49ers

Kelly: No changes to 49ers defensive staff after loss

Kelly: No changes to 49ers defensive staff after loss

SANTA CLARA – The search for answers will continue during the 49ers’ bye week. But coach Chip Kelly said he has already concluded he will make no changes to the defensive staff.

The 49ers surrendered 513 yards of total offense to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadiium. The Buccaneers, who entered the game with the league's 27th-ranked run game, rushed for 249 yards in their 34-17 victory over the 49ers.

Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil has come under fire, but Kelly told reporters he is not looking to make any changes to his staff. Kelly said he already spends ample time with O’Neil on a weekly basis.

"We spend time together during the week," Kelly said. "We carve out time in terms of how we watch film and what we do and understand the plan as we’re moving forward. There’s good communication going on form that standpoint. It’s not like I don’t know what’s going on on the defensive side of the ball.”

Defensive players in the 49ers’ locker room expressed confidence in O’Neil’s scheme.

“I love this scheme,” safety Eric Reid said. “If everybody does their job, we shouldn’t get beat. But whenever there’s an explosive play, somebody is out of position. We just got to tighten up.”

Said defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, “We have a great scheme and we have the guys to fit the scheme that he’s trying to run for us. Everybody individually, including myself, just needs to do better.”

Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who left the game in the third quarter with a high-ankle sprain, expressed a view of the team’s defensive players that was more than a bit optimistic.

“We have the team,” Lynch said. “We possibly have one of the best teams in the NFL, easily. Hands down. We need to know how to keep finishing games and work together throughout the whole game. Once we get that down, nobody’s going to be able to mess with us.”

The 49ers rank last in the NFL in rushing defense. The 49ers gave up 561 yards rushing in the past two games, the worst back-to-back weeks in franchise history.

Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers was the latest player to feast on the 49ers' defense. Rodgers rushed for a career-high 154 yards on 26 carries to become the sixth consecutive opponent to gain more than 100 yards on the 49ers.

“Of course, I am frustrated with it,” 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. “You play this game to win. When we give up points the way that we do, the way we give up yards, it is just unacceptable. It is frustrating.

“Anything is fixable. I just think that the guys that get double-teamed maybe have to do a better job at taking on the double-team. I know that is difficult, but that is what we signed up for. The guys that are getting doubled have to be able to get off those double-teams and just try to do a better job.”

Jimmy Garoppolo is back in the building, already at 49ers meetings

Jimmy Garoppolo is back in the building, already at 49ers meetings

SANTA CLARA -- 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo already is back at the facility attending meetings after his ACL surgery. 

In his final press conference before Sunday’s match-up with the Los Angeles Rams, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed that Garoppolo was back with his team. 

“He got back on Tuesday,” Shanahan said, “so Wednesday he’s been in all the team meetings and stuff, and it’s been good to have him around. He’s still on his crutches and everything, so he’s not going out to practice or anything.” 

Similar to practice, injured players typically are not allowed on the sidelines during games because of the risk of further injuries. As a result, Garoppolo could be at the stadium on game day but not out on the field. 

Shanahan seemed genuinely pleased to see his franchise quarterback back in the building when he gave an update on Garoppolo’s appearance. 

“It was good to see his face,” Shanahan said. “Definitely has grown his beard out a little bit. You can tell he’s been sitting in a hospital or in a bed most of his time. Good to have him back in the building.

"He needs to make a few more strides just healing from his surgery and things like that, and we will get him around a lot more.”

Going through a season-ending injury is traumatic, but Shanahan reported that Garoppolo seems to be in good spirits. 

“Seems good,” Shanahan said. “Seeing him in the meetings, just talking to him a little bit, you know, I think he’s happy to be back with the team and to get back in this with us.” 

The only silver lining of both running back Jerick McKinnon and Garoppolo both going through ACL rehabilitation is that they will be able to do it together. 

49ers-Rams injury report: Ahkello Witherspoon in line to start after no snaps

49ers-Rams injury report: Ahkello Witherspoon in line to start after no snaps

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who is on pace to be cleared through the NFL’s concussion protocol, is likely to start Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday.

Witherspoon is expected to start in place of Jimmie Ward, who re-aggravated a hamstring condition late in the 49ers’ Monday night loss to the Green Bay Packers. Ward is listed as doubtful to play against the Rams.

Witherspoon did not play any snaps of defense in Green Bay, as the 49ers opted for Greg Mabin after Ward was injured in the fourth quarter.

The 49ers have an issue on the cornerback spots, too. Veteran Richard Sherman is listed as questionable after not practicing Friday because of a calf condition, the team announced. Nickel back K'Waun Williams is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Witherspoon was diagnosed with a concussion after colliding with Mabin on the Packers’ game-winning field goal on the final play of regulation. Witherspoon was limited with no contact in practices Thursday and Friday, so he has to pass the contact requirement before Sunday’s game, Shanahan said.

Wide receivers Pierre Garçon and Trent Taylor are listed as questionable after taking part in limited drills Friday.

The 49ers will not have wide receiver Dante Pettis' services for the third consecutive game. Pettis sustained a left knee sprain on Sept. 23 while returning a first-quarter punt against the Los Angeles Chargers.

For the Rams, wide receiver Cooper Kupp has been ruled out with a knee injury. Kupp is the Rams’ second-leading receiver with 30 catches for 438 yards and a team-leading five touchdowns.

49ers injury report

Out
WR Dante Pettis (knee)

Doubtful
CB Jimmie Ward (hamstring)

Questionable
WR Pierre Garcon (shoulder, knee)
CB Richard Sherman (calf)
WR Trent Taylor (back)
CB K'Waun Williams (shoulder)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (concussion)

49ers practice report

FRIDAY
Did not practice
WR Dante Pettis (knee)
CB Richard Sherman (calf)
CB Jimmie Ward (hamstring)

Limited practice
WR Pierre Garcon (shoulder, knee)
WR Trent Taylor (back)
CB K'Waun Williams (shoulder)
CB Ahkello Witherspoon (concussion)

Full participation
RB Matt Breida (shoulder, ankle)
LB Reuben Foster (shoulder)
G Joshua Garnett (toe)
WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring, quadricep)
TE George Kittle (knee)
G Mike Person (knee)
C Weston Richburg (knee)
OT Joe Staley (knee)
S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder)

Rams injury report

Out
WR Cooper Kupp (knee)

Rams practice report

FRIDAY
Did not practice
WR Cooper Kupp (knee)

Limited practice
DE Michael Brockers (shoulder)

Full participation
DE Michael Brockers (shoulder)
LB Matt Longacre (back)
WR Josh Reynolds (hand)
G Rodger Saffold (knee)
C John Sullivan (not injury related)
OT Andrew Whitworth (not injury related)
K Greg Zuerlein (right groin)