49ers

Kelly: 49ers deserve no credit for not giving up

Kelly: 49ers deserve no credit for not giving up

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Down by 17 points in the fourth quarter on Sunday, there was little question the 49ers would end up on the losing end once again.

The 49ers rallied but came up 2 yards short of potentially sending the game into overtime. The team's 31-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins set the San Francisco franchise record with a 10th consecutive loss.

“The mentally we had as a team was, ‘Let’s go get this win,’” 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. “I thought our guys did a great job fighting until the very end.

“At the beginning of the game I asked them to go four quarters with me and they did. Our defense did a great job at the end to give us the opportunity to get the ball back and go score. We have to be able to finish these with touchdowns to give us an opportunity to win the game.”

Kaepernick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for a 113 yards. But he was stopped short of the goal line when he took off running after failing to spot anyone open in the end zone as time expired.

“It’s tough, because you work all week just like any other week,” 49ers center Daniel Kilgore said. “We had a good week of practice and first drive we marched down the field, score. A couple of drives later, a turnover. It never felt out like we were out of it. We just have to make the plays when we’re called on.

“That’s a good defensive front. I felt like we handled them pretty well, but the ball didn’t bounce our way, and we got to come back and get better the next week.”

The 49ers lost by at least 12 points in six of their first seven games along their record-setting streak. The 49ers lost to the Arizona Cardinals 23-20 on Nov. 13. Last week, they hung tough for a while in a 30-17 loss to the New England Patriots.

“This is the third week now where we were getting closer and closer to getting out of the hump,” 49ers tight end Vance McDonald said. “All you can ask for as an offense is a chance to win the game at the end. Again, it’s just frustrating the three weeks in a row where we’ve been right there, really close.”

In a rarity this season, the 49ers outgained Miami in total yards and first downs. The 49ers ran 15 more offensive plays and controlled the ball for only one minute less than the Dolphins.

“Honestly, I don’t think this one hurts no more than New England or the Dallas game, but they all hurt,” 49ers receiver Jeremy Kerley said. “To get that close and come up short, you just think back on all the things you could have done better.”

Two turnovers proved costly for the 49ers. Garrett Celek fumbled after reaching the Dolphins’ 15-yard line. And Torrey Smith had a Kaepernick pass deflect off his hands on the first play of the third quarter. The Dolphins turned those takeaways into 10 points.

“There are no moral victories,” Smith said. “But I think it doesn’t help when you know that you are capable of it. We’ve known that forever. We’ve just got to go out there and consistently do it and finish. That’s why we’ve lost so many games. We’ve been in every game, for the most part, and we haven’t been able to finish.”

Coach Chip Kelly and the 49ers flew to Orlando after Sunday’s game and will take part in practices this week at the University of Central Florida before traveling to Chicago. The 49ers return to action Sunday against the Bears.

Players up and down the roster remarked about how the team continues to approach every week with the same commitment toward getting back in the win column. Kelly said the 49ers should not be credited for merely not giving up.

“They’re professionals and I think they’re all competitors so I don’t know what they’d gain from packing it in,” Kelly said. “Is that going to make them feel better? They want to straighten this thing out so they’re going to go out and compete and we’ve got a bunch of competitors in there that want to go win.

“I don’t want anybody to pat them on the back and tell them that ‘Hey, you did a good job. You were close.’ They’re grown men, they want to win and they’ll continue to work that way. They’ve practiced great all year long. They’ve had great attitudes in terms of what they’ve got to do when we go out to the practice field and I don’t think that’s in anybody’s mindset. I think it is questions that are asked from the outside, but there’s never been a question about that from the inside.”

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

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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

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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.