Training camp report: Eric Reid’s breakout day

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me at Sunday’s padded practice. THE GOOD 1. Eric Reid – He was the best free safety on the field by far. In 11-on-11 team drills, Reid knocked away a Kaepernick pass intended for Anquan Boldin running a slant. Also, Reid intercepted a Scott Tolzien pass intended for Garrett Celek. During individual drills, Ed Donatell had the safeties practice single-high coverage, having…

July 28, 2013

Training camp report: Kyle Williams’ day ends early, Ian Williams dominates, Justin Smith does not

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me at Saturday’s padded practice. THE GOOD 1. Ahmad Brooks – The 49ers practiced situational football near the end of the afternoon. Jim Harbaugh placed the ball on the offense’s goal line and gave them three downs to make a first down. On third and seven, Brooks beat Anthony Davis around the edge and sacked Kaepernick. 2. Ian Williams – He was…

July 27, 2013

Training camp report: Ahmad Brooks commits encroachment, Colin Kaepernick finds Vernon Davis

SANTA CLARA – With 20 minutes remaining in practice, Jim Harbaugh set up a fourth down drill: Fourth and five from the opponent’s 20-yard line, the edge of the red zone. The offense had one chance to make a first down or a touchdown. The first-team offense faced the first-team defense and right away, Ahmad Brooks jumped offside like he did in the Super Bowl. The 49ers replayed the down…

July 26, 2013

A statistical comparison of the 49ers’ top cornerbacks

This offseason, four 49er cornerbacks will compete for three primary cornerback jobs – left cornerback, right cornerback and slot cornerback. The competing cornerbacks are Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver and Nnamdi Asomugha. Which cornerback do you think will win each job, and who do you think will be the odd man out? To educate our guesses, here are some stats, courtesy of Pro Football Focus.   Carlos Rogers Slot…

May 26, 2013

49ers OTAs: Craig Dahl and Chad Hall stand out, Chris Culliver struggles

SANTA CLARA – Here’s the good and the not-so-good from the 49ers’ Wednesday OTA session. THE GOOD 1. Craig Dahl – He was the starting free safety, and he had the best day of all of the 49ers’ defensive backs. Dahl almost picked off Colin Kaepernick twice. First, Kaepernick tried to fire a pass to Chad Hall in the end zone in a 7-on-7 drill. Hall was running straight down…

May 22, 2013

The 49ers’ top 10 offseason position battles

Here are the top-10 position battles on the 49ers I’m looking forward to this offseason. Which battles interest you the most? 1. No.2 and No.3 cornerback: Carlos Rogers vs. Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Chris Culliver. Tarell Brown probably is a lock to start, so Rogers, Asomugha and Culliver will compete for the other two cornerback spots in the 49ers’ Nickel defense. Rogers and Culliver will compete to cover the slot. The…

May 5, 2013

49ers sign Nnamdi Asomugha to one-year deal

The 49ers just signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to a one-year deal worth up to $3 million, but none of that money is guaranteed according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Asomugha will be 32-years-old next season. He’s four days younger than the 49ers’ oldest cornerback, Carlos Rogers. Do you like this signing? Do you think Asomugha will be one of the 49ers’ three best cornerbacks when the regular season begins? Do you think he’ll…

April 2, 2013

Grant’s four-round 49ers mock draft

This is my second attempt to mock the 49ers’ draft. My first attempt was on the money, but this second attempt is even more on the money. Note: I mock the first four rounds only. The 49ers will trade up and draft CB Xavier Rhodes with the 11th pick. They will trade the Chargers picks No. 31, 34 and 94 for picks No. 11 and 145. Rhodes will start at…

March 29, 2013

Who is the 49ers free safety of the future?

The 49ers signed free safety Craig Dahl yesterday, but he’s not the Niners’ free safety of the future. He may not be their free safety of the present, either. He’s probably a backup, and a mentor for whichever free safety the 49ers draft in a few weeks. Will the Niners draft a safety who is similar to Dashon Goldson – tall and hard-hitting, like LSU’s Eric Reid – or will…

March 17, 2013

What the 49ers really need

Matt Barrows wrote a blog this morning arguing why the 49ers’ biggest offseason issue is the pass rush, not the secondary. I love Matt’s work and I usually agree with his opinions, but I disagree this time. The 49ers need to address the secondary with greater urgency than the D-line. If Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean Francois leave in free agency, then the 49ers need to address the D-line after…

March 6, 2013

Grant’s post-Combine 49ers mock offseason

Now that the NFL Scouting Combine is over, let’s try to predict what the 49ers will do this offseason. Here’s my best guess. I’m eager to read yours. FREE AGENCY OUT: Dashon Goldson, Isaac Sopoaga, Ricky Jean Francois, Larry Grant, Leonard Davis, Tramaine Brock, Clark Haggans and Ted Ginn Jr. Goldson wants too much money, and the 49ers want a free safety with cornerback skills. Jean Francois signs with the…

March 1, 2013

Top 5 questions 49ers must answer this offseason

What are the top-five questions the 49ers must answer this offseason? I’ll give you my list, and I’d be interested to read yours as well. Can the 49ers’ defense improve? Once Justin Smith got hurt in the third quarter of the Week 15 game against the Patriots, the 49ers’ defense imploded. They went from elite to awful, giving up 34.4 points per game in five of their last six games…

February 11, 2013

Cosell on Kaepernick: “He had brain freezes on two of those final three plays.”

Greg Cosell spoke about the Super Bowl on KNBR Thursday morning. Here’s what he said. Q: What did you think of the 49ers’ final four offensive plays? COSELL: Here’s a perfect case where because the plays failed, everybody thinks that they’re bad play calls, therefore something was horribly wrong. The first play was perfectly understandable because Gore had just run 33 yards and he was not in the next play….

February 7, 2013

How the 49ers should use their draft picks

The 49ers have four picks in the first three rounds of the upcoming draft: The 31st, the 61st, the 74th and the 93rd pick. How would you like the 49ers to use those picks? Should they package them or some of them in a trade for an elite player, like Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis? Or should they package the picks to trade up in the draft? Or should they stand…

February 6, 2013

49ers Super Bowl XLVII grades: Defense and special teams

The 49ers lost the Super Bowl 34-31 on Sunday. Here are the grades for the defense and special teams. Defensive line: C. Ray McDonald got pressure and recorded a sack, but the other defensive linemen were invisible. It was hard to tell Justin Smith was even on the field most of the time. He had almost no impact on the game, finishing with just three tackles. Linebackers: C. Credit the…

February 4, 2013

How the 49ers built a championship roster

This is my Saturday article on the gradual construction of the 49ers’ roster. By GRANT COHN After the 2004 season, the 49ers were the worst team in football. They had practically no talent, they had won two games, and they had one Pro Bowler, long snapper, Brian Jennings. This season, the 49ers are going to the Super Bowl and they have arguably the most talented roster in the NFL. Nine…

February 2, 2013

49ers respond to Culliver’s homophobic comments

Chris Culliver made homophobic comments on the Artie Lange show Tuesday. This is what Culliver said. Q: Have any gay guys approached you? CULLIVER: I don’t do the gay guys. I don’t do that. Q: Are there any gay guys on the 49ers? CULLIVER: We don’t got no gay people on the team. They’ve got to get up out of here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff….

January 30, 2013

49ers NFC Championship grades: Defense and special teams

ATLANTA – The 49ers beat the Falcons 28-24. The 49ers are going to the Super Bowl. Here are the grades for the 49ers’ defense and special teams. Defensive line: B. Justin Smith and Ray McDonald didn’t get much pressure on Ryan, but in the second half they were able to push the pocket up the middle. It became difficult for Ryan to step into his throws. Also, the 49ers’ defensive…

January 20, 2013

Cosell: “Crabtree has become a big-time NFL receiver.”

Greg Cosell spoke on KNBR Thursday morning. Here’s what he said about the 49ers and the Falcons. Q: Was Kaepernick’s record-breaking performance aided by an awful Packers defense? COSELL: I think that’s fair. I think the numbers reflect that. He had three scrambled in the first half for 53 yards. All of them came against man-to-man coverage concepts. Two of those plays they doubled Michael Crabtree. I think that playing…

January 17, 2013

49ers divisional playoff grades: Defense and special teams

SAN FRANCISCO – The 49ers massacred the Packers 45-31 on Saturday night. Here is the grade for the 49ers defense and special teams. Defensive line: B+. Justin Smith played 53 snaps, 91 percent of the defensive snaps. That alone is impressive. He couldn’t use his injured left arm, but the Packers still double teamed him, and he was disruptive bull rushing. And he was effective against the run, finishing the…

January 13, 2013