Harbaugh on A.J. Jenkins: “I don’t think it’s fair to bully or label a young player.”

SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what he said. Q: Jon Baldwin practiced yesterday. What was your initial reaction to him and how he’s fitting in? HARBAUGH: Just one day, but good so far. Q: Can you tell what skills he has and how he could potentially fit into your offense? HARBAUGH: I think most people can. He’s somebody with great athletic ability….

August 21, 2013

Meaningless exhibition? Not when you know what to watch

Here is my preview of the 49ers-Chiefs preseason game. Five things to watch in the 49ers’ preseason game against the Chiefs Friday night: 1. Colin Kaepernick in the red zone. Kaepernick has something to prove here. As terrific as he’s played in his brief career, he needs to improve his passing in the red zone. Last season, his red zone passer rating was 83.9, nothing special. Compare that to Alex Smith…

August 15, 2013

Training camp report: Jenkins shut out, Brown moves to nickelback

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me during Monday afternoon’s padded practice. THE GOOD 1. Tarell Brown – He returned to practice after missing the last two and was the starting nickelback in place of Carlos Rogers. Brown gave up just one catch while playing nickelback – a 15-yard completion to Austin Collie. 2. Aldon Smith –He sat out for an hour during the middle portion of team…

August 12, 2013

Training camp report: Kendall Hunter returns to sloppy practice

SAN FRANCISCO – Here’s what stood out to me at Saturday afternoon’s padded practice at Candlestick Park. THE GOOD 1. Kendall Hunter – He returned to practice for the first time since he tore his Achilles’ tendon last November. He didn’t participate much, but he got his feet wet. 2. Jonathan Goodwin – He returned to practice after missing the past two week and immediately took over his spot as…

August 10, 2013

Predict Kendall Hunter’s 2013 stats

Kendall Hunter is a wild card for the 49ers this season. Last season, he averaged 5.2 yards per attempt on 72 rushes before he tore his Achilles’ tendon Week 12 in New Orleans. Only five running backs had better yards-per-carry averages last season – C.J. Spiller, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Andre Brown. Hunter currently is on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but he runs around on the sideline…

August 5, 2013

49ers facing a summer of questions

This is my Monday column on the top-five questions the 49ers face this summer. Even though the 49ers are among the odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl, like any other team, they confront certain issues. Two of their best players – Justin Smith and Frank Gore – are in their 30s and declining. The 49ers’ offensive MVP last season – Michael Crabtree – tore his Achilles tendon in OTAs….

July 22, 2013

49ers place Manningham, Hunter, Williams and Fleming on the PUP list

The 49ers just announced they’ve placed Mario Manningham, Kendall Hunter, Kyle Williams and Darius Flemming on the Phyisically Unable to Perform list, and Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Luke Marquardt and Marcus Lattimore on the Active/Non-Football Injury list. Manningham potentially could miss all of training camp and start the regular season on the PUP list, meaning he would miss the first six games. The 49ers potentially could activate Williams and Hunter…

July 20, 2013

49ers playing-time predictions: offensive skill players

Predict how many snaps each of the 49ers’ offensive skill players will play during the upcoming regular season, and explain your predictions. Keep in mind, the 49ers’ offense played 1,032 snaps last regular season. Here are my predictions. 1. Vernon Davis – 1,000 snaps. He’ll play every single snap he’s physically able to play. 2. Anquan Boldin – 900 snaps. With Crabtree out, the 49ers need both Boldin and Davis…

June 21, 2013

Do the 49ers still match up well against the Packers?

The 49ers don’t play the Packers until September 8, but we’re killing time over here, so here’s a question for you: Do the 49ers still match up well against the Packers? The Packers did not match up well against the 49ers in two games last season, but this offseason Green Bay drafted two running backs – Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin – and a defensive lineman – Datone Jones –…

June 10, 2013

Harbaugh on the 49ers’ wide receiver competition: “The young guys are over on the X side.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke to the Bay Area media Tuesday afternoon next to the 49ers’ practice field. Here’s what he said, courtesy of the 49ers.   This was our first time seeing WR Anquan Boldin out there. He looked like he’s still in playoff form, what he’s done all those years. What’d you see out of him? “Well, very impressed. Today, you got a good look at what…

May 28, 2013

The 49ers’ top 10 offseason position battles

Here are the top-10 position battles on the 49ers I’m looking forward to this offseason. Which battles interest you the most? 1. No.2 and No.3 cornerback: Carlos Rogers vs. Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Chris Culliver. Tarell Brown probably is a lock to start, so Rogers, Asomugha and Culliver will compete for the other two cornerback spots in the 49ers’ Nickel defense. Rogers and Culliver will compete to cover the slot. The…

May 5, 2013

Comparing Frank Gore, LaMichael James and Kendall Hunter

I found some interesting stats on the 49ers’ running backs I’d like to share with you. According to Pro Football Focus, LaMichael James is averaging 3.37 yards after contact per attempt (14th in the NFL), has forced five missed tackles, and has a 56.2 “elusive rating,” 25th in the NFL. Keep in mind, James has rushed just 27 times (for 125 yards) and caught just 3 passes (for 29 yards),…

January 16, 2013

What we learned about the 49ers: The good and the not-so-good

SAN FRANCISCO – We learned a few things about the 49ers today – some good and some not-so-good. Here are those things. The Good The 49ers earned the No.2 seed and a first-round Bye with the win and the Packers’ three-point loss to the Vikings. The Packers and Vikings play again next weekend. If the Packers win, they play the 49ers at Candlestick in two weeks, on Saturday, January 12th…

December 30, 2012

Roman: “I think Crab matches up well against everybody. Crab is a player who’s ascending.”

SANTA CLARA – This is the transcript of Greg Roman’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.   Opening Statement: “Good afternoon. Everybody is working hard, everybody is focused. We know how good Seattle’s defense is. I think they are statistically the third ranked defense in the league in yards given up. But the reality of it is, they’re good at every position, safeties do a great job of covering…

December 20, 2012

Cosell: “The 49ers play a lot of man coverage. Wilson is more than willing to throw against man coverage.”

This is what Greg Cosell said on KNBR Thursday morning about the 49ers upcoming matchup with the Seahawks. Q: What makes Seattle’s defense so good? COSELL: They play a ton of man, and they play press-man. They’re a challenging defense. They don’t give you things. It’s earned yards. There’s a difference between earned yards and easy yards. The Seahawks defense gives you earned yards. You have to work really hard….

December 20, 2012

Harbaugh on Carroll: “I don’t remember getting any cards from him at the holidays.”

SANTA CLARA – This is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.   I heard you say yesterday that the Cowboy will ride. Do you expect DT Justin Smith to play Sunday against Seattle? “If it’s humanly possible.”   Is it going to be humanly possible? “We’ll see. We’ll see how he feels today and tomorrow.”   How do you feel about just the overall…

December 19, 2012

Greg Roman and the pistol offense

Now that Alex Smith has been benched and Kendall Hunter is out for the season, Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman are changing the 49ers offense to complement the skill sets of Colin Kaepernick and LaMichael James. The 49ers used a full house pistol formation 17 times against the Dolphins on Sunday – six times in the first half and 11 times in the second half. The full house pistol formation…

December 10, 2012

Brent Jones says 49ers need to create a package for LaMichael James and call more runs for Kaepernick

Brent Jones spoke on KNBR Monday afternoon. Here’s what he said the 49ers have to do to make up for the loss of Kendall Hunter. Q: What do the 49ers do with Kendall Hunter out for the year? BRENT JONES: “That’s the thing. Frank carried the ball 23 times on Sunday, and he’s been more of a 17-to-18-carries type of guy. “Somebody’s going to have to step up. Is it…

December 5, 2012

Gore on the difference between Hunter and James: “They’re both fast, but it’s hard to tackle Kendall.”

SANTA CLARA – Frank Gore spoke at his locker Tuesday afternoon. Here’s what he said about LaMichael James. GORE: LaMichael is still learning. I see that he got better from when he first got here to now. I see a lot of improvement. Q: In what areas? GORE: Running in small spaces. He got better in small spaces. When you watch his film from college, it’s a lot of big…

December 4, 2012