Training camp starts Friday and here are the top-five people I’m interested to watch. 1. Jim Harbaugh. It’s important to see how he runs a practice. Does he teach? Does he delegate work to his other coaches? Does he spend most his time with the quarterbacks? 2. Colin Kaepernick. How comfortable is he running the offense? What are his strengths and weaknesses? How does he interact with his teammates? Does…
In this article, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports quotes an unnamed NFL coach as saying he prefers Ponder to Auburn’s Cam Newton. Ponder’s stock is rising as he’s put to rest questions regarding lingering arm issues. In addition, he presumably impressed teams in one-on-one meetings at the combine with his Xs-and-Os smarts.
In looking beyond the draft at the Niners’ quarterback situation, Lombardi sees San Francisco as potential players for Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer, assuming he’s on the trade market. And he also “fully expects” the Niners to pursue free agent Marc Bulger, not a name that’s generally been linked to San Francisco.
Harbaugh has twice had running backs returning after 1,000-yard seasons. In each case those backs have ranked among the top three in the nation in carries per game, averaging more than 26 a contest (perspective: Kansas City’s Larry Johnson set the NFL record for single-season carries in 2006 with 416, or 26 a contest).
Maybe it’s because he bolted into the backfield with an impossibly large black cast on his broken right hand. And maybe it’s because, looking back, I know he suffered further damage to his hand and needed a second surgery following the game. Or maybe it’s just because, in my mind, everything about the Niners was substandard and embarrassing in that game until Willis, like a Porsche surrounded by Pintos, made that play.
Willis is the first player in team history to be named All-Pro in each of his first four seasons. Running back Hugh McElhenny was an All-Pro in his first three seasons (1952-54), earning first-team honors his first two years in the league.
Willis, obviously, can withstand pain. But he couldn’t do much when he received a concerned look after the results of an X-ray on his broken right hand came back after Sunday’s 25-17 loss to the Rams.
The last big decision of Mike Singletary’s 40-game tenure was his choice of quarterbacks for last week’s must-win game at St. Louis. Singletary chose Troy Smith. And last week’s backup conceded today that he wasn’t thrilled when Singletary gave him the news.
Patrick Willis, who was named as a starter, became the first 49ers player since Ronnie Lott to begin his career with four consecutive Pro Bowl appearances. Willis said it was an honor to be linked with the Hall of Fame safety.
Back home in the South Bay after the loss at St. Louis, Patrick Willis unwound by surfing the Internet on Sunday night. It was when Willis clicked over to ESPN that he saw the news: his organization had fired Mike Singletary. “I called him right away, you know, because I wanted to hear it from him as opposed to hearing it in the news and all that stuff,” Willis said to the reporters still hanging around the media trailer Monday afternoon.
The Yorks, it’s worth noting, haven’t hesitated to open the vault recently – shelling out about $52 million in guaranteed money to lock up franchise cornerstones Patrick Willis and Vernon Davis to long-term deals.
Most of the 49ers are polite when fielding questions from the media. Keaton Kristick, happy to discuss wrestling moves once the tape recorder is turned off, might be the only one who could accurately be described as eager.
It’s easy to look at the broad-shouldered, barrel-chested and slim-waisted Hall-of-Fame middle linebacker and not see a legendary former player.
Geez, I spent nearly 1,000 words trying to describe the 49ers’ performance and my non-writer, NFL-mad friend captured it perfectly in a concise in-game e-mail. His message: Puke. Evidently RB DeShawn Wynn wasn’t the only one with an upset tummy after the Niners’ 34-7 faceplant against San Diego:
Pregame notes leading up until kickoff: • ILBs Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes, who were questionable with hand injuries, will play tonight. CSN Bay Area has reported that both Willis and Spikes have broken hands. UPDATE: A Niners spokesperson has confirmed that Willis had surgery Monday and had a pin inserted. Spikes did not have surgery. • 49ers inactives: David Carr (3rd QB), K Joe Nedney, CB Tramaine Brock, CB…