Justin Smith: “It’s a young man’s game and you’ve got to be full of piss and vinegar when you step onto the field.”

This is the transcript of Justin Smith’s retirement conference call, courtesy of the 49ers’ public relations staff.

I think former 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said late last season that even when you were nicked or injured in recent years, you were still better than most of the defensive linemen in the league. With that said, why walk away with a year remaining on your contract?

“I mean, for me it’s just, you know, where I play on the right side, all my contact comes on my left shoulder and left side. And, I mean, it doesn’t respond like I want it to respond anymore. You know? You don’t have the tools, you can’t do the job, so it’s just time to go.”


How has it been for you the last few years with that situation you just described?

“I mean, it’s no fun. I mean, obviously, you always want everything to work the way you want it. But, you know, crap in one hand, wish in the other one and see what comes up first, you know. It aint always going to be how you want it, and that was definitely my case the last couple years. I’ve had conversations with [49ers general manager] Trent [Baalke], you know, with [49ers head coach Jim Tomsula] Jimmy-T, even [former 49ers head coach Jim] Harbaugh and Vic, you know. They always want you to keep playing this and that, and I wanted to keep playing it as well, but when you get on the bald tires, you’re on the bald tires, you know.”


Any thought of moving you to the right side?

“You know, you know it when you’re actually out there playing, I talked to, actually, [49ers running backs coach Tom] Rathman a little bit about it. It’s just like, you know when it’s time, you know. There’s a certain emotional, you know, you’ve got to go into things with the right mindset, this and that. It’s a young man’s game and you’ve got to be full of piss and vinegar when you step onto the field. You know, as you get older, it’s harder to get that same intensity going week in, week out, and it’s just time to go. I mean, you know, guys out there mean business so it was just time for me to move on.”


What are you thinking about for your future? Have you even got to that point yet?

“Not really. Not yet. I just figure, you know, I’m sure I’ll be doing something football related somewhere down the road or, I mean, that’s all we know. You know, don’t think I’m going to get into whatever else other guys do all the time. You know, I figure, I’ll just figure out, stick with what I know and stay around the game as much as I can. I don’t know if that’s coaching or maybe, [49ers CEO] Jed [York] wants to give me a good price on ownership with the Niners. I’m just kidding. Kid, I kid. You know, I don’t know. I just imagine whatever it is, it’ll be something football related. Strength or strength-room related, something like that.”


Will you be staying out here, Justin? Or are you going to be moving back to Missouri?

“No, I’ll be going back to Missouri.”


When you look back on your career, obviously, the last few years you guys were in playoff contention. What did that mean to close a career and having a shot at a Super Bowl?

“What’s that? I couldn’t here you at the end there.”


What does that mean to close your career these last few years to have a shot at winning a Super Bowl?

“Oh, it was great. You know, there’s a lot of guys going into training camp this year, everybody’s going to show up to training camp talking about they want to win a Super Bowl. And I was no different. Every year, there’s only a 10-percent chance you think you can really win it. But, deep down, you know if you’ve got a team to do it. For four years there, the feeling walking into camp thinking you can win a Super Bowl was pretty cool.”


It sounds like physically, you realized your body just wasn’t responding the way you wanted it to, you needed it to. But, the 49ers also gave you as long as you needed to make this decision. Was this a hard decision to come by or did you pretty much figure that this was going to be once the season ended?

“For me, there has always been pretty open talk between me, Jimmy, Trent and whoever every season. And, you know, when I signed that extension I did myself with Trent and [49ers president] Paraag [Marathe], we went into that extension knowing full well that more than likely I wasn’t going to play it out. And it was more of just rolling cap money over in my 13th year so we could get a piece or two here or there to make the Super Bowl runs. They did that with a lot of guys. [LB NaVorro Bowman] Bow, Pat [former 49ers LB Patrick Willis]. We were gearing up for a Super Win. So, that was the thought going into it the whole time. I gave it probably a 20-percent chance I’d play 15 years anyway after that point, tearing my triceps and my shoulder up.”


How long have you been dealing with the shoulder injury? It’s been a couple years now?

“Yeah. I want to say at least two. I think I did it in training camp against [former 49ers G] Mike [Iupati] and it just never bounced back, you know? Just one of those things. I’m just lucky and fortunate it happened year 13, 14 and not year two, you know? When you look at it that way, I’m not going to complain about it.”


Did the triceps-elbow issue crop up even beyond the first time it became problematic in 2012? Were there subsequent surgeries after that?

“Well, I mean, guys either have problems with their legs or their upper body and I was an upper body guy. And, all of a sudden, my elbows through my shoulders. You know, some guys get ankles. Some guys get knees, you know. It’s just where you get hurt. You’re going to get hurt, so, you know, I don’t think anybody’s going to bitch and moan about them getting hurt playing football, it’s just how long you keep going after that injury and everybody’s different, I guess.”


Everybody always cites that play against Philadelphia in 2011 where you forced that fumble chasing down the wide receiver. Do you have a favorite play? I mean, when you look back on your career, what plays, what moments stick out?

“You know, there’s like three or four years there, man. The thing that really sticks out to me was, on the football field everything kind of runs together, you know, everything happens so fast when you’re just doing it. But, what sticks out in my mind are the plane rides back after the big wins. And I mean, we just had fun. It didn’t feel, I played a lot of football here and other places where it felt like a job because you’re losing or this and that, or something wasn’t right. Everything was just rolling together and we were just having fun. That’s what sticks out in my mind.”


Would you ever consider a career in media? Would you ever consider getting into broadcasting or some of the stuff former NFL WR Randy Moss or other ex-players have gone into?

“Well, you know how much I love this. You know what, I’ll tell you what, it would be fun if you saw me on talk shows and radio all the time after this, wouldn’t it? But, no, I don’t see that happening, no.”


To go back to that 2011 play when you forced the fumble on former Philadelphia Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin, does that play hold a special place in your heart and what you accomplished in your career, just know that showed your motor?

“You know, the thing about that was we just got a big win on the road and we just got on a roll after there. We kind of went on a three year roll. We had a hell-of-a team and we had a hell-of-a lot of fun playing together. That’s what it’s all about. I mean, this is professional football, as you guys know and it’s cutthroat, it’s a dirty business, as it should be. I mean, guy’s out there fighting for jobs and whenever a team can come together and have fun, winning, and you know, hell, you start feeling like you own part of the team, you know, when you’re having so much fun and winning like that. That’s unique, and that doesn’t happen very often. I was around a long time, seeing that not happening or being the case, so that’s what was cool to me.”


Can you say specifically what happened to your shoulder in 2013 in training camp?

“Well, what ended up ultimately being the case was there was a piece of bone that detached and lodged in the back of it. You know, I didn’t know until they went in and did surgery, but I just knew it hurt like hell. It’s just one of those things, you know, arthritis build up, wear and tear, yada, yada, yada. It’s just, you know, it’s time.”


Did you give any thought to getting in a suit and tie and having a formal retirement press conference?

“What’s that now? Am I going to have a formal one?”


Yeah, did you give any thought of getting in a suit and tie and having a formal retirement press conference?

“No, not at all. I mean it’s, you know, you come in, you go out, everything moves on. So, this is no different. You know what I mean? It was good. It was a good ride. You guys aint going to get me in a room and make me cry and all that stuff. It was a pretty cut and dry decision the whole time and just went from there.”


When you say you’re going back to Missouri, do you plan to settle in Holts Summit or in and around there?

“I don’t know exactly where yet.”

  1. I wonder if his bags are packed and plans to leave posthaste. If so, I hope Missouri hires him as part of the strength and conditioning staff….

        1. It was an interview he did this morning on 95.7 the Game:

          Justin Smith (on @957thegame) said next leaders on D are Bowman, Dorsey, Williams, Bethea, Aldon. Justin might linger as mentor, too

    1. Of all the Niners in recent years I respect Justin Smith the most. He was a genuine man and he gave his all on every play. We can only wish that other Niners did that. I will miss him and won’t see the team in the same way any longer.

  2. Saying goodbye to Cowboy (and P Willy for that matter) is tough but what great models of character for us all to glean and reflect upon.Courage ,hard work and love of the game conducted with integrity. Admirable. Hats off to a great warrior and a great 49er!

  3. I always envisioned JS hanging it up when he felt he couldn’t perform to his own standard anymore and that is exactly what he did. He is too proud to hang on for a pay check. Great great player and person, and his leadership will be missed.

  4. I’m enjoying the love Cowboy is getting from his peers and his fans. It’s well earned admiration and respect. I can accept this better with the advance notice of the liklihood of his retirement so as to get used to the idea, and because he seems so at peace with his decision.
    Good luck, Justin. (I hope you don’t end up on the Rams’ staff!)

  5. “It’s a young man’s game and you’ve got to be full of piss and vinegar when you step onto the field. You know, as you get older, it’s harder to get that same intensity going week in, week out, and it’s just time to go.”

    I know the accumulated wear and tear is the largest part of his decision, but I think this is a telling statement as well. I think a lot of veterans struggled with this last season. Its one of those things that happens after a long period of being so close to winning, of putting so much effort in. The inevitable let down. And while I appreciate Harbaugh fans don’t want to believe it, I do think Harbaugh is partly to blame for it as he rode the players very hard (and yes, he is also very much deserving of praise for his work in getting them to three NFCCGs and a SB). I know Boone copped some flak from a lot of people here for his comments about Harbaugh, but respect Boone or not, he probably had a point.

    My perception of a loss in intensity for some of the older players last season (and yes, it is just my perception, others may disagree and think it was just a culmination of too many injuries and other factors) is one reason why I think it isn’t the worst thing in the world to be losing some of the older veterans this year. Sometimes it can be hard to find that same intensity again once you’ve lost it, especially for older players that have done the grind for a long time.

    1. Scooter: In general, I think Harbaugh did a great job in turning around the team. However, there is one major “flaw” that I could never understand why it didn’t get fixed. The inability to manage the play clock better. It happened game after game, year after year and some would argue cost us the Superbowl (although there were many reasons that one could point to for the loss). For a professional coaching staff, I believe this is inexcusable.

      1. Cubus,

        I agree and have no idea why that continued to be a problem. The strange thing is, this goes back to when Singletary was hired, and Jimmy Raye couldn’t seem to call plays in on time. Hopefully Chryst has streamlined the process so we don’t have to watch this continue.

      2. Yeah, I never understood that either cubus. Very frustrating. Hopefully the new coaching staff will get that fixed.

    2. Scooter, I definitely think you’re on to something there with that line of reasoning. It just makes sense, you can only get fired up for that charge up the hill so many times, and if you’ve fought up that hill 2-3 times and almost got to the top several times, but never quite got to the top and planted that flag, there has got to be a point where you just can’t get that fired up again. Not with the same old, maybe overused, motivational ploys anyway.

    3. Scooter,

      You may be right, but it could also just as easily be a situation where Smith looked at the change in Coaching, player defections, etc, and decided this team was rebuilding and no longer a contender for the SB. We are all speculating, but I would put more credence behind a number of players deciding they had missed their opportunity and there was no reason to push on for one more year. I agree that there were likely some in the locker room that didn’t like Harbaugh, that is usually the case on most teams, but they played hard for him and that is really all that matters at the end of the day.

      1. How about just listening or reading what the guy said

        “When it’s time, you know,” Smith said. “There’s a certain emotional you’ve got to go into things with the right mindset. It’s a young man’s game and you’ve got to be full of piss and vinegar when you step onto the field. As you get older, it’s harder to get that same intensity going week-in, week-out and it’s just time to go. Guys out there mean business so it was just time for me to move on.”

        But the beginning of the end for Smith came in training camp the following season when he injured his left shoulder during a violent collision with guard Mike Iupati. Somehow, Smith managed to play all 16 games in 2013 and 2014 while making regular appearances on the injury report and rarely practicing during the week.

        “There was a piece of bone that detached and lodged in the back of it,” Smith said. “I didn’t know until they went in and did surgery, but I just knew it hurt like hell. It’s just one of those things, you know, arthritis build up, wear and tear, yada, yada, yada. It’s just, you know, it’s time.”

        It’s getting so bad someone speculated he his retiring because he does not want to meet Obama @ the whitehouse for the 2015 SB winners visit…

      2. To be honest I don’t think of it in terms of the players liking or not liking Harbaugh. I think by and large there was a great deal of respect amongst the players towards Harbaugh. I just mean that Harbaugh worked them very hard, and at a level I believe was probably unsustainable, and at some point there was inevitably going to be a let down. Then you factor in injuries and front office discord and basically we can’t be too surprised at what transpired last year. For older players like Willis and in particular Smith, it can be hard to then turn that intensity level back on the following season.

        As for Willis’ and Smith’s decisions to retire, yes, I am very much of the belief the change in coaching has had some factor in those decisions, as well as the likely reduction in confidence this team has what it takes to go all the way. A lot of factors will have gone into these decisions.

        1. Scooter- I certainly think the issues you mentioned played a factor. Your rational makes a lot of sense. Some of the other issues that others mentioned also might have been factors as well. It isn’t always just one thing but usually a combination of different things.

  6. Curious to see what Greg Roman does in buffalo.

    With WR’s Sammy Watkins, Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods …..plus Percy Harvin and LeSean McCoy

    He really has no excuse if the offense is top 5.

  7. Anyone catch the Bleacher Report tidbit on Vernon Davis’ picture lovingly holding a football and Frank Gore responding “that’s BS you don’t love football”.

    1. I saw that AES. Frank was just messing with him though. He sent out a tweet to clear up the confusion

      1. You usually don’t joke about something that might be taken seriously, Vern has gotten a lot of flack for focusing more on his brand than the game. Perhaps Frank let out a freudian slip on his tweet. Then he thought better of it and said he was just kidding. For someone who really loves the game it wouldn’t be to hard to call out a guy who fakes it.

    1. I hope Geep and Jimmy T play this smart. With a powerful O-line, big RB, and physical athletic QB options(Belldozer or Kaep should be enough to scare the crap outta any DC), the 9ers have an advantage going for 2.

      1. The problem with the rule change is that it is not obvious when you are going for two or kicking for one.

      2. A powerful offense doesn’t always equal nailing a two point conversion Grimey. If it were, then we would have been seeing more of them than we have been.

        1. Yep. And the 49ers would have been a much more successful red zone team the past few years.

          Obviously moving the PAT back 13 yards will make it more difficult, but most kickers worth their salt should still knock them over at a very high % rate to make it the more attractive option compared to 2-point conversions.

          1. Unless you are playing in Chicago and the wind takes the ball 90 degrees to the right at the top of it’s arch.

    2. There’s a poison pill, of sorts, with the two point attempt and that is if you turn over the ball the other team can return it for a score.

      Not sure how much this change will truly influence coaches decision to go for two. The NN page suggested that the data shows that going for two has a higher chance of success versus a 33 yard FG but a lot more 33 yard FG’s are tried then 2 yard attempts. Will that success rate still be as high for 2 point attempts when teams are trying them more often? If they in fact are.

      It’ll be interesting to see if there is in fact any difference with this change.

      1. C4C….

        Excellent point, and it WILL surely make a difference in the game….there will be a whole new set of plays in every teams bag just to take advantage of it…Offense and Defense

  8. “I’m filled with piss and vinegar! At first I was just filled with vinegar!”

    -Grandpa Simpson

    1. With Nick Moody, he showed some promise last year. I realise his PFF rating is low, but I imagine a lot of that comes down to not finishing plays. He put himself in some excellent positions to make some big plays then whiffed on them. That’s a technique issue, not an instincts issue.

      1. Yep, I liked what I saw from Moody towards the end of the season and I look for him to build on that….

  9. It’s his body that caused him to hang it up.

    “Everybody in the locker room got along with Harbaugh,” Smith said. “He was a good guy. He was quirky, this and that, but everybody loved him. And we loved what we were doing. How could you not have fun with that?”

    Half the time in the d-line meeting room they were talking offense with Tomsula.

      1. According to Justin, they were talking offense so much because it’s important to understand what the offense is trying to do to the defense in order to play better defense.

      1. i have no problem busting Jeff’s chops. I’ve done to him in person a few times…mostly about being a scrawny QB in the weight room but sometimes about his play.

        But Garcia is a 4X Pro Bowler. and threw for over 30 TDs in 2000 and 01. he was also a winner in Canada.

        Garcia had the unfortunate luck of being the next competent QB to follow 2 hall of fame QBs. So anything less than a Super Bowl at the time was considered a tragic failure (which of course is all relative when you consider the next 8 or so years after Garcia was released from the team).

        As for off the field. They guy dated and married a playboy playmate. hardly a “clown”. though..he can come off as a bit of a prck in person sometimes…but then who doesn’t?

    1. Good for Garcia. He’s been trying to land a Coaching job for awhile so his perseverance obviously paid off.

      Definitely a player who got the most out of his physical abilities. If only we could put his brain in Kaps head.

  10. When Kaepernick throws for over 4,000 yards in a season, and earns 3 trips to the Pro Bowl (something you Garcia, Rogers, Manning or Brady do) then Kaepernick’s the joke, not Garcia.

    1. Oh I forgot Garcia made a SB and 2 NFC Title games.. Nice try there Tom D… It was also very easy for Garcia to throw a 5 yard pass and watch T.O go 90… Give Kaep and young T.O and he wins that SB.

      1. “It was also very easy for Garcia to throw a 5 yard pass and watch T.O go 90…”

        That can be said about any QB. A lot was made about Kaepernick winning in NE back in 2012. If memory serves me correct the game winner was a short hitch that Crabtree took to the house.

        1. No it can’t be said about any QB.. What reciever in the past 3 years could take it to the house on a slant.. What reciever theaten the defense vertically.. Other then Vernon Davis that is a TE.. I will wait for your response.

          1. “What reciever in the past 3 years could take it to the house on a slant..”

            Although it wasn’t a slant, I just gave you one.

    2. I mean until Kaepernick does what Garcia did. And don’t give me, well, he had Terrell Owens…Yeah and Tai Streets…Not Anquan Boldin, Crabtree, Lloyd, and Stevie Johnson and Vernon Davis… If Garcia had those weapons he’d have thrown for 5,000 yards and won a SuperBowl…But Alas, we get into offensive Philosophical viewpoints. Do we use Vernon Davis as run blocker mostly (Baalke’s Philosophy) and risk a running back, or O-Lineman falling on the back of Vernon’s legs, therefore, incapacitating him in the passing game for the remainder of the season, or do we involve him more in the passing game…Something Garcia and the O-Coordinator of that Era would have creatively done. Garcia was heavily involved in gameplanning for the 49ers, and actually recently asked to see more of Baalke’s resume (which is probably why your angry at Garcia)…The question you should ask yourself is why 49ers current management constantly avoids strong-willed ex-49er West Coast Offensive coaches, who know how to game plan and plan training camps…Also, since their new QB coach (Steve Logan) and Geep Chryst run a West Coast Offense, why did they seek out Kurt Warner, not Jeff Garcia to train Kaepernick?…Is it Because Baalke has always felt threatened by the offensive prowess and drafting of offensive talent of a Holmgren, Shannahan or other West Coast people they avoided during their search for a new head coach?

      1. give Garcia and the 2002 Niners the 2011-12 Niner’s defense and imagine what would have happened.

        1. Oh that great D that allowed 34 points in the SB you mean? Kaep threw for 300+ yards and accounted for 3 tds…

          1. Kaep threw for 300+ yards and accounted for 3 tds…

            Kaep and the defense both were terrible then great in the Super Bowl. However the game came down to Kaep staring down Crabtree which resulted in an incompletion.

            1. He wasn’t starting down Crabtree. He was throwing fades to him which was the play call. Amazing how history is distorted over time.

              1. Whether that was the play call or not is irrelevant. The Baltimore secondary knew where Kaep was going to throw that ball and so did almost everyone that watched the game.

              2. Mid,

                That play has one receiving option. You can’t stare down the only option on the play. That is the point. Every QB since the dawn of time has thrown a fade the exact same way.

              3. That play has one receiving option.

                You really can’t say that unless you have concrete knowledge of what was in the play book.
                We’re getting sidetracked from my point which is that both Kaep and the defense played a part in the 49ers losing in the Super Bowl against the Ravens.

              4. “However the game came down to Kaep staring down Crabtree which resulted in an incompletion.”

                That kind of makes it sound like you lay the blame on Kaepernick.

              5. Rocket,

                I thought the decision to go the fade route to Crab was based on what the D was showing? I.e., Kaep made a decision where to go pre-snap based on what he read from the D.

                The fade to Crabtree wasn’t an overly terrible decision (not saying it was a great one), but it was poorly executed. The pass rush got to Kaep quickly and forced him to throw early and off balance, while Crab was still tied up with the Ravens CB.

              6. Mid,

                A fade is a step back and throw to the designated target. There is no other option on the play.

                I agree that everybody shares in the blame, but the defense and ST’s were the bigger issue in that game imo.

              7. Scooter,

                Correct but the point I’m making to Mid is that you can’t stare down a fade route because it’s a step back and release that doesn’t involve looking at other options.

              8. Gotcha. That play was doomed by the OL not giving Kaep room to step into the throw. That and Crabtree getting tied up with the CB (holding, anyone?).

              9. Scooter,

                Agree on both counts. The holding was a tough call for the official in that situation, but the biggest problem was the complete collapse in the middle of the line. The Ravens just blew it up completely.

              10. I agree that everybody shares in the blame, but the defense and ST’s were the bigger issue in that game imo.

                Offense has just as much blame for that loss as do the defense and STs. And yes I do blame Kaep for the loss but he isn’t the only culprit on the offense. Crabtree getting penalized on the very first play from scrimmage, James coughing up the ball, and Moss alligator arming a pass that became the 49ers first ever interception thrown in the Super Bowl played a role as well.

              11. That kind of makes it sound like you lay the blame on Kaepernick.

                The whole team from Baalke on down share the blame.

              12. “The whole team from Baalke on down share the blame.”

                The whole team from Baalke on down also share the credit for getting to the SB, and being one play away from winning it. Somehow in defeat that achievement seems to get overlooked…

              13. MidWest,

                You’re talking in circles.

                “And yes I do blame Kaep for the loss but he isn’t the only culprit on the offense.”

                “The whole team from Baalke on down share the blame.”

                Why would you blame Kaep for the loss if the whole team from Baalke on down should share the blame?

              14. How exactly am I talking in circles when I that Kaep isn’t the only culprit and everyone from Baalke on down deserve the blame Jack?

                I’m not arguing that point Scooter. However, the pieces needed to beat the Ravens evidently weren’t there else we would have.

              15. Why would you blame Kaep for the loss if the whole team from Baalke on down should share the blame?

                Because he’s part of that team?

              16. Wouldn’t it be better to say that you don’t blame Kaep any more than any other member of the organization for that loss?

              17. No, because that would be a lie. Kaep deserves the blame, but he’s behind the secondary, Chris Culliver, the play-calling, and the coaching staff in terms of being more responsible for the loss. And though Kaep is fifth on that list, he only holds about a tenth of the blame. The aforementioned are ahead of by a good amount.

              18. “However, the pieces needed to beat the Ravens evidently weren’t there else we would have.”

                I disagree with that. You don’t come so close to winning the SB without having the pieces in place. A call here or there going the other way (holding on the opening kick off in the 2nd half? Holding on Crabtree?), one or two plays going differently (Harbaugh not taking the TO just before the ball was snapped a couple of plays before the ill fated fade to Crabtree), and it could easily have been the 49ers winning that game.

                Either team could have won that game.

              19. I do. We needed a deep threat to take the top off and it was clear Moss was no longer capable of that. We also missed the presence of Walker who could’ve been a big help in the red zone on that final series. Then there was the fact that Culliver was severely exposed during the game. Having a replacement option could have help the secondary.
                I agree that those certain situations affected the game Scooter, but the areas that I mentioned with missing pieces could have made those irrelevant.

              20. “We also missed the presence of Walker who could’ve been a big help in the red zone on that final series.”

                Walker was on the field.

              21. So to clarify Mid, what you are saying is you agree the incidents I outlined affected the outcome of the game, but the team did not have the pieces to win the SB?

                That doesn’t make sense. If those incidents affected the outcome of the game, then the 49ers could have won the SB if one of those incidents had gone another way.

                The team the 49ers had was capable of winning it all. They just came up against another team that was also capable of winning it all, that played better on the day and came up big in a critical situation at the end of the game.

              22. You’re correct Jack. I’m probably experiencing some brain fog since it’s almost 2 A.M. where I live. :-p

              23. If those incidents affected the outcome of the game, then the 49ers could have won the SB if one of those incidents had gone another way.

                And the Ravens could have slaughtered us had the lights not gone out. Incidences happens in every game, but having the right pieces could have made them irrelevant. The Ravens had them while we did not.

              24. Well, I guess we’ll just have to disagree on this. I honestly don’t see how you can say a team that got so close to winning it all did not have the capability to do it, especially given there were a number of calls at critical moments that went against them that could easily have gone the other way. Fact is there is more than one team each year capable of winning it.

              1. Hmmm, Jack. When I clicked on that link I thought it was going to be Scotty from Star Trek with a “Dammit Jim! The dilethium crystals Man!”

      2. And Kaepernick lost those games by staring down Crabtree and throwing interceptions when the coaching staff asked the play to go in another direction. Had he been developed in the nuances of QB 101 he would have seen the wide open man at the goal line (AKA–his other wide receiver– most NFL teams have more than one WR). But Kaepernic was locked on to Crabtree all the Way. Face it CK Elite, your not into the truth, just drinking Jed and Trents Coolaid. Until you have an open mind and watch other teams quarterbacks, drop back, quickly scan both sides of the field and deliver a strike, in-stride, (not a rocketball above or behind the target) to a WR who was not the primary target on a play, then we have not Major league QB, so will have to rely on a running game and tough D

        1. Just Great:

          Jeff Garcia to our arch rival, the Rams, Carmen Policy to the Raiders (where they will enjoy the 15 million People in SoCal, and all of those millionaire Luxury Boxes of a new Stadium, that Jerry Jones said will be very competitive with the Cowboys new stadium) Kyle Shannahan to Atl, Jay Gruden to Washington….Meanwhile we’re stuck with a watered down genetic mutant clone of a wanabee Bill Parcells Philosopher (Trent Baalke) who will never win SuperBowls Like Parcells, or even come close to being Parcells

      3. What the hell did Garcia do????? Was he a soild Qab sure. But he doesn’t even come close to what kaep has accomplished in 3 years…

        1. He actually did quite a bit considering the team was rebuilding during most of his time as the starter. Great competitor who got the max out of his abilities.

          1. why argue with this guy? he’s obviously on Colin’s jock…

            his super bowl argument is the dumbest thing i’ve heard in awhile. surprised no one just said that his argument essentially is the same as stating that Dilfer or Brad Johnson > QB’s who haven’t won Super Bowls.

        2. Just for you ck=elite;


          TITLE: Mike Davis Learns About Colin Kaepernick’s Arm.

          SYNOPSIS: Mike Davis was going out for a swing pass out of the backfield and Kaepernick fired a rocketball from 5 yards away that probably broke one of his fingers just like the pass a few years ago that he broke Randy Moss’s fingers with.
          I guess that visit to Kurt Warner’s school paid off, didn’t it….Face it, this guy will never learn, he’ll keep breaking fingers of our assests.

          Many experts say, during the heat of a game, when the real bullets start flying, a player will resort to the body mechanics he’s possessed during his lifetime, and not use the mechanics he spent 15 minutes on in some fly-by-night coaching company.

          1. TomD…

            You’re right…I’ve been saying it for 21/2 years now, that whole ‘classroom’ was a boondoggle from the start…he’s not a quality NFL QB…

  11. Whew. A former football player lands a job with a team different than one of the teams he played for during his career. What? The sky is falling! That never happens! An outrage! Man, Baalke sucks! Jed sucks! Colin sucks!
    Perhaps some should seek stress relief techniques…..?

      1. Or that the “Jed-John Niners” front office is has been closed to him.

        It’s cute that Garcia getting an assistant coach’s job is a topic that’s triggered so much passion this morning.

  12. Jeff Garcia was one hell of a QB He was defintely top 10 in his era. If he had been the 9ers QB in 2011 I believe the team would have won 2 Super Bowls and Harbaugh would likely still be the 9ers coach. imho

    1. It’s the calm before the storm, Robert. We’re still waiting for the great uprising rebellion where the NFL owners depose Roger Goodell. Then we can revisit the speculations on his replacement.
      Hopefully we’ll find some observations Thursday evening on the new guys, as that’s the only media access practice of this session.

    1. Been searching like crazy for the episode where the show was in San Francisco and Montana and Young were on the stage at the same time (along with Tom Hanks). Then in an outdoor segment, he played catch with Montana, and Joe accidentally decapitated a pedestrian.

    1. I doubt Dres Anderson makes the final 53 let alone wins the #3 WR spot, but of all the UDFAs I’d say he has the best shot. I’m expecting Quinton Patton to finally rise to the occasion. I disagree that he is solely a slot WR.

      I agree Thomas will win the starting LG spot. Wright will probably win the starting CB spot, but I think he’ll have stiffer competition for the spot than you suggest. I’m expecting Dontae Johnson will be given strong consideration for the starting job.

      I agree Dial will probably end up winning the LDE spot this year. But I doubt Tank will win the starting RDE spot on base downs. You mention that Dorsey isn’t much of a pass rusher and that is why he won’t win the job. However, his #1 job on base downs will be sopping the run which he excels at, and his #2 job will be tying up blockers to free up the LBs, which he showed at KC he is also very good at. I think the RDE spot in the base 3-4 is his job to lose.

      1. I too note the enthusiastic expectations (not just Grant) on Anderson, a udfa who many presume to be better than 4ths Patton and Ellington, and better as well than Simpson, a guy who has already made plays in the NFL. Sure, the injury question, but no one grabbed him in 250 picks. I’d think he’d need to excel in returns to make the 53. Perhaps Simpson can hold off Anderson’s challenge by making tackles on coverage teams.

      2. I agree it’s his job to lose, and I think he’ll lose it if Carradine shows he’s effective against the run.

        1. I hope you are right. We know what Dorsey brings to the table, he’s a good player. If Tank wins the job from him in TC and pre-season then you’d have to think Tank is on track for a real breakout year.

      3. Patton also has the edge on Simpson by already having been in the system and familiar with the offense. At best Simpsons best odds are to be the second man in the #3 rotation but I expect the only way he’s still getting regular reps by the end of the season is because of injury. It’ll be interesting to see if the team can get Ellington more involved and if so if he doesn’t suddenly emerge as the clear #3.

          1. Good question; and applies to Offense AND Defense.
            New guy (DC) on D. Much freedom as long as he works with the talent Trent provides. BB-influence on Mangini is to multiple looks and unpredictability; kinda the antithesis of Vic, Sing/Manusky, and Nolan/Manusky.
            Blank palette on Offense..

          2. My guess is that they will try and keep as much of the terminology the same as possible. Should be possible with Chryst carrying over.

    2. What about the battle for who replaces Willis? I guess we’re just writing off Andy Lee at this point.

        1. I realize I asked the question wrong. The better question is who’s going to replace Bowman when he slides over and takes Willis’s spot.

          I think Wheeler is best suited. He’s spent most of his career playing the strong side. Miami moved him to the Will in 2013 and his PFF grade dropped to -19.5. The years previous and after when he moved back to his natural Sam(Mike) position he graded out as an 11.9 and 2.5 respectively.

          The runner up to Wheeler is the winner in the Wilhoite/Moody contest. Not sure who to call in that one.

          1. I initially thought Wilhoite would win the job due to his knowledge and comfort with the system, but if they are indeed changing the system up a bit he may not have as much of an advantage as I first thought.

            Wheeler is a good run defender as you mentioned. He is also a decent pass rusher for a LB. I think you could be right that he wins that Mike role in the base 3-4. He’ll probably then be replaced on obvious passing downs.

          2. If they sign Briggs then I’d say Bowman stays in the Mike and Briggs plays the Will. Wheeler and Bowman could split reps so that Bowman is eased back into play.

              1. They were seen as able to play both spots Mid, but Bowman has always been designated the Jack since he’s been a starter I believe. Slightly different roles.

              2. Ok guys, I thought this was cleared up last season….here’s the link:


                From MM:

                Patrick Willis has been reacquainting himself with the “mike” linebacker position — the spot Bowman has played the past three seasons while leading the 49ers in tackles in two of those years.

                The “mike” occupies the inside linebacker position on the tight end side. Willis played four seasons at the “mike” under former defensive coordinator Greg Manusky. In Vic Fangio’s defense, Willis moved to the “jack.”

                It’s very likely going to be Bow and Wilhoite starting…..

            1. Wheeler should win the LILB job and Moody is the back up. If Bowman is ready to play at the start of the season the he’ll start on the right and Wilhoite is his back up. If Bowman isn’t ready then I think they’ll sign Briggs to rotate with Wilhoite as the starter until Bowman comes back.

    3. Grant, thanks for another well considered breakdown.

      – The receiver battle will be intense. I think the 49ers will lead the league in receivers getting stolen off PS during 24 hour waivers. Darius Davis catches my imagination. His film and productivity are off the charts. But is it all a Division II mirage?

      – I agree with Brandon Thomas and Shareece Wright. They will be patient with Thomas. If the experienced Shareece Wright falters he’ll be replaced right away.

      – Dial hands down for McDonald’s old spot. His time at NT must have given him valuable leverage experience. Fangio mentioned “untapped pas rush potential” after he was drafted. We might see some of that now that he’s outside.

      – Tank Carradine’s a bold prediction because I like Dorsey so much, but if Tank can hold the run it makes total sense. Its close. I think Dorsey’s pass rush stats would improve in that spot, but how much?

      This leaves some pretty darned good talent not starting. Dorsey, Dockett, TJE, Armstead… not to mention Ramsey and Okoye. Roster cuts are going to hurt. I hope they can work out some trades.

      1. Anyone think Dial could move over to RE instead of LE. I know RE is expected to create more of a pass rush, and from what we saw of Dial last year he developed quite a bull rush and likely has improved even further; he could be a solid replacement for JS. That would then allow us to place Dorsey at LE, the dominantly run-stopping end. Just a thought.

        Also anyone think Martin could be in play at RG to replace Boone? He obviously struggled last year, mentally for the most part, but he could provide a good, young, developing replacement for Boone, allowing us to let him walk next year and serve as swing tackle this year, although I’m sure we’d hear even more griping coming from him if he was benched.

    4. Ellington is too versatile to be classified as ‘just a slot receiver’ and Boldin hasn’t only just played in the slot. I think Ellington is going to surprise everyone by taking ahold of the #3 WR position.

      I agree that Thomas will win the LG position.

      You’re putting way too much stock in Wright. He was the second most penalized CB for pass interference last season. Johnson meanwhile can play slot or on the outside and should be better in Year 2. I think he wins the RCB position battle. The wildcard in the bunch is Acker.

      I agree on Dial at LDE but like Scooter see RDE as Dorsey’s to lose. This is a make-or-break year for Carradine. We’ll see whether or not the previous coaching staff was holding him back as some have suggested in regards to the younger players. It’s quite possible that Carradine could be a surprise cut if he doesn’t win the starting position.

      You didn’t mention the backup RB, ILB, C, NCB, or P positions.

      1. “It’s quite possible that Carradine could be a surprise cut if he doesn’t win the starting position.”

        I guess it is possible, but it would definitely be a surprise cut. Very surprising to me. While I think Dorsey will win the RDE spot in the base formation, as Matt Barrows has been reporting he will likely be replaced by Tank in 4-man fronts. I think the RDT job in 4-man fronts is Tank’s to lose.

          1. How so? Are you suggesting they may not use 4-man fronts anymore? Most 3-4 teams do use 4-man fronts in nickel and dime. And Barrows has said (and the way he’s said it makes it sound like he has inside knowledge) Tank will indeed be given first shot at the RDT spot in 4-man fronts, which would seem to indicate it will continue to be used.

            1. Most 3-4 teams do use 4-man fronts in nickel and dime.

              Most, not all. I’m not familiar enough with Mangini’s past defensive sets to say whether he bucks the trend or not.

              1. Which 3-4 teams do not use 4-man fronts? I only said most because I couldn’t be bothered doing the research to see if it is all.

                And as outlined, Matt Barrows appears to have been told they will continue to use 4-man fronts.

              2. Which 3-4 teams do not use 4-man fronts? I only said most because I couldn’t be bothered doing the research to see if it is all.

                Which is why I said not all as well.

                And as outlined, Matt Barrows appears to have been told they will continue to use 4-man fronts.

                I missed that part so it does contradict what I said, but I still wouldn’t rule out Mangini throwing out a new look for the 3-4 in dime or nickel packages. But as I said, I’m not familiar enough with a Magini run defense to say whether that is a possibility or not.

              3. Actually, re-reading Matt Barrows’ article he just says the plan is for Tank to replace Dorsey on ‘passing downs’, not in 4-man fronts. So it could end up they play 3-man fronts with Tank at RDE on passing downs.

                Either way, regardless of the formation they end up playing, according to Barrows the plan is for Tank to be taking over what would have been Justin Smith’s role on passing downs this year (at least while Dockett is on the shelf).

              4. Dockett is probably the key to whether Carradine stays with the team or not…unless he is able to break out this year of course.

              5. I think the key to Tank staying on the team is beating out TJE. Unless of course there is an injury to one of the other top 7 DL on the roster, in which case he’ll likely stick by default.

    5. Bold prediction on Anderson Grant. It will be interesting to see if any of these UDFA WR’s stands out when TC begins. It’s a position that is wide open in terms of the depth chart.

      As far as Dorsey goes, I think we’ll be ok with him at the 3 on base downs if that is the way they end up going, but I’d really like to see Carradine step up and take the job this year. It’s time to see what this kid can do. Dockett is the wild card, in that if healthy, I could see he and Carradine rotating through that spot frequently.

  13. I agree 100 percent with your take Scooter.. Although I believe Johnson has a great shot to win the starting corner position.. Remember wright is only here on a 1 year deal.

    1. He’s not the only one that thinks that. I’m of the belief that they’ll try him at rde first. Baalke thinks he drafted the next Calais Campbell.

    1. I’m hoping for a return to the vicious Dline rotation of the ’84 team. Nobody from that Dline even made the pro bowl that season (Dean held out and only played 5 games), but as a group they were amongst the best to ever play. This season, I would like to see a nice rotation to allow the Niner’s current group of guys to stay fresh and keep the young guys developing.

      1. Me too Sacto. I want to see all these guys get a shot and most importantly, keeping them fresh throughout the season.

      2. That’s what I’m hoping for too. The 49ers used all nine D-linemen to thwart Dan Marino in a 4-3.

        Pillers, Stuckey, Board, Dean, Stover, Tuiasosopo, Johnson, Kelcher, Carter. Many were past their prime, be with fresh legs could play 25 snaps like they were in their twenties.

        When you consider the 49ers 3-4 personnel groupings they are even more stacked. As Tomsula recently said “they’re all tackles.”

        Dorsey, Williams, Carradine, Dial, TJE, Armstead, Docket. Seven guys on a 3-4 is alot. Most are cross trained for more than one spot. Then add Okoye and Ramsey.

        Cut down day will hurt.

        1. They’ve kept 7 DL before, so I guess they could do so again, but you’d more commonly only keep a maximum of 6 on a 3-4 team. You’d think Williams, Dorsey and Dockett are safe, and Armstead too due to his first round status. So Dial, Tank and TJE are likely fighting for two spots. I expect TJE to be the odd man out. He could end up in Washington.

          Ramsey will be an interesting one to watch this TC and pre-season. Unlikely he forces his way onto the team unless there is an injury ahead of him, but he was a talented player when healthy in college, so if he stays healthy he could be a guy that catches some DL needy team’s eye.

      1. Brotuna, I didn’t catch that slip-up but they sure do! I was glad to see they didn’t automatically pencil Armstead in as a starter just because he was picked #17.
        They call him a “developmental project”. Great, just what we needed…

        1. I’ve let go of most of my annoyance with that pick, since most DLs are developmental anyway; if only at hand fighting techniques, they need time. I have (for now) bought Trent’s line that 4/5Ts are rare talents that are key to SF’s scheme. I remember McNolan saying when they signed Cowboy for fans not to expect sacks and stats, but that they were stoked to have signed him. We’ll hope in Arik’s case.

        1. Right. Wrong C-squared! I thought you must have meant Tank as your comment was just below Mid’s post about Armstead competing with Dial and Tank.

            1. Funnily enough, Armstead also gets compared to another C-squared in Chris Canty. I’d be pretty happy if he ends up being as good as Canty.

        2. Isaac Sopoaga had 42 reps. The bench press is a test of upper body strength and isn’t a real indicator of how well the player will be at the NFL level.

          1. I merely pointed it out due to Tomsula saying he needed to spend some time in the weight room, along with Rang and Baalke comparing him to Campbell. Armstead was clearly stronger than Campbell coming out, which means he can spend more time on technique….

              1. I think that was more of an example than a comparison given the wording Scooter.

              2. That is true. But interesting the example he used was Canty not Campbell when describing guys with that type of size that play the 4T/5T. Not hard to imagine its because he sees some similarities between the players.

              3. Maybe, but it could also be because Canty and Armstead are both 6’7″ while Campbell is one inch taller.

              4. Yeah, I’m thinking that one inch probably isn’t the reason… especially when you consider the actual difference is all of 2 cm (Armstead is 2.01 metres tall, Campbell is 2.03m), or a bit more than half an inch.

              5. Maybe not to you or me, but I can see the Bay Area media pouncing on that minute difference.

            1. My apologies Razor. I was just showing that more reps doesn’t equal better results in the NFL.

              Armstead was clearly stronger than Campbell coming out, which means he can spend more time on technique….

              I don’t know if we can compare the two because Campbell put on some weight in order to play a new position during his final collegiate year and could have had his overall strength suffer because of it.

              1. Also worth noting the Cards play more of a 1-gapping system, so doesn’t have the DEs play the same kind of role as the 49ers or what Armstead played at Oregon.

    1. Scooter:

      Can you clear something up for me? Above you guys were talking about the base 3-4 defense and then possibly going to a 4 man front for passing downs. In the 3-4 you have 3 DL and 4 LBs (typically 2 OLB and 2 ILB). But when you talk about a 4-man front you are mixing both DL and OLBs, correct?

      1. That’s correct cubus. When they go to 4-man fronts the two OLBs play down as DEs from a 3-point stance. As they are playing with their hand in the dirt, it is considered a 4-man front.

        1. Thanks. What if they were on the line and not playing with their hands in the dirt. Would that be a 2-5? And also the reverse, what if it was a situation that looked like a typical 3-4 but for some reason (and I don’t know if this is realistic), the OLBs had their hands in the dirt. Would that then be a 5-2?

          Also, to clear this up for me, a DL is a guy who plays with his hands in the dirt, so theoretically, an OLB (or any player for that matter) could line up as a DL. Of course, there is a practical aspect to these things, but we often talk about hybrid players at other positions, so I don’t see why you couldn’t have a hybrid DE/OLB.

          1. Well, I guess what really constitutes a defensive lineman is where they line up rather than their stance – if the line up on the LOS they are effectively a lineman.

            Aldon Smith, Aaron Lynch and Ahmad Brooks pretty much are hybrid DE/OLBs. In Fangio’s D, if they were on the weakside of the formation they would often line up on the LOS, even on base downs.

            1. Sometimes I have a hard time discerning whether or not an OLB is lined up on the LOS. They look close and often lean a little forward, so……

              1. And that is why in general people will refer to teams that have 3 guys with a hand in the dirt a 3-4, even though they may be effectively playing with 4 guys on the LOS.

                I don’t think you were here for the great debate around whether Fangio ran a 4-3 under front with 3-4 personnel, but it was rather lively!

              2. I find this conversation interesting, because I’m not sure it is necessarily a good thing to be locked into hard-core definitions. For example, I could imagine that some DL,with their hands in the dirt, might play better if they lined a step or a half-step back from the LOS. I would think this could be particularly effective for some one-gap (shoot through the gap) type players. They get a small running start before they engage a blocker and the really good ones might be able to outmaneuver (fake out) the OL in their way.

              3. “I don’t think you were here for the great debate around whether Fangio ran a 4-3 under front with 3-4 personnel, but it was rather lively!”

                I wasn'; but the remnant of that debate has a half live exceeding that of plutonium.

              4. Giving guys some room by backing off the LOS can be useful, and even some down lineman will play a little bit off the LOS. But you also have to accept that by giving up a yard or two you are then that much further away from getting to the QB. Horses for courses, I guess!

  14. I am a die hard niners fan, I try to get out to a game every year. My question this year for work i will be in San Jose area the week of 6/1. I noticed the niners have otas schedule for 6/1 6/2 6/4 and 6/5. Are these open to the public? Has anyone ever been before?

  15. From Matt Maiocco:

    Boone will not take part in any of the mandatory offseason workouts, a source close to Boone told CSNBayArea.com. Boone is seeking a long-term contract extension.

    1. Certainly not good news. As you know, A. Davis wasn’t there either.

      MM: “The 49ers are implementing a new system under offensive line coach Chris Foerster, who replaces Mike Solari. The 49ers worked extensively on zone-blocking techniques before their workout on Thursday.”

    2. He’s a Buckeye; maybe he’d enjoy the Browns?
      It’s a good thing Baalke is a professional and will work through this calmly. Personally, as a GM I’d be good and tired of his antics. Does he think he’s Revis? Boone “stole” his game checks for the first half of the season in 14. At least Revis delivers.

          1. It seems to me that Boone and A Davis are objecting to workouts at a VOLUNTARY training camp. Boone wants a longer contract, and the niner FO doesn’t want to give him one, but still thinks he should beat his brains out voluntarily…is that just about right? Like many of you on here, I’m a VN vet and an ex paratrooper (big deal) but unless you guys were in a different army… we learned DON’T VOLUNTEER ANYTHING! It all sounds good until the pads go on, but it seems damned arrogant of the three-piece suits not to sit down and GET SOMETHING DONE! Personally, I think that Boone and A Davis are two of our best Olinemen. Get real somebody, neither of these guys wants to risk getting their career ended at a volunteer workout….

            1. The Alexcuses are back, only this time it’s for our RG. We have a new offense that is being implemented and Boone meanwhile is thinking about the next fiscal mountain he wants to climb.
              Holding out for a big pay day instead of coming in and proving his worth hampered not only him but the entire OL last season.
              If the work adverse idiot is afraid of a career ending injury, then he should live in a plastic bubble or wrap himself up in layers upon layers of Styrofoam sheets because an injury can happen ANYWHERE…even the career ending type.
              And no, Boone isn’t one of our best OL. That honor belongs only to Staley.

              1. And so are you. Boone needs to get his @$$ here in time for at least the mandatory camp so that he isn’t behind the eight ball yet again, only this time in terms of having the proper conditioning and being on the same page with the rest of the offense. Period.

              1. I see. I’m a little more hopeful about his ability to get healthy in time for the start of the season.

              2. Last I heard, it’s similar to the IDub injury and he’s not expected to be a full go for training camp….

              1. Silberman learned the ZBS from Addazio who learned from Gibbs when teaching Meyer. 338, 142, 452, 413…these are Boston College’s rushing totals for their first four games in 2014 behind Silberman. The 452 yards rushing was against the (ranked) USC Trojans and soon-to-be NFL Draft 1st-rounder; Leonard Williams….

  16. Sorry to beat this horse as I do every spring and summer, but the limitations on practice reps of the CBA make every single practice session important. Missing a practice is more than just missing an appointment. No Boone and no AD; should be smooth blocking synergy to the right in the new system.
    Does a rock or jazz band need their bass player at their practice sessions?
    Does it matter if two members of a dance troupe don’t practice and rehearse with their fellow dancers?
    No amount of cardio, core strengths exercises at home will
    A/ Get a guy into Football Shape, or
    B/ get a guy in synch with his team mates, especially when new HC, new OC, new OLC are trying to introduce and pre-install the offense.

    1. Matt Maiocco ✔ @MaioccoCSN
      O-linemen Anthony Davis and Alex Boone have decided to do their own training during voluntary 49ers offseason program, according to sources.

      Not good.

      1. And I got flak for calling Davis out last year and his 3 month layoff due to a “concussion” he’s a waist of space and nothing can be said about Boone that everyone doesn’t already know.

        1. Kind of shocked about Davis. Installing a new offense and he’s not there? Yes, it’s still voluntary but there’s a mission, G damn it!

  17. Good to hear Reggie Bush is asking to be included in the punt returner competition. Sounds like he’s keen to get involved wherever he can.

    1. Woohoo! But I have to sees it before I believes it (can’t remember the name of the cartoon character I just quoted).

  18. Maiocco: Hyde didn’t practice due to “leg condition.”

    “Carlos Hyde declined to elaborate on a cryptic message he posted on social media. Just prior to practice, Hyde tweeted: “Trust in God’s timing.””

    Crossing my fingers the God’s Timing” comment was not about the leg… or anything else super-serious.

    1. George, the last blurb re; VMac was encouraging, good to here there’s no lingering effects from his back injury. Now it’s time for him to step it up, play like a 2nd round pick, learn to catch the football again and contribute to this offense! If he doesn’t he will be replaced by the BellDozer or Busta!

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