49ers’ third exhibition may answer questions…or not

This is my Saturday column. The 49ers’ preseason game Saturday against the Denver Broncos almost matters. It’s the third preseason game, the dress rehearsal. Both teams’ starters probably will play the entire first half so they can get in rhythm and feel confident for the regular season. Here are the top-three things to watch about the 49ers. 1. The first-string offense Twelve teams have yet to score a touchdown with…

August 28, 2015

49ers practice highlights

SANTA CLARA – Here are the highlights from Tuesday’s practice. THE GOOD 1. RB Kendall Hunter. Led all members of the first-team offense with five touches during team drills (Carlos Hyde and Anquan Boldin each had three touches – tied for second-most on the first team). One of Hunter’s touches was a catch on a screen play, and another was an eight-yard touchdown run on a stretch-zone run to the…

August 25, 2015

Jim Tomsula says Bruce Ellington, Michael Wilhoite and Glenn Dorsey will return to practice this week, plus more

SANTA CLARA – Here’s a transcript of head coach Jim Tomsula’s Monday conference call. Q: Last week you intimated you’d be shuffling around the offensive. Is the first unit the unit you’ve settled on? TOMSULA: No, it is not the unit we’ve settled. We are not settled there. We’re getting closer. I like what (Joe) Looney did, and I like where we’re going with RG Marcus (Martin). He’s really doing…

August 24, 2015

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

49ers 13, Raiders 24: Grades

OAKLAND – Before we get to the grades, let’s have a moment of silence for the Jim Harbaugh Era.       That’s enough. KAEPERNICK: Ω. He gets an omega, the last letter in the Greek alphabet, because English just won’t do. An ‘F’ isn’t low enough. A ‘Z’ isn’t low enough. This was the worst performance of Kaepernick’s career, the kind of performance that gets a quarterback benched and…

December 7, 2014

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

Jim Harbaugh on Alex Smith: “Always very happy for his success, almost all the time.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh was interviewed by Bay Area reporters Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. Is this different, just the preparation in any way, facing somebody at the quarterback position that you know so well? “To some degree it is. I think about it. When we start talking about the scouting report and it’s [Chiefs QB] Alex [Smith]. So, yeah, in some ways…

October 1, 2014

Vic Fangio struggles with the hand he was dealt

This is my Saturday column previewing the 49ers’ Sunday home game against the Eagles. What is Vic Fangio supposed to do? Call plays while hopping on one leg? Vic, try patting your head and rubbing your stomach in the coaches’ box. Say rubber baby buggy bumpers. Strike a pose. The 49ers’ defensive coordinator is running out of options. He tried blitzing. He tried not blitzing. Neither has worked. The 49ers’…

September 27, 2014

Vic Fangio says Ahmad Brooks is overweight

SANTA CLAR A — Vic Fangio was interviewed in the 49ers’ auditorium Tuesday afternoon. Here’s a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. staff.   How did NT Ian Williams play? I know it wasn’t a lot of snaps, but how did he look? “He did fine. I was pleased with the way he played. I was hoping to get him a few more snaps but he started tightening up a…

August 26, 2014

Colin Kaepernick throws touchdown passes, Anquan Boldin throws punches at Darryl Morris

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me at Friday’s padded practice. THE GOOD 1. Colin Kaepernick. Completed 14 of the 19 passes he attempted during team drills. He threw three touchdown passes – one to Quinton Patton, one to Vernon Davis and one to Chuck Jacobs. This may have been Kaepernick’s best practice of camp. 2. Vernon Davis. Made five catches during team drills. One was a five-yard…

August 1, 2014

Borland beats Hyde again

SANTA CLARA — Here is what stood out to me at the 49ers’ non-padded practice Thursday afternoon. THE GOOD 1. Patrick Willis. Forced a fumble. Will Tukuafu caught a pass over the middle, turned and took two steps upfield when Willis punched the ball out of his hands. 2. Michael Wilhoite. Punched a ball out of Quinton Patton’s hands during a red zone drill. Patton hadn’t taken a step with…

July 31, 2014

Vic Fangio says Chris Culliver looks really good physically

SANTA CLARA — Vic Fangio was interviewed in the 49ers’ auditorium Friday morning. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers. You finally got to see DB Jimmie Ward on the field. Any reaction to seeing him out there running around a little bit? “He did fine. You know, he was also here last week where we had those three, they were altered practices, we didn’t have the full 22…

July 25, 2014

Baalke: “I like long arms.”

Trent Baalke held a press conference Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. Here is a transcript. Q: Frank Gore will count $6 or $7 million against the salary cap this season. Is that reasonable? BAALKE: The simple is there is no reason it can’t be. We’re in a good shape from a cap standpoint. There really is no decision to be made. We can move forward exactly as is if…

February 21, 2014

49ers 34, Texans 3: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are my grades for the 49ers’ 34-3 demolition of the entire Texans’ franchise. KAEPERNICK: F+. He gets the plus for hitting a wide-open Vernon Davis on a 64-yard touchdown pass. Besides that play, Kaepernick completed 5-of-14 passes for 49 yards. That’s a 46.4 passer rating and that’s dreadful. At least he didn’t turn over the ball. He’s still hardly looking to throw the ball to anyone…

October 6, 2013

Harbaugh: “We would have liked to have B.J. back. We don’t, so, rolled the dice there and now we don’t have him.”

SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Friday afternoon. Here’s a transcript. Q: What’s the outlook for Patrick Willis for Sunday’s game? HARBAUGH: We’ll see. He’s progressing good every day. We’ll see what the chances are tomorrow and the next day. Q: How did Michael Wilhoite look this week in practice? HARBAUGH: Good, good. He’s done a nice job in games and practice. Q: Is he at…

October 4, 2013

Fangio on the Texans: “They make their runs and play-action passes look exactly the same.”

SANTA CLARA — Vic Fangio spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here’s a transcript courtesy of the 49ers.   When you look at the Texans, what sort of jumps out at you about the challenge that they present to you guys? “Well, balance number one. These guys are committed to running the ball and they have a play-action passing game that works directly in conjunction with their running game….

October 3, 2013

49ers 41, Chargers 6: Grades

Here are my grades for the 49ers in their 41-6 preseason win over the San Diego Chargers. QUARTERBACKS: B+. Colin Kaepernick completed three short passes and then left the game. Colt McCoy was decent, completing 8-of-15 passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.  His longest completion was a 12-yarder. B.J. Daniels played well, better than McCoy. Daniels completed 5-of-9 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, and he ran 6…

August 29, 2013

Fangio on Reid: “We’ll probably start him in this game coming up and we’ll see how he does with that.”

SANTA CLARA — Vic Fangio spoke in the media tent Monday afternoon. Here’s what he said, courtesy of the 49ers.   What’s your feeling about this depth? It seems to be developing across the board. In these first two preseason games it seems like everybody you put in will do well defensively. “Yes, we’ve been able to develop some good depth at some places, other places not as quality as…

August 19, 2013

Bowman on Wilhoite: “He’s not too far from me and Pat.”

SANTA CLARA – NaVorro Bowman spoke in the media tent Monday afternoon. Here’s what he said. Q: How much has Michael Wilhoite improved this offseason? BOWMAN: He’s definitely a lot more focused. He understands that he has a chance to be the next guy up. I think that’s what he’s been waiting for. He’s definitely earned it with giving us everything he has on special teams. Now that he’s playing…

August 12, 2013

Vernon Davis on A.J. Jenkins: “When he comes to work, he’s got to be serious.”

SANTA CLARA – Vernon Davis spoke in the media tent Monday afternoon. Here’s what he said. Q: How much has Colin Kaepernick developed this offseason? VERNON DAVIS: Colin has come a long way. Last year when he first got the starting job, we would be in practice and he would overthrow me. I would be running as fast as I possibly could and Colin just kept overthrowing me. But now…

August 12, 2013