NEW YORK (AP) — Like most sports Ahkello Witherspoon Color Rush Jersey , football has its own lexicon. Here’s a look at 32 words and phrases — een identified with the NFL (in alphabetical order):A-gap — The gap between the center and guard on the O-line. Each gap is described in such a fashion, so the B-gap is between the guard and tackle, the C-gap between the tackle and tight end, etc.Any Given Sunday — The adage refers to the idea that any team can beat any other in a given week, regardless of record. It rarely applies to opponents of the New England Patriots in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era. Also the title of a 1999 football movie starring Al Pacino.Audible — While some coaches frown on it, and some even prohibit young quarterbacks from doing it, the audible is critical to any offense. It’s simply switching from the play called in the huddle to another play, using language that can include colors, numbers, places — remember Peyton Manning’s “Omaha”?Blitz — When the defense sends more than three or four rushers at the quarterback to disrupt or stop the offense. One of the most widely used is the zone blitz, popularized by longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh.Bomb — A long pass attempt to either score quickly or stretch the defense to assist the run game or short/intermediate passing game.Bootleg — The quarterback will fake a handoff to a running back heading one way and will “hide” the ball by his hip or thigh as he runs the other way. Bootlegs usually are called close to an opponent’s end zone. Hard to fathom, but even slow pokes such as Peyton and Eli Manning have scored this way.Check-down pass — Everyone is covered deep. Or they haven’t gotten deep. Or there are no receivers who can get open deep. So the quarterback finds his check-down option, usually a running back or tight end. One reason completion percentages have risen in recent years is the use of check downs.End around — A similar play to a sweep or a jet sweep, except it’s always run by a receiver who has come in motion. The Chiefs used this play to great effect in the fourth Super Bowl when they upset Minnesota.Game plan — The strategy each team puts together weekly. Some game plans were as thick as the Manhattan phone book — if you recall what phone books looked like before everyone, including NFL teams, went digital. Players are expected to memorize game plans well before kickoff, with QBs and defensive signal callers needing to master virtually every position’s responsibilities.Gridiron — When the game was invented, before the NFL even existed and then in its early years, fields were marked in a checkerboard pattern resembling a gridiron.Gunslinger — Any quarterback known for having a strong throwing arm and leading a prolific passing game. Some examples include Hall of Famers Brett Favre, Dan Marino and “Slingin'” Sammy Baugh.Hail Mary — Credit Hall of Famer Roger Staubach with this. After the Dallas Cowboys quarterback completed a late 50-yard pass to Drew Pearson to win a playoff game at Minnesota, Staubach said: “I guess you could call it a Hail Mary. You throw it up and pray.”Hard count — One talent every successful quarterback must own is an ability to call out signals in a way that makes defensive players think the snap is coming before it does. That hard count causes them to jump offside. Drew Brees is a master of this technique.Icing the kicker — No, opponents aren’t throwing snowballs in winter or Slushies in warmer weather. This is the “art” of making a kicker wait before he attempts a field goal by calling a timeout, usually late in games. Thankfully, the NFL has limited this practice to one timeout; college coaches can use all three TOs if they have them remaining.Instant replay — Yes, it’s a staple in every sport, sometimes to the point of being a distracting intrusion. And it first was used by CBS in an Army-Navy game. Still, instant replay has become synonymous with pro football, whether for watching a great play all over again or in officiating.Juke — When any player makes a deceptive move to fake out an opponent on the field. Often https://www.49ersfanshop.com/C.-J.-Beathard-Jersey , but not always, applies to running backs and wide receivers. Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders was one of the best at it.Pay dirt — The 49ers should have invented this one, or at least pirated it. Hitting pay dirt means striking it rich and comes from the California Gold Rush in the 19th century. Too bad the Niners didn’t hit pay dirt very often last season: San Francisco was 4-12 in 2018.Pick-6 — One of many phrases whose origin is uncertain, but it’s definition is not. When a defensive player intercepts a pass and returns it for a touchdown, what else would you want to call it?Pigskin — No, the football isn’t made from pig skins. However, when it originally was created, the bladder of a pig often was used inside to help inflate the ball. We would not suggest trying it on the barbecue, though.Play action — Sounds like what goes on in a casino. It’s actually the act of a quarterback faking a handoff or pitchout as he drops back to pass, then throws the ball. It’s designed to slow the rush of defenders who have to protect against the run. Philip Rivers has fooled defenses for years with play-action passes.Point spread — For decades, the NFL tried to ignore its existence, even as it served as a catalyst for some of the sport’s skyrocketing popularity. Bettors need not pick a winner but are either given points if they choose an underdog or “lay” points if they pick the favorite. There are other options for bettors — coincidentally, sometimes are called “punters” even though they never kick a ball — such as whether both teams will combine to score above or below a certain number of points.Red zone — The area of the field inside the opponent’s 20-yard line when the offense is expected to come away with points, though it often depends on the quality of a team’s kicker. There’s also less room to operate, particularly in the passing game. Some teams call it the green zone. Others should call it the dead zone because they can’t score down there.RPO (run-pass option) — A more recent development and another tactic borrowed from the college game. A run play often is the first choice, but when the quarterback sees the defensive line or linebackers in position to thwart it, he has the option to fake the handoff and then throw. Receivers are taught to never assume the running play will be, well, run.Shotgun — An offensive formation when the quarterback stands roughly six to seven yards behind the center to receive the snap. Popular in this era of a pass-centric NFL, the goal is to give the quarterback more time to look at the defense, to throw, and provide better protection from an aggressive defense. John Brodie of the 49ers is believed to be the first one to use it in 1960. Now, everyone does it.Scoop and score — When a ball carrier loses the football, most sane people would simply dive on it to get or keep possession. But the show-offs want to scoop it up and run the fumble into the end zone. That would give them a scoop and score.Screen pass — Watch out, defensive linemen are storming the quarterback! No worries, it’s planned on the screen pass, when offensive linemen barely make contact with defenders, then pull outside as the quarterback tosses the ball to a running back or tight end or even a wideout Matt Breida Jersey , who then has a caravan of blockers ahead of him. Brett Favre was the master of pulling off screen passes.Spike — Most fake spikes, such as the one Hall of Famer Dan Marino pulled on the Jets in 1994, are far more impactful. But the spike came into vogue because the NFL no longer wanted quarterbacks chucking the ball far out of bounds to stop the clock. It has been a safety measure that has worked well. It is not grounding because it is designed to do nothing more than stop the clock.There also is the celebratory spike in the end zone, something perfected by the recently retired Rob Gronkowski.Sweep — Vince Lombardi didn’t invent this run to the outside, but his Green Bay Packers made an art out of it. QB Bart Starr would hand off or pitch to a running back, often Paul Hornung, whose blockers already had pulled in that direction, providing a convoy. All of them are in the Hall of Fame.A current version is the jet sweep, which usually involves a wide receiver coming in motion toward the quarterback and taking a forward handoff or pitch, using his speed to outpace defenders to the outside.Tampa-2 — For a tutorial on this defense, try Hall of Famer Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin. We can tell you that it was developed in response to the West Coast offense and required strong man coverage by cornerbacks, a fast middle linebacker (or versatile safety) and a reliable pass rush. It basically is a seven-man coverage scheme in which cornerbacks try to force receivers to the inside, and safeties protect vertical throws while trying to keep the ball in front of them.West Coast offense — One of coach Bill Walsh’s main contributions to the game, the West Coast was mastered first by Joe Montana and remains the foundation for many offenses today. It featured the quarterback behind center using his running backs and tight ends as something of a substitute for the running game. Vertical routes were limited — in part because Jerry Rice could break anything into a touchdown — and there was lots of motion before the snap. Lots of success, too, as Walsh, Montana and Rice all rode it to Canton.Wildcat — This formation and play was borrowed from the colleges, or maybe even from high schools. But it became something of a fad in the last decade, then faded, but still is in use for teams with a good runner at quarterback or a halfback with excellent hands and possibly an accurate arm. The QB either leaves the field or splits out wide, while the halfback takes the snap in a shotgun formation and usually runs. But the threat of him passing makes the wildcat somewhat challenging.YAC — Yards after contact/catch. Yards gained by either a receiver or running back after an initial attempt to stop them by the defense, as opposed to receivers or running backs who are stopped immediately after contact. Some of the best current players in earning YAC include Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, Giants running back Saquon Barkley, and 49ers tight end George Kittle. SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers sure are getting a lot of attention for a team coming off a six-win season that hasn’t even sniffed the playoffs the past four years.That’s what a season-ending five-game winning streak and the presence of a potential franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo will do.One group not buying into all the hype is in the San Francisco locker room.“There’s no one (here) who thinks we arrived,” said left tackle Joe Staley, the only player left from the Niners‘ last playoff team in 2013. “We have a ton of work to do. We were a 6-10 football team. We were happy with the way we finished last year, but that’s in the past.”San Francisco put together that sterling 5-0 finish after a dreadful start to the first season under coach Kyle Shanahan that featured nine straight losses to begin the schedule Trent Taylor Color Rush Jersey , including a record five straight by three points or fewer.That all began to change after the team acquired Garoppolo before the trade deadline from New England. After a few weeks to learn the offense, Garoppolo stepped in and showed why the Patriots had groomed him as Tom Brady’s successor.He completed 67.4 percent of his passes last season, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with seven TDs, five interceptions and a 96.2 rating to improve to 7-0 in his career as a starter.Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts last season, Garoppolo ranked first in yards per attempt, fourth in completion percentage. His 308.4 yards passing per game in his five starts also would have led the league had he played a full season.But more importantly, he changed the mindset of a whole franchise.“Jimmy is confident in himself,” Shanahan said. “I think everyone felt that right away. That’s why guys gravitate to guys. It doesn’t matter what people say or how they act. People can tell when people believe in themselves and when they don’t. But, it shows the most on the field. When you’re having success as a quarterback, as a receiver, as anybody, that confidence is only going to grow. When people start seeing you, the more plays you can put together the higher it gets.”Here are some other things to watch this season:SHERMAN’S HEALTH: One of the most high-profile moves San Francisco made in free agency was signing Richard Sherman after his release in Seattle. After years of tormenting the Niners, Sherman has flipped sides in the NFC West rivalry. But how effective he will be will depend heavily on his health. His 2017 season was cut short by surgery on his Achilles tendon. Sherman hopes to overcome that at age 30. He was slowed by a hamstring problem in camp, so it’s uncertain how much speed he’s lost from his days as the league’s top cover cornerbacks.REUBEN’S ROLE: Reuben Foster showed signs of being an elite inside linebacker as a rookie when he was on the field. The problem was he missed five full games with injuries and left several others for periods of time. Having Foster at middle linebacker is key and the Niners have tried to get him to use his hands more to limit the wear and tear on his body. But Foster already will miss the first two games because of a suspension following two offseason arrests, and San Francisco can’t afford to be without him much more.RUSH THE PASSER: San Francisco failed to generate much pass pressure last year, getting only 30 sacks. Elvis Dumervil was cut after leading the team with 6 ½, and no one else had more than three. Despite the lack of production, DeForest Buckner is one of the league’s top defensive linemen. He generates consistent pressure and could get more opportunities outside to get one-on-one matchups that could lead to more sacks.DEEP THREAT: One of the most impressive 49ers last year was speedy WR Marquise Goodwin, who smashed his career highs with 56 catches for 962 yards in his first season with San Francisco. The former Olympic long jumper proved he can be more than a deep threat as he ranked in the top six in catches (29) and yards (384) in five games with Garoppolo.“He’s continued to get better in every facet of his game,” Shanahan said. “He probably hasn’t gotten faster, he’s always been fast. But his hands have gotten better, he’s gotten more consistent. He tracks the ball well. It’s not just catching the easy ones now, he’s starting to make some tough ones.”RUN THE ROCK: The Niners let Carlos Hyde leave in free agency and replaced him with a more versatile back in Jerick McKinnon. The question remains whether San Francisco has the size in the backfield to get the tough yards when needed. McKinnon is a threat in the passing game but has never been an every down back and averaged less than 4 yards a carry the past two seasons. There were few proven options behind him until Alfred Morris signed midway through camp, but he might not even make the team. McKinnon and backups Matt Breida and Joe Williams were hurt in August, raising more questions about their durability.