20 reasons to feel optimistic about the 49ers in 2017

1 I’m not saying the 49ers will make the playoffs next season. I’m not saying they won’t, either. Here are 20 reasons to feel optimistic about them in 2017. 1. Kyle Shanahan is a major upgrade over former head coach Chip Kelly, who couldn’t build a play-action passing game or make a halftime adjustment. Shanahan can do both. 2. Brian Hoyer is an upgrade over former quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick’s…

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Ranking the NFL divisions

1 Here’s how I rank each of the eight NFL divisions heading into the 2017 season: 1. AFC West. 1. Oakland Raiders. 2. Kansas City Chiefs. 3 . Denver Broncos. 4. Los Angeles Chargers. Analysis: Three of the four teams — the Raiders, Chiefs and Broncos — will make the playoffs. And the fourth team — the Chargers — will be tough. They underachieved last season because Philip Rivers’ weapons were…

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Comparing Brian Hoyer’s past 17 games to every other NFL QB’s past 17 games

1 San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Brian Hoyer played 17 games the past two seasons — six for the Chicago Bears in 2016 and 11 for the Houston Texans in 2015. Here are his stats from those 17 games: 62.8 completion percentage, 4,051 yards, 7.1 yards per pass attempt, 25 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 93.7 quarterback rating. Pretty good numbers, right? Here’s how they stack up against every other NFL starting quarterback’s…

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Giants thought they had talent to win, and they were wrong

1 Do not cry for the Giants. They’re not victims. They’re not suffering from bad luck. They’re not a quality team that’s underperforming. They’re not a left fielder or a third baseman or a starting pitcher away from being good. They’re not the second-worst team in the MLB just because Madison Bumgarner fell off a motorcycle and injured his shoulder. They’re not a few free-agent signings away from bouncing back…

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Flag football featuring Terrell Owens, Michael Vick and Jeff Garcia starts Tuesday in San Jose

The brand new American Flag Football League will have its first game Tuesday night at 6:30 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, and will feature a team with Terrell Owens against a team with Michael Vick while Jeff Garcia does color commentary. When I heard this news, I thought three things: This game would be more interesting if it were Team Owens facing Team Garcia instead of Team Vick. Garcia…

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Colin Kaepernick says U.S. justice system should be dismantled, compares police to slave patrol

1 This is a few days old, but I’ll post it anyway. Just after the policeman who shot Philando Castille was found not guilty on June 16, Colin Kaepernick posted the following tweet: A system that perpetually condones the killing of people, without consequence, doesn’t need to be revised, it needs to be dismantled! pic.twitter.com/BVVPVZIQyD — Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) June 16, 2017 I understand Kaepernick’s anger — the killing of…

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Five 49ers perched at make-or-break for their careers

Five 49ers perched at make-or-break for their careers: For some players, training camp is a nuisance they have to endure without getting hurt. For other players, it’s the last chance to fight for a job. This is about the “other” players fighting for a job. These are the five 49ers with the most to lose during training camp. 1. CARLOS HYDE Hyde will be a free agent after next season,…

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The most underrated player on the 49ers

Arik Armstead isn’t the best player on the 49ers, but he is the most underrated. The former first-round pick has everything you want from an interior rusher. He’s tall, powerful and he collapses the pocket. He’s a human forklift. But lately he has become an afterthought since he missed eight games with a shoulder injury in 2016, and since the Niners spent back-to-back top picks on players who play his position —…

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49ers post-minicamp depth-chart prediction

49ers post-minicamp depth-chart prediction: OFFENSE Quarterback: Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, C.J. Beathard. Analysis: Barkley and Beathard won’t play unless the 49ers tank the season. Wide receiver: Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, Jeremy Kerley, Aldrick Robinson, Trent Taylor. Analysis: The Niners will keep five wide receivers instead of six because the offense needs an extra running back. Tight end: Logan Paulsen, George Kittle, Cole Hikutini. Analysis: The Niners will cut Vance McDonald and keep Hikutini…

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Kyle Shanahan on Mike Shanahan: “He’ll have an office attached to my office.”

SANTA CLARA This is the transcript of Kyle Shanahan’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   How do you think practice went yesterday? What did you like out there? “I thought it was good. I thought we battled both sides of the ball. I didn’t think either side really did better than the other. I thought we started off good with the offense. I think defense came…

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Brian Hoyer on play action: “The majority of it is done by the offensive line.”

SANTA CLARA This is the transcript of Brian Hoyer’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Could you quantify how much progress the offense has made, particularly in the passing game, from when you first got here? “Yeah, I think finally last week we got done with the install. So, now we’re coming back around things a second time and you’re getting the see the same play…

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10 questions before 49ers minicamp

Here are 10 questions I want you to answer before 49ers minicamp starts on Tuesday. Explain all of your answers. 1. Which offensive player are you most interested to read about? 2. Which defensive player are you most interested to read about? 3. Which coach are you most interested to read about? 4. Will Solomon Thomas play with the starters? 5. Will Elvis Dumervil play with the starters? 6. Who…

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NFL coaches on the early hot seat

We’ve got a few days to kill before minicamp starts next Tuesday. Let’s make a list of the NFL coaches we expect will get fired at the end of the season. I’ll go first. THE LAME DUCKS. These coaches almost certainly will get the axe. 1. Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints. I’m surprised the Saints haven’t fired Payton already. He hasn’t won more than seven games in a season since 2013…

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