The 49ers have been unable to generate much of a pass rush since the release of Aldon Smith prior to the 2015 season.

So much of the onus for an improved pass rush falls onto the shoulders of DeForest Buckner, the team’s best defensive player. He recorded just three sacks last season but is clearly capable of so much more.

Buckner said the emphasis of his offseason training is to find that extra step. He led the NFL last season with 19 quarterback hits, according to Pro Football Focus.

“I had too many, you know, almosts," Buckner said at a gathering to announce events connected with the college football national championship game, which is coming to Levi's Stadium on Jan. 7, 2019. "And I’m just really trying to find that extra step in my game.

“And I really think it’s going to help me this year, especially working this offseason, finding that extra step – whether it’s footwork, getting my strength up in my lower half. I’m working on everything I can to get that extra step so I can really finish those sacks.”

Buckner has the ability to generate a pass rush from the interior of the line. The 49ers are counting on contributions from a long list of potential pass-rushers, including Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Ronald Blair, Cassius Marsh, Jeremiah Attaochu, Eli Harold and Pita Taumoepenu. The 49ers could also add a pass-rusher -- as early as No. 9 overall -- in the upcoming NFL Draft.

“I think we have the guys, the tools, to do it right now,” Buckner said. “And if they want to go out and get an extra guy to help out the team, it’s a benefit. Right now, we have the pieces to do it. We all know we have to be more consistent.”

'The thing that Jerry Rice was No. 1 at ...' -- Cris Carter assesses best receiver ever

'The thing that Jerry Rice was No. 1 at ...' -- Cris Carter assesses best receiver ever

In case you didn't have cell phone reception over the weekend and missed it, Jerry Rice made it official ...

"I'm the f***ing best football player of all time," Rice declared while in Tahoe for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament.

In football, we typically separate the "best ever" by position group because it's hard to determine the best player overall. So, it's basically unanimous that Rice is the best wide receiver to ever play.

But what made him so special?

"The thing that Jerry Rice was No. 1 at -- Jerry Rice is the best conditioned athlete I've ever seen," Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter said Monday on Fox Sports 1. "He took training to whole another level. ... Jerry Rice wasn't fast on the clock, but he had game speed. I never saw anyone catch him.

"He was the No. 1 football player ever at catch and run. They didn't talk about yards after catch until Jerry Rice. The No. 1 focused and disciplined athlete that I've ever been around."

Rice holds NFL records in touchdowns (208), receiving yards (22,895) and receptions (1,549) -- to name a few ...

Richard Sherman bluntly explains how the Seahawks 'lost their way'


Richard Sherman bluntly explains how the Seahawks 'lost their way'

How does Richard Sherman really feel about the Seahawks? Well, you don't have to wonder.

The 49ers cornerback pretty much laid it all out there to Robert Klemko of the MMQB.

“They’ve lost their way. It’s as simple as that," Sherman said. "They’ve just lost their way. When you make too many mistakes over a long period of time, you kind of dig yourself a hole. And then when you backtrack, you gotta make a bunch of rash decisions to try and fill the hole and hope that it holds up.

"When we were rolling, it was an environment for pure competitors. When it becomes something else, then it’s more difficult to thrive in, and I think that’s what was tough on Earl (Thomas), that’s what was tough on a lot of guys. But I think as it kind of progressed, you start seeing the writing on the wall.

"You’re like, ‘Not only are they probably moving in a different direction,’ but it’s like, ‘Ah, well, I kind of want to move in a different direction, too.’ So it happens like that. All great things must come to an end, I guess.

“I’m not even going to worry about it now. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

Sherman, who spent seven seasons in Seattle, isn't worried about what happened and is happening there, but back in March, he made it clear that one reason he signed with the 49ers was because of the opportunity to face the Seahawks twice per season.

The 49ers are scheduled to play in Seattle on Dec. 2 and host the Seahawks on Dec. 16.