49ers

An 'elite' Tank Carradine? For his role on 49ers' D-line, Saleh says yes

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An 'elite' Tank Carradine? For his role on 49ers' D-line, Saleh says yes

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers made a second-round investment in Tank Carradine in the 2012 draft – knowing he would not contribute as a rookie while he rehabbed from ACL surgery – because of his pass-rush skills.

But, now, Carradine seems to be virtually assured of winning a spot on the 49ers’ 53-man roster because of his play in the run game.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh described Carradine as “damn-near an elite six-technique.” The six-technique is aligned straight-up on the tight end. Saleh compared Carradine (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) to former Seahawks lineman Red Bryant, a key player on a Super Bowl champion who was listed at 6-5, 326.

“With Tank, when I say ‘elite,’ I’m talking as a run-down, six-technique, someone who just can really dominate his edge and own the line of scrimmage,” Saleh said on the 49ers Insider Podcast on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He’s a different body type than what Red Bryant was back in the day, but he gets the same result in terms of just knock-back, winning on the edge.”

Carradine has lined up with the 49ers’ first-team defense since the beginning of the offseason program. Rookie Solomon Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick, also plays the 49ers’ “big end” position. Thomas’ strengths are in different areas, which could enable Saleh to maximize production from both players in specialized roles.

49ers' Richie James focusing on consistency, not what future holds

49ers' Richie James focusing on consistency, not what future holds

DENVER – Wide receiver Richie James has settled into the 49ers’ offense after a rookie season in which he never completely got comfortable with the offensive playbook.

So the last thing he needs as the 49ers enter their second preseason game Monday night against the Denver Broncos is to be thinking about anything that could take his focus off his job.

James is one of at least eight 49ers wide receivers who figures to be on an NFL roster this season. But not all of them will remain with the 49ers when the regular season begins. James could be attractive to some team – such as the Broncos – who need a wide receiver and return man if James does not stick with the 49ers.

“You try to control what you can control -- be the best person in this offense and be the best person in any offense,” James said. “It doesn’t matter. Just be you. You kind of let it go and not let it get to you. If you let it consume you, you’re off your game and you’re not thinking about the right thing.”

James is coming off an up-and-down rookie season in which he showed flashes in every aspect of his game. He caught nine passes for 130 yards, including a 53-yarder. He also had a 97-yard touchdown on a kickoff return.

He said the main objective in his second training camp is to achieve consistency. After already being in Kyle Shanahan’s system for one year, James is gaining more confidence in his role.

“Last year, I was thinking way much more,” James said. “But now you kind of got a glimpse of the whole offense and you can think outside the box a little bit – think of the extra stuff: the coverages, who you’re going against, what you need to do, the techniques and stuff like that.”

James had a good training camp, including two solid days of work against the Broncos in practices. Shanahan said he has been impressed by what he’s seen from James.

“I think he’s done a good job and stepped it up throughout camp,” Shanahan said. “I think he’s done a real good job.”

[RELATED: 49ers Mailbag: 10 questions before Monday preseason Broncos game]

James faces stiff competition for a roster spot. Rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, the team’s second- and third-round draft picks, have two spots locked up.

Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Jordan Matthews also are in competition for their roles. James showed plenty of big-play potential as a rookie, and now he is looking to show that aspect of his game with more frequency with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback.

“They know I can do it,” James said. “People have seen it. The quarterbacks have seen it. They believe I can do it. It’s just about being consistent with it. That’s getting Kyle’s trust and Jimmy’s trust.”

49ers vs. Broncos live stream: How to watch NFL preseason game online

49ers vs. Broncos live stream: How to watch NFL preseason game online

Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for ... Jimmy Garoppolo is back.

The 49ers quarterback is expected to make his return to the gridiron Monday night when the 49ers face the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is undecided on how long his franchise signal-caller will play, but it marks one of the final steps in Garoppolo's return from the torn ACL he suffered in Week 3 of last season.

If you blink you might miss Jimmy G, but the 49ers still have a number of intriguing players who likely will play meaningful snaps in Denver.

Rookie wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd have opened eyes during training camp, and the 49ers' defense has impressed during joint practices with the Broncos.

While Garoppolo only will see limited minutes, you still won't want to miss the action in Denver. 

Here's how you can watch 49ers vs. Broncos game live online:

Start time: Monday, Aug. 19, at 5 p.m. PT
TV channel: ESPN
49ers live stream: fuboTV -- Get a free trial