49ers release Craig Dahl, Joe Looney and four others

The 49ers just announced they’ve released the following players:

G Joe Looney
S Craig Dahl
ILB Philip Wheeler
OL Patrick Miller
WR Issac Blakeney
DT Darnell Dockett

Four of the six players San Francisco released are veterans. It seems the Niners want to be as young as possible.

This article has 157 Comments

    1. Great Piece. I just wrote a response in the previous column.

      Of the big three sports, mid level NFL players are the least compensated relative to risk and sacrifice.

    2. Informative article showing that the football life isn’t only tough on coaches and players.

      R.I.P 2012 draft…No more players left on our roster from it….Thanks Trent…

      To Niner Nation: The reason I used all caps in the previous article was because I’ve mailed the same suggestions in addition to candidates M. Shannahan and M. Holmgrem and various offensive college coaches to 49er ownership, only to be ignored…I know that many agree with my view that the offense is something not seen since the 20’s, and after reviewing some plays dialed up for Jim Thorpe & Bronco Nagurski that’s generous…Also after witnessing 9 men in the box on 3rd and one’s last year (now a league wide defense vs. the 49ers) without an audible I knew it was time for some sanity…Joe Montana and Steve Young would have destroyed 9 men in the box, not this 49er team. They have to modernize, therefore the ATTENTION GETTER CAPS…

      1. False:

        Torrey Smiths next tweet….

        Torrey Smith ‏@TorreySmithWR 3h3 hours ago
        Y’all do know my last 3 tweets weren’t football related right
        24 retweets 82 favorites
        Reply Retweet 24 Favorite 82

    3. Grant, congratulations. You deserve the wider readership. I don’t post here much but I read your stuff almost everyday. I’ve witnessed your growth as a writer. The SI article is very good. Much respect.

    4. Great article, Grant. Saving your best stuff for the national publications :)

      Thanks for that. As an Air Force brat, I see strong parallels in what my own mother went though (not to mention the rest of the family) with the constant relocating. I’m glad we finally ended up in the Bay Area where I could form an affiliation with the best sports team in all the leagues.

    5. Yeah, nfl wives and families have it pretty rough with the millions of dollars and all. We should probably start a relief fund for them. There aren’t any better causes in the world.

    6. Enjoyed that opus and look forward to more, perhaps some personal background stories from players who aren’t in the limelight so to speak. Well done Grant and it’s ok to celebrate in moderation!

  1. What do you expect as far as the biggest surprise cut, or bubble player making it? I could see Marcus Cromartie edging out Shareece Wright, and Busta Anderson sneaking on somehow.

    1. If Shareece Wright doesn’t make the team that would likely go down as the most surprising move for me. But I don’t think that will happen. At the moment, I think Dockett not making the team will be the most surprising move.

      1. Someone on here a few days ago mentioned a rumor, possibly a MM guess, that Dockett could be a casualty. I was still mildly surprised by Dockett and Looney. I did note Looney’s slide down the depth chart of late.

        1. Grant

          …Congratulations on your article in SI. Not a lot of people understand the nomadic lives of athletes, entertainers, and hired guns in the business world…It’s more than just packing up the Beacons van anymore. I believe that you covered most of that strata.

      2. If Shareece Wright doesn’t make the team that would likely go down as the most surprising move for me.

        I can’t remember who wrote it, but I read that Wright did not look good last night. If that is true, then it could be the reason he gets cut. You can’t look bad in a game with backups and players whose NFL dream ends a few days later and expect to make the final roster.

  2. The Patriots worked out former Okoye. I’m hoping he returns to the PS, but I’ll be happy for him if he lands on the Pats.

  3. Dockett and Looney are a bit of a surprise to me. I know there is an argument to make that Dockett was only signed as insurance, but he was pretty expensive insurance. I think he was signed with an eye to being a starting DT in nickel. What this says to me is the team is (a) not impressed with how Dockett has come along, and (b) impressed with how the young guys have gone.

    Looney’s departure is only surprising to me in that I thought he’d be the backup C, since he’d consistently been getting into games earlier than Farrell, and was the starting C for much of OTAs and training camp. Not sad to see him go, and he would have been the guy to go once Kilgore was activated anyway.

      1. Yeah, must be a really crummy part of the job. Especially telling guys that have been at the club for a few years to pack their bags.

    1. Scooter I agree Dockett was very expensive insurance but at least it should put to rest the arguement that the Yorks are cheap. They are not cheap, they may be incompetent but not cheap.

    1. I am not surprised. Grant has written many good articles. He can really analyze and write when he chose’s to. I think he has improved the coverage of the 49ers on BR considerably. This site is kind of like his Hyde to his Dr Jeckel in his other articles. We must really be a bad influence on you Grant.

  4. Grant

    Good write up. Interesting topic. Well written. Thanks for sharing it here.

    Over on Twitter, there’s a big dust-up brewing thanks to the Trotter->Torrey->Middlekauff Tweets. Why would the bookends be so vague, in your opinion? Does this mean something perceived as ABSOLUTELY HUGE might be brewing, like a trade of Kaepernick or Vernon?

    Vincent Frank is positing that there’s nothing to it, but I wonder why Trotter (who broke several big Niners stories recently) might be so vague?

    Could it be that Kaep is on the move? Why would Torrey’s cryptic Tweet (cryptic when taken in isolation) be relevant unless he felt duped? Is the youth movement at 4949 Centennial making players like Torrey and Quan question whether they’re on a rebuilder?

      1. Grant

        I saw that Ankiel’s wife contacted you on Twitter. Chase Utley’s wife (a good friend of mine from childhood) went to UCLA with him and would probably not mind sharing her stories with you if you plan to expand your scope.

    1. Naw. Kaep is set in stone. It is probably players taking their demotion badly. Players are probably upset over their friends losing their jobs.

      1. I’m just curious as to whether the negativity has to do with veteran guys who are injured (Dockett & Wheeler) getting cut; other vets might consider such treatment to be unethical by management.

        Or maybe Tomsula speaks from both sides of his mouth, and guys are worried about his authenticity. It’s somewhat concerning to the average fan (me).

        1. Well Dockett did allude to being brought up to treat the Janitor the same as the CEO. Seems to imply shabby treatment of some players. It could also be as you say that some players have been told one thing and what actually happened was something else. I would speculate that Tomsula really has less influence than most coaches and might not be sticking up as much for the players as Harbaugh did. He might have said one thing and then been over ridden by the front office. That might even be why he went to the lengths he did in denying that Hayne made the team via a presser. He might have told other players things that were over ridden by Baalke. Baalke might have called him in on the Hayne thing and straightened him out as to who was making the final decisions. Hayne is more than likely going to make the teams so why make a big deal of it otherwise. Hard situation Tomsula is in. He is walking a tightrope and might ultimately lose the respect of the players which he might have had. Pure off the top of my head speculation.

    2. Well, one of those tweeters has cleared things up from his end. Torrey Smith just tweeted that he wasn’t talking about anything football related.

        1. His next tweet…

          Torrey Smith ‏@TorreySmithWR 3h3 hours ago

          Y’all do know my last 3 tweets weren’t football related right
          24 retweets 82 favorites

  5. I knew you had it in you Grant. Absolute perfect article. A well done and atta boy is in order. Just don’t get to big and go to ESPN! Horrible company. Lol

  6. If they are going to trade Kaep for a promising backup QB and a high draft pick, I wouldn’t mind. The coaches know him the best, and if they’ve decided he’s just an 8-8 QB, what’s the loss?

      1. Maybe they think he’s a better game manager. If the team is run first and Gabbert can make them pay if they load the box, really it’s what they need at this point, no?

        1. Baalke wanted to draft Gabbert to start with. Could be the final kick in the rear to Harbaugh by getting rid of his choice and replacing him with his own. This might explain not playing either Kaep or Gabbart. We shall see if they keep Thomson. That should tell us something.

      1. For what, a Philadelphia cheese steak? Cause there is no QB behind Bradford on that roster worth more than that morsel.

    1. Please. It is an insult to Kaep to even bring up an absurd trade.
      It infuriates me to have trolls dredging up slime to diss the most important piece in the puzzle to solve the SB challenge. Please do not be gullible and fall for their hoax.
      I am jumping for joy that Kaep is the QB for the San Francisco 49ers. He has jaw dropping skills that make the Niners relevant again because every year he is the QB, the Niners have a legitimate and serious chance to go to the Super Bowl. The haters are out in force, and only they want Kaep gone, not Jed, Trent, Jim and 99% of the fanbase.
      The most maddening thing is they do not have an alternative. Trade Kaep for Tebow? Trade Kaep for RGIII? Trade Kaep for 1 million first round draft picks? It would be akin to having some one suggesting to trade Luck or Rogers. Those teams would laugh at such an illogical and delusional prospect. Please show a little respect for our starting QB, and do not belittle him by surmising about a trade. Dont be a tool for the trolls.

            1. Seb you throw the troll word out there a lot. I would dial back your usage a bit. Neither of those guys is a troll. They are just playing around, mostly. And they are allowed to voice their opinion. Trolling is a whole other level than this.

              Around here sometimes the only guys using the T word are the ones who are unaware of their own behavior. Its ok to get annoyed and disagree, but save the T word for people who deserve it.

      1. I think Kaep is getting a bad deal from the fans and the organization because they haven’t given him the tools to succeed. Although that was aimed more at Jim Harbaugh than Kaep. But realistically it wouldn’t surprise me if Baalke did trade him. Baalke is ruled more by his ego than he is by his reason. It might also be in Kaeps best interest to be traded, although it sort of a betrayal because he took a hometown discount then is traded away from that home town with with a contract that allows him to be cut after every season. Sort of defeats the purpose of a hometown discount. They could trade him to a team in worse shape than the Niners. He should have had a clause in his contract that would allow him to approve a trade to counter the no penalty cut advantage the Niner’s have. That way he could at least chose his own team. Well anything seems to be possible with this team.

  7. I guess you want to see a 2-14 year with Gabbert huh. Some of you guys make me laugh. Come Monday night when Kaep plays well and they win its going to be great watching you guys do a 360.. Gabbert LMAO!!!

  8. I am a little worried about the team getting younger what with the offense and defense supposedly expected to be more complex in order to throw off the opposing team. It could lead to some costly guffaws.

    1. While 49ers FO will vehemently deny it, the 49ers look like they are very much in rebuild mode. This is going to be a year of in the deep end learning for the young guys, so yes, we should expect some mistakes, especially early in the season. But we’ll get to see if these young guys have talent, and if they do, it should put the team in good stead come the second half of the season and the coming years.

      1. If the Niners got a teacher in Tomsula, then the improvements in size, speed, strength, and youth will offset and eventually outweigh whatever has been lost in wily veterans.

        Can’t replace the talent of JSmith or PWilly, but guys like Borland, Gore the Aged, and Dockett aren’t too hard to improve on, and if Justin and Patrick were really suffering steep declines (as each of them implied), then perhaps it won’t be such a big loss.

    2. I’ve thought since Jim T. took over that it’s likely a two year project to get back to the top of the heap. (And that was before I knew about PW, AD, CB, let alone AS and AB.)
      Time to get to work. Gung Ho.

  9. Grant, I enjoyed your SI article very much, and it was expected even if you went to the wrong school. May there be many many more. Congratulations.

    1. I remember our conversations about him last year prior to the draft. I’m fairly surprised to see him available.

  10. Grant allow me to join the others in congratulating you on not just a fine article but another big milestone in your career with an article in a major national publication. Mazel tov.

    What was the catalyst for writing about your subject choice?

  11. Grant – Some of us been around since your start. Watching you growing into a well rounded blogger/reporter, has been interesting. I must say some of your stuff just plain sucks. But for the most part you have been climbing that ladder of success where your writings been quite well organized, and full of fact and observations. Even tho I think your head is sometimes in Dallas, I think your on the track to becoming successful in your endeavor. Congrats are in order. Congrats.

  12. Way to go! Glad to see your hard work pay off! Fun to see you exchange comments and barbs other U.S. And keep it fun but also pursue important talks, may the force and a strong angle always be with you!

  13. Mike Davis per his Twitter account said that he just changed his number from 20 to 22.. 20 belongs to Acker as well. Looks like Mike made the team.

  14. I don’t see a Kaepernick trade as MM pointed out early in training camp. If SF who is set to pay him 20 million with incentives this year doesn’t want him, why would we?

    I said in the offseason, I thought the only real trade option would be SD for Rivers. Since he has resigned with a no trade clause, I don’t see SF getting much unless Washington wants another RG III experiment-better chance of winning the lottery without a ticket.

    I don’t see Kaepernick for all his undeniable talent as the answer in SF. If, as some have implied, this is a rebuilding year, perhaps the team shops Gabbert to Washington, Cleveland, NY Jets, NY Giants, the last of which might be the next landing spot for Kaepernick next season.

    Coughlin would have to be fired and one of these offensive coordinators getting promoted would have to be the new HC for all of this to happen.

    A run first attack doesn’t need a genius under center. They also don’t need to be paying a guy an 11 million dollar base salary to hand the ball off.

    1. The main flaw in your reasoning is that Kaep, if he moves to another team, will just make that team a SB contender, and thwart the Niners from a SB for all the years he plays.
      Personally, I do not want an angry Kaep to haunt us. I want a happy productive Kaep. I want to allow him to win multiple rings.
      Sounds like you want another Dilfer. That rarely happens, where the defense is so good, the QB’s job is to hand off the ball and not throw picks. Dont think the Niner defense is at that level yet.

      1. Kaep hasn’t made this team a Super Bowl contender. Alex Smith, and I really hated him, won 6 of the games that lead them to the Super Bowl. Kaepernick got them there in the playoffs.
        Since then, he has not had any answers for what NFL teams are throwing at him.
        There is no debate that he is one of the most talented individuals in the league. He just isn’t enough to carry a team on his own behind the line he has.
        I don’t think the team will reach a super bowl again while the GM is Baalke and the owner is York.

        1. Why do we have to talk about Alex still? Alex won the same way Kap has, leaning on the defense. He’s not carried his team either and he still plays with a great RB and defense at KC.

          1. Towards the end of the 2012 season with the defense giving up 29+ points a game with Cowboy and Aldon injured, I don’t believe that could be labeled as leaning on your defense. Why is this fact so often misrepresented?

            1. Good point willtalk, I was thinking in general both QB’s benefited from stout defenses that certainly contributed to winning games. Both QB’s also made plays to help win games and Kaep doesn’t get credit for the games he did win. Its always amazing how things polarize and people continue to buy into the narratives that best suit their presumptions.

  15. The right side of the O line blows and so does Kaep at anticipating throws. The coaching (assistants) staff is a bunch of leftovers/retreads. D will keep them in most games and then will run out of gas in the 4th quarter because the offense is not able to consistently move chains, or score TD’s. Rookie punter will get a lot of work, along with long FG attempts for Dawson. Seems like a return to the Nolan-Singletary era with a fancier stadium.

      1. Baalke ( and Harbaugh while here) don’t seem to value offensive lineman who are agile in pass protection. That’s great that the left side is solid with Boone and Staley, but then what? Good defenses will force them to go elsewhere. Porous o line with a QB who has poor vision and anticipation skills is a recipe for bad offensive product. I won’t go to Levi’s and pay the freight to watch it. For those that do, I hope the old (Candlestick) guard still remembers how to boo when poor offensive play on the field warrants it. Jed and Trent need to hear it.

    1. Or, the offensive malaise and incompetence will be rectified by proper coaching and the passing ill improve from the 30th ranked to something decent. This staff has impressive credentials and tons of experience. Chryst will be light years better than Roman, and Mangini looks like he will be more aggressive than Fangio.
      Coach Tomsula started TC by yelling Tempo a thousand times, and that was music to my ears. He has solved the game management problems just by being smart, and his offense will be unpredictable.
      Kaep is humble enough to ask for help, and he trained and studied hard. If the O line gives him enough time, he will emerge as a dominant and deadly accurate QB who will become a scoring machine. Hopefully, he will throw as many TD passes in the second half as he throws in the first half.
      Even with the setbacks, this team has reloaded for another SB run, and with Kaep as QB, anything is possible.

        1. Sebnynah- Yes! Oh excuse me I thought you were talking to me. lol.

          I do hope you are right. It might be possible what you say will transpire, but it would require a lot of things falling into place.

          1. This site has a bunch of incompetents who cannot include a decent edit feature. Really, it cannot be that hard to do in this computer age, but I guess they are lazy and/or clueless.

      1. I agree with most of what you say. However CK has never been an accurate passer. The probability of CK becoming a “deadly accurate QB” this year is almost nonexistent.

        1. Strange, I have seen Kaep throw jaw dropping passes on the run. Many pundits agree that Kaep is the only QB that has the arm strength and mobility to make those kind of passes. I expect with the better coaching, he will continue to improve.

      2. I’m sorry but the reason the Niners Offense has any chance to be decent is not because of Kaep, but because of the promise of the running game and maybe Haynes/Ellington as ST threats.

        Kaep’s body of work as a starting is sporadic, unpredictable and inconsistent. He’s show nothing so far that he has improved. He will not get by Seattle and the other tough NFC west defenses by merely running.

        He has not shown any mental toughness last year in the 4th Quarter, where he had one of the worst QB ratings.

        1. Still a one post wonder 77? We could all probably write your posts for you, He’s terrible, inaccurate, shows no improvement, only can run, can’t get past the first read, awful in the 4th Q, unintelligent, etc, etc . There are so many other interesting things to write about. Its sort of like getting to your 2-4th reads as a QB. The pass rush, youth movement in the d line, new coaching staff, Mangini as d coordinator, Brooks suspension, roster cuts, VMac’s performance, new RB’s, Geep and Logan’s offense, TB’s draft strategy. Kaepernick is only one part of the team. Maybe you should visit and get some training from Grant since’s he’s great at reviewing all of the 49ers issues. All said tongue and cheek.

  16. Grant, nice journalistic depth in your well regarded SI piece. Your writing shows breadth and depth of a topic often ignored. Your work is beyond what I have grown to expect from sport writing. I am happy you are exercising your skills for the good of the reader- it makes us all better people. Ciao.

  17. Anyone heard from poster Crab15? I know he needs a new screen name, but where is that dude? A fellow long suffering Knicks fan can’t be all bad ;)

    1. Not since the draft. He seemed pretty depressed by all the changes to the team. I’ve been wanting to tell him about Petaluma Hills brewery and their Blond Ale. That might cheer him up!
      Where you at, Crab15?
      Saw some other old timers poking around; Tim, Houston, Stampede (different name now)

      1. Brotha, he’s a Knicks fan, and nothing’s more depressing than that hot mess. Crab, come back. You better not have departed for the Raiders forums!

  18. Sitting down with a cup of coffee, I wish to expound upon tactics and strategy. In the Art of War, Sun Tzu emphasized mobility. since he lived 2500 years ago, he never knew about cavalry, tanks or air power, but German generals obtained Japanese translations and literature about his philosophy, and molded their army to employ his ideas. Hence, the Blitzkrieg. It was a philosophy that employed the use of mobility to disorganize the opposition and use concentrated firepower to exploit weaknesses and make huge gains with limited resources while preserving German lives and resources. Bill Walsh was an admirer of those strategies, but since the Germans were the bad guys, a lot of what he wrote about them were edited from his books. Still, those tactics and strategies are relevant to this day, and should be studied thoroughly just like Sun Tzu wrote 2500 years ago.
    In simple terms, they should out maneuver the opposition. Sun Tzu also was adamant about not wasting resources by conducting sieges and attacking strengths. JH ran a smash mouth offense, and ran FG into the teeth of the defense, but with all the injuries, that proved unwise.
    For a good guy example, the Americans employed the Art of War by their strategy of island hopping in the Pacific. They did not waste resources attacking strongholds, but made those strengths useless by avoiding them and taking weakly defended islands. In North Africa, British and American forces used deception by fabricating tanks out of camel caravans so the Germans mistook them for tank columns and wasted petrol trying to maneuver to counter them.
    In the Civil War, the South was vastly out numbered and had scant resources, so they used cavalry to out maneuver the Union forces and made lightening strikes to attack supply depots and thus replenish arms food and ammunition. Grant and Sherman Countered that by Shermans’ March to the Sea that burnt Atlanta and employed a scorched earth policy to deprive the South of resources. Grant employed a war of attrition until the elite rebel forces were ground down to nothing, and Lee was left with a starving rag tag army. Grant also used railroads to great effect to carry troops and materials, to flank the Southern forces and herded them like sheep to Appomattox.
    I hope Coach Tomsula has read the Art of War, and learn to use those tactics and strategies to allow the Niners to win games.

    1. Thanks for the interesting post. Not every successful war strategy has its origin in the art of war. Most of what’s in the Art of War is common sense and someone could be employing similar strategies without any prior knowledge of the Art of War.

    2. Coaches that get to this level have educated themselves in all kinds of strategies. I am sure they are all familiar with the Art of War. In the end strategy is only one piece of the puzzle. It comes down to player talent and execution after strategy. If the talent of the opposing teams is better and our players fail to execute the strategy correctly it doesn’t matter how good the strategy was. Think about the execution of the passing offense last year. As you are fond of saying, slow receivers, injured o line and a QB that held the ball a little long. The strategy may have been sound but injuries and poor execution limited success. Also the lack of outlet passes, VD’s injury an inclusion in the game plan also were short comings. This year we’ll see. The strategy maybe good but if they can’t figure out pass protection on the right side execution could be really bad. Kaepernick also needs to identify quicker whether to hit his outlet pass or throw the ball away sooner when protection breaks down.

      1. I advocate quick slants and pump fakes to freeze the DBs, along with the outlet pass. Another strategy i hope they will learn from Hayne is the of laterals. I predict the Niners will employ multiple laterals to confuse the defense and avoid pressure.
        Granted, execution is critical, and I expressly advocated that for Roman last year.

        1. Lets book mark this one Seb. Laterals like the option in college ball. I don’t see it. What do you see that would indicate that they would add laterals to the play book? We haven’t seen anything like that in practice or preseason. Its an interesting prediction for sure.

          1. Coach Tomsula is hiding any inkling of laterals, but with Hayne, I have seen video of him doing clever things with the ball, and I am positive Coach Tomsula has too. I hope they utilize all his skillsets and surprise the league.

      2. I think JH read it, and took to heart the comment about how the Field General could overlook and ignore the sovereign if he felt like it.

    1. There’s some action by our GM. Wonder why the Raven’s are letting him go? From your link. What do you guys think, they use him as a guard or is MMartin not what they hoped for?

      According to Pro Football Focus, Nick Easton led all centers in the preseason with a +9.1 overall grade including +7.7 run blocking. – See more at:

      1. I had hoped we drafted a center in the past draft, this might turn out to be even better. I think he plays center, but guard would work too. Niners need help from center to tackle. Wonder what we gave up for him, probably a draft pick.

        1. TB has plenty of picks to go around in the next 2 drafts. He’s joining the team really late, but lets see if cracks the roster. I wonder if we had a good guard on the right side if it would help Pears at all.

          1. wilson73

            That has been my question mark ever since we picked him (Pears) up. Frankly, I don’t think that he has looked that bad during pre-season. If a quality Guard can create chemistry with him, we could have a great ‘wall’ to match the left side. How about Devey ?

    2. Sweet. He looks good, and I hope that is the end of all the botched snaps. Sounds like Killgore just is not healthy enough to play.

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