49ers camp progress report

This is my Saturday column. SANTA CLARA – Eight training camp practices down, three to go before the 49ers play preseason game No. 1 and you see this for yourself. Until then, here are my top five takeaways from camp. 1. Colin Kaepernick is improving. It’s his fourth season in this offense and he has it down cold – that’s the first thing you notice. He shouts a million things…

August 2, 2014

Greg Roman says Carlos Hyde has “a Frank-Gore type of trait”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman was interviewed by Bay Area reporters in the 49ers’ auditorium Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. staff.   Opening comments: “Good afternoon. Into the meat of training camp right now. Guys are working hard. You get to this point in training camp and you’ve kind of installed your base offense. It’s about the fourth time that we’ve done it. Now…

July 31, 2014

Five key questions for the 49ers

This is my Sunday article on the 49ers. For the 49ers, training camp is about becoming the best. Second place isn’t good enough anymore. Enough with second place. Win the Super Bowl before the window of opportunity closes. With that in mind, here are five key questions the 49ers will face in training camp. 1. Will Carlos Hyde rejuvenate the 49ers’ running game? Frank Gore is slowing down. In the…

July 20, 2014

Who has the biggest impact on the 49ers’ offense?

Who has the biggest impact on the 49ers’ offense? Is it Vernon Davis? Is it Colin Kaepernick? It’s neither. Greg Roman has the biggest impact on the 49ers’ offense. He orchestrates it during the games, makes sure everyone is in tune. He determines when and how often to call each offensive player’s number. Yes, Jim Harbaugh helps game plan and has ultimate veto-power over Roman’s play-calling. But Roman has a…

June 26, 2014

Greg Roman on Vance McDonald: “He was very instrumental in our rushing attack last year.”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke to Bay Area reporters Tuesday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers. Opening comments: “Good afternoon. We’ve had a very productive spring. Guys are working hard. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We’re very happy with the commitment, the effort the guys are putting in. It’s a three-day minicamp. This is the third time we’ve installed our offense. So,…

June 17, 2014

What’s a Harbaugh worth?

Here is my Wednesday column on Jim Harbaugh. Under no circumstances should the 49ers give Jim Harbaugh a contract extension this offseason. Let him play out the final two years of his deal. Or let him win a Super Bowl before giving him a raise. Apparently, Harbaugh wants to be the highest-paid head coach in the NFL. Hey, so do I, but I don’t deserve to be. Harbaugh doesn’t deserve…

February 26, 2014

Get ready in the red zone

Here is my Friday column. The 49ers’ biggest need this offseason is not a player. Not a wide receiver. Not a cornerback. Not a safety. Talent isn’t the Niners’ problem – they might have the most talented team in the league. Sure, they could use a speed wide receiver, but they need something else. If they had what they needed, they would be Super Bowl champions already. They would have…

January 24, 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

49ers 17, Seahawks 23: Grades

SEATTLE – Here are my grades for the 49ers’ 23-17 loss to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. KAEPERNICK: D. He was the 49ers’ best offensive player, no question. He carried the 49ers’ offense all game. He made at least a half-dozen great improvisational plays. If it weren’t for those plays, what offense would the 49ers have had? The 58-yard run was Kaepernick improvising, and a couple of his…

January 19, 2014

Greg Roman’s third down tendency

I wrote a column this week on the NFL catching up to the Seahawks offensive coordinator’s tendencies. In the interest of balance, I want to share a tendency I’ve noticed about the 49ers’ offense, although I don’t think the NFL has caught up to it. Since Michael Crabtree returned Week 13, he has received 15 targets on third down and Anquan Boldin has received 16 third-down targets. Since Week 13,…

January 17, 2014

Roman on the Seahawks’ defense: “These guys cover a lot of ground.”

SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Greg Roman’s Thursday press conference courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Opening comments: “For those of you that are here, great to be back in the Championship Game again. We’ve got a tough opponent. You don’t get here by accident. So, love how our players are preparing this week and the task is very simple. Any questions?”   Head coach Jim…

January 16, 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

49ers 23, Panthers 10: Grades

CHARLOTTE – Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 23-10 divisional playoff win over the Panthers. KAEPERNICK: A-. He played terribly before the 49ers defense made their second goal line stand but, then again, most of the Niners played terribly before the second stand. After that, Kaepernick and the rest of the Niners were just about unstoppable. Kaepernick accounted for two touchdowns – a pass to Vernon Davis while rolling…

January 12, 2014

It comes to pass for 49ers, Panthers

This is my Thursday column on the difference between the 49ers and Panthers. SANTA CLARA – The 49ers face a version of themselves this Sunday. If the 49ers are a “Bob,” the Panthers are a “Roberto.” For the most part, the 49ers and Panthers are the same team: Excellent, hard-hitting defenses. Quarterbacks who run and throw. Offenses built around running the ball. And coaches who are the sons of coaches…

January 9, 2014

Roman on the first Panthers game: “All the answers were on the film, really.”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke in the 49ers’ media tent Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Opening comments: “Afternoon. Big game, obviously, against the Panthers. We’re right where we want to be. chance to compete for the big prize. I believe there’s eight teams left if I’m not mistaken. Every one of them has earned the right to get here. When you…

January 9, 2014

Harbaugh: “This is as much fun as you can possibly have in football and as much fun as you can have in life.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Wednesday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   How do you feel about just the state of the team coming after the game and going forward health-wise? “I feel good. I think we’ll be close to full strength.”   Where do things stand with CB Carlos Rogers? “Some things, we’re still healing and treatment. It’s…

January 8, 2014

49ers 23, Packers 20: Grades

GREEN BAY – Here are my grades for the 49ers, who beat the Packers 23-20 at Lambeau Field in a wild card playoff game Sunday night. KAEPERNICK: B+. His passer rating the first three quarters was 58.9, but his passer rating in the fourth quarter was 118.2. So, he was clutch, although he completed just half of his passes in the fourth quarter (4-of-8), and one of his incompletions was…

January 5, 2014

Roman on last week’s short-yardage failures: “I think we could have executed those plays better.”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Opening comments: “I’m very proud of our guys for finishing the regular season 12-4, qualifying for the playoffs. That’s why we all do this, for the opportunity to compete for a championship. We know what’s at stake and we’ve got a very good opponent coming up on Sunday in…

January 2, 2014

49ers 23, Cardinals 20: Grades

Here are my grades for the 49ers. They beat the Cardinals 23-20 on a last-second field goal by Phil Dawson. KAEPERNICK: B+. Excellent in the first and fourth quarter, bad in the second and third quarter. He was flagged for a delay-of-game penalty on the final drive of the game, but he also made two beautiful throws on that drive – one to Anquan Boldin for 18 yards and one…

December 29, 2013