Jim Harbaugh ends open practice at Levi’s Stadium after 45 minutes

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers have been talking about the Levi’s Stadium grass all week. Its roots haven’t set, the 49ers say. The footing is no good and patches of sod are coming up. Stevie Johnson slipped on the grass 45 minutes into practice, got up and started limping. Two plays later, Harbaugh pulled the team off the field and finished practice on the practice field which is closed to…

August 20, 2014

Kenneth Acker picks off two passes, Devon Wylie beats Jimmie Ward three times in team drills

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me during Wednesday afternoon’s padded practice. THE GOOD 1. Colin Kaepernick. Completed 22 of 32 pass attempts during team drills. He threw two touchdowns during an 11-on-11 goal line drill – one to Anquan Boldin and one to Asante Cleveland. Kaepernick also got intercepted on a deep pass in the end zone – Perrish Cox jumped and caught the ball over Quinton…

August 13, 2014

Colin Kaepernick shines (excecpt on 3rd down), and Jon Baldwin disappears

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what stood out to me during Tuesday’s padded practice. THE GOOD 1. Colin Kaepernick. His best practice of training camp. He was accurate on the short throws and the long ones for the most part. He finally hit Vance McDonald in stride deep down the middle of the field. Kaepernick had been overthrowing that pass to McDonald since last year’s training camp. 2. Chris Cook. Intercepted…

July 29, 2014

Tramaine Brock breaks up three, Chris Cooks gives up nine

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me at the 49ers’ first padded practice of training camp. THE GOOD 1. Tramaine Brock. Broke up three passes today. First, he intercepted Kory Faulkner who was trying to throw to Stevie Johnson. Then, Brock broke up a pass intended for Carlos Hyde. And then, Brock broke up a pass intended for Kassim Osgood. 2. Michael Crabtree. Dropped one pass in the…

July 26, 2014

Training camp report: Colin Kaepernick misses the mark

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what stood out to me at the 49ers’ second non-padded practice of training camp. THE GOOD 1. Brandon Lloyd. Made a 20-yard catch near the sideline during an 11-on-11 team drill. Colin Kaepernick threw the pass high. Lloyd jumped and caught the ball and got both feet inbounds. 2. Stevie Johnson. Beat Chris Culliver for a 15-yard catch during a seven-on-seven drill. Johnson sold the deep…

July 25, 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

Jimmie Ward catches one, Carlos Hyde drops two

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what stood out to me at the 49ers’ first non-padded training camp practice of the year. THE GOOD 1. Jimmie Ward. Faced Stevie Johnson once during one-on-one drills. Johnson faked a move to the outside and quickly cut back to the inside but couldn’t shake Ward. Ward ran in front of Johnson and swatted the ball to the grass. Ward played with the second-team defense during…

July 24, 2014

Five key questions for the 49ers

This is my Sunday article on the 49ers. For the 49ers, training camp is about becoming the best. Second place isn’t good enough anymore. Enough with second place. Win the Super Bowl before the window of opportunity closes. With that in mind, here are five key questions the 49ers will face in training camp. 1. Will Carlos Hyde rejuvenate the 49ers’ running game? Frank Gore is slowing down. In the…

July 20, 2014

Predict who starts at cornerback in the 49ers’ Nickel defense

Tramaine Brock will be one of the the cornerbacks in the 49ers’ Nickel defense; we know that. Who will be the other two starting corners? The main candidates are Chris Cook, Chris Culliver and the rookie with the broken foot, Jimmie Ward. If the foot recovers and Ward earns a starting spot, he would be the Nickelback, and Cook or Culliver would start outside opposite Brock. I’m guessing Culliver would…

July 7, 2014

OTA Notes: Good Kap, Bad Kap

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what stood out to me during Thursday’s mini-camp. THE GOOD 1. Red-zone Kap — Two-for-two during the full-team red-zone drill. On first-and-ten from the defense’s 15 yard line, Kaepernick hit Anquan Boldin in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. On attempt No.2 — first-and-goal from the 6 — Kaepernick rolled to his left and threw a high pass to Vance McDonald who reached…

June 19, 2014

49ers’ top-5 position battles of the offseason

To get you prepped for Tuesday’s OTA, here are the 49ers’ top-five position battles. 1. Chris Culliver (6-0, 199 pounds, 25 years old) vs. Chris Cook (6-2, 212, 27) vs. Dontae Johnson (6-2, 200, 22) for No.2 cornerback Culliver is the favorite – the 49ers spent a third-round pick on him in 2011. But he tore his ACL a year ago and does not seem to have fully recovered yet…

June 1, 2014

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

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

Harbaugh: “We have a lot of confidence in our secondary players.”

Here is a transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Friday press conference courtesy of the 49ers.   As you prepared for this game, how much was the focus just on getting their bodies right and more mental than physical? “It was both, both those things.”   Just the fact that I know you kind of worked the schedule a little bit different for earlier practice times, you haven’t done that in the…

January 10, 2014

49ers 23, Packers 20: Grades

GREEN BAY – Here are my grades for the 49ers, who beat the Packers 23-20 at Lambeau Field in a wild card playoff game Sunday night. KAEPERNICK: B+. His passer rating the first three quarters was 58.9, but his passer rating in the fourth quarter was 118.2. So, he was clutch, although he completed just half of his passes in the fourth quarter (4-of-8), and one of his incompletions was…

January 5, 2014

49ers 34, Falcons 24: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are my grades for the 49ers. They almost blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, but ended up beating the Falcons 34-24. KAEPERNICK: B. His passer rating was 108.6 and he ran for 51 yards and a touchdown against a terrible defense. He also completed just 13 passes, and only a few of his completions actually hit his intended receiver in stride. All night, receivers had to adjust…

December 23, 2013

Fangio on the Falcons: “They’re still a very explosive offense.”

SANTA CLARA — Vid Fangio spoke in the media tent Friday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Since you have all of the same guys in the same places as last year, what’s different about your defense this year as far as the way it’s executing your scheme and what it’s accomplished? I think you’re back up there right there at the top like…

December 20, 2013

Fangio says Wilson “can run any offense.”

SANTA CLARA — Vic Fangio spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript.   How much of Seattle’s success is success on first and second downs to stay in manageable situations, third and short? “Well, it’s a big part of their success. Basically, the big part of their success is they’re balanced. They run the ball on first and second down as much as anybody in the…

December 5, 2013

49ers 42, Jaguars 10: Grades

Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 42-10 win over the Jaguars. Quarterbacks: A. One of the best games ever by a quarterback who completed just 10 passes. Kaepernick scored three touchdowns, one passing and two rushing, and he averaged 10.2 yards per pass attempt and 9.3 yards per rush attempt. He made 10 breathtaking plays in the first half alone – designed runs, scrambles, pump fakes, passes on the…

October 27, 2013