49ers get smarter in the passing game

This is my Saturday column.

Some say the 49ers suffered a damaging blow when the NFL suspended their No. 3 receiver, Jerome Simpson, for the first six games of 2015. Some say they showed no football wisdom in signing him, a player likely to be suspended.

I say forget Jerome Simpson. His absence will have zero impact.

He wasn’t the Niners No. 3 receiver, anyway – not in training camp, at least. He was an illusion. He never was going to be a big part of the Niners’ offense. They knew that all along. Their game plan has moved in an interesting new direction.

Want to know how many passes Simpson caught from starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick during 11-on-11 full-team scrimmages?

Four. Insignificant.

Ten other players — including four tight ends and three running backs — caught more than four passes thrown by Kaepernick during 11-on-11s. So, technically, Simpson was the Niners’ No. 11 receiver. He mostly worked with Blaine Gabbert and the second-string offense.

Forget Jerome Simpson.

Let’s talk about players who matter. Want to know who the Niners No. 3 receiver was, technically, during training camp?

Anquan Boldin. He caught 18 passes thrown by Kaepernick.

The No. 2 receiver was running back Carlos Hyde, who caught 19 passes thrown by Kaepernick.

And the No. 1 receiver was tight end Vernon Davis. He caught 23 passes thrown by Kaepernick.

That’s right — Davis was Niners’ the best receiver in camp. Davis might be a better receiver than the Niners two starting wide receivers, Boldin and Torrey Smith, who are both No. 1 receivers.

The Niners have three No. 1 receivers.

Forget Jerome Simpson.

Let’s talk about Davis, instead. He has become the focal point of the offense under new offensive coordinator, Geep Chryst. Under the old offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, Davis was a vestigial organ.

Roman had no clue how to keep Davis involved in the passing game. A lot of games Roman seemed not even to try. He’d use Davis just as a decoy to help other players get open.

Roman wasted four years of Davis’ prime.

Roman never understood he needed to get the ball into Davis’ hands early in the game to make Davis feel involved. The same principle exists in basketball. Get the big man some touches in the first quarter or risk losing him for the entire game.

If Roman didn’t get Davis touches early, sometimes Davis would seem to tune out and Roman would lose him for the entire game. Chryst knows how to get Davis involved. Chryst could resurrect Davis’ career.

This offseason during training camp, the first pass of practice frequently went to Davis.


Chryst frequently makes Davis line up in the slot as a wide receiver, and plays someone else at tight end.

Let’s see a cornerback try to cover Davis.


Chryst does a lot of smart things Roman didn’t do, aside from getting Davis involved and keeping him involved. For one, Chryst seems to have fixed the play-clock issues that vexed Roman season after season. Roman took forever just to call the plays. What was he doing up there in the coaches’ booth?

Chryst has the next play rolling off his tongue as the previous play is ending. He wastes no time.

And Chryst does another thing Roman didn’t do – he calls passing plays for the running back.

Roman would talk at his press conferences about wanting to throw passes to running backs, and then never would. Frank Gore caught 19 passes in 16 games last season.

If Roman still were the offensive coordinator, he would never use Reggie Bush, the running back the Niners signed this offseason. Bush is a pass-catching specialist out of the backfield – exactly what Roman doesn’t understand or appreciate.

Bush didn’t participate in team drills the first week and a half of training camp, but since returning he has been a focal point of the offense, like Davis. Some days Bush leads the team in catches and carries. This Tuesday he touched the ball 11 times in a little more than one hour.

In total, Bush, Hyde and fullback Bruce Miller caught 42 passes thrown by Kaepernick during training camp.

Any one of those three players can be a good No. 3 receiver for the Niners.

The 49ers passing attack isn’t less varied, less complex than last season’s. It has more dimensions.

The loss of Jerome Simpson was no loss at all. Forget Jerome Simpson.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

This article has 106 Comments

  1. Grant

    This here is an OUTSTANDING and unique article.

    “Roman wasted four years of Davis’ prime.” YES!!! As did Harbaugh, by extension, and his is supposed to be a TE-centric system.

    Well done, Bruin!!!

    1. NFL Passing Leaders: #9. Ryan Fitzpatrick, #13. Alex Smith, #14. Ryan Tannehill,
      #17. Jay Cutler, #18. Mark Sanchez, #19. Kyle Orton, #20. Kap (SF)…First 9 Teams the #20 QB will face in 2015 and their current Division Rankings: #2 Minn; #3 Pitt, #2 AZ, #1 Green Bay; #3 Giants,#1 Balt; #1 Sea, #3 Rams; #1 ATL…Extrapolating these numbers into a statistical formula we get an total ranking (i.e., adding the teams number ranking) of 17. Dividing this number by the number of teams we get approx. 1.2, and rounding off we get an average of #1…So the # number 20th ranked QB will face an average of 9 top teams in his first 9 games…Anyone want to hazard a guess as to who will be victorious…Niners, 0-9 in first 9 games.

  2. Grant since the day we’ve signed him I’ve been trying to get you to forget about him.

  3. And who do you propose starting if Torrey Smith should miss time due to injury? Simpson probably would be the WR to replace him – possibly White. Certainly not Patton.

  4. The NFL did the 49ers a favor by suspending Jerome Simpson. It makes a roster space, and provides mid season insurance for WR injuries.

    I might be mistaken, but I think Simpson can still attend practice 49ers during his suspension. Perfect.

    1. I agree B2W, but still think Simpson is at this point the best backup for T. Smith. Not sure about White.

      1. Do you mean they can’t partake in contact drills, or they aren’t allowed to talk to him? I may be wrong, but I think last year Aldon was allowed in the building but couldn’t attend any football related activities (e.g. meetings, practices).

      2. Thanks for the info. I think I misread this from PFT – “Simpson can practice with the team and play in the preseason before his suspension goes into effect during the first week of the regular season.”

  5. Honestly, what is this crap? First you’re proclaiming Simpson as the most underrated player on the team (which was a stretch in itself), and now you’re saying he’s insignificant. Quit acting like a pancake and stick to one side.
    The Davis comment is also ridiculous in itself. Davis was generally a threat in the playoffs and had a career year in 2013. His own holdout and injuries are among the key factors that led to him having a down year last season.

    1. “First you’re proclaiming Simpson as the most underrated player on the team (which was a stretch in itself), and now you’re saying he’s insignificant. Quit acting like a pancake and stick to one side.”

      MidWest, hilarious!

    2. “Quit acting like a pancake and stick to one side.”

      Midwest….that was classic LOL! I have to remember that.

  6. Glass is half full, Grant. Nice article. I always wondered why they didn’t use Davis more as a big wide receiver. Btw, credit goes to the person on this blog who thought they should use Carrier in this way. Forgot who you were, sorry.

    But I don’t agree we shouldn’t forget Simpson. Not at all. He is incredibly gifted and may be putting the past behind him.

  7. Good article Grant. Greg Roman’s offense was effective for the first season and a half, until defensive coordinators figured it out. It received a shot in the arm when Colin took over and ran the zone-read-option effectively, but never evolved from there. I can honestly say Greg Roman became the most predictable play caller I have ever seen (at least for the teams I have followed for the last 35 years, college and pros). An I can attribute a lot of this to his neglect when it came to involving RB’s in the passing game. I think this really had an effect on pass protection as well. Defenses were able to pin their ears back and rush with fearless abandon knowing Colin was likely never going to look at the RB leaking out of the backfield. I expect that, utilizing the RB’s in the passing game, it will not only open up more opportunities for easy completions but it should also have a positive effect on pass protection!

    1. Agree completely. The biggest frustration I had in watching the games is how few times the offense kept anyone off balance. They moved so slowly, even in situations where most teams would use a no huddle. Predictable play calling.

      The Harbaugh/Roman offense just wasn’t that good. Even with all their talent and even with a great defense, how many blow-outs, even against bad teams, did they have? Very, very few.

    2. I have come to realize that there were OC problems, but there may have also been a disconnect between the time when it was relayed down to the field and sent to the huddle.

  8. However, I like the idea of Jerome Simpson being available starting week seven. This provides insurance should we lose one of our top receivers to injury (knock on wood). I think it’s an ideal situation so kudos to Trent for this FA signing.

    1. Yes, i agree. Grant may downplay the importance of JS, but if a couple WRs get nicked up by the 6th game, Simpson will be hailed as a godsend. Great depth, and he will have fresh legs.

  9. I agree. All this wailing about losing Harbaugh is ignoring the fact that the 49ers offense simply wasn’t very good under him and Roman. The defense under Fangio was the reason the 49ers won so many games while Harbaugh was here. I believe the offense will be much better going forward (assuming that the offensive line is decent), and we’ll see about the defense.

  10. This particular offense blends nicely with Gabbert’s skill set. 2015 is going to be a jumbo size reality showcase year. The entertainment possibilities are going to be endless.

    1. Ya the signed Torrry Smith to a 40 mil so Gabbert can throw to him. God your an idiot!

      1. CK,
        I checked in even earlier than September as you challenged me, however, after the 49ers opening game debacle, of course, you were no where to be found…Probably sipping the York’s koolaide with your like minded drones…How many players need to retire, how many 1st time inexperienced coaches on the current Niner staff need to prove their incompetence, how many of Baalke’s drug or alcohol impaired free agents and ACL injured draftees need to be acquired, how many bad wide receiver or offensive linemen need to be drafted, and finally, how many LOPSIDED LOSSES DUE TO THE ABOVE do you need to witness before you prove to yourself that you’re the real IQ deficient MORON in this forum.

        1. *How many players have to retire??? Now that statement was stupid. All our retirees were injury risk/related. Has nothing to do with the team or organization. Just the person to which retired. Sounds like Davis is already regretting it. Just my 2 cents

        2. Hey tard you don’t check into anything after the first pre season game. Singletary went 4-0 in pre season. You my friend will disappear in the regular season. You know nothing… Regular season can’t come soon enough..

        3. What lopsided loses? Your losing it man. Are you referring to the first pre season game in which they were winning until they took first 2 units out of the game? You can’t be that stupid right? Your’re the definition of a troll.

          1. CK,

            Your football IQ is again revealing itself…Wishing the regular season was here with the current developmentally challenged staff before it can replace WR Jerome Simpson is a fools errand….You probably noticed the 49ers game plan was not to lose Simpson because they used Baalke’s favorite ACL drafting stratedgy and acquired Deandre Smelter–out for the season BECAUSE OF AN ACL INJURY YOU MORON…What’s your strategy now…Putting a rookie in place?…Good luck with that as he gets his Ass pushed around by intimidating vetran defense..I Can’t wait until the 49ers face Seattle, and we’ll talk then.

            1. This is how dumb you sound. You truly believe that Simpson was counted upon to save the passing attack. Lol! Simpson was just insurance in case Torrey got hurt. That’s it… Torrey and Boldin are the primary Wrs.. Simpson barely would of played. You are disaster and are reaching. You are clearly not a miner fan just bored on Saturday trolling other teams forums. If you are a Niner fan I’m embarrassed to call you a fellow fan. I hope to encounter you when the “Regular Season” starts.. That’s when the games count.

              1. CK, nowhere in my statements did I mention Simpson as starter. So I suggest a reading tutor before you access this site again. Simpson is possibly a # 3 wideout.

  11. Grant, I must say, this is the best post to date. You say something, back it up with facts, and gives me a different perspective that makes me think.
    I have refrained from engaging you for fear of getting banned, but just had to give praise when due. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to reading more.

  12. Yeah, good article Grant. You used numbers in a creative way to see the patterns. ‘Watch what they do, not what they say.’
    As has already been noted above, VD did have some production in Roman’s tenure, though notably not last season. In reference to using Vernon as a WR, I’d remind that SF tried that with a 9 against Sherman that didn’t work out so well as I recall. Vernon’s routes lack fine tuned precision and he’s not sudden, doesn’t accelerate out of breaks; he rumbles. He rumbles very fast, but he rumbles. He has been a good TE and remains a legit deep threat for sure.
    Over all a good appraisal, and good to recognize that deep threats (TS&VD) and possession receivers (AB, Bush/Hyde) can be in unique positions and formations.

    1. I think you could extrapolate from the post is that the Niners will be getting the ball to their playmakers in space, and spread it around to make it more unpredictable.
      Defenses cannot focus to scheme against Niner offense, there are too many options. Niners need to take what they give them, and the defense will just pick their own poison.

    2. Brotha, your take on Vernon is exactly what I’ve seen throughout his career. In addition to his routes, he doesn’t have the body flexibility of a wide receiver to adjust to the ball when it isn’t in his comfort zone. He will still be a miss match split out wide in some situations.

      I’m not sure how Grant was using the third receiver label. Did he mean that Davis is among the top three in receptions, touchdowns and yards, or does he mean he is playing the third receiver in a three receiver set?

      I don’t see Vernon getting open quick or winning Bolden like battles in third down and reasonable situations.

      1. In the practices, it seemed like VD was unstoppable. With his deep threat, Boldin will be one vs one, and be unstoppable, too.
        I am looking forward to seeing a rejuvenated Vernon.

      2. I think Vernon’s skills influence coverages. If the D has to keep someone over the top, it opens some lanes. If the D has to keep two deep due to VD & TS, that loosens things up more.

  13. Rating this (Grant’) article:
    Grade: A+

    “Under the old offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, Davis was a vestigial organ.”
    ~ Grant Cohn

    Ha! Not bad Grant.

  14. I seriously hope what they practice translates to the field come game day in terms of targeting the TEs and RBs more often. They are a strength of this team, and have been way under-utilised in the passing game the past few years. Will also really help with getting the ball out of Kaep’s hands faster, which should help to frustrate the pass rush and in turn help the OL.

    1. Logan predicted exactly what the Pats were going to do, and it worked to defeat the Seahawks.

      1. I’m not sure I understand the relevance of this comment here? Another example of the site putting comments where people didn’t intend them to go?

        1. Just saying that Brady threw short passes to his TE and RBs. Brady avoided sacks by doing quick tosses. Logan said that they would do exactly what they did.

          1. It seemed like everyone thought that was the Patriots best chance. After all that’s what the do best.

            1. I beg to differ, Most pundits were saying to play like GB did for the first 55 minutes. They flat out embarrassed the Seahawks. The last 5 minutes, not so much.

        2. Not only did Logan predict the Patriots short passing game in SB49, he deduced that the best mode of attack to beat the Seahawks cover 3 was to use the types of option routes Brady and Edelman torched their secondary with.

  15. Grant – am a long time fan of yours. This is your best article. Incisive facts. Yes! The No receiver does not have to be a WR!

  16. OT: I’m watching the Eagles-Ravens game. Not sure what Chip Kelly is thinking in having Bradford run read option plays. With his history of ACL injuries are they fooling anyone?

  17. Tomorrow I will once again be looking at the O-line and the punter/special team. I also will keep an eye on the D-line paying particular attention to Armstead. Everything will still be vanilla so the outcome has no importance. Looking for improvement from week 1 to week 2.

    1. Pass defense must improve. i dont mind the close coverage completions, but some players were so wide open, they looked uncovered.

    2. Individual performances are what I like about preseason. I’ll be watching Reaser, Armstead, Tartt, Harold, Okoye. On offense Martin, Thomas, Kaepernick, the TEs.

  18. Wow, a reporter who gets it. It’s been about 25 years since we had that. WHOA!, wait…. I get it, i just researched your familiar last name. Now It makes sense. I learned how to read from a green paper called the sporting green. Glen & lowell kept me engaged. That feeling has long been gone. I dont know If you’ll read this but I am excited for your possibilities., Yes I know you are your own man but some things just work, the way they work. I’ll be reading.

  19. Thank you Grant, for finally acknowledging the biggest cancer within the 49ers organization the past 3 years. Yes, bigger than York. Why? Because, he was likely the reason for the rift between Harbaugh and himself. Harbaugh protected the absolute worst, most predictable OC in the NFL. I cannot count how many time I threw something at my TV because of some illogical, inane play call. I was like, “who does that there?” Good reporting, and Niners (York and Baalke) have their issues, but getting deciding to get rid of Harbaugh and Roman is not one of them.

  20. Man! Carr looked effortless throwing that bomb to Cooper! Cooper’s acceleration was smooth too.
    Speed kills.

    1. Cooper is going to be a heck of a player, and Carr looks like he’s building on the promise he showed as a rookie. Raiders could be a surprisingly good team this season.

      Teddy Bridgewater is going to be a fine player too.

      1. Absolutely. What I like about Carr and Bridgewater is they get rid of the ball quickly. Good pocket footwork.

        If I remember correctly the knock on Bridgewater was he was under 200 lbs, but if the balls quickly out of his hands it will help him have a long career. Norv Turner as his OC will help him.

        Week one will be a challenge.

        1. Bridgewater has some of the best pocket awareness I’ve seen from a young QB. Also very good at reading a D and good awareness/ anticipation of when his receivers will get open. It allows him to avoid pressure and put the ball where it needs to be for his receivers to make a play despite not having the best arm.

          When the talk started after his pro day about him dropping down the draft I said if he was there at #30 I wouldn’t be upset with the 49ers taking him, even though a QB in round 1 wasn’t much of a need with Kaep a young and promising player (though Kaep hadn’t signed his extension at that stage, so there was some uncertainty as to what they’d do with him). Happy with the Ward pick, and certainly made more sense than a QB, but I still think Teddy B will end up the best QB of the 2014 draft class. A bit of Tom Brady about him.

          1. Agree 100%.

            Some positive news bout Ward… Reid described Ward’s practice the other day “He’s was flying and I mean flying… the kid has wheels… a couple plays and he’s instantly opening our eyes… we need to get him out there.”

  21. A good read and indeed encouraging news that this coaching staff continues to address some of the shortcomings of the Harbaugh offense.

    Yet, I would urge caution along these lines:
    —Every coaching staff has a plan…yes, even Singletary had a plan. What counts is not the original plan but how a staff adapts after the first few skirmishes, and how the plans continue to evolve.
    —While it is good news that Greg Roman has been identified as the culprit for all that ailed the Niners offense the past four seasons, it is highly unlikely that any concept, scheme or play call was implemented without Harbaugh’s explicit blessing.
    —A guy far smarter than Harbaugh, Roman and probably all the coaches combined that succeeded him, once remarked that the limits/bounds of an offense is usually determined by the QB play.

    Let us see how all of this plays out this season.

    1. Niners lost games when they had the lead, but second half offensive impotence allowed the other team to come back. Roman could not make those quick, snap adjustments and quickly assess situations when they needed to make the proper calls.
      The whole play calling system was too cumbersome and slow. Those delay of game penalties were infuriating, because they were self inflicted wounds.
      I hope they designate the second down play to be a read option. They could run up to the LOS and do a quick snap, and possibly catch the defense out of position, prevent the defense from substituting or with 12 men on the field. The read option could be either run or pass, so they cannot anticipate what the ultimate play will be ahead of time.

  22. Grant- While in principle a lot of the things you stated are valid and make sense, I would not necessarily agree with the conclusion you have turned them into. It does not follow that the regular season offense will totally mirror what we are seeing in practice and pre-season. Has it ever occured to you that focusing on passing to the running backs is because it is a relatively new wrinkle which requires more reps to get the players comfortable? While I believe that VD will be more effective this coming season and the previous OC had issues with how to use the players he had, all of the blame for Davis disappearing can not be put on him. Davis had his best season in 2013 and that was with him being injured a large portion of the time. He was a major focus of the offense that year. Davis had a subpar season because he came in out of shape and not focused on playing football period. This season he is focused because it’s a contract year and wants to revive his football image and career.

    Is this an article a partial attempt to revive your pre last seasons stated opinion that Davis was the most important player on the 49er offense so he should be given a new contract when he threatened to hold out? You seem to do this all the time. Which is to make impulsive statements and when they turn out bad you always look for opportunities to prove you were right all the time. If the Niner’s gave in to Davis it surely wouldn’t have improved his season one bit and the Niners would have been stuck with an extended player who doesn’t care about football. Grant he will have a good season this year, but once some team gives him a contract his enthusiasm will once more wane. He is not a player who likes the game- He plays for money and his brand.

    As to Simpson- As others have stated he is an insurance back up for Smith. This team shouldn’t make the mistake to rely on a key receiver staying healthy though out the season. Davis has not had an injury free season in some time himself. Simpson is a proven deep threat. Other than Smith or Davis the rest are pure potential. The team should not rely on potential either.

    1. Roman was a gimmick play caller, not a scheme caller. He didn’t know how to exploit the weakness in the other team. The Niners did have one crazy day of offense against the Bills, when they had over 300 years rushing and passing, but that was it.

      The first year it was all gimmicks with 7 OL, and stuff like that. 2nd year was with read option. 3rd and 4th year it was CK’s development. But they did nothing to make the game easy for him, that’s for sure.

      We’ll see how he does in Buffalo. I think the offense is going to more fun to watch philosophically. I think a lot of players have a lot to prove. Switching to Hyde/Bush/Hunter will be a step up over Gore. I love the Gore but he was only good for 15 touches.

      But I bet Gore has a great season with Indy. He’s on turf, and let’s face it Luck is a huge step up from CK.

      He won’t be running into 8 in a box.

      1. Fan77

        We’ve not often agreed, but you hit the nail square on its head with this fantastic comment. I’m fascinated to see all aspects of this team, from the rejuvenated VD, the much improved WRs, the diversified/younger/faster RB group, and the radioactive (good or bad?) QB who has the potential to light the ground and sky on fire. I’m also interested to see what the D does as a whole, now that it will be run by a far more aggressive DC, and may have an O that is putting up points.

        If Harbaugh did one thing right, it was to teach these guys to be tough men, and to expect to win. The fact that his coaching staff (GRo) failed is his fault, and I’m glad he’s gone, but he turned this extraordinarily talented group into a team of winners … let’s just hope the young blood on the team is as talented as some of us think they are!

        1. Ck has potential but he hasn’t reach it, and it’s time we stop making excuses for him. It’s a new year, new regime, and they have a lot to prove,

          Bay Area Fanatic isn’t around to talk nonsense, so that helps improve the air around here and we can have voice opinions, right or wrong, and have healthy discussions.

          Colin is having a better camp then last year. The O-Line needs some work, but they weren’t that great last year!

          1. Ck has potential but he hasn’t reach it, and it’s time we stop making excuses for him.

            I wouldn’t look for him to “reach” it for another couple years or you’ll be setting yourself up for more disappointment. Incremental improvement is what you should be looking for, and excuses for any regression would be specious….

          2. Did you see what happened to RGIII last game? That is what happens when you chain a QB in the pocket and do not let him use his mobility to avoid sacks. The defense can tee off and rush to a spot they know where he will be.
            That is exactly what happened last year with Kaep, and those 52 sacks were proof of that fallacious incomprehensible incompetent impotent strategy.

  23. Why is it we hear nothing about Trey Millard? We hear NOTHING about him. His college highlights showed a real stud like a Larry Czonka who could catch and score. Is he still hurt or are they hiding him hoping he slips past waivers to the ps? It’s hard to improve on Miller’s blocking as a fullback but I saw a more complete running back in trey Millard. Where is he? Give him a shot. I think he can make plays.

    1. Think the 49ers are keeping Millard under wraps so they can sneak him onto the PS?

  24. I’d like to know who wrote this article for you Grant? Just kidding. This is one of your best works yet. Great insight and it makes total sense. I think Smith is going to make that Safety have to worry about him and allow Vernon to run his old seam routes where he really hurt people. Which in turn will allow Aquan to roam underneath and get his. Its also going to help out the run game. Just taking that shot like they did last week to Smith will make teams respect that. Completely changes the play calling. Of course the big wild card in all of this is Kap. if he finally starts to click this year he can cause his own headaches. I see our offense being so much better this year with the addition of Smith and the subtraction of Roman and Harbaugh.

    1. Can you imagine how different the discussion of the 49ers would have been this week had CK connected with Smith on that pass for an 80-yard TD? 5-6 yards (or 10 or 3) would have put the 49ers front page all over NFL.Com and ESPN, and all the pundits would be calling them the second coming of the 2013 Ravens.

      1. While I see the comparison you’re drawing, don’t you think the media would need more than one pass to turn around the unfounded 49ers-are-toast narrative that they have been promulgating all off season and TC?

  25. While I agree with what most is said, I disagree with Simpson as a non factor, he will be when he gets back. You yourself said most of his catches were from Gabbert cause this is who he was playing with most. So obviously he is not going to get as many catches from Kaep-duh.

  26. Rotoworld update on Evan Mathis:
    Free agent G Evan Mathis had a “good visit” with the Seahawks on Saturday but left without a contract, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports. Garafolo said the Seahawks “remain an option” for Mathis though no deal is imminent. The Dolphins and Jets have both put out feelers for Mathis but are unwilling to meet his high salary demands. We’d expect Mathis to lower his asking price as the regular season draws closer.

    1. When some team’s starting line man goes down to a season ending injury, Mathis will be rewarded for waiting.

  27. The Packers just drove through the Steelers’ D like a hot knife through butter. I hope Pittsburgh’s defense sucks this bad week two.

    1. Maurkice Pouncey hurt ankle. I hope he recovers fully by week two, so the 49ers can beat the Steelers when their at full strength.

  28. Steelers lost Polamalu and others, so they have big, young players. I am interested in Bud Dupree. I thought the Niners might have drafted him instead of Armstead.

    1. Not watching today, but last week the announcers were saying Dupree still had a long way to go.

    1. Pouncey to have surgery – Ian Rapoport

      They are going down like flies. I wonder how much of it is players playing at different intensity levels… veterans calmly working on technique while bubble players are fighting for their jobs. Has to subtly affect the timing and angle of hits.

      1. I saw a clip of Pouncey going down. Some bodies fell on the back of his leg while he was engaged to his front. Just rotten luck in that case.

        1. It’s always a shame when any player gets seriously injured. I just hope the 49ers are due to stay relatively healthy this year.

  29. Sigh. Sometimes being in a different time zone does suck. Won’t be able to watch the game until after work today.

    1. Since the DTV switch I have no TV. I have to drive 20 miles round trip to watch a game at a sports bar.

      I recently got on WISP internet. 1.5 mbps. I stumbled on a sketchy European website with all preseason and regular season games. But… the resolution is fuzzy, video starts and stops, and I don’t trust the security or legality. For those reasons I won’t post a link.

      When regular season starts I’ll drive into town for all games. But I’m watching tonight’s game on the internet. If the picture breaks up there’s 810am and I can watch highlights later.

    2. Yeah, I just watch it on the internet. No biggy, just won’t be able to until I get home from work (in about 10 hours).

  30. Breakng: Chris Carter is the former NFL player that told Borland and others at the rookie symposium to get a ‘fall guy’.

  31. I’m watching “Final Cut: 2014 SF 49ers” and was reminded that in the first three games the 49ers had 17 penalties that resulted in first downs. Not good.

    If you look at everything that went wrong for the 49ers last year, unless the Tomsula and his staff is completely incompetent, the 49ers should have a winning record this year. Assuming luck is going to regress to the mean.

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