Boldin’s good work adds to Davis puzzle

Here is my Thursday column on the 49ers’ offense, sans Michael Crabtree. SANTA CLARA –Without Michael Crabtree, the focal point of the San Francisco 49ers’ passing attack last season, the 49ers need all of their receivers to step up – Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, A.J. Jenkins and anyone else who can run and catch and breathe. At an afternoon OTA session this week, Boldin stepped up. He was unstoppable. He…

May 30, 2013

How much of an issue is speed for the 49ers’ offense?

This upcoming season, the 49ers arguably will have the slowest base offense in the NFL. I’m talking 21 personnel – Frank Gore at tail back, Bruce Miller at fullback, Vernon Davis at tight end, Michael Crabtree at flanker and Anquan Boldin at split end. When those players are on the field for the 49ers, their fastest players are the tight end and the quarterback. If the 49ers want more speed,…

May 15, 2013

Trent Baalke’s pre-draft press conference transcript

Trent Baalke held a press conference in the 49ers’ defensive meeting room Wednesday morning. Here’s a transcript. Q: Where are you guys in the process of putting together your board? BAALKE: We’re probably 50 percent there. Q: That’s all? BAALKE: It’s pretty much set. We’ve got some touch-up stuff we’ve got to do, cleaning some guys up. For the most part it’s set. Q: Last year at the this time…

April 17, 2013

Should the 49ers sign QB Pat White?

The 49ers reportedly have interest in free agent quarterback Pat White, according to USA Today. Do you think the Niners should sign him? White (6-0, 205 pounds) is 27 years old and has not played football in two years. The Dolphins drafted him with the 44th pick of the 2009 draft and they cut him a little more than a year later. He ran a 4.55 40-yard dash at the…

March 25, 2013

49ers Week 16 grades: Coaching

SEATTLE, Wa. – The Seahawks crushed the 49ers 42-13 Sunday night. Here are the grades for the coaches. Coaching: F-.  For the fifth time this season, the 49ers were flat and unprepared and did not win after winning two straight. That is Jim Harbaugh’s fault. His team is built around being more physical than their opponent. Tonight, their opponent was stronger and tougher and just beat them up. Bill Walsh…

December 23, 2012

Harbaugh: “Whoever is open, that’s who the QB is instructed to get the ball to and that varies from week to week.”

SANTA CLARA – This is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.   Have you guys made a decision on the roster spot yet? “Yeah, we have made a decision. Well, no it’s not a final decision.”   Will you fill it? “We may not. We may not. That’s kind of the way we’re leaning right now. But, that could change before game time. So,…

December 14, 2012

Harbaugh on A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James: “We’ll learn more about them and see how they step up.”

SANTA CLARA – Here is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.   How did the week go? “Good week. Got a chance to work on our turf field today. And playing on turf this week. But, overall, good week. Thought the focus was good and the practices were good.”   Does the rain infringe upon your preparations at all? “Probably a couple different ways…

November 30, 2012

Should Greg Roman ask for help?

Yesterday I asked Jim Harbaugh about the percentages of coach involvement in the offensive game planning on a weekly basis, and surprisingly, Harbaugh said it’s primarily a Greg Roman production. If the 49ers offense has a bad game, that means Roman missed or misread something when analyzing his opponent during his game planning. Bill Walsh was the sole game planner in his first tenure at Stanford and for the Niners,…

October 20, 2012

How to get Vernon Davis involved in 49ers offense

Vernon Davis, the most explosive player on the 49ers offense, caught zero passes in the 49ers 13-6 win over the Seahawks. Alex Smith didn’t throw it to him once. After the game, Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle: “Nothing’s there. When I run my corner routes the cornerback is dropping to the corner. They are just taking stuff away, some of my explosive routes and stuff.” Ironically, various 49er players…

October 19, 2012

Tom Rathman on Frank Gore

SANTA CLARA – We were sitting in little school chairs facing each other, alone in the media tent, elbows resting on our wooden foldout desks. I asked the coach, “If I say Frank Gore is a player with a great heart, do you know what I mean by that?” The coach sat up in his chair, elbows off the desk now. He said, “Great heart?” as if he hadn’t heard…

September 19, 2012

Letter to Jim Schwartz, not pertaining to The Handshake

Dear Jim Schwartz, You want to call a running play against the 49ers, but it doesn’t exist. Il n’existe pas. Justin Smith will stop it while thinking of other things. Take your running plays and throw them away. They’ll only help you lose on Sunday. You have to pass against the 49ers. Remember how Bill Walsh used to set up the run with the pass? You have to set up…

September 11, 2012

Taking stock of Jim Harbaugh

What makes Jim Harbaugh so good? Two things jump out right away – preparation and assistant-coach selection. Last season, the Niners were arguably the most prepared team in the NFL after the lockout. Harbaugh willed his team into shape in a way no other coach could. It was a remarkable feat and he was certainly worthy of the Coach of the Year award. Harbaugh also thrived thanks to a good…

June 18, 2012

How Jim Harbaugh can get better

How could Jim Harbaugh get one percent better? He’s already a very good coach, but as he says, you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. You never stay the same. Keep in mind, I’m working under the hypothesis that Harbaugh is the King of the 49ers. He’s got complete veto power. No play gets called if he doesn’t give the OK, and no player gets signed or drafted if…

March 3, 2012

Ira Miller on the 49ers – this season and 1981, a conversation

I did an interview with Ira miller, who, as you know, was the 49ers expert in the ’80s and ‘90s. He’s retired now, living in Illinois. What follows is the full transcript of our phone interview. A shorter version ran in the Press Democrat but did not get put on the web. If it gets posted later today, I also will put that on the blog so you can see…

January 7, 2012

Roman: “We’re still breaking into whatever percentile it is of what we do.”

SANTA CLARA – Here is the transcript of Greg Roman’s press conference from this afternoon, courtesy of the 49ers. Opening Statement: “We’re right into getting ready for our Thursday practice. Had a great walk-through, had a good, vibrant practice yesterday. Got a stiff challenge ahead of us with the Browns. Obviously, everybody knows they’re the 4th ranked defense in the league, doing a tremendous job there getting people off the…

October 27, 2011

Fangio: “I don’t see anybody running the West Coast Offense.”

SANTA CLARA – Here is the transcript of Vic Fangio’s press conference from this afternoon, courtesy of the 49ers. How do you expect to use your third corner back this week, third corner? Who do you expect it to be and how do you plan to use them? “I think it will be kind of similar to what it’s been lately. [CB] Shawntae [Spencer] is improving, he’s still not 100…

October 27, 2011

Joe Montana vs. Steve Young

I just got back from a walk around the neighborhood with my dad, and on that walk I asked him this loaded question: You are the GM of the 49ers, and there is an NFL expansion draft, and every player who’s ever played the game is 22-years-old and draft-eligible, but you know what they are going to do in their career. So, who would you rank higher on your big…

August 4, 2011

Harbaugh: ‘Losing is not an option’

One got the impression the ultra-competitive, tobacco-chewing coach would have rather met the media with his suit off and his feet up in his not-yet-decorated office in Santa Clara. After all, that’s where he was headed after the tape recorders and cameras clicked off.

January 7, 2011