49ers 13, Seahawks 29: Grades

SEATTLE Here are the grades for the San Francisco 49ers’ 29-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. GABBERT: B. Played better than he did during his first start for the Niners two weeks ago against the Atlanta Falcons. This week, Gabbert faced a top Seahawks defense, threw for 264 yards and a touchdown while making no major mistakes and getting sacked only twice even though he had no running game. RUNNING…

November 22, 2015
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49ers training camp report: Day 14

SANTA CLARA – Here are the highlights of the 49ers’ fifth non-padded practice of training camp. THE GOOD 1. TE Vernon Davis. One of those days no one could cover him. Made seven catches during team drills, and scored a touchdown against safety Jimmie Ward during one-on-one drills in the red zone. Ward jumped to swat the football, Davis jumped much higher and caught the football, barreled through Ward on…

August 20, 2015
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49ers training camp report: Day 7

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers practiced in shorts and shells Saturday afternoon. Here are the highlights. THE GOOD 1. WR Torrey Smith. Seemed to jam his right ring finger catching a pass from Colin Kaepernick during warmups. Smith was in visible pain for a few minutes as he shook his hand and held his finger. But apparently the injury wasn’t a serious. A few minutes later during one-on-one drills Smith…

August 8, 2015
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49ers training camp report: Day 4

SANTA CLARA – Here are the highlights from the 49ers’ fourth practice and first padded practice of training camp. THE GOOD 1. OLB Aldon Smith. Abused starting left tackle Joe Staley all afternoon. During one-on-one pass-rushing drills, Smith faked to the outside, came back inside and Staley never touched him. Later during team drills, Smith beat Staley around the edge and tagged Colin Kaepernick for the sack. 2. OLB Eli…

August 4, 2015
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Is Eric Reid the best player on the 49ers defense?

Who will be the 49ers’ best defensive player in 2015? I don’t think it will be inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman. He was the Niners’ best defensive player in 2013, but I don’t expect him to play anywhere near that level just one year after missing a season due to a torn ACL and MCL. I don’t think outside linebacker Aldon Smith will be the 49ers’ best defensive player, either. I…

July 27, 2015
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49ers 35, Chargers 38: Grades

SANTA CLARA – On third-and-5 with 3:43 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Niners up by seven, Colin Kaepernick ran out of bounds after losing a yard, stopped the clock for the Chargers and set up Philip Rivers’ game-tying touchdown pass. No, Kaepernick hasn’t thrown a touchdown in the fourth quarter this season. But Rivers threw one today, and Kaepernick helped him do it. Give Kaepernick credit. KAEPERNICK: D. That’s…

December 20, 2014
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Vic Fangio: “Proud is a strong word. You’re never happy in defeat.”

This is the transcript of Vic Fangio’s Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ p.r. department. So, you have a new linebacker. How do you expect to work with him over the next few days to get him ready for Saturday’s game? “We just have to do our best to get him acclimated to the system. He’s going to have to do a great job of studying. Obviously, his work…

December 16, 2014
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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 GM Trent Baalke, pass or fail?

This is my Sunday column. What about Trent Baalke? Sure, the 49ers probably will dump Jim Harbaugh at the end of the season. His quarterback isn’t improving and his offense stinks and he ticks people off. We get all that. But what about Baalke? Who’s to say the Niners won’t dump him, too? What makes him worth keeping? Let’s evaluate his contribution to the franchise. Let’s figure out how many…

December 6, 2014
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Fangio: “When Wilson has the ball in his hand, he’s like defending Barry Sanders.”

SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Vic Fangio’s Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. How is DT Justin Smith, his health? “Good.”   He was listed with a back injury. Is that a minor thing? “News to me.”   Do you expect him to play on Thursday, no questions? “It’d be news to me if he didn’t.”   His snaps are a little bit down…

November 25, 2014
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49ers 28, Cowboys 17: Grades

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys handed the 49ers a 28-17 win Sunday evening. Here are the 49ers’ grades. KAEPERNICK: A. Efficient. Completed 70 percent of his passes, averaged 8.7 yards per pass attempt, threw two touchdown passes and zero interceptions and converted 7-of-12 third downs. He found his receivers when they were wide open and he made some terrific throws while taking big hits. RUNNING BACKS: B. LaMichael James was…

September 7, 2014
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49ers have chance to show quality

This is my Friday column. The 49ers have been by far the worst team in the NFL during the preseason. In two games, the Niners have scored three points and given up 57. That means they’ve been outscored by 54. The Cowboys have been the second-worst team in the preseason. They’ve been outscored by merely 27. That means the 49ers have been twice as bad as the second-worst team. We…

August 22, 2014
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Bethea on Ward: “Like a lot of guys were saying on the sideline, he’s always around the ball.”

SANTA CLARA – Antoine Bethea was interviewed outside of the 49ers’ locker room Friday afternoon. Here is a transcript. Q: Do you feel like you’re catching on to the scheme? BETHEA: Yeah, most definitely. Coming into OTAs, you’re just trying to get your feet wet, get a good grasp on the defense. Now I’m more comfortable with the defense, so out on the field I can let my eight years…

July 25, 2014
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OTA Notes: Ellington beats Johnson, Patton beats Brock, Brooks beats Kaepernick

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what stood out to me at Wednesday’s mini-camp. THE GOOD 1. Bruce Ellington — The only receiver who caught a deep pass. During one-on-one drills, Ellington ran deep against rookie cornerback Dontae Johnson. McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw a perfect deep pass. Ellington jumped up and caught the ball over Johnson, who is five inches taller than Ellington. 2. Quinton Patton — Was two-for-two against Tramaine Brock during…

June 18, 2014
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Baalke: “I like long arms.”

Trent Baalke held a press conference Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. Here is a transcript. Q: Frank Gore will count $6 or $7 million against the salary cap this season. Is that reasonable? BAALKE: The simple is there is no reason it can’t be. We’re in a good shape from a cap standpoint. There really is no decision to be made. We can move forward exactly as is if…

February 21, 2014
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49ers 34, Falcons 24: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are my grades for the 49ers. They almost blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, but ended up beating the Falcons 34-24. KAEPERNICK: B. His passer rating was 108.6 and he ran for 51 yards and a touchdown against a terrible defense. He also completed just 13 passes, and only a few of his completions actually hit his intended receiver in stride. All night, receivers had to adjust…

December 23, 2013
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Harbaugh on Kaepernick: “There were 30-yard lasers on the run. Just haven’t seen anybody ever do that.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the defensive meeting room Monday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Opening Comments: “We’re glad to see you. We’re glad to be back. It was a great win for the team. We’re very excited about it. The biggest thing is the guys worked hard for it. They worked hard in their preparation. They worked hard in the…

December 16, 2013
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In the NFL, hits to knees take back seat

Here is my Sunday article on hits to knees in the NFL. This article runs in the Press Democrat’s Sunday sports section. SANTA CLARA — Is it possible the NFL’s efforts to eliminate head-to-head hits have made the game more dangerous? If a defender hits someone in the head or even as low at the shoulder line, that’s a 15-yard penalty, probably a fine and maybe a suspension, too. But…

December 15, 2013
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49ers 23, Rams 13: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are the 49ers’ grades for their 23-13 win over the Rams. KAEPERNICK: A-. This was the most accurate Kaepernick has thrown the ball since Week 1 against the Packers. Kaepernick completed 68 percent of his passes for 9.8 yards per attempt against the Rams. My only knock on him is he did not play well on third down – the 49ers converted just 4 of 12…

December 1, 2013
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Cosell calls the 49ers’ offense “one-dimensional with almost no passing dimension.”

Wednesday morning on KNBR, Greg Cosell discussed the 49ers’ upcoming game against the Saints. Here is a transcript. COSELL: “When you start to play better teams, you’re going to have to have the passing dimension, and right now (the 49ers) are a one-dimensional offense with almost no passing dimension. It came back and it caught them this week against a better team. “You’re dealing with an extremely talented kid (Kaepernick)….

November 13, 2013
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