Why the 49ers need Vernon Davis

This is my Friday column. Forget about contracts and holdouts for a moment. Let’s focus on why Vernon Davis is vital to the 49ers’ offense. Before I hit you with a barrage of X’s and O’s, there’s one stat you should know about Davis. He scored a touchdown once every four catches last season — the best rate in the NFL. If he had played in an offense that didn’t…

June 20, 2014
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Kaepernick: “Bruce (Ellington) has been amazing.”

SANTA CLARA — Colin Kaepernick was interviewed by Bay Area reporters Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers. What did you get out of this three-day minicamp? “We got more work with our receivers, with our running backs. Great opportunity for us just to get better.” Are you a better redzone team now after this three-day minicamp than you were? I know that’s been a big focus…

June 19, 2014
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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
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OTA Notes: Marcus Lattimore improves

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what stood out to me during Tuesday’s mini-camp. THE GOOD 1. Marcus Lattimore — Looked much more agile than he did during OTAs. He caught one pass in the flat, planted his left foot, cut and exploded into the end zone for a touchdown. I haven’t seen him cut like that during practice before. 2. Garrett Celek — Caught a touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick during…

June 17, 2014
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Greg Roman on Vance McDonald: “He was very instrumental in our rushing attack last year.”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke to Bay Area reporters Tuesday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers. Opening comments: “Good afternoon. We’ve had a very productive spring. Guys are working hard. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We’re very happy with the commitment, the effort the guys are putting in. It’s a three-day minicamp. This is the third time we’ve installed our offense. So,…

June 17, 2014
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Vernon Davis puts a real threat in deep threat

This is my Wednesday column on Vernon Davis. SANTA CLARA – Vernon Davis has the 49ers in a helpless position, like a turtle trapped on its back. Davis can stay away and let the turtle squirm – miss mini-camps and training camp, hurt the offense and make the 49ers look bad – or he can flip the turtle over. It’s up to Davis. He’s watching the turtle flail its little…

June 11, 2014
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OTA Notes: Rough day for the passing game

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what stood out to me during Tuesday’s OTA. THE GOOD 1. Colin Kaepernick — The passing game wasn’t clicking, but Kaepernick made three beautiful throws. First, he dropped back and looked to his right, then looked to his left and hit Brandon Lloyd in the middle of the field for a 15-yard gain. Next, Kaepernick threw a touchdown pass rolling to his right during a red-zone…

June 10, 2014
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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
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49ers grades and projections

This is my Thursday column. Dear player or coach for the San Francisco 49ers, This is your final report card for the 2013 season. Show this to your mother and make sure she signs her name at the bottom. COLIN KAEPERNICK: C+. I assumed you would improve, but you got worse. Somehow you became a less accurate passer, only occasionally hitting a receiver in stride. How did you get less accurate…

February 6, 2014
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Kaepernick’s foot faults

Here is my Saturday column on Colin Kaepernick. Watch Colin Kaepernick’s feet this Sunday. The 49ers play the Cardinals in Arizona and the game means very little to the Niners. Win or lose, the 49ers will make the playoffs. They’ll be a wild-card team if the Seahawks beat the Rams, and the Seahawks probably will beat the Rams. And the 49ers probably will beat the Cardinals. You already know the…

December 28, 2013
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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
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Roman: “I really believe we’ve got a balanced offense.”

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   Opening comments: “Getting ready to play a very talented Tampa team. It’s kind of an interesting season for them, certainly. It’s really been an interesting year for a lot of teams. But, they’re playing at a really high level lately. When you turn on the film, these…

December 12, 2013
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97 G-rub

After the game against the Seahawks, I wrote in my grades that Frank Gore’s 51-yard run was a weak-side lead, but it had a twist. The 49ers had two tight ends and two running backs on the field. Vance McDonald lined up next to Vernon Davis on the right side of the 49ers’ formation, and then McDonald motioned to the left. When McDonald has motioned in this way from this…

December 9, 2013
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49ers 19, Seahawks 17: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are my grades for the 49ers’ 19-17 win over the Seahawks. KAEPERNICK: D+. He was pretty good in the first half and awful for most of the second half until his 8-yard run to seal the win on third-and-7 at the end of the fourth quarter. That’s why I give him the “plus.” He missed wide open receivers all game and completed just 52 percent of…

December 8, 2013
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Harbaugh on Crabtree: “Let’s just take it one day at a time.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Wednesday afternoon. Here is a transcript, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. staff.   What’s the WR Michael Crabtree update? “Good meetings this morning. Good sessions there. Bright-eyed and ready to go.   Is he ready to play on Sunday? “Wednesday, he’s ready to go on Wednesday it looks like. So, we’ll go out and take a look.”   When he practiced last week,…

November 27, 2013
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49ers 27, Redskins 6: Grades

Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 27-6 win over the Redskins. KAEPERNICK: B. He fumbled a snap, forced two passes into tight coverage and almost got intercepted both times, and converted just 29 percent of his third downs. That was not so good. But he did some good things – 134.5 passer rating, 3 touchdowns, no picks. In comparison to the opposing quarterback, Kaepernick looked like John Elway. WIDE…

November 25, 2013
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49ers 20, Saints 23: Grades

NEW ORLEANS – Here are my grades for the 49ers’ 23-20 loss to the Saints. KAEPERNICK: C-. Kaepernick passed the ball well. He was 6-for-15 on third down and 2-for-3 in the red zone. His worst pass was an interception, but it didn’t cost the team anything. Kaepernick ran down the defender and made him dive for the end zone and the defender fumbled the ball out of the back…

November 17, 2013
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Does Kap struggle with progressions? Harbaugh: “I understand what you’re doing, glomming onto somebody’s opinion.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the defensive meeting room Monday afternoon. Here is a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.   How do you explain what’s happened, as far as the passing game goes, last ranked in the league coming into this game and just really not ever being able to get anything going against the Panthers? “Well, if you look at the last four quarters of…

November 11, 2013
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49ers 9, Panthers 10: Grades

SAN FRANCISCO — Here are my grades for the 49ers’ 10-9 loss to the Panthers. KAEPERNICK: F+. He completed just 11 passes and converted just 2 of 13 third downs. He had 46 net passing yards. That’s pathetic. He took 6 sacks and he threw an interception to seal the defeat. His passer rating in the fourth quarter was 0.0. But I give him an F+ and not an F because…

November 10, 2013
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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
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