5 takeaways from 49ers’ final roster cuts

This is my Sunday column.

One interesting selection on the 49ers’ final roster: rookie running back Mike Davis. He seems to have taken a job away from veteran running back Kendall Hunter.

The Niners placed Hunter on the Injured Reserve list Saturday afternoon even though he played the final two preseason games.

Hunter didn’t play well in those games, averaged only 2.1 yards per carry. Davis averaged 4.3 yards per carry all preseason. Davis is quick, explosive and confident, as opposed to Hunter, who is sluggish and tentative after tearing his ACL in August of 2014.

If Davis hadn’t played so well, the Niners might have included Hunter on the final roster. But Davis was good, so the Niners can let Hunter rehab his surgically repaired knee for another year and see what happens then.

Here are five more interesting selections on the Niners’ final roster cuts.

1. RB Jarryd Hayne

After the 49ers announced their cuts, Jim Tomsula spoke with Bay Area reporters on a conference call. I asked him about Jarryd Hayne, the 27-year-old former Australian Rugby League star. What is his role? Is he the starting punt and kick returner?

“No, I won’t say that right now,” Tomsula said. “We’ve got some guys at that position that are pretty competitive. As we game plan, we will determine those things.”

Hayne performed surprisingly well as a returner during the preseason, but during the fourth and final exhibition game returners Bruce Ellington and DeAndrew White performed even better. Hayne may be the third-best returner on the roster.

Don’t be surprised if the 49ers cut Hayne when wide receiver Jerome Simpson returns from his suspension, or when Daniel Kilgore returns from his ankle injury.

2. WR DeAndrew White

Two undrafted rookies made the final roster: Hayne, and wide receiver DeAndrew White.

White was fantastic during OTAs and minicamp, the portion of the offseason when players practice in shorts and the game resembles touch football. White was one of the best touch football players on the team.

But when the players put on pads during training camp, White didn’t do much for a couple of weeks. He seemed overwhelmed by the physicality of NFL players.

And during the first three preseason games, White made only two catches for three yards. He seemed like a minicamp sensation who was about to get the ax. But he went crazy during the final exhibition game, catching three passes for 77 yards and returning three punts for 70 yards.

There’s no question White is one of the most explosive players on the team. He may return punts instead of Hayne.

3. ILB Shayne Skov

The 49ers signed former Stanford inside linebacker Shayne Skov as an undrafted free agent last year and his own college coach, Jim Harbaugh, cut him. Skov spent the 2014 season on the 49ers’ practice squad.

But he played well this offseason during OTAs, minicamp and training camp. It was clear he was moving better than he had in 2014. He finally seems recovered from the ACL tear he suffered in 2011.

During the preseason, Skov was one of the 49ers’ best run defenders, earning a plus 4.6 grade from Pro Football Focus — third-highest on the Niners. Nick Moody, the third-year inside linebacker Skov beat out, earned a grade of plus 4.0.

Moody is a better athlete than Skov, which means Moody is better in man-to-man coverage. But Moody played safety in college, and Skov has played inside linebacker his whole life. Skov is far superior at stopping the run.

And a run-stopper is what the Niners need on running downs, because they won’t use their inside linebackers much in pass coverage. On passing downs, the Niners will play six defensive backs and just one inside linebacker — NaVorro Bowman. Moody, who’s better at pass coverage than playing the run, became expendable.

4. DL Tony Jerod-Eddie

Since the 49ers signed Tony Jerod-Eddie as an undrafted free agent in 2012, he has appeared in 32 games and recorded exactly no sacks.

Last season, he played 426 snaps and earned a minus 9.5 run-defense grade from Pro Football Focus. He was consistent. He stunk against the run and the pass.

He seemed like a lock to get cut after the Niners signed defensive tackle Darnell Dockett this offseason. Dockett, 34, has recorded 40.5 sacks in his career. He’s proven.

But Dockett missed most of the offseason due to an ACL tear he suffered last August. He did participate during most of training camp but missed the final preseason game with an injured rib.

Rather than waiting on Dockett’s rib to heal, the Niners gave his roster spot to Jerod-Eddie, who’s young and healthy. This is a controversial move.

5. LB Ahmad Brooks

On August 26, the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office charged starting outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks with sexual battery. Brooks allegedly groped an unconscious woman in a “sexual manner” at former teammate Ray McDonald’s house on December 15.

Immediately after the district attorney filed charges, the Niners sent Brooks home — they were in Denver practicing with the Broncos at the time. Brooks did not play in the final two exhibition games.

At first, it seemed San Francisco might plan on keeping Brooks away from the team until his court case ended, but now it seems the Niners planned on keeping him away only during meaningless preseason games.

Saturday afternoon, a reporter asked Tomsula if he expects Brooks to play in the season opener next Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings. “Yes, I do,” Tomsula said.

Translation: We absolutely need Brooks, and probably can’t beat the Vikings without him.

It’s a case of 49ers morality taking a back seat to sheer, screaming, over-arching necessity.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.


  1. “He (White) seemed overwhelmed by the physicality of NFL players.”

    Is this a personal observation of practices? One of the DBs (I forget who) described White as fast but also strong.

    1. I just checked the Seahawks 53 and there are 3 former 49ers: Ricardo Lockette, BJ Daniels, and Demarcus Dobbs.

      I think that is interesting. Seahawks supposedly have much more talented roster, but they have players the 49ers rejected, but AFAIK the 49ers do not have any former Seahawks.

      I don’t think Lockette or Daniels would have made this 49ers roster. They are both WR and don’t seem better than anyone the 49ers kept. What about Dobbs? Would he have made this team over TJE? Maybe.

      1. To Rob
        RE: Seb, CK:Elite, and Raidereatery (Razoreater)

        At 12:53, 9/5, Seb advised a trade to the Raider posted on Grant’s article: “49ers acquire Nick Easton….”

        Check it out, it’s for real…He’s a Raider Fan…But I’ve also learned his Raider Comrades who’ve infested this site are CK, and Razoreater because they keep posting that we should keep lousy players, and get rid of good ones.

        Watch out for them, because I’m sure they have others like them on this site.

    1. I think some of us will howl too. I know I will be if Hayne is cut. He as been and most likely will be the one bright spot and 49er story to tell the grand kids of this other wise most likely sad SACK season.

      1. I am going to make a bold prediction. I think Hayne will score 8 TDs this season with a Kickoff return, punt return, pass and run.

    2. Anyone else notice that Grant’s style in this blog is different than when he writes for Bleacher Report or SI? Here he is much more pessimistic and inflammatory. Hayne is a feel good story and clearly done well in just about everything he’s done, including making tackles on special teams, so naturally Grant has to find a negative angle, saying he is inferior to Ellington and White and might get cut. This style may drive page views, but seems to me inferior work to his other stuff.

        1. Now Hayne is on Grant’s “short meaningless rebuttal” list. Once on that list an athlete might as well pack his bag and go home.

              1. Grant likes to troll his own board- little odd but ok…

                Hayne is the real deal- the guy is one of the top weapons on the niners- he not only should cover all punts but get at least a few touches/catches a game out of the offense… he is too good to bench, much less cut.

        2. Agree… Grant… Hayne’s not going anywhere… in this regard, ur an idiot. And you blather all this crap about Brooks???? It’s a friggin’ misdemenor, you moron… Plus Brooks is said to be very involved and actively participating in the new beefed up niners program. You’re a sad little man, cohen… selling your bull pucky soul for page views… lost a lot of respect for you… you’re just another loser columnist trying to execute your self righteous dumb as# values…

          1. This site is for Niner fans to calmly and civilly discuss the Niners in a pleasant manner, not some soapbox for some hater to spew insults and drivel.
            You fail in so many ways, please leave.

        3. Grant, I think you are wrong about Hayne, he is one of the most bright
          spots on the roster, and I don’t think he is being hyped up, for he does everything they ask him to do, and does it well, and even when Simpson
          returns, Hayne isn’t going anywhere soon. I don’t see how you think
          that he’s not that great, he’s a Gem.

            1. Wow, kinda narrow view there. Hayne returns punts and kickoffs. I watched him perform well on punt coverages, and he may have a role in kick coverages too; not sure about that, but then he also shows some talent and promise as a RB and could be shifted out as a Big Slot to catch a mismatch with a LB. His versatility seems equal to Ellington’s and ahead of White’s.
              Why does a beat writer have to have that pointed out? Just a little too stubbornly defending an opinion previously expressed I think. We all have opinions, some will be challenged, sometimes legitimately. Just stubbornly sticking to the throw away dismissive responses isn’t all that effective as a defense of an opinion.

              1. Hayne is a good special teams players. Ellington and White are good special teams players and good receivers.

              2. You’re choosing to define this as a two point comparison, when I don’t believe it is. Ellington and White are more advanced and valuable on offense, granted. But saying ‘they play special teams too’ is an oversimplification. Hayne plays 3 or 4 positions on ST and plays offense. The others are returners. As HT said……..

            2. I don’t see Ellington, nor White, laying hits on CB’s like Hayne. If Hanye is cut, every team in the league will be vying for his service. Wake up dude.

            3. Hayne makes elite RB cuts.. Hayne has possesses a superior stiff arm. Hayne has excellent balance. Hayne is very strong on his feet as was shown when he knocked a San Diego CB flat on his azz.. As a gunner, Hayne is a heat seeking missile. Dude if you don’t understand or recognize talent don’t embarrass yourself with your contrarian comments about what is obvious..

        4. Grant, can you be just a little more skeptical of the 49ers? You’re just not negative enough. Try and discuss the worst in every player and how little their worth is to the team.

          1. No. He is just tamping down expectations. When the regular season comes, they will be kicking punts high and short so he will be forced to fair catch it.
            Also, Hayne was going against second stringers. The difference between first and second string is like the difference between night and day.

        5. Over-hyped? I respectfully disagree. I don’t think he’s “hyped” at all. For my money, he was one of the few bright spots for the Niners in the entire pre-season, and I think the guy’s going to be a Rock Star.
          All return men in the NFL have wheels. Hayne’s got wheels AND hands. We’ve never seen him drop, or even bobble a punt. And that over-the-shoulder catch? I’d say 80% of the return guys in the league muff that. You may recall the playoffs a couple of years back, when a pair of good hands back there would have changed everything.
          And how many return men have EVER knocked a would-be tackler on his butt? Also, the dude knows North and South. Doesn’t sprint to the sidelines to avoid a hit, and he NEVER runs backwards. I’ll take that skill set and attitude ANY DAY!
          Go Niners!

          1. I would add that in judging returns one has to consider the opening the returner has to work with. On those long runs Ellington and White had they had some pretty big lanes to run trough. The kicker out kicked the coverage which was bad in both those situations. While speedy receivers like them excel in those sort of situations, when they are put into ones that have smaller lanes they run into problems. They would not get yardage in situations that Hayne would. He will get you + yards on every punt.

            Grant you are often very impulsive in your assessments. You made this latest one purely because of the two good returns that White and Ellington had at the end of the forth preseason game when most players are getting their last shot on the field. This type of assessment is blatantly stupid and should be beyond not only any sports analyst worth his salt but also any reasonable or rational person.

            Interesting how you follow the praise that people heaped upon you in respect to your SI article with some self indulgent BS. It’s like you try to test to see how much you can get away with. So after winning almost every ones support you either feel a need to do a 180 or feel it is the most opportune time to get away with one.

          2. Excellent Rusty. Good point about not giving ground and the hands.
            I recall when he first committed I and many worried about ball security due to his style of holding the ball. I saw him against SD holding it that way, not by the point, but quite secure, and not swinging it around. The dude got game.

        6. No, Tebow is over hyped. Hayne’s overall preseason performance was one of the best in all NFL pre-season. Also he is a marketing score like the Niner’s haven’t seen since forever. An entire nation of new fans. Doubt he’ll get cut & yes 7x7ers is dead on about your writing style. You’re not very subtle about it.

      1. 7×7,

        You’re joking, right? Pretty much everyone has noticed Grant has a much different style in Bleacher Report.

        I liked how grant conveniently left out how the NFL has decided that brooks won’t be out in the exempt list.

        Not everyone accused of something is guilty of something.

        1. The NFL is feeling the repercussions of the Brady ruling. They are also considering revoking some of the power given to the commissioner. They are going to tread very lightly in respect to punishments and suspensions until they get together and restructure the system.

      2. Agree… Grant… Hayne’s not going anywhere… in this regard, ur an idiot. And you blather all this crap about Brooks???? It’s a friggin’ misdemenor, you moron… Plus Brooks is said to be very involved and actively participating in the new beefed up niners program. You’re a sad little man, cohen… selling your bull pucky soul for page views… lost a lot of respect for you… you’re just another loser columnist trying to execute your self righteous dumb as# values…

        1. It’s not about values. If it was about values those would be reflected via consistency in the objectivity of his articles.

    1. Grant left out the part where the NFL decided that leave with pay wasn’t justified. The 49er options are to not give him a game day uniform, cut him, or play him.

    2. Yeah on top of that, this woman was unconscious so how does she know what happened, that’s a big joke, it makes no since that they would even charge Brooks at all.

  2. Totally agree that Skov is a sign Tartt will replace ILB on passing downs. Offenses will test this configuration by pounding the rock. If Bowman+Tartt can stop the run, the D will be deadly.

    I remember someone saying Mangini favors smart players that can play in his scheme. He might have liked Skov’s decision making.

    Still, I’m surprised about Moody. Speed at ILB is a hot commodity. I wonder if he was claimed yet.

    As for TJE… is he an ascending player? I remember he had an INT a while back. Maybe Mangini likes him in an occasional zone-blitz role.

    1. Speed doesn’t mean shat if you don’t have the instinct to find the ball. Moody is always late to get into position to make his play on the ball in run defense.

  3. Don’t be surprised if the 49ers cut Hayne when wide receiver Jerome Simpson returns from his suspension, or when Daniel Kilgore returns from his ankle injury.
    I wouldn’t be surprised I’d be downright shocked. Hayne was the best punt returner through 3 pre season games and after the 4th and most meaningless contest of them all suddenly he’s the third best? Careful you don’t hit your chin with that knee. The actual surprise will be if the 49ers don’t cut White IF they actually bring back Simpson in the first place.

      1. Grant loves to use PFF when it suits his argument but he forgets to note that they had Hayne as the highest rated returner this postseason over everyone in the NFL who handled the duty.


    1. Coffee, you are 100 percent correct. Ellington and White did nothing until the last meaningless game. While Hayne has looked awesome throughout. Hanye is a natural and already one of the best punt returners in the game. It’s obvious the Grant is protecting his investment in white,cause he has talked him up all off season long and in actual games has done ZERO!!!

        1. Ya for undrafted free agents that are trying to make a team they count as actual games.. Unless you got some professional football footage of White that I’m not aware of.

            1. No the 4th pre season game is meaningless. Your playing against players that won’t be on other teams 53. Hayne played in the first 3 pre
              season games where he played with better competition. White did nothing up until the 4th pre season game. Hayne performed in every game.

              1. Then the other games are meaningless because you could be playing against guys who won’t even make it to the 75 player limit. It’s one way or the other.

      1. not only that- ellington was mediocre last season when he returned in the regular season- dude isnt special, he just has speed.

    2. Such a good point Coffee. I will add that he is the feel good story. And feel good stories can sell seats and make the news when all else fails.

    3. Agreed CfC. I would be very surprised if he isn’t the primary return man, or if the 49ers cut him.

      When Simpson returns from suspension it will be one of the other WRs that make way for him, if they decide they even want Simpson on the roster.

      And I don’t see them carrying 10 OL at any point on the 53.

      It is also worth keeping in mind that injuries do happen. Who knows what will happen between now and when Simpson/ Kilgore are ready to be activated?

  4. So fans of TJE, what’s his upside? I have always wondered aside from injuries why he’s on the team. Every once in a while he seems to make a great play, but other than that he seems to be a liability. I don’t care that he took Dockett’s spot, I think we have plenty of other talent on the D line.

    Last season, he played 426 snaps and earned a minus 9.5 run-defense grade from Pro Football Focus. He was consistent. He stunk against the run and the pass.

    1. I’m not that big a fan of TJE, but he does offer versatility and he also plays some on STs. I think he’s a bit better, bigger version of DeMarcus Dobbs.

            1. I’m 50-50 on whether they would replace one of the 5 WRs they currently have with Simpson after he finishes his suspension. I think it will largely come down to how much success they are getting out of the passing game/ offense, and production out of the 3rd WR role through the first 6 weeks.

        1. I liked Patton’s catch for the TD; head in the moment. If the long ball game is lacking, maybe QP goes. If not and QP produces, maybe pass on Simpson.

  5. The only interesting one is the decision to keep Hayne because he doesn’t offer much as a RB. However, it does make sense if the team plans on using Ellington more on offense and less in the return game.
    The performance of White seems more related to the team not wanting to showcase the player until absolutely necessary more than White not playing well.
    Skov was a no-brainer to make the final roster given that he was the one with the mic in his helmet when on the field.
    I was never a fan of signing Dockett (and still not), but blaming his release on the team wanting to keep TJE over him is ludicrous. Dockett was coming off an injury, hadn’t played all preseason, and was an expensive option if he was just a pass rusher. Add in the facts that Armstead looked good and offers more versatility and you have the realistic reasons Dockett was let go.
    What did I say about the media and figureheads? The NFL deemed that Brooks couldn’t go on the exempt list and he has only been charged with a misdemeanor, so there really isn’t any logical reason that Brooks shouldn’t play.

    1. Keeping Hayne makes sense if one of two things is true:

      (a) They intend to use him as the primary return man.
      (b) They believe with ongoing training and time he has the talent to be a heck of a RB, and didn’t want to risk losing him (kind of like how they stashed Ian Williams on the roster to start his career).

      I know you’ve been adamant in you opinion of keeping him, and there is some validity to it, but I do think he has shown enough in preseason to think (a) is likely and (b) is a possibility.

      If they just end up cutting him when Simpson or Kilgore returns as Grant suggests there is really no reason for keeping him right now. It would just be a waste of time, as some other team would still be likely to pick him up once the 49ers release him.

      On Skov, I really don’t see how being the guy with the green dot signified he was going to be on the roster. It just showed they trusted him to get the calls relayed to the other players. He ended up on the roster based on what the coaches and Baalke saw in his play compared to Moody, both in preseason and practices. I didn’t see what they appear to have seen in the preseason games, but I also know the coaches and Baalke know a lot more about football, talent evaluation, and what each of the players were meant to be doing on each play, so I’m happy to go with it.

      1. Option A goes along with what I have said in regards to Ellington Scooter. He was the primary returner last season, and if they plan on having him be more involved on the offense, then it makes sense in keeping Hayne so that he can take over as the primary returner. Also, I have never said anything about Hayne not becoming a good option at RB….just that he isn’t there yet.
        I also don’t see him getting cut when Simpson or Kilgore return. I believe Patton and someone on the OL will be the victims of that.
        Think about it this way with Skov Scooter: if you were thinking about cutting him, then why would you give him the helmet mic and not someone else like Moody or a DB? The answer is simple: the coaching staff saw that he can be a potential leader on the defense if his number is called. Do you cut a guy like that?

        1. I am sure they always thought he was a decent shot at making the 53. Same as I am sure they always thought Moody was a decent shot too. As to why they’d give Skov the helmet mic over Moody (or someone else) – because they thought he was best suited for it. But you don’t keep him on the roster just because he had the green dot when the starters were out. I don’t see how it was the “no-brainer” you say it was.

            1. To clarify, I am just saying that Skov was well suited to relaying the plays to the team. He’s obviously a smart guy, and knows the D pretty well. But that in and of itself is not a good enough reason to keep him. It may well have factored into the final decision, as its certainly handy to have guys on the team that are good at it, but if Moody was a better ILB than Skov they wouldn’t have kept Skov just because he was better at communicating the plays to the other players. There are other guys on the roster that could do that (and likely will be, as its unlikely Skov will be starting).

              1. There’s one other thing that you and most others are forgetting: that Skov and Moody were playing next to each other and never swapped spots. This indicates to me that they were playing for two different backup positions and the real competition was Wilhoite/Moody/Bellore.

      2. The Niners have a gem, and it would be like throwing the crown jewels into the sea.
        Please. The guy just made the team. Why talk about cutting him?
        Grant did not make many Niner fans mad, he enraged a whole continent. Jarryd Hayne is a hero back home, and the Niners would be smart to keep him the whole season because they could sell a million shirts with 38 on it in the market down under.
        Simpson will be no problem. I anticipate through attrition that at least 1 WR will be nicked up by the 7th game.
        Skov played well and deserves a spot, and being miced up helped.
        Hayne will shine, and help the Niners to a winning season.

        1. >>Grant did not make many Niner fans mad, he enraged a whole continent.

          I doubt Grant’s PD column is must-read material down under.

          But his Hayne quotations will be fun reminders back at him during the upcoming season. Almost as much fun as “Gore’s empty legs” and his loopy “If you takes away the run of x yards, he has an average of y yards” logic.

          1. With the internet, this blog is a click away from anyone down under. They are craving info about Hayne, so they probably access this site often.

    2. I also like White. It think the type of catches he makes transcend any competition he is facing. You can see his skill set. It’s not like he is making simple bad coverage receptions.

      In respect to who gets cut to make room for Simpson. It won’t be Hayne if unless he totally falls on his face. More than likely if someone goes it will be Patton. He is average at best. Simpson just has too much skill as a receiver to not take advantage of. Receivers can have off days/minor injuries etc. and the more top receivers you have available to plug in the better your production will be.

  6. Grant – come on man really on the Ahmad Brooks thing. The ONLY reason why the 49ers will start him is because the League refuses to put him on the NFI list. So in essence, he’s an active player. The League also performed their own investigation and will be “watching” things accordingly. Morality? Really? Tom Brady does something to affect the game and no one talks about morality of the Patriots. Brooks does something that doesn’t affect the game, off the field in his personal time and we’re just all over him right? I call that double-standard.

    1. Those who hold political correctness in high regard go ahead and heap all the insults you want on me. No person should lose their job over a misdemeanor. No how, no way, not ever. End of subject.

  7. Davis looks good but I wonder if it was more that Hunter lost the job more then Davis won it.

    As far as Hayne is concerned the thing I like about him is his hands. Don’t worry at all about him fumbling. Ellington and White maybe better but Hayne is going to get better by leaps and bounds as his education of football broadens and deepens. I am not at all enamored with his never playing football, its just fun to watch him run.

  8. Come on, Grant…think! WRs are valuable and our #3, 4 and 5, all have recent histories with injuries. Do you really think they’ll risk putting White or Ellington back there when neither of them has the hands nor the size of Hayne. Cut him? Not a chance.

      1. Same. The last couple of years all I’ve wanted whenever the opposition punted the ball was for our punt returner not to fumble the ball away. Its a nice feeling these days being excited about a potential positive play from a punt return, isn’t it?

  9. I have no problems with Brooks playing for the Niners in the opener or the rest of the season. I just wish Jed and/or Trent stepped up and gave an explanation instead of having the HC once again address questions related to a player’s off the field issues.

    In any case, congrats to Mike Purcell, Jarryd Hayne and DeAndre White…making an NFL 53 man roster as an UDFA is certainly an accomplishment.

    1. Before TC I would have thought Purcell would be one of the first cuts. He really progressed. McCray must have advanced his coverage skills to beat out Dahl.

    2. No. Jed is smart to delegate the task to coach Tomsula. Trent is smart, too, because you do not send up the bat boy to the plate, you send up Buster Posey. Jed is smart to keep quiet and let others do their job. Many people want Jed up there just so they can rip him again. Jed is not a masochist. Tomsula may not be eloquent, but he speaks the lingo. I look forward to his press conferences.

      1. Jed is the one who blathered on inanely about winning with class and accountability. The press did not make him say it, he chose to. If he meant what he said then Brooks should not be on the team.
        Now, Jed is free to change his mind. However, what I see is weak leadership starting with the CEO.

        1. Jed said it, and he cannot take those words back, but he also can prevent more words by letting Coach Tomsula do the Job. He also is supporting Coach Tomsula by not getting rid of Brooks because Coach Tomsula wants him, and they must have reviewed the tapes and seen no bad behavior on Brooks part.
          Coach Tomsula has every reason to jettison Brooks, but he forgave past transgressions for the good of the team, and I admire him all the more for it.

          1. You are certainly consistent in your belief that Tomsula can add or cut the members of his 53 man squad or his ten man practice squad.

              1. I think that Trent Baalke has done a masterful job assembling a SB challenging team though FA, trades and the draft. What the coaches do with them is going to be the rest of the story.
                He has managed this task while enduring retirements and suspensions, yet has filled every hole with deep talent.
                AA is occupying double teams. Tartt has thump. Harold was a steal. Every draft pick is still with the team. Baalke has done his job well. I think Tomsula likes his players.

              2. It’s like you have a filter that blots out whole segments of information even when it comes directly from the principal involved character.

  10. Hayne looked the best to me ashe was going against higher quality competition.

    My biggest concern with him is that I would have liked to see him take a fair catch. I only state this because I’m worried he might be too brave for his own good.

      1. Hayne was instructed by the coaches to make a fair catch on that play so that the offense can get a chance to move the ball over more yards.

        1. Hayne had shown enough, and the fair catch was prudent because it would have been a disaster if he got injured on such a meaningless play. Also, Coach Tomsula wanted to give less film to the opponents about Hayne.

      2. I wanted to see him call a fair catch when the defenders are bearing down on him. Almost all of his catches were made with plenty of space and that wont always be the case. I think he is more than capable and that it is only a slight concern but I feel its relevant enough to watch in the regular season.

        1. shoupbj. One of his earliest returns was on a punt that almost everyone else would have called a fair catch on. What makes him great is that he seems to have the ability to concentrate on the ball while observing the position of the approaching defenders and calculating the best possible lane to take. That is something that can not be taught it is a talent you are born with. That was what Williams lacked. The ability to multitask or focus on more than one thing at a time. He could do one or the other but not both.

          In Rugbe there is no such thing as a fair catch. Every punt has to be fielded and returned. That focus’s on that skill. Much like Warner honed his skill for quick release in arena football. Rugbe for him was the perfect training ground for being a returner. As to being able to multitask, you can hone that skill but you need to be born with the ability.

  11. It would be just like the team to keep Hayne and then never use him. They’ve done that with a lot of promising players in the past. LET HIM FREAKIN’ PLAY coach!

  12. For whatever reason, Grant Cohn needs to create controversy. I know he can’t honestly think White and Ellington look like better kick returners than Hayne.

    1. Ellington has that 5th gear, and showed it on the TD pass. Hayne, while bigger and shiftier, was run down by the safety on his 53 yard run. Both are good, and Grant is just stirring things up which is predictable for a blogger. I notice that this site has over a hundred posts. Before I started posting in the off season, I noticed this site averaged about 20 posts. Of course, we are getting close to opening day kickoff, so the attention and excitement is ramping up.

      1. No offense Seb, but I think you are posting the additional 80 posts yourself. So if you say it’s because of Grant, you certainly would be an expert on that subject.

            1. I hope people know that I am just a plain ol’ faithful Niner fan. Part of the privileged few who live in such a blessed land, and have witnessed history. The indescribable joy of those glory years will sustain me, just like the futility of past Warrior teams from Nate and Barry until this magical year. We are so spoiled. 3 out 5 years the Bay Area has raised a banner, and the Warriors make it a dual championship. It must be the water. That Hetch Hechy water just brings out the best.
              Now I am dreaming. Some say I am delusional. What if it was a trifecta? If the Niners win, it would be perfect. I believe in magic. And miracles.

    2. Sunday morning with a cup of coffee in hand, I wish to predict the practice squad players.
      Dylan Thompson
      Marcus Cromartie
      Jermaine Whitehead
      Lawrence Okoye
      Marcus Rush
      Diandre Campbell
      Dillon Farrel
      Justin Renfrow
      Garrison Smith
      Trey Millard
      I think Tiller, Moody and Gaskins get claimed by other teams.

  13. Weren’t we all kicking Skov off the team after the first preseason game? Man a lot changes in a short amount of time. Now we all love Skov and somehow Hayne has gone from a future HoF return man to being the odd man out when Jerome “i’ll probably be suspended next season too” Simpson comes back.

      1. Jarryd Hayne is a two time MVP of the NRL. As Tomsula says, he is a world class athlete. DeAndrew White has probably been playing football since he was 8. Hayne hasn’t even been playing for 8 months. His upside is huge. Watch what he does for field position this year. Much like Andy Lee saved our butts for so many years keeping field position to our advantage so will Hayne.

      2. White is a better WR, but Hayne is a better punt returner and RB.
        Really dont know about blocking, because we have not seen enough Hayne in game conditions.

      3. I’m not sure that’s the point. Of course White is the better football player. He has been playing the game since high school or before in a country where it is has taken the place of baseball as the national pastime. Hayne has been playing the game for less than 3 months so it is truly remarkable that he has been able to accomplish as much as he has. I think for the purposes of this discussion you have to accept the fact that at this moment, under the team’s current situation, and with all of the bad press that they have had this off season that Hayne’s presence on the team transcends whatever his actual contributions might be. His story has energized the fan base and given them someone to root for on a team whose reputation has been severely tarnished over the last two years. If you go to the NFL.com website almost every other 49er highlight features Hayne returning kicks or knocking over defenders. Not only that he has brought a whole new fan base to the team and to the league by attracting many of his followers from his rugby days in Australia. It is entirely possible that the 49ers won’t be very good this year but if Hayne is given a chance to play and compete I suspect you will have legions of fans, both old and new, tuning in to see how he does. It’s possible that he may fall on his face once he has to square off against first team players on a consistent basis but until that happens he will have people on two continents rooting for his success. I don’t see how that is a worse scenario than keeping an extra inside linebacker or lineman who might not ever suit up on game days.

      4. Yes, Grant, but your level of certainty on something is comical, when you completely reverse your opinion in a short period of time. FYI, you do it all the time, and it makes it hard to take you seriously.

        You write thinks like, “Hayne isn’t only the best returner on the 49ers, he’s the best returner in the NFL. No, he’s the best retainer that ever lived.”

        Three weeks later: “He’s going to get cut.”

        See why that’s funny?

      5. “DeAndrew White is a better football player than Jarryd Hayne.”

        And on paper, he’s probably a better wide receiver than Fred Belitnikoff. I might have said DeAndrew White HAS THE POTENTIAL to be better player than Jarryd Hayne, so I like Tomsula’s approach. Let’s wait and see.

          1. SMH. I know you know better then to give the 4th preseason game that much consideration so I just can’t understand why you are elevating these two players based upon that sole performance.

              1. The coaches who saw him every day in practice and know where he’s at progress wise commissioned him all of 16 snaps per game through the first three contests. His average PFF grade through those 16 snaps per game was -.2. It wasn’t until the 4th preseason game where they let the scrubs audition for other teams that he finally was given meaningful snaps. That tells you everything you need to know about how the team views his ability to contribute to the team at this moment in time.

              2. Just thought of one: If Hayne is so great, why didn’t Tomsula name him the starting returner already? I asked Tomsula what his role would be and Tomsula didn’t mention anything specific.

              3. I hope you mean destroying in a playful exaggerated way otherwise I need to tone it back because I’m not trying to grind you down on the subject. If it seems that way then I apologize, it’s the medium that makes my tone seem stronger then it is.

              4. I think if you look at most of Tomsula’s responses regarding Haynes they’ve been very measured. I think he’s trying to control the hype around the player. Maybe he doesn’t want expectations to get out of control or maybe he actually believes that Hayne could get a little too big for his britches and wants to keep some humility about the player. All I know is that despite what our eyes have shown us and Tomsula has seemed very intentional in doling out praise for Hayne and I think that has more to do with expectation then performance.

              5. “Tomsula has seemed very intentional in doling out praise for Hayne”

                That should say “Tomsula has seemed very intentional innot doling out praise for Hayne”

              6. Pointless attempt at having the opponent game plan for three different type of returners?
                It also could be that there will be a different returner for both return positions.

              7. I asked Tomsula if Hayne will be the starting punt or kick returner. He said, “No, I won’t say that right now. We have some guys at that position that are pretty competitive.”

                It seems he hasn’t decided who the best returner is.

              8. My first thought when I read that was that he was referring to Bush as well as the idea that sure, there are other players on the team that have proven to be capable returners and that he wasn’t going to outright name Hayne the starter. We also don’t know for certain if Coach ha even informed the players who the starting kick returners will be and I doubt he wants them to find out on the t.v.

              9. That’s from Community which was a totally hilarious show through it’s first 3 seasons and then dropped off a cliff. However I would recommend checking out it’s first 3, very funny. Very clever show with a fun cast.

              10. In my defense my schedule has made movie watching tough lately. According to Netflix I received Nightcrawler on 06/09 and I returned it on 09/01, unwatched. Now I have Ex-Machina sitting there, wonder how long it’ll go before It gets viewed and/or returned. I’ll probably watch that one though, have more interest in it then I did with Nightcrawler.

              11. I would be surprised if he wasn’t. Ellington is currently our third best WR so I’m expecting him to be used more on offense and less in the return game while I believe White should be not be used that much given his injury history from his time at Alabama.

          2. Either or, but how about both? Every punt, Hayne catches and White runs a reverse. Hayne has the option to keep the ball, so the defense has to cover both options.

          3. Ellington and White are electric. But like others that possess great speed they are not consistent. They may take on to the house once in a while but the trade off is that when the lane doesn’t open up they end up running east and west looking for that lane and potentially losing yardage. Or the make a lot of fair catches. The team is better off with a returner who gives the team good field field position consistently. He does posses enough field speed to take it to the house or make some big returns if the lane opens up. As I stated in my earlier post both White and Ellington had some big lanes and that was probably because of bad coverage due to the worst players playing towards the end of the last game. We need to judge a player on his production considering the opportunity presented to him on each play.

    1. Yeah, I was definitely one of those saying Skov didn’t really impress me in game 1 and 2 of preseason. Shows what I know!

      Not sure why Grant is changing his tune on Hayne. White (and Ellington) may be better skill position players right now (and so they darn well should be!), but as punt and kick returners I think Hayne is better. He’s more likely to consistently have decent returns as he’s got a good knack of making guys miss, and combines that with a good feel/ awareness in open space, speed and strength. And what he has shown as a RB for a guy who’s only been playing the game for such a short period of time provides some hope for what he could become in that facet of the game too.

        1. I beg to differ. Hayne is fearless and twice he had a gunner in his face and made him fall down. Hayne has quick hips and great body control to run and juke and find holes.
          All 3 are excellent, but Hayne has the intangibles.

        2. I don’t think the last preseason game is a good guide for how good each player is as a return man. The Chargers punter was continually out-kicking his coverage unit. Its why so many good punt returns were had in that game, being given heaps of open space in front of them to start with..

          Through the first 3 preseason games Hayne had a number of PRs where he had to quickly make a guy miss then turn it up field. Much harder to do, and much more in line with what these guys will face in the regular season.

          I think we saw last season what Ellington brings as a PR.

          1. “I don’t think the last preseason game is a good guide for how good each player is as a return man.”
            What? You mean the game where the third string QB played the entire time wasn’t a true indicator of what NFL competition might be like? I’m shocked.

        3. This is really an absurd statement that is not supported by facts, common sense, or the “eye test.”

          We saw Ellington as a PR last year. How’d that go? He had one goid game (out of four) in the preseason and this supersedes everything he did before that game?

          White did absolutely nothing in the return gam until game 4 of the preseason, where he did about as well as Hayne. For this, he’s now better than Hayne?

          I have liked your reporting throughout this training camp, but on this point you are intentionally stirring up controversy by making a patently false statement.

        4. Grant & C4C

          With all of the skepticism and guesswork going on here, your little exchange was fun. Thanks for lightening it up a bit…

          1. It didn’t quite go as rehearsed and Grant’s timing leaves a lot to be desired but he’s young and he’s working on it. We’ll get the act polished up before the season starts on Thursday.

      1. Hayne is one of the special athlete that can slow down the game. This gives him a special vision of the field that few athletes in the NFL posses. When you see a player that can make others miss and appears to stand out in a field of top athletes it’s because they have this special ability. They literally see the game move slower then the other players on the field.

        I’m sure that if you’ve played sports in your life you’ve experienced a similar moment where it just seemed like everyone else was moving a little bit slower then you. You were en fuego that day on the court, remember? Well it’s actually your flight or fight response kicking in and your brain processing the signals from your eyes at a faster rate. The truly elite athletes in the world see the game in that way almost every time they play. Their bodies have the ability to go into that mode anytime they are physically exerting themselves. This gives them their special advantage and it’s what makes certain players stand above the rest in a field of elite specimens.

        Hayne is one of these athletes. You can tell by watching just how natural it is for him to run around on that field. His ability to field those kicks over his shoulder and off a bounce show amazing hand to eye coordination that only the truly elites athletes posses.

        Hayne will be our main return man and he will be one of if not the top return specialist in the league this year. He will gradually earn more confidence from the coaches and will get more and more reps in the offense. It’s only a matter of time before he learns the nuances of being a running back in the NFL and exploits his special skills there as well.

        1. On point. During the season, the coaches will have to find more ways to get Hayne involved, not less and out after pot head returns.

        2. Coffee – I think you are on to something with your position. You make a point that is consistent with what I have always believed. Is it possible to overdo things sometimes? For example is it possible to be too fast or too quick? It seems like the NFL and most pro football analysts believe that it’s not. That does not mean that they’re right. I agree with you that the smart money is keeping an open mind like you are.

        3. Coffee-
          The physiological response you refer to, when in flight or fight mode, is actually an adrenaline boost, like nitro in a V-8 engine, and it does indeed bring on an apparent time warp. I’ve experienced it (not in sports). I don’t know of those who can control it, maybe they have a ‘Go button’ they can push, or maybe its just there, but yeah, that’s what makes the few special.

      2. Given an open lane White and Ellington can get more out of it because of their speed. Ellington most often took fair catches and Ellington along with White don’t feel secure to me fielding punts. Hayne seems to be able to catch and evade better than either one of them, That won’t be of any use to him because he’s on that “dreaded short rebuttal” list of Grant’s.

        1. Htwaits

          … Hayne has body mass to absorb hits better than either Ellington or White…They also take harder hits because of their speed and lack of body mass….Remember Williams and the ill-fated NFCC playoffs….

    2. I was honestly just being flippant. Please if you had a conversation above about Skov I wasn’t calling anybody out. I was poking fun at the idea of it all.

  14. Finally got around to watching the season finale of Byte Club err I mean Mr. Robot.

    In case I haven’t said it; this is without question far and away the very best show on television. In fact there hasn’t been anything quite like it that I can recall in my 41+ years of cinema and television. Sure it’s borrowing from plenty of source material but it’s the way it all comes together that sets it apart. It’s not without it’s faults but if you look for something with style and substance when you dedicate precious time to sitting in front of the t.v. then I give my strongest recommendation to this show.

    1. I second that strong recommendation, Cfc. Rami Malek, he makes the series what it is. He’s like the Jarryd Hayne of the acting profession. ;)

  15. I guess our o-line could be worse, it could be the Cardinals line. They’re going down faster then a drunken prom date.

  16. Saturday afternoon, a reporter asked Tomsula if he expects Brooks to play in the season opener next Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings. “Yes, I do,” Tomsula said.

    Translation: We absolutely need Brooks, and probably can’t beat the Vikings without him.
    Does the team really need Brooks? He didn’t do anything to suggest that he’s any better of a replacement on the right side then either Lemonhead or future HoF’er Harold. Also the questions was if the coach expected the player to play and all he basically said was, yes. The guy says “yes” and you translate that into We absolutely need Brooks, and probably can’t beat the Vikings without him.

  17. Hayne is a far better punt returner than White and Ellington because he has far better field vision, anticipation, and timing in his evasive moves. Ellington may be a better kick returner at this point because of his decisiveness in accelerating in the chosen direction. In the few KR plays I saw Hayne make, he seemed to me to linger for half a second more than he should in choosing his route. That will chance in a few weeks. By the end of the season he will be the premier KR and PR in the league.

    As backups, TJE and Skov will play very little in defense. Unless there are major injuries, they will non-factors in Niners overall performance this season — unlike Hayne who may make a big difference in field position.

    1. As backups, TJE and Skov will play very little in defense.

      You must have missed the part where there is expected to be a lot of rotation.

      1. The DL will likely rotate quite a bit, but it would be pretty unusual to have a heavy rotation at ILB. I think Mood will likely be right that Skov won’t play a lot barring injury, especially if they do use big dime a lot.

        1. I think he will play more often than most think in order to keep Bowman from over – exerting his knee. The coaching staff can pull him on certain run plays, allowing him and his knee to rest.

  18. Hayne being cut doesn’t make much sense as 4 RBs on the 53 is reasonable for what is likely to be a running team. If a RB was cut there would be as much chance of it being Reggie, as he is nearer end of career. (See Dockett.) And at WR there is still the option of bringing in Smelter by time Simpson is clear. Patton & White have to prove their value early.

    Elsewhere, nine o-linemen is high for the 53, and is probably because of doubts over 3 positions – we could easily go with 8, and a couple on PS, if we settle on a starting 5. We’d certainly be unlikely to go to 10. We could also drop someone off d-line if Armstead, Purcell and Tank do well. We could drop Celek too, if Bell works out. As many have said, suggesting Hayne could be first to go is just the usual Cohn inflammatory, pessimist, nonsense. There’s not much to back it. But each to their own opinion, even if it seems unfounded.

  19. Quinton Patton will be dumped when Simpson returns. He’s horribly erratic and hit his ceiling as WR in the NFL. Not replacing Boldin next year. White and Hayne have higher upsides.

  20. 2016 49ers WRs

    Boldin (?)
    Simpson (?)

    Why not trade Patton after game 6 if he doesn’t show up before that?

  21. I’m not messing with Niners anymore!!! They had a good veteran linebacker and let him go. He had a 3 week thumb injury. How many guys played in a cast. You can’t harp on the past… The present is what counts!!! Unfortunately they don’t know what they are doing and will have a tuff season!!!

    1. You base that off an injury settlement to one player who’d previously been cut by the Packers? Your talent evaluations are that prescient? ‘Kay then; watch that the door doesn’t whack you on the way out.

  22. Grant stirred the pot with the suggestion that Hayne could be released when other players are activated. Personally I doubt that because one thing I think GC is missing is how hard it is to tackle a 6-2 222lb man who’s as elusive as these 5-10/185 guys.
    That being said, a few of the guys currently on the 53 might be released sooner or later, it happens every season. I’m not sure that JH (see? New JH) is that guy; there are other candidates.

  23. I echo the statements on Hayne. I didn’t know how quickly he would learn and adapt to the game, but he has an incredible ability to make himself hard to tackle, and make people miss even in a short area. To be able to do that at his size is special, and he will only get better as time goes on and he becomes more comfortable.

    I didn’t see Skov making the team and frankly I’m still not impressed with him. Really made some poor decisions and took bad angles in the preseason, and if he has to play a meaningful role on defense it would not be a good thing imo.

    1. That Texan game was baffling. It was as if the Niners let them score so they would look good on Hard Knocks. Skov was solid on the 7 time Goal Line Stand. Glad he made the team, he has a nose for the ball.

  24. >Tomsula after Hayne showed well in P2
    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We like his effort and progress
    >After P3. Yeah, yeah, he’s,working. Made the 53 yet? No, that’s too early
    > after P4. Too soon, that decision hasn’t been made yet.
    Jim T has been usually been reticent to tip his hand, so his response to Grant’s direct question about PR duties is not necessarily a candid answer, but not a false one either. I think the mix and match of the Active Roster week to week could have major influence on PR/KR assignments. If, as I guess, Ellington is the #3 he will be active but you may not want to expose him to the hits. Will White always be active as #4? Patton and Hayne are better on coverage teams.
    Bush is at least nominally in that mix as well.
    Kick/Punt returners need not bust one to the house to be effective. Sure handed catches and consistently positive yardage is the order of the day.

      1. Hard to imagine it’s payback since they could have just re-signed Dockette when the Niners cut him. It’s more of an indication of how little the 49ers were interested in bringing him back.

        1. From Okoye’s Perspective – The 49ers always seem to be deep at DL with little chance of cracking the starting unit. Also, Bay Area housing costs and taxes are a bigger factor for players on PS salaries.

          From the 49ers Perspective – They already have three tall D-Linemen in Dial, TJE and Armstead to play 2-gap DE…. or they concluded Okoye won’t develop into the player they had hoped.

    1. There may be some jostling around the league for f.a. veterans after week#1; not necessarily SF. Interesting that they didn’t grab anybody off waivers, but they may invite some guys they didn’t previously have to the PS.
      On Okoye, he might have an opportunity sooner at AZ then he would’ve in SF. We get too many injuries SF could sign him to 53 later if still on Arians’ PS; or some other team could.

  25. Practice Squad so far consists of DiAndre Campbell, Kendall Gaskins, Kaleb Ramsey, Garrison Smith, Dylan Thompson, Marcus Rush, Marcus Cromartie.

    Happy to see Rush. I think Ramsey could have a late season role as an interior pass rusher.

    1. I thought Campbell might get picked up; huge depth with him on PS. I’m good with the others too. Rush was my longshot hopeful.

      1. I’m really glad Busta’ Anderson and Marcus Rush are on the 49ers in some fashion, without kicking another promising player off the 53.

        Except for losing Okoye, the cut down to 53 went as I had hoped. No Winston scenarios.

  26. I thought Gaskins would be snatched by a team needing RB help and Ramsey was gone after the sideline dressing down after a penalty. Oh well.

    1. Blaine Clausell, Laurence Gibson, Ulrick John are a few names I’d think are possibilities. Clausell would come through the heavily used Baltimore to S.F. highway and Gibson had a good showing against the 49ers in week 1.

  27. Grant (twitter) – “Better pass-rusher right now: Tank Carradine or Arik Armstead? I say Armstead.”

    Good question. In the San Diego game vs a double team, Arik stoned one lineman, then did a swim move against the other. Almost got the sack.

    Tank really needs to show something this season. He played well at the end of last season.

    They both flash, but need much more consistency.

    My prediction – Dial will have the most sacks of the interior DL in his new spot outside.

    1. Tank had 3 in three games, if he builds off that he should be ok. Armstead is one that I can’t wait for real NFL camera work to see how he looks. I just don’t have a feel for how he plays yet.

            1. Agreed, from what we saw in pre season if its accurate it seemed like TE’s were lined up in the back field quite often. It that something you’ve seen a lot in practice too?

      1. The 49ers only signed nine to the PS. Could they be holing a spot open for Trent Brown, Ian Silberman or Nick Easton if they sign Barrow’s mystery castoff?

  28. Hayne will be on the team for a good while. His jersey sales down under will more than cover his salary… plus I think he will be a really good player.

  29. this is very helpful, Grant, thanks…i’ve spent the entirety of this offseason trying to avert my eyes from the dissolution of the roster, and have left it to folks better than I to evaluate all the young talent. looking forward to Monday night

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