San Francisco 49ers

49ers notes: Ahmad Brooks looking to march into Saints’ backfield

Ahmad Brooks sack of Drew Brees in 2014 set up a game-winning 49ers field goal in overtime.
Ahmad Brooks sack of Drew Brees in 2014 set up a game-winning 49ers field goal in overtime. AP

Ahmad Brooks thinks there might be a “ray of light” over him whenever he plays the New Orleans Saints.

After all, the 49ers’ outside linebacker has registered at least one sack in the past five games against New Orleans and was part of the most pivotal play in the teams’ past two meetings.

In 2014, Brooks knocked the ball from Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and the ensuing fumble recovery set up the 49ers’ winning field goal in overtime. The previous year, a similar sack-and-fumble sequence late in the game seemed to preserve a 49ers win.

Brooks’ arm, however, rose to the quarterback’s neck, and Brooks was flagged for unnecessary roughness, which allowed the Saints to retain possession. New Orleans continued its drive and tied the score with a field goal, then won it with a field goal as time expired.

The lesson from those games?

“He’s a shorter guy at quarterback, so if we do get a chance to hit him, you’ve got to hit him low,” Brooks said of the 6-foot Brees. “He also ducks. So you have to get extra low on him if you can.”

Brooks has just 2 1/2 sacks this season and is on pace for his fewest since he became a full-time starter in 2011. Still, his sack total is tied with defensive lineman Arik Armstead for the team lead. The only other 49ers outside linebacker with a sack this season is Aaron Lynch, who has one.

Brooks, 32, also is one of the few holdovers from the 49ers’ strong defensive teams.

“Man, I don’t say too much,” he said when asked whether he gives advice to his younger teammates. “Maybe I need to start a little more. Because I’ve been there, I have experience and I worked my way up to get to where I am right now.”

Orlando-bound – Coach Chip Kelly said he spoke with members of the team’s leadership council, including tackle Joe Staley, before deciding to spend a week in Orlando, Fla., between road games against the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 27 and the Chicago Bears on Dec. 4.

“I talked to the players, you know, Joe and some of those guys that had done it before, and they actually liked it,” Kelly said. “We have a leadership council and those guys seemed excited about doing it.”

Staley was on the 2011 and ’12 squads that spent a week in Youngstown, Ohio, between road games. The 49ers will save about 3,200 miles of travel by not returning to the Bay Area after the Dolphins game.

“The lack of time on a plane obviously will have an effect on you in terms of not having to travel,” Kelly said. “So the travel part of it is eased a little bit. So there’s an effect from that standpoint.”

Injuries – Running back Carlos Hyde (shoulder) practiced, but he again was in a blue, no-contact jersey. Hyde, nose tackle Glenn Dorsey (knee) and linebacker Nick Bellore were listed as limited. Lynch (ankle) and cornerback Rashard Robinson (knee) did not practice.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at

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