It’s Panthers by a whisker

This is my Friday column on the 49ers upcoming playoff game against the Panthers. Before I write off the 49ers, I want to say I underestimated them this season. When Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles’ tendon during OTAs, I thought the 49ers’ season was dead. And when Aldon Smith drove his truck into a tree and the 49ers started the season 1-2, I thought the season was really most sincerely…

January 10, 2014

It comes to pass for 49ers, Panthers

This is my Thursday column on the difference between the 49ers and Panthers. SANTA CLARA – The 49ers face a version of themselves this Sunday. If the 49ers are a “Bob,” the Panthers are a “Roberto.” For the most part, the 49ers and Panthers are the same team: Excellent, hard-hitting defenses. Quarterbacks who run and throw. Offenses built around running the ball. And coaches who are the sons of coaches…

January 9, 2014

Jim Harbaugh on Eric Reid: “He’s been outstanding.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Friday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Can you talk about your days as teammates with Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith back in 2001, what you remember from those days with him? “We were both on the look team. I got there about seven, eight weeks into the season and just really enjoyed throwing…

November 8, 2013

What Roman needs to be head-coaching timber

Here is my Monday column on Greg Roman. We’re in a football lull right now, but the 49ers are always in season. So, let’s dissect their most recent move, signing their promising offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, to a two-year extension through 2015. Roman is a good offensive coordinator. From 2011 to 2012, the 49ers’ offense ranked third in rushing yards and ninth in points per game. Jim Harbaugh thinks Roman…

June 24, 2013

Report: 49ers interested in Josh Cribbs

Accord to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the 49ers are one of five teams interested in free agent return man Josh Cribbs. Cribbs, who will be 30 years old next season, was a Pro Bowl return man in 2007 and 2009, when he averaged 30.7 and 27.5 yards per kick return, respectively. Last season, he averaged 27.4 yards per kick return. Cribbs could be a replacement for the 49ers’ free agent…

March 9, 2013

Grant’s 49ers mock offseason: 1.0

Many of you have asked me for my best guess about what the 49ers will do in free agency and the draft. This is my first best guess. I’ll make subsequent best guesses in the coming weeks. The 49ers will cut David Akers and Parys Haralson to create cap space to give the franchise tag to Dashon Goldson. Goldson probably wants a five-year contract worth about $8 million per year….

February 19, 2013

‘Thank God for Ginn’

I learned something about 49ers safety Donte Whitner today that many of you probably knew already. He has a tattoo on his right forearm that reads “Thank God for Ginn.”

January 29, 2013

Harbaugh: “I’ve had the same haircut since I was 10 years old.”

SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here’s what he said, minus the part about the kickers, courtesy of the 49ers.   Can you talk about Packers WR Randall Cobb, the dynamic that he has for that team? And the consideration that you need to have for him? “Randall Cobb and the many playmakers they have on offense makes it very difficult to zero in,…

January 10, 2013

Can A.J. Jenkins contribute in the playoffs? Harbaugh: “Do I think he can? Yes. Do we need him to? Yes.”

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ first round pick, A.J. Jenkins, did not catch a pass in the regular season. He was not a contributor. This afternoon, Jim Harbaugh was asked if Jenkins can contribute in the playoffs. Here’s what Harbaugh said. Q: Where is A.J. Jenkins in his development? Can he contribute in the playoffs? HARBAUGH: Do I think he can? Yes. Do we need him to? Yes. We need…

December 31, 2012

49ers Week 17 grades: Defense and special teams

SAN FRANCISCO – The 49ers stomped the Cardinals 27-13. Here are the grades for the 49ers defense and special teams. Defensive line: B. Ricky Jean Francois had a team-high six tackles (one for a loss), a sack and a QB hit. He played well. Ray McDonald didn’t get any sacks or tackles for loss, but he forced a fumble in the second half which Donte Whitner recovered. Linebackers: B. Patrick…

December 30, 2012

Kaepernick on A.J. Jenkins: “We want to get the ball in his hands.”

This is the transcript of Colin Kaepernick’s Week 17 Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.   You’ve had a little bit of time to digest and look forward now to this week. Just what are your thoughts at this point? “Have to get this win this week.”   What did you learn from that game? They always say when you lose, you learn something. “You learn something whether you…

December 26, 2012

How will the 49ers make up for the loss of Manningham?

As you all have probably heard, Mario Manningham tore the ACL and PCL in left knee against the Seahawks and he’s out for the rest of the season. The 49ers now have lost their No.2 and No.3 wide receivers (Kyle Williams tore up his knee against the Saints). The remaining wide receivers on the 53-man roster are Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Ted Ginn Jr. and A.J. Jenkins. How do you…

December 25, 2012

Which 49ers are expendable?

I just wrote a blog saying the 49ers should cut David Akers ASAP. Are there any other players the 49ers should sever relations with at the end of the season? If so, who? Ted Ginn Jr. comes to mind. He doesn’t get any snaps at wide receiver any more, he lost his kick returning job to LaMichael James and now he’s bumbling punts. He doesn’t do anything well anymore. He’s…

December 17, 2012

What do 49ers do without Manningham?

Mario Manningham sat out the last two practices with a shoulder injury. If he can’t play against the Dolphins on Sunday, the 49ers lose a key weapon in the pass game. Manningham is second on the team in targets and catches, he’s dropped just one pass all season and he’s a deep threat. How do you suppose the 49ers wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator John Morton is game…

December 7, 2012

The problem with LaMichael James and A.J. Jenkins

When the 49ers drafted A.J. Jenkins in the first round and LaMichael James in the second round, all we heard was how the 49ers didn’t need those guys this season. The 49ers are so deep and talented, those two high draft picks could afford to “red shirt” their rookie seasons, just lift weights and learn the system. Forget all of that. The 49ers need Jenkins and James right now. James…

December 3, 2012

Harbaugh on A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James: “We’ll learn more about them and see how they step up.”

SANTA CLARA – Here is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.   How did the week go? “Good week. Got a chance to work on our turf field today. And playing on turf this week. But, overall, good week. Thought the focus was good and the practices were good.”   Does the rain infringe upon your preparations at all? “Probably a couple different ways…

November 30, 2012

49ers Week 12 grades: Defense and special teams

NEW ORLEANS — The 49ers just beat the Saints 31-21. Here are the grades for the 49ers defense and special teams. Defensive line: B+. Justin Smith had 1.5 sacks – he’s coming on at the end of the season, just like he did last year. Ray McDonald almost sacked Brees on the first play of the game. McDonald didn’t do much the rest of the game. And Isaac Sopoaga was…

November 25, 2012

Harbaugh chooses not to choose next week’s starting quarterback

NEW ORLEANS – Here’s what Jim Harbaugh said after the 49ers beat the Saints 31-21. Q: Is Kaepernick your starting quarterback going forward? HARBAUGH: Colin played well in a tough environment. He acquitted himself very well. Q: Do you expect him to start next week? HARBAUGH: We’ll address that at a later date. Q: Was Alex able to play today? HARBAUGH: Yes, he was cleared yesterday Q: How do you…

November 25, 2012

49ers Week 8 grades: Defense and special teams

Here are the grades for the 49ers defense from their 24-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Defensive line: A. They completely shut down the Cardinals run game, holding it to 7 total yards. The defensive line often tackled running back LaRod Stephens-Howling five yards behind the line of scrimmage. Justin Smith got consistent pressure on a quarterback for the first time this season. Linebackers: A. The outside linebackers had dominant…

October 29, 2012