Whether by choice or by trade, three ex-49ers have found new a home with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011. Manny Lawson and Nate Clements each signed free-agent deals with the Bengals this offseason, while Taylor Mays was traded to Cincinnati after starting training camp with the 49ers.
Clements had nothing but good things to say about his four seasons with the 49ers on Wednesday during his conference call with the Bay Area media.
“I had great teammates,” Clements said. “The fans are still good to me, they show me a lot of love out there. I feel blessed for the opportunity and fortunate enough to play for an organization with that much tradition.”
When looking at his former team on film, Clements said he notices some big philosophical changes on the offensive side of the ball. Above all, Clements said the 49ers have shown a more diverse use of personnel in their two games under new coach Jim Harbaugh. Clements was also complimentary of San Francisco’s young and talented receiving corps while giving Harbaugh credit for molding the offense to help quarterback Alex Smith.
“I think Jim Harbaugh is doing an excellent job of playing to Alex’s strengths,” Clements said. “You can look at it – he has a higher completion percentage, which is huge for a quarterback. That’s a great thing for them.”
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis also had some complimentary things to say about Harbaugh’s offensive scheme, while mentioning Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker as players to watch.
“Jim has been very innovative,” Lewis said. “I think he was trying to maximize the abilities of his players. They’re doing a lot schematically in the running game. They’re giving you different looks, they’re setting and building formations in different ways and making you as a defense adjust and be able to see the forest through the trees.”
Lewis said he is very familiar with the principles of 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, as both coaches have extensive backgrounds working with defensive guru Dom Capers. Lewis also revealed the Bengals attempted to trade for the 49ers’ second-round draft pick (No. 49 overall) in 2010 with the intention of picking Mays.
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