Joe Staley on the 49ers’ future: “I feel optimistic.”

SANTA CLARA Here’s what Joe Staley said in response to a question I just asked him in the 49ers locker room. ME: “How do you feel about the future of this team?” STALEY: “I feel optimistic. I think we have a lot of young guys on this team, a lot of guys that are stepping up. We need more guys to get into those leadership roles. I see the traits…

December 23, 2015
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Jim Tomsula disputes his own players’ claims that 49ers overlooked Browns

This is the transcript of Jim Tomsula’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Opening comments: “The injuries; again, the guys are still coming in and you know this, but [G/T Alex] Boone is going for an MRI today on that knee. [RB Kendall] Gaskins did have a concussion, so he’s in the concussion protocol. [WR] Torrey Smith that back spasm did happen to him in the…

December 14, 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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HBO’s Harbaugh profile an exercise in sensationalism

This is my Tuesday column on HBO’s feature about Jim Harbaugh. I know you want to hear more about Alex Boone calling Jim Harbaugh “clinically insane.” Everybody knows that stuff already. I’ll get back to that in a minute. Tuesday night, HBO is airing a snap shot of Jim Harbaugh’s return to the University of Michigan. What do we learn from the show? That’s what we’ll get into first. Then,…

April 20, 2015
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Grading the 49ers’ offensive line: Past and present

The San Francisco 49ers had the best offensive line in the NFL when they played in the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. Here’s how I grade that offensive line player by player: LT Joe Staley: A. The best offensive tackle in the league in 2012. LG Mike Iupati: A-. One of the best left guards in the NFL along with Evan Mathis of the Eagles and Ben Grubbs…

March 25, 2015
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Grading the 49ers’ best players

How many players on the 49ers deserve an “A” or “A-” grade? I count six. Here’s my list, and I’m eager to read yours. Aldon Smith: A-. The best pass rusher in the NFL from 2011 to 2013, and a bad pass rusher in 2014. Suspended for the first nine games last season. When he returned, he was not in football shape. If he’s in shape this year, he should…

March 23, 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 and Adam Gase — good match or bad idea?

This is about gravitas and Adam Gase. Gase is the favorite to be the next head coach of the 49ers. Gase is the only coach the 49ers have interviewed twice so far this offseason — they interviewed him for a second time Tuesday, according to reports. Gase is 36 years old. He looks like a teenager. He has been an offensive coordinator for two whole seasons and has done impressive…

January 13, 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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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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Joe Staley: “We have to play more physical, get back to playing with that attitude, playing with that edge.”

SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Joe Staley’s Wednesday interview. Q: What do you guys have to do to turn this thing around? STALEY: We have to stick together. We’ve talked to the team. This loss is not on one person or one group. It was a team loss. Team game. We have to stick together and figure it out and move forward and we will do that….

November 5, 2014
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49ers doomed by play-calling

This is my Tuesday column. The Bears and the Cardinals and the Broncos and the Rams are not defeating the 49ers. Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman are defeating the 49ers. Before the season started, if you had known the 49ers’ defense would rank second after eight games without NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, what would you have expected the Niners’ record to be? 7-1? 8-0? If anything diminished the Niners…

November 4, 2014
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Jim Harbaugh: “We’re not going to be concerned about what other people think or point out.”

SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. Have you had a chance to talk to RB Marcus Lattimore about his future yet? “He’s weighing his options and we’ll have an announcement about that, as we said yesterday. Still to come.”   Do you want to just give him space and let him have plenty of time to kind…

November 3, 2014
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Joe Staley: “Penalties, dumb blocks, dumb techniques and dumb schemes.”

SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Joe Staley’s postgame interview, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. Q: Was it a good week of practice? STALEY: “Yeah, it was a great week of practice.” Q: Does it take you by surprise with this line and group of playmakers? STALEY: “Yes. Very much so.” Q: Is it all stuff you guys feel is correctable? STALEY: “Yeah. We have all the…

November 2, 2014
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49ers 10, Rams 13: Grades

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers just gave away a game to the Rams, a dreadful team that was trying its best to lose. Here are the 49ers’ grades. KAEPERNICK: D+. Was that him? Didn’t look like it. Whoever was wearing the red No.7 jersey looked timid, tentative, not explosive at all. Averaged just 7.18 yards per pass and 2.8 yards per carry, converted 3-of-12 third down and scored no touchdowns…

November 2, 2014
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Jim Harbaugh says he thinks Vernon Davis is good to go now

SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. Do you feel like facing an opponent so shortly after facing them the first time, playing one game and then facing them again, does that cause any kind of complications for the coaching staff? “It’s a salty opponent. We understand that. We’ve played them twice in the same year, now going…

October 29, 2014
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Grading 49ers at the break

This is my Sunday column. The 49ers just finished dead week. These are their midterm grades. COLIN KAEPERNICK Pocket proficiency: B. Was a C-minus last season. Completed just 57 percent of his passes and posted an 81 passer rating inside the pocket in 2013. Has completed 69 percent of his passes and posted a 90 rating inside the pocket this season. He’s finding the open receiver quickly and throwing the…

October 27, 2014
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Greg Roman on Frank Gore: “We don’t want to just ride that stallion all day everyday.”

SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Greg Roman’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. Opening comments: “Afternoon. We’ve got a division game against the Rams. We know them well, they know us. [Rams defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams is back there as the d-coordinator. We have a lot of respect for him. He’s doing a great job with that defense. And, it really starts up front…

October 10, 2014
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49ers 22, Chiefs 17: Grades

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers eked out a 22-17 win over the Chiefs Sunday afternoon. But the 49ers should have lost. The Chiefs gave away the game. With four minutes and 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter Kansas City committed one of the stupidest penalties you ever will see: Fourth-and-2 at the Chiefs’ 36-yard line. Phil Dawson was on the field to attempt a 54-yard field goal and, if…

October 5, 2014
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Joe Staley on the Cowboys: “Their defensive line does stuff that we call ‘Pirate Stunts’.”

SANTA CLARA — Joe Staley was interviewed next to his locker Thursday afternoon. Here’s what he said about the Cowboys’ defensive line. Q: What about the Cowboys’ defense could pose some challenges. STALEY: They do a good job of movement. Their defensive line does stuff that we call “Pirate stunts” which is three different guys moving in sync. That creates some trouble for some offensive lines so we really focused…

September 4, 2014
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