5 things to know about the 49ers before camp opens

This is my training-camp preview for the 49ers.

The 49ers may be on the downswing.

This offseason, they fired a top-notch coaching staff and lost almost a dozen veterans and leaders. Who will fill those voids?

That’s just one key question the Niners face. Here are five more they’ll face during training camp:

1. Is Jim Tomsula a competent head coach?

He’s never even been a coordinator in the NFL. He was an interim head coach for one game at the end of the 2010 season, and he was a head coach in NFL Europe for one season in 2006 — that’s his complete head-coaching track record. Will he have a message that resonates with the 49ers for an entire season? Can he help the Niners rebound after losing so many leaders this offseason? If the team gets off to a rocky start (as it often did under previous head coach Jim Harbaugh), can Tomsula rally the team, or will the players simply tune him out?

2. Will NaVorro Bowman rebound from his knee injury?

Can he come close to his quality of play prior to blowing out the ACL and MCL in his left knee? Before then, Bowman might have been the best defensive player in the NFL. He could cover running backs, tight ends, even wide receivers. On the game-deciding play of the 2013 NFC Championship, he broke up a pass intended for Atlanta Falcons’ All-Pro receiver Roddy White, and sent the Niners to the Super Bowl. Can Bowman cover receivers like White anymore? Can Bowman cover anyone anymore? During minicamp and OTAs, he couldn’t cover backup running back Kendall Hunter. Bowman wore a clunky brace, which inhibited his ability to change directions.

3. Who will replace Patrick Willis?

With Bowman coming off a serious knee injury, he probably can’t play every snap every game like he used to. He’s a question mark, so the other starting inside linebacker must be a stalwart, someone the 49ers can count on. That guy used to be Patrick Willis, one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history. But he retired this offseason, and so did his understudy, 24-year old Chris Borland. Now the Niners are left with Michael Wilhoite and Nick Moody, a couple of mediocre players still learning the position — they played safety in college. Will the Niners have to use a Dime package (six defensive backs) more frequently to cover up their coverage liabilities at inside linebacker?

4. Will the real Vernon Davis show up?

And if he does show up, will the new coaching staff use him in the passing attack more than once or twice a game? Last season, Davis seemed to be going through the motions, and you hardly could blame him. Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman seemed intent on preventing Davis from catching passes, especially touchdown passes. All season long, he received just one target in the red zone, and he caught it for a touchdown. That was Week 1. You’d think he would have gotten more red-zone targets as the season progressed, especially considering he made eight touchdown catches in the red zone during 2013. But the coaches shut him out. Why?

5. Will Colin Kaepernick show some improvement?

Or is he content to play as he has? He turns 28 in November, he’s still a remedial pocket passer and his numbers have gotten steadily worse since he became the Niners’ starting quarterback in Week 9 of 2012. This offseason, Kaepernick went to EXOS training facility in Phoenix to work with quarterback guru Dennis Gile and two-time MVP quarterback Kurt Warner. Last offseason, Kaepernick worked with quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. during training camp. And the past four seasons, Kaepernick worked under head coach Jim Harbaugh, the “Quarterback Whisperer.” How many gurus does Kaepernick need?

This article has 293 Comments

  1. How many gurus does Kaepernick need?

    lame, snarky and shameful analysis. So Kaepernick worked with his head coach and an assistant the Niners assigned to him at quarterbacking and you’re counting that against him? Then he gets some extra throwing mechanics and tutoring in the offseason and you count that against him? uhmm….most of the “elite” QBs go to specialists in the offseason to clean up mechanics and work on parts of their game. Is Kaepernick still a project? yes. Is he still a work in progress? (most QBs are to some degree) yes. Do you credit the guy for trying to get better? No. you take another senseless shot at him.

    1. Steve Young dissed the Niners, and questioned if Kaep could improve. To put it bluntly,SY was a horrible QB in the USFL and at Tampa Bay. Walsh had to break him down and rebuild him from top to bottom. SY also had the luxury to sit for years and be able to study behind Montana, then was able to throw passes to JR, the GOAT.
      Kaep made it to the SB after only 10 games and holds the first and second all time record for yards run by a QB in the playoffs. His road playoff record of 4-2 is better than SY and JM combined. Even with that lackluster season last year, Kaep has managed to make jaw dropping throws that SY could only dream of making.

        1. Right now the 49ers are rated 29th in the league. They are just behind the Raiders at 28 and ahead of the Redskins at 30. I think they are right and I believe that Kaep will never be an elite quarterback.

      1. i see the that my faith that someone would completely not comprehend my commentary on Grant’s post has been fulfilled.

        Let me help you out: there is no objective problem with pointing out Kaepernick’s deficiencies. He has them as do all QBs to varying degrees. Grant is right Kapernick did regress as a passer (as the entire offense regressed over the same time frame). Kaep needs to get better. He thinks he needs to get better. The issue is with Grant’s juvenile negative commentary on Kaep’s attempts to get better

        Comparing Kaep to Steve Young in terms of early career accomplishments is just stupid. The only thing as fans is to hope that Kaep becomes a proficient pocket passer who has the option to scramble as Young became.

        1. Well said affp. If Kap hadn’t gone out and found somebody to train with this offseason, the commentary would have changed too: why isn’t Kap trying to get better?

          Grant was also all for the offseason training while he was pushing Garcia as the guy Kap should train with.

          As you mentioned, a number of top QB’s go to clinics to work on their mechanics. Tom House works with a number of QB’s including Drew Brees for example.

        2. I beg to differ. Kaep is most dangerous outside the pocket. Tomsula will employ a lot of controlled roll outs so Kaep can discombobulate the DBs who will concentrate on trying not to look inept and let Kaep run by them while leaving the recieivers wide open for a TD.

          1. of course Kaep is most dangerous out of the pocket. defenses have to worry if he’s going to take off. coverage breaks down and Kaep can find open receivers.

            roll outs are great. they’re a useful tool. much like play action passes they can be extremely effective. but you can’t build a passing game around it. think of play action and roll outs like like a change up pitch. it’s supplemental to a fastball. just like play action and roll outs are supplemental to the run game and a pro style passing attack.

            when in obvious passing situations you can’t really use play action because defenses do not need to honor their gap assignments to stop the run and will just pass rush as well as the coverage will stick with their assigned coverages and not bother with their alley filling duties in the run game. Roll outs take away half of the field. and usually in obvious passing situations there are more defensive backs in coverage. so if they read a roll out they can just move their coverage over so now you have more dbs covering half the area. In obvious passing situations you need the QB to read the whole field and make the right passing decisions. and that is done in the pocket

            1. You definitely want to limit your obvious passing downs, but when they present themselves, AFFP is correct, in the pocket is your best option and the ball has to come out in 2.1 to 2.5 seconds….

            2. I agree, he also needs his linemen to protect him instead of acting like turnstiles. If he has adequate time and better receivers, Kaep can shine.

            3. Allforfunplay, 7/23, 10:20 AM, Great explanations of a defense’s assignment on crucial downs when everyone knows it’s a pass play…You’re the first one of the bloggers since I’ve tuned in to explain this.

      2. Sebnynah

        FINALLY!!! It has been a lonely place on this board for a couple of years for a guy like me. I’m glad you’re here. Steve Young is the most overrated player in 49ers history, and all of his blustery commentary on the state of Kaepernick and the team is about as accurate as an Alex Smith duck. Young was nothing but a product of Walsh, Montana, and Rice, as you astutely point out, and he should shut his foul trap and retire into obscurity.

        1. Well, I think SY was great, ad he did lead the Niners to a SB win, but his commentary is pathetic. Maybe he took too many blows to the head.

          1. sebnynah,

            You should be careful about who you stimulate to agree with you. Your impressions of Steve Young are incorrect on many levels.

            1. Just my impressions from living through that era. The Montana- Young controversy divided families and made the AS-Kaep dustup look like a tempest in a tea pot.
              I have even heard SY admit he was not elite while at TB. He thrived in the Niner system, and had the great fortune to have BW coach him up.

              1. Steve Young wasn’t anywhere near the quarterback that he became until after Walsh retired. In fact his amazing run for a touchdown in the Viking game that year allowed the 49ers to slip into the the playoffs and to win Walsh’s third Superbowl. That run was pure Kaepernick and may be the best run by a QB ever. Mike Holmgren (1989-1991), and Mike Shanahan(1992-1994) put significant finishing touches on what Walsh started.

                If Walsh broke Steve Young down, and then rebuilt him, that’s news to me. I saw it as incremental improvement by Walsh, Holmgren, and Shanahan — all of whom taught the same system.

              2. Believe what you want. I do know that Bill Walsh traded for him and had years to train him. I also am recalling what lots of other people were saying, even BW.

              3. Again, Google knows all.

                Bill Walsh had two seasons to work with Steve Young — ’87 and ’88. For much of that time there was a QB controversy and as I said before, I have no memory of Walsh saying he was tearing down Young and rebuilding him. What changes Young experienced were progressive and spanned three talented coaches working with him

        2. Back at ya. I find many posters on this site to be articulate and insightful. I learn things and gain new perspectives.
          Unlike other sites where the trolls post the same old drivel ad nauseum.

      3. Kaep inherited a SB bound team…Steve Young was on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers…the orangle and white, owners of the worst loosing streak in NFL History, continual #1 overall picking, Tampa Bay Buccaneers…

        1. Well maybe just maybe when there are actual games played. Got to love the off season. People get in their minds what they think is going to happen then get slapped right back to reality. I don’t think any of Grants predictions over the last 3 years have been accurate. Whether it’s the CBs will be crap. To Vernon Davis is the key to the whole niner offense. To now Kaep can seek to improve his game but it won’t help. Let’s not forget that kaep has already accomplished more in his career then a lot of QBs. Now he might not stand out in Niner land cause of what was before him but a career is a long time. 27 years old is when Young became competent..

          1. You are as dumb as they come to think a te is key even at his best he was not the key. The running game was the key. I think all of you guys need to look at the Super Bowl to see just how dumb roman was that he threw on first down and his play calling was why we lost that game. He was over thinking and not playing to our strength. To think that he threw and lost that game still gets to me. Like to see kap not run the ball and keep him in the pocket just drives me nuts. The guy looks lost and needs to stop and do the work to side step in the pocket to step up and lead he wr. If he can get rid of the kid. It’s about the team. Not kap! He can not hit a wide open guy to save his life. No timing in his head. To know where his guys are that’s just dumb. To look down a wr is him not knowing football 101. And I don’t care about one player if he can not get the job done. It’s a team game not a one player game. If he can not go threw his reads after 4 years we need to sit him for the new guys to get a shot. That’s what’s wrong with the game. Guys think there bigger then the team. He has made so many adds. Taking away from working with the team. And going threw his reads. Getting his timing down. What is he thinking not being Abel to check down with out looking at the check down the hole way. Taking what the D gives you and not forcing the ball at 100 mph. Just drives me nuts lazy. Or dumb. Looking down a guy is peewee foot ball not being able to get to your reads is a guy that can not lead a team.

        2. When will all the help start helping?

          I think next off seasons guru will help him the most.

        3. Grant,

          I answered this and more below about some of the questions going into the season about Kaepernick. Here’s my answer to “when will the help start helping”.

          2. Kaepernick is no longer really a young QB. He’s been doing things his way (in terms of footwork, throwing motion…etc..) for quite awhile now. It’s hard to correct those things the longer you go without correcting them…or it could take more than just one offseason of work to fix some of his problems….or it could never stick.

          he was also used to a simplified read offense with basic coverage key reads and has been trying to make the adjustments to going through timed progressions. and having been a running QB he’s also has a tendency to rabbit from pressure as soon as he senses it (real or perceived). so in addition to mechanics to work on, he also has these ingrained ways of playing QB that he continues to try to improve as well. but this stuff takes time. i think it took Young 5 or more years to becoming a complete pocket passer. It took Randal Cunningham even more time and a break from football before he became a good passing QB. So who knows to what degree these changes Kaepernick is working on will stick this year, next year…

          But in addition to the extra training…..I do think that the coaching staff will input more flexibility into the offense with receivers and Kaep more easily able to make adjustments at the line than he had before. with more flexibility it increases the chance that Kaep’s first read will be a correct and open read. also if they incorporate more of a hurry up tempo at times, it will freeze the defense in their personnel package and limit their looks. there by simplifying Kaepernick’s reads and hopefully allowing him to get rid of the ball quicker and to open receivers.

          So stuff he’s working on might help or might not. He may figure it out, he may not. But I don’t question his desire and efforts at trying to getting better.

    2. I don’t get how some of you guys can not see that this guy hurts the niners. He can not get his feet to work in the pocket. He drops his eyes if there R guys rushing him! Pisses me off that he can not lead his wr. All that $ for what a guy that should stop and take the time to work on that. If he looks at the film it’s not hard to see that he don’t know where his players should be so he dose not go threw his reads and that up to him to work with his players. But he out there trying to be mr ad. He spends more time making adds. And he sucked on the field. Why is it that he could not see the film. To not go threw his reads is just lazy. To not have that timing down with the te and rb. To get the ball out as the rush was on him is not 49er ball. Use all your weapons if he don’t get better we need to cut him. Move on and start over. A fast hard throw means this guy has no timing and is late on his reads. It’s just not taking the time to find that with your team. I hope he shuts down his mr add bs and works on his side step with the rush coming at him. To keep his eyes down the field.

  2. You can’t replace one of the best Inside Linebackers in the game for the past 8 years with just anybody to stuff the run and cover underneath.

    Wilhoite and probably Jacquiski Tartt will be replacing Willis in the base and sub packages.

    1. Why can’t anyone come to the realization that there is this gigantic microscope over everything Kaepernick? Yes a 49ers QB under major scrunity. This isn’t breaking news folks, it’s the 49er way!

      1. i’m not sure what your point is. i’d like the “microscope” to reveal information about the player. Grant’s just spouting off with his usual unprofessional biased snark. it doesn’t reveal anything about Kaepernick other than Grant’s lack of objectivity.

      2. And yet for years you defended Alex smith relentlessly. Is this growth? Or just the fact that it’s ok now that it’s not Alex smith anymore?

        1. Oh look, its the same guy who brings up Alex Smith when its unrelated. MD, you are the biggest one trick pony this blog has ever witnessed!
          Kaepernick needs to improve exponentially. How that relates to Alex Smith is beyond me. Then again, if all you know is that, then my condolences.

          1. Exponentially is really not grounded in reality. To expect that kind of growth you’d have to have a pointy head. More likely incremental growth is more realistic, and would bode well for Kaepernicks’ stock as well as the success of the team….

          2. One trick pony?
            Boy oh boy are you one black pot. Get real!
            The only reason you’re relevant on here is because of your love for blue eyes. That’s no secret. Just keepin it real and you can’t handle real. Sucks for you bruh!

            1. Ninermd

              Just for drill…(my ignorance)…but just what is your reference to “blue eyes” ? I’ve noticed it before… To my knowledge, Sinatra never had any interest in football…please explain…

    2. “You can’t replace one of the best Inside Linebackers in the game for the past 8 years with just anybody to stuff the run and cover underneath.”

      This statement just zooms right past the fact that Willis was a shadow of his former self for at the last two years. He knew, he also knew that he couldn’t regain his form, so he retired.

      IMO, Wilhoite (and perhaps Tart in sub packages) will provide the same level of play that Willis would’ve, had he stayed with the team.

  3. Har…

    Har har…

    Harrrr harharhar harrrrrrrrrrr har har har harrr!!!

    “Quarterback whisperer!!!!!!” That’s RICH!!! Oh boy, Grant. You really outdid yourself on this one!!!!! Harharhardeeeeharhar. Guffaw.

    Quarterback whisperer … Oh my!

    1. Using the term QB whisperer is a win win for Grant’s agenda. Either it means that Kaep couldn’t get better with a ” QB whisperer” ( slam on Kaep) or Grant was using sarcasm against Harbaugh.

      He is also trying to revive his last season pre Davis agenda that he was the best offensive player the Niner’s had and that they should extend his contract. That turned out to be total BS because Davis sucked either because of age or because of a total lack of commitment to last season. He came in out of shape and gave very little effort when on the field. It was probable a bit of both. We shall see this season how much each aspect influenced his decline last season because this will be a contract year and VD appears to be giving his all.

      Oh by the way Grant- Vern was not targeted much in the red zone because due to injuries, lack of effort, dropping passes and quitting on routes. Many of us remember your take on extending VD last season which due to his production blew up in your face, so don’t try to re-write history to try to salvage a BS perspective of yours via loss of memory through time. We will see the true potential of VD this year. Of course once he gets his new contract that will not guarantee that what ever team signs him will ever see it again once the ink is dried.

  4. 6th question…what will the no show numbers be at Levi’s? And, what will the resell pricing trends look like for PSL’s? Those poor souls that sit under the speaker wall should get free beers during the game

    1. The Niners need to add a Roman Valerium to Levi’s stadium. A valerium is basically a large cloth awning that surrounded stadium and shaded spectators. It could expand and contract to a certain degree like an iris using a system of cables and pulleys. I’m thinking make one out of weather treated denim with the appearance of Levi’s pockets to shade spectators.

      1. For that denim valerium to be de rigeur, it must be “destroyed” with pre-made holes and slashes running through its legs. Might not be too functional.

    2. 50% or more

      Maybe higher in the first game but as the season starts to go downhill ….
      My projection for the niners to win 4-6 games this year

    3. Why does that matter? Much like in 99/00 and 03-10, the stadium will be “sold out” for every game based on their season ticket holders (those who actually attend will be a different story). And as someone who works 2 miles from the stadium, the heat and sun issues that people cried about were an anomaly, the south end of the bay is a stones throw away from the park, I’ve driven past at 3pm on a mid July day and it was no more than 85 degrees with a cool breeze, that should only improve as we head into September and October.

      People will come to games, and any fan silly enough to give up their season tickets will easily be replaced.

  5. Remedial pocket passer? WHAT pocket? To me, it looked like JH tried to force Kaep to be a pocket passer even if it killed him….. And almost did. Forcing Kaep to be only a pocket passer was like putting an Abrams tank in a pit. Trying to protect him in a non existent pocket was counter productive since he was sacked 52 times.

  6. Last year, Baalke did a masterful job assembling a team through FA,trades and the draft that was poised for another SB run. What the coaches did with that team is another story.The coaches were way too predictable and lacked even the appearance of competence to be able to make adjustments.
    They had all that talent, and could not get a play off in time.
    3 DOG penalties against a 1-11 team? Thats Pee Wee football.

  7. I would say the question is around the entire coaching staff not just Tomsula. Besides Rathman, Tony Sparano and Chris Foerster, none of the other coaches are comparable to those under harbaugh

    1. I beg to differ. Losing Roman will help the offense go from being the 30th passer rating to something acceptable.
      Fangio may be a loss, but Tomsula was the D line coach, and he helped make them a squad that did not allow a rushing TD until the last game of one season, he helped Aldon become a sack machine and Cowboy become a pro bowler.
      Tomsula will coach players to accentuate their strengths instead of exposing their weaknesses.

      1. Do you realize that Tomsula has not been Aldon’s position coach, and I doubt Cowboy needed any help from his position coach. Half of the fun of being a “fan” must be making up stories to modify reality.

        1. In the bludgeon Gif he is talking to Brooks. Tomsula talks to lots of players. Cowboy never made the Pro Bowl until he was coached up by Tomsula.

          1. Sure, Tomsula talks to a lot of people. He would talk to you and me if he had the chance. The rest is the story that you enjoy. Live it.

            1. Well, when Coach Tomsula mentioned he wanted to ‘accentuate their strengths’, I thought he was talking to me, because I believe I was the only one in all the 49er blog sites (I read them all) that had used those exact words before the HC selection.

    2. You have to be kidding. Tim Lewis was the runnerup to Harbaugh when he was hired and Steve Logan is a long-time Bill Walsh understudy who knows the WCO.

      1. Exactly when and where was Steve Logan a Bill Walsh understudy? Do you mean to say that he studied Walsh’s offense, but never worked for Walsh. I enjoy Steve Logan, but I can’t imagine that he was ever in a place to step in for Walsh. That’s what an understudy does.

    3. Hawki,

      Have you ever heard of Adam Henry?

      Adam Henry is to John Morton, as an Aston Martin is to a Yugo, as Breaking Bad is to NCIS Los Angeles, as The Black Keys are to the Jonas Brothers, as Matt Barrows is to Grant Cohn.

      Lewis, Tarver, Pendergast are very accomplished defensive coaches.

      Admittedly, Chryst is something of a question mark, but his “failure” as the OC for the Chargers in ’99 and ’00 shouldn’t be held against him as strongly as it has by some on here. Does anyone think another OC could’ve done better with Ryan Leaf at QB? Maybe poor Ryan Leaf has Chryst to blame for ending up in jail.

      It’s not a question if the individual coaches are on the 49ers staff are any good, it’s how will this coaching group blend together?

      1. Exgolfer-Mr Optimist

        Very well stated in my opinion…some of the bloggers on here seem to be asking for guarantees on each and every coach…without looking at the group as a “staff”…one hand scratches the other. Well, much to my own dismay, Vic Fangio is gone. But his departure left me wondering about the ‘my way or the hiway’ attitude that he displayed at his parting…couldn’t work under Tomsula so he took his rubber soldiers, packed up and left. So now I say good riddance. After Harbaugh, the last thing we needed was another tyrant. Right now, I’m looking forward to the Tomsula era with some input and thoughtful dialogue with some of the players and coaches who were muffled with JH. And after the boondoggle that he created with Smith and Kaepernick, don’t think that his choice of QB’s won’t be scrutinized at Michigan….

        Once we have established which offensive system is chosen, and the QB to impliment it, I believe that we have the talent and seasoned players to be a force soon….NOT in ’15, but soon….

  8. Well, at least Tomsula can identify problems and correct them. When they ran the up tempo practices during the OTAs, I was overjoyed. Tomsula has assembled a coaching staff that has lots of HC and Coordinator experience, so I am confident in their competence, unlike the last staff which made me grind my teeth over all the self inflicted wounds.

  9. “Last season, Davis seemed to be going through the motions, and you hardly could blame him”

    How could this be true? The team was in contention for a playoff spot until the last few weeks of the season, they did not go 0-16 last season. Davis ran at half-speed last season, gave little effort, and helped keep his teammates out of the playoffs…but Grant can hardly blame him!

  10. Another Grant Cohn hit piece. You start out with they may be on the downswing and take off from there. Pathetic, Grant. Bloggers write better stories on the 49ers that are more insightful, creative, and positive. You are simply your old man’s clone. National Enquirer is your next stop.

    1. Do we really have to put up with your tabloid comments on the team when it is obvious your views are from the outside looking in? Your writing style is to stir the pot and gain some notoriety. True Niner fans looking for real coverage will stick to Matt Barrows, Kevin Lynch, and Matt Maiocco.

  11. Grant,
    Looks like Dilfer’ “remedial” phrase regarding CK resonated with you.
    But if fact, you are not shedding any new light or revelation here. We all know what ‘time it is’ when it comes to the questions entering the new season.

    2015 has the earmarks of a losing season (at least on paper) for many of the points/questions you just stated. But we all know that these questions will be answered come the first few games of the season.
    This a proud team of players and a proud organization with a proud history.
    This season will do more with the players proving to the football talkingheads that they can win regardless of the losses of Harbaugh and company – and the new regime as well for that matter.

    One big change I see is the psyche of the fans’ attitude i.e., last year we were thinking SB and this year we are hoping 10+ wins.
    As they say, only time will tell.

    1. “This a proud team of players and a proud organization with a proud history.”

      That’s exactly what Steve Young is warning could be lost in the minds of their opponents.

      1. Dude. Existentialism, please. Opponents’ attitudes are built by what you impose upon them; by fear, if you will. Reputation means squat, do you threaten me? That’s what counts. Actions speak. Playing well is what counts; Steve can stuff his ‘Rep’ stuff.
        No Ring since 94; let’s get it done.
        It may take a year to gel, but it could happen. Let’s see what the New Wave can do.

        1. Talking about rep, I would like to say a few words on Niner Football. I think the Niners should get back to Niner football. Teams feared the defense and the offense was simple, but unstoppable. Walsh would make them practice plays over and over until they could do it in their sleep.
          I want the Niner mindset to be more aggressive. To me, Niner Football means going for it, instead of settling for 3 points, especially inside the 10 with 4th and 1.
          Too many times the Niners would have second and short, and they would plow Gore into the teeth of the defense for a small gain. Niner Football from the glory years would have them set up for the run, then do play action for a big strike down field. Even if it fails, it still would be third and short, but the reward for being aggressive could lead to a score.
          I want the 49ers to play Niner football.

          1. Over the yers the Steelers have set a precedent for continuity that I really respect. Several ‘Dynastys’. There’s is the ultimate model. Walsh and Policy leveraged a long gone reality. The Steelers have evolved throughout and persisted.
            The Niners’ young bulls are their “New Wave”. Make or break in 15/16.

          2. “Teams feared the defense and the offense was simple, but unstoppable. Walsh would make them practice plays over and over until they could do it in their sleep.”

            Walsh’s offense was simple and based on repetition? I think you’ve mixed him up with Vince Lombardi. Walsh fully developed the idea of a complex route tree that was changed on the fly as the defense adjusted. It took repetition because it wasn’t simple, it was very complex.

            Anyone who didn’t know what had to go on in the heads of the QB and his receivers for a play to work might think it was simple. That’s understandable.

            1. I think it was Lawrence Taylor, after playing the Niners, had marveled at the fact that the Niners ran a basic play, but they executed the play so flawlessly the Giants could not defend it.

              1. What they did was fool Taylor for one game. He got his own back big time in later games.

            2. Walsh’s offense may have been simple to you but to those defending it, Deion Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Ed Too Tall Jones, Harvey Martin, Lc Greenwood, Mean Joe Green and Jack Lambert, it was anything but. The Forty nineres had new wrinkles off every play they ever called, just when you thought a slant on 3rd and 5 was coming, Montana would audiblize to a slant and go; when the Cowboy’s thought a sweep was coming in the ’81 Championship Game, a double reverse was dialed up; when a deep out was the obvious play Rice and eye contact with Montana (grows with time) the play was changed to a deep post; a slant on 3rd and goal from the 5, while Montana dropped back past Craig to throw as he got behind him he’d tuck it it into craigs belly for a sneaky draw, or a deep crossing pattern (left) to John Taylor, Montana would stare down Taylor moving the safety his way, and throw a 50 yard strike to Rice on the right hash against Hanford Dixon (Cleveland-Monday Night Football) without looking at Rice (of course Montana was known by season ticket holders to perform this subtlety the televison could’nt pick-up and he did this always and many times every game.) In a regular season game Montana saw the safety creeping up to hammer the Niner slants, and he told Rice to run a slant and go and hit him in step on a bomb…That stopped kept the safety backed off. Running variations off every play comes with time, and when the quarterback spots the perfect time during the game to audible to a variant, Walsh made sure he had an accurate QB to make the defense pay big time…sometimes a setup bomb might take a whole game to set up on a Dallas Cowboy, Pittsburgh or New York Giant defense, but when Montana saw it, he cooly executed it which frightened defenses throughout the NFL with his accuracy…I still remember the Double Reverse, Flea Flicker Walsh called and Montana completed to TE, Charlie Young on the first play of the `81 SuperBowl…NO, Make no mistake, the 49ers, with Montana back pedalling on a 3-step drop, slant pattern, only to throw a very high arching 40 yard pass in the air (on a 3-step near the line of scrimmage the ball has to be released as fast as a slant) giving Rice time to run under it, take talent and timing, but another example of 49er variations off their staple plays…Green bay under McCarthy still run this “simple” offense, but for a Special Teams blunder may well have won the Super Bowl with it in ’14.

              1. Walsh’s offense may have been simple to you but to those defending it, Deion Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Ed Too Tall Jones, Harvey Martin, Lc Greenwood, Mean Joe Green and Jack Lambert, it was anything but. The Forty nineres had new wrinkles off every play they ever called, just when you thought a slant on 3rd and 5 was coming, Montana would audiblize to a slant and go; when the Cowboy’s thought a sweep was coming in the ’81 Championship Game, a double reverse was dialed up; when a deep out was the obvious play Rice and eye contact with Montana (grows with time) the play was changed to a deep post; a slant on 3rd and goal from the 5, while Montana dropped back past Craig to throw as he got behind him he’d tuck it it into craigs belly for a sneaky draw, or a deep crossing pattern (left) to John Taylor, Montana would stare down Taylor moving the safety his way, and throw a 50 yard strike to Rice on the right hash against Hanford Dixon (Cleveland-Monday Night Football) without looking at Rice (of course Montana was known by season ticket holders to perform this subtlety the televison could’nt pick-up and he did this always and many times every game.) In a regular season game Montana saw the safety creeping up to hammer the Niner slants, and he told Rice to run a slant and go and hit him in step on a bomb…That stopped kept the safety backed off. Running variations off every play comes with time, and when the quarterback spots the perfect time during the game to audible to a variant, Walsh made sure he had an accurate QB to make the defense pay big time…sometimes a setup bomb might take a whole game to set up on a Dallas Cowboy, Pittsburgh or New York Giant defense, but when Montana saw it, he cooly executed it which frightened defenses throughout the NFL with his accuracy…I still remember the Double Reverse, Flea Flicker Walsh called and Montana completed to TE, Charlie Young on the first play of the `81 SuperBowl…NO, Make no mistake, the 49ers, with Montana back pedalling on a 3-step drop, slant pattern, only to throw a very high arching 40 yard pass in the air (on a 3-step near the line of scrimmage the ball has to be released as fast as a slant) giving Rice time to run under it, take talent and timing, but another example of 49er variations off their staple plays…Green bay under McCarthy still run this “simple” offense, but for a Special Teams blunder may well have won the Super Bowl with it in ’14.

          1. Now that’s not what I was saying. Steve gets paid to talk. He sometimes gets a bit circular in his reasoning. If he were here I’d ask him about some of his own earlier observations. For instance, after Waters left in FA the Niners went with Derrick Lovell at RB. Derrick was a stand up guy who gave his all, but he was no Ricky Waters. So Steve lamented that opponents didn’t fear the Niners’ running game any more and loaded up against the pass. He complained that SF shouldn’t have let Waters go without better talent to replace him. The SB Champ reputation and the Niners Dynasty reputation weren’t cutting it on Game Day. Opposing defenses feared GRo/Harbaugh until they adjusted. They feared CK and the Read Option until they adjusted. I stand my contention.
            Please remember that as good a QB as Steve was, and as good a communicator as he is, you have to take his stuff with a grain of salt. Do you recall how Steve guanteed that Hasslebeck was going to sign with SF? When folks get paid a lot of money to talk a lot, some is bound to be just talk.

            1. I’m still mad that they let Waters go. And, of course, the next season Dallas beat them for the third time out of four NFC championships with a donkey as head coach.

              In general, I agree with you about Young and some of his comments, but he has played for teams that were feared. Now he’s observing a team that got rid of most of it’s coaching staff, and somehow managed to lose players who took 37% of it’s 2014 snaps.

              1. HT,

                Those teams were feared because they were good. They weren’t good because they were feared.

                Once a team loses its edge, the rest of the NFL figures that out pretty quickly.

              2. HT
                This is tangental to the points we just discussed, but question: Do you think Ricky would have stayed? If memory serves me, my impression was that Ricky was on his high horse (spent a good bit of his time there) and was embracing the chance to cash in on the market with whoever anted up. I think I remember expecting him to leave as we entered that off-season.
                To the point Steve made at the time, perhaps surprising the impending loss wasn’t addressed in FA or draft.

              3. BT:

                At the time I thought Waters wanted to be the “The Man” on a team – any team. That wasn’t possible with the 49ers. Then there was the horrendous cap problem that was partly caused by the push to win the 1995 Superbowl. I don’t know how they could have kept Waters. Like a lot of fans, I was mad at them and Ricky.


                One thing’s for sure, Dallas didn’t fear the 49ers during that series of four NFC championship games, but no one else had a chance to beat either team.

                One thing I enjoyed during the whole golden era was watching the Rams fold their tent late in the third period. A solid short passing game can cause a team to wear down as much as today’s 49er power game.

                I think Steve Young and almost anyone else would agree with your statement. I also think, regardless of loud proclamations by the “faithful”, that the 49ers have announced to the NFL world that they are not that good, and that’s what Young was referring to.

                We’ll find out this season if a great cap strategy can play winning football regardless of who the coaches are. Our cap strategy has been in place during the Noland, Singletary, and Harbaugh years, and now into the Tomsula years. If Tomsula wins, hurray for the cap strategy. If Tomsula matches Noland and Singletary, hurray for hiring the most talented coaches available — they don’t count against the cap.

  12. In the recent past the niners have been a winning team because of a top 5 defense, a good running attack and occasional great athletic play from Kap.

    My main concern going forward is the defense. Not only are we losing players we are changing systems from one that the players know and that works to something new. I think one of the top things to know about the niners going forward is how Eric Mangini functions as defensive coordinator. I am a fan and will be pulling for him and the team, but I am not hopeful.

  13. One of the most pointless articles by GC in a long time. He has been good of late. There is nothing new here. Just the obvious, Tomsula, Bowman, Davis, Kapernick are question marks…so are half the NFL.

    Tomsula: You want to write interesting article? How about Tomsula taking over for a coach who lost the team, failed in clock management (cost us Super Bowl), was unable to develop young talent (allowing Seahawks to pass us), held onto an OC whose offense regressed every year since 2011 and was unable to get along with management. To me, that says everything you need to know about Harbaugh.

    All we can judge Tomsula by right now is positives. He is addressing key liabilities which cost us a Super Bowl. We win Super Bowls, we just don’t play in them. Let the Bills fans cheer that nonsense.

    Bowman and Willis: a) When Bowman played with Willis he was a more dominant player b) Willis was not dominant for 3 years. c) Bowman at 80% is better than Willis today, healthy or not. d) I don’t even know that Willis would have beaten out Borland, healthy or not. e) At worse, we will be as good as last year, which is still above-average.

    Davis: He was injured. Came to camp late. Had OC that made zero effort to utilize him. Pretty much three strikes. Just getting rid of Roman makes him a 40 catches better.

    Kaepernick: As bad a the media and fans like to bag on Kaepernick, the guy has played his best ball on biggest stages. He owns the Packers (still), ruined the Falcons and came back against the Ravens, but was cheated out of win by terrible play calling and poor clock management. He was a 1/2 year starter for God sake and they didn’t help him. Unforgivable).

    Last year, Roman’s play calling was as schizophrenic and Kaep’s play. Think there was a correlation? We went 8-8 with a depleted team. Lost 3 games we should have won, including Chicago (Kaep put up 30+ point) and Rams (yes, Kaep fumbled at 1. He also led a 79 yd drive at the end). He will be better because he cannot worse now that Roman is gone. He will be better because the team is healthy. He will be better because he has better weapons and speed at receiver (Crabtree was worthless). He will be better because they will let him run more. He will be much better.

    Let’s stop with all the negatives and start looking at the positives: This team is poised for a breakout season: Talent-wise they are deeper and better than last year. They are excited. They have a humongous chip on their shoulders (that alone can drive teams). They are flying way under the radar with zero respect.

    When you back a animal into a corner with no way out, it fights back. A lot of know-nothing media types are going to be eating crow next year, I will be right there hand feeding it to them.

    I haven’t been this excited since 1994 when I KNEW we finally had the Cowboys number. In the 80’s, hell, we were just better than everyone.

    1. DaNiners, I love your attitude and your optimism, and your point about the team’s having a chip on their shoulder and their receiving zero respect from the national mediais spot on. I think this team is going to come out of their corner swinging and surprise a lot of people.

      Grant’s boring rehash of the same old tired story; coaching turnover, players retiring, QB regression, blah, blah, blah, isn’t even worth reading, but as usual it will generate blog hits and he’ll get credit for being a “reporter”.

      Grant if you’re so certain the 49ers will flounder this season why don’t you stake your job on it? How about you step up and say that if the 49ers post a winning record this season, better than 8-8, you’ll quit your job at the PD and go volunteer for the Peace Corps, work at an animal shelter, solicit donations for the Red Cross or do any other type of meaningful, useful work that benefits society? Conversely, if the team posts a losing record, you will just continue to write lame, uninspired, regurgitated, snide, snarky hit pieces about the team you’re supposedly “inside of”. Bad job today Grant, go take a timeout.

      1. If he’s right, shouldn’t YOU quit your job and go volunteer for the Peace Corps, work at an animal shelter, solicit donations for the Red Cross or do any other type of meaningful, useful work that benefits society?????

        1. Since YOU don’t have a clue what kind of volunteer work I already do, shouldn’t you shut your pie hole? I’m not the one constantly putting out negative “analysis” on the 49ers upcoming season and forecasting their demise, so I don’t need to back up my gloomy predictions with any kind of wager. And, I don’t understand why a 49er fan would feel the need to jump to Grant’s defense, but whatever floats your boat.

          1. Are you saying that YOU know what kind of volunteer work Grant does???
            YOU are challenging Grant to put his money where his mouth is, why aren’t YOU doing the same………
            Grant can have whatever opinion he wants to have, Bar None!
            It doesn’t make me more or less of a 9er fan especially since he does point out some iffy situations. His real prediction (and hopefully yours) will come when the season starts.

    2. Your analysis is spot on. Only one tiny little mistake. Kaep crossed the goal line before he was stripped of the ball in the Rams game IMO.

      1. CK bobbled the snap, regained control, dove into the pile, disappeared in the pile, the pile ended up in the end zone, Laurinaitis came out of the back of the pile with the ball, five yards deep in the end zone, mind you, and refs ruled it a fumble. Yeah, ok, sure. Not that it bothers me, or anything…

  14. NewJim has a win-win season ahead of him as the HC.
    If he’s below 8-8, everyone will say that it was to be expected
    If he’s above 8-8, people will praise him like he’s wonderJim
    If he’s 8-8, well then he’s just like old Jim….

  15. “Wilhoite………still learning the position.”
    How long has he been on the team? How many games has he started? Who made the play calls between him and Borland last year?
    This is not a good take on a player.
    Vernon: Yeah, VD does have to re-establish himself because last season’s production was down and there was an appearance of a loss of enthusiasm; agreed. But why is it that the play calls (not) targeting him last year by a now-departed HC & OC are one of the five things to know about the 2015 TC? Useless, other than just to throw a spitball.
    Also didn’t like the passive-aggressive elliptical question why Vernon wasn’t targeted, but that’s one of the constants in Grant’s style. To wit:
    “Will Colin Kaepernick show some improvement? Or is he content to play as he has?”
    (Deep sigh). Grant you’ve heard all the same quotes from CK that we have and you know very well what he said, though there’s no allusion to it here. You mention how he went through the QB training program at his own expense and his own volition, but you leave the passive-aggressive innuendos dangling out there as though there’s any question at all about him striving to improve. There isn’t. We don’t know how much better, if at all, CK will be in 2015, but its disingenuous to suggest he doesn’t or might not care. It’s a deliberate cheap trick.
    Are we going to have to sort through your agendas as we try to interpret your Camp comments…..again?

      1. Yeah, AFFP had actually covered it fine, but I couldn’t choke down the attitude behind the line “…content to play as he has?” It was a juvenile dig unnecessary to make the point about performance, made by someone who doesn’t have any more insight into CK’s psyche than any guy off the street.

        1. the comment “content to play as he has” was just stupid, inflammatory and it’s use shows his negative bias association towards Kaepernick.

          Kaepernick himself has said he needs to play better. His actions in going to EXOS to work on different aspects at quarterbacking is a pretty solid indicator that he’s not content with his level of quarterback play. I don’t think I’d ever use the word “content” to describe Kaepernick and his desire to be a better QB. Even his off season physical training last year…while probably not the right kind of training he needed…indicated he wanted to train to become better.

          there are valid points to question about Kaepernick going into this season…so let me write unbiased commentary about concerns for Kaepernick going into this season .

          1. Grant is right Kaep has shown a statistical regression starting from his time entering as a starter (though to be fair so has the entire Niner’s offense…Kaep is the cause and the victim of it).

          2. Kaepernick is no longer really a young QB. He’s been doing things his way (in terms of footwork, throwing motion…etc..) for quite awhile now. It’s hard to correct those things the longer you go without correcting them…or it could take more than just one offseason of work to fix some of his problems.

          3. Kapernick is going to have to learn a new offensive system. most likely there will be some significant carry over from the last offensive system (they’re both WCO rooted). But he’s going to have to learn new ways of doing things. Some aspects will probably work better for him (zone-read option and package plays maybe). hopefully more use of his mobility in the passing game. But even if the offense plays to Kaepernick’s strengths… all that still takes time to get everyone in sych and on the same page…etc..for Kaepernick it’s about coordinating timing, reads, anticipation, footwork…etc…So he has some extra hurdles to jump over in learning a new offense this season.

          1. If he can show he’s able to manipulate coverage with his eyes and throw the touch pass to running backs, I’ll be encouraged. Mr. Hyde is going to monster mash in this offense….

            1. that’ll depend on his footwork. not only is working on his footwork about timing but it’s also about his accuracy. his problem is that he throws with his arm. Grant is right when he says Kaepernick often (and to my eyes almost never) properly resets his feet to make a throw when he has to move even a little bit in the pocket. it takes away from his base…the power you get from your legs when you throw. and Kaepernick makes up for it with his arm strength. the problem is that when you’re using arm strength to make up for lost leg strength you often lose the stabilizers in your arm that act to control your throw. so as a result you get inaccurate passes.

              1. The way his release was coming out of college and the tight, compact explosion he has now, tells me he can make the footwork change. It’s just going to take more repetitions….

          2. Yes he still has a number of things to improve upon, and a big part is taking the check down instead of forcing something that isn’t there. That alone will make a big difference imo. The mechanics, pocket presence, reading the coverage, those are things that have to be worked on year after year. I don’t think they have to reinvent him though. He has been pretty successful playing the way he has prior to last year. What needs to happen now is adding the positive plays from inside the pocket consistently so teams can’t overplay the run and cheat on containing him in the pocket. If he gets to that point, we will have something special.

            1. Rocket says “The mechanics, pocket presence, reading the coverage, those are things that have to be worked on year after year”
              In highschool and college yes. At the pro level, you either have it, or you are not gonna be very good. In CK situation, he has a lot of surrounding talent. At the end of the day, you have to make decisive decisions and be accurate. Play calling can help but CK needs to be able to consistently do those things.

              1. Prime Time,

                So you’re saying that pocket presence, reading defense and mechanics aren’t developed once a player reaches the NFL?

                Tom Brady and Drew Brees say you should rethink that notion.

              2. Tom Brady and Drew Bree’s are elite QB’s. If after your 3rd year in the NFL you are still learning to play from the pocket and utilizing extensive drills for foot work and mechanics, the 8 ball is smacking you upside the nose hairs!

              3. Prime,

                Kap didn’t play in a traditional offense in H.S. or College. This is not your typical young QB who comes in with some experience and knowledge of a traditional passing system. He came from a predominantly run oriented offense that focused on his athleticism. He was about as green as a rookie QB can be coming out of College. And yet, he took the job in his second year, and has made a lot of progress assimilating to a pro system.

                I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, one of the worst things that happened to Kap was his early success because it built up unrealistic expectations for a lot of people. For him to achieve what he did so quickly was amazing when you look at where he came from as a developmental QB. That is why I continue to preach patience to those who want him gone because he’s not a great pocket passer yet. It takes time, and he is getting his training now as opposed to College like the Bradys and Brees’ of the world did. Even then, Brees especially took time to develop and really didn’t start rolling until his 3rd season as a starter. Look at Bradys numbers his first few years and they are not spectacular. In fact his passer ratings his first 3 years as a starter were lower than Kaps was last season. You have to have patience. If you allow a talented player time to develop chances are you’ll wind up with a very good one.

              4. When they drafted Kaepernick, I figured it would take 3 years of development before he’d be ready for the job….

              5. Well said Rocket. My arguement is that this is a make or break year for Kaepernick. The 49ers cannot continue to pay him 12 million dollars a year and still be a project. My other point is, the things that CK lacks are potentially unteachable: accuracy, leadership, poise, and intelligence.

              6. PT,

                My point about Brees and Brady is they’re elite and know that they can improve by working with private QB coaches in the off season, further developing mechanics, moving in the pocket, etc.

    1. BT,

      You’re exactly right about Grant’s take on Wilhoite. He may not be an All Pro MLB (neither was Willis, over the last couple of years), but he has proven that he is a starter quality MLB in the NFL.

      Grant shows just how clueless he is by intimating that CK might be satisfied with playing the level he’s already achieved. Either he’s clueless about people / football, or he’s clueless about writing.

      1. Thanks but no. We’ve plowed over these fields so much that we’ve reached the Earth’s core, so I’m going to wait until there’s a new field to plow or at until during TC where we can start to get a better idea of where this team is at.

  16. I think his comment about Bowman is a classic overstatement that GC has become famous for and cherry picking his examples. So he got beat with the brace on by Hunter. All ILB’s get beat, no one makes every tackle. Yes the brace hinders him as he builds confidence in his knee. Did Bowman ever miss a tackle in practice before this, sure he did. Was his career over then, no? He also fails to note in coverage Bowman read Kap and intercepted a pass beating the receiver to the ball in the red zone at mini camp. Bowman was also noted as making several other good plays at mini camp. Grant’s question is valid, will Bowman return to form and trust the knee? Will the surgically repaired knee hold up? Will Bowman psychologically recover from a horrific injury? I don’t know GC’s motivation one might say we saw both hesitation and the old Bowman in mini camp and when the pads come on we’ll know more.

  17. Everyone should keep in mind that as bad as they played last year, they should have been 11-5 instead of 8-8. They lost three home games to non-playoff teams in which they led by 17 (Bears), 21 (Chargers) and were on the 2 yard line, first and ten against the Rams, down by three and didn’t score a damn point. Go figure.

    1. Ray P, good point. This year I expect their offense to shock people. If their defense can hold up, look out NFL.

    2. Exactly, so a knowing we should have won those games, how is Kaepernick considered a third tier QB? I mean, outside of his inability to beat Seattle, a better team with a better coach, where has he failed us? He took us to the SB with 1/2 year experience, where he received zero help from our coaches in last 2 minutes of the game. He has owned the Packers since 2011, consistently outplaying the best QB in the league. He went to New England and embarrassed a perennial contender. He reached the NFC Championship game three years running and one year, as a wild card. His stats may suck, he may have flaws all over the place, but the guy wins and carry’s his team consistently. He carried a rag tag group to 8 wins last year. No offense line, beat up defense, no WR’s, no TE, worst OC in football. Andy Dalton, really? Cam Newton, seriously? What have either of those clowns done in comparison to Kaepernick in 4 years? He may not be perfect, but he is our imperfect and I will take him of Alex Smith or 3/4 of the rest of the crappy QB’s in the league.

    3. Maybe you missed some of the discussions that involved why we might have lost those games. The Bears and Rams game specifically.

    4. With a depleted roster too
      Turmoil in the front office
      And an OC and coach who I wholeheartedly believe sabatoged this team to a degree.

    5. Not to throw too much water on that 11-5 record, but 5 of those 8 wins were by spreads of 3, 4, 3, 5 and 5 points. A FG here, a TD there the other way, and we could have just as easily ended up at 3-13. Last season was one of the worst in recent Niner history and yes, I’m including the early millennium in that total. What with their recent success, the talent present and a coaching staff that was near the top of the league the previous 3 years, last year was inexcusable. I’m glad FO cleaned house.

  18. “Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman seemed intent on preventing Davis from catching passes, especially touchdown passes.”

    Grant, why on Earth would they ever do that? In this piece you reverted to your old junior high school style of silly and extreme. Don’t you get it that it will take you only so far? Be thoughtful, young fella.

  19. I will admit that I am cautiously watching Bow. He had some good movement apparently in Minies, but he also said that some days the knee swelled up on him, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that; not yet 100%.
    Similarly, I read on PFT that Earl Thomas is hedging a bit on being ready for Opening Day after his shoulder surgery.

    1. I believe the prudent move with Bowman is keep him on a leash until November. Limit and monitor his snaps until he gets fully acclimated….

    2. With normal ACL damage it generally takes two years to get back to top form. There was nothing normal about the damage to Bowman’s knee. If the 49ers had won that game, I probably wouldn’t want to watch it again because of that horrific play. You can count on the fact that he might reach something close to 100% for the 2016 season. Note all the carefully place qualifiers.

      1. That’s consistent with what Madden always said; that the second year back was the actual full recovery that includes confidence.

  20. Final thought- JH was schooled by PC. JH fired himself by being too stubborn to make changes. I may have no shred of evidence, but I bet JY implored JH to fix the game management problems. I bet he begged JH to run the no huddle with quick snaps. When JH refused to run the hurry up in the second half while behind, he fired himself, and JY’s tweet was spot on and I have never been more embarrassed about a game in my life. Even when they went 2-14, I at least knew that they TRIED to win. I would have fired JH after that game.

    1. Uh-oh! Now you’ve done it Seb, LOL! There are some serious JY Haters on here that will likely take issue with you on that; stand by.
      Cue HTWaits in 5,4,3,2,1……..
      : -)

        1. TY. At least I admitted that I had no evidence ahead of time, and that it is my personal assessment. JH may have a different take on the situation.

          1. Would you like to have a chance to tell your story about what happened to Jim Harbaugh?

            1. HT,

              While we don’t know exactly what happened, are you so sure that Baalke or York didn’t ever talk to Harbaugh about those and/or other percieved shortcomings? I can’t think of anything that would piss JH more than have anyone question his methods / systems, can you?

              1. I don’t know. They did try to improve getting plays off faster after the Superbowl, but you would have to do some science to find out if it worked at all.

                Harbaugh could have talked to Baalke about team issues depending on how Baalke went about it. The problem that I saw, from day one, was that the press put Baalke on the defensive about who was in charge. He was still reacting to that pressure when he introduced Tomsula and corrected Jed about who had the final say in the make up of the final 53.

                I can’t see Harbaugh taking any perceived manipulation from Jed very well. I believe Jim was fired and Jed tried to make it sound like a “mutual” parting to “pursue other opportunities”. That’s corporate double speak, which is where Jed was trained.

                If Jed has said that Jim Harbaugh is too bull headed to work for the organization that I’m building so I’m replacing him with Jim Tomsula, that would have been better — especially if he had been confident enough to do it the week after the NFC championship game in 2013.

              2. HT,

                I agree with both of your points on JH’s firing: firstly, he was fired; secondly, honesty is always better. I just don’t understand how Jed thought he could think he could get away with that nonsense about a “mutual parting”.

              3. The Mutual Parting charade is a sign of the times imo. It’s HR Speak and is driven by a general anxiety about litigation. It is all over our society. Politicians give us big smiles as they lie through their teeth. Marketers and promoters say anything without regard to the facts.
                When Stephen Colbert coined the word “Truthiness”, we all understood what he meant.
                NOBODY bought Jed’s BS, it was a weak attempt at face saving; the kind of crap we wade through and dismiss every day in our lives.
                “I didn’t inhale.”
                “I take a wide stance.”
                “The Iraqis will greet our troops with open arms.”
                “Mission Accomplished.”
                “Latinos love me.”

            2. Well, I am verbose. I could come up with a sweet Game of Thrones fantasmagorical tome.

              1. Seb,

                At this point, I don’t care who writes the sixth book. Get to work.

          2. Sebny,
            Fair enough. But will JY ever thank JH for bringing the team back to prominence to the point of making it possible to build Levi’ stadium?
            Let’s face it, if Harbaugh had losing seasons during his tenure there likely would be no Field of Jean’s today.

            1. They certainly couldn’t have charged what they did for ticket licenses, and they couldn’t get those prices today.

              1. Dont remind me. We lost our 4 seats because we could not afford the licencing fees, and Santa Clara was too far from the North Bay.
                I miss the Stick, and wish Levi never happened.

            2. JY did thank JH for his service at the end of the year, and even with those slights, allowed JH to finish the season. His father dropped Singletary and had Tomsula coach the last game, so JY could have done that too.
              I thought it was a nice gesture to the departing coach and the players responded with a win. Dont get me wrong. Up to the point when the Niners were 7-4 and poised to go to the playoffs, I was 100% behind JH and hoped he would succeed. I defended JH but excoriated Roman.
              Then the wheels fell off and it was a train wreck.

              1. Jed York was in charge of the 49ers when Singletary was hired and Jed fired him. Finishing the season was part of the “mutual parting” story, and Jed even bragged about having it in writing. If he had fired Harbaugh early in 2013 after the NFC championship game, that would have been honest and helpful to Harbaugh.

              2. Seb,

                York may have said works about being grateful to JH, but what did his actions say?

              3. I still thought Dr York fired MS and JY took over with JH.
                Maybe a review of the time line is necessary. Since Dec 3rd, JH had a contract for Michigan on his desk. Michigan, being a forthright organization, let the Niners know their intentions. JY knew that it would be classless to fire JH after that Seattle game, so he let JH finish out the season. Letting a HC finish the season even though everyone and their cousin knew he was gone, was a nice gesture. JH could have insisted the Niners fire him, so he could take another NFL HC position,but for some reason, declined to do that. He moved to Michigan because he dreamed of following in Bo’s footsteps, and the mutual parting was an agreed upon scenario. Then JH changed his mind and set up that TK interview, even though TK was hated by JH.

              4. Seb,

                I don’t think firing JH during the season was ever on the table for JY.

              5. Clarification: IMO, JY may have wanted to fire JH during the season, but wouldn’t consider it because of the PR nightmare it would create.

              6. Sebnynah:

                With the web so easy to get to, we don’t need good memories anymore.

                Jeb York took over from his dad starting in 2009.

                John York 49ers 2000 2008 Co-Owner
                Jed York 49ers 2009 2014 Owner/President/CEO,

                Jed fired Singletary:

                “Dec 27, 2010 – Singletary fired hours after a sloppy loss eliminates S.F. from the playoff race Team President Jed York …”

                Bye the way, there were reports in the press that the locker room cheered the news that Singletary was going to be the new coach in 2009. Jed probably made that choice too since that’s when he took over. A lot of good it did Singletary.

    2. Some day, when Baalke and Harbaugh write their autobiographies, we will get a clearer idea of what happened.

      My uninformed wild guess… it didn’t involve differences in fundamental philosophy. They both believe in clock chewing, run oriented, grind it out, physical, “win the middle” offense.

      The separation might have involved some/all of the following…

      – Incompatible personalities
      – Lack of quarterback development
      – Differences in personnel decisions. Harbaugh didn’t get the players he wanted. Baalke unhappy about how Harbaugh used (or didn’t use) alot of the shiny new toys he drafted.
      – Terrible 4th qtr game management and productivity
      – Baalke believing he had A grade offensive players, but was getting C- productivity

      Its easy to forget Harbaugh had the reputation of a quarterback whisperer when he was hired and though his first season. Alex Smith blossomed.

      Many (including me) was hoping he could turned CK’s athleticism into a monster QB… and also hoped he could take late draft pick QBs, puff them up in pre season and junk time, then trade them for much higher picks a year or two later.

      1. When Charles blew up in LA after a loss to the Raiders, Lott had to come from the Raiders locker room to calm Charles down. Steve was his target. Later, when Charles had achieved some perspective, I’m sure he saw Young differently.

        The story about Charles relieving himself in someone’s convertible couldn’t have involved Young because he drove an old pickup at that time. He has been a much different Charles for some time now.

        I’m impressed that he ask Eddie to introduce him. Go Charles.

        1. I vaguely remember it was an offensive linemen that got his car watered.

        2. It was either Eddie or JJ. Glad he chose Eddie since JJ likes players like Hardy.

        3. Nah,it was Harris, the other OLB. And the story about the ding dong dangling I think was Steve not Joe.

    1. Not sure if you’ve ever heard any of the stories about him but Haley was one crazy mofo and I don’t just mean as a player. There’s one exceptionally colorful story involving him and Joe Montana in the locker room. If you haven’t heard It, it’s worth searching for and reading about.

      1. CFC,

        Do you mean the time they had to go and get Lott out of the Raider locker room to calm Haley down so he wouldn’t kill Steve Young?

        1. Narp, I’ll see if I can find the link but it involves him dangling something in Joe’s face and making a remark about it and something Joe could do to it..

        2. Oy vey, I”ll clean it up for here but the full version isn’t quite as work friendly:

          Haley would stroll up to an unsuspecting (49er) teammate, whip out his phallus, and repeatedly stroke it in his face. Players initially laughed it off…

          Hey look, it’s Charles’ huge erection! And he’s pleasuring himself! Man, that is funny.

          But Haley refused to stop. He would ….. off in the locker room, in the trainer’s room. He’d wrap his hand around his …, turn toward a Joe Montana or John Taylor, and bellow, ‘You know you wanna suck this!’


  21. But the coaches shut him out. Why?
    I’d be very interested in hearing what your theory is for that Grant, I have mine what’s yours?

  22. For those that haven’t seen me mention it before the best show on t.v. right now is Mr. Robot. This is the first season and there are only 5 episodes so far but it’s brilliant! There’s a fun twist going on that you’ll either hear about or figure out on your own but the show is very well written and produced and the protagonist(Rami Malek) is going to be a near shoo-in to win best actor Emmy next year.

    Check it out!

    1. CFC is right. I’ve gone through four episodes. This show is very different in a good way.

  23. Kaep ranked second in overall merchandise sales and first in women’s apparel.

  24. Yes, the dime package with Tartt on the slot and Ward or Johnson as the sixth.

    Tomsula is a breath of fresh air after an elevator fart, very much looking forward to Coach Chryst and Coach Logan, and hoping Coach Mangini is the man for the job, Coach Fangio was unflappable.

    It will be fun to see some blitzing. Go back and look at some film on Carlton Williamson, and think Tartt.

  25. I propose all commenters avoid the trite usage of the word “snark” or its derivative. Thank you.

    1. Boredom probably. He tossed a cherry bomb into the kennel to set us hounds a’barking.

  26. vastly entertaining article about the new
    Michigan football coach:

    1. his intriguing and awkward start in Ann Arbor
    2. …rich in wins and quirks.
    3. he barged into town
    4. vaguely rational fervor
    5. the indecipherable James Harbaw
    6. his cadence-less press conferences
    7. possibilities for clamor abound
    8. it’s, it’s, it’s happening.

    You can just see him pirouette (in the khaki tutu)…

    1. Only to let you know that someone appreciates your entries…I do. We seem to agree on some things that will hopefully return our 49ers to championship form ….too many personal attachments by some on here…perhaps a bit too parochial with respect to the popularity contest that we are all a part of….carry on….

  27. Que the A’s trade deadline fire sale. Awesome, never gets old. For the love of God can we please just move on from Billy. I don’t know if it’s owner incompetence or apathy but someone needs to step in and end this reign of terror.

    1. The owner is only interested in land deals. Baseball is just part of his real estate strategy. He’s never been interested in the fans or the game.

  28. Why in the world do people keep saying mass exodus. Guys retired because of injury and the other guys we didn’t want. So Fu….. What. Gore, loved him but his time is done, we got younger and better with Hyde. Culliver, everyone was hatin on his deep ball skillz and his personality, but as soon as he leaves, now it’s we are gonna miss him? Good luck Washington. System player. Parish cox. Journeyman, we made him relevant for a season. Big contract we weren’t gonna pay. Good luck titans, system player. Crabtree…. Enough said. Iupati, great run blocker but couldn’t pass protect for his own mother. Good luck Carson Palmer… Anthony Davis, Concussion, Willis heart and soul, couldn’t be p willy for 3 years. For those of you who think bowman is better, If no toe injury to p willy, wouldn’t be a comparison. Love the game love the character. U will be missed. Godspeed brother. Borland. Concussions and scred of more… Retirement. He chose health over flash….Justin Smith, old and injured. Smitten of the old cowboy. Chose retirement. Godspeed young man. Sorry to tell you people but no matter who the coach was or is, this would have happened. The retirements and the overpayed players who were let go. If we wanted any of those players at their salary, we could have had them. But we are younger, we are faster, on paper we are WAY more explosive. Will it add up to a super bowl? Maybe, maybe not. Will it add up better than 8-8? Maybe, maybe not.But as for a mass exodus, get over yourselves. It was a GM going in a differnt direction….

    1. No NO NO. Any calm reasonable and factual post will be banned forthwith. We demand strident emotional diatribes and to heck with the facts. :P
      TC cannot come too soon.

    2. Steelematic

      This is my favorite of all of your posts…and yes, I do read ’em

    1. Glad my idea turned out to be useful.

      I sometimes wonder why certain vets don’t get snaps. The 49ers are secretive about injuries, so its hard to tell. Did Stevie Johnson get limited snaps due to injury? Crabs having a fit? Trade conditions that would have given the Bills a 3rd rounder instead of a 4th?

      Also, Baalke might like a free agent more than the coaches. A recent podcast used the chef analogy. A 10 year chef at a Italian restaurant gets a surprise delivery of high quality Asian ingredients as a promotional freebie. Its a busy night. He doesn’t have time to experiment with the new ingredients, so he only uses his battle tested regular Italian ingredients.

      A player a GM thinks is a perfect fit might look like the wrong ingredient to the coaching staff.

      1. A GM’s plan must include constant rebuilding the roster.
        A HC has to win with what he has today.

        Baalke’s guru for football is Bill Parcells, but Bill is the one who stated that if he was going to cook the meal he wanted to select the ingredients, or something like that.

        Bill Parcells wanted total control. Maybe deep down, that’s what Baalke wants.

      2. That is why I was so heartened listening to Coach Tomsula describe the draft process. Everyone had input. It was a consensus decision, but Baalke pulled the trigger.
        It just made sense. Baalke does not want to force players on a coaching staff.
        Since Tomsula was the D line coach, I bet he was extremely happy to get AA on the first pick.

  29. MJ …Do you have a PSL? I might be wiiling to make an offer if you have PSL on shade side. I am willing to be a replacement player!

    1. I don’t, nor if I did would I be selling, but I do try to make it to atleast 1 game a year. Might make it to more now that I know someone with season tix. I wonder how the PSL would have affected this past Wrestlemania..hmmm

  30. How to respond to Kap’s statistical greatness over Montana and Young according to Seb,on 7/22, at 2:11? I won’t waste my time over provocateurs or the other, unthinkable pejoratives,because Kap was never as good as 4 time Pro Bowler, Jeff Garcia. When Kap progresses to this point with your favorite teachers, Tomsula, Chryst, and Logan, come talk to me. Until then I’m going to make a prediction…Directly because of Baalke’s lack of offensive knowledge, especially with the cohesion part of an offensive line, or its talent,Kap will be knocked out of games this year with that turnstyle you call an offensive line.

    1. I’m going to make a prediction, once the season starts you won’t be on this blog. You will disappear until the next off season so you can come on this blog and make idiotic statements. By the way I will take a guy who has been to two NFC title games and one SB to a 4 time pro bowler who never sniffed either one! If you would take Jeff Garcia skill set over Kaeps your a moron. Garcia’s career is long gone and kaeps just getting started. See you next off season Tommy!

      1. Colin’s performance has dwindled since his first game against the Bears that one fateful Monday night. He has had a few blips on the radar of good, but mostly its been flatline. Garcia’s teams were no where near as talented as Colins, the only thing Garcia had going for him over Colin was a man named T.O. Position for position the ’12 to ’15 49ers are much more talented than the 99-03 49ers. Gore vs Hearst, Vernon Davis vs Eric Johnson, Beasley vs Miller, Aldon/Brooks/Lynch vs Carter/Engleberger, Willis/Bowman(Borland) vs Derrick Smith…and so on.

      2. CK,

        Thank you for taking the bait. I’ll make sure that the 4 time Pro Bowler receives your comments and others like them as the Rams new Quarterbacks coach, running the same playbook Jeff Fisher was involved with while a member of the Niners dynasty coaching staff via facebook…I’m sure Jeff will pass the info. also when the Rams and their loaded defensive line of number one draft picks, with their new DC, Williams to maneuver them around come to town.

        1. Pay attention to history CK, because it can recycle for those with memories such as yours

          1. As I stated CK, it’s all about history. Since your crowd chooses to ignore it, and could care less about the approaching Iceberg headed straight for the good ship 49ers, I’ll point it (the history) out to you…As an ancient philosopher said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”

            Hoping this helps before your crowd has to break out the life preservers.


            1. TomD I hope to see you in September on here but I highly doubt you will show. The crappy thing for you is that all the off season negatives that you are relying on are just that off season talk. The real bullets fly soon enough. Your hopes and dreams come to an end in September. Good luck to your Rams they will need it. Remember this, the most dangerous team is the team that everyone is talking negative about. They got nothing to lose. Refer back to Dallas last year.

              1. CK

                I can agree with you here, however Dallas did not suffer the mass exodus of a top 3 defensive coordinator (Fangio) top DB coach (Donatell), most of their starting personnel (many involved in the SuperBowl), and plug in a head coach, who unlike Harbaugh, was never even offered a defensive coordinators position, did not have most of the NFL teams courting him, nor did Dallas hire an OC who hasn’t OC’d since 2000, a QB coach who, when last seen, was bringing cups of coffee to the radio station manager in Carolina. No Dallas has a very good head coach, with an exciting, interesting offense, and a playmaker (Des Bryant at WR), something Baalke has constantly swung and missed as GM…However, as the back of all U.S coins will say, Trust in Baalke, Jed, and Dr York…That and our next Mike Singletary/Mike Nolan might get you a cup of Coffee in the NFL (Not for Long League).

    1. PFT had another article today about Haley talking to the Niners rookies that I found amusing.

  31. Off Topic:

    What do the Niner’s see in Blaine Gabbert, other than he comes cheap? Yes, I know everyone loves to trash him. But there must be something there that gives them some hope, because a lot rides on him if something happens to Kap.

    What are his strengths, what does the front office see in him that most posters don’t? I would really like to know. Thanks.

    1. Many posters think BG is trash, but I like him. I think he got a bad rap for his failure at Jax, but he had no support at all.
      BG recognizes that the Niners is the best place for him, and he mentioned having continuity as being an important factor to him.
      However, if DT out competes him in TC, I bet the Niners try to trade him to a team desperate for a QB if their QBs are cratering or injured.

      1. I can’t help but think that no matter how talented Gabbert may or may not have been coming out of college, his time at the Jaguars has ruined any chance he’ll ever be any good. He hasn’t looked a confident player on the field yet during his career, including last year. He’s completely gun-shy about throwing anything beyond 10 yards, and when he does he often rushes it, doesn’t set himself properly, and the pass is usually a stinker.

        Basically when I’ve seen him play he has looked frantic/ nervous in the pocket. Thrown to the wolves too early with a shaky offense around him. A bit like David Carr at the Texans.

        1. You know I’m on the same page when it comes to letting rookies sit but in the case of the two players mentioned, Gabbert & Carr I believe they turned out exactly how they would have even if they had held the clipboard for a year. For me Alex Smith is the perfect example of a player ruined by being put out too soon. To add insult to injury they chose his first game to be against the Colts during their SB winning season. Talk about walking into a buzz saw.

          1. You are most likely correct that neither Gabbert or Carr would ever have been/ will ever be particularly good starters, regardless of whether they sat for awhile or not. But I bet they would have been/ would be better players. Both guys careers have suffered from the same thing (among others) – panic in the face of a pass rush, and rushing things in the pocket. And I think being thrown in as rookies with a porous OL on a bad team is a key contributor.

            Alex actually is a good example as well. He had similar issues as a young player. What he is also a good example of is (a) a very resilient person, (b) a guy that was given a few chances despite a history of poor performance, and (c) the importance for a QBs development of having a coach that takes pressure off the QB when they aren’t ready for it.

        2. Gabbert might have some form of football PTSD from being sacked a zillion times in Jacksonville. He’s beyond help at this point. His play is downright awful, and I’m terrified of the prospect of him having to actually play QB for the 49ers in a real, regular season game. Whatever it is that Baalke sees in him, I can’t imagine, but if he’s our QB for any more than a game or two, our season’s over. Teams will just blitz the crap out of us, just daring BG to throw the ball, and he’ll either throw directly to their DB’s or just curl up in the fetal position on the field, after he fumbles the ball away. The guy’s a catastrophe and a calamity waiting to happen.

    2. He was a top 10 pick, you don’t get slotted and picked that high, especially in this day and age, if you are devoid of talent and ability. The 49ers hoped, hope maybe, that they can salvage whats left of those skills and remold him into a competent player. The guy coming out of college was big (still is at 6’4 220 something), athletic (i.e.pretty mobile), had a bigger than not arm, and could make plays…and he competed against quality talent in the Big 12. His knocks on him were that he was raw so being drafted by Jax was probably the worst scenario (outside of the raiders). He was a lot like Alex coming out of college, raw, could run and move, had a strong arm, very smart, played in a spread offense so would have to learn a new system. Hopefully for some of these guys being drafted (Mariotta for example) teams will stop with this idea that they need to be the started from day 1, that mindset has ruined more careers in the NFL at the qb position than anything. Let them sit 6 games to a year…look at Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers for example. The only time a rookie might get the opportunity to start day 1 is a Rothlisberger situation where theyre coming into a vet strong team and have smart coaches.

      1. MJ, I agree with both you and seb (above your post). It’s all going to be decided in TC anyway. If Thompson outplays him, so much the better. Thompson started in the SEC for just a year and did quite well. For that reason I think he was a good signing. I also think that’s the basis for believing there’s better to come from him.

        1. Leo Nomelinni, sebnynah, MJ, and George

          Good conversation as to Blaijne Gabbert and what does he bring to the party. I think that Gabbert is a great fail-safe for injury to Kaep, as well as having the pocket-passing skills and presence that go with the pro game. I think that Dylan Thompson also has the QB skills as taught by Spurrier. I think that we’re going to see some good football this year.

      2. “Hopefully … teams will stop with this idea that they need to be the started from day 1, that mindset has ruined more careers in the NFL at the qb position than anything.”

        Completely agree with this. And I’d say it extends beyond just the QB position (though QB is the most difficult for a rookie). Lots of talented players get thrown in the fire too early, can’t handle it, and it impacts on their confidence and mindset moving forward.

        It is not an accident that many bad teams seem to have a higher than normal rate of draft busts, while perennially good teams seem to have a lower amount. And its not just because good teams draft better (though that certainly is part of it). Bad teams are the ones that are continually putting rookies in bad situations because they have nobody better. Good teams can afford to let rookies sit for awhile, or just be a small piece of the overall picture while they are learning.

  32. Thompson in the OTAs threw the ball with good timing and accuracy. i think he will make the PS. BG may need sit and absorb the system. He will not be like Kaep who took 10 games to get to a SB, or Elway who took years to win it all. Maybe he will be like Marino. who never won it all. Or he could be like Dilfer, and allow his defense to win it by not screwing up.

    1. Cubus,

      Thanks for the link.

      Silva loses all credibility, or at least revealed he has an agenda, when he stated that CK absorbed 52 behind what was generally regarded as one of the league’s best o lines. If had taken the time to examine the 49ers’s 2014 season, he would’ve realized the O line was decimated by injuries and Boone’s hold out last year.

      Instead, he ignorantly implied, because CK was being protected by one of the best o lines in the NFL, the sacks must’ve been largely CK’s fault.

      He went on to interpret every possible point in the most negative way possible.

      I’m going to jump on over 6.5 wins, if I can actually find it. If I can, 6.5 wins? Come on, man.

    2. F#2% Evan Silva! I’m really tired of the media beating the same old tired drum about departed veterans and bashing Tomsula and co. before a single snap’s been played.Silva has or had no clue about the Oline situation for SF last season, stating this: “”Kap” has been in a backslide ever since. His pocket skills have not improved, absorbing an NFC-high 52 sacks last year behind what was generally regarded as one of the NFL’s best lines,”. Really? Our Oline with J. Martin posing as a human turnstyle was “generally regarded” as one of the best?
      I can’t wait until Tomsula makes all these herd of sheep writers look foolish this fall.
      Go Niners!

      1. Sorry Optimist Prime, (see what I did there?) I didn’t read your post before angrily posting mine.

        1. No problem. You revealed my in season name when the 49ers are the “surprise” team of the NFL.

  33. Remember Darren Waller? Posted this morning on Rotoworld:

    ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley projects sixth-round WR Darren Waller to be left off the 53-man roster. . . . Waller drew little notice for his play in OTAs. He’s shaping up as a classic practice-squad prospect.

    1. Glad the Niners passed on him while many posters were clamoring for him. The Niners did not spend a 6th round pick on him, and FAs White and Anderson look pretty good in comparison.

    2. Not surprised at all. Classic combine hero, but not a good football player.

    1. Probably because they don’t want the ceremony to be turned into a soap box speech about the dangers of football and players with concussions.

      1. His daughter has said that she had no intention to mention the brain injuries her father suffered, or that he committed suicide.

    2. Hmmmmm. I don’t care much for that. A living player gets to choose his presenter; why not a known wish for one departed? No presentation was better than that done by Walter Payton’s son.
      If I was the family, I’d let it be known publicly that I was boycotting the ceremony, and why. Family Values, eh, Roger?Pfffffffftt.

      1. Even though the NFL Hall of Fame is independent of the NFL on paper, they have a vested interest in down playing the brain damage being suffered by the NFL players. This way they just show some of his great plays and that it.

        If his daughter introduces him, and never mentions suicide of brain damage her very presents will shout it. My hope is that by there actions, “the issue” will get even more discussion.

        1. presents > presence
          that > that’s
          there > their
          embarrassed > me
          edit function > please

    1. Found it. I do not have the time or energy to research everything written in the late 80s, but If i recall correctly. SY had a ton of flaws and was considered lazy, not studying hard to improve and just relying on his athleticism to get by. It is just my opinion, but if you think SY was elite when he joined the Niners, I will not try to change your mind.

    2. SY had a 3-13 record at TB and was considered a bust with 11 TDs to 21 ints and a 55% passing completion record.
      If you consider that elite, I do not know what to say. SY did have 3 seasons with BW, so I am going to stick to my premise that BW tore SY down and rebuilt him into an elite QB. SY still sat for another season before he replaced Joe, so he had 4 years of a backup role to learn the system.

      1. Where did I suggest that Steve Young came to the 49ers as an elite quarterback? In fact I don’t recall anyone ever making that claim starting with early 1987 when Walsh traded for him.

        Do a text search on htwaits or elite in this blog. You won’t find anything suggesting I wrote anything of the kind about Steve Young.

        What I have written is that I don’t believe Walsh ever said that he had to tear Steve Young down and rebuild him. I’ve also said that his improvement was due to progressive improvement due to the coaching of three men — Bill Walsh (2 years), Mike Holmgren (3 years), and Mike Shanahan (3 years). The advantage for Young was that they were all teaching the same sophisticated passing game.

        In my opinion Steve Young became elite during the 92-95 seasons. In Steve Young’s mind according to Brent Jones, Steve didn’t believe he was elite until he won the Superbowl.

        According to Walsh, he was trying to replace what seemed to be a very physically fragile Montana with Young. That was 1988 and Young’s second year with Walsh. In fact, Young would have continued to start until the 49ers lost a 21 point lead against the Cards and Montana got back into the line up for the next game. Montana then proved that he wasn’t physically fragile and won his last two Superbowls.

        If Walsh tore Steve Young down and rebuilt him it must be the fastest “tear down/rebuild” job in history.

        Steve Young did learn to study his position with the 49ers, but to characterize him as lazy is simplistic. If he ever said any such thing it would have to refer to the difference for any college player coming into the NFL. His time in professional football before Walsh traded for him was a very bad joke involving everyone who was associated with those two teams.

        I’ll stop pestering you now.

        1. It’s not a good idea to count Steve Young’s time with Bill Walsh as three years. Walsh traded for Steve in the off season for1987, and Wash announced that he was retiring at the Superbowl after the 1988 season. Maybe you counted the date of that Superbowl as a third year for Young with Walsh. It was 1989.

          “This was the final NFL game coached by the 49ers’ Bill Walsh, as he retired from his job after the game. After spending the next three seasons as a broadcaster for NBC, he then coached Stanford from 1992 to 1994. Walsh then returned the 49ers’ front office, first serving as the team’s Vice President and General Manager from 1999 to 2001, and as a consultant from 2002 to 2004.”

          “The 1999 season would turn out to be Steve Young’s last.” … Wikipedia

          As you can see, Walsh returned to work for the 49ers during the last year of Young’s career.

          They were together as coach and player for two years.

    1. Matt Barrows 49ers position ranking sop far: 1 OLB, 2 Safety, 3 Defensive Line.

      Sounds about right. Anyone have a favorite for 4? I’m going Running Back (if Fullback is included within the position).

      As Barrows moves down the list it gets harder, especially because so many players have promise and athleticism but little experience, like Corner and Running Back.

      TE could be a pleasant surprise if VD is himself and VMac plays close to his athleticism.

      1. Matt B is saying Dial will be at LDE and Dorsey at RDE. In Minicamp they were flip flopped to that, so I’m confused. He’s seeing Dorsey and Aldon working the combo games and stunts. Matt’s close to the situation so he should know. I dunno.

        1. Matt B has Dorsey and Dial in the positions I expected they would man prior to OTAs, but as you say they were switched to the opposite sides during OTAs. So who knows?!

          Dorsey at RDE just makes sense to me as its where he played at KC, and would put the best DL next to Aldon to help free him up (well, the guy I think is the 49ers best DL anyway!). But, if they think Dorsey is the best run-stuffing DE on the roster I can see why they may want him at LDE.

          1. In TC it may be revealing where they line up Armistead. He played LDE in college so I was assuming the same, but not necessarily. I expect Dorsey to start and mentor Armistead, while the younger Dial mans the other side; whichever it might be.

        2. I like Dial next to Aldon. I like the idea of two players with length pressuring in case its a pass.

          But I don’t know if they will keep the “under” fronts Fangio used. They ran a straight 3-4 in mini-camp, but that might not mean anything.

          If the under fronts are retained, they might like Dorsey crashing a gap at RDE, while Dial uses his length to play a straight 2-gap on the left (the role I imagine Armstead will eventually fill).

          But as Tomsula said, “they are all tackles.” The expectation is I think Manigini move people around more to take advantage of match-ups.

          1. We may not get a decent look until the season starts. One of the guys on D said EM doesn’t want to show anything. We may get a heavy dose of vanilla in the preseason games.

            1. There’s alot of bubble players to evaluate. The main focus will be who stays, and who goes. I’m expecting ragged preseason games. Everyone will be alarmed. (remember Harbaugh’s debut vs the Saints?)

            2. I’ve always thought that teams that “show stuff” before the season are looking forward to a poor season. I don’t think the 49ers are near that level.

            3. I bet we see a lot of AA, and he will be lined up in a variety of positions. The Niners will stress versatility and flexibility for all their players.
              I hope we see little of the starters, and the bubble players can showcase their talents or expose their weaknesses in those meaningless games.

        3. They are probably going to give each DL an opportunity to play multiple spots before settling on where the their best fit is. My guess is they want everybody to be interchangeable and are focused on a true rotation this year.

  34. nfl.com headlines from our first two regular season opponents

    “Adrian Peterson sets goal to rush for 2,500 yards in ’15”

    “Roethlisberger: Steelers want to score 30 every game”

    The 10am game on a short week vs Pittsburgh will be a challenge.

    1. I hope Kaep does not dwell on winning or losing, but just sets a goal of scoring 7 times per game.
      Of course, that could be only 21 points, but I am hoping for 49 points.

  35. Grant Cohn – Predicting San Francisco 49ers’ Training Camp Standouts


    Agree, especially with Eric Reid. He says he’s in much better condition this camp compared to last year. I would add Marcus Martin. He’s in much better shape compared to last season as well.

    Now that I think about it, that goes for Aldon and Brooks too. Vernon seems better prepared up to this point. Alot of guys.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Harold and Brown had ups and downs. Rookies (especially the speed guys) can shine in OTAs, but have up and down days as training camp wears on.

    1. Top 5 players who impress during TC.
      1 Arik Armstead. He is the real deal, and requires 2 blockers on him because he will eat up single blockers.
      2. Kendal Hunter. He will average over 4 yards per carry, so he will be a first down machine. (3×4=12).
      3. Keith Reaser. He has quick hips and becomes a shutdown corner.
      4. Corey Lemonier. Overcomes sophomore slump and becomes a good run defender who can also get to the QB.
      5. Jarryd Hayne. Initially will be cut, survive waivers and is put on the PS to allow the Niners to keep another bubble player, but eventually ascends to the 53 man roster. He will use his athleticism and quickness to break 20+ yard runs after receiving the ball.

    1. I was recently reminded that the 49er locker room cheered when they first heard that Mike Singletary was named as their new head coach. By the later part of his second year, no so much. I hope Jim Tomsula has a kinder fate.

      1. HT,

        While I understand your point, Singletary was all hat and no cattle. Tomsula is actually a great coach, in addition to being loved by the players.

        Of course, it remains to be seen how Tomsula handles the jump to head coaching, but he’s light years ahead of Singletary, experience wise.

        1. I won’t speculate on Jim Tomsula’s greatness. Tom has been in the NFL with one franchise, and part of his experience was with Noland and Singletary. He’s well liked but that’s all I know about his skill running a team — as you said.

  36. I understand what a workhorse back is, but aren’t workhorses kind of slow. I’m befuddled by bell cow backs. What I see is a horse connected to a plow in one case, or a cow slowly leading her associate cows back to the barn for dinner and milking in the other case.

    All this puzzlement is brought on by today’s Matt Barrows piece on the 2015 49er running backs.

    1. HT,

      I couldn’t agree with you more. A “bell cow” running back should be a guy whose next stop is selling cars or insurance.

      1. I have never used that expression, but since my epiphany, I’ve been going around moooing. Two more months.

  37. In case anyone is still touting Marcus Cooper as a release that got away. From PFF:

    ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher expects CB Marcus Cooper to be released unless he “shows significant improvement.”
    A 2013 seventh-rounder, Cooper initially looked like a steal as a rookie before fading badly down the stretch. His role was further decreased in 2014, where he made only four starts and played 292 total snaps. He was frequently inactive. The Chiefs infused talent at cornerback this spring by taking Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson in the first three rounds.

    1. For me the only real problem I had with letting him go is they decided to keep Asomugha instead, who was very much on the wane in his career and who they waived after about a month anyway. In that instance I just think they are better served keeping the young guy with a bit of promise rather than the old vet that is a shadow of his former self.

    2. Well he was a 7th rounder who gained a starting job, but when they draft a shut down corner in the first round, I think they plan to replace him.
      Dont look at me, I wanted to bundle a bunch of bubble players to get a 2nd round pick. Getting value instead of letting them go for nothing.

      1. “I wanted to bundle a bunch of bubble players to get a 2nd round pick.”

        Can you point to any team in NFL history who traded a group of “bubble” players for a second round pick? There have been some insane trades over the years, but that’s a new one, as has been pointed out by several others.

        The cap, free agency, and roster limits were set up to get those “bubble” players released to improve competitive balance and save the owners some cash.

        1. Seb,

          I want that too, but I would think that Baalke, being as found of extra draft picks as we know his is, would have a pretty good idea of what the 49ers’ bubble players are worth. Also, if the 49ers’ bubble players are that highly regarded, other teams would be calling Baalke.

      1. If he is released and Baalke thinks he made a mistake, there is a second chance coming up.

  38. Jonathan Martin is retiring, as per Ian Rappaport:

    Rotoworld: Panthers OT Jonathan Martin is retiring. He’s just 25. Per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Martin needs back surgery, and he’s opted to walk away instead of going under the knife. It further thins Carolina’s alarmingly-weak tackle corps, but Martin was far from assured of a roster spot.

    1. That goes against a Yahoo article that also mentioned his retirement saying that he was competing for a starting position.

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