Return to the NFL winner’s circle

Here is my Sunday article on the last great moment at Candlestick Park. This article runs in the Press Democrat’s Sunday sports section. SANTA CLARA — A few days before the last game ever played at Candlestick Park, Vernon Davis walked off the practice field talking to Frank Gore after a morning walkthrough. Davis had agreed to do a one-on-one interview after the walkthrough about the last great moment at…

December 22, 2013

Harbaugh: “I support Jonathan Martin.”

SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Wednesday afternoon. Here is a transcript. Q: What strikes you most about having Aldon Smith back? HARBAUGH: I wouldn’t say one thing strikes me most other than it’s good to have him back, good to be around him again. Q: Patrick Willis and Ahmad Brooks said they got pretty winded in a drill the other day and Aldon wasn’t even…

November 6, 2013

Harbaugh on Kaepernick: “Talked many times about his different qualities. Showered him every day.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the defensive meeting room Tuesday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers.   Are you feeling fresh or are you feeling a little jetlag? “I feel great. I feel great. One of the other bonuses of a long stay away, you get nine days away, is just how fresh your facility feels when you get back and the practice fields, the…

October 29, 2013

49ers 42, Jaguars 10: Grades

Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 42-10 win over the Jaguars. Quarterbacks: A. One of the best games ever by a quarterback who completed just 10 passes. Kaepernick scored three touchdowns, one passing and two rushing, and he averaged 10.2 yards per pass attempt and 9.3 yards per rush attempt. He made 10 breathtaking plays in the first half alone – designed runs, scrambles, pump fakes, passes on the…

October 27, 2013

Jaguars offer opportunity for 49ers to test-drive a few options

Here is my Thursday column on the 49ers’ upcoming game against the awful Jaguars. Beating the Jaguars is way down the list of important things the 49ers must accomplish this weekend. Beating the Jaguars isn’t even top-three. Beating the Jaguars is expected. Everyone beats the Jaguars. The Jaguars are the worst. The 49ers should treat this game like an exhibition or a scrimmage. There is no way the 49ers lose…

October 24, 2013

49ers 31, Titans 17: Grades

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 31-17 win over the Titans. KAEPERNICK: A-. He threw some extremely accurate passes and ran exceptionally well. His passer rating was 93.2 and his yards-per-carry average was 6.2 – the highest in the game. He gets an A- and not an A because he made two poor throws in the second quarter when the 49ers were up just 3-0. First,…

October 20, 2013

Harbaugh: “We didn’t get a fast start in terms of moving the football offensively.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the defensive meeting room Monday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers.   Were there a few more people getting treatment today after having such a physical game yesterday? “It was normal, a normal day.”   Did it seem like a more physical game than usual? “It was very physical.”   On the 18-play drive in the fourth quarter, how well-executed…

October 14, 2013

49ers 32, Cardinals 20: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 32-20 win over the Cardinals. KAEPERNICK: C-. He was 8-for-11 passing to Vernon Davis and 8-for-18 passing to everyone else. The Cardinals absolutely could not cover Davis and Kaepernick took advantage. Kaepernick also threw an interception in the red zone, fumbled the ball in the pocket and fumbled a snap which he recovered. He was 1-for-8 on third down until…

October 13, 2013

Boldin’s intensity can carry 49ers, but not every week, not this week

Here is my Friday column about the presence and absence of Anquan Boldin. SANTA CLARA – Anquan Boldin is like a hero from an Elmore Leonard novel, a modern-day cowboy. On Thursday he marched through the locker room from the shower to his locker, head high, eyes forward, and said hello to no one. He’s like a cowboy entering a saloon with the brim of his hat covering his eyes….

October 11, 2013

Roman says he likes Bethel-Thompson’s “demeanor” and “release”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers.   Opening comments: “Good afternoon. Big Division game this week. We kind of treat it as a one-game season so-to-speak against a very good defense. They’re one of the top teams in the NFL against the rush. When we turn on the film it’s pretty obvious why. They got a…

October 10, 2013

49ers 7, Colts 27: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 27-7 Week 3 loss to the Colts. KAEPERNICK: D-. His second horrendous game in a row. He completed just 13-of-27 passes for 150 yards. He also threw an interception and fumbled. Kaepernick is the kind of quarterback who wants to feed the ball to the receivers he trusts but he trusts just one receiver – Anquan Boldin. Kaepernick hardly looks…

September 22, 2013

Colts have the horsepower to outrun 49ers on Sunday

Here is my Friday column previewing the 49ers-Colts game. Even if Indianapolis hadn’t traded for Trent Richardson on Wednesday, the 49ers still would have a tough time beating the Colts on Sunday. Look at the facts: The Colts ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing yards without Richardson. They average 5 yards per carry. To beat the 49ers, you have to run the ball well and that’s what the Colts…

September 20, 2013

49ers flaws were exposed and the rest of the league was watching

Here is my Tuesday column on the issues the 49ers currently face. The Week 1 win against the Packers masked issues on the 49ers, but the Seahawks just tore off the mask. What do we see? The offense is worse than it was last season. Let’s start there. They’re missing key players: Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Delanie Walker and Frank Gore. Yes, Gore is missing. More on him later. Crabtree…

September 17, 2013

Kaepernick’s brilliance masks issues for 49ers

Here is my Monday column. Enjoy. SANTA CLARA – Let’s focus on the good after the 49ers’ Week 1 win over the Packers, a very good team, probably not a great team. THE GOOD After just 11 starts, Colin Kaepernick probably is the best quarterback in the NFL. You could say he singlehandedly beat the Packers. His defense gave up 28 points, he had no rushing attack and still he…

September 9, 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

Brent Jones: “I’m focused on where we’re going to get output offensively from our WR position.”

Brent Jones spoke on KNBR Tuesday afternoon. Here’s what he said. Q: Will there be anything Scott Tolzien can tell the Packers that will make a difference? JONES: I think generally there could be a nugget or two. You know what he can do – and maybe they’ll change this up, but when you change stuff up that has been consistent, you kind of mess up your own team –…

September 3, 2013

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

Harbaugh on Kaepernick’s lack of playing time: “I didn’t want anything freakish to happen.”

SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Sunday morning. Here’s what he said. Q: What is the complexion of practices these final two weeks of the exhibition season? Will you still do some ones against ones, or will it be mostly scout team work? HARBAUGH: It will not change very much. It will still be one versus one, two versus two, one versus two, two versus one,…

August 18, 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