Wizards

49ers quickly turn focus from Giants to Seahawks

201210141810654598683-p2.jpeg

49ers quickly turn focus from Giants to Seahawks

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jim Harbaugh didn't spend any time wallowing Monday after the most lopsided loss in his two seasons as coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

He has only three days to prepare his team for Thursday's key NFC West game against Seattle, which is tied with the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals at 4-2, and he might have to do it without the services of Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Staley.

Staley is visiting a neurologist after suffering a concussion during Sunday's 26-3 loss to the New York Giants, who recorded six sacks while winning a physical battle in the trenches on both sides of the line.

``It certainly wouldn't be very human if you didn't hurt today,'' Harbaugh said. ``But there's no time. You've got to dust yourself off and ride. Right now we have no choice. We have to get to Seattle right quick. We've got a football fight coming.''

The loss to the Giants came after two dominant victories over New York's two other NFL teams. San Francisco overpowered the Jets 34-0 on Sept. 30 then set a franchise record with 621 yards of total offense the next week during a 45-3 rout of the Buffalo Bills.

But just as their impressive season-opening wins over Green Bay and Detroit were followed by a clunker against Minnesota, the 49ers hardly had the look of one of the league's elite teams against the Giants.

The much-anticipated rematch of last season's NFC championship game - won 20-17 in overtime by the Giants - became a blowout by the third quarter as New York scored the game's final 26 points. It was the first time a Harbaugh-coached 49ers team had lost by more than 10 points.

``I was pretty kind of blown away,'' said right guard Alex Boone, who moved to left tackle after Staley was hurt late in the third quarter. ``It's hard to sit here and talk about it now because all I have on my mind right now is Seattle. But we have to come back and look at it this weekend after the Seattle game to find where did we go wrong, what did we do wrong. We have to make this better because we can't have this happen the rest of the year.''

The 49ers unraveled offensively after a strong start during which they held a 125-20 edge in total yards entering the second quarter.

Alex Smith entered the game as the NFL's top-rated quarterback but left it with three interceptions after throwing just one pick in San Francisco's first five games. After two 12-play drives to begin the game, the 49ers recorded just one first down in each of the second and third quarters and never had a drive advance beyond the New York 24-yard line.

Add missed field goals from 43 and 52 yards by All-Pro kicker David Akers, and it was a very uncharacteristic outing for the 49ers.

``It's easy to look at yesterday's game and ask questions about pretty much everything,'' Smith said. ``Because none of it looked good. We had good balance early, but we just got away from it. We got down multiple scores and got one-dimensional and then started forcing things, and then it got really bad. And then the turnovers are just like the nail in the coffin.''

Smith was sacked four times and backup Colin Kaepernick was dumped twice as San Francisco struggled up front against a New York defense that also hit the two quarterbacks nine other times.

The Giants were able to get that pressure even though San Francisco spent most of the game in shotgun formation, including on 16 of its first 22 plays.

Boone had to move from right guard once Staley was injured because the 49ers have no other offensive tackles on their roster. Boone was the team's third tackle behind Staley and Anthony Davis last season before moving into the starting lineup this year.

Veteran Leonard Davis took Boone's place at guard, and that could be what the 49ers have to go with Thursday against another formidable defensive front if Staley is unable to return. Staley's status won't be determined until later in the week.

The 49ers are just pleased to have another game this week to help them forget what happened Sunday.

``The one bright spot about a Thursday game is you don't have to deal with the loss for the whole week,'' center Jonathan Goodwin said. ``You get a chance in a couple of nights to go out and try to make the week a lot better than it would have been.''

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Though not a big man, first round pick Troy Brown fills several needs for Wizards

Though not a big man, first round pick Troy Brown fills several needs for Wizards

The Wizards' selection of Troy Brown of the University of Oregon with their first round pick has been met with a strong reaction among fans, many of whom argue he doesn't play a position of need, that it was a luxury pick when other areas could have been addressed, most notably in their frontcourt. Big man Robert Williams of Texas A&M, for example, was still on the board. 

The Wizards, though, did address needs by picking Brown. And really, they arguably filled more pressing needs in the short-term than those at power forward and center.

Though the Wizards clearly need some help at big man in the long-term, as both of their starting bigs are on expiring deals, they need help immediately at both shooting guard and small forward. Brown, though he is only 18 years old and offers no guarantees to contribute right away, can play both of those positions.

Shooting guard is where he can help the most. The Wizards have one backup shooting guard in Jodie Meeks and he is due to miss the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season while serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

Even when Meeks was available this past season, he only helped so much. He shot just 39.9 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three. Head coach Scott Brooks often chose to rely more on starter Bradley Beal than go to Meeks as his replacement. As a result, Beal logged the fourth-most minutes of any player in the NBA.

More depth at shooting guard will help relieve Beal of some of that workload. That would be great for keeping him fresh throughout the season and help him be at his best when they need him most in the playoffs.

The Wizards also have some urgency at small forward. It is their strongest position in terms of one-two on the depth chart, but they have no logical third option. That was magnified in the playoffs once Otto Porter got injured. They were left with Kelly Oubre, Jr. and had to trot out Tomas Satoransky, who has limited experience at the position.

Brown can play both shooting guard and small forward, giving them much needed depth. If he can play well enough to earn a rotation spot, the emergency situations the Wizards encountered last season could be avoided in 2018-19.

The Wizards still need to find long-term solutions at power forward and center, but they were going to need to find answers at shooting guard and small forward as well. Both Meeks and Oubre have one year left on their deals. Brown helps solidify the long-term outlook at wing.

Now, there's no denying the Wizards already had considerable talent at both shooting guard and small forward with Beal, Porter and Oubre. That begs the question of how much Brown can offer particularly in the first year of his career. But the Wizards would like to play more positionless basketball and to do that requires depth at wing.

The Boston Celtics have helped make positionless basketball famous and their roster shows that the one player-type you can't have enough of is similar to Brown. Boston has Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris. All are around 6-foot-7 or 6-foot-8 and offer versatility on both ends of the floor.

The Wizards also now have four players of that size and with positional versatility in Brown, Porter, Oubre and Satoransky. They can roll out different combinations of those guys and possibly have an advantage on defense with the ability to switch seamlessly on screens.

In the age of positionless basketball, players of Brown's ilk have become major assets especially for teams that have many of them. There is such a thing as having too many point guards or centers because they can't coexist on the floor. Versatile wings, in most scenarios, can play together in numbers.

It's different but in a way similar to certain positions in other sports. In baseball, you can have too many catchers but you can't have too many talented pitchers and utility players. In football, you can have too many running backs or tight ends, but you can't have too many defensive linemen. 

Brown gives them options from a roster perspective in the long-term. Oubre has one year left on his contract and if he continues his trejectory with a strong 2018-19 season, he could price himself out of Washington. Brown could move up the depth chart as his replacement one year from now. The Wizards also now have the option to consider trades at the position given their depth.

The problem, one could argue, with drafting Brown over a Williams-type is that it limits their options at center in particular. Drafting Williams would have made it easier to trade Marcin Gortat, for instance, because they would have had depth to deal from. Now, it's more difficult to trade Gortat, whom they have shopped on and off for months, without a plan to replace him. Finding a Gortat substitute in free agency with the limited resource they have would not be easy.

But big man wasn't their only need and in Brown the Wizards may have found a solution at other areas where they clearly needed help.

MORE 2018 NBA DRAFT COVERAGE:

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon will take time, much like Tomas Satoransky did

img_4776.jpg
NBA

Wizards' second round pick Issuf Sanon will take time, much like Tomas Satoransky did

The first round of the NBA Draft played out expectedly for what the Wizards had planned for the night. In Troy Brown, they clearly got the guy they wanted all along, seeing as there were many interesting prospects they passed on to choose him.

The second round was a bit more chaotic. Team president Ernie Grunfeld said there were a few players picked just ahead of them at No. 44 that they had their eyes on. They contemplated trading up, but no perfect deals were presented.

So, they decided to think long-term, like really long-term. In choosing Ukrainian point guard Issuf Sanon, the Wizards understand it may be years before he plays in the NBA.

"We hope to have him developed in a few years," Grunfeld said.

Sanon, just 18, plays for Olimpija Ljubljana in Slovenia. He may stay in Europe into his 20s before he comes to the United States.

The Wizards have utilized the draft-and-stash model with other players. Their 2015 second round pick, Aaron White, has been playing in Europe for the past three seasons.

Sometimes those players never convey and contribute for the Wizards. But sometimes they do and Grunfeld pointed to a player already on their roster as a model to consider.

"We drafted Tomas [Satoransky] at an earlier age, he went overseas [and] he played at the highest level and it got him ready for the NBA," Grunfeld said.

The difference between now and then is that the Wizards have a G-League franchise starting this fall, the Capital City Go-Go. Because of that, it seemed more likely going into the draft that the Wizards would use the second round pick on a guy who can play there right away. 

Grunfeld, however, opted for roster flexibility. By keeping Sanon in Europe, the Wizards can have another open roster spot. They could either fill that spot, or leave spots on the end of their roster open as they did for much of last season.

"We want to preserve a roster spot, so just because you draft someone in your second round, if you sign him, he still has a roster spot even if you let him play for the GoGo," Grunfeld said.

Sanon may have a bright future. He is a 6-foot-4 point guard with impressive athleticism who doesn't turn 19 until October. He said he models his game after Russell Westbrook, as a guard who can score the ball. More will be known about him once he plays for their summer league team in July.

The Wizards passed on several interesting prospects to pick Sanon. Still on the board were Keita Bates-Diop of Ohio State, Hamidou Diallo of Kentucky and Svi Mykhailiuk of Kansas, three players they brought in for pre-draft workouts. But instead, they went with a long-term investment, hoping they found the next Satoransky.

MORE 2018 NBA DRAFT COVERAGE:

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!