49ers all in with a new look

Here is my Saturday column. SANTA CLARA Little differences. Jim Tomsula wears a black 49ers tracksuit with red sleeves and a gold zipper on the upper left arm during Thursday’s OTA. He tucks the jacket of the track suit into his polyester pants. Jim Harbaugh wore khakis, a sweater and a baseball cap during practice when he was the 49ers’ head coach. He looked like a giant kid who had…

May 22, 2015

The quarterback deficiencies of Colin Rand Kaepernick

This is my Sunday column. As Jed York and Trent Baalke search for someone who can make Colin Kaepernick a competent pocket passer, keep in mind that Jim Harbaugh, the Quarterback Whisperer, couldn’t do it; George Whitfield, the Quarterback Guru, couldn’t do it; and Bill Walsh, The Genius, almost certainly wouldn’t care to try. Of course, I can’t prove that last part — Walsh passed away in 2007 — but…

January 3, 2015

Left out: Southpaw quarterbacks nearly extinct

This is my December feature. Provo, Utah. Fall of 1980. BYU offensive coordinator Doug Scovil calls 18-year-old Steve Young into his office and breaks the bad news. “You’re not going to play quarterback here,” Scovil explains to the future Hall of Fame quarterback. “I don’t coach lefties. It ain’t happening.” Scovil suggests Young play safety instead. Scovil believes Eric Krzmarzick, a right-hander, is BYU’s quarterback of the future. Scovil becomes…

December 25, 2014

Giants a dynasty? Weigh them against what the 49ers did

Here is my Saturday column. Credit the Giants for winning their third World Series in five seasons. Good going, Giants. Just don’t call them a dynasty. The Yankees were a dynasty. They won four World Series in five years with the same group of core players: Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neil, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. We will remember that group the rest of our…

November 1, 2014

Jim Harbaugh’s job description does not include being nice

This is my Thursday column on the Jim Harbaugh rumors. This Monday, as the 49ers started to prepare for the Rams, Jim Harbaugh told the media, please, don’t ask the players if they like him. “That’s not their job to defend the head coach,” Harbaugh said. “Their job is to do their jobs – to play football, have each other’s backs, and that’s what I’ve always seen out of them….

October 9, 2014

49ers CEO’s comments hurting his own cause

This is my Wednesday column on Jed York. On second thought, Jed, don’t talk. Go ride a bike. Gardening is fine. There are so many things you can do. But, please, no more talking publicly. You’re making things worse with this Ray McDonald mess by making it all about you. You probably didn’t want to talk about the issue in the first place. I acknowledge that. You stayed silent for…

September 10, 2014

Marc Trestman compares Steve Young and Colin Kaepernick

Marc Trestman was interviewed on a conference call Wednesday morning. Here’s a transcript. Q: How have you gone about pushing your team to turn the page from last week and move on? TRESTMAN: I think that our guys know, this is the NFL. We had a tough loss. We put it behind us the last couple days. We certainly have a very important game on Sunday Night and we’re focused…

September 10, 2014

Terry Shea Q&A

I interviewed quarterback guru Terry Shea over the phone last week. Here is a transcript of that interview. Q: Are there ways that a non-major-conference college like San Jose State can aid or accelerate a quarterback’s development in ways a major-conference college like USC can’t? SHEA: Those smaller colleges have to find a scheme that will allow them to have some success. Those kinds of schools sometimes they’ll be a…

April 28, 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

49ers need Kap insurance

This is my column for Wednesday. The 49ers need a new quarterback. This is not to say the 49ers should give up on Colin Kaepernick — with the right coaching he may still have a future. But they shouldn’t go all in with him, either. The 49ers should hedge their bets, draft a quarterback who could back up Kaepernick as a rookie and could eventually take over as the starter…

January 22, 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

Rebuilding Raiders, a blueprint

Here is my Wednesday column explaining how to rebuild the Raiders. WARNING: This is a Raiders column. 49ers fans — feel free to skip this. TO: Reggie McKenzie, general manager, Oakland Raiders FROM: Grant Cohn Reggie, as a favor, I want to help you rebuild the Raiders’ roster. First, let me commend the job you’ve done the past two years tearing down Al Davis’ and Hugh Jackson’s expensive mess. You’ve made the…

December 18, 2013

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

Roman holiday or horror story?

Here is my Friday column on the 49ers’ upcoming game against the Panthers. SANTA CLARA – I would feel confident picking the 49ers to win on Sunday, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman gives me pause. This is the kind of game he screws up. Roman has had extra time to prepare for the Panthers’ No.2-ranked defense because the 49ers are coming off a bye week. It’s the extra prep time…

November 8, 2013

Deep trouble for 49ers’ passing game starts with play-calling

Here is my Tuesday column on Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ 31st-ranked passing game. SANTA CLARA – You could argue Colin Kaepernick has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL this season. He definitely has been the worst starting quarterback in the Bay Area. The Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor has outperformed Kaepernick in nearly every statistical category. Kaepernick was great Week 1 against the Packers but since then Kaepernick…

October 8, 2013

49ers can’t catch a break when it comes to drafting wide receivers

This is my Saturday column on the 49ers’ recent history drafting wide receivers. By now, you’ve seen what I’ve seen from A.J. Jenkins the past two training camps: A wide receiver utterly overmatched by starting NFL cornerbacks. Friday night against the Chiefs, he faced their starting right cornerback Sean Smith and could not shake him. When Smith decided to press Jenkins, Smith swallowed him up. Jenkins couldn’t get past the…

August 17, 2013

49ers facing a summer of questions

This is my Monday column on the top-five questions the 49ers face this summer. Even though the 49ers are among the odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl, like any other team, they confront certain issues. Two of their best players – Justin Smith and Frank Gore – are in their 30s and declining. The 49ers’ offensive MVP last season – Michael Crabtree – tore his Achilles tendon in OTAs….

July 22, 2013

Coach or QB? You make the call

Here is my Thursday column on play calling in the NFL. It won’t happen, but I wish it would: NFL coaches should throw away the headsets and let quarterbacks call their own plays. Football has become more like a chess match or a military campaign than a sport. Coaches orchestrate the entire game from the sideline or the coaches’ booth like generals at the U.S. Central Command, or like teenagers…

July 18, 2013

Who should be on the 49ers’ Mt. Rushmore?

This is my Friday column on the 49ers’ Mt. Rushmore. Let’s play the Mt. Rushmore Game for the 49ers. Who are the four greatest figures in 49ers history? I’m talking players, coaches or owners. You pick. Who would you carve onto the 49ers’ own Mt. Rushmore? We can agree on three people right off the bat – Jerry Rice, Joe Montana and Bill Walsh. Those are gimmes. “Each of them…

June 28, 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