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Behind Enemy Lines Week 10: San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) walks off the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

The San Francisco 49ers are coming to town on Sunday for their second and final matchup with the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals downed the 49ers in Week 5 at Levi’s Stadium, 33-21, and the season hasn’t gotten any better for the team in the Bay area since. Colin Kaepernick took the helm at quarterback in Week 6, though the 49ers have been unable to produce a win since the change.

This past Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, the Niners defense was unable to stop a Drew Brees and Mark Ingram-led barrage, as they were picked apart at home, 41-23. Brees threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns while Ingram had 158 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries.

The 49ers’ last-ranked rush defense has obviously not been good. Since holding Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley to 47 yards in Week 1, they have surrendered at least 100 yards to the opposing team’s running back in every game, giving up an average of 193 rushing yards per contest. That has led them to a 1-7 record, last in the NFC, and only the 0-9 Cleveland Browns have a worse record than Chip Kelly’s squad.

All week long, we will update you on everything about the 49ers as they get ready for the Cardinals.

It’s Behind Enemy Lines


Saturday, November 12

Five 49ers who face especially difficult challenges (CSN Bay Area)

The Niners have a tough task against a team desperate to remain in the playoff picture, so here are five players that will have difficult assignments against the Arizona Cardinals.

49ers defense lacking ‘guys that rally the huddle’ with Arizona up next (mercurynews.com)

San Francisco become the first team in NFL history to allow a 100-yard rusher in seven straight games, and now face David Johnson.

Arizona head coach Bruce Arians said in a press conference that he thinks the Niners miss NaVorro Bowman and “when you lose leaders, that’s very hard; the guys that rally the huddle”.

49ers need turnover turnaround to end 7-game losing streak (ESPN.com)

The 49ers are hoping to end a seven-game losing streak, which is the longest for the franchise since 2007. Three things to watch in the matchup against the Arizona Cardinals are stopping David Johnson, Colin Kaepernick producing and winning the turnover battle.


Friday, November 11

Ready for return? 49ers RB Hyde sounds optimistic (SFGate.com)

After hitting a blocking sled Thursday, Carlos Hyde sounds as if he’s ready to slam into some Cardinals on Sunday.

The 49ers’ running back has missed two games with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, but he sounded far more optimistic about his chances to return than he did a week ago.

‘I’m hurting,’ 49ers’ Torrey Smith says of back injury (SFGate.com)

Smith didn’t finish a 41-23 loss to the Saints on Sunday and received treatment for a back injury on the sideline. When he was in the game, Smith, who played 45 of 60 snaps, occasionally put his hands on his waist and leaned backward in an apparent attempt to stretch his back.

What to build on after the Saints loss (SFGate.com)

Here are a few observations about the 49ers offense against the Saints.

Chip Kelly keeps open mind when it comes to quarterback mechanics (ESPN.com)

“I don’t think you can wish that people do things differently,” Kelly said. “Everybody kind of has their own unique mechanics of how their body works. They’re not robots that you can program them to all throw the ball the same way. There’s certain biomechanical limitations or strengths that everybody has and that works for them. So, how one person throws may be slightly different than how another person throws. But, at the end of the day is, how is the ball coming out? At what time is it coming out? What velocity does it come out at? And I think that’s all different.”

Garrett Celek’s military interests stem from relationship with grandfather (ESPN.com)

As a kid growing up in Cincinnati, San Francisco 49ers tight end Garrett Celek often found himself wrapped up in stories. His favorite storyteller wasn’t the same as most children, though.

Instead of falling into the world of Dr. Seuss or Roald Dahl, Celek needed only to go see his grandfather. Joseph Zang was an infantryman in the United States Army who served in the Korean War and, in one of the wildest tales he shared with Celek, actually ended up serving in the military longer than the requirement for reasons out of his control.

Phil Dawson’s professionalism impresses Chip Kelly (CSN Bay Area)

“I don’t know if I’ve been around, regardless of position, a person that takes his individual job to the level that Phil takes it to,” Kelly said on Thursday. “The amount of work that he puts in to be so special at his craft. I don’t care if Phil was a kicker or an inside linebacker or a defensive end or whatever, he has it down.”


Thursday, November 10

• What happens if the 49ers fire Chip Kelly — and go one-and-done two straight years? It would probably only get worse  (mercurynews.com)

Question for the 49ers management wizards who constructed this 1-7 team and are currently trying to figure out what to do/who to blame next:

If you eventually decide that Chip Kelly isn’t your guy and set him up to be fired (or try to push him into quitting) by early-January, who in the world are you hiring next?

By neglecting to vote, Colin Kaepernick undermines his own movement (Sports Illustrated)

Of the 231,556,662 eligible voters in Tuesday’s pivotal election, 25.6% voted for Hillary Clinton, while 25.5% opted for Donald Trump. Among the sobering 46.9% who neglected to exhibit their Constitutional right to vote was social activist Colin Kaepernick.

•  49ers of intrigue vs. Cardinals in Week 10 (247Sports)

The 49ers will have a tough task ahead of them this week as they head to Arizona to face the 3-4-1 Cardinals, a team they lost to 33-21 at home in Week 5. Here are five 49ers players to keep an eye on come Sunday.

A reason to watch the 49ers (for the morbidly curious) (San Francisco Examiner)

Every week, the San Francisco 49ers seem to regress at stopping the run.

The team is allowing an insane average of 193 rushing yards per game, which is 46.6 more than the 31st-best run defense — the winless Cleveland Browns.

In Week 9, coming off a bye, the Niners surrendered 248 yards on the ground to the New Orleans Saints, a team that typically runs the ball as an afterthought.

• 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick ready to return to scene of worst game (SFGate)

The good news for Colin Kaepernick: He has nowhere to go but up.

Fourteen months after tossing a career-high four interceptions in a 47-7 loss at Arizona, he’ll return to the scene of the desert disaster Sunday.

•  What (if anything) do 49ers fans have to look forward to the rest of the season? (SFGate)

We all know how bad it was in the first half of the season. The seven-game losing streak, the unwatchable performances, the massive letdowns from high draft picks, to mention just a few of the team’s problems. Now 49ers fans have to suffer through a second-half of what appears to be a dismal season. Will there be anything to look forward to in the final eight games?


Wednesday, November 9

Will Redmond, 49ers’ 3rd-round pick, won’t play in 2016 (SFGate)

Redmond, the 49ers’ third-round pick, was placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered at Mississippi State 13 months ago. In April, after he used the No. 68 pick on Redmond, general manager Trent Baalke was asked why he didn’t use the selection on a player who was “healthy” and “ready to go.”

49ers end Arik Armstead’s painful, second season; claim DT Chris Jones from Miami Dolphins (mercurynews.com)

Armstead, a 2015 first-round draft pick, went on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon. His roster spot went to another defensive tackle, Chris Jones, who got claimed off waivers from the Miami Dolphins.

Colin Kaepernick aims to atone for ‘worst game’ of his career (ESPN)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has played 67 games in the NFL — regular season and postseason combined — and there isn’t much debate about which one he’d most like to forget.

It happened Sept. 27, 2015, at Arizona, the last time he started against the NFC West-rival Cardinals.

49ers announce roster moves (49ers.com)

The San Francisco 49ers have promoted WR Chris Harper to the active roster from the team’s practice squad. In order to make room on the roster, the team has released WR Keshawn Martin. San Francisco has also signed WR Mose Frazier to the practice squad.

Jim O’Neil sounds like a man almost broken (ninersnation.com)

He was offering up what he could, but the time it just felt like a guy who is barely keeping his head above water. He might well last the season, but these press conferences are just going to grow more and more uncomfortable if this defense continues to perform like it has thus far.

Here are O’Neil’s full comments from Tuesday.

No vote: 49ers’ Kaepernick won’t choose between ‘lesser of two evils’ (SFGate)

More than a month after saying the presidential election was a choice between the “lesser of two evils,” 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said today he won’t be making a choice.

Chip Kelly comes to defense of embattled 49ers assistant coach (Sacramento Bee)

While coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, Chip Kelly continually defended embattled defensive coordinator Billy Davis despite three seasons in which the team’s defense was one of the worst in the league.


Tuesday, November 8

49ers’ midseason grade: Depleted roster in need of serious makeover (ESPN)

Here’s a look at the first half of the season for the San Francisco 49ers (1-7) and a preview of what to expect in the second half.

7 Updates from Chip Kelly before Week 10 (49ers.com)

One day after the San Francisco 49ers dropped a seventh consecutive game, 41-23 to the New Orleans Saints, head coach Chip Kelly was back at the podium to answer questions.

49ers RB DuJuan Harris moves past transaction wire and into spotlight (ESPN)

Now, with starting running back Carlos Hyde nursing a shoulder injury, Harris is getting his chance to go from transaction wire fodder to integral role in the offense. Based on the Niners’ past two games, he’s making the most of it.

‘I’m hurting,’ 49ers’ Torrey Smith says of back injury (SFGate)

Smith didn’t finish a 41-23 loss to the Saints on Sunday and received treatment for a back injury on the sideline. When he was in the game, Smith, who played 45 of 60 snaps, occasionally put his hands on his waist and leaned backward in an apparent attempt to stretch his back.

49ers Chip Kelly on defense’s historic generosity: ‘It’s all of us’ (mercurynews.com)

They’re on pace to threaten NFL records for defensive futility, and those projected stats are: 520 points (second-most), 6,848 total yards (second-most), and 3,088 rushing yards (third-most). Of their remaining games (including five on the road), the 49ers figure to be tested most by the New England Patriots (Nov. 20) and at the Atlanta Falcons (Dec. 18).

Kawakami: Chip Kelly isn’t ready to flee the 49ers quite yet (mercurynews.com)

On Monday, Kelly tip-toed right to the line of being a little too coy and more than a little too vague about his inherent desire to stay with the 49ers rather than bolt from this sinking ship back to the collegiate life.


Monday, November 7

DuJuan Harris emerges from his batcave to do well in 49ers’ loss (SFGate)

On Sunday, Batman finally emerged from his cave. Harris, the 49ers’ fourth-string running back, had the biggest day of his checkered six-year NFL career, with 10 carries for 59 yards and five receptions for 83 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown on a little swing pass in the second quarter.

Colin Kaepernick makes progress but familiar problems remain (ESPN)

In Sunday’s 41-23 loss to New Orleans, Kaepernick was 24-of-39 for 398 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for passer rating of 102.3. It was Kaepernick’s first 300-yard game since Oct. 18, 2015, and the sixth of his career. Those 398 passing yards were the second most of Kaepernick’s career.

• More of the same for the beleaguered 49ers defense (CSN Bay Area)

The 49ers surrendered 571 total yards to the New Orleans Saints in a 41-23 loss at Levi’s Stadium. And the league’s worst run defense got a little worse, too.

49ers’ passing game takes off, but still commits too many mistakes (CSN Bay Area)

Despite misfiring on seven consecutive pass attempts in the second half, Kaepernick completed 24 of 39 pass attempts for 398 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His passer rating was 102.3. Kaepernick had the second-largest passing day of his career, ranking behind only his 412-yard day against the Green Bay Packers to open his first full season as the starter.

Purdy: Kaepernick is up and down in his ongoing clinical trial — but with same losing result (mercurynews.com)

Does any of this still matter? The 49ers have become so inconsequential, not one person hired a single airplane to tow a banner above Levi’s Stadium on Sunday as the team lost its seventh straight game.

49ers’ purposeful holding held Saints to a field goal (ESPN)

With eight seconds to go in the first half and New Orleans carrying a 28-20 lead, the Saints had first-and-10 at San Francisco’s 13. As New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees dropped back to pass, he looked downfield only to find that nearly all of his pass-catchers were laying on the ground. For every Saint that was on the ground, there was a matching yellow flag.

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