Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Solomon Thomas got an ‘earful’ after penalty vs. Vikings

Sep 13, 2018 at 2:24 PM--

Second-year defensive lineman Solomon Thomas was responsible for a neutral-zone infraction on 4th-and-1 nearing the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. The penalty gave the Vikings offense a fresh set of downs on the way to a 24-16 Week 1 victory over the visiting San Francisco 49ers.

It was a situation where Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was merely trying to draw the defense into the neutral-zone and Thomas bit.

"I think he knows (what he did wrong)," head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. "I can sit there and yell as loud as I want at him but I think he knows that. Everyone in the world knows that without having to say anything."

While Shanahan may not have scolded Thomas for the costly mistake, it doesn't mean the defensive lineman didn't hear it on Sunday. However, both the coaches and Thomas know what he did wrong, and the team has moved on.

"You know what? He got his earful on game day," defensive coordinator Robert Saleh told reporters on Thursday. "There's no need to beat a dead horse. Nobody tries to make a mistake in football like that, but it happened. I promise it will probably never happen again for him."

Thomas was in on just 35 of the defense's 71 total snaps on Sunday. A lot of that is due to the amount of depth at defensive tackle and the plan to make sure the group doesn't become exhausted.

"I'm trying to make sure that those guys are fresh, not only for the fourth quarter in pass-rush mode, but as the season wears on," Saleh said. "It's the same plan for Solly. He'll still play base downs outside. Trying to find opportunities for him to rush inside on obvious passing situations. He'll get some action hopefully this week against Detroit."

Saleh was also asked about Thomas' ability against the run, which was seen as his biggest strength coming out of Stanford.

"Solly is very hard to block," Saleh said. "He's very, very explosive. He fires off the ball. He's got great leverage, good hand usage. From that standpoint, he's a really good run defender, and he's actually quick. He can disengage quick and get to the ball carrier quick. He doesn't give up a lot of ground on double teams, so he's a very good run defender in that regard. Obviously, we fully trust him to defend the run."

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