Super Bowl winner is…

This is my Sunday column. This Super Bowl will be nothing like the previous one: Seahawks 43, Broncos 8. This one will be grim. The Seahawks won’t blow out the Patriots. The Patriots won’t blow out the Seahawks. Neither team will score more than 20 points. This year’s Super Bowl could come down the final play. As opposed to last year’s Super Bowl, which came down to the first play….

January 31, 2015

Patriots’ tactics deflate the game’s integrity

This is my Thursday column. I don’t trust Bill Belichick or Tom Brady. But, I don’t want to rush to judgment. Maybe Belichick and Brady didn’t defile the integrity of the league this past Sunday. Maybe someone else or something else deflated the Patriots’ footballs before or during the AFC championship game. We don’t yet know all of the facts. Here’s what we do know: NFL teams use their own…

January 21, 2015

Top 5 defensive coaches in the NFL

Who are the top-five defensive coaches in the NFL right now? By defensive coaches, I mean guys who actually are instrumental in designing the defensive game plan during the week. The defensive coordinator does it for some teams, but the head coach does it for other teams. When Bill Walsh was the 49ers’ head coach, he had various offensive coordinators but the offense was Walsh’s and he called the plays….

May 21, 2014

What’s a Harbaugh worth?

Here is my Wednesday column on Jim Harbaugh. Under no circumstances should the 49ers give Jim Harbaugh a contract extension this offseason. Let him play out the final two years of his deal. Or let him win a Super Bowl before giving him a raise. Apparently, Harbaugh wants to be the highest-paid head coach in the NFL. Hey, so do I, but I don’t deserve to be. Harbaugh doesn’t deserve…

February 26, 2014

Get ready in the red zone

Here is my Friday column. The 49ers’ biggest need this offseason is not a player. Not a wide receiver. Not a cornerback. Not a safety. Talent isn’t the Niners’ problem – they might have the most talented team in the league. Sure, they could use a speed wide receiver, but they need something else. If they had what they needed, they would be Super Bowl champions already. They would have…

January 24, 2014

Why Harbaugh is so good

This is my Sunday column on what makes Jim Harbaugh a good head coach. SEATTLE — Serious question — what makes Jim Harbaugh a good head coach? Clearly, he is a good coach. His record reflects that. More than three wins for every loss as a head coach in the NFL. But Harbaugh doesn’t call his own plays like Bill Walsh or Sean Payton, and Harbaugh isn’t a defensive specialist…

January 18, 2014

The Jim Harbaugh Game: The coach and his world of contradictions

Here is my Monday column on Jim Harbaugh. SANTA CLARA – Here’s how you play The Jim Harbaugh Game: Listen to his next interview. Write down the exact time he sets himself up for future contradiction. Then, predict how long it will take for the contradiction to occur – a year, a month, a day, an hour, a minute, etc. Harbaugh most recently set himself up on June 11. One…

July 29, 2013

How does the loss of Hernandez and Gronkowski impact the Pats and the AFC?

Today’s discussion topic is the AFC in general and the Patriots in particular. With the Patriots releasing Aaron Hernandez, and surgeons cutting on Rob Gronkowski more than a stick of salami at the local deli, what are the Pats going to do at tight end this season? That’s question No.1. My best guess: They’re going to sign at least one tight end, maybe two. I wouldn’t be surprised it they…

June 26, 2013

What Roman needs to be head-coaching timber

Here is my Monday column on Greg Roman. We’re in a football lull right now, but the 49ers are always in season. So, let’s dissect their most recent move, signing their promising offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, to a two-year extension through 2015. Roman is a good offensive coordinator. From 2011 to 2012, the 49ers’ offense ranked third in rushing yards and ninth in points per game. Jim Harbaugh thinks Roman…

June 24, 2013

The real reason the 49ers wanted Mangini

Here is my Monday column on Eric Mangini and the 49ers. Why exactly did the 49ers hire ESPN analyst and former NFL head coach Eric Mangini as an offensive consultant? Conventional wisdom says Mangini will help 49ers’ offensive coordinator Greg Roman game-plan against opposing defenses. That’s what an offensive consultant is supposed to do, and it couldn’t hurt the 49ers to have a fresh set of eyes on their offensive…

June 3, 2013

The top five, I mean four, head coaches in the NFL right now

I’m sitting here at my dinner table wondering who are the top-five head coaches in the NFL right now? I can think of only four. John Harbaugh. The current title holder. When he took over the Ravens in 2008, that franchise hadn’t won a playoff game since 2001. Since 2008, the Ravens are 9-4 in the postseason. John Harbaugh is the most consistently good head coach in the NFL right…

February 13, 2013

Matt Williamson on Jim Harbaugh: “He is a buffoon on the sideline. It’s an embarrassment.”

Here’s what Ross Tucker and Matt Williamson said about the penalties in the Super Bowl and Jim Harbaugh’s sideline behavior on Monday’s ESPN Football Today podcast. Q: What do you think of the way Crabtree handled questions about the controversial no-call on the last 49ers’ last play? (He said, “If somebody’s grabbing you, you always expect a call, but you can’t whine to the refs. It is what it is….

February 4, 2013

What the safety may tell us about Jim Harbaugh as a coach

Who in the world, other than the 49ers’ coaching staff, did not think the Ravens were going to take a safety with 11 seconds left in the game? The Ravens’ alternative was to risk a blocked punt or a punt that the Niners could catch around mid-field. They would have clock time remaining to throw a couple of Hail Marys. Bad option for Baltimore. The 49ers punt rush played a…

February 4, 2013

From the sidelines: John beat Jim at the press conference Friday

More than a few questions were asked of the Ravens’ coach in Friday morning’s press conference in which his brother, the 49ers coach, just sat there and said nothing. John would speak, Jim remained silent. It was bizarre and uncomfortable to watch, the most awkward moment coming was after someone asked Jim to give an example of a risky thing he did as a kid. Jim Harbaugh responded by giving…

February 2, 2013

Roman on the Patriots: “They’re as physical a defense as we’ve seen since we’ve been here.”

SANTA CLARA — This is what Greg Roman said about the Patriots defense Thursday in the media tent. ROMAN: Good afternoon. Got a great challenge this week, going to play the New England Patriots. As you look at them on defense, they’re as physical a defense as we’ve seen since we’ve been here, as fundamentally sound a defense as we’ve seen.  And they present you just a multitude of things…

December 13, 2012

Harbaugh says Carlos Rogers is “equipped” to cover Wes Welker

SANTA CLARA — This is what Jim Harbaugh said about the Patriots at his Wednesday press conference. Q: When you look at the Patriots on film, is it a daunting task when they’re playing they way they are at this time of year? HARBAUGH: “Definitely a big challenge and a big task. That’s what we’re preparing for right now.” Q: Patriots QB Tom Brady and the Patriots don’t give up a…

December 12, 2012

Is Brady at the top of his game? Belichick: “I don’t know. He’s played pretty well for us for quite a while.”

SANTA CLARA – Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick just spoke to Bay Area reporters on a conference call. Here’s what he said about the Patriots. Q: How are you feeling about the way the Patriots are playing right now? BELICHICK: It’s all about this game. We need a good week of preparation here against the 49ers. They’re a real good football team. They’re well coached. They have a lot of…

December 12, 2012

Harbaugh on the Patriots: “Everything they do scheme-wise is very tough to prepare for.”

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what Jim Harbaugh said at his Monday press conference about preparing for the 49ers’ upcoming opponent, the New England Patriots. Q: You’ve been undefeated in prime-time games this season. You notice anything about your team in these games? HARBAUGH: No. Somebody else mentioned that, that we’ve been pretty darn good in those type of games. Just locked in on this one here, going to New England,…

December 10, 2012

Top 5 head coaches: Does Jim Harbaugh make the cut?

Let’s rank the top-5 head coaches in the NFL and see why Jim Harbaugh, with all due respect, doesn’t yet make the cut. I base my rankings on productivity and evaluation and utilization of personnel in good times as well as bad.  Who gets the most out of what they have and who can motivate the players to be the best they can be even when times are tough or…

October 24, 2012

Preview: How the Niners match up against the Patriots

49ERS DEFENSE VS. PATRIOTS OFENSE: Arguably the best offense against the best defense in the NFL, but San Francisco matches up well and here’s why. The Niners can harass Tom Brady with their four defensive lineman – Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Ahmad Brooks – and cover the skill players with their seven other defenders (linebackers and defensive backs). The Niners can do what the Giants defense did…

June 1, 2012