49ers

John Lynch responds to criticism over Juszczyk's record contract

John Lynch responds to criticism over Juszczyk's record contract

The 49ers made Kyle Juczczyk the highest paid fullback in the NFL at $5 million per year.

The 49ers also gave Malcolm Smith $12 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons combined.

According to NFL.com: "It looks like agents smelled blood in the water with new general manager John Lynch and knocked him around at the negotiating table."

On Friday, the 49ers GM responded.

"We're proud of those signings," Lynch told KNBR 680 on Friday. "We really are ... if you're sitting there reading everything that people are saying about you and taking it personally, you aren't gonna be very successful ... I think the reason they both got nice contracts is because they were wanted. And we weren't the only ones that wanted them. In a lot of our situations, we weren't the highest bidder."

Juszczyk was a fourth round pick in 2013 out of Harvard and reached the Pro Bowl with the Ravens last year.

Malcolm Smith, who was named Super Bowl XLVIII MVP, started 30 games for the Raiders over the past two seasons.

"Guys came because there's an exciting vibe here; guys want to be here," Lynch added. "None of this means anything until they go play and we go play. But those are two guys we're very excited to have as part of the 49ers."

Lynch then shared the story behind the negotiations with Juszczyk.

"In that period where the negotiating period started, we were doing some traveling and we got a call and they said, 'Here's where it's at now,' and we said, 'Wow,' because we set in with 'Hey, to get this guy, we're gonna have to likely make him the highest paid fullback ever.' And we were willing to do that...

"But then it kind of got to even another step and we had to all stop and kind of look at each other and go, 'OK. This is getting real.' And that's when we kind of came up the philosophy he's not just a fullback; he's an offensive weapon ... I'm gonna trust my instincts on what the guy brings, not necessarily what the rest of the market sees him as.

"You can't go crazy with that, but like I said, we weren't the only ones interested in this guy ... he's still worth it to us."

Jameis Winston gets start at QB for the Bucs in Week 12 against 49ers

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Jameis Winston gets start at QB for the Bucs in Week 12 against 49ers

Jameis Winston got the starting nod as the Bucs quarterback in Week 12 when the team takes on the 49ers on Sunday, the team confirmed Monday.

The 24-year-old came off the bench in the second half of the Bucs' 38-35 loss to the Giants in Week 10. But prior to that, he hasn't touched a football as a starter since Week 8. He's replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick who threw three interceptions to the Giants which included a pick-six. So this isn't exactly a surprise.

Still, the 49ers are coming off a bye week and Winston could make some mistakes. It's up to the defense to take advantage of any confidence the Bucs' offense might be lacking. And while Winston isn't one to crumble under pressure, San Francisco has ample opportunity to impose and get some turnovers -- those can be the game changers and result in a much-needed win for the team.

Overall, this season, Winston has accumulated 11 interceptions and eight touchdowns in five games and compiled a 1-2 record.

Lack of 49ers' pass rush this season was predictable

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Lack of 49ers' pass rush this season was predictable

Editor’s note: The 49ers break for the bye week with a 2-8 record. This is part of a series that recaps the first 10 games with an eye to the future. In this installment, we examine what has gone wrong.

We could look at the minus-15 turnover margin.

We could look at the 49ers’ inability to close out four games in the fourth quarter.

We could look at the rash of injuries to some of the team’s top players, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon.

We could look at a number of areas that have combined to make the 49ers among the worst teams in the NFL and in strong contention for the No. 1 overall pick.

But there was one shortcoming of the 49ers that was predictable, and that led to a trickle-down of problems with the team.

Every team is looking for pass-rushers. The 49ers looked for players to get heat on the quarterback in the offseason. They ended up re-signing Cassius Marsh and adding free-agent Jeremiah Attaochu.

Marsh has been the 49ers’ best edge rusher, though he has just 3.5 sacks with 2.5 coming against the Raiders in Week 9. Attaochu proved difficult to motivate, and the 49ers cut him before the start of the regular season.

The 2018 draft was not exactly teeming with edge rushers – it rarely is – so the 49ers did not even try to reach for a player out of desperation. There was one pass-rusher who was far-and-away better than the others, and the 49ers had no shot at him.

The Denver Broncos, who already had Von Miller, invested the fifth overall pick in Bradley Chubb. He leads all rookies with nine sacks.

Marcus Davenport was considered a possibility for the 49ers at No. 9, but general manager John Lynch and the rest of the organization have no buyer’s remorse with their pick of right tackle Mike McGlinchey.

Where the 49ers might want a re-do would be in the second round. The 49ers selected wide receiver Dante Pettis. Eight spots later, the Indianapolis Colts chose edge rusher Kemoko Turay of Rutgers. Turay is tied for third in the NFL among rookies with four sacks. Davenport also has four sacks with the New Orleans Saints.

DeForest Buckner has been the team’s only consistent pass-rusher. He leads the 49ers with six sacks. Ronald Blair is tied with Marsh for second with 3.5 sacks apiece. The 49ers have 25 sacks in 10 games, but eight of them came against the Raiders.

Because the 49ers have not generated steady pressure, it has forced defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to get more creative with his calls. And that has not been successful, either.

The 49ers’ defense is based on the Seattle Seahawks scheme the Seattle Seahawks have deployed with great success for years. It is designed to be a simple three-deep scheme. But with the lack of pressure from the four-man pass rush, Saleh has tried to get inventive to generate a pass rush.

The result has been more blown coverages and exploitation of mismatches. Offenses have detected the vulnerabilities in the 49ers’ defense what would not be so easily exposed if the 49ers had a better pass rush.