49ers

Former 49ers lineman Keith Fahnhorst, 66, passes away

keith49ersap.jpg
AP

Former 49ers lineman Keith Fahnhorst, 66, passes away

Keith Fahnhorst, who played 14 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and started on two Super Bowl-winning teams, died on Tuesday. He was 66.

Fahnhorst was among a large group of players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl championship team that gathered at Levi’s Stadium in October in a celebration of Dwight Clark. Fahnhorst and Clark were teammates for the 49ers’ Super Bowl-titlle teams of 1981 and 1984. Clark passed away on June 6 from ALS.

Fahnhorst, who was in a wheelchair during his trip to the Bay Area last season, battled many physical ailments since his career ended in 1987. He was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and underwent a kidney transplant in 2002. Fahnhorst was also later diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

A second-round draft pick of the 49ers in 1974 from the University of Minnesota, Fahnhorst was a mainstay at right tackle as the organization struggled in the mid-to-late 1970s, then found success in the 1980s under coach Bill Walsh.

“Everybody knew they could count on Keith,” Walsh said in the 2005 book, “San Francisco 49ers: Where Have Gone?”

Fahnhorst appeared in 193 regular-season games, ranking behind only Len Rohde among offensive linemen in 49ers history. He started 170 games, including all 10 postseason games in which he appeared. He was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team and was selected as a first-team All-Pro after the 1984 season. He was a two-time winner of the Bobb McKittrick Award for best representing the courage, intensity and sacrifice displayed by the longtime 49ers offensive line coach.

Keith Fahnhorst and his younger brother, Jim, were 49ers teammates for the final four years of Keith’s career. Jim Fahnhorst, a linebacker, played for the 49ers from 1984 to 1990. Neither Keith nor Jim Fahnhorst played for any NFL team other than the 49ers.

Brent Jones believes core of a 49ers playoff team already is in place

jimmygredhappy.jpg
AP

Brent Jones believes core of a 49ers playoff team already is in place

One season removed from nine consecutive losses to open the season, the 49ers may not be all that far from playoff contention, former tight end Brent Jones said.

“You talk about flipping it,” Jones said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “It just shows me that John (Lynch) and Kyle (Shanahan) have a good plan and understanding that it’s still about talent development and talent acquisition that go toward building a playoff and, potentially, a championship organization.

“It’s been a pretty quick turnaround from where we started the season last year.”

Jones said he believes the 49ers showed promise in the team’s first two games of the season – a loss at Minnesota and a home victory over Detroit -- but must exhibit more consistency and avoid injuries to place themselves in position to compete for a spot in the NFC playoffs.

“We have some players that are going to be part of the core going forward four, five, six years from now,” he said. “I think the more consistent we get, the more possibilities we have to be a consistent playoff team. I think it starts this year.”

Jones is not at all discouraged by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s up-and-down first two games. He described the 49ers’ acquisition of Garoppolo as similar to obtaining a “fully loaded computer” after coming over in a trade from New England, where he learned from quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick.

“A fully loaded computer doesn’t mean you don’t have a software update every now and then,” Jones said. “But a guy who trained under arguably the greatest, alongside Joe Montana, and one of the greatest coaches to ever coach, just your awareness and your analysis of the game and defense, all those things, is so much different than drafting a quarterback and developing him.”

Jones played 11 seasons at tight end for the 49ers. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame nominee who was selected to four Pro Bowls and played on three Super Bowl-winning teams.

He currently lives in Dallas and plays fantasy football. He has 49ers second-year tight end George Kittle on one of his teams, he said. Kittle leads the 49ers with seven receptions for 112 yards.

“I really do like George a lot,” Jones said. “He has really good route-running, smooth, nuanced receiving skills with the way he attacks routes and the way he catches the ball. With any young player, you’re looking for more consistency.

“He can explode and have six or seven catches and take it to the house from 60 yards, but he’s got to be able to focus and sometimes instead of getting up field, you got to look that ball into your hands and make the easy catches, as well as the tough ones. I think that just comes with playing time and consistency.”

49ers snap count: Solomon Thomas improves with less playing time

thomassolomon49erslions.jpg
USATI

49ers snap count: Solomon Thomas improves with less playing time

SANTA CLARA -- Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas played the fifth-most snaps of any 49ers’ defensive lineman on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. But Thomas turned in a solid performance, providing some pressure on quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“I thought he showed up a lot (Sunday),” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday. “I thought he was playing hard in pursuit, and I thought he showed up at the quarterback a couple of times.

“I thought he had a better game than he did a week before, and I expect that to continue throughout the year.”

Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 draft, played 37 snaps and accounted for four quarterback hurries on his 22 plays as a pass-rusher, according to Pro Football Focus. He played 47 percent of the 49ers’ defensive snaps after playing 35 snaps or 49 percent of the plays in the opener at Minnesota.

Again, DeForest Buckner led the way for the 49ers’ defense with one sack, one quarterback hit and three hurries. Buckner played 64 snaps, which is more than defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said last week he hopes any 49ers’ defensive lineman plays in a game this season.

The 49ers did not generate consistent pressure on Stafford, and he picked apart the San Francisco secondary with 347 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was hobbled with an ankle injury, and the Lions took advantage. Witherspoon allowed eight catches on 12 targets for 99 yards and two touchdowns, according to PFF. Witherspoon was taken off the field late in the game, as he played 64 of team’s 74 defensive plays.

On the other side, Detroit avoided challenging Richard Sherman. According to PFF, Sherman saw one pass thrown his way. It was incomplete. He has allowed only one reception in 99 downs in pass coverage through two games, being targeted once every 24.75 coverage snaps leads all qualifying NFL cornerbacks, according to PFF. His 0.18 yards allowed per coverage snaps ranks second behind Arizona’s Patrick Peterson.

Here are the total numbers of snaps of every 49ers player who saw action on Sunday in the team’s 30-27 win over the Lions:

Offense

Total offensive snaps: 64
Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo 64
Running back – Kyle Juszczyk 40, Alfred Morris 31, Matt Breida 26
Wide receiver – Dante Pettis 56, Pierre Garçon 48, Trent Taylor 16, Kendrick Bourne 10, Richie James 7
Tight end – George Kittle 50, Garrett Celek 30, Cole Wick 6
Offensive line – Joe Staley 64, Mike McGlinchey 64, Laken Tomlinson 64, Weston Richburg 64, Mike Person 64

Defense

Total defensive snaps: 77
Defensive line – DeForest Buckner 64, Cassius Marsh 54, Arik Armstead 54, Ronald Blair 40, Solomon Thomas 37, Earl Mitchell 25, Sheldon Day 20, D.J. Jones 13
Linebacker – Fred Warner 77, Elijah Lee 72, Mark Nzeocha 16
Defensive back – Adrian Colbert 77, Richard Sherman 77, Jaquiski Tartt 71, Ahkello Witherspoon 64, K’Waun Williams 61, Jimmie Ward 19, Antone Exum 6

Special teams

Total special teams plays: 34
Tarvarius Moore 25, Nzeocha 25, Raheem Mostert 20, Exum 20, Bradley Pinion 18, D.J. Reed 16, Celek 16, Greg Mabin 15, Terence Garvin 15, Wick 15, Marsh 15, Ward 15, Warner 14, Buckner 14, Lee 13, Witherspoon 12, Kyle Nelson 11, Tartt 9, Jones 8, Robbie Gould 6, Garry Gilliam 6, Staley 6, Richburg 6, Tomlinson 6, McGlinchey 6, Mitchell 6, Breida 5, Juszczyk 5, Colbert 5, Thomas 5, Sherman 4, Taylor 4, Armstead 3, Williams 3, Pettis 2