Solomon Thomas

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

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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

Four 49ers players to watch in home opener vs. Lions

Four 49ers players to watch in home opener vs. Lions

On Sunday, the 49ers fully believe they should come away with a victory when the Detroit Lions come to Levi’s Stadium.

Here are the top four 49ers to watch against the Lions, 48-17 losers in their season opener against the New York Jets.

QB Jimmy Garoppolo

After seven victories in his first seven NFL starts, Garoppolo finally tasted defeat in Week 1 with a 24-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Garoppolo did not play well, but he also did not get much help from his teammates, either.

So, for the first time in his career, Garoppolo faces adversity. All eyes will be on him to see how he responds after a bad game.

Garoppolo completed just 15 of 33 pass attempts for 261 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions against Minnesota. His passer rating was a career-low 45.1.

Along the way, Dante Pettis and Pierre Garçon did not come down with tough but catchable would-be touchdowns. And George Kittle dropped an over-the-shoulder attempt that could have gone for a huge, game-turning play. Kendrick Bourne ran the wrong route, resulting in a Garoppolo interception for a touchdown. But Garoppolo also didn’t help matters when he overthrew Kittle in the end zone.

It will take a better performance from Garoppolo, and it will also take a better showing from his supporting cast.

DL Solomon Thomas

It is the nature of the business that big things are expected from players who are chosen with the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. Thomas, a second-year pro from Stanford, is the 49ers’ base starter at defensive end. But he was removed for every pass-rush snap against the Vikings. Arik Armstead took all of those snaps in place of Thomas.

Thomas must start to approach the level of his ability for the 49ers’ defense to take another step forward. DeForest Buckner can’t do everything by himself.

WR Dante Pettis

Speedster Marquise Goodwin is out with a deep thigh contusion, so Pettis will get his first career start after being forced into considerable playing time last week in his NFL debut. Pettis caught two passes for 61 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown reception on a broken play.

There should be some opportunities for Pettis to make plays. Detroit cornerback Darius Slay is one of the best in the business, but there’s not much else in the Lions secondary.

LB Elijah Lee

After Reuben Foster, Malcolm Smith and Brock Coyle, here comes Lee. The second-year player from Kansas State is ready for his first NFL start as the 49ers’ depth at linebacker will be tested.

Lee is scheduled to start alongside rookie Fred Warner, who had an impressive opening week. Lee entered late in the game and recorded three tackles while playing just 10 snaps in place of Coyle, who sustained a concussion and a broken bone high in his back.

Lee is a rangy player who has gotten more comfortable taking on blocks. But his strength is similar to Warner’s. Both have the speed and agility to make plays sideline to sideline.

49ers notes: Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas compete for same role

49ers notes: Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas compete for same role

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers have a dilemma, but it’s also can be seen as a good problem.

While there are legitimate questions about the team’s outside pass rush, the organization feels good about its ability to line up some strong players on the inside during passing downs.

DeForest Buckner could be ready to take the next step to become one of the NFL’s top interior defensive linemen. That leaves the 49ers’ two other recent first-round draft picks, Arik Armstead and Solomon Thomas, competing for the other inside spot in nickel situations.

“Those are our three best inside rushers,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on “49ers Game Plan,” which airs Saturday on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3) at 7 p.m.

“That's where those three excel the most, and you can only have two inside rushers. Buck has been leading the way. He’s been our bell cow. I think he’s shown that he deserves that and will continue to do that. Those are three pretty good players, and all three will be rotated on those situations.

In Week 1, Buckner recorded 2 ½ sacks while being on the field for 54 defensive plays against the Minnesota Vikings. Armstead had a productive game, as he played 59 snaps.

“Now that I’m healthy and playing, I know what I’m capable of doing,” Armstead said.

The odd-person out in the 49ers’ rotation during the first game was Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 draft. He played just 35 snaps, and committed a major blunder when he jumped offside as the Vikings had no intention of running a fourth-down play late in the game.

Thomas starts at defensive end, and he will soon get his chance as an inside rusher on third downs, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh promised. Edge rusher Cassius Marsh moves to an end position on passing downs.

“He’ll get run on third down,” Saleh said of Thomas. “He’s not dead at all in that regard.

“He’ll still play base downs outside. Trying to find opportunities for him to rush inside on obvious passing situations. He’ll get some action hopefully this week against Detroit.”

Sign of the times

New York Jets linebacker Jets linebacker Darron Lee claimed his team knew the Lions’ offensive signals and were "calling out plays” as quarterback Matthew Stafford approached the line of scrimmage. Stafford this week said it’s standard practice to change the hand signals weekly, and that is something that is being done as the team prepares to face the 49ers.

Shanahan said he does not place much stock in a team boasting of cracking another team’s code after a victory.

“I’ve had a number of times in my career where you lose a game and an opponent says something like that. It seems like a huge deal to everyone, but that happens all the time,” Shanahan said on "49ers Game Plan."

“Yeah, you might know the signals, but it’s still a guess because those signals change quarter to quarter, week to week, play to play. All they have to do is tell them to do something different in the huddle. If guys are depending on signals and going, they might get you once or twice. But if they do that consistently, that’s usually a good thing for the offense because you can set them up.”

This ‘n’ that

Starting right guard Mike Person might not be available due to a foot strain, so undrafted rookie guard Najee Toran of UCLA would start, Shanahan announced on Friday. Toran beat out veteran Matt Tobin, whom the 49ers signed last week. Toran took part in the entire 49ers’ offseason program and training camp before beginning the season on the practice squad. “Both got the reps all week, and Toran won those reps,” Shanahan said. “He did the better job and I think it’s a huge advantage for him that he has a lot more experience and knows what’s going on. Any time you have more experience in a system and have gotten more reps, there’s a huge advantage for you, and I think that’s what’s helped him win the spot this week.” . . . Shanahan said he wishes the NFL would change its rule and allow all 53 players to be available for games. As it now stands, teams much deactivate seven players to suit up just 46 players. “I think no one will disagree with that,” Shanahan said. “I think that’s coaches and players and anybody who thinks about it and wants it to be easier. I wish we had more than 53.” . . . Shanahan said he plans to pick three season-long captains at the middle point of the season. But he also said he likes picking three new captains to represent the team at midfield before each game.

This Sunday, be sure to watch 49ers Pregame Live at 12 p.m. and 49ers Postgame Live immediately after the game on NBC Sports Bay Area and live streaming on the NBC Sports app. Greg Papa, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Matt Maiocco and Laura Britt will have everything you need to know from the 49ers’ home opener.