Checking in with 49ers’ defense after OTAs

The 49ers – or most of them, anyway – stepped on the practice field Monday and Tuesday for the first time in preparation of the 2010 season.   Yesterday, we provided looks at the 49ers’ offensive players. Today, we look at the defense. Because the practices were noticeably less than game speed, as well as non-padded, there weren’t a whole lot of defensive highlights.

April 1, 2010

Checking in with 49ers’ offense after OTAs

The 49ers went through two days of practices – aka, organized team activities – Monday and Tuesday in Santa Clara. These workouts took place without pads, and the plays were certainly not run at game speed.   So, please, keep all that in mind. Over the next two days, we’ll check in with all 61 players currently on the 49ers’ roster. (The coaching staff was made off-limits to the media…

March 31, 2010

Position profile: Offensive line

With two scheduled draft picks within the first 16 or 17 slots, the 49ers are expected to emerge from April 22 with a starting offensive lineman.   The 49ers’ offensive line is almost assuredly going to receive some help in 2010, as that unit was a major disappointment for coach Mike Singletary. He and offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye had a vision of featuring a power-running game that could successfully pound…

February 22, 2010

Position profile: Quarterbacks

Alex Smith should’ve known what he was getting into when the 49ers made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft.   People around these parts grew up with Joe Montana. Even Steve Young did not get overwhelming support until the 49ers’ defense improved enough for the team to win the Super Bowl following the 1994 season.   And poor Jeff Garcia . . . all he did…

February 19, 2010

Position profile: Wide receivers

The 49ers have five players under contract who will be fighting for roster spots/playing time at wide receiver next season. They will unquestionably add some players to the competition – such as a draft pick with return ability and/or some undrafted free agents.   The organization seems very happy with the top part of this group with Michael Crabtree and Josh Morgan as the starters. The next tier includes Brandon…

February 18, 2010

Position profile: Defensive line

A lot of people talk about how difficult it is for NFL teams to scout, evaluate, draft and develop quarterbacks. What’s even more difficult, it seems, is finding quality defensive linemen in the draft.   In the 2008 draft, there were five defensive linemen chosen in the first eight picks: Chris Long (Rams), Glenn Dorsey (Chiefs), Vernon Gholston (Jets), Sedrick Ellis (Saints) and Derrick Harvey (Jaguars). Some have been OK….

February 16, 2010

Position profile: Outside linebacker/defensive end

Dynamic pass-rushers are difficult to find. Look around the NFL, and you’ll discover only 14 players recorded 10 or more sacks in 2009. The last time the 49ers had a double-digit sack artist was 2002 when Andre Carter had 12.5.   But all is not lost in this area for the 49ers.   After all, Manny Lawson, Ahmad Brooks and Parys Haralson combined for 17.5 sacks last season. That’s 17.5…

February 15, 2010

Position profile: Special teams

The 49ers were very good in all areas of special-teams coverage last season. But their returns were awful.   Coach Mike Singletary said he places a lot of importance on special teams. And, he added, “some of the things we’ll do this offseason will reflect that.”

February 13, 2010

Position profile: Inside linebackers

When the staff here at Instant 49ers ranked the 49ers’ offseason priorities, inside linebacker rolled in at No. 11. That is to say that it’s a need, all right. But it ranks behind offensive tackle and return specialist, and ahead of Candlestick Park public-address announcer on the list of organizational priorities.   So, then, why would the same staff cobble together a mock draft that has the 49ers taking an…

February 11, 2010

Position profile: Tight ends

A year ago, the 49ers spent a sixth-round draft pick on a blocking tight end. But Bear Pascoe struggled in camp, and the 49ers’ coaches were not impressed with the way he competed. When the final cuts arrived, the 49ers decided to stick with two tight ends on the 53-man roster.   Moreover, they opted for Joe Jon Finley, an undrafted free agent from the previous season, to get the…

February 9, 2010

Position profile: Defensive backs

Shawntae Spencer started every game at right cornerback. Dashon Goldson started every game at free safety. The 49ers can look at those players and pencil them into the starting lineup in 2010 and beyond.   Strong safety Michael Lewis will enter his ninth NFL season. Cornerback Nate Clements begins his 10th season. Those are the spots where the 49ers must start thinking about getting younger players ready to take over…

February 8, 2010

Position profile: Running backs

Today we begin a position-by-position breakdown of the 49ers with a look at the running backs.   A year ago, the 49ers were definitely in the market for a running back in the draft. Coach Mike Singletary and GM Scot McCloughan clearly stated that preference. Sure enough, the 49ers invested a third-round pick in running back Glen Coffee.

February 4, 2010

A look at all 53 from 49ers’ loss in Seattle

There were a lot of plays to dissect from the 49ers’ 20-17 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday, but we’ll go behind the scenes to pay particular attention to two critical third-down pass plays late in the game.   Third-and-4 from Seattle 16 with 3:06 remaining, 49ers down by 3: With the naked eye, it looked as if Michael Crabtree alligator-armed Smith’s on-target pass in the end zone. The fact…

December 8, 2009

Breakdown of the 49ers’ four back-breaking turnovers

This game was all about turnovers. Quarterback Alex Smith threw three interceptions and lost one fumble. The Titans did not turn it over. Not surprisingly, the 49ers lost 34-27.   “It’s very obvious what happened,” coach Mike Singletary said. “I’m sure there are a lot of other things you could come up with as to why we lost. The bottom line is turnovers for us.”   When Singletary was asked…

November 9, 2009

Why 49ers didn’t spread it out, and a look at O-line’s play

When I asked Mike Singletary yesterday why the 49ers did not employ the shotgun/spread in the second half (other than third-and-long situations) after having success with it at the end of the first half, I did not fully understand his answer.   He spoke in vague terms about the coaches not having exposure to the players and Alex Smith not having exposure to the spread offense.   Then, I spoke…

November 3, 2009

Player review with a little bit of myth-busting

I’m working from home today. The kids have missed several days of school, and I’ve felt better. So I figured it would be best to just be quarantined here for the day.   I quickly re-watched the 49ers’ game Sunday against the Texans to provide the 49ers’ 53-man report. But, first, I’d like to dispel a couple myths.

October 28, 2009

Every-49er review from Falcons game

Tight end Vernon Davis said he’ll take time this week to watch film, get in a couple workouts and travel back home to the DC area. Then, he’ll meet up with his brother and Dolphins cornerback, Vontae. The Dolphins are also on the bye week, which I should’ve known before I asked Vernon if he’d get a chance to watch his brother play this week. Oh, well. You can listen to our brief…

October 13, 2009

Every-49er review of win over Rams

Before we get to the every-player review from the 49ers’ 35-0 victory over the Rams, we’re going to check in with a perspective from St. Louis.   I spoke with Jim Thomas, the Rams beat reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, to get his thoughts on the 49ers before he caught his red-eye flight back home. Not surprisingly, he was very impressed with the 49ers’ defense. He also wonders if…

October 5, 2009

Recap of Week 2 performances

Frank Gore did something Sunday that only Hall of Famer Barry Sanders has done. That’s some pretty good company.   Gore scored on running plays of 79 and 80 yards. Only Sanders has scored on TD runs of 75 yards or more in the same game in the history of the NFL. What made it even more special is that the 49ers needed those two plays for their 23-10 victory…

September 21, 2009