49ers picking up the pace on offense

This is my Saturday column. SANTA CLARA The 49ers have a brand new offense. The old one was the slowest in the NFL, and not just during plays when they lumbered around the grass. They were slow between plays, too. They couldn’t even get plays off. The Niners led the league in delay-of-game penalties each of the past two seasons under head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman….

June 12, 2015
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49ers putting footwork back in Kaepernick’s game

This is my Friday column. SANTA CLARA Forty-Niners offensive coordinator Geep Chryst thinks of Colin Kaepernick in terms of Stephen Curry. “If you were to say the reason why Curry is a great 3-point shooter is because his feet are exactly 8 inches apart when he shoots the ball, that may be true in a lot of cases,” Chryst philosophized Thursday afternoon. He was sitting at a circular conference table…

June 11, 2015
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Kaepernick’s offseason — valuable lessons or waste of time?

Here is my Sunday column. SANTA CLARA Colin Kaepernick looked like a new guy during warmups Friday afternoon. He’d drop back, raise the football to his ear and fling it in one quick, compact motion — up and out. It seemed like a perfect recreation of Aaron Rodgers’ throwing motion, the ideal throwing motion. Kaepernick used have a long, loopy motion. When he threw a football, he’d bring it down…

May 31, 2015
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49ers face facts about their identity

This is my Saturday column. SANTA CLARA Do the 49ers have a face? They certainly used to. They had Jim Harbaugh, hands down the face of the franchise the past few seasons. Who made the Niners nationally relevant for the first time since the ‘90s’? Harbaugh. Who made them winners again? Harbaugh. Who made it possible for the Niners to build a new stadium? Harbaugh. Who did the cameras constantly…

May 30, 2015
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49ers or Raiders? Closer than you might think

This is my Sunday column. Better team right now: Raiders or 49ers? Serious question. Less than a year ago it would have been a joke question, but the Raiders are on the rise. And the Niners have plateaued – that’s the nicest thing you can say about them. A harsh observer might say the 49ers have gotten worse. There’s truth to that. The Niners won 12 games in 2013 and…

May 9, 2015
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Vernon Davis: “I didn’t even know that was Colin. No, seriously, he was working on his drop back.”

SANTA CLARA — Colin Kaepernick, Vernon Davis, Antoine Bethea and Jim Tomsula answered questions in the 49ers’ media room Friday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Head coach Jim Tomsula, just tell us about the start of the offseason program and sort of the vibe in the building that you’re picking up so far? JT: “Awesome, it’s awesome. The guys are awesome, everybody’s working….

April 10, 2015
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Three value options for the 49ers’ first-round pick

This is my Thursday column. Don’t lick that envelope just yet, Trent. I know you like to lock in your draft pick early. You wanted A.J. Jenkins so bad in 2012, you wrote his name on a piece of paper and sealed it an envelope days before you picked him. Your conviction was impressive, even though Jenkins wasn’t. You should be more cautious this year. I count three players you…

April 2, 2015
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Which player(s) in the draft could take the 49ers to the playoffs next season?

Jayson Braddock–the man who reported Colin Kaepernick is on the trading block–believes Amari Cooper, Danny Shelton, Randy Gregory or Kevin Johnson could take the Niners to the playoffs. That’s if one of those prospects falls to pick No.15. I disagree with Braddock. If the Niners are going to return the to the playoffs, they need to fix their offensive line, which gave up more sacks than any other offensive line in…

March 21, 2015
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49ers mock draft: Post first wave of free agency

These are the players the 49ers should take in the upcoming draft given the players they already have signed in free agency. Round 1: Andrus Peat, OT/G, Stanford Andrus Peat is the most athletically gifted offensive lineman in the upcoming draft. He’s tall (6’7”), he has long arms (34 3/8 inches) and quick feet. He has the potential to become a Pro Bowl left tackle, but his rookie season he…

March 16, 2015
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Trent Baalke answers lots of questions

SANTA CLARA— Trent Baalke answered a few reporters’ questions in the 49ers’ media room Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a transcript of the interview. BARROWS: Has Justin Smith decided whether he will retire? BAALKE: As I said at the end of the season, I think at this stage of his career, he has earned the right to make that decision when it’s right. I think he’s still sorting through that process. He’s…

March 12, 2015
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Rumor: 49ers “taking offers” for Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick is “on the trading block” according to Jayson Braddock of KBME SportsTalk 790 in Houston. Remember, Trent Baalke screamed “Throw the ball!” in the press box when Kaepernick scrambled for a short gain against the Rams in 2013. If Braddock’s rumor is true, maybe the 49ers can trade Kaepernick to the Buffalo Bills for their second round pick. Greg Roman is Buffalo’s offensive coordinator, and head coach Rex Ryan…

March 8, 2015
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Colin Kaepernick’s understudy

Who will be the 49ers’ backup quarterback next season? Probably not Blaine Gabbert or Josh Johnson, a couple of free-agent retreads the 49ers should not re-sign. The Niners need to find a quarterback worth developing, a quarterback with a future. I count five quarterbacks who fit that description in the upcoming draft: Tier 1: Marcus Mariota. A dual-threat quarterback who is quicker and faster than Kaepernick. Tier 2: Jameis Winston….

February 27, 2015
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49ers’ Colin Kaepernick rages against fan on Twitter

This is my Friday column. Dear Colin, Even though you are 27 years old and have been a starter in the NFL for three seasons, you still lack a quarterback’s temperament. It troubles me. You actually pick fights with fans on Twitter. You picked one on Wednesday. Let’s analyze what you did. This is a teachable moment. At 3:37 Wednesday afternoon, you tweeted the workout you did that day: “1000…

February 19, 2015
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Tomsula: “I take full responsibility for the results of the coaching staff.”

This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s press conference from the NFL Combine, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. Opening comments: “Good afternoon and we’ll try this again. Go ahead and shoot. I’m really happy to be here and I’m excited to see you all and looking forward to the questions.”   You seemed to just reference your introductory press conference, which was criticized in some circles, you may have…

February 19, 2015
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Baalke: “Head coach at University of Michigan is a heck of a football job. I know that’s something that he always wanted to do.”

This is what what Trent Baalke said Wednesday morning at the NFL Combine. Q: What are some of the things you consider when you evaluate wide receivers? BAALKE: Can they catch the football, probably No.1. They come in all different sizes, as we know. All different speeds. You really try to match that guy up with your quarterback and what your quarterback’s skill sets are. Some teams put a premium…

February 18, 2015
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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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Why the 49ers should draft Bryan Bennett

Pros: 1. Most impressive quarterback during Senior Bowl practices. 2. Excellent athlete — quick, elusive, fast, instinctual, strong, tough. 3. Has a hose for an arm. 4. Scored 70 touchdowns and gained 7,235 all-purpose yards in two seasons at Southeastern Louisiana. 5. Fits the 49ers’ offense. Can do a lot of the things Colin Kaepernick can do. Ran spread read-option offenses at Oregon and Southern Louisiana. 6. Good footwork in the…

February 3, 2015
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Baalke’s baffling hires

This is my Friday column. Trent Baalke, you sly dog. I thought I had you figured out. I thought I could read you like a map. I knew you revealed your master plan for the 49ers’ coaching search when you said, “This isn’t a rebuild situation. This is a reload situation,” at the end-of-the-season press conference. But, I still couldn’t predict who you would hire. I figured you would promote…

January 30, 2015
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49ers see runs of success in their quarterback’s future

This is my Sunday column. Keep running him until he breaks down. That is the 49ers’ plan for Colin Kaepernick next season. I can’t prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, but I can make a case. Exhibit A: Mike Shanahan and Rob Chudzinski – the top candidates to become the Niners’ new offensive coordinator, according to reports. Shanahan was Robert Griffin III’s head coach…

January 17, 2015
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Kaepernick’s coach choice couldn’t be more wrong for job

This is my Thursday column. Is Colin Kaepernick serious about his craft? He says he wants to become a better quarterback. He says he wants to train with a guru. He says the right things. Jeff Garcia took him at his word. About a week ago, Garcia publicly volunteered to mentor Kaepernick. Garcia makes a living coaching quarterbacks. He has his own regimen and routine and everything, even has his…

January 8, 2015
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