49ers draft grades (the ones that count)

Here is my Monday column grading the 49ers’ draft. Before we grade the 49ers’ draft, we have to agree on a grading criterion. I propose a simple one: Are the 49ers better than the Seahawks now? That’s the only question that should matter. That’s a pass-fail question. The 49ers added depth. They addressed needs. They drafted 12 players. But are the Niners better than the Seahawks? The first player the…

May 12, 2014

Carlos Rogers: “My play on the field speaks for itself.”

SANTA CLARA – Carlos Rogers spoke to Bay Area reporters Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what he said. Q: What do you enter camp feeling like you have to accomplish or work on? ROGERS: Everything. Me and my coach were talking about that, thing that he can see I need to get better at. When you’ve done it so many times and you’re OK at a lot of positions, we try to…

July 24, 2013

Pre-training-camp playoff and Super Bowl predictions

We have nine more days to kill before training camp starts, so let’s predict which 12 teams will make the playoffs and which team will win the Super Bowl. I’m not looking to start a fight, just a discussion. I reserve the right to change my predictions as many times as I want before the season starts. NFC West: Seattle Seahawks. They won 11 games last season, and with the…

July 15, 2013

Seahawks-49ers unmatched as rivalry

Here is my Tuesday column on the Seahawks-49ers rivalry. The 49ers and the Seahawks have the best rivalry in sports right now, and it isn’t even close. Here are the top five reasons why: 1. They are two of the best teams in the NFL. 2. They are in the same division. 3. Their head coaches hate each other. 4. Their players hate the other team’s coach. 5. Their players…

June 18, 2013

49ers’ 2013 draft philosophy, according to Harbaugh: “Big guys that play very physical.”

The 49ers did not draft a cornerback to match the Seahawks’ and Rams’ signature offseason additions – Percy Harvin and Tavon Austin, respectively. Why? It is possible Jim Harbaugh explained why on the NFL Network during the draft. Stanford head coach David Shaw asked Harbaugh to explain his draft philosophy for strengthening the 49ers’ defense, and this is what Harbaugh said: “We got some big guys – size, speed –…

May 6, 2013

Trent Baalke’s mid-offseason progress report

In my humble opinion, you’re doing pretty well so far this offseason, Trent. I’m not going to give you a final grade today. That wouldn’t be fair. You still have the draft in a few weeks, and that’s when you need to perform your best. You have 14 picks. You may feel this year’s rookies will be better and cheaper long term than what’s available on the free agent market,…

March 24, 2013

How the Vikings used Percy Harvin against the 49ers

The 49ers will face Percy Harvin at least two times next season. Can they match up with him? They couldn’t last season when he was on the Vikings. Harvin caught nine passes for 89 yards and he ran once for nine yards. A couple of his catches were screens and a couple were swing passes out of the backfield. I want to show you three plays in which Harvin beat…

March 22, 2013

Cosell breaks down the best WRs in the draft

Greg Cosell broke down the draft’s top wide receivers Friday on Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner Podcast. Here is Cosell’s breakdown. On Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patteson COSELL: I think Patterson will be drafted solely because of his size and because of his dynamic movement. I don’t think he’s anywhere close to being a quality receiver in terms of the subtleties of how to run routes. In fact, he’s much quicker and more dynamic…

March 21, 2013

49ers vs. Seahawks: Which team is better right now?

Many of my readers have been comparing and contrasting the 49ers and Seahawks this week, so I thought it would be interesting to break down the two clubs by offensive, defensive and special teams units. In other words, at this point in free agency which team has the better starting QB? Which team has the better backup QB? Which team has the better group of running backs? And so on….

March 19, 2013

Seahawks trade for Harvin, NFC West gets way tougher

The value of a cover corner just went up in the NFC west. The Seahawks have traded their first round pick and other picks to the Vikings for WR Percy Harvin, one of the most explosive players in the NFL. If the 49ers were blind to the fact that they needed a corner prior to this Harvin trade, hopefully this event will make them aware of the need to address…

March 11, 2013

Jason Cole says the 49ers should sign Greg Jennings

Yahoo NFL insider Jason Cole spoke on 95.7 The Game this week about the 49ers’ need for a No.2 wide receiver. Here’s what Cole said. Q: Is Percy Harvin a good fit for the 49ers? COLE: “Sure, if you like to buy headaches.” Q: Literally? COLE: “Literally and figuratively. Look, I live in Gainseville, Florida. I watched all of his career. I know an awful lot about Percy. He’s just…

February 12, 2013

Packers-49ers matchups: Part I – Cobb vs. Rogers and Cox

The 49ers play the Packers Saturday at the Stick. In the meantime, I’ll break down the key matchups. WR Randall Cobb vs. CB Carlos Rogers and CB Perrish Cox The 49ers have struggled to cover the best slot receivers all season. The 49ers faced Randall Cobb, Percy Harvin, Victor Cruz, Danny Amendola, Chris Givens, Wes Welker and Doug Baldwin. Against those receivers, the 49ers gave up 55 catches on 70…

January 10, 2013

Fangio on preparing for the Tebow Offense, and more

Vic Fangio’s Thursday press conference transcript from Youngstown Ohio, courtesy of the 49ers.   With Vikings QB Christian Ponder’s feet and WR Percy Harvin’s speed, was the game plan good and was it just the execution that was lacking in that game? “It was both. We didn’t execute as well as we’re capable of executing and I could have had us in some better calls in certain situations. So, it…

September 27, 2012

Greg Cosell on Alex Smith: “He’s not quite ready to start just tossing it around unless they orchestrate it for him.”

Here’s what Greg Cosell said on The Murph and Mac Show Thursday about the 49ers’ loss to the Vikings on Sunday. Q: How were the Vikings able to put together three 80-plus-yards drives against the 49ers? COSELL: It was a very good mix of run and pass. It was a case for the most part where they didn’t necessarily make a ton big plays, but their running game was sustaining….

September 27, 2012

Jets-49ers matchups: Part II

The 49ers play the Jets Sunday at the Meadowlands. In the meantime, I’ll break down one key matchup per day. Wide receivers Santonio Holmes (5-11, 192  pounds) and Jeremy Kerley (5-9, 188 pounds) vs. the 49ers defensive backs. The 49ers defense, as great as it is, does not match up well against big tight ends or small, explosive receivers who can line up all over the formation – in the…

September 26, 2012