For 49ers, this season all about one man

This is my Sunday column. SANTA CLARA – Training camp for the San Francisco 49ers started today. What person on the 49ers is this season all about? Is it the man standing in the middle of the practice field directing drills — head coach Jim Tomsula? No. Practice isn’t the full picture. Games may not even be the full picture. Look beyond what the team presents you. The key figure…

August 1, 2015

Baalke’s baffling hires

This is my Friday column. Trent Baalke, you sly dog. I thought I had you figured out. I thought I could read you like a map. I knew you revealed your master plan for the 49ers’ coaching search when you said, “This isn’t a rebuild situation. This is a reload situation,” at the end-of-the-season press conference. But, I still couldn’t predict who you would hire. I figured you would promote…

January 30, 2015

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

49ers’ next coach will be…

This is my Friday column. Let’s play a game. Based on what we know about Jed York and Trent Baalke, which isn’t much, and what we know about their head-coaching search, which is even less, predict which coach they will hire. Easy, right? I think I know the answer, based on next to nothing. And not only that — I think I know the exact words and phrases York and…

January 8, 2015

Joe Looney on Alex Boone: “He’s a heck of a player. I want to do a great job just like he did.”

SANTA CLARA – Joe Looney was interviewed next to his locker Tuesday afternoon. Here’s a transcript. Q: Do you think improved from the Ravens’ game to the Broncos’ game? LOONEY: Yeah, I thought I played a little better. There is always stuff I can get better at doing, but I thought I played a better game with my pad level. Q: You were on the inactive roster so much the…

August 19, 2014

Why Harbaugh is so good

This is my Sunday column on what makes Jim Harbaugh a good head coach. SEATTLE — Serious question — what makes Jim Harbaugh a good head coach? Clearly, he is a good coach. His record reflects that. More than three wins for every loss as a head coach in the NFL. But Harbaugh doesn’t call his own plays like Bill Walsh or Sean Payton, and Harbaugh isn’t a defensive specialist…

January 18, 2014

Roman on halftime at Candlestick: “Solari and Geep will handle certain things until we get there.”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Friday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Opening comments: “Good afternoon. We’ve got the Atlanta Falcons coming in. It’s obviously a big day, historic day, Monday night, Candlestick Park, I think it speaks for itself. But, we know what the Atlanta Falcons are capable of. It was less than one year ago that we looked up…

December 20, 2013

49ers line coach Solari a man of common reality and uncommon results

Here is my Friday column on Mike Solari. SANTA CLARA – You need to know about the 49ers’ offensive line coach, Mike Solari. You may not even have heard of him or seen his face – the 49ers’ position coaches don’t get much pub under Jim Harbaugh, rarely talk to the media. But if you’ve studied the sideline during a game and seen a coach with a thick, full gray…

December 13, 2013

Roman: “Frank is just getting better and better.”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Opening Statement: “Good afternoon. I’d just like on behalf of the offensive staff to send out best wishes to [Houston Texans head] coach [Gary] Kubiak, [Denver Broncos head] coach [Jon] Fox and their families. Our thoughts, prayers are with them and their families and their health. [Offensive…

November 7, 2013

Training camp report: Harbaugh breaks up fight

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers practiced in shorts and shells Tuesday evening in preparation for Friday night’s preseason game against the Chiefs. Here’s what stood out to me during the evening practice. THE GOOD 1. MarQueis Gray – He made two jaw-dropping catches during 11-on-11 team drills. First, he ran a seam route down the middle of the field. Tolzien threw it up for Gray. Gray jumped, twisted and caught…

August 13, 2013

Joe Looney recovering from Lisfranc fracture, learning right guard

SANTA CLARA – Fourth round pick Joe Looney spoke to reporters after Jason Slowey this afternoon. Looney suffered a Lisfranc fracture at the Senior Bowl in January which required surgery. He’s still rehabbing, and today he discussed how that process is going, what he’s doing in the meantime and what position on the offensive line he will play once he returns. Here’s a transcript. Q: What are you doing these…

July 25, 2012

Alex Boone Q&A

SANTA CLARA – I participated in a group interview with third-year backup tackle Alex Boone. He starts with praise for Aldon Smith, and then he talks about his own role on the team this year. I included almost the entire 10-minute interview because Boone had some great lines. He’s a funny guy. Enjoy. Q: What’s it like to go against Aldon Smith in practice? BOONE: What’s it like to go…

August 6, 2011