49ers know questions, but can they find answers?

This is my Sunday column. Remember dead week in college before finals? This is dead six weeks for the San Francisco 49ers. They have the next month and a half off to prepare for the exam that will make or break their 2015 season. What questions will be on that test when the Niners arrive for training camp? In ascending order of importance, here are the top five questions the…

June 20, 2015

Jim Tomsula on Anthony Davis’ retirement: “I can’t say it was shocking at all.”

SANTA CLARA Here is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s post-OTA press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. Was this shocking news that T Anthony Davis decided to retire? “No, I can’t say it was shocking at all.”   Why is that? “Well, Anthony’s been working on himself right now, that’s what he’s been doing. Look, Anthony wants to step away and he wants to get his mind and his…

June 5, 2015

Anthony Davis retires

SANTA CLARA Today the 49ers announced 25-year-old right tackle Anthony Davis has retired. Here’s a statement from general manager Trent Baalke: “The 49ers organization thanks Anthony for his contributions to our team over the last five seasons and wishes him the best as he moves on from the game.” Here’s a statement from Anthony Davis, via Adam Schefter:  “After a few years of thought, I’ve decided it will be best for…

June 5, 2015

Grading the 49ers’ offensive line: Past and present

The San Francisco 49ers had the best offensive line in the NFL when they played in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. Here’s how I grade that offensive line player by player: LT Joe Staley: A. The best offensive tackle in the league in 2012. LG Mike Iupati: A-. One of the best left guards in the NFL along with Evan Mathis of the Eagles and Ben Grubbs…

March 25, 2015

Which player(s) in the draft could take the 49ers to the playoffs next season?

Jayson Braddock–the man who reported Colin Kaepernick is on the trading block–believes Amari Cooper, Danny Shelton, Randy Gregory or Kevin Johnson could take the Niners to the playoffs. That’s if one of those prospects falls to pick No.15. I disagree with Braddock. If the Niners are going to return the to the playoffs, they need to fix their offensive line, which gave up more sacks than any other offensive line in…

March 21, 2015

49ers and Adam Gase — good match or bad idea?

This is about gravitas and Adam Gase. Gase is the favorite to be the next head coach of the 49ers. Gase is the only coach the 49ers have interviewed twice so far this offseason — they interviewed him for a second time Tuesday, according to reports. Gase is 36 years old. He looks like a teenager. He has been an offensive coordinator for two whole seasons and has done impressive…

January 13, 2015

49ers 20, Cardinals 17: Grades

SANTA CLARA – Hey, at least the 49ers didn’t lose to both Cardinals’ backup quarterbacks this season. KAEPERNICK: B+. Played his best when it really mattered. Threw two touchdown passes and zero picks for the first time since Week 6. Also threw zero fourth-quarter touchdown passes for the 18th game in a row. Would have committed a Delay of Game penalty with 2:11 left in the fourth quarter if Marcus…

December 28, 2014

Anthony Davis’ criticism is out of bounds

This is my Sunday column. Anthony Davis sure has a lot to say for a guy who played just six games this season. Four days after he played his first game in five weeks, Davis more or less fired his own boss, offensive coordinator Greg Roman, via Twitter: “Greg Roman to me when I was 21: ‘You know we can get someone off the street to do what you do.’…

December 27, 2014

49ers 35, Chargers 38: Grades

SANTA CLARA – On third-and-5 with 3:43 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Niners up by seven, Colin Kaepernick ran out of bounds after losing a yard, stopped the clock for the Chargers and set up Philip Rivers’ game-tying touchdown pass. No, Kaepernick hasn’t thrown a touchdown in the fourth quarter this season. But Rivers threw one today, and Kaepernick helped him do it. Give Kaepernick credit. KAEPERNICK: D. That’s…

December 20, 2014

Jim Harbaugh: “We weren’t able to run full speed, so it physically impacted us quite a bit.”

This is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ p.r. department. I’m assuming you guys had to change things up a little bit yesterday as far as the practice plan with that small enclosure that you guys were in. Did that impact you guys much as far as how you normally have a practice week? “Yes.”   In what ways? “We weren’t able to run…

December 12, 2014

49ers 13, Raiders 24: Grades

OAKLAND – Before we get to the grades, let’s have a moment of silence for the Jim Harbaugh Era.       That’s enough. KAEPERNICK: Ω. He gets an omega, the last letter in the Greek alphabet, because English just won’t do. An ‘F’ isn’t low enough. A ‘Z’ isn’t low enough. This was the worst performance of Kaepernick’s career, the kind of performance that gets a quarterback benched and…

December 7, 2014

49ers need to let this man inflict some pain

This is my Saturday column. I bet you dimes to donuts the 49ers open Sunday’s game against the Saints with a running play. I don’t know this for a fact. I don’t sit in the 49ers’ offensive meetings. But I do know that the past two games — both losses — Greg Roman called 79 passes and 39 runs, a 2-to-1 ratio of passes to runs and, as a result,…

November 8, 2014

49ers doomed by play-calling

This is my Tuesday column. The Bears and the Cardinals and the Broncos and the Rams are not defeating the 49ers. Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman are defeating the 49ers. Before the season started, if you had known the 49ers’ defense would rank second after eight games without NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, what would you have expected the Niners’ record to be? 7-1? 8-0? If anything diminished the Niners…

November 4, 2014

Jim Harbaugh says he “wouldn’t categorize” the 49ers’ offensive identity

SANTA CLARA — Here’s a transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. We talked to Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly today. He told some of the stories about offensive coordinator Greg Roman going up there and then him coming here. Can you talk about when he came here, I believe it was 2012, just what ideas were exchanged between him and your staff…

September 24, 2014

Harbaugh: “The foot on the accelerator analogy, I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying there.”

SANTA CLARA — This is a transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. When Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy was inactive for the Panthers, did that cause you guys to reevaluate DT Ray McDonald’s situation at all whether he’d play or not? “No. We didn’t compare the two situations.” You talked last night about QB Colin Kaepernick making good throws. When you look back…

September 15, 2014

What to watch for in the 49ers’ season opener against the Cowboys

SANTA CLARA — Here is what to watch for in the 49ers’ season opener against the Cowboys, a game I expect the 49ers will win by 10 points at least. 1. The 49ers’ pass attack. Even if Anthony Davis doesn’t play, the 49ers’ passing game should look better than ever on Sunday. The Cowboys’ defense is unspeakable. They have no run defense, no pass rush and no one in the secondary who…

September 4, 2014

Michael Crabtree (calf) and Anthony Davis (hamstring) miss practice

The 49ers just announced their first injury report of the season: Did not participate in practice: Michael Crabtree (calf) Anthony Davis (hamstring) Marcus Martin (knee) Do you think Davis and Alex Boone will start on Sunday, or do you think Jonathan Martin and Joe Looney will start? Are you concerned about Crabtree’s calf? Here is the Cowboys’ injury report: Did not participate in practice: Anthony Spencer (knee) Darrion Weems (shoulder)…

September 3, 2014

Predict the 49ers’ record

In light of the preseason results so far, do you have any idea what the 49ers’ record will be this season? Considering Daniel Kilgore will start at center instead of Jonathan Goodwin, Joe Looney will start at right guard instead of Alex Boone, and Anthony Davis will start at right tackle after missing almost all offseason rehabbing his shoulder, I say 10-6 at best. What do you say?

August 26, 2014

49ers’ biggest concern is the offensive line

This is my Tuesday column. Forget Colin Kaepernick and his development. Forget Frank Gore and his old legs. Forget NaVorro Bowman and his busted knee. Forget all of those concerns. The biggest concern facing the 49ers is the offensive line, from center to right guard to right tackle. Through the first three preseason games the 49ers have gained just 38 yards on 15 direct handoffs, running plays designed to go…

August 25, 2014

The importance of a college degree in football

I just found an interesting article in the Wall Street journal about  how the Eagle mostly try to acquire college graduates. The Eagles feel the more college graduates they have, the more successful the team will be. The article cites how the Patriots and Colts typically had the most college graduates in the NFL when they dominated the league last decade. Last season, the Seahawks and Broncos had the most…

May 21, 2014