49ers 21, Chargers 7: Starters’ grades

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers beat the Chargers 21-7 Sunday afternoon. Here are the grades for the Niners’ starters. KAEPERNICK: D-. Fumbled twice and committed one turnover. Completed 50 percent of his passes. Completed zero percent of his passes in the red zone. Posted a 64.2 passer rating. Performed poorly in areas he needed to improve this offseason – accuracy, touch, footwork and red-zone passing. RUNNING BACKS: C. Carlos Hyde…

August 24, 2014
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49ers have chance to show quality

This is my Friday column. The 49ers have been by far the worst team in the NFL during the preseason. In two games, the Niners have scored three points and given up 57. That means they’ve been outscored by 54. The Cowboys have been the second-worst team in the preseason. They’ve been outscored by merely 27. That means the 49ers have been twice as bad as the second-worst team. We…

August 22, 2014
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Joe Looney on Alex Boone: “He’s a heck of a player. I want to do a great job just like he did.”

SANTA CLARA – Joe Looney was interviewed next to his locker Tuesday afternoon. Here’s a transcript. Q: Do you think improved from the Ravens’ game to the Broncos’ game? LOONEY: Yeah, I thought I played a little better. There is always stuff I can get better at doing, but I thought I played a better game with my pad level. Q: You were on the inactive roster so much the…

August 19, 2014
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Boone lacks leverage in his holdout

This is my Thursday column on Alex Boone. SANTA CLARA – Alex Boone is making a big mistake. Boone is the only 49er holding out of training camp. The 27-year-old guard wants a new contract. You can understand why. He signed his current deal at the end of the 2011 season when he was a backup tackle. The 49ers gave him a four-year contract and $1.7 million guaranteed. Then in…

July 24, 2014
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Kaepernick on Stevie Johnson: “He creates so much separation. Very quick, very deceptive.”

SANTA CLARA — Colin Kaepernick was interviewed by Bay Area reporters Wednesday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers. Was it a relief to see TE Vernon Davis walk through those doors today? “Always great to have Vernon on the field. Looks good. Excited to have him back out here.” How do you enter training camp? Are you feeling about what you saw in the offseason, where do…

July 23, 2014
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49ers sign Staley to a 2-year extension

The 49ers just announced that Joe Staley, who already was signed through 2017, has signed a two-year extension through 2019. Here’s a written statement from Trent Baalke: “In today’s NFL, it is rare for a player to play his entire career with one team. With this extension, Joe will likely be a 49er for life.  He is a three-time All-Pro and core member of our football team. His commitment and professionalism…

July 17, 2014
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Davis has leverage in contract showdown

This is my Tuesday column on Vernon Davis holding out. SANTA CLARA – Taped to Vernon Davis’ locker is a white piece of paper that has a message printed on it: “Please come by the EQ Room and try on your helmet. Needs to be fitted by Friday, 5/23.” I guess Davis missed that message. You can tell he hasn’t visited his locker in a while. It looks like a…

June 17, 2014
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Jim Harbaugh on Davis and Boone holding out: “Not the decision I envisioned being the 49er way.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke to Bay Area reporters Tuesday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers. How was attendance today at the mandatory minicamp? “Good.”   All but two players? “Correct. Two players and a third. [CB] Eric Wright was not here as well.”   Why isn’t he here? “I believe he’s making a decision to not play football, as I understand. Have not talked to…

June 17, 2014
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Harbaugh expects Kaepernick “to make great strides” next season

Jim Harbaugh was interviewed Friday morning on KNBR. Here is a transcript. Q: What goes on in a late-May OTA? HARBAUGH: There are nine weeks that we can be with the players in the offseason. It is broken up into three phases. We are now in Phase 3, Week 5. Ending Week 5. There will be three more weeks after this. The phase that we’re in now, we can coach…

May 30, 2014
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49ers line coach Solari a man of common reality and uncommon results

Here is my Friday column on Mike Solari. SANTA CLARA – You need to know about the 49ers’ offensive line coach, Mike Solari. You may not even have heard of him or seen his face – the 49ers’ position coaches don’t get much pub under Jim Harbaugh, rarely talk to the media. But if you’ve studied the sideline during a game and seen a coach with a thick, full gray…

December 13, 2013
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Harbaugh: “Crab is back.”

SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh spoke to reporters in the defensive meeting room Monday afternoon. Here’s what he said about Frank Gore’s 51-yard run against the Seahawks, and what Harbaugh said about Michael Crabtree. Q: What did you see when you looked at the film of Gore’s long run at the end of the game? HARBAUGH: It was one of the biggest holes we had on the day to run…

December 9, 2013
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How the 49ers have been successful running the ball vs. the Seahawks at Candlestick

Last season when the 49ers played the Seahawks at Candlestick, Frank Gore gained 131 yards on 16 carries. 18 of those yards came on one “wham” play, and 48 of those yards came on two “trap” plays. On the wham play, the 49ers let Alan Branch penetrate the backfield and Bruce Miller blindsided him with a wham block. Gore ran right up the middle for 18. On the first trap…

December 6, 2013
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Roman: “I think we can change gears pretty quickly.”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here’s a transcript. ROMAN: Good afternoon. We’ve got a very good Houston team coming in. We’ve got a very complete defense, a playoff team that won a lot of games there, a complete team. When you look at their defense, it starts up front but they’re really talented at every level of their defense. You look at their…

October 3, 2013
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49ers v. Texans matchups: Boone v. Watt

Before the 49ers play the Texans Sunday at Candlestick, I’ll break down a few key matchups. RG Alex Boone: 6-8, 300 pounds vs. LE J.J. Watt: 6-5, 289 It’s the best defensive player in the NFL vs. the 12th-best guard according to Pro Football Focus. The 49ers have had success running power off right tackle the past two weeks, especially with Boone as a pulling blocker. Will Greg Roman and…

October 1, 2013
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Alex Boone: “Let’s not try to get cute with it. Let’s just go out and run the rock.”

SANTA CLARA – Alex Boone spoke in the media tent Friday afternoon. Here’s what he said. Q: What have you seen from Cliff Avril? BOONE: He’s a great player, quick off the ball, fast, explosive pass rusher. He can be utilized a lot on third down. Good hands. Good motor. Tough guy. Q: It’s going to be a very physical game. How do you plan to set the tone with…

September 13, 2013
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Too early to worry, but 49ers show they have issues to solve

Here is my Friday column about what we learned in the 49ers’ first preseason game. It’s almost impossible to evaluate the 49ers’ starters after their first preseason game. We don’t know how much the 49ers game planned for the Broncos – probably not very much. And the starters played just one series. Frank Gore and Justin Smith did not play at all. That should change next week. Gore should get…

August 9, 2013
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Harbaugh on the 49ers’ wide receiver competition: “The young guys are over on the X side.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke to the Bay Area media Tuesday afternoon next to the 49ers’ practice field. Here’s what he said, courtesy of the 49ers.   This was our first time seeing WR Anquan Boldin out there. He looked like he’s still in playoff form, what he’s done all those years. What’d you see out of him? “Well, very impressed. Today, you got a good look at what…

May 28, 2013
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How the 49ers built a championship roster

This is my Saturday article on the gradual construction of the 49ers’ roster. By GRANT COHN After the 2004 season, the 49ers were the worst team in football. They had practically no talent, they had won two games, and they had one Pro Bowler, long snapper, Brian Jennings. This season, the 49ers are going to the Super Bowl and they have arguably the most talented roster in the NFL. Nine…

February 2, 2013
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Warren Sapp says the 49ers and Ravens defenses are opposites, Ngata is unimpressive and Iupati is top-heavy

Warren Sapp spoke on KNBR Thursday afternoon. Here is his breakdown of the 49ers and Ravens defenses, as well as his scouting report of the 49ers’ offensive line and the Ravens’ defensive line. Q: What do you think of the Ravens’ defense? SAPP: We love the Baltimore defense because of Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, T-Sizzle – the names roll off the tongue. And everything they’ve gone through this…

January 31, 2013
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Haloti Ngata vs. the 49ers’ offensive line

The 49ers play the Ravens Sunday at the Super Dome in Super Bowl XLVII. In the meantime, I’ll break down the key matchups. DT Haloti Ngata vs. The 49ers’ offensive line As good as Justin Smith is, Haloti Ngata might be a better defensive tackle right now. He’s younger – Ngata is 29 years old and Justin Smith is 32 years old. Ngata is bigger – Ngata weighs 340 pounds…

January 30, 2013
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