O'Neil: Staff continues to learn about 49ers' personnel

O'Neil: Staff continues to learn about 49ers' personnel

ORLANDO, Fla. – Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said there have been adjustments made to the team’s alignment as a result of getting to better know the 49ers' changing personnel.

“We tweaked a couple things to help out who we have playing at inside ‘backer and to fit our personnel up front,” O’Neil said on Tuesday before practice at the University of Central Florida.

“As the season goes on you learn more and more about your football team. With this being our first year, you think you know and you think you learn about your guys and what you’re going to be good at throughout the spring and throughout the summer and preseason. But the reality is you really don’t truly know until you’re playing real games on Sunday.”

The 49ers’ run defense has shown improvement since allowing a 100-yard rusher in seven consecutive games. The 49ers’ run defense had one of its better days on Sunday, allowing Miami's Jay Ajayi to gain just 45 yards on 18 carries.

The 49ers have played most of the season without their top two inside linebackers. After injuries to NaVorro Bowman and Ray-Ray Armstrong, the 49ers have used Nick Bellore, Gerald Hodges and Michael Wilhoite at inside linebacker.

“Every week we tweak stuff,” O’Neil said. “We tweak stuff in the pass game. We tweak stuff with our blitzes. We tweak stuff in the run game. So yeah, as the season’s gone on like we always talk about, we’ve tried to put guys in position to make more plays and do what we think that they do the best.”

Before that game, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke talked about the adjustments on KNBR during the pregame show.

“I think the fits have gotten better,” Baalke said. “We’ve tightened things down, inside the tight end, which has helped, and we needed to. We’ve gotten ourselves in situations where we’ve been stressed, especially at the inside linebacker position and it’s cost us some games. Playing good run defense, discipline fits, you know it, you played it.”

The 49ers entered the game surrendering 179.5 yards rushing per game. After holding the Dolphins to 95 yards on 26 carries, the average dropped to 171.8 yards per game, which still ranks last in the NFL by more than 30 yards per game.

The 49ers rank last in the NFL in total yards allowed and in scoring defense.

Richard Sherman has message for Antonio Brown in his bid to join 49ers


Richard Sherman has message for Antonio Brown in his bid to join 49ers

Richard Sherman knows what it's like to leave the only franchise he's ever known to join the 49ers.

So, what does he think about Antonio Brown's desire to play in San Francisco?

"Good luck to him," Sherman told TMZ on Thursday night in Los Angeles.

The All-Pro receiver wants out of Pittsburgh and to come to the 49ers "really badly," according to Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II has said the team won't release Brown but will explore all other options, including a trade. Rooney also said he expects discussions regarding Brown's future to heat up in mid-March when the new league year begins.

Sherman, who signed a three-year, $27.15 million contract with the 49ers last March, was asked about his time in the Bay Area.

"So far, so good," Sherman told TMZ.

Before Sherman could get away, he was asked if he had a message for Brown.

"Go wherever it makes him happy," Sherman said.

49ers' George Kittle voted 2018 Most Improved Player of the Year by PFWA


49ers' George Kittle voted 2018 Most Improved Player of the Year by PFWA

George Kittle had an impressive 2018 season for the 49ers to the say the least.

Kittle was named the top tight end in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, and PFF even told NBC Sports Bay Area his season could be considered one of the all-time greats if data was around years ago to back it up.

Regardless, he will be known for breaking the NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end, finishing his 2018 campaign with 1,377 yards.

Kittle can now add "Most Improved Player of the Year" to his list of accomplishments, as voted by the Pro Football Writers of America.

This is on top of being voted by the PFWA's All-NFC Team Tuesday and just about every other prestigious football honor one can receive.

[RELATED: Kittle asked media to hurry up to attend WWE event]

The best part is knowing Kittle is only 25 years old, and can surely still get better.

But for now, we should all relish in his growing list of impressive resume accomplishments.