49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

September 15, 2011
Edwards: I know this offense can handle a shootout

How long does it take an offense to find its true identity? Braylon Edwards said he wasn't sure, but when he was with the Jets last season, it happened in Week 2.

braylon4.jpg

New York didn't score a touchdown in an opening loss to Baltimore, and Edwards caught just one pass for nine yards in that game. The following week, the Jets beat the Patriots 28-14 and went on to win their next four games and eight out of the next nine contests. "Something happens," Edwards said. "Something snaps."

He said it was impossible to tell when that moment will occur for the 49ers, and he noted that there were a number of factors that would have to come together to make it happen. There were no OTAs and minicamps this year. The offense is brand new. And some of its key components, including Edwards, only we're recently added.

Still, he said the 49ers have real potential and he reminded reporters that despite his modest Week 1 statistics - three catches for 27 - his side won the game. "I don't know about the average receiver, but I like winning," he said.

Edwards' old team, the Jets, played his Sunday opponent, the Cowboys, last week and both offenses gobbled up yards - 360 for the Jets and 390 for the Cowboys. Asked if the 49ers, whose 209 yards in Week 1 ranked 31st, could keep pace in an offense-driven game, neither Edwards nor quarterback Alex Smith hesitated.

"I believe so," Edwards said. "We have the potential ... I don't even like the word 'potential.' I know we have what it takes to be in one of those shoot outs."

Said Smith: "No question. I think it was kind of one of the things the way the game was going on Sunday that all of a sudden we jumped up on them by halftime, and they hadn't really done much on offense. So, I think that was kind of potentially the thinking there."

Odds & Ends

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he's been pleasantly surprised how well left defensive end Ray McDonald has played so far this year. Oftentimes a player who signs a lucrative free-agent contract will wane after signing the deal. For McDonald, the opposite has happened. "He has certainly ... picked his game up to another level than I think he was in in previous years," Fangio said.

Fangio insisted the unnecessary roughness penalty that safety Madieu Williams incurred on Sunday was actually a legal hit. Asked if he's gotten word from the league that the hit was legal, Fangio said: "I guess I don't know if I should tell you that or not, but it was a legal hit," he said.

Fangio said that while Shawntae Spencer (hamstring) has been cleared medically, he's still not in football shape. Fangio made it sound as if Tarell Brown would continue to start while Spencer, who only took part in 2 ½ training-camp practices, works his way back. "He basically had zero training camp for us," Fangio said. Michael Crabtree also had "zero training camp," played extensively Sunday and then suffered a setback to his injured left foot.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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