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  1. As other people have said in the prior blog, it might have been a reaction to yesterday’s Rapaport story. Harbaugh did not sound too happy with James this morning. MM said basically the Niners no longer needed him with Hyde and Ellington both doing well yesterday, but Harbaugh’s tone makes me think the story was the straw.

    1. Jack, he’s a possibility. Also out there are Michael Bush, BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Darryl Richardson. Nothing to write home about, but Richardson could be really interesting as a scat back speed guy.

    2. Well ya know, this did allow the Niners to bring back Osgood on a non-guaranteed contract for Gme#2. Was LMJ a lame duck before today’s release? Maybe prior to final cutdowns? Is the agent trying to save face for a client trying to find a new job?
      Is that ok with the Niners, to leave that out there? Why not? The locker room notices the lack of a back stab or a poison pill statement to the Press.
      Heck, I don’t really know.

  2. It is clear that either James cannot run the sweeps, or he has lost speed and still cannot run the sweeps.
    Either they will have Ellington run the sweeps like Harvin, which I think will be the case, or sign a runner who can, which there are not many, or forget the sweeps entirely.

  3. Timing isn’t great because it was a wasted roster spot. I agree that Hyde’s performance along with him being replaced by Ellington basically made him expendable. The thing is that the front office knew that before and could’ve done something with that roster spot.

  4. Now we know this whole locker room story was started by LMJ!! Good bye no one player is better than the rest of the team. We should have kept Winsten the rookie and had cut his tail earlier.

    1. Agree 100%. I thought they would cut Brandon Lloyd given how much this team depends on the run and given Ellington’s preseason. They should have kept Winston and cut Lloyd either way but now his loss is huge. If either Frank or Carlos gets hurt we will be terribly thin at RB and I can’t believe that Winston wouldn’t have busted his tail on STs if it meant a roster spot. If he ever gets a shot in Cleveland he will be a 1,000 yard back. Mark my words.

  5. Btw, to those of you who think they should have kept Winston on the roster instead of James, now we shall see, since it is my understanding that they can now sign Winston off the Brown’s PS to our 53, assuming he’s willing.

    1. Winston is on the Browns 53 man roster. We’d have to trade with them, or wait through the cuts and waivers process if the Browns released him.

  6. The timing? How about this, Grant. It’s another indication of a rift in the organization. Harbaugh knew he wasn’t a fit for the Niners style of play from the get go, but Balke refused to cut him after TC to save 2nd round face. Harbaugh was ordered to play him and grudgingly gave him 2 snaps on Sunday. LMJ whiffed on his opportunity and thus Harbaugh won this latest Niners power struggle.

    Team damaging and speculative enough for you?

    1. Some good speculation whether it’s accurate or not. You have to wonder why they’ve kept him this long after not really contributing and clearly displaying his frustration on a recurring basis.

  7. This move was in the works for a while. Ellington took the PR/KR job away, and James knows there are at least 3 guys who are going to need roster spots when they return (Bowman/Aldon/Dorsey).

    James wanted a jump on getting a job while the season was young.

  8. I do find it interesting they couldn’t gin up any trade interest. Not even a 7th rounder? Someone tell me trading period is closed.

  9. Not going to shed any tears of James…was never that impressed with him. I’d be surprised if they didn’t bring in a DB to take his spot. Have they made an official announcement as to who’s being added to the 53 man roster?

  10. My guess… with Hunter out, Lattimore NFI and Winston stolen from the PS, the 49ers had no plans to cut LMJ before week 7.

    But yesterday LMJ pitched a fit after Hyde got more snaps and Ellington had reps returning punts. I don’t think its spin that LMJ requested a release.

    Not sure how this affects LMJ’s paychecks. I don’t know how his salary is guaranteed… but a late second rounder should fetch more then what he’s worth as an FA.

    This is bad timing for the 49ers. LMJ cheated the 49ers out of a scarce roster spot. Winston is gone, and they can’t play Lattimore until after week 6.

    Both Jenkins and LMJ were on the 49ers roster a year longer then they should have. This creates ripple effects that delayed acquisition/development of effective replacements.

    1. B2W,

      Theoretically, maybe, but I think the 49ers might have done a great job in turning over the roster. Besides, you are talking about two roster spots. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect a team to manage each roster spot perfectly all of the time, do you? You’ve got to look at the big picture and that looks pretty good, IMO.

  11. good points, brodie … so ..
    maybe LMJ will end up with Romo … (ya think ?)

    or ..

    could be .. Andy Reed will be callin’

    1. I don’t see a reason for the Chiefs to go after James with DeAnthony Thomas on the team MWN. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say the Raiders will most likely take a chance on him.

  12. I am glad he is gone. I didn’t think the Niners needed him in the team, they have better players at his position.

    Curious about the timing, though. You don’t imagine he was the one leaking stuff out of the locker room to the press, do you?

  13. I think the timing is a bit damning for LMJ. Talk of discontent in the locker room then James, the most vocal malcontent on the 49ers, is granted his release. I don’t think it is a coincidence.

    Aside from that, he no longer offered anything to the team that other guys don’t offer, and do better. All I can say is keeping him on the initial 53 now just seems like a waste. And I don’t mean in terms of losing Winston, just that his bad attitude was allowed to permeate the team for much longer than it should have been. You never know how bad attitudes like that affect the young guys on the team… and when you think back to how Brandon Jacobs griped when James was a rookie, it makes you wonder what impact that attitude had on influencing James’ stance with the team. If I remember correctly, James retweeted something Jacobs tweeted about hating your boss, or something like that. They should have just gotten rid of Jacobs when they realised they didn’t need him rather than let him fester in the background.

    1. Yup. Only thing is Scooter, you always consider the source. Most of the young guys are smart enough to see that LMJ didn’t see the field. Not exactly an act to follow when you have guys like Gore, Willis, Kaep, Boldin, Cowboy, Davis, et al, in the locker room too… Too many good examples. One thing I will say is that players are beginning for the first time in the Harbaugh era to take matters into their own hands when they disagree with coaching or management. I think Boone is an example of that in a totally different way but it says something that the team has capitulated to strong willed players who are not completely on board with the program. A couple years ago all of the native 49ers were drinking the coolaid. Now it seems like there are more than a few people looking out for #1.

  14. In other news, looks like Brock may not be fit for the Bears, while Dontae Johnson had the highest grade among the 49ers DBs (according to PFF).

    If Brock is out, who starts? I think Cook goes from inactive yesterday to starter next week.

    1. A sprained toe should not keep Brock out, but if that is the case, they’d better hope Culliver and Ward pass the concussion protocol, otherwise they have some serious depth issues. Cook will likely be active the rest of the year with the scare they got yesterday.

      1. Culliver is the bigger worry I think, concussion wise. Ward didn’t seem too bad after the play he took the hit. But you never know how guys will respond.

        If Cook is kept active moving forward it will be interesting to see who is benched.

    2. I said earlier this year that I wouldn’t be surprised if Dontae won a starting job, but I didn’t say how. The guy had a solid game. If he keeps up the consistency and doesn’t give up any huge plays against a Jeffrey or Marshall, who’s to say he’s not the starter the rest of the year.

      I’m not saying its gonna happen but its possible. Great draft pick.

  15. Maybe LMJ has superior speed, moves and vision… in aerobic-intensive situations.

    When LMJ’s the sole back in a hurry-up offense, around snap 11 of a long drive he’s far less fatigued (and now much faster) then defenders.

    Remember how Harbaugh criticized the poor conditioning of the 2012 draft class during OTAs… but praised LMJ? LMJ thought the camp was pretty easy. Players like Jenkins were gasping.

    Decades ago I was a cycling fanatic. One day after a 70 mile “easy spin day” I joined a pickup basketball game just to catch a little cross training.

    Man did I suck. These guys lived on the court, while my last game was in CYO 14 years earlier. I couldn’t believe how quick these guys were. But after 30 minutes they seemed like statues… while I was just starting to loosen up. They were superior basketball players to me, but only when totally rested.

    Its possible that LMJ has the physiology of a rugby player. In a league with less TV stoppages and substitutions he could thrive.

    1. The scouts of other teams thought LMJ was a “one cut back” and not elusive enough for the NFL despite being fast. Seems true now.

  16. So now that Ray Rice has been suspended indefinitely and cut by the Ravens, are people still in a tizz about the length of Aldon’s suspension?

    1. Scooter,

      After seeing or hearing about the new video, can you finally admit that what Ray Rice did was worse than what Smith did?

      Before you answer, think about this: what would you rather have happen to you, be at a party where someone fires off a weapon, but you’re uninjured; then on the way home a car flies past you on the street (again, you’re unharmed), later you see that car in a ditch with cops arresting the driver for what you assume to be drunk driving. OR you get in the elevator and some yoked up dude punches you in the face and knocks you unconscious and drags you from the elevator?

      Also, I like how you phrased the question, Scooter. I mean really, who’s going to say, “Why, yes, Scooter, my good man, I am still in quite a tizzy over Aldon Smith’s suspension…” Come on, man.

      If your actual question is does anyone still have a problem with Smith’s suspension, yes, I do.

      Firstly, using this new information and enhanced punishment of Rice to justify the inconsistency of Goodell’s issuance of suspensions doesn’t work. Surely you’re not saying that Goodell knew about this new video when he hammered Smith, right? So, if someone felt that Goodell wasn’t consistent then, why would this change anything? Just because Goodell got it right, by accident, doesn’t change the fact that he has been all over the map on suspensions.

      Secondly, I still think that Smith got too long of a suspension, based on his offenses, what others have done and the length of their suspensions. As I said at the time, it wasn’t crazy long, but it should’ve been six games, max. Even though it was voluntary, he did miss five games last year. I realize he was paid, but he still missed the games. Goodell said that would be considered and it should’ve counted for something.

      Perhaps Goodell will shorten the suspension for good behavior…

      1. exgolfer:

        There is a lot of merit in what you write, particularly about giving Smith credit for missing 5 games while in rehab last year. Unfortunately, I think the statements by law enforcement personnel in the LAX incident that they believed Smith had been drinking undid any good that the rehab may have done. I suspect Goodell concluded that Smith had not taken his rehab seriously and therefore needed a longer suspension to get the message.

      2. Geez ex, sounds like you are in a bit of a tizz ;-)

        My original point about Aldon’s suspension was that people were only upset about the length of it in consideration of Ray Rice’s suspension. Now that has been rectified, I’m curious as to people’s reactions regarding Smith’s suspension.

        Aldon effectively received two suspensions. One for the DUI offenses (4 games), one for the other offenses (5 games). Combined they make up 9 games. Seems reasonable to me, and always did. Nothing has changed. He recklessly endangered people multiple times in different ways.

        As for Ray Rice, I’m glad his suspension has been revised by the league. He’s a thug. Regarding your question, I’d obviously much rather the events where I am unharmed. That goes without saying. But that has little to do with whether the punishment fits. That’s like saying someone that goes into a building and starts firing at people but somehow manages to miss hitting anyone deserves a lighter sentence than someone that does injure or kill someone. Not to me. The courts may find different punishments in those situations, but no way do I believe they should. Equally guilty.

        I would be very unhappy if someone punched me in the face and KO’ed me. I’d also be unhappy if someone shot a weapon near me or crashed a car after just passing mine while DUI. Would I be equally p#%@ed? Probably not right away, there is something about copping one in the gob that would probably get my blood up. But later on when I’ve had time to think about the ramifications and how lucky I may have been to not be seriously hurt, yeah, I probably would be. Any time someone either intentionally or unintentionally puts me in harm’s way, I’m not happy.

        1. Also, I will say, with Ray Rice I hadn’t realised it was as bad as that until I’d seen the video. I had read reports that he was “defending” himself. I was willing to give him some benefit of the doubt that it was, for want of a better term, aggravated assault. But sure didn’t look that way to me.

            1. Yeah, as I said, until that video came out I was willing to give him some benefit of the doubt. But after seeing that… he’s just a thug, plain and simple.

              1. Her post incident statement and participation in the press conference led me to believe there was an altercation initiated by her. The reality is obviously very different.

              2. That he hit her was not in question. And I always said he got off lightly.

                What was in question was the motivation behind hitting her. If he was provoked and defending himself like he claimed, and like was suggested at the press conference.

              3. The video didn’t change anything.

                It did for me. It showed an complete absence of remorse on Rice’s part.

              4. Scooter,

                No tizz or tizzy here.

                For me, a big part of what kept our back and forth on Aldon Smith’s suspension alive, was your unwavering claim that Aldon Smith’s actions were worse than that of Ray Rice. It seems like you are finally are in agreement that Ray Rice’s assault of his then financee, although at the same time you’re trying to leave some corner where they’re equal, or close, or something. That’s cool. I’ll agree to disagree on the rest and go back to enjoying your football takes.

                Thanks for the civil discussion.

              5. Just messing with you ex, and I apologise if I offended.

                I don’t want to start another back and forth, so all I’ll say is, for what it is worth, I respect your position on the severity of the incidents, even if I disagree to a degree.

              6. Scooter,

                No offense taken.

                BTW, I do agree with you on your example of someone shooting up a building, at least as far as the intent of the shooter goes. Whether or not people are injured doesn’t change the evil intent behind the act. But that’s an abstract view. The two cases are very different for the victims of the crimes. In one case they’re getting counseling for PTSD, in the other they’re on the wrong side of the dirt.

                Damn it, I just can’t help myself:

                That’s another thing that makes it so clear to me that what Ray Rice did was worse and that he’s a much worse guy than Smith (at least as demonstrated by the acts in question).

                Ray Rice had malice in him when he hit his now wife, and apparently didn’t seem too shaken up by what he did afterward either (almost like he had done it before, hmm).

                On the other hand, it seems doubtful that Smith was trying to intentionally hurt anybody with his actions.

                To me, that’s a big difference. I’m not minimizing what Smith did, all wrong, all on him and he’s got to change. I just don’t feel he’s in the same category as Rice.

      3. What’s also interesting to me is that John Harbaugh apparently does not share his brother’s no tolerance policy for domestic abuse. Even before the video came out, it was concluded that Ray Rice committed domestic violence or he wouldn’t have been suspended for two games. Yet John Harbaugh let him stay on the team. Only when the released video made it impossible to justify Rice’s staying on the team was he dismissed. It will be interesting to me to find out if Jim Harbaugh does in fact have a different policy than John does or if he just tries to finesse Ray McDonald’s situation like the Ravens did. It sure would have been interesting if the Jim was in Baltimore and John in SF. Had Jim made public his no tolerance policy in Baltimore, the Bay Area press would have been all over his brother and hound him mercilessly about how he could think otherwise. Looks like the no tolerance policy is not something the Harbaugh brothers discuss at the family get togethers.

  17. This was a favor the Baltimore Ravens. They gave the 49ers Boldin for cheap so 9ers cut James in hopes the Ravens can sign him first. The Ravens do need a RB don’t they?

    1. I don’t know – maybe it’s not a favor…maybe Jim freed him up to stick it to his brother knowing that he’d be getting a sub-par RB with an attitude problem.

  18. This isn’t exactly shocking news. James kept complaining that the team wasn’t using him right yet failed time after time to earn more reps. He needs to take long hard look at both Hyde and Ellington. Those two earned what little reps they were given, and their play on Sunday likely earned them more playing time in the near future. James obviously expected to to given his reps without earning them and threw a fit when that didn’t happen. That’s not the makings of a good player.

  19. With LMJ out if the 49ers would only bring back Hampton my pre-preseason 53 projection will be epic on a Nostradamus level.

      1. Can’t be too great if he’s not already on the team, I was mostly kidding for the sake of being right about the prediction then actually hoping they resign him.

  20. Think it hurt the RB prospect rotation much when our third round pick Glenn Coffee up and decided that he was taking his ball and going home.

    1. That ‘Coffee’ sucked; sorry. Wanted to be a Minister. Got bust for gun possession. Then wanted to join the Army (to kill people. That’s what the Army does). What a f-zing hypocrite.
      Anyone remember what a Christian is? Did Jesus advocate killing folks? I think not. Glenn Coffee was a narcissistic fool and poser. Good f-ing ridience.

  21. as i noted earlier, the Good Ship Harbaugh now has a few leaky planks, but that’s fine – the core group has talent and drive and a little winning will provide all the antiseptic we need, enough to cover the odor of LMJ’s dissatisfaction, Vernon’s idiotic holdout, Boone, etc. (and who else saw Gore and Bruce Miller point fingers at each other at the end of a play yesterday?) Harbaugh – and i believe the typical Niner fan – wants winners, and if you don’t think you’re going to help, then vaya con dios.

    1. … and who else saw Gore and Bruce Miller point fingers at each other at the end of a play yesterday?

      I missed that. Can you expand? Were they pointing fingers of blame at each other after an unsuccessful play, or were they “you’re the man” finger points after a successful play?

        1. Might be that Gore is not ready to admit that his skill level has diminished to the degree that it has and is reaching for other explanations for his struggles. It’s a sign of denial.

  22. i really think LMJ and Winstons release imply they have alot of confidence in Lattimore. or they woudnt keep only 2 rb on the 53…. in a superbowl,push year… right?
    that And it says you can beat your prego wife , just dont talk bad on harbaugh#! lol

    1. Rollo
      Ignore Grant. OK?
      Baalke in a fairly revealing long interview earlier this off season said ( no quote, but paraphrasing as accurately as I’m able:)
      The draft is a crapshoot. Anyone who doesn’t think so just doesn’t know.
      OK, every team/GM has some misses. Mostly they’re spread out with a miss a year.
      Trent’s 2012 sucked all in one year. So be it.
      His 2014 may ameliorate.

      1. Yeah, but snarky Grant’s pick that year was Coby underachiever Fleener, and now he’s gloating ? Yeah right.
        Don’t feed the Troll. Grant Señor Censors is The Troll. But be carefull, you or I could be banished for posting the truth; it’s like North Korea here.

  23. hey, roll ..
    they can’t all be golden …

    You can’t tell whats in the can.. ’till you take it home
    and open it ..

    and by then … you’ve already bought it

    1. My issue with that draft is that AJJ and LMJ were both head scratchers. I recall the “experts” indicating both picks were a reach to put it mildly. If Baalke didn’t have a solid pick to make at those slots he should have traded down – like he does frequently.

      1. Rollotomasi- They were head scratchers to everyone but TB. He thought he had solid picks as evidenced by his waving the sealed envelop with AJ name inside. The Aj pick was purely an illogical compulsively fueled moment that carried over to the next pick LMJ. TB was totally convinced that he got the steal of the draft in AJ- something devoid of any logical explanations.

      2. Yeah, but snarky Grant’s pick that year was Coby underachiever Fleener, and now he’s gloating ? Yeah right.
        Don’t feed the Troll. Grant Señor Censors is The Troll. But be carefull, you or I could be banished for posting the truth; it’s like North Korea here.

  24. Matt- I would like to believe that LMJ and Winstons release is a affirmation of the teams confidence in Lattimore, but then again it might just be an example of something slipping past them tactics wise. There is always an assumption that everything they do is part of a greater plan. I would buy that if their hadn’t been examples in the recent past where that turned out not to be the case. Rather it turned out to be a case of miscalculation.

    Scooter and many other posters make viable and interesting points in respect to the LMJ release. I would also add a possibility that they were keeping him past his expiration date on the roster because they still had hopes to work out some kind of trade. A case of an action to attempt to correct and salvage something out of a previous mistake. Hopefully it doesn’t come back to bite them this season ( release of Winston).

    LMJ was very over rated by a lot of 49er fans. He was a speed guy who they organization attempted to rebuild into a stronger version in order to fill a team need. Very similar to what they tried to do with AJ. With LMJ they did make him stronger ( but not enough ) but at the expense of his speed and quickness. The eyeball test made that obvious. I remember during his second season when some questions came up about the lack of using LMJ’s speed, someone in the organization ( think it was a player) stated that LMJ wasn’t as fast as his supporters thought he was. He would never be the player they needed (for their system) and in trying to remodel him they ruined the player he was. As has been mentioned by Brodie they kept him ( like AJ) around too long trying to salvage a mistake in judgement. Things like this can often have a greater impact on a teams roster than just the one individual spot. It’s like the “loss of the nail in the horses shoe which ultimately lead to the loss of a kingdom” story. I do think that TB and Harbaugh are learning and are gradually cleaning up their previous mistakes. LMJ release is an example of that.

  25. I wanted to believe that LMJ would pan out. But Sunday’s game confirmed everything that we already knew about LMJ: 1) If the whole isn’t 20feet wide he can’t run through an NFL line, 2) he can’t get around the edge of an NFL line, 3) he can’t consistently create explosive plays on ST, 4) even if given the ball in open space he doesn’t know what to do with at this level.

    Watching Carlos Hyde destroy the exact same line that LMJ couldn’t make positive yards on was the final straw. Now one could argue that 49ers should drastically alter the playbook to accommodate LMJ’s skills, but wouldn’t that be a waste of time? Hyde seems to have the potential to take it to the house at any moment while the 49ers can play the exact same game and exact same plays.

    Let’s see how long LMJ stays unemployed. His best bets are Chiefs (to replace McCluster, and they like picking up our scraps), Ravens (obvious reasons), Packers (Lacey has proven nothing), Colts (still looking), St. Louis (looking and strategic move).

    1. Yeah, but snarky Grant’s pick that year was Coby underachiever Fleener, and now he’s gloating ? Yeah right.
      Don’t feed the Troll. Grant Señor Censors is The Troll. But be carefull, you or I could be banished for posting the truth; it’s like North Korea here.

  26. I still say that by Pre3 or pre4 they knew who LMJ was and they just leveraged him to give someone (in this case Osgood) a non guaranteed contract. It MIGHT mean they have hope/confidence in Lattimore; personally I’m in a wait-and -see on Marcus with limited faith.

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