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

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

Report: 49ers settle for Geep

After getting turned down by Kyle Shanahan, Adam Gase, Lane Kiffin, Rob Chudzinski, someone named Bob Bicknell, and maybe others, the 49ers turned to Geep Chryst to be the offensive coordinator, according to a report. Chryst was the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach the past four seasons. Under Chryst’s tutelage, Colin Kaepernick earned no trips to the Pro Bowl and his passer rating decreased from 98.3 in 2012 to 91.6 in 2013 to…

January 28, 2015

49ers’ new ‘intern’ is a QB doctor

This is my Thursday column on George Whitfield Jr. SANTA CLARA — Something odd happened at the 49ers’ training camp this week. As you may know, this offseason the 49ers brought in George Whitfield Jr. He tutored Cam Newton and Andrew Luck and Johnny Manziel before each quarterback entered the NFL draft. Whitfield is 36. He runs a quarterback academy he calls Whitfield Athletix. It’s in San Diego. Whitfield has…

July 31, 2014

Which QB will the 49ers draft?

How early will the 49ers take a quarterback in the upcoming draft, and which QB will the Niners pick? The earlier the Niners draft a QB, the less leverage Colin Kaepernick will have in his contract -extension negotiations, if and when the Niners decide to start negotiating again. The 49ers have stopped negotiating a contract extension with Kaepernick for the time being, according to’s Ian Rapoport. Those negotiations were not…

April 21, 2014

Report: Mangini may have become 49ers’ QB coach had Roman left

CSN Bay Area is reporting the 49ers considered promoting Eric Mangini to quarterbacks coach and Geep Chryst to offensive coordinator had another team hired Greg Roman to be its head coach. If this report is true, what do you think of it? I think promoting Mangini to QB coach — considering he has no experience coaching quarterbacks and considering how much coaching and development Colin Kaepernick still needs — would…

January 23, 2014

49ers need Kap insurance

This is my column for Wednesday. The 49ers need a new quarterback. This is not to say the 49ers should give up on Colin Kaepernick — with the right coaching he may still have a future. But they shouldn’t go all in with him, either. The 49ers should hedge their bets, draft a quarterback who could back up Kaepernick as a rookie and could eventually take over as the starter…

January 22, 2014

Seahawks pass game in a funk

This is my Wednesday column on the Seahawks’ passing game. Don’t blame Russell Wilson. People say the Seahawks’ passing game is spiraling counter-clockwise down the toilet because Wilson is in a slump. No. It might be more accurate to say that Darrell Bevell, the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator, is in a slump. “His passing game appears chaotic and out of sorts,” said a former NFL offensive coordinator. “Some weeks, Bevell is…

January 15, 2014

Roman on halftime at Candlestick: “Solari and Geep will handle certain things until we get there.”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Friday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Opening comments: “Good afternoon. We’ve got the Atlanta Falcons coming in. It’s obviously a big day, historic day, Monday night, Candlestick Park, I think it speaks for itself. But, we know what the Atlanta Falcons are capable of. It was less than one year ago that we looked up…

December 20, 2013

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

Kaepernick’s season of regression

Here is my Tuesday column on Kaepernick’s season of regression. The following play epitomizes how inept the 49ers’ offense has become: Eight minutes left in the second quarter against the Saints. Play No. 2 of drive No. 6 for the Niners. Colin Kaepernick lines up under center and waves his left arm to silently signal the third-string tight end, Derek Carrier, to shift to the slot. Carrier isn’t looking. Kaepernick…

November 19, 2013

Skelton: “I’m fairly confident I’m not going to do do the stuff Kap can do.”

SANTA CLARA – John Skelton spoke at his locker Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what he said. Q: What are your thoughts about coming to this team and initial impressions? SKELTON: I’m excited. When I first talked to the coaching staff about the possibility of coming here, I got super pumped, just being able to work with Coach Harbaugh and the rest of the staff. I think his track record, especially for…

October 2, 2013

49ers 34, Packers 28: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – My grades for the 49ers after their 34-28 win over the Packers: KAEPERNICK: A. He outplayed Aaron Rodgers and shredded the Packers’ defense despite having no rushing threat, one wide receiver and one tight end. Kaepernick may be the only quarterback in the NFL who can pull that off. Here’s his final stat line: 29-of-37 for 412 yards, 3 TDs, a 129.4 passer rating, 9-for-18 on third…

September 8, 2013

Scott Tolzien deserves better than to leave on a fade route

Here is my Wednesday column. Scott Tolzien is no longer a 49er. He deserves a proper goodbye. The 49ers’ third-string quarterback the past two seasons got cut on Monday. He was a terrific quarterback at the University of Wisconsin, the Johnny Unitas Award winner in 2010, but no team drafted him after his senior season. His arm wasn’t strong enough for the NFL then, it isn’t strong enough now and…

August 28, 2013

Dave Miller: “There is a job waiting for Greg Roman should he decide to return to the college game.”

The National Football Post’s Dave Miller recently wrote a blog breaking down the top assistant coaches in college football. At the bottom of the blog, Miller wrote this: “There is a job waiting for San Francisco 49ers’ assistant Greg Roman should he decide to return to the college game. The New Jersey native is very well-respected nationally, not just on the West Coast.” So, I have five questions for you….

July 2, 2013

What Roman needs to be head-coaching timber

Here is my Monday column on Greg Roman. We’re in a football lull right now, but the 49ers are always in season. So, let’s dissect their most recent move, signing their promising offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, to a two-year extension through 2015. Roman is a good offensive coordinator. From 2011 to 2012, the 49ers’ offense ranked third in rushing yards and ninth in points per game. Jim Harbaugh thinks Roman…

June 24, 2013

Report: 49ers hire Eric Mangini as an offensive assistant

The 49ers just hired former defensive backs coach, head coach and ESPN analyst Eric Mangini, according to ESPN. Mangini will be an offensive assistant for the 49ers. He will help Jim Harbaugh, Greg Roman, John Morton and Geep Chryst find weaknesses in opposing defenses. Mangini’s primary background is defense, but he was an offensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. All credit to the 49ers for improving their coaching…

June 1, 2013

Why would Greg Roman call Sprint Right Option twice?

The 49ers called Sprint Right Option twice in the red zone on Sunday. Kaepernick takes the snap, takes three steps to the right and fires to the flanker, Michael Crabtree, who is sprinting to the sideline. If the quarterback doesn’t throw it by the third step, the play is over except for the QB’s attempt to run and make something happen, if he can. The first time the 49ers ran…

February 4, 2013

Three keys to the game for the 49ers and the Falcons

This is the opening to my Saturday article on the keys to the game for the 49ers and the Falcons. The Falcons need a miracle to beat the 49ers this Sunday. That’s the consensus of NFL critics. The Falcons need a fire alarm to go off in the 49ers’ hotel at 3 a.m. They need the entire 49ers team — players and coaches — to evacuate the building and catch…

January 18, 2013

Why the 49ers-Cardinals game matters

There are two reasons why this game against the Arizona Cardinals matters deeply to the 49ers. First, there are playoff implications. If the 49ers win, they’ll be 11-4-1. They’ll get the No.2 seed and a first-round Bye if the Packers lose to the Vikings. If the Packers beat the Vikings, the 49ers get the No.3 seed and they would not get a Bye. They would play the No.6 seed at…

December 29, 2012