It’s another Win Monday in 49erland, so the players will not be around today.
It’s another Win Monday in 49erland, so the players will not be around today. Coach Mike Nolan will hold his day-after-game press conference, beginning at 12:15. I’ll update this blog post to reflect his comments shortly thereafter.
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Perusing the NFL stats . . . The 49ers rank 11th in total offense (11th rushing, 12th passing). They rank tied for 10th in total defense (20th rushing, seventh passing) . . . Offense ranks sixth in yards per play (6.0), while the defense is seventh in yards per play (4.4) . . . Niners are tied for first in fourth-down efficiency (1 for 1). . . Niners rank 31st in sacks allowed per pass play . . . Niners are tied for 10th in points per game . . . Defensively, Niners are fifth in the league in passing yards per play (5.48). . . J.T. O’Sullivan ranks fourth in the league with a 104.6 passer rating. He’s third in the league with an average gain per pass attempt of 9.4 yards. . . .Frank Gore leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 412. . . He is fifth in the NFL with 287 yards rushing and also fifth with 16 first downs. . . Joe Nedney is tied for third in the league with 28 points . . . Andy Lee is 24th in gross punting (42.0) and 29th in the league with a net average of 32.9. . . Allen Rossum is seventh in KO return average (26.5) . . . Parys Haralson is tied for sixth in the league with 3 sacks. . . .Justin Smith and Roderick Green are tied for 17th with 2 sacks.
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Several 49ers players will participate tomorrow in the completion of building Habitat for Humanity Silicon Valley’s 49th home in Santa Clara. The 49ers are scheduled to contribute their services from 10 a.m. to noon on their day off from football. The DBs are confirmed to be there: Walt Harris, Mark Roman, Donald Strickland, Tarell Brown, Nate Clements, Reggie Smith and Marcus Hudson.
* * *Mike Nolan just held his weekly press conference. There wasn’t a whole lot to nitpick after the 49ers’ dominating 31-13 victory over the Lions. Here are some of the topics of interest:
–The coaches were scheduled to spend the majority of today preparing for the Saints, as the players are not around.
–On the team’s run defense, Nolan said some of it was tackling, some of it was scheme. He said he does not see the team’s run defense as a major, major concern moving forward. Nolan said D.C. Greg Manusky is still learning about his players.
–(This is me, one of the things I noticed in watching the game again is that the 49ers’ defensive line was very aggressive. They were getting upfield after Jon Kitna. On many of the Lions’ good run plays, Rudi Johnson was able to use that aggressiveness against the 49ers).
Nolan said that, yes, the focus of the 49ers’ defense was in shutting down the Lions’ receivers and getting after Kitna. But, Nolan said, that does not wash completely as an excuse. After all, they should still be able to combat anything the offense does, while also remaining strong in the area of emphasis.
—Harris and Clements had great games, while probably playing a form of man coverage about two-thirds of the time. Second-year player Tarell Brown also played very well. They weren’t alone. Isaac Sopoaga had a very good game, getting some push in pass-rush situations. And Nolan said Aubrayo Franklin played better than he did against the Seahawks. When Nolan told the team after the game that he’d wait to watch the film before handing out a defensive game ball, some of the players started shouting, “Cowboy!” That’s what they call Justin Smith. He had a very strong game with one sack, one interception and a lot of other plays for the 49ers. Smith missed only one snap, and that was a special-teams play he was supposed to be on.
—Nolan said he had no update on CB Shawntae Spencer, but it sure sounds as if the team expects him to go on IR with a knee injury. (Nolan didn’t say this, but apparently Spencer has very loose ligaments, so it’s difficult to tell exactly the extent of his injury.)
—On his dynamic with O.C. Mike Martz, Nolan said he lets Martz run the show with 100 percent autonomy. They talk during the course of the week about the plan for the game. But once the game begins, Martz calls the plays and Nolan doesn’t suggest run or pass or anything. Nolan said it was his call to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1, and the play call belonged to Martz.
–Allen Rossum is getting action with the offense a little. He also sees scout team action at cornerback. Nolan said he considers him an emergency player on defense. But Martz might have more in store for him offensively this season.
–When Nolan and Frank Gore spoke after the game, Gore told the coach that he doesn’t care if he gets the ball on run plays or pass plays, all he cares about is that the team is moving the ball and scoring points.
–The way Roderick Green and Parys Haralson are playing, there is not a role for Tully Banta-Cain. TBC was inactive for the third straight game to open the season.
–Takeo Spikes did not start at SILB, but he played about three-times more than starter Jeff Ulbrich.
–Nolan said the timing might have been off on O’Sullivan’s deep ball to Vernon Davis. Davis failed to haul in the over-the-shoulder attempt. But Nolan said if you get your hands on the ball, you should catch it. Early in the game, Davis dropped a pass near the goal line. But the error on that play belonged to JTO. Davis was wide open for a long period of time. But O’Sullivan did not throw to Davis until he was nearly at the sideline. Moreover, he threw the ball behind Davis. O’Sullivan was too intent on getting the ball to Bruce in the end zone. (On the next play, he threw to Bruce for a TD.)
–Alex Smith has committed to remain with the 49ers through this season even though he’s on injured reserve: “IR players typically come in and get their treatment and then they go,” Nolan said. “Alex and I spoke at length at the time. Obviously, he was going to be on IR. He asked me, ‘What can I do? Because I want to be around here for everything.’ So Alex goes to all the meetings. He’s responsible for being here all day. Once he decides that, he goes through the entire day, just as if he were on the roster, other than he cannot participate in practice. He goes to practices, stands behind the drills and watches.
“He doesn’t go on the road with us, and he doesn’t go to the hotel the night before, but he does everything leading up to that, other than practice. That’s by his own choice, and I think that’s a great decision. I know, like I said all along before Alex got hurt, I think Alex has great trust that the system that’s in place is one that he can flourish in, and he’s excited about that. Because it’s disciplined and detailed. It’s kind of the way he things. And it gives him a chance to be successful.”
Nolan said Smith has not made a decision on whether to have surgery. When asked if he’s talked to Smith about his future, Nolan said, “Not past today. The fact that he wants to work is where we left it. That’s a very positive note from his standpoint of wanting to be a real good player, and possibility of being here. Obviously, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
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Look for the return of the all-53 breakdown tomorrow.
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INJURY UPDATE: LB Jeff Ulbrich (ankle), S Michael Lewis (elbow), S Dashon Goldson (shoulder) and S Keith Lewis (knee) are all expected to be available for Sunday’s game.
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