San Francisco 49ers

Jim Tomsula insists 49ers didn’t overlook Browns

Browns tight end Gary Barnidge runs away from 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman during a 24-10 Browns win Sunday.
Browns tight end Gary Barnidge runs away from 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman during a 24-10 Browns win Sunday. AP

The essence of a coach’s job is to ensure his team is eager and ready to play. So naturally Jim Tomsula took issue with comments from prominent players that the 49ers overlooked a bad Browns team Sunday.

“Yeah, I would just have to disagree,” Tomsula said Monday. “I don’t think that was the case at all.”

In the locker room after the 24-10 loss, left tackle Joe Staley said he didn’t think the 49ers had the right amount of energy before kickoff.

“You can’t take anything lightly,” Staley said. “We’re not in a position to take anything lightly. You have to take it one week at a time and not (care) about records. We’re in a position where we have to play our (butts) off every week. And today we didn’t do that.”

Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks followed that by saying that perhaps the 49ers were “too big-headed” after an overtime win in Chicago a week earlier and that they may have taken the Browns, who before Sunday had the worst record in the league, for granted.

Brooks, 31, is the longest-tenured player on the defense; Staley, 31, is the longest-tenured on the roster.

Tomsula said he’d speak to both players.

“I talk to them all the time,” he said. “So, yeah, that’ll come up. Not in a ... just in general conversation. You know, ‘What do you mean? Where are you at?’ 

The 49ers didn’t seem to match the Browns’ energy, especially early in the game. San Francisco’s poor effort can be measured in how well a bad team – the Browns had lost seven straight – played Sunday.

▪ The Browns, who had the league’s worst rushing offense, gained 230 yards on the ground, 20.5 percent of their season total.

▪ Cleveland’s defense had been allowing 399 yards per game, but it held the 49ers to 221 yards and sacked Blaine Gabbert nine times. That’s the most sacks any defense has had this season. The Browns had 17 sacks entering the game.

▪ Browns running back Isaiah Crowell had runs of 50 and 54 yards, and finished with 145 years, his first 100-yard game in nearly two seasons. He was the fifth running back to surpass the 100-yard mark against the 49ers this season.

Tomsula said the 49ers problems are “fixable.”

“You can’t give up explosive runs like that,” he said. “It changes the field. It changes everything. It’s the same on offense. You’ve got to catch the ball. You’ve got to run the correct route, things like that. You can’t make those mistakes.”

Boone likely finished for season – Left guard Alex Boone’s right knee injury is not believed to be serious, but it likely will sideline him for the last three games of the season, a league source said Monday.

Second-year player Marcus Martin replaced Boone after the injury Sunday in Cleveland, and he is first in line to take over the rest of the season.

Boone, 28, is scheduled to be a free agent in March and likely will get plenty of attention at guard and possibly tackle, which he played at Ohio State and early in his career with the 49ers. That means Martin, who started the team’s first 13 games at center, will be auditioning for the role of left guard next year.

Martin and Daniel Kilgore, the team’s 2014 starting center, alternated at center early against the Browns. When Boone left, Kilgore took over at center and played 42 snaps.

“He did a lot with them,” Tomsula said of Kilgore’s snaps. “So there was a positive there.”

The 49ers have three other young interior offensive linemen: Jordan Devey, Ian Silberman and Brandon Thomas.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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