49ers face key decisions in free agency

This is my Sunday column. Is it too early to predict which free agents the 49ers will re-sign this offseason? The 49ers still haven’t announced the hiring of Eric Mangini as the defensive coordinator or Geep Chryst as the offensive coordinator, and we still don’t know what schemes they plan on using. On defense will they use a Tampa-2 scheme or a single-high safety scheme, a three-man defensive front or…

February 7, 2015
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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
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49ers 7, Seahawks 17: Grades

SEATTLE – Trent Baalke folded his arms and hung his head in shame. The 49ers’ season was over. The Niners and Seahawks were shaking hands at midfield and Baalke was staring at his desk in the press box. Bad look, Trent. Time to face the failure you created. KAEPERNICK: C. Played like Alex Smith. Didn’t turn the ball over – a first for Kaepernick against the Seahawks. Yes, he scored…

December 14, 2014
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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
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49ers 3, Seahawks 19: Grades

SANTA CLARA – Jed York can’t blame Vic Fangio for this one — the 49ers’ defense gave up just one touchdown. It was the offense that failed to show up for the third game in a row. Here are the grades. KAEPERNICK: Z. Worst game of his career. His passes were inaccurate, his downfield vision was poor and he forced passes to covered receivers. Is there any doubt which team…

November 27, 2014
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Redskins 13, 49ers 17: Grades

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers defied the odds and beat the first-class Redskins 17-13 Sunday afternoon. Here are the Niners’ grades. KAEPERNICK: B. Unusually efficient. Completed 20-of-29 pass attempts (69 percent) for 256 yards (8.8 yards per attempt). Three of his nine incomplete passes were dropped. He threw a long, beautiful touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin on the first drive of the game, but he never came close to throw…

November 23, 2014
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Quality control: Week-11 run plays

Here is a breakdown of Frank Gore’s and Carlos Hyde’s rushing production against the Giants: Frank Gore Counter: 10 carries, 54 yards (5.4 yards per carry). Inside zone: 5 carries, 23 yards (4.6 ypc). Power: 3 carries, 16 yards (5.3 ypc). G Lead: 1 carry, 2 yards (2 ypc). Carlos Hyde Outside zone: 4 carries, 16 yards (4 ypc). Counter: 3 carries, 4 yards (1.3 ypc). Inside zone: 2 carries, 5 yards (2.5 ypc).

November 18, 2014
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49ers 27, Saints 24: Grades

They aren’t dead yet. The 49ers beat the Saints 27-24 in overtime Sunday afternoon, handed Sean Payton his first loss in the Superdome since 2010. Now the 49ers are 5-4. Here are their grades. KAEPERNICK: B+. It was fourth-and-10 from the Niners’ 22-yard line, one minute and 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Niners’ down by three. Kaepernick had to save the game. He rolled to his right. Nowhere…

November 9, 2014
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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
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49ers 10, Rams 13: Grades

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers just gave away a game to the Rams, a dreadful team that was trying its best to lose. Here are the 49ers’ grades. KAEPERNICK: D+. Was that him? Didn’t look like it. Whoever was wearing the red No.7 jersey looked timid, tentative, not explosive at all. Averaged just 7.18 yards per pass and 2.8 yards per carry, converted 3-of-12 third down and scored no touchdowns…

November 2, 2014
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Grading 49ers at the break

This is my Sunday column. The 49ers just finished dead week. These are their midterm grades. COLIN KAEPERNICK Pocket proficiency: B. Was a C-minus last season. Completed just 57 percent of his passes and posted an 81 passer rating inside the pocket in 2013. Has completed 69 percent of his passes and posted a 90 rating inside the pocket this season. He’s finding the open receiver quickly and throwing the…

October 27, 2014
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49ers 17, Broncos 42: Grades

The Broncos eked out a 42-17 win over the 49ers Sunday night. Here are the Niners’ grades. KAEPERNICK: D. Carried the team in the first half. Posted a 140 passer rating in the second quarter. Would have been a 156 rating if Anquan Boldin hadn’t dropped a touchdown pass on third-and-goal from the 4 yard line. Kaepernick led a 7-play, 85-yard touchdown drive that took 2 minutes and 58 seconds…

October 19, 2014
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49ers 31, Rams 17: Grades

The 49ers dismissed the Rams 31-17 in St. Louis Monday night. Here are the 49ers’ grades. KAEPERNICK: A. His best game this season. The Rams stopped the 49ers’ run game and forced Kaepernick to win with his arm. He did. His deep 80-yard touchdown pass before halftime hit Brandon Lloyd in stride. On the opening drive of the second half, Kaepernick converted a third-and-12, anticipated an opening downfield and fired…

October 13, 2014
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Greg Roman on Frank Gore: “We don’t want to just ride that stallion all day everyday.”

SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Greg Roman’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. Opening comments: “Afternoon. We’ve got a division game against the Rams. We know them well, they know us. [Rams defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams is back there as the d-coordinator. We have a lot of respect for him. He’s doing a great job with that defense. And, it really starts up front…

October 10, 2014
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How the 49ers mauled Josh Mauga in the second half

Did you notice how well the 49ers ran the ball inside in the second half against the Chiefs? Chiefs’ defensive coordinator Bob Sutton primarily used a two-gap scheme without a strong safety in the box to play the eighth gap. Chiefs’ linebacker Josh Mauga often lined up in front of a guard and was responsible for two gaps. Mike Iupati and Alex Boone mauled Mauga, and the 49ers gouged the…

October 7, 2014
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49ers 22, Chiefs 17: Grades

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers eked out a 22-17 win over the Chiefs Sunday afternoon. But the 49ers should have lost. The Chiefs gave away the game. With four minutes and 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter Kansas City committed one of the stupidest penalties you ever will see: Fourth-and-2 at the Chiefs’ 36-yard line. Phil Dawson was on the field to attempt a 54-yard field goal and, if…

October 5, 2014
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49ers 26, Eagles 21: Grades

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers beat the Eagles 26-21 Sunday afternoon. Here are the 49ers’ grades. KAEPERNICK: B-. Made both of the 49ers’ touchdowns happen. On the first one he scrambled left, drew the Eagles’ entire defense and threw back to the right, across the whole field to Frank Gore who was wide open. One of the most thrilling plays you’ll see. Next, Kaepernick scrambled to the left and threw…

September 28, 2014
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49ers 14, Cardinals 23: Grades

GLENDALE, AZ. – The 49ers lost 23-14 to the Cardinals. Here are the 49ers’ grades. KAEPERNICK: A. Gained 290 of the 49ers’ 318 total yards. Ran 13 times for 54 yards and completed 78.4 percent of his passes. Passer rating was 103.3. The entire offense was Kaepernick. Hard to win in the NFL with a one-player offense. RUNNING BACKS: D. Frank Gore carried the ball 6 times and gained 10…

September 21, 2014
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Top-four questions the 49ers face against the Bears

We all know the 49ers will beat the Bears this Sunday Night. I’m saying the final score will be 24-13. The game will not be close. That said, these are the four questions that interest me most about this game: 1. Who will lead the 49ers in rushing, Frank Gore or Carlos Hyde? The Bears gave up 7.3 yards per carry on 21 read-option runs against the Bills last week….

September 13, 2014
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Will Frank Gore or Carlos Hyde lead the 49ers in rushing against the Bears?

I tallied up the Bills’ rushing numbers against the Bears Week 1. The Bills gained 22 rushing yards on 7 direct handoffs — 3.1 yards per carry. The Bills gained 154 rushing yards on 21 read-option plays — 7.3 yards per carry. With that in mind, who do you think will lead the 49ers rushing Sunday Night against the Bears — Frank Gore or Carlos Hyde — and why?

September 12, 2014
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