49ers Week 12 grades: Offense

NEW ORLEANS – The 49ers just beat the Saints 31-21. Here are the grades for the 49ers offense. Offensive line: B-. These guys gave up pressure all game, but did not surrender a single sack because Kaepernick escaped every time. Anthony Davis was flagged for a hold which negated a beautiful throw by Kaepernick and a beautiful catch and run by Michael Crabtree which would have been a 35-yard gain….

November 25, 2012

49ers offensive skill-player playtime breakdown vs. Giants

The 49ers’ offense played 61 snaps against the Giants. Here’s a playtime breakdown for the 49ers’ offensive skill players. Vernon Davis: 61 snaps (100%) Michael Crabtree: 49 (80%) Alex Smith: 45 (74%) Frank Gore: 44 (72%) Mario Manningham: 41 (67%) Kyle Williams: 34 (56%) Delanie Walker: 21 (34%) Kendall Hunter: 17 (28%) Randy Moss: 17 (28%)  Colin Kaepernick: 16 (26%)  Bruce Miller: 11 (18%)  Will Tukuafu: 4 (7%)  Garrett Celek:…

October 15, 2012

Preseason Week 4 grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are my grades for the 49ers 35-3 preseason victory over the San Diego Chargers, who may or may not have shown up to play. Alex Smith: P. Smith gets a “Pass” even though he didn’t pass the ball once. He played five snaps and handed off five times, and he looked good doing it. Smith may be the finest hander-offer this side of the Mississippi. Colin…

August 31, 2012

Training camp report: Monday, the not-so-good – third-down offense

SANTA CLARA – The past few practices, the 49ers’ offense has focused primarily on the red zone. Today, they did a “four-minute drill” where they worked on sustaining drives. In this drill the offense has the lead and they’re trying to run out the clock and end the game. The first team offense went three and out the first time they faced the first-team defense. Patrick Willis knocked away a…

August 6, 2012

Harbaugh breaks down the Niners running backs, plus more

How did your thud-ball session go yesterday? “Good. Lively, hard-hitting, aggressive, but I thought we worked well together and got a lot out of that first day in pads.”   There was one incident on the field where it appeared as if you sent off WR Brian Tyms. Can you explain what happened out there? “Yeah, it was an incident that, just the way we do things, how we do…

July 30, 2012

Ranking the Niners best players: Nos. 21-25

This is the final quintile of the Niners 25 best players. To read the previous quintile, click here. 21. Bruce Miller, FB – a Pro Bowl alternate in 2011, his rookie season. A very good blocker and a surprisingly good receiver for a fullback. 22. C.J. Spillman, ST – Led the team with 19 special teams tackles in 2011 (tied for fourth most in the NFL). Perhaps the best gunner…

June 27, 2012

Rathman breaks down the Niners running backs

SANTA CLARA – 49ers running backs coach, Tom Rathman, spoke to a group of reporters after practice this afternoon. I transcribed the interview below. Here are Rathman’s main points: Brandon Jacobs “is a very physical runner” who “has the ability to pack it up inside and run over guys…If we want somebody to run outside, we’ll put somebody else in.” The Niners want to keep Frank Gore “fresh so he’s…

June 6, 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

Moss steals the show

SANTA CLARA – The Niners called today’s practice a Veteran Football School On-field session. Most of the veterans showed up. Frank Gore didn’t, and neither did Mario Manningham or Brandon Jacobs, but that’s OK because VFS is voluntary. But Alex Smith showed up. He stretched with the offensive lineman and chatted with Alex Boone, one of his good friends on the team. Michael Crabtree showed up, too. He stretched next…

May 10, 2012

How the Niners offense will attack the Giants defense

Here’s how I expect the Niners offense to attack the red hot New York Giants defense. I expect the Niners to split out Vernon Davis at wide receiver often, much more than usual. The Giants are going to double team him, probably with a cornerback and a safety. I expect the Niners to use that against them. They’ll split Davis out wide and have him run deep. Two Giants defenders…

January 19, 2012

The outstanding rookies’ breakout moments

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat just posted my article for Thursday’s paper on the Niners outstanding rookies. I focus on their breakout moments from this season. My idea was to ask each rookie to identify and discuss his breakout moment, but Harbaugh’s rookies didn’t feel comfortable with that type of reflection – not right now, not during the playoffs. Luckily, Ricky Jean Francois is always up for reflection and discussion….

January 11, 2012

The southwest corner

SANTA CLARA — For what it’s worth, the Niners really like each other. They may or may not man up against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Monday night – I think they will – but regardless, they get along. Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati are best friends. Parys Haralson and Aldon Smith act like brothers. Colin Kaepernick and Bruce Miller joke around with everyone. But there’s a cool section of the…

December 18, 2011

Friday’s injury report: Adam Snyder is probable, Sam Bradford is questionable.

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what Friday’s injury report looks like. Notice that a couple key Rams are questionable to play – Sam Bradford and Chris Long. Jim Harbaugh said in his press conference today he expects Bradford to play. Why? “Educated guess,” Harbaugh said. Also notice that Braylon Edwards is listed as questionable and Adam Snyder and Bruce Miller are listed as probable. I expect Snyder and Miller to start,…

December 2, 2011

Jim Harbaugh on his confidence in backup QB Colin Kaepernick, and more

SANTA CLARA — Here’s the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers. How are you guys treating the extra day this week? Another game planning day for the Rams? “Yes. Players will be in today lifting and getting treatment. Coaches (are) game planning. We’ll view the Ravens game and preview the Rams.” The fact that you can clinch on Sunday, does that affect the way you…

November 28, 2011

Tom Rathman on Bruce Miller: “I don’t know if I would consider him a bulldozer as a lead blocker.”

Running backs coach Tom Rathman spoke to a group of Bay Area reporters yesterday at the 49ers practice facility. I was on a plane during this interview, but the Examiner.com’s Sam Lam very generously passed the transcript along to all the writers. Thank you, Sam Lam. Here is Rathman for you reading pleasure. Q: What did you see from the scout film on Bruce Miller and what was it like…

November 8, 2011

Gore: “We’ve got to keep attacking, attacking, attacking as an offense.”

I was flying back from Washington D.C. this morning so I was not in Santa Clara. However, the Associated Press’ Janie McCauley was and she generously passed along a few transcripts of group interviews to me, so I pass them along to you. Here’s Frank Gore. Q: Do you know anything about Joe Perry? Ever speak to him? GORE: No, I don’t know much about him. Q: Are you going…

November 7, 2011

Bruce Miller: “I don’t think I’m ever the No. 1 option.”

I was flying back from Washington D.C. this morning so I was not in Santa Clara. However, the Associated Press’ Janie McCauley was and she generously passed along a few transcripts of group interviews to me, so I pass them along to you. Here’s Bruce Miller first. Q: How many messages did you get last night? MILLER: “I had a few of them; just friends and family back home watching…

November 7, 2011

Bruce Miller on Frank Gore: “Before the ball is snapped we’ve already had a full conversation.”

SANTA CLARA – Bruce Miller spoke second this morning, just after Frank Gore. Here’s what Miller said. Q: How much has Frank Gore helped you? MILLER: I had very little knowledge of what to do and where to go. So especially early on he’s helped out a lot with different tips, reminders, alerts here and there. Q: Alerts? MILLER: That’s a big part – him alerting me of different things….

October 31, 2011