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Kyle Shanahan pulled aside his star tight end and apologized to George K
03.04.2019, 04:09
Beitrag: #1
Kyle Shanahan pulled aside his star tight end and apologized to George K
SANTA CLARA https://www.49ersfanshop.com/Marquise-Goodwin-Jersey , Calif. (AP) —ittle for not getting him more opportunities in the second half to set an NFL record.The coach even said sorry a second time.Quarterback Nick Mullens placed the blame on himself after Kittle fell 4 yards short of Shannon Sharpe’s NFL record by a tight end of 214 yards receiving.Kittle still had a brilliant Sunday afternoon, making an 85-yard touchdown reception on the way to 210 yards receiving and becoming the 49ers‘ first tight end to reach the 1,000-yard milestone to lead San Francisco past the sluggish, injury-plagued Denver Broncos 20-14.“Four yards, ahhh, it’s all right,” Kittle shrugged nonchalantly, unfazed by a near miss. “Next time. Just talk to Nick and Coach Shanahan, they’ll figure it out.”Kittle’s long TD reception on a pass from Mullens early in the second quarter put the Niners up 13-0 — “George flashed in my eyes,” his QB said — and Denver (6-7) never found a groove in seeing its three-game winning streak snapped.Kittle had all of his yards and seven receptions in the first half and was targeted just once after halftime. Again, no big deal.“We won. That’s about all that matters,” Kittle said.Broncos quarterback Case Keenum struggled to find any rhythm after the Broncos lost top wideout Emmanuel Sanders to a torn Achilles tendon in practice during the week.Dante Pettis added a 1-yard touchdown reception just before halftime for the Niners (3-10).But this was Kittle’s sparkling afternoon from the very start. He has provided a major lift for an offense that dealt with the blow of losing starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Week 3 at Kansas City.“We had one blown coverage, and a couple where we just didn’t cover him,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said.Mullens connected on eight of his first 12 throws for 124 yards and wound up 20 of 33 for 332 yards and a 102.1 rating.“George had one heck of a day, 4 yards short of the record. You can blame that on me, I guess,” Mullens said.Denver (6-7), which sought its first four-game winning streak since starting the 2016 season 4-0, fell behind 20-0 at halftime then managed two second-half touchdowns to make things interesting.Phillip Lindsay ran for a 3-yard score in the third then Case Keenum hit DaeSean Hamilton on a 1-yard TD toss with 3:53 remaining. Keenum went 24 of 42 for 186 yards.San Francisco ended a three-game skid. The 49ers had lost their previous two games by 18 and 27 points, including a 43-16 defeat at rival Seattle last week.SACK TIMEDenver’s Von Miller sacked Mullens for a 9-yard loss late in the second quarter. Including the postseason Joe Staley Jersey , Miller’s 103½ sacks matched the franchise record held by Simon Fletcher.Meanwhile, linebacker Bradley Chubb had two more sacks for 12 on the season to break Miller’s franchise rookie record of 11½ set in 2011.KITTLE’S CATCHESThe previous time any 49ers player had 1,000 yards was in 2014, when Anquan Boldin had 1,062 yards receiving and Frank Gore 1,106 yards rushing.In addition, Kittle’s 52-yard catch and run to end the first quarter moved him past Vernon Davis for the 49ers franchise record for yards receiving by a tight end in a season.Kittle came in needing 73 yards to top Davis’ mark of 965 yards set in 2009.“It’s an honor. … He set the standard,” Kittle said.On San Francisco’s nine-play opening scoring drive — capped by Robbie Gould’s 40-yard field goal — Kittle made receptions of 31 and 5 yards.Gould made a 29-yarder early in the second.ANOTHER RECEPTIONNiners left tackle Joe Staley celebrated a rare catch, the third of his 12-year career, late in the first half when he got his hands on a tipped pass by a defender for a 5-yard loss.He will be fined for it, Shanahan insisted. Because of the chance of injury on such plays, trying for the ball isn’t advised. Staley called it a “dumb decision,” but explained it like this: “It’s like telling me ‘Hey, there’s pizza here, don’t have slice.’ I’m going to have a slice.”“Joe refuses to believe he’s an O-lineman,” Shanahan said. “… It was not a smart play.”INJURIESBroncos: Cornerback Isaac Yiadom suffered a shoulder injury. Wideout Courtland Sutton nursed a thigh injury.49ers: Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was able to return after landing hard on his left ankle late in the game when he went down defending a pass on the sideline.UP NEXTBroncos: Host Cleveland on Saturday.49ers: Host Seattle on Sunday. It’s been a hell of a roller-coaster ride for second year CB Ahkello Witherspoon.In his rookie year, he was a stud. PFF rated him at 74.5, and named him Honorable Mention on their list of “2017 NFL rookie rankings through Week 17.” (Reuben Foster was #6 of 10, damn it.) He got his first NFL start on October 29th against the Philadelphia Eagles, who eventually won the Super Bowl that season Solomon Thomas Color Rush Jersey , and had a pass breakup, an interception and three tackles. The 6’3”, 198 lb cornerback has prototypical size and speed for his position in this Seattle-style Cover 3 scheme. Richard Sherman is 6’3”, 195 lb, and this past offseason, the free agent addition took Witherspoon under his wing, inviting him to an all-star summer workout program for DBs. The future was so bright.... well, you know.But Witherspoon’s 2018 has not turned out the way anyone (who roots for San Francisco) had hoped. The second year CB has struggled and then some.Part of the problem is Sherman himself. He is so feared around the league that no one has wanted to test him. Instead, they have focused all their passes on the other side of the field, the one with a second-year cornerback.But that’s hardly the only reason for the promising DB’s struggles.The (pay-walled) Athletic website recently convened an all-star panel of three former NFL defensive backs to critique his performance: Donte Whitner, Ronde Barber, and Eric Crocker, who also analyzes the Niners for the Better Rivals podcast. All three are familiar with the Niners and Witherspoon’s game film. The results were devastating (and fascinating).They did NOT say that Witherspoon sucks, or lacks talent. Donte Whitner, the most outspoken, said that Ahkello “has all the physical tools. He’s 6-3, can move, can get in and out of breaks, can jam and be physical when he wants to.” So what’s the problem? The verdict was far worse; he has the size and talent, they agreed https://www.49ersfanshop.com/Mike-Mcglinchey-Jersey , but he just doesn’t play tough, either jamming at the line or tackling on runs.Whitner again: “I see it on film. He is the most non-physical player in the National Football League right now. 鈥?Every first play of the game or every second play of the game, a wide receiver comes and they attack him and try to let him know that, ‘We think you’re soft and you need to show more physicality on the football field.’”Ouch. It’s a tough but very worthwhile read; you should check it out. This is not a minority opinion. PFF ranks him dead last (77th) among qualifying CBs this year, with a rating of 44.7. Ronde Barber adds: “Everybody in the NFL sees it. It’s there.”So how did he do Sunday against Denver? Not bad at all. And by amazing coincidence, the Niners D looked good in general. And they won.Sure enough, Case Keenum tested Witherspoon on the Denver’s very first play from scrimmage, targeting Courtland Sutton on a go route. And just as Whitner noted, ‘Spoon did nothing to jam Sutton at the line. On the other hand, he tracked him tightly all the way, and looked back for the ball (to a fault.) The CB lagged a bit trying to locate it, then jumped a bit too early, allowing the WR to get his left arm under the ball. But he was also right there and definitely disrupted the failed reception.His second target came on 3rd and 2, at 2:24 of the first quarter. Again, he made no effort to jam as 6’5” WR Tim Patrick ran a short crosser straight across the field, right along the distance to gain. But Witherspoon not only kept up with him, he outran him to the ball and had a chance at an interception.By my count Witherspoon was targeted 6 times and didn’t allow a catch. Pro Football Focus tagged him for two receptions and 18 yards — a solid showing either waay. He also clearly inhibited targets with his close coverage a couple of times, notably on first and goal with 4:09 left in the game and the Broncos making a comeback. Part of this success was because Denver targeted Richard Sherman more than any team so far this year, and having some success with it. But they might have done that because Witherspoon was playing well. Maybe the criticism finally lit a fire under him.Another part of his luck was courtesy of Case Keenum. On two passes, a good throw would have connected; the first was just before halftime when he bit on a double move Jimmie Ward Jersey , but Keenum overthrew his WR. The second was on the play where the CB twisted his ankle, on second and goal with 4:05 left in the game. Spoon let Sutton get a step on him. He was close, but a bullet in the right spot would have been an easy touchdown. Instead, Keenum pushed it too far away from Witherspoon, and out of bounds.As for tackling, he made the tackle on three of four plays where, to my eye, he should have. You wouldn’t call them tough hits, though; no one got up slowly from any of his tackles. On the fourth play, Courtland Sutton walled him off from ball carrier Patrick, and instead of fighting through the block, ‘Spoon stuck his foot out and tripped the runner, drawing a ten-yard penalty.All that said, this was perhaps Witherspoon’s best game of the year and it offered a partial answer to the question: should the Niners keep trying to get him to live up to his potential?Even his harshest critics don’t advocate abandoning him yet. Ronde Barber said:I’m not sure he’ll get that long to prove himself. John Lynch was able to get a fifth round draft pick for Rashard “THC-infused Peanut Buddah Buddah” Robinson, who played a total of 20 snaps for the Jets, so he could certainly get more than that for a player of Witherspoon’s abilities. And Lynch was a famously physical DB himself, so it’s hard to imagine he’ll be indulgent of a talented big CB who is contact-averse.If the second year CB can’t show some heart and physicality after a full year of mentoring by Richard Sherman, it might be time to trade him in for some draft capital. The Niners have seen this story before.
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