Eric Mangini: “I’ve got a fresh set of eyes and perspective going into this that my first time at it I didn’t have.”

SANTA CLARA — Here’s a transcript of defensive coordinator Eric Mangini’s Sunday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

Opening comments:

“I thought that was great this afternoon. We were able to go through a bunch of different situations, had substitutions, had the NFL officials there. Really good work collectively at that period there at the goal line. Thought that was good to see some things off that as well. Hope you guys liked it as well.”


How is that for a coach? Is it a little bit anxious with bodies flying around?

“Yeah. I’ve been involved in that pretty much every year of my career and you always go through those plays as much as you love because of what you get out of them, you also hold your breath a little bit. You want to make sure everybody gets through.”


You’ve lost a couple of prominent inside linebackers in the offseason, but it seems as if your inside linebackers were making a lot of plays today. What do you think about that group and who stood out to you in today’s practice?

“Well, it’s been a good group and we haven’t had [LB Michael] Mike [Wilhoite] working there throughout this early part of camp and [LB Philip] Phil’s [Wheeler] been down a little bit here recently. I think [LB] Des Bishop has done a really nice job. [LB] Shayne Skov has done a really nice job. Both those guys are excellent communicators, have leadership ability, do a really good job of getting the group lined up and adjusted out. So, both those guys have really done positive things. And that’s outside of [LB] NaVorro [Bowman]. I was assuming you were saying in addition to NaVorro.”


You mention you were kind of holding your breath during the live contact going on during the goal line stuff. Why is that necessary?

“It’s like anything else. On the goal line, and [head coach] Jim’s [Tomsula] philosophy is, we’re either going to walk through it or we’re going to do it live and sometime if you try to go thud or try to go half speed, it could be counterproductive because guys are in difficult positions but they’re not going at the tempo they’d normally go to, so their bodies get twisted or someone runs into somebody’s back. That philosophy, I think, has real merit where you either walk through it, get your fits that way or you go full speed so guys aren’t half and half in a short area where the contact is so great and the runs typically are jammed up in there with a lot of bodies.”


How big of a loss is former 49ers LB Aldon Smith? And also, how big of an opportunity is it for other guys to step in there?

“We talked about [former 49ers LB] Patrick [Willis] last time I was here, and a guy like Aldon is not a guy that you just can replace. He’s got a unique skillset. One of the things that we focused on defensively is building flexibility, in terms of what we can play and then building flexibility with who’s going to play there. [LB] Corey’s [Lemonier] gotten a lot of reps, [LB] Aaron Lynch, he’s starting to get back out there but he did some really good things last year. You’ve got a guy like [LB] Eli [Harold], who’s shown some real promise here early and we’ve been moving those parts around to play left and right so we wouldn’t have to play guys in the same spot the whole time. I think the defense has some flexibility built into it as well. You can’t easily replace someone of that caliber, but we’ll find ways collectively to get that done and there’s great opportunities. There’s great opportunities for guys who made have had more limited roles had he been here.”


When you talk about Eli Harold’s progress, what are you referring to?

“He’s got a tremendous motor, which is the starting point. He’s intensely competitive. He’s one of those guys that you always have to tell them to hurry, but don’t rush, and slow down, get your reads because he’s so quick off the ball, he’s so quick to read and react, which is a good thing. You don’t want to coach the aggressiveness out of him or the intensity out of him, but you also have to get him to a point where he understands exactly what he’s processing and to take enough time to process that. But, his physical traits, he can run really well and he’s developing in the other areas, the coverage component, the games, things like that, blocking schemes.”


Did you have a view on DT Tank Carradine’s hit on RB Jarryd Hayne right at the goal line there in that drill?

“I didn’t have a great, I was back and kind of at an angle. I didn’t have a great view of it. How was it?”


It was loud.

“Was it loud? With a nickname like Tank, you’d think all those would be loud. He’s a big boy.”


DL Marcus Rush had a pretty aggressive play against QB Colin Kaepernick in one of the drills there. Is that just him doing too much as a rookie and trying to prove himself or do you have tell him to relax a little bit on those?

“Yeah, pretty much with the quarterbacks, you don’t want anybody around them. We’re going to see that you could have gotten the sack. We’re going to see that you could have made the play and want to pull off as much as we can. Sometimes, even the best intentioned will get a little too close to the quarterback for what you like. Marcus is another guy as a rookie free agent who’s come in, worked hard, developed flexibility. He’s worked a little bit inside as well. I like a lot of things about him too. It’ll be fun to watch him in the preseason and see what kind of role and niche and place he can carve out for himself.”


Former 49ers and current Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio used LB Ahmad Brooks a little bit as an inside linebacker in goal line situations in the past. Couldn’t tell if he was doing that today, but is that something that he might have a role at moving ahead?

“With Ahmad, one of the great things about Ahmad is his flexibility, because even in substituted defenses, he has the ability to go inside and play specific roles. He’s an impressive athlete, the things that he can do at the line of scrimmage where he sets the edge, the strength, those components of it, but he’s fluid too. He moves well in space, he changes directions well. When you look at sort of the prototypical outside linebacker with the skillset, both run and pass and then the coverage movement that he has, pretty good.”


A couple of his teammates have commented on LB Nick Moody, just how, I guess you could say, he doesn’t mind contact. A couple running backs got a little shaken up in a drill a couple days ago going up against him. Does he bring to mind anyone as far as his aggressiveness and willingness to throw his body around?

“Yeah, and earlier I should have mentioned Nick. Nick’s done an outstanding job. From his growth from last year to right now, from an ability to run the defense, to see what the offense is doing, his work ethic, he spends extra time in meetings. I’ve really been happy with Nick’s development, his progress, getting to know him better in this role. He’s done a good job. I’m excited to see him in these preseason games and see where he is because what he’s done in practice so far has stood out in a really positive way. I want to see how that translates into games, his reactions and things like that.”


It seems like from our vantage point that the defensive line is one of your deepest groups. How have you managed to divvy up reps? It’s obviously a good problem to have, to give all those guys the reps they need to get going.

“Yeah, that’s a great problem to have. And Jim has done a really good job, and [general manager] Trent [Baalke], of getting guys that can play multiple roles, and then over time, Jim Tomsula worked those guys at different spots. Not only is there depth, but there’s flexibility as to where those guys can play and it is one of those problems that you love to have. It’s how are we going to find this guy meaningful reps in the game. What’s his role going to be in certain packages and then how can we get him to spell the other guys so through four quarters, we’re getting the best and freshest mix of those players out. And I really do appreciate the flexibility that Jim’s built into the system and into the players over time because they, it wasn’t like he sat them down and said ‘Hey, you’re a left end. That’s all you are.’ It’s your left end, you’re going to work at nose, you’re going to work at right end. So, that’s our responsibility as coaches is to figure out what we can do with them, how we can use them, how we can maximize their ability to be consistent through four quarters.”


With DL Arik Armstead in particular, do you need him to sort of master the left side before you try to get that flexibility from him?

“It’s a little bit like any of the rookies. You want them to be able to concentrate on a skillset, on a specific position. But, at the same time, you don’t want to pigeonhole them and you want to give them the flexibility if an opportunity arises to move over there. So, it’s that balancing act of making sure that he’s getting what he needs so he can be productive in a role, but also enough of the other stuff so if we did have to move him, it’s not like we’re completely taking him out of his comfort zone. And we’re, I think, doing a good job of developing that and then giving him spots where he can learn some of the other roles.”


What are you going to be looking to see out of the cornerbacks in the exhibition games since there’s a lot of new guys and you haven’t seen them much in terms of aggressiveness and the ability to handle assignments?

“The way we’ve always, I always evaluated DB’s is can you play man-to-man? Can you play in the deep part of the field and can you tackle? And it seems like a simple criteria. And there’s elements to each one of those, but that’s going to be the baseline. How do they look playing man-to-man coverage? How do they look in the deep part of the field? The short, underneath zone part of it, obviously, we look at it, but how do they look down the field in zone coverage? And what kind of tacklers are they? Make sure that, when the ball does get to the perimeter they can do what they’re supposed to do. They can be a component in the running game, a number in the running game if we need them. And with all those guys, there’s tremendous opportunity and I talk to them a lot about it. That whole group, there’s great opportunity for young players to have a chance to have a significant role on a defense. Often times, you come into a team and you got no shot and maybe you get some work as a nickel or you get a little bit in dime, things like that. These guys have a chance to distinguish themselves and really, we’re going to give them the opportunity to make a case for themselves, and whoever makes the strongest case is going to get that chance. We’ll give them all though that chance to do that.”


ME: This is your second season as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. Your first was about 10 years ago. How have you evolved or changed or improved as a defensive coach over the last 10 years?

“Well, I had a bunch of years as a head coach, so that helped me look at it from a global perspective. I had two years recently on offense that gave me insight from a game planning perspective and from a scheme perspective, and it’s hard to do when you’re in one role. I’ve actually been very fortunate to be able to play those other roles, to be in those other roles, to hear the conversations, to hear the thought process, to look at it through a different set of eyes so that when I came back in this role, I’ve got a fresh set of eyes and perspective going into this that my first time at it I didn’t have. So, that’s been huge for me.”

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  1. ME: This is your second season as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. Your first was about 10 years ago.

    I thought he had a good answer. What did you think?

    1. He articulated his position well, but I disagree with his argument. I think you have to be a defensive coordinator to improve as a defensive coordinator. Vic Fangio is entering his 17th season as an NFL d. coordinator. No substitute for that kind of experience.

      1. The best quality Vic Fangio had with the Niners is that he knew his personnel like the back of his hand. He called games based on this intuitiveness.
        Roman was the complete opposite.
        Now Can Mangini figure out how best to use the abundance of talent, which by the way, people have vastly over underestimated, I think he can.

      2. I don’t know how conclusive this is, but I’ll remind that BB is into role-reversal exercises within his staff as a growth mechanism. Mangini experienced that on staff, then in a macro sense in his career up to now. I accept that he gets a lot out of that diversity, I see the value.
        Now, Fangio evokes a Lifer style that has served more than a few people well:
        LeBeau, Capers, Old Kiffen in his prime.

      3. True but I think he answered your question. You asked how he improved, evolved or changed and he described how he’s a more well rounded coordinator that can see the position from many angles now.

        I wouldn’t argue that that experience alone makes him a good coordinator but it will probably make him a better one then he was 10 years ago.

        1. I’m sure he has grown during the past 10 years, but I doubt he’ll be a better defensive coordinator without Bill Belichick.

  2. I hoped he would have said that he is following the mindset of Coach Tomsula, and heartily endorses his whole coaching philosophy, and team concept.
    I wish he would have said that things are very different in this camp and that he is learning new things himself, and can see how the changes will lead to success.

    1. I wish he would have said:

      “Well, I have no idea what the heck I am doing and I am extremely nervous about losing this job to Grant Cohn, the Bill Belichick of journalism.

      1. Sorry, but you give GC too much credit. He is not close to BB who really IS like Vlad, Caligula and Machiavelli all rolled into one.

    2. I wasn’t aware that Tomsula’s been around long enough as a head coach to develop a coaching philosophy that the NFL Teams are aware of. Possibly this is the Niners secret strategy. Bring in a coach no one in the world has a book on and is so inexperieced at 1 NFL coached game that we will surprise all by going 16-0…In any case, please elaborate on your comment, “Tomsula’s coaching Philosopy, enlighten us as to just what it is also and perhaps we can build a resume.”

  3. If you are DCoord must be brutal to have to replace a guy like Aldon. But hey the season approaches, just gotta move onward and upward

    1. Yea, no surprise for me regarding Moody or Armstead. I saw the development you want to see in Moody late last year, and Armstead I said would start from the beginning. VMac is a pleasant surprise, but Smith fooled me more than once and shame on me, but it wasn’t a surprise at all this time, and quite frankly, I’m pretty much over it. He’ll never don the Scarlet and Gold ever again. Next men up, meanwhile Baalke looks for another next draft, along with an OT….

    2. - I’m not surprised about Ian Williams. When healthy he’s a stud.
      – I’m not surprised about Moody. He played fast subbing late last season.
      – I’m not surprised about McDonald. I think he was overwhelmed learning Walker’s complex H-Back role year one. Year two he was hurt much of the season. In a clarified traditional TE role I think he will play faster and more instinctively.

      – I am surprised about Armstead’. I didn’t think he’d come around so quickly. I thought he was more of a project player.
      – I am stunned Aldon is All Done.
      – I am surprised the talented Marcus Martin isn’t doing better in one-on-ones. I was expecting him to be the (good) surprise of camp.

      1. Only the last one was a surprise Grant. The others are as obvious as Seahawks fan in 49ers country.
        -As Razor pointed out, Moody isn’t all that surprising since he started showing some signs of his talent when he had the chance to last season.
        -Absolutely no should be surprised that Armstead can beat Martin. Armstead has good upper body strength that can easily take advantage of a disappointment like Martin with ease. However, I have yet to see any evidence that Armstead has the functional strength in his lower body to push back stronger and technically sound OL or is able take on double teams. Armstead is still a lump of clay that needs to be molded before he can become a true masterpiece.
        -You may have only seen a couple of drops by VMac so far, but various reports have said that he is still making some spectacular catches mixed in with some maddening drops. He’s done the same thing every off season: look good in TC and fizzle once the regular season gets going.
        -Of course Bell will struggle against veterans as opposed to rookies. He’s very raw and needs some polishing. Exactly what part of that is surprising?

        1. McDonald has dropped only two passes during eight days of team drills. Last year he’d drop at least one pass per practice, sometimes three or four.

          1. Then shouldn’t we be hearing more positive reports on that, especially given that this could be the last season with Davis in a 49ers jersey? I’m not buying into McDonald’s turnaround yet.

        2. Mid,

          The only person I’ve read who mentioned maddening drops was Chris Biderman. Every other observer who has written about McDonald has said similar things to Grant. McDonald had a bad drop on a seam pass a few days ago, but has been pretty consistent since then.

          There is a reason they are giving McDonald a good chance to be an impact player. He’s incredibly athletic and can be a big time mismatch in the passing game. He’s had issues with drops, but you don’t give up on a guy with this kind of talent until you are sure he can’t play. At the very least McDonald is their top blocking TE.

          1. All of that is true Tocket, but we’ve had this song and dance with VMac in the past, so I’m not ready to buy into his improvement just yet.

          2. I understand the trepidation Mid, but McDonald has struggled in previous TC’s from my recollection, so the fact he’s been consistent catching the ball is encouraging. Obviously he needs to do it in game conditions, but from where we were coming into the offseason with him, I’m optimistic about his chances to contribute.

      1. Nice, but i want 2 hands on the ball. 1 handed is impressive, but 2 would make me happy, because if he flubs a 1 handed catch, i might go ballistic.

        1. One of the issues VMac had at Rice was that he would drop easy catches and make spectacular catches. He often looked like he was already thinking about running with the ball before he caught it. Trying to run with the ball before securing the catch is a sure recipe for drops.

          1. Heck, if he is past the first down marker, I just want him to secure the ball and fall down. That would be 10 times better than dropping the ball.

        2. It looks like in the video, who ever is working with him changes the drill from two handed catches to one handed catches. Not sure he’s trying to show off just following the lead of his coach there.

            1. Right there’s no audio but notice he changes his stance towards the person throwing the ball. Why would he do that unless coached to do so when started in a different stance catching with 2 hands? These drills have specific purposes, the players don’t get to free form often. My point is you don’t know what was said or not said so to assume he’s trying to be impressive is not a good conclusion.

    3. It’s probably wise to hold off on the Armstead adulation until we see him play a few games. From what I’ve read, he’s doing what he did in College, which is hold up well against the run. What made many people – including myself – question the pick, was the fact you can find run stuffers later in the draft. What separates a first rounder is the ability to impact a game in more than one way. If Armstead develops as a pass rusher, then we can talk about eating some crow and being pleasantly surprised. I’m glad he’s showing his strength and pushing Olinemen backward, but I want to see him collapse the pocket and put pressure on a QB along with it.

      1. Also, it’s one thing to push an o-lineman back. It’s another thing to be able to find the ball, disengage and make a tackle.

          1. And vice versa. Let’s give the kid some time. We know he’s a good athlete. Let’s see what kind of football player he develops into.

      2. I think the 49ers view Armstead as a Glen Dorsey, Aubrayo Franklin, Ray McDonald 2.0. The kid is unique in that he has the size and strength to stuff the run but also the athleticism to get to the passer. In Baalke we trust right.

        1. FDM,

          He has the athleticism, but it hasn’t transpired into a lot of sacks or pressures. He is pretty raw in the pass rushing dept.

          1. Gotchya. Yeah, I was mostly encouraged at early good signs. Hand placement and pad level can take time for some.

          2. Regardless, I have to say I am very encouraged by what I am reading about his progress so far. What about you, rocket?

            1. Scooter,

              Absolutely. I like hearing about him having his way in practice and his ability to use his strength to move people, but I already knew he could do that. My bone of contention with the pick was that he hadn’t shown an ability to rush the passer that I felt was warranted to be taken that high. That is what I need to see if I’m going to change my opinion about the selection. If he turns out to be primarily a run stuffer, then that’s good, and it is a component needed for success, but it will still be a poor use of a 1st round pick imo because a first round pick should offer more than that.

              1. I thought one of the concerns with Armstead was whether he would take a significant amount of time to be strong enough to take on NFL offensive lineman. Seems to be a pleasant surprise in that area.

              2. Exactly Cubus, if memory serves me, Tomsula said he’d need time in the weight program to get stronger….

              3. I don’t know who that would be, but I do know one of the critques from most was the strength in his lower body.

    4. Grant you may have opinions that occasionally fire up the denisovan DNA, but your beat reporting offers a wealth of info and is especially valued at this time of year when we depend on you for our eyes, ears and analysis on the field.

  4. New coaching staff, lost ten starters, and every D player must learn 2-3 different positions. Football is a game of repetition and reaction. What could possibly go wrong here?

    1. Maybe it would be worse to pigeonhole a player and find out he is better in another position, then lament the fact that he got zero snaps so he is unfamiliar in that other position.
      Training camp is used to experiment and evaluate. Preseason games are used to develop cohesion and teamwork.

  5. Since we’re talking coaching what do you guys think of what Chris Biderman wrote?

    Otherwise, a majority of the starters were held out of the drill to the prevent injuries. Second-year running back Kendall Gaskins and rookie Mike Davis received the bulk of the carries with Hayne. Gaskins also scored a touchdown. Carlos Hyde and Reggie Bush did not receive carries.

    Is this standard practice in NFL camps? I have visited Broncos, Vikings and Redskins camps at different times in my life and always seen the starters participating in these kinds of drills. Any concerns in the starters not getting enough reps to be ready to play?

    1. Not me. I am glad they are shelving the starters so they can evaluate the second string and bubble players.
      Imagine the brouhaha if a starter gets injured in a meaningless practice.

      1. Sounds great seb until your RB goes to the wrong side for a handoff, your WR runs the wrong route, or your TE or RB or OL gets the wrong blocking assignment and gives up a sack. Hyde IMO hasn’t played enough to have the kind of experience he needs yet. I know he’s had an injury and they don’t want him hurt. Bush has 10 yrs experience, he should get it at this point in his career.

    2. I don’t know if its very different from most NFL clubs, but a few beat reporters noted Tomsula’s practices are ran differently then Harbaughs. Faster pace means some practices get done early. He’s holding guys out if he “doesn’t like the way they are moving” or “saw he stretching alot after practice.”

      He did say he’s deliberately limiting reps by older players like Reggie Bush.

      1. Yeah I get that part of things. But as a new offense is being installed don’t you want your starters getting reps to make sure they know the offense well enough to execute it? In past reports during JH we’d hear Gore carrying the ball on goal line situations etc. I remember JH had veteran rest days. I worry a bit that the 1’s won’t have had enough time together to gel as a unit. Its just speculation on my part and having played and coached sports getting your team enough reps to execute is really important and not burning them out in the meantime is a challenging balance.

        1. They have not set the O line yet, so they need to do that first, before working on reps. I agree that if a team is returning all their starters, it would be logical to work on unit cohesion and timing, but this team had a high turnover, and players are fighting for positions.

        2. You summed it up. Balancing the need for reps with safety and saving veterans legs. Either way comes with risks.

          Just speculation… perhaps its best to save reps for veterans after the first cut down day. They are safer, higher quality reps. Less likely to trip over a teammate that’s in the wrong place because the timing is different.

          1. That’s a great thought! They need to see the 2’s and 3’s perform during these times. They know what they have in the 1’s.

    1. Man, I just dream that Patrick Willis and his toe have healed, and he returns as a savior to the defense. Hope he misses the game, and his competitive juices start flowing.
      Bet the team would welcome him with open arms.

          1. Fantastic speech by an amazing man. Just wish they didn’t constantly play it every year I was in school because it took something away from the powerful message in that speech.

              1. That can lead to kids tuning out the message though. It didn’t happen with me, but a large number of my classmates were turned off by the excess.

              2. I have so much to say about this, but I would also like to keep this conversation out of this forum.

              3. I know and so far I’m not offended, but it’s a deep and complicated issue and there is too much to say about it to have the conversation here.

                Believe me I want to talk about it but people here get heated over football. “Race Relations and the American Education System” is a topic we don’t want at Inside the 49ers.

        1. He would be a very welcomed addition right now. But think of next year, we will have a huge advantage in depth on the o-line just like the d-line this year.
          Here is to hoping Trent Brown becoming our starter at either right guard or right tackle. Only because it would be nice to have that diamond in the rough turn into something great.

            1. Sure does but with the way things have been going for the 49ers these days, a little luck and fortune is definitely in our favour don’t you think?

    2. From a cap standpoint Davis might have done the 49ers a big favor by temporarily retiring. Even a permanent retirement could be in the teams best interest if his body’s breaking down log term.

      If AD were to come back in 2016, I imagine some contract re-negotiation would have take place. The 49ers would have most of the leverage because Davis can’t shop his wares around the league.

      For skipping a season, the 49ers might have Davis for way less cap money (long term) than if he tried to play this year.

      1. A big negative is the timing of the player departures.

        If Aldon crashed his car in February, the 49ers might have retained Skuta, with plenty of new cap space leftover to retain or pursue other free agents. If Davis retired in February, Baalke might have retained Iupati…. and if Borland retired in February, Baalke would have had more time to pursue MLBs.

        1. Yeah, I agree Brodie, that’s the main problem with these sudden departures (aside from the loss of the players themselves). Timing.

        2. I don’t think any of those situations would have changed Baalke’s mindset one way or another B2W. Skuta was overpaid by the Jaguars, Iupati was already considered gone before last season, and the retirement of Borland wouldn’t have how weak the ILB position was in free agency or the draft.

          1. MidWest, very good point, but the cap savings from Aldon alone could have changed the free agency dynamic, even if Baalke let Iupati and Skuta walk.

            Which begs another question… I get why Baalke might set an internal pay limit for certain positions like Guard.

            What I don’t understand is drafting Iupati (or any player) at pick 17 if its 100% certain his contract won’t be extended. Draft capital and salary cap capital are both fixed. If a players not worth X pay, then he shouldn’t be worth the equivalent draft slot.

            It could be the 2010 draft was not totally a Baalke affair, or his pay limits for certain positions philosophy wasn’t yet established.

            1. If Iupati had become Larry Allen, they likely sign him to a big contract. The fact he still couldn’t pass protect consistently after 5 years made it easier to let him walk.

              1. Completely agree rocket. Iupati got a contract that earns him the 2nd highest average annual salary of any OG in the NFL. While he’s been a very good (and at times dominant) player in the run game, he hasn’t consistently been one of the top 2-3 players at the position, and has always been inconsistent protecting the pass. If he’d consistently played like he was one of the top players at the position, in both run and passing game, I think Baalke would have been willing to pay him like it.

              2. Agree with both Rocket and Scooter. If a players worth it, sign him.

                But talk of Baalke setting compensation limits for certain positions goes back to before Iupati’s leg slowed him down. Is it a Baalke urban legend?

                I’m not surprised they let Iupati walk. He had trouble pulling last year. That (plus the absence of A.D.) really hampered runs to the right.

              3. I think the 49ers gave up way too early on Iupati. Did he get overpaid? Of course, everyone does in free agency.
                The point is he was a top level talent in the run game. The passing game and protection he struggled. But he’s young. OLinemen take more time than any other to mature within their craft. Not sure why you invest a 1st round pick and let him walk for nothing after a few years.

              4. Yeah, I don’t think there is any doubt there are certain positions Baalke values a little differently than the prevailing thoughts across the NFL. And OG does appear to be one of them. But if he found a truly dominant OG I think he would try hard to keep him (i.e. pay him an amount that is in keeping with the top players at the position).

              5. As I recall Joe Staley was not great his first few years. But they invested in him, worked with him, developed him.
                After spending so much value draft wise to the oline, it would have been nice to see them grow further along.
                BTW, what position does Baalke value? Running backs? TE’s?

              6. How long would you give them Prime? Iupati had five seasons with the 49ers, and still struggled in pass pro. It may well be in a couple more years he gets that ironed out and becomes a well rounded, dominant player, but I’d like to think after five years in the NFL he’d be pretty much in his prime right now, not in a couple of years.

              7. Good question re what positions he values. I think he’s made it pretty clear in the past he values strength up the middle. Makes you wonder why OG isn’t more of a priority..

              8. Hard to say a definitive number as to when he would have peaked. He had some injuries along the way while also making the probowl and contributing immensely to the run game.
                My point is, and maybe what I would have done is franchised him, and see what he could do in this new zone blocking scheme. If he is indeed a one dimensional linemen, then let him walk.
                I just hate the fact he went to a division rival, so young and we get nothing in return or get to see if he can become a premiere guard.

              9. Franchising him could have been a good idea. Like yourself, I hate seeing first round picks just allowed to walk if they’ve proven themselves to be pretty good players.

                I guess on the (slightly) positive side Iupati cancels out the signing of Torrey Smith for next years compensatory formula.

              10. Prime,

                You’ve always been a strong supporter of Iupati and you make some solid points, but what it comes down to for me is whether the player has proven worthy of the commitment and contract he desires. In Iupatis case, the answer is no for me. The Pro Bowls are a mirage built on reputation. He is not one of the best OG’s in the league and never has been. He is a big strong guy who can move people in the run game, but he lacks the athleticism to be a good pass protector and was having difficulties with injuries the past couple of years on top of it.

                When I take all those factors into account, the only decision was to let him go. It’s not about what you invested in draft capital; it’s what is the player doing to help you win, and when it comes to Iupati, he was as much the problem as he was the answer.

              11. If I’m getting many of your correctly…

                If Aldon, AD and Borland departed in February, would Baalke have signed exactly the same free agents and drafted exactly the same players without any other additions?

                My hunch is the completeness scenarios are off. Baalke would not have extended all FAs or spent wildly in FA…. I also doubt Baalke would have had the same FA period with all the extra cap space and player need dynamic.

              12. Brodie, if all of the departures had happened prior to the start of FA, I reckon we’d have a different RT (either signed a higher profile guy in FA or drafted one earlier). Thinking through it, that’s about the only change to how things happened I reckon would have occurred.

                They knew about Willis and Borland in time to sign an ILB other than Wheeler and Bellore if they wanted, or draft one. They didn’t.

                They drafted Eli Harold in the third round. Probably a luxury pick at the time, but has turned into something of a need pick now. But with a do over I don’t think they’d have signed an OLB in FA with Lynch and Brooks ear marked as starters. And I think they’d still probably draft Armstead in round 1.

                Its really just replacing Davis I think they might have done a bit differently. But even then probably not anything too crazy. I think they’d still have picked up Pears with the idea he could compete at RG/RT or be the backup swing OT/OG. But probably would have picked up a mid-tier OT or drafted one in the mid rounds to compete for the RT spot.

            2. MidWest, very good point, but the cap savings from Aldon alone could have changed the free agency dynamic, even if Baalke let Iupati and Skuta walk.

              Not necessarily B2W. Don’t forget that Baalke said that just because the 49ers have the money doesn’t mean they have to spend it.

              1. The funny thing is that isn’t 100% true. There is a rule that teams need to spend a certain % of the cap over a period of time (I think over three years), to prevent complete cheap-skatery.

      2. Yea, I’m not even sure the 49ers would want Davis back running a predominantly ZBS. If Brown can keep trending upward, I could see them trading him….

        1. I don’t know the details of AD’s contract, but he might have to return less pro-rated money if he tell Baalke he’s ready to play, and the 49ers cut or trade him.

  6. The past few years I’ve bought the NFL preseason package so I could watch the preseason games. This year it looks like it is the whole package or nothing. I hate the NFL.

    But…does anyone know if the local 9er TV station will have a live feed to their preseason games on their website?

    1. Also there’s a coupon code [directtv] for just the pre-season games which gets you $5 off that you can try too….

    1. Interesting that his favorite play was not one of his own but of another teammate. I like seeing a humble play maker.

  7. Just listened to Tolbert and Tomsula on KNBR while driving home from work. What a HOOT. I was laughing out loud. Bob Lange is a genius to pair those 2 together. I thought Tom displayed excellent interview skills and generated a lot of info from Coach Tomsula, and it put a smile on my face to hear such detailed, insightful and thoughtful responses.. Everything he said was music to my ears. Tomsula even pulled a rabbit out of his hat by turning the tables on Tom and started asking him questions to answer. You could just feel that Coach Tomsula was trying SO HARD not to swear.LOL

    1. Tom Tolbert may not acknowledge this because there is some friction between him and Ralph, but I listened to them for years and I think that Tom’s interview skills were aided by Ralph. Tom was a budding star, and now he has risen to be a media celebrity because of his personality, but when I hear him phrase a question in a certain way, I just think of Ralph. Hope they reconciled, but can understand why not, some hard words were said. I notice that Tom has not had a partner since. I guess you can call Ratto his sidekick, but Ray just wants to tag along for the ride and cannot demand to share the spotlight.
      Tom is one lucky guy. First he gets his buddy Kerr, who goes all the way. Now he gets Tomsula who has been dealt a poor hand, but who knows, maybe some of that Tolbert mojo will rub off on Tomsula, too.

      1. That’s interesting from what I remember they got along really well. And Tom was quite emotional on his first day without Ralph.
        Maybe I missed something, but I definately preferred Ralph to Ray… not that I dont like Ray I just preferred the banter of Razor and Mr. T. more.

        1. Ralph has a medical condition, and Tom was very accommodating, but when Ralph was let go, he was very bitter and said that he made Tom the talk showman he is today, and maybe Tom should have fought more to retain him.
          At least that was my take on the situation.

      2. What an amazing coincidence. I posted something about Tom and Ralph, and lo and behold, TK had the first interview with Ralph in 3 years after he was fired. I stand corrected, Ralph and Tom are still friends and the major beef was with another person who stabbed him in the back. Ralph sued and got a settlement, so the details were not divulged due to confidentiality, so many questions remain unanswered.
        However, I did glean from the interview that Ralph modestly stated that he considers himself as the best interviewer in the world, so Tom learned from the best.
        TK admitted he asks the prickly question, just due to his personality. I mean, that’s just who he is. He and JH are still buddies, and they totally respect each other.
        TK and Ralph then proceeded to have a love fest, showering each other with platitudes, even though I distinctly remember Ralph snort in derision over TK’s interview skills. It was very entertaining, and I did not know TK actually reads my posts. I am glad Ralph is doing OK, and wish him long life. Parkinsons is an insidious disease, but it sounds like Ralph is managing it well.

    1. Scooter, thanks for pointing this out.

      Music to my ears:
      “His first week kind of coming back — he had a year off from football, basically — so that transition is going to take a little bit,” Staley said. “But you’re starting to see more of the natural talent that he has and the reason that we drafted him high last year. … He’s so powerful, and he’s so big and moves really well. And you’re seeing that come on in the second week.”

      1. What I found interesting was how in the latter part of the week they started shifting Martin to OC and getting Thomas in at RG with the first team offense. To me that suggests he’s doing a good job of working himself into the competition for a starting role.

        Looking forward to seeing how these guys go in live action in the first preseason game.

  8. Steve Smith Sr. announced today that 2015 will be his final season. This dude is a No-B.S. Football Player. And a half.
    I’d buy him a beer/lemonade if he’d let me.

    1. I am not worried about the Coaches.
      I am concerned about the ILBs.
      I am troubled about the DBs.
      I am worried about the OLBs because of Aldon.
      I am extremely worried about the O Line.

      1. I would say I am worried about the offensive coaches and JT, but not too worried
        Not worried about ILB’s, Bowman, Wilhoite and Moody will play out well. (We did just fine last year for stretches without Willis and Bowman.)
        DB’s and Safeties will surprise everyone, its more about Mangini’s coaching that I am concerned about if he bring’s a DB to blitz do our guys cover well?
        OLB’s will also be fine.
        OL is a concern for everyone

    2. Paying at least $7 mill for an aging guard would be a curious move for Baalke, especially when they don’t know what they’ve got in Thomas or Martin yet….

      1. Baalke has the money. Hope he rewards the second best line man on the O line with an extension. Give Boone a pay raise to keep him with the Niners. Frankly, I am getting tired of seeing players leave. Lets keep the ones we have.
        Mathis is too old and expensive, and some other team who is desperate for a guard will pay him what he wants.

        1. Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think they should extend Boone before thinking about signing a guy like Mathis. It would be a real slap in the face to Boone if they did sign someone like Mathis to a deal worth more than what Boone is making.

    3. Didn’t Jack post a bunch of data last year showing that Hyde’s pass blocking in actual games was equal to or better than Gore’s? Lets keep all five of these things in mind through 4 preseason games and see how they develop.

    1. I wish you would work your magic again and find that conversation between Tolbert and Tomsula. It was very entertaining and insightful. Please.

  9. MM: List of each team’s cap space (post-Aldon):

    Jacksonville $37,571,942
    Cleveland $21,347,983
    Tennessee $20,297,561
    Tampa Bay $19,104,835
    Oakland $18,944,677
    Cincinnati $16,611,321
    Dallas $16,492,418
    Atlanta $15,682,106
    Green Bay $14,888,095
    Carolina $14,557,125
    Philadelphia $14,425,826
    49ers $12,980,672
    Indianapolis $12,315,617
    Miami $11,373,168
    Arizona $9,107,153
    Seattle $8,906,646
    Kansas City $8,793,884
    San Diego $8,735,977
    Buffalo $8,712,145
    Chicago $7,783,079
    Washington $7,724,535
    Houston $7,690,980
    Baltimore $7,668,232
    Denver $7,467,354
    Minnesota $7,455,420
    Pittsburgh $6,712,728
    St. Louis $6,560,991
    New England $6,400,973
    N.Y. Jets $4,490,748
    N.Y. Giants $4,317,526
    Detroit $2,443,766
    New Orleans $2,392,402
    Source: NFL Players Association

    1. Fight and when you’re finished, hit the showers and don’t return is the policy implemented by BB, and this is a prime example why….

  10. According to Johnson, last year they just went out and played defensively, this year there’s more thinking involved. Could be scary early with missed assignments and busted plays. This offense needs to bring something to the party sooner rather than later….

    1. I would like Gabbert to stand next to Logan and signal, too. Kaep will know which signal is the correct one with a pre arranged sequence that only the Niners know. That way, the opposition cannot steal the signals. That is what was so maddening about last year. It seemed as though the other team knew what the Niners were going to run, so they could stack the gap or tee off on the QB. Niners need to be more unpredictable.

      1. I may be paranoid, but I hope the Niners just assume they are stealing signals. If I was the opposition, I would hire lip readers, too. In this day and age of electronics and computers, it is childs play to be able to eavesdrop on a conversation.
        Niners will be less predictable if the opposition cannot discern ahead of time what is going to be run.

      1. I think there’s a lot of things Tomsula wanted to do and now can do differently than Harbaugh. So far I’m on board with most if not all of the changes.

      2. Not really when you consider how many starters we lost and players that are coming back from some form of injury Razor.

  11. That wasn’t so much of a bull rush as it was more taking advantage of an pass protector’s poor leverage and pad level.

  12. Razor,
    Good stuff bud!
    There was a play, I believe it was a preseason game in 2013 in which Justin Smith just blew-up a running back in the backfield. Someone actually created a youtube video of the play that had the RB exploding at the point of contact – wish I could find it.

  13. Tell that to the play by play announcer. I use this play to illustrate how not to attempt to defend a Bull Rushing defensive lineman….

  14. It started off as a bull rush but ended up as Cowboy merely taking advantage of a pass protector not getting under his pads when he should have.

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