Five key questions for the 49ers

This is my Sunday article on the 49ers.

For the 49ers, training camp is about becoming the best.

Second place isn’t good enough anymore. Enough with second place. Win the Super Bowl before the window of opportunity closes.

With that in mind, here are five key questions the 49ers will face in training camp.

1. Will Carlos Hyde rejuvenate the 49ers’ running game?

Frank Gore is slowing down. In the 49ers’ final 10 games last season, Gore averaged just 3.65 yards per rush. The 49ers need more from their top running back — this is a run-first team. That’s why this year the 49ers spent their second-round pick on Hyde, a running back. Hyde is much bigger than Gore. Faster than Gore, too. Hyde has power. He punches through the hole and pushes the pile and picks up yards after contact. At least that’s what he did in the Big Ten. If he can do that in the NFL his rookie season, he will push the 49ers over the top.

2. Will George Whitfield make Colin Kaepernick better?

Give credit to Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff for teaching Kaepernick how to take snaps from under center — Kaepernick didn’t do that in college. But he has not improved significantly since his first start in 2012. He still is inaccurate. His footwork still is remedial. His red-zone passing still is substandard. That’s where George Whitfield comes in. Technically, he’s a summer intern for 49ers, part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship. Don’t be fooled. Whitfield is a star, not an extra. He has tutored Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Johnny Manziel, and now Whitfield will tutor Kaepernick. No quarterback guru is more in demand than Whitfield. If he can’t turn Kaepernick into a polished pocket passer, who can?

3. Will the 49ers change the formula on offense if Vernon Davis holds out?

The 49ers’ passing game revolves around Vernon Davis. He draws the most attention from opposing defenses. He draws double-teams and leaves one-on-one matchups for Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. If Davis holds out, will Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman change the offense during training camp? Will they create a new passing attack, one that doesn’t depend on Davis? Or will Harbaugh and Roman change nothing and hope Davis comes back to the team before the season starts? Harbaugh and Roman have to choose. There is no way to know which the right choice is, but if they choose incorrectly, they could jeopardize the season.

4. Which cornerbacks can cover?

Tramaine Brock can cover, although he’s short — 5-foot-9-and-a-half — and inexperienced, having started just 10 games during his NFL career. If he wins the No.1 cornerback job in training camp — he probably will; there isn’t much competition — he will cover Dez Bryant Week 1, Brandon Marshall Week 2 and Larry Fitzgerald Week 3. Go get ’em, Tramaine. Behind him, the 49ers have zero proven cornerbacks. Chris Culliver and Chris Cook will compete for the No. 2 job. Culliver and Cook are big and athletic, but neither guy has developed the ability to turn and find the ball when it’s in the air. What good is a cornerback who can’t turn and find the ball?

5. Will Stevie Johnson add anything to the 49ers’ passing game?

The Bills traded Johnson to the 49ers this offseason. Johnson was the Bills’ No. 1 receiver the past four seasons. Now, he’s competing with Brandon Lloyd, Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington to be the 49ers’ No. 3 wide receiver. Johnson may lose that competition. He is a possession receiver, like Crabtree and Boldin. Johnson gives the 49ers more of what they already have. When the 49ers use three-wide-receiver formations next season, the coaches may want a receiver who complements Crabtree and Boldin. Someone fast. Someone other than Johnson.

This article has 423 Comments

  1. Yes, I think they can and will. It’s never too early to start unless you already know the road ahead. But then, it is what it is and that’s not going to change. We can only hope that in the final analysis the wisest head prevails.

  2. 1/ Hyde isn’t the only answer in the running game, but they spent a 2nd on him. Hunter will look better than he did last year. RG & Center may have effect.
    3/ if Vernon had been lost for the year in Minies like Crabs last year they might look to make some changes in tactics, but Davis isn’t going to sit it out.
    4/ CB play is yet to be determined, but co-ordination among new guys will be as key. Opening Day 5 of 11 defensive starters will be different than last year’s Opener; assuming Aldon misses a couple of games.
    5/ this coaching staff will make everyone earn their reps in games, no doubt. But “someone other than Johnson” would seem odd given that SF pursued and gave trade value for him. This arguement is reminiscent of one from last year where the utility of Boldin was questioned in the same way; he’s the same, not a complement, too slow. And yet some of the receivers pointed to as posing challenges to our CBs are Brandon Marshall and Larry Fitzjerald. If Johnson can make catches on 3rd down to move the chains it’ll work. If Lloyd or Patton or Ellington beats him out, that’s who Harbaugh plays.

  3. Two songs from the new Loudness album “The Sun Will Rise Again” are applicable to this 49er team. For Training Camp there is “Got To Be Strong” for the insane competition this year. For the season, there is “The Best”, which Minoru starts by asking “Are you the best”?….

    1. Mr. Hyde is going to be a match up problem when the 49ers operate from the gun….
    2. If he’s the star QB Tutor he’s purported to be, then Kaepurnicus will demonstrate what he’s learned throughout this season…..
    3. I don’t know what VD will do, and I don’t think VD knows. It sounds to me as if Roman is already transitioning the offense. Carrier has reportedly improved his blocking and if this is indeed the case, he has the athletic ability to compensate the absence of VD at the position. If VD does not play, I believe Lloyd will make the team and provide Roman with a Red Zone producer….
    4. With one of the best DB coaches in the game, I have complete confidence that this secondary can hold its own against any adversary with the proper amount of pressure up front…..
    5. Little Stevie is shifty and saavy. No doubt he has plenty left in the tank, and he should provide Kaepurnicus great mileage in the passing game…..

    1. Razor: Or the two Loudness songs “SLAUGHTER HOUSE,” for Levi stadium and
      “HELL BITES,” for the Seadderall games!!


    An off season ground swell of excitement is growing among Seattle Seahawks fans.

    A bronze statue will immortalize the moment when Richard Sherman tipped a pass in the NFC Championship game, intended for 49ers WR Michael Crabtree. The tip and ensuing interception by Malcolm Smith sealed the Hawks’ chances for Super Bowl XLVIII. The statue will be placed outside Century Link Field.

    1. 40whiner,
      Sherman should treasure his statue because it will always remind him of how good things used to be before the NFL recently made a commitment to better monitor all the holding and jamming WR’s past the 5 yrd radius.

      I’ll be the first to say that Richie will receive at least 8-10 penalties this season that he would have gotten away with last couple of years.

      Enjoy your statue bud.

      1. AES: If memory serves me correctly, the Seahawks have always been able to adjust/correct penalty issues. I have no doubt they will still have the best secondary in the league. Let the games begin!

        1. Mary,
          My hint at sarcasm was in reply to 40whiners boast about Richie’ statue to be erected at Century Link Field.

          But I must say that Sherman didn’t help his cause by daring a referee to throw a penalty flag after being warned about holding. The hawks have also gone on record as saying that the ref’ would be throwing flags all game and that they don’t want to slow the game down like (paraphrase).

          Hey, if you can get away with it (holding/excessive jamming beyond 5 yrds) more power to you (team). But if the league is making it a point of emphasis to monitor this area this year its an indication that it has become an issue.

          1. Thanks AES. I actually meant to answer 40Whinner, but your name stuck in my brain.

        2. Mary,

          You may be right, but I doubt it. The Seahawks have never had to change the way their defensive secondary plays. They’re coached to hold, illegally contact receivers. The thinking bring, “they can’t call ’email all.”

          One of my brother-in-laws played safety in the NFL, and has been a consultant to Carroll (mostly at USC, but some with the Seahawks, as well). He has told me that’s how they coach their DBs. They feel they get away with far more than they have called on them, and the penalties are just the cost of cheating, I mean, doing business.

          1. Exgolfer: You’re a sweetie and thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt. Every db grabs and holds if he’s good enough to keep up with the WR and many times it’s worth the penalty. That’s not cheating it’s merely strategy — let the zebras do their job. BTW all the rules are watering down the defense.

            1. Mary,

              You’re a hoot!

              So typical Seattle (passive aggressive – hey, the Seahawk sideline reporter called Seattle a passive aggressive city, who am I to argue) of you to not directly address information presented and just continue on with your narrative. Oh, no, someone presented info that might be counter to what that trustworthy Coach Carroll has embedded in our collective Seahawky subconsciousness. Nananananananananananana, I can’t hear you, Nanananananananananana, I don’t want to hear you! Come on, Mary, you’re better than that.

              BTW, it’s funny that you thought Bledsoe’s article was so off base. It was courageous of you to post the link, on a 49er blog, no less, considering it isn’t how you see Seahawk fans (even though, it so clearly describes how and why Seahawk fans are what they are, albeit, very romantically).

              And you still haven’t come up with an explanation for why there are so many maniacs running around Seattle with Seahawk face paint on in the middle of summer. Please, enlighten me… Kind of reminds me of being in San Diego during Comic Con.

              Finally, while I absolutely love your monocle, your jagged lips and blue skin, I would appreciate it if you would please stop calling me sweetie, I’m happily married (to a Seahawk fan, and let me tell you, there’s nothing like having your wife, who knows next to nothing – Carroll, Sherman, Wilson – about the Seahawks, rub it in for a month after the SB #GoodTimes).

              1. ex-golfer: Sorry if I was too familiar I meant no harm, it won’t happen again.

                The rest of your comments are insulting. To label a town and me specifically as passive aggressive is ridiculous. You don’t even know me, not one thing. I’m words on a screen, faceless. If you did you would know that I am direct and to the point. Not one passive aggressive bone in my body. However, I just don’t feel the necessity to label other people, the cities they live in nor the teams they root for. It’s a waste of my energy.

              2. ^This from the one who painted such an eloquent picture of myself doth protest of insult?

              3. Mary,

                My comments on your calling me sweetie was just me trying to be funny. It doesn’t bother me in the least, although, it does conjure up an image of a waitress in a diner that hasn’t been remodeled since the ’50s, named Blanch or Claudine…

              4. Mary,

                I didn’t call you passive aggressive (you’re right, I don’t know you, and you do seem pretty direct), I said your ignoring direct and quite credible evidence that the Seahawks willfully and systematically coach defensive holding was passive aggressive (I should have said that it could be construed as passive aggressive behavior).

                As for the City of Seattle: The Seahawks own sideline reporter called the Seattle passive aggressive in an interview on KNBR. She backed it up with a number of examples.

                Also, have you heard the term “The Seattle Chill”? This is a term that I’ve heard Seattleites use a number of times. It refers to the treatment of outsiders by many natives. Surface friendly, but not really welcoming (i.e., passive aggressive). This is not to say all Seattleites have this quality, but it is a recurring feature in culture of the city.

                I don’t tell people I meet in casual settings in Seattle that I live in Los Angeles any more, because I became tired of hearing, “Oh, how awful for you to live in such a terrible place”, or, “You seem so nice for someone from Los Angeles”.

                It reminds me of how we San Franciscans used to treat Angelinos…

        3. @ Mary; That’s why it reminds us Seadderall has 6 SB trophies the rest of the NFL is jealous of, right homie?

            1. The individual you are referring to (Clark Haggans) was suspended for a DUI he was arrested for prior to signing with the 49ers.

              1. Thank you. And if you’ll notice Brownier and Thurmond are not with Seahawks either. Snapped up quickly by New England and the Giants.

            2. @ Mary: Are we a little sensitive about PED’s?
              1) “Every DB grabs and holds if he’s good enough”, may have been a good strategy, but every rule change forces players to change and no team relies on their DB’s as much as the Seahags. .
              2) “If memory serves me correctly, the Seahags
              have always been able to adjust/ correct penalty
              issues?!! Some example please, to back your assertion.
              3) One SB win doesn’t make a dynasty, how
              has Seadderall improved from 2013, like the rest of the NFC W. has? How may games will Harvin
              play, before ending up on the PUP list?

              1. G9er: I’m not overly sensitive about the Hawks PED use. However when FICTITIOUS stats are tossed out as facts I feel the need to educate. You’d be better served to ponder why the 49ers did not win the SB 2012 or 2013 — you had all the pieces save one.

              2. You’d be better served to ponder why the 49ers did not win the SB 2012 or 2013 — you had all the pieces save one.

                The rampant-use-of-PEDs piece?

            3. G9er: You’re boring me. League-wide problem. All 49ers have their attorneys on speed dial. There’s at least 3-4 troubled players at any given time awaiting sentencing. They are such a stellar law abiding group – thugs. Your team appears to me to be imploding — Head coach is on his way out the door. The owners tried to trade him last year. They are not giving him a raise. OMG and you spend time worrying about the Seahawks while the Cards are “nipping at your heels.” Let the good times roll.

              1. “You’re boring me.”
                Well now, you’re boring us by prattling on about your funky team. You want to come on here to interact with us but you seem to forget we don’t come here to chat about the Seahags.
                To reiterate: Yay 49ers. Boo everyone else.

              2. @ Mary: Really showing your (cl)ASS, when you have to resort
                to trolls like KIllion!! Do you use anonymous sources too?
                We all know every team has problem players, but your Seahags are
                in a class of their own!! YOU may find that boring, but then how
                many NFL teams have a coach that left town in the middle of the
                night, to avoid a scandal?
                Seahag players suspended under Pete the Cheat:
                Len Dale White: 07/20/2010, suspended 4 games
                Leroy Hill: 07/16/2010, suspended 1 game
                John Moffitt: 12/06/2012, suspended 4 games
                Allen Barbe: 05/23/2012, suspended 4 games
                Winston Guy: 11/26/2012, suspended 4 games
                Brandon Browner: 12/05/2012 , suspended 4 games
                Bruce Irvin: 05/17/2013. suspended 4 games
                Walter Thurmond: 11/24/2013, suspended 4 games
                Brandon Browner: 12/18/2018, suspended 4 games
                Not counting Richard Sherman who got off on a technicality
                SeaHag player arrested under Pete the Cheat:
                Leroy Hill: 01/09/2013 Domestic violence, beating girlfriend
                John Moffitt: 08/25/2012, urinating on cars in a parking lot
                Marshawn Lynch: 07/14/2012, DUI
                Jarriel King: 02/25/2012, sexual assault
                Leroy King: 02/25/2012 smoking pot
                Raheem Brock: 06/16/2011, theft
                Raheem Brock: 11/13/2010, DUI
                Quinton Ganther: 07/03/2010, DUI
                Spencer Ware: 12/01/2014, DUI
                The list looks like the Seahags should rename themselves the
                Seadderall Bloods, AND THIS IS WHAT YOUR PROUD OF??

              3. I think Jack is getting close to who this may be — or the same person that came on toward the end of last season claiming to be a former 49er fan that left the fold for the Seahawks. Too bad we can’t go back to the archives and see if there is a familiar avatar, huh?

                I’ve also been wondering — due to the anonymous nature of blog personalities — if there is a possibility of not being female at all. Wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened on the internet, lol.

              4. That would be the seahag heels that the cards
                are ‘NIPPING AT”, or should we say pulling
                your tail feathers out? The down side of being
                on TOP, is you have no where to go but DOWN!
                1) Every team Seadderall plays, will be looking to make a statement and measure themselves
                against you!!
                2) As every gambler knows, you have to let the losers win now and then, to keep them in the game!! Goodell is always looking for another revenue stream and now the Seahag fans are back in the game!!

        4. Mary, Mary quite contrary. Your garden is never going to grow. The Seahawks have always been able to adjust/correct penalty issues? Really? 37 years and only 17 winning seasons. During the entire 20th century the only mention of Seattle in the NFL history book is “expansion team”. You are apparently just another arrogant and delusional Seachicken fan. You have never won before and obviously don’t know how tough it is to win the following year. You’ve already lost Tate, Thurmond, Bryant, Giacomini, etc., and Girly-guy Sherman is already being a distraction. One and done, girl. Get used to it.

          1. G9er:

            This report isn’t conclusive – most of these NFL players were Seahawks b/4 Pete Carroll even joined the Seahawks and were picked up by great coaches and teams after leaving the Seahawks. Remove Sherman’s name no matter how you wish to interpret the findings!

            Seahawk Run-ins with the Law. Seahawks are like Girl Scouts compared to the 49ers. Oh and don’t forget the investigation with Kaepernick and friends in Miami. HA.

            And what do your individual players do for your community. It looks like nothing. Sherman just had his 2nd annual baseball tournament. Kobe and others supported it. RWilson and Tate were always going to Children’s Hospital. York does stuff but I don’t see where the individual team members do.

            Redo the List!

            1. “And what do your individual players do for your community? ”


              This is a typical clueless comment. Perhaps you missed the piece done about Anquan Boldin by Matt Barrows, or about the football clinic Kaepernick put on in the city at which he threw a pass to EVERY kid.

              I may not be a huge fan of Kaepernick on the field, but I can recognize what he does off of it.

              1. Okay, thank you. There was a purpose behind my questioning. When you do community work be it hospitals or the humane society, and I don’t mean just writing a check, you develope more “empathy” for others.

              2. True, and you get more positive credit in the media when you have a strong PR team in your represenation.

            2. True colors are beginning to show through those ruffled Seahawk fan feathers a bit, huh? Can’t believe you rolled with the Kaepernick investigation where he and others were totally exonerated of any wrongdoing in your argument with a “HA!” That was weak and troll-like.

              1. Jack: Oh, and you think that’s why R.Wilson was visiting the cancer clinic each week? But after the SB win: the fame and the money “and everyone wants something from you…”

              2. I’m sure it’s not. At the same time I’m sure it helps his “image”.

                This is such a pointless discussion because no one knows who these guys really are. All we know is the image that they and other media outlets put out there.

            3. Mary “SWEETY” the more you talk, the more you
              expose your (cl)ASS, or “LACK THERE OF”
              1) “The list is not conclusive”. Then why did YOU
              provide the website? Are you inconclusive, or just
              a bloviating ignoramus?
              2) Most of the players were B4 Carroll, is at best
              an excuse and the same could be said for many
              coaches! But, NO other team matches all the
              infractions of the Seadderall Seahags! A FACT,
              not your delusional response!!
              3) Kaep sponsored a charity golf event that raised
              actual money, to PAY the bill of kids with cancer!
              The midget had a PHOTO OP with kids in the
              hospital that was at best PR, and paid for nothing
              4) One thing you did get right, the seahags are
              girl scouts!!

            4. Mary: I Missed your drivel about Kaep in Miami.
              So why don’t you explain to me what law he broke?
              Jealousy is such an ugly emotion, don’t your agree?
              And how it makes people like you, look very small
              and insignificant!! I can see why you use Killion as a source! Are you two close, or are you just a student of hers?

              1. G9er: But if your willing to admit you took some cheap shots, I’ll be magnanimous
                enough to over look it!! Can your ego handle
                Everyone takes “cheap” shots. Haha. Will that work for you.

            5. G9er: I’m not reading your comments so don’t waste your time. I might have read somewhere that if you can’t make your point in two sentences it isn’t worth writing. It’s very simple: you and I disagree on Pete Carroll’s value to football. He’s a great defensive coach and head coach. He was not suspended. End of story.

              1. Mary: LMAO: If your not reading my comments,
                WHY do you keep responding? Had I made a
                fool of myself, like you, I probably wouldn’t want to respond either!! But if your willing to admit you took some cheap shots, I’ll be magnanimous
                enough to over look it!! Can your ego handle

              2. LOL: Are you easy Mary, or forget “your NOT
                reading my comments”? Are you familiar with the adage that “imitation is the highest form of flattery”? You are correct, I’m wasting my time and you are boring!! C U

    2. Don’t the Seahaks already have a 42-13 monument? I thought they sacrificed virgins there before every game.

    3. How cute.

      Gee, I wonder if other teams have bronzed reminders of the play that got them to the Superbowl at the 49ers expense? Giants – Lawrence Taylor strip of Roger Craig? Giants again – the bronzed knee of Kyle Williams with football bouncing off same? Redskins – Bronzed flag of phantom PI called on Ronnie Lott? No. Those teams have a long history of success and I suppose Sqawks have to start somewhere.

  5. Harbaugh’s future in SF. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is entering the fourth year of a five-year contract amid reports of an increasingly acrimonious relationship with members of the team’s front office, including general manager Trent Baalke and president Paraag Marathe. Clayton was asked if 2014 could be Harbaugh’s final season with the 49ers.

    “Very possibly. Very possibly,” Clayton said. “Because you know it’s going to be a very nasty contract negotiation after the season. Now, if he wins a Super Bowl, there’s not going to be any problem. He’ll get his $9 million a year. But if he doesn’t win the Super Bowl, to get the $8 million or $9 million he’s going to have to take an incentive, and I don’t think he wants to do that.”

    1. Every “report” of friction between Harbaugh and the FO has been cited from unnamed “sources”, generally by “reporters” that dislike or even hate the 49ers. The only credible statements have come from Baalke, Harbaugh and Jed York, and in every case these statements have indicated that Harbaugh enjoys a good and healthy relationship with the team FO, and that he fully intends to remain in San Francsico. There is no issue with Harbaugh. He will get a new contract. He has not pushed the issue. York is ready to discuss it with him at any time. Harbaugh – the professional he is – would rather focus on coaching the team right now. Don’t raise nonexistent issues as if they are real.

      1. By the way, if you are going to quote someone you might give his full name and title, so the reader can determine whether his opinion is worth considering.

  6. Grant sez:
    ” ..Frank Gore is slowing down….”

    u-mmm, maybe .. but then, you do point
    to stats to make your case ..

    Frank “The Tank” still does things other RBs don’t
    (or can’t) …
    I’m of the mind, that Carlos Hyde will be the bell cow
    maybe the first half .. then Frank will turn it on down the stretch

    could be, with fresh legs in the latter half of the season ..
    he won’t so slow

  7. Grant, what makes you think hyde will beat out Lattimore? Before the knee injury, Lattimore was easily the more talented player. Do you think he won’t fully come back from it for some reason?

      1. Jay,
        I may have missed it, but the last news I received regarding Lattimore was that he was placed on the PFI list as a precaution to allow his nagging hamstring time to heal.

        If he was downgraded to PUP its a little disconcerting because he could still be feeling some effects from his leg injury.

        Worse case scenario would be to allow ML to have another full year to completely heal and look at 2015 as his coming out party.
        With CHyde in the fold the team is not in panic mode concerning Lattimore.

  8. Will Carlos Hyde rejuvenate the 49ers’ running game?
    Kendall Hunter will rejuvenate the 49ers’ running game.
    Hyde later. Surprise goal line power runner – Lattimore. He gets low and slips through tiny holes like Gore. If healthy, he will be the preferred red zone back in 2015.

    Will George Whitfield make Colin Kaepernick better?
    At 26 is late for major retooling. The good news is Colin’s so gifted, he doesn’t need huge improvement to be dangerous. If he gets a little better at reads, footwork, soft/short passes the 49er attack will make defenses crazy.

    Whitfield will help the backup QBs much more, especially PS squadder Faulker.

    Will the 49ers change the formula on offense if Vernon Davis holds out?
    Yes. Davis deep seam speed creates holes other receivers can exploit. Roman will have to find other ways to create defensive gaps.

    Which cornerbacks can cover?
    I don’t know, and that’s scary. A healthy Culliver is the most physically gifted, but he comes to a dead stop when he turns to locate the ball.

    Will Stevie Johnson add anything to the 49ers’ passing game?
    Only if he’s healthy and has lots of practice reps. He gets open in how own quirky way. Even when he’s open he doesn’t look open. His separation is more like basketball separation… not much space between him and the DB, but good leverage and positioning.

    Colin will have to learn Johnson. Colin’s slow release may limit his ability to take advantage of those brief moments Johnson gets open.

    1. @ B2w: Lets not overlook the possibility of the 9ers opening up the O and the RB’s ability to catch the ball. If LMJ can learn to hang onto the ball, he could add a new wrinkle also

      1. Both Lattimore and Hyde are natural pass catchers. I hope Colin can get better touch on those short passes.

  9. Fergot about Lattimore, Brodie ..

    maybe Hyde will get a hangnail (or sumptin’) .. and
    The Harbs will stash him on the NFI list to learn the playbook ..
    and Lattimore will be the bell cow the first half .. ?

    But then.. what do I know ?

    1. Hunter is the clear #2. I’d give him about 40% chance to get the most carries of any back. In 2012 he got about 5.3 yards per carry before the injury.

      With Lattimore its all about health. He could be a feature back, or not plat at all. His sneaky good goal line running and natural receiving skills could get him plenty of reps. He could be a better short yardage back then Hyde… but only with great knees.

  10. Grant,
    Where would we be without your annual “dirge” regarding Frank Gore. FG will not only continue to be our featured back but will lead the team in rushing yards (barring injury) again in 2014.

    Unless Hyde can show that he can be an above average blocking RB, his contributions will only be on short yardage packages.
    Also, Gore is still a good runner between the tackles because of his uncanny ability to get very small in traffic.

    Hyde will need to have an incredible TC and pre-season to ensure any significant playing time when the season starts. His college stats don’t mean much when playing on this level.
    I believe that Hyde will be the #3 RB behind FG, and KHunt.

    Stevie Johnson’ status on the team may become the focal point throughout the season if he is pushed by Patton and Ellington. And to some extent even B.Lloyd. The one caveat I have with Lloyd is his inability to take a hit. I believe that as soon as the tackling in TC begins, we’ll have a much better perspective on BLloyd.

    If QP and BE push Johnson for playing time SJ’ stay in a 49er uni may be short-lived.
    Which in turn could free up monies at season’ end to pursue Crabtree.

  11. “If he wins the No.1 cornerback job in training camp — he probably will; there isn’t much competition — he will cover Dez Bryant Week 1, Brandon Marshall Week 2 and Larry Fitzgerald Week 3.”

    Pretty sure the 49er corners just play their side. Brock isn’t gonna follow the other teams best receiver around.

    1. Details, details, Grimey. What, did you expect Grant to actually be factual? It’s not in his DNA.

    2. Those guys are flankers. They typically play on the right side of the offense. Brock probably will line up on the left side of the defense like he did in the playoffs.

    1. probably a couple of weeks for Aldon. For Cully, I think we still have to see how the legal process plays out.

  12. Grant,
    I have a question about Culliver. You said here and in the past that Cully can’t turn and locate the ball when it’s in the air. I wanted to know if you could provide me with some plays that illustrate what you’re talking about. Is this something he does a lot? Is this a bad habit he developed or was he always been unable to locate the ball? I’m always trying to learn more about individuals players on the team and I was hoping you (or anyone else) could assist me in better understanding this weakness he (and Cook) apparently have.

    1. The 2012 regular season home game vs the NY Giants (scored some really good seats. Happened right in front of me). Cully was step for step on (Hixon?) in perfect coverage. When Cully turned to locate the ball he instantly lost about 7 yards of separation. It was like he slammed on the brakes.

      Hixon caught four balls for 78 yards, all against Culliver.

    2. Not to pick on Culliver. He’s a gifted CB. If he can correct his ball location issue he’ll have huge value.

      1. Agree B2W,
        Cully is adept at coverage, its at the point of ball location that is a major flaw in his game.

        Any and every team will exploit that deficiency in Cully’ game if he does not correct it pronto.

        Grant said it best: “What good is a CB who can’t turn and find the ball?”

        Back in the late 60’s we had had one of the fastest WR’s in the league in Clifton McNeil. Problem: he had hands of steel and could rarely catch a ball thrown more than 30 yrds.
        No bueno.

        1. That’s why I like Ward’s footage so much. His ball skills look great.

        2. Very similar story with Jimmy “Oops” Hines, former Purdue track star who had a similar non-productive career with the Raiders. You also can toss Renaldo into this conversation. Even the former and late great Billy Wilson could not work his magin on him.

    3. NG365,
      Culliver seemed to have a penchant for not finding the ball at the point of reception during the 2012 season, but I believe that the obvious misses came in the post-season against the Falcons and the SB against the Ravens.

      Sorry, I have no video on this.

      1. That’s okay. At least I have a starting point of where to look. Thanks for the info AES.

      2. Something to consider! It wasn’t until that other teams realized that Culliver had a problem finding the ball at the point of reception that they began to use that information against him. They might have realized that they could target his man despite the fact that he might be in close coverage.

    4. Grant has selective memory. Does Cully need to improve on his ball skills? Sure? But he has demonstrated PLENTY, the ability to locate the ball in one on one coverage. In the Super Bowl, the play before he gave up the big catch to Jones, he had Tory Smith blanketed on the outside, with no safety help, for a easy PD. The first game against the Packers in 2012, he sealed the game with with a excellent coverage against Jordy Nelson, again one-on-one with no safety help, on the Packers last offensive possession. Cully has demonstrated the ability to be a #1 CB. People only remember Super Bowl collapse but forget he played lights out for a majority of that season and had graded out as a top 5 CB through week 16. The real question about Cully is how healthy is he really? ACL injuries may not be the career ender they once were but unless your name is Adrian Peterson, it generally takes two years to get back to top form.

  13. With regards to Johnson, I think you use the term possession receiver too often and too liberally. A WR that isn’t a deep threat gets labelled a possession receiver.

    A possession receiver should be the guy the QB looks for on 3rd down because they can reliably make tough catches in traffic. Boldin is a possession receiver.

    Johnson has some good skills from the slot, good ability to get open, but has had some troubles with his hands in the past. He’s a finesse receiver rather than a physical receiver that can make tough catches in traffic. You can’t really label him a reliable 3rd down option, so I can’t consider him a possession receiver. He’s a slippery guy that can get open in the short to intermediate areas of the field, working inside or outside.

    1. Scooter,
      What’s your take on BLloyd?
      My personal feel is that he could provide some good intermediate catches but be even better working the sidelines.

      Lloyd might be able to give us what we were hoping to get from Mario Manningham.

      1. That’s exactly what I think Lloyd would bring to the 49ers AES. He’s a guy that knows how to get vertical. If the 49ers keep him on the roster, he’d likely be used as an option to stretch the D deep, like Moss was in 2012.

    2. I don’t know much about Johnson, but it seems like the CB talent magically evens out no matter who covers him. One game he will pretty good vs a top level CB, and about the same against a mediocre CB the following week.

      Rather then an assigned permanent role, I wonder if Johnson’s alignments will be more about which CBs the 49ers think will be vulnerable to his style of play. Perhaps isolating him vs the opposing teams best CB, leaving Crabs and Boldin to pick the #2 and #3 CBs.

      1. The thing with Johnson is he is unconventional in the way he runs routes. Good CBs can struggle with him because the usual tells they work off don’t apply with Johnson. One technique he uses is a very exaggerated cutting technique, where he basically makes a small leap into the air, shimmies a few times while airborne to get the defender stopped and guessing, then cuts hard off either foot to create separation. He also does a lot of stutter stepping, even at the line of scrimmage, rather than exploding into the route and challenging vertically.

        He’s not the fastest, biggest or strongest, not the most athletically gifted, so he uses a lot of body fakes and trickery to get open. It can often look chaotic, and I imagine it may take some time for the QB to get used to it, but it can be very effective and hard for a DB to plan for.

    3. @scooter

      Good assessment on Stevie Johnson; I believe that between he and Brandon Lloyd, we have two sets of seasoned receivers. I’d pair Boldin with Lloyd, and Crabtree with Johnson.

      1. I’d be surprised if Crabtree and Boldin don’t spend the majority of the snaps on the field together in 2 WR formations. But I wouldn’t be shocked to see Lloyd come in on 1 WR formations (like they did with Moss in 2012) and Johnson as the slot WR in 3 WR formations with a rotation of 2 of Lloyd, Crabtree and Boldin on the outside.

        1. Scooter,
          Could there be a possibility that in some packages either SJ or BL line up outside and Boldin or Crabtree slide to the slot to take advantage of their physicality?

          VD could do a little work in the slot or line up outside with VMac taking the TE position as well.
          There is a bevy of options w/our WR’s this year if Roman wants to get creative.

          1. Definitely AES – sorry, I meant the majority of the time, but not always. They will likely move around to keep D’s off balance.

        2. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Mr. Crabs get some snaps in the slot as well. Ellington can line up anywhere, anytime…..

          1. Thanks Scooter, but no need to apologize bud.

            I hear you. But I think that of the two, Boldin is a little more physical then Crabtree and could see some action at the slot. Boldin is an old school TE in a WR’s body. He could have slot DB’s reaching for ice-packs all day.

            That scenario could very well depend on the teams we play but again, the options are intriguing.

    4. Nonsense Scooter. You absolutely have to have blazing speed. After all Steve Largent and Fred Belinikoff were always the fastest guy on the field and they got open with their speed, right? Skeets Nehemiah wasn’t quick enough to get open.

        1. I remember when Skeets was blasted going over the middle. I thought they killed him. Bill Walsh was desperately trying to get more deep speed into the offense. Where Skeets failed, Fifi later succeeded.

          1. Walsh later used that as an example of why WR’s need to sit down against zone coverage. “There’s always someone waiting for you.”

            1. @Jack

              and it’s usually going to be the SS or a CB that looks like Culliver

      1. Brotha,
        Good examples with S.Largent and Freddie (Stickum) Belinikoff.
        The great Hank Stram said “just matriculate the ball down the field baby”
        All it takes is moving the ball downfield for positive yardage until you reach the endzone. Perhaps boring, but effective.

        Nehemiah was a long-shot project that the team was hoping to follow in the footsteps of former track star Bob “the bullet” Hayes.
        I believe he may sustained a leg injury on Candlesticks experiment with artificial-turf.

        1. Yeah, as Brodie said, BW always craved a speed guy. He adored having Isaac Curtis in his offense when he was OC in Cinci. Having Charlie Joyner as your ‘possession’ guy didn’t hurt!
          He hoped to reprise that when he drafted James Owens and later signed Skeets as a udfa. In the final anlysis he got as many long TDs from Rice & Taylor’s run-after-catch.

      2. @Bro Tuna

        with tongue planted firmly in cheek…good chuckle…we were overdue

    5. I think Grant tends to label any WR without 4.4 speed a Possession WR. Under these terms Jerry Rice would have been a Possession WR. You don’t need speed to make plays in this league, and the Niners have 3 veteran players who know how to get open, 4 if you count Lloyd.

      Johnson was a #1 in Buffalo with little else around him and put up 3 straight 1000 yard seasons. The only question around him is his health. If he’s healthy, he’s the best #3 WR in the league by a wide margin.

      1. Johnson wasn’t efficient. He got a lot of targets by default.

        Rice wasn’t a possession receiver. He was a threat to score from anywhere on the field.

        1. Johnson got a lot of targets because he was the best they had with little else to depend on. He was the key for the opposing defenses every week yet still put up good numbers. As I said, he is by far the best #3 WR any team will put on the field this year.

          My point on Rice was based on your stringent view of speed at the position. You don’t need great speed to be a playmaker and Rice is the best example of that..

          1. Rice was fast on the field. He never got caught from behind. Boldin, Crabtree and Johnson get caught from behind.

            Johnson put up numbers because he got a ton of targets, but targeting him led to more interceptions than touchdowns.

            1. I saw Rice get caught from behind a number of times, but it was largely ignored because he made so many plays. The Niners don’t run the style of offense Rice played in which allowed Rice to make a lot of RAC plays after short passes. If Crabtree and Johnson are given more opportunities on slants, curls etc, they will make some plays. Not Rice level by any means, but they’ll be effective.

              The interceptions had as much to do with the QB and the fact the Defense was keying on Johnson as much as Johnson himself. He was often thrown too whether covered or not because as I’ve already said, he was their only option quite often.

              1. Rice averaged more than 16.5 yards per catch five seasons in a row. Johnson never has averaged more than 13.2 yards per catch, and he averaged a Greg-Little-esque 11.5 yards per catch last season.

              2. Rice is arguably the best player in NFL history Grant. Let’s refrain from comparing yards per catch with a guy who will be the #3 WR on this team this season. His low yards per catch last year were due to injury and didn’t mesh with the previous 3 years where he was significantly better.

                You tried to downplay the Boldin acquisition last year, referring to him as old and slow, and then he went out and had a probowl caliber season. Learn from your previous mistakes and don’t do the same exact thing this year.

              3. I never said Boldin would have a bad season. He’s three-time Pro Bowler, a proven player, but he doesn’t complement Crabtree and there were times last season when Boldin, Crabtree and Davis were on the field and Kaepernick still didn’t have any open receivers to throw to. Harbaugh even admitted this at the Combine when he was discussing the need for a better No.3 receiver.

                Johnson is not a proven player. Someone has to get targets on a bad team. Catching 54 percent of your targets is not good.

              4. “Johnson is not a proven player.”

                Sorry Grant, but with 3 straight 1,000 yard seasons, he’s a proven performer. Is he elite? No, he is not. But he has proven he can be an effective WR in the NFL. As rocket pointed out, when you are the only WR on your team that is NFL starting calibre, you will get a lot of coverage sliding your way and the QB will target you even when you are well covered.

                As for catching only 54% of targets, I suggest you check out Anquan Boldin’s catch % while he was in Baltimore. Very similar. The QB matters.

              5. More bad than good came from forcing the ball to Johnson those three years. The fact that the Bills stunk and forced the ball to Johnson doesn’t make Johnson good.

              6. “Catching 54 percent of your targets is not good.”

                How many of those targets were actually on-target? It’s seems like you’re using bad teammates and bad QB play to devalue Stevie.

              7. Grant, don’t blame Johnson for his QB struggling, and making poor decisions. If you do, then Calvin Johnson is also a massively over-rated WR because a lot of bad things happen from Stafford trying to force him the ball too.

                Fact is, Stevie Johnson was good enough for his QB and coaches to place huge trust in him, much more than any other receivers on the roster. That doesn’t happen due to fluke, and the argument that someone has to get the targets doesn’t hold water. If your argument rang true, and Johnson was just another guy, then the ball would have been spread around, looking for an open guy rather than trusting in one guy.

                I reiterate, I don’t think Johnson is an elite WR. I don’t even think he is a very good #1 WR. But I do think he’s a very good #2 WR, and an excellent #3 WR.

              8. You’re saying Johnson is a very good No.2 receiver because he’s better than David Nelson and T.J. Graham and Donald Jones and Brad Smith. That doesn’t make sense. Those receivers are awful. No QB would want to throw to them. Johnson wasn’t awful so he got 138 targets by default. Any WR who wasn’t awful would have had 1000 receiving yards in Johnson’s place the past few seasons.

              9. Rocket
                Just for a quibble: I’ll bet you never saw JR caught from behind in the fourth quarter!
                : >)

              10. No, that isn’t what I’m saying Grant, though I understand how you come to that inference. I am saying he is better than those guys, yes. To the point where he was the main go to guy over them. As you say, not much of a feat.

                I’m saying he is a good WR because despite being on a team where the talent around him was poor, where he was the WR that attracted the most coverage, the guy D’s knew was going to be heavily targeted, he still was able to put up good numbers. Part of that is, as you say, simply a mathematical relationship – throw the ball to someone enough times and they’ll eventually come down with one. But part of it is also due to a player that has had success getting open even when D’s are sliding their coverage to him. It is for that reason that he would make a very good #2 WR.

              11. The only good numbers he put up were the yardage totals and those were a product of the targets. The yards per catch numbers were not special. The completion percentage when targeted was bad, much below Fitzpatrick’s career completion percentage. The interception percentage when targeted was sky high. The drop percentage was sky high. Can he even catch Kaepernick’s passes?

              12. BT,

                Very true. When the game was in doubt there was never a better player than JR. My point was really about the fact people tend to forget anything negative about great players, and believe all the legends that surround them. Truth is Jerry did caught from behind once in awhile and sometimes before he even got started, but there isn’t a player in the history of the game that was perfect.

              13. Let’s get back to the point. Some receivers are scoring threats from anywhere on the field. Rice certainly was that. Johnson certainly is not that.

        2. He is not a proven player? He has 3 1000 yard seasons. That is great for a number 3 WR.

          1. Zero pro bowls. Someone has to put up numbers on a bad team. He will get much fewer targets on the Niners. If he continues to catch 54 percent of his targets and average less than 13 yards per catch he won’t be much use to the Niners.

            1. Johnson had some of the worst QB’s in the league. Can’t put all of those on the only target they trusted.

            2. Your point would have merit if Johnson didn’t have a track record of 3 straight 1000 yard seasons. I agree that a lesser player can have a good season before teams figure out his limitations, but an average WR does not put up 3 straight 1000 yard seasons. It doesn’t happen. You are downplaying his accomplishments by looking at stats that are affected as much by the situation he was in as much as his play.

              No doubt he will get far fewer targets this season. He is not being relied upon as he was in Buffalo. This move is about adding quality depth for the 3rd WR position, but also to offset the potential loss of Crabtree next year.

              1. The Bills targeted Johnson 415 times those three seasons — that’s the only reason he posted those yardage totals. He wouldn’t have gotten nearly as many targets on another team. His yardage totals were inflated.

              2. This whole discussion is moot. Lloyd is going to beat Johnson out for the 3rd receiver spot anyway.

              3. You don’t put up 3 1000 yard seasons strictly because of targets. That is so simplistic and flies in the face of logic. Johnson was the #1 target and was played that way by opposing defenses, along with having poor QB play on top of it. He was thrown to so many times because he was all they really had as a true receiving threat. As a #3 WR, he will be better than the defender he lines up against the majority of the time and will not be game planned against to the level he was in Buffalo.

              4. Being the best receiver on the Bills doesn’t make him a good receiver. If you get targeted 138 times in a season, how could you not have 1,000 yards?

              5. I’d be surprised to see Lloyd beat out Johnson mainly due to the fact they gave up a 4th round pick for him, but it’s possible and if so great, as long as they get the production. I don’t see Ellington playing a large role this season unless they run into injury trouble.

              6. You can talk numbers until you’re blue in the face but you still haven’t addressed why Baalke would trade a conditional 4th for the guy even after he signed Lloyd a couple weeks before. If Baalke believed he had signed his #3 WR on April 15th he wouldn’t have traded for Johnson just a few weeks later.

              7. Don’t count out Patton. He plays pretty fast and the Niners’ coaches seem to like him. Kaepernick seems to like him, too.

              8. Im just putting in my two cents. I like Patton quite a bit and personally would be pleased if he stepped up and won the spot outright. Nothing better then young prospects panning out.

              9. The 49ers rested Crabtree and Patton equally during OTAs and mini camp. That surprised me. I heard Morton tell Patton the most important thing for him was to not get hurt. On the other hand, Lloyd had to compete and risk injury.

              10. Playing it safe with a couple of guys who haven’t exactly shown to be immune from injuries?

              11. Grant:

                I said he was slowing down last season …

                I think you said more than that.

              12. I would love to see Patton emerge as the #3 WR. I think he can, and if he does, he’ll have earned it.

              13. Trading for Smith was a no brainer in that he has no dead money in his contract.

                Bring him in, create competition and let the best man win. If he isn’t the best man you cut him and cost nothing against your cap and after the other moves that you made during the draft you have only really given up a 7th rounder.

              14. Grant,

                Being the best receiver on the Bills doesn’t make him a good receiver. If you get targeted 138 times in a season, how could you not have 1,000 yards?

                Sigh…I don’t know what else to say to get you to understand how flawed this point is. You don’t get that many targets unless you are making plays, how about that? You don’t put up 3 1000 yard seasons if you aren’t very good. Look back over the history of the league and find me a 3 time 1000 yard receiver who was as bad as you think Johnson is.

              15. Trading for Smith was a no brainer in that he has no dead money in his contract.

                Bring him in, create competition and let the best man win. If he isn’t the best man you cut him and cost nothing against your cap and after the other moves that you made during the draft you have only really given up a 7th rounder.

                This is a fair point Jack, but I don’t think they made the trade thinking there was much of a chance of Johnson not making the team. I think it was also made with the knowledge they might have a lot of turnover at the position in 2015 if they can’t resign Crabtree and Boldin’s age starts to show.

              16. Brian Hartline has had back-to-back 1000 yard seasons.

                Yes he has, and in a similar situation to what Johnson had too. Inconsistent QB play and not a lot around him until last season. Great example, and it’s even more apt considering Hartline out performed the high priced speed WR the Dolphins brought in and gave huge money too. Way to support your argument Grant.

              17. Yep, Brian Hartline, another good WR that gets little respect. Another guy that should be a very good #2 WR but has had to be the main guy for his team due to lack of talent around him. Maybe this year will be different with Wallace having a year under his belt in the system, but don’t confuse Hartline for an average player. He’s much better than that.

              18. Grant, what constitutes a good WR to you? Do they need to be a good #1 WR?

                Saying Hartline is not a good WR, after saying Johnson is not a good WR, suggests you don’t think WRs that have been forced to be their team’s #1 due to lack of talent around them are not good WRs. But both Hartline and Johnson are guys that on better teams should still be good #1b or #2 WRs.

              19. Hartline gets more targets than his talent warrants because he’s on a bad team. You’re so impressed by receivers who get lots of targets on bad teams. That’s not an accomplishment.

              20. No, catching lots of passes when teams are directing their coverage to stop other players isn’t very impressive.

                Being the standout WR on a bad offense comes with opponents targeting you just as much as your QB does.

              21. Johnson induced a 75 passer rating on a team that got blown out frequently and played a ton of garbage time. Very impressive, definitely a very good No.2 receiver on a serious team.

              22. Hartline gets more targets than his talent warrants because he’s on a bad team. You’re so impressed by receivers who get lots of targets on bad teams. That’s not an accomplishment.

                I’m not sure why you can’t figure out the correlation between targets and plays made. If a WR isn’t doing something with the ball then he doesn’t get targeted. Hartline like Johnson, was the best option on a bad team as Scooter pointed out, and while he is not an elite WR, he is also not the scrub you make him out to be.

                It’s hard to make plays in this league. WR’s who don’t have talent don’t go over 1000 yards and get targeted that many times. They are trusted and targeted by their QB’s because they are the best options and make plays. For you to say Hartline is not good just shows a galling lack of understanding of what it takes to succeed at this level.

                As Scooter said, these guys are not great #1 options, but they sure as hell are excellent #2 options and in the case of Johnson, the best #3 WR any team will put on the field this year.

              23. Being the best option on the Bills from 2010-2012 doesn’t mean Johnson was good back then, it just means he wasn’t terrible.

              24. So you still haven’t actually watched Hartline play. Way to form an educated opinion Grant.

              25. Johnson induced a 75 passer rating on a team that got blown out frequently. Very impressive, definitely a very good No.2 receiver on a serious team.

                Passer rating is not the way to judge how good a WR is Grant. In fact it’s a terrible way to look at WR play period. A QB’s passer rating is affected negatively by TD to Int ratio. If Johnson is doubled and Fitzpatrick throws the ball to him anyway because he knows he’s the guy who will make a play for him, then how is that Johnson’s fault when the pass gets picked and the passer rating plummets?

                Stats have their place in analysis but you rely on them to form your opinions instead of looking at the whole picture far too often.

              26. After the 49ers traded for Johnson, I rewatched every interception Fitzpatrick threw when targeting Johnson. That scenario you described hardly ever happened. That’s why it’s important to get NFL rewind and watch these things instead of just guessing.

                Fitzpatrick threw the ball to Johnson when he had single coverage and Johnson got beaten one-on-one by the cornerback on many of the interceptions.

              27. I’m not guessing, and have Rewind, but nice try anyway. You obviously need to rewatch, only this time with an open mind and no preconceived notions based on stats you looked up.

              28. The Bills’ mistake was trusting Johnson to consistently beat single coverage. The problem wasn’t forcing it to him in double coverage. That’s not how most of the interceptions happened.

              29. I’m not joking. All of your arguments are stat-based. Do you have any qualitative analysis? How does he run his routes? Is he a good blocker? How are his hands? Is he a savvy player who’s under rated because he didn’t run a blazing 40 at the combine or just another slow white guy?

              30. No YAC ability. Not a scoring threat from anywhere on the field. Other than that, he’s decent.

              31. The Bills mistake was trusting Johnson to consistently beat single coverage. The problem wasn’t forcing it to him in double coverage. That’s not how most of the interceptions happened.

                That isn’t what I said Grant. I gave you an example of why you don’t base a WR’s worth on passer rating. It’s incredibly subjective and affected by elements outside the receivers responsibility. Johnson did beat single coverage consistently and even when he didn’t, the ball was often thrown to him anyway. That is because he was the clear #1 option in the passing game and the QB forced it to him whether he was open or not. If you watched as much footage on him as you say you did, you’d also notice a number of times where Johnson bails Fitzpatrick out with catches on bad passes.

              32. I don’t base Johnson’s worth on the passer rating, but it’s telling in his case. He bailed out Fitzpatrick sometimes but hung him out to dry more often than not.

              33. Not a scoring threat from anywhere on the field.

                His 23 TDs from 2010-12 say you’re wrong.* Please stop trolling.

                * Actually, they say you’re full of crap, but if I wrote that, you’d censor the comment.

              34. Grimey and I were discussing Hartline. He has caught 10 TD passes in 5 seasons.

              35. No YAC ability. Not a scoring threat from anywhere on the field. Other than that, he’s decent.

                If this is your criteria for what designates a good WR then I understand why you are saying the things you are. This standard is unrealistic and is met by very few in the league period, never mind one who will be a teams #3 WR.

              36. Johnson drops a lot of passes. Quarterbacks throw for a low comp percentage and they throw more INTs than TDs when targeting Johnson. Until that changes, he isn’t good a good No.3 receiver for a contending team.

              37. My mistake, but to be fair, it’s hard to follow the conversation with the way the page is laid out. Any chance you can convince the technical people to make it so that conversations stay grouped together or at least so that we can identify the specific comment to which a subsequent responsive comment is made?

              38. Thanks for confirming that Grant. You might want to click on that link I provided.

              39. Johnson drops a lot of passes. Quarterbacks throw for a low comp percentage and they throw more INTs than TDs when targeting Johnson. Until that changes, he isn’t good a good No.3 receiver for a contending team.

                Ryan Fitzpatrick was the QB. For the three 1000 yard seasons, not QB’s. A WR who put together 3 1000 yard seasons with a bad QB on a team devoid of offensive talent, is a luxury as a #3 WR on a contending team.

                If Lloyd beats him out I’m fine with that too. Lloyd is another luxury this team has if he can recapture his previous form.

              40. Johnson got 144 targets in 2012 because the other options were T.J. Graham and Donald Jones, who were not options. They are terrible. Fitzpatrick had to throw it to someone. Anyone who gets 144 targets will have 1000 yards.

              41. Rocket,
                After last year I’d have been fine with Patton and Ellington(in addition to a healthy Crab).

              42. We can all verify what you wrote. The good thing about you is you don’t hold back when you make provocative statements. No room for interpretation with Grant Cohn.

              43. Yeah me too Grimey. After seeing the dogs breakfast this team has taken the field with at times over the last 3 years, I’d settle for any of the 4 currently residing on the depth chart behind the starters.

              44. Anyone who gets 144 targets will have 1000 yards.

                They won’t get 144 targets if they are as bad as you think Johnson is. The team also would have aggressively tried to improve the position if they didn’t think Johnson was any good. The truth is Chan Gailey liked Johnson and thought he was good enough to be the #1 WR for that team. I don’t agree with that necessarily, but it shows Johnson had the trust of his Coaches and QB. You don’t get that if you’re not very good.

              45. They should have listened to Chan Gailey. He knew what he was doing. The Chan Gailey Era was under rated.

              46. So I guess you didn’t read the part where I said I didn’t agree with Gailey necessarily then? Try to keep up Grant.

              47. Gailey and Fitzpatrick had no choice. They had to target Johnson so often because no one else was an option. That doesn’t mean Johnson is good. It just means he was better than WRs who were among the worst in the league. But last year, Johnson was among the worst in the league.

              48. That basketball analagy you used earlier was the best way to describe Johnson’s numbers.

              1. Giving Stevie Johnson credit for having three 1,000 yard seasons is like giving a basketball player credit for having three 20 ppg seasons while taking 20 shots per game.

              2. Grant,

                You have only made 3 mistakes since taking over this blog:

                1) Getting in a fight with Anthony Davis
                2) Claiming Gore’s stats are mediocre by not including runs over X amount of yards don’t count.
                3) Saying a 1000 yard receiving season doesn’t count.

              3. I didn’t say Gore’s career stats were mediocre — they’re not. I said he was slowing down last season and he was.

              4. Yes, Gore was slowing down. No argument there. We still like you anyways. You are ranked higher than Killion, Kawakami, and Lynch in my book.

              5. You didn’t say he was slowing down, much like you didn’t say Boldin was slowing down Grant. You said Gore’s legs were gone and that Boldin was old and slow and wouldn’t make a huge difference because he was too much like Crabtree.

                You are going a little extreme with the poetic license.

              6. Gore’s legs were gone most of last season.

                Boldin didn’t make a huge difference. The 49ers still came up short. He didn’t push them over the top like you said he would.

              7. Gore’s legs were gone most of last season

                Right after you made that statement he had his best game of the season, so no his legs weren’t gone. There’s a difference between slowing down which he did toward the end of the year and his legs being gone at the beginning of the season which is when you made the comment.

                Boldin didn’t make a huge difference. The 49ers still came up short. He didn’t push them over the top like you said he would.

                Didn’t make a huge difference? Without him they would have had no passing game. If Crabtree had been healthy for the whole season, Boldin absolutely would have pushed them over the top. They finished one game back of Seattle with Boldin and Davis as their only true passing options. With Crabtree there for the whole season there is no doubt in my mind they would have won the division and gone to the SB.

              8. Gore had juice in his legs Week 4.

                Harbaugh on March 26: “There was tough sledding at times. And it’s on all of us to make it better. It’s on the players–let’s get another really good option besides Anquan, besides Michael, besides Vernon. We talked about that earlier.”

                Even with Boldin and Crabtree and Davis on the field together there was tough sledding. Harbaugh’s words. Boldin wasn’t enough.

              9. Boldin wasn’t enough.

                You’re right. By himself, with both Crabtree and Davis injured, Boldin wasn’t enough.


              10. We can all verify what you wrote. The good thing about you is you don’t hold back when you make provocative statements. No room for interpretation with Grant Cohn.

                This actually should have gone down here. CB is right, it’s hard to keep track of where the posts are supposed to go.

              1. The thing where you make a silly, provocative statement and when called on it, you get defensive and double down by making even sillier statements. I know it generates responses, but it’s juvenile.

                It’s Anthony Davis all over again.

              2. For one thing, it was silly to suggest that you weren’t wrong last year when you dismissed the Boldin signing. For another, trying to rewrite your “Gore’s legs are done” claim from last year, is silly, especially since we all know what you wrote.

              3. Give me better access to the archives. I suspect it’s a lot more work for me to search the archives than it is for you.

              4. “Boldin didn’t make a huge difference.”
                That’s why I laughed. It was a silly statement.

              5. Why is it silly? How did he make a huge difference? Difference is the key word.

              6. That said, here you go:

                And then there is Gore. He may never come back even though he’s still a 49er.

                His legs are gone. They no longer have the snap or explosion or whatever you want to call the thing a running back’s legs need.


                You wrote that after the second game last season. Gore went on to rush for 1128 yards and to score 9 rushing touchdowns.

              7. Gore had juice Week 4, but I didn’t see consistent juice/snap/explosion in any other game last season. Do you disagree?

              8. We can all verify what you wrote. The good thing about you is you don’t hold back when you make provocative statements. No room for interpretation with Grant Cohn.

                Good gravy I screwed up where to put this again. Hopefully third time is the charm. If not I give up.

              9. Forget the juice Grant. You said his legs were gone and he went on to prove that was not the case beginning the following week. Accept being wrong and live with it. We won’t hold it against you I promise.

              10. … but I didn’t see consistent juice/snap/explosion in any other game …

                That’s what I mean when I claim that you are trying to rewrite what you wrote. You prematurely wrote off Gore last year, stating without equivocation that his legs were gone. You didn’t qualify your assertion with any mention of “consistency.” That’s a post hoc modification.

              11. What’s worse?
                Someone who cannot help but state the obvious or someone who cannot comprehend the obvious.

              12. @Grimey
                You’re right to challenge the ludicrous statement about Boldin not making much of a difference. I was unable to compose a retort that wasn’t rude. I know how to avoid profanity, but anything I thought of was kinda rude.

              13. Boldin had an outstanding season but he didn’t push the team over the top.

              14. He had more value as a replacement for Crabtree than as a complement to Crabtree, which is what most of you said he would be.

              15. OK, maybe this will express it:
                Boldin was crucial to any and all success of the offense several times during the season. He was Mr. Clutch and instantly became a Frank Gore – level team leader. He was integral to the offense.
                The 49er Team failed to win the Super Bowl. This is not Boldin’s fault nor his responsibility. He made a massive difference to the team.
                When I add to that the continued(!) Turtle stuff I become inclined to discount the point of view. I know very well Grant watches them play. How he comes to some conclusions puzzles me.

              16. Boldin’s a tone setter. Grant is acting like Crab’s achilles didn’t snap.

          2. a 1,000 yard receiver catches, on average, passes for 62.5 yards per game. that’s comparable to 5 hook routes per game over 4 quarters for around 12.5 yards per catch. is that really a quality receiver?

            1. There were 20 players in the entire league who put up 1000 yard receiving seasons the last time Johnson did it in 2012. It’s not easy to do and not nearly as simplistic as this kind of analysis tries to make it.

              Let’s put it this way: Michael Crabtree was the Niners #1 receiver that year and had a career season. His final numbers were pretty much identical to Johnson in yards per catch and his overall yardage was 50 yards more. Crabtree was targeted 126 times to 148 for Johnson.

              So to summarize: for one guy it’s a career season; for the other guy it’s empty numbers because he had 22 more targets. The things that get said in this forum are mind numbing sometimes.

              1. I can understand Grant’s argument that Johnson isn’t as good a receiver as he was needed to be at Buffalo. He shouldn’t be a #1 option, in my opinion.

                But I don’t understand Grant’s assertion that Johnson was solely a product of a game plan and QB trying to feed him the ball. That doesn’t happen if you are a scrub.

                I agree with Grant that some of the high INT #s when being targeted, and part of the lower than average completion % to Johnson, is on Johnson. He’s a finesse receiver, not a physical receiver, and isn’t exactly renowned for fighting for the ball. However, he was targeted so often, even when he was well covered, because he was the guy most likely to shake himself open.

                He’s a guy that is very good at getting open. Now I’m sure some might say that if he’s so good at getting open, why was Fitzpatrick needing to force the ball in to him when covered? Being good at getting open does not mean you get open every route you run. Good receivers aren’t always open. There were a number of times that Fitzpatrick decided he was going to Johnson come hell or high water. He also regularly struggled getting the ball to its intended target with any velocity due to poor footwork, which led to a number of other INTs as the defender was able to catch up.

              2. Rocket,

                Grant’s argument against Johnson is actually quite similar to yours against Davis.

              3. Every receiver except Johnson was terrible so he got a lot of targets. Still doesn’t make Johnson good. He’s like a volume shooter in basketball who shoots 40 percent from the field.

              4. That’s a bad analogy. A shooter decides to shoot. A receiver has no control over when and how the QB throws the ball.

              5. Grant:

                I sincerely hope that your analysis/evaluation of Johnson is as accurate as your analysis/evaluation of Boldin last year.

              6. In what way Jack? Please enlighten me.


                The simplest way to explain this is that the players in this league are too good for a bad WR to put up the numbers Johnson did. If he did it one season and then fell off a cliff your point would be valid, but the guy was consistent and you don’t do that unless you can play no matter how many chances you get. As I pointed out to you, he only had 20 more targets than Crabtree. The analogy that anybody can put up big numbers simply by getting the ball thrown to them is erroneous. It’s not that simple or easy. If you want to argue that Johnson is not an elite WR, then I agree completely. If you want to argue that this guy isn’t going to be a great addition to the WR corps and a mismatch as the 3rd WR, I’ll tell you you’re wrong and you need to think about it some more.

              7. The other receivers around Johnson from 2010 to 2012 were awful, the worst group of wide receivers in the league by far. Fitzpatrick had to throw to someone and Johnson was the best option but that just meant he was better than horrible.

              8. Rocket,

                Please forgive the laziness on my part to not comb through the archives.

                That being said, have you not stated that part of Davis putting up the numbers that he did last year was due to lack of weapons other than Boldin?

              9. Just because there’s nobody else to throw to doesn’t mean he isn’t any good.

              10. That’s true. The fact that Johnson drops a lot of passes and isn’t a deep threat or a YAC threat suggests he is average at best.

              11. Grant:

                The other receivers around Johnson from 2010 to 2012 were awful, the worst group of wide receivers in the league by far.

                If you noticed that, I’m pretty sure that NFL defensive coordinators could notice it. Having noticed it, perhaps it’s possible those coordinators focused their teams’ pass defenses on Johnson, which would explain the lack of success Fitzpatrick had when targeting him. Well, that, and Fitzpatrick’s apparent lack of of talent.

                Those explanations are much more reasonable than your unsupported “Johnson sucks” theory.

              12. You’ve not said he sucks. You’ve just said he isn’t good. Which I guess would mean he is just mediocre in your opinion? An average WR? Which other receivers in the NFL would you say he is on par with?

              13. Grant:

                In terms of accuracy, my characterization of your argument compares favorably to your characterization of Johnson’s play.

              14. Fair enough Grant. I think he is better than Greg Little, closer to Dwayne Bowe calibre (though I’d take Bowe over Johnson). I should couch that with I think Bowe is over rated. He’s a good, NFL starting calibre WR, but if he is your #1 you can do better.

              15. I’d let him get on the practice field, and then see what he can do in the games as a 49er before I’d immortalize him in mediocrity……

              16. Rocket,

                Please forgive the laziness on my part to not comb through the archives.

                That being said, have you not stated that part of Davis putting up the numbers that he did last year was due to lack of weapons other than Boldin?

                Davis’ numbers weren’t that different from most years he’s had with the exception of TD catches. I wasn’t disparaging Davis like Grant is with Johnson. My point about Davis was that the offense could function without him instead of folding up into the fetal position as Grant said they would without him.

                In regards to Johnson, it’s trivial to suggest that a WR who isn’t very good could put up 3 1000 yard seasons. Somebody has to get the catches, that’s true, but unless the player is capable, it doesn’t matter how many times you throw him the ball, he won’t have any success, at least not to the extent Johnson did.

  14. I’m thinking if we did have 3 possession receivers that are about the same. Would it be a bad thing? I don’t think so. “Possession receivers” can break a tackle and gain tons of YAC.. And with three good ones. Which do you cover? How is the holding legion of boom going to cover 3 threats and a fast tight end? Let’s not forget about Lloyd. Who has a knack of getting behind secondary’s deep down the field at times. I wouldn’t worry about this offense, whether it’s gore and the running game or Ck and the passing game.

    I do wonder how the pass rush will look, whether Bowman can comeback and make an impact, whether J Smith has anything left in the tank for a strong finally, whether the secondary can hold up if there is no pass rush, and whether A Smtih can stay out of trouble.

    Yeah for once I’m a little worried about the defensive side of the ball for once.

    1. Even without Stevie and Brandon we would be ok if……. Bruce Miller is 100% and if VMac is actually ready to catch balls this year. Stevie and Brandon will be two more toys that put us that much over the top….
      It is also my opinion that we shouldn’t cave in with Vernon. Grant likes to highlight that Vernon is the most important player in our offense. I disagree.

  15. Mary
    Check out the posts by 40Whiner. He’s one of a number of guys from other teams, several who are RayDuhs fans, who come to this site to kick up some manure, so to speak. No other reason. These are the folks who seed the kind of tensions that have been directed at you. I’ve come to believe you’re not a Troll, not everyone agrees with me. ( Uh, come to think of it, there are probably plenty of times where most don’t agree with me!)
    Tuck this away for later: As the Thanksgiving match-up approaches you’ll be watching from both sides of the aisle with a nice over-view as the 12th Trolls appear on this site hoping to….uh….well, who knows what their agenda is. Oh, and just for perspective, last year BayAreaFanatic put up a post on a Seahawk site and got immediately blocked. So see? His harsh attitude towards you is not without context. I have to mention that he has crossed the anger line a number of times; he’s edgy.

    1. Thanks Tuna for the heads up. I’ll be my normal low-key self. Ha. I’ll stay away from PED and Richard Sherman chatter. Oops too late!

      1. Mary,

        I hope you take my jabs as good natured (mostly, probably) smack talk. That’s how I’m taking your ridiculous posts (that was a joke, I think).

        You add to the flavor of the stew and I hope you stick. Don’t listen to anyone who’s asking you to leave. Nothing wrong with having someone around who has a crazy, I mean, different point view.

        Sorry, but that’s as nice as I can be in the context of you being a Seahawk fan and me being a 49er fan.

        1. ex-golfer ditto my jabs. “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” (season) :)

          1. It’s definitely going to be bumpy, which nobody thinks they want for their team (me included), but, truth be told, it probably makes for a more entertaining season.

            1. ex-golfer: Are you clueless about Seattle and famous Bette Davis movies? Alas, I had such high hopes for you. (sob).

  16. Grant what about the slot corner?? Who on earth will cover Percy Harvin? Ward was the only pick that we need production from..

      1. I’m thinking the one of the Seahawk trainers will need to cover Harvin most of the season.

    1. @Matt

      we just mug him until the third Quarter when predictably, he goes on IR

  17. “I’ll buy you anything you want.”

    “What I want you can’t give me.”

    “Try me.”

    “Emotional honesty.”

  18. As far as I’m concerned, your sports reporting is remedial and overly negative without a shred of substance.

  19. Thats a good list of the keys but I think finding an adequate replacement for Bowman in the LB group has to be listed as a key. The LB’s make a ton of plays in this defense so finding someone who can hold his own is a huge part of the defenses potential success this season.

  20. Interesting questions and the more I look at this coming season, the more I see the possibility of a step back.

    While the offense has added a lot of talent at WR, the defense looks to be vulnerable at all 3 levels. Dline has two older starters and Ian Smith who is not healthy yet, while relying on young unproven players to fill in on a rotational basis or in case of injury. As much as I like the possibilities Carradine brings, he’s still an unknown at this point. Dial is an even bigger question mark. Jerod-Eddie has shown the most on the field but is still largely untested. To have a strong Dline, the team is relying on a number of unknowns stepping up and that is not a great place to be in.

    The LBing core is missing their best player in Bowman and I personally don’t see him returning this season. He didn’t sustain the injury until late January and to expect him to return in 9 months after tearing two ligaments is wishful thinking imo. That means they will lean on Borland or Wilhoite for an entire season, which again is relying on the unknown and hoping for the best. I don’t know what kind of suspension Aldon Smith will receive, but anything more than a couple of games could cost this team. I know they played well without him last year, but not having your best past rusher is not something you want to gamble with any more than necessary.

    The secondary is also a concern as Grant mentioned above. We are hoping a young guy still developing and coming off of a serious knee injury can be a starter from day one, while also relying on a player with half a season of starting experience on the other side. Add to that the first choice for Nickel is a rookie who has missed the entire offseason recovering from foot surgery. This defense has played well with pretty much anyone they’ve put on the field at CB due to the front seven, but if the front seven isn’t as good as the previous 3 years, that could change.

    Now I’m not throwing in the towel and predicting gloom and doom because this team is good enough to win 10 games under the worst of circumstances, but if we are truly focused on a SB run, I’m thinking the expectations are beyond what the team may be capable of this season with all the factors against them.

    To have any chance of a 4th straight NFCCG appearance the offense will likely have to step up and carry the load which they haven’t had to do the past 3 years. I honestly don’t know if that is possible with the system they play and also don’t know how drastically they can change it if need be and be successful. There is also the fact that this team has played a lot of football for the past 3 years. There’s a reason teams don’t often repeat this kind of success and after 3 years near the pinnacle, there’s a very good chance this team is mentally and physically beat down.

    I hope I’m completely wrong in my thinking, but I can’t get the thought out of my head that the team is due for a drop of some kind this season.

    1. rocket,
      This is so unlike you bud. I look to you to always bring a positive vibe about my favorite team in the world.

      C’mon remember the words of Ice-Cube in the movie Barber Shop, “Be Strong my Brother”! (lol)

      But the reality is that many of these concerns will need to be played out on the field before we have a real gauge on where our defense stands.

      1. AES,

        Sorry my man. I hate to be negative and I do see the team winning at least 10 games, but I can’t help but look at this situation and see too many obstacles for a SB run.

        Obviously the things I’m worried about might not be as big a deal as I think they are, but if I’m being honest, that’s how I see things playing out right now.

        Don’t mistake my view as giving up hope though. I will be just as strong in my support as ever.

        1. rocket,
          Nothing but respect to you bud. Your concerns have merit.
          There will be some real defensive adjustments that Fangio will need to make in light of Bowman’ injury, Aldon’ possible suspension and the personnel changes in the secondary.

          Fangio will be challenged to maximize optimum play from untested players as you mentioned, but we will be ok once the kinks have been ironed out hopefully by game 3.

          This year, the offense will need to be depended on to score 20-24 point per game in order to help compensate for any defensive lapses or deficiencies.
          In any case, it promises to be an intriguing and interesting season.
          Winning is now a big part of our culture and Harbaugh & Co will find a way to continue that theme.

    2. Rocket,
      Whoa! I think it sounds like (as Nina said in to Peter in Office Space) “Somebody’s got a case of the Mondays.” Lol, all good points Rocket but I think you ARE kinda “predicting doom and gloom.” I think you’ll feel better in a couple days when training camp starts and we finally start pulling away from the offseason doldrums. Hang in there Bro, that light you see at the end of the tunnel is the sun shining on an awesome new 49er season in a beautiful new stadium. The Niners are going all the way this year!

      1. Bar None,

        Could be, but in all honesty I’ve had this feeling most of the summer when looking at the team going into the season. Just too many areas for things to go South for me to see a SB run this season. Would love to be wrong, but I just don’t see it right now.

        1. Rocket,

          Don’t worry too much. Yes, losing Bowman and A. Smith for a few games will suck, they will be back by the time play-offs come around.

          Please remember our secondary starting week 1 last season was completely different than the one that started in the playoffs. Things change, we have good coaching on defense.

          We have a lot more positives than negatives.

          -Added a lot of competiton to # 3 wide receiver, Johnson, Lloyd, Ellington, Patton (we could only dream of this depth last year)
          -Crabtree is fully healed
          -We have added 2 new runnings backs who are both first round talent – Lattimore and Hyde.
          -Added depth at linebacker positions
          -Tank and Dial added to finally make a very deep d-line.

          -Bowman out for probably first 10 weeks
          -A. Smith out for first 4 weeks (probably at most)
          -J. Smith getting older
          -Inexperience at DB positions
          -Lost solid safety in Whitner (but we gain a solid safety less likely to get fouled)

  21. Grant,
    Off subject, but this falls under your WARNING not a 49ers topic theme.
    Have you given any thought regarding the Redskins name controversy?

    Curious of what would your idea(s) of re-naming be?

    Snyder needs to continue to work very closely with the American Native Community on how to resolve this ongoing issue.
    Perhaps the ANC leaders can keep an American Native theme that they deem more dignified and respectable similar to that of the KC Chiefs.
    That seems like a palpable medium imo.

  22. As for Hyde, I think what we’ll see this season will be much like Gore’s first season when Barlow was the starter. Gore will remain the starter, but as the season progresses, we’ll start seeing Hyde a bit more frequently. Gore will lead in carries, but Hyde will lead in yards per carry. Total yards individually could be very close, but combined could bring some surprising numbers for the running game though Gore may not break 1000 yards.

  23. Who will be a better option next season on the Power Off Tackle runs and the Weakside Leads: Frank Gore or Carlos Hyde?

      1. I agree. Hyde is the new x-factor on the team. If he’s good, the 49ers are in business.

        1. Hyde on offense, Borland on defense are my x-factor picks for this season, Grant.

        2. I think you’re discounting knowledge and vision at the RB spot. Frank Gore is rarely going to break long runs anymore so having a back that makes the right cuts and can break off some long runs would be great. Hyde might be bigger and faster but could he have made that beautiful cutback against the Seahawks at home last year? That was a thing of beauty and that is the value of Frank Gore. He’s still a great RB. The physical beating he’s taken make those great plays less frequent. Hyde has a long way to go before he supplants Gore.

          1. One of the things that jumps out when you watch Hyde’s tape is his vision. He is very good at finding the seams and getting through them. He moves at times like he is much smaller than he really is. Really good feet and vision.

            1. rocket,
              Hyde will need to pick up the blocking schemes that our offense requires for him to fully functional.

              The one thing that seems to be absent in describing Gore each of the last 3 seasons at around this time is his incredible blocking ability.

              Also, as I said yesterday, FG has an uncanny ability to get small when running through traffic at the point of attack.

              Hyde has great talent but we won’t know how that translates to the NFL until he gets on the field to run and becomes a willing blocker.

              1. AES,

                That’s true but Hyde is not new to pass blocking. He comes in with a better than average understanding of that element of the game.

                I still think Gore will be the starter to begin the season, but the difference I can see this year is more snaps being given to others over the course of the season to preserve him a little better.

              2. Against Seattle we need a RB that can physically punish them. Gore can’t do that. They are stuffing the middle, he has no where to run. Seattle knows he’s not popping it outside because he lacks the speed. Gore also has zero yards after contact versus the enemy up North.
                We have Hyde that can punish and move a pile. We have Hunter who can run both up the middle and is fast enough to bounce it outside. If we don’t distribute the carries evenly, then we are being stubborn and lazy.
                Last three times we played Seattle look no further than the RB totals. That is where Seattle has had the biggest edge.
                I’m not even mentioning Lattimore because physically we just don’t know….

    1. If healthy Gore.

      In a weird way Hunter could be very effective off tackle. With Hunter defenses have to be on guard sideline to sideline, so off tackle power would have (a little) more element of surprise.

      As for goal line, (a healthy) Lattimore has a sneaky ability to submarine through cracks in goal line defenses. His short yardage game is often overlooked (along with his pass catching).

      1. Possibly Brodie, but I still have a feeling that Hunter is trade bait if Lattimore is deemed healthy going into the season. That is a big if though so Hunter is likely here for one more year.

  24. From the video I’ve watched, it looks like where Hyde could be the better option.

    1. Thanks very much. Really enjoyed this. Filled with gem perceptions. Look forward to part 2.

      1. Barnwell has been one of my favorite NFL reads the last couple years. I really like his Thank You For Not Coaching series during the season.

          1. Ha!

            It’s more about errors current head coaches make. Clock/game management type stuff. One of his big pet peeves is unnecessary draw plays at the end of halves.

            1. Thanks. And he is so right about those draw plays. Or just running when you’re 80 yards away and there’re 15 seconds on the clock.

        1. Ya I read Barnwell and he is really good. He also admits when he is wrong which is refreshing.

    1. Nice read. I generally enjoy Tanier’s writing. I just can’t figure out whether the 49ers are “ahead of the curve” or “behind the times”.

  25. Another reason to hate the Cowboys….The rat Jerry Jones profiting off Levi’s Stadium/49ers.

    I discovered Jerry Jones is part owner of “Legends Hospitality Management” who is a company that provides marketing services in concessions and retail merchandising for several major sports and entertainment facilities.
    Legends was hired to help sell season tickets and suites to Levi’s Stadium. They are also the front-runner to provide the food, beverage and catering services at Levi’s Stadium.

    It’s a very sick thought but chances are:
    If you’re sitting in a suite, eating food or having a beverage at Levi’s, Jerry sold it to you.

    Maybe detective Grant can find out who approved the hiring of this company and if they knew Jerry was involved….Sickening man!

    1. Jerry needs the money to hire an additional spectacles cleaner. One for the right lens, another for the left.

      If I ever go to Levi Stadium I’ll bring a bag lunch.

      1. B2W –
        That greedy beady-eyed…pointed snout…protruding fanged fool probably has Super Bowl dreams again this year.
        Yes Jerry….Romo will deliver!!

        1. Crab,

          I hate to say it, but I think I remember reading that Jed York has asked advice from Jones (other NFL people, too, but the point is, I think he has a friendly relationship with Jerry the Buffoon).

    2. “Jerry”…. I did that in my Seinfeld “Newman” voice. Crabs I have a dilemma. I’ll be at the opener at Cowboy stadium. My brother in law invited me to his box. He made one request, that I wear no Niner gear. I gotta at least wear the hat. Right? Screw Jerry and his people.

      1. Don’t wear 49er gear you don’t wan’t to ruin anything for your in-laws. However you could make a statement by wearing red.

        1. Bay – if bro in law insist no Niner gear, throw on a Leon Lett jersey……Might be hard to find though.

          1. Leon buahahaha. Gotta think that the Niners favorite Cowboy was Everson Walls hehehe. While I like the Clark Kent idea, I’m thinking the Niner hat is ok.

            1. I’d go suit and tie, with the 49er shirt on underneath. Strictly business until after the game, and then walk out with the 49er shirt on…..

            2. Bay
              Wear cowboy getup (“drug store cowboy” not Dallas Cowboy gear), then add a red & gold bandana. It’ll confuse the heck outa them.

  26. question: how deep into the season will we go
    before we see the handwriting on the wall: …

    NOT THIS YEAR…. (?)

    I am the Super Bowl monkey
    (find me on Coach Harbaw’s back)

    1. You’re back? Damn, I was hoping you were shackled up in prison in some third world country like Mexico or Venezuela.

  27. note to Bar None …

    I predict that you will want to join me
    in that third world country prison
    watching somebody else (Seattle vs Denver again?)
    (besides the Niners)
    play in the Super Bowl.

    At this point, Las Vegas agrees with me, fella….

  28. Question # 6 Will Aldon Smith be back to 2011/2012 form?

    If he has 15+ sacks, we will win 12+ games.

  29. Note to Spaceborn: [ geography quiz ]

    only his third wife will laugh at that joke….

    I give you 300 points for comic relief.

    Before entering the tunnel, remember the olive jar, huh?

    1. Just wondering what was the “bait” that finally got you to respond to others on this blog after being the monkey that didn’t speak for so long? Was it getting your posts removed by Grant? Some other motivation such as being ignored for the most part? Inquiring minds would like to know — or will you now revert to silence because any response has to be on your terms?

  30. Spaceborn:

    week by week, beginning in September,
    the story will unfold.
    Who knows? up or down….

    Mathematically, it might get worse. However,
    getting better means one thing: Lombardi trophy #6, hmmm?
    Lotta pressure this year…new stadium and all…
    I’m just sayin’…

    Please advise.

    1. Wow, you are so persistent. How many years have you been trolling now across multiple forums?

    2. I believe there is pressure for any coach with a competitive/playoff team to reach the SB and win it. Is there any more pressure on JH this season than any other coach in that position? I doubt it as I believe they all live on a hot skillet. That’s just the nature of being a HC in the NFL, new stadium or not.

  31. only one antidote for the heckler
    (not to be confused with a troll)…

    win a game…or a series of games…
    or, in the case of the SF Fortyniners,
    bring home Lombardi trophy #6.

    If the team fails to do so, you will all
    be ready to truss Harbaw up in a khaki
    straitjacket. Come on, admit it why doncha?

    1. Jim Harbaugh doesn’t know this blog exists, so he’s never exposed to your lame attempts at being a “heckler”. The only people that endure your annoying diarrhea of the mind are 49er fans. Therefore, you are a troll. Not a heckler. Go back under your bridge or your overpass and leave the 49er fans alone.

  32. Pete (chewing gum) Carroll sez:

    I’ve got mine….

    Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers (echo): me too..!!

    How long must Niner fans wait…?

    1. Niner fans waited until 1981. How long will cheat carroll, Brees and Rodgers wait until they have multiple championships?

      1. Whew! I believe I just thought of (and subsequently cancelled as possibly over-the-line) a dozen or so jokes.

      2. Too late Jack. I happened to see what Spaceborn said. Did you think I was impersonating someone? Pls. spill your guts.

    1. MWNiner, Thanks for the link. I can’t view it because I’m at home on my slow wilderness dial-up. I’m guessing its a picture of Brodie or Washington. I’ll check it when I get into Healdsburg tomorrow.

    2. MWNiner- Thanks. That’s a great pic of John Brodie.

      They didn’t win the Super Bowl, but teams feared the 49ers with Brodie, Washington and the “Gold Rush” of Cleveland Elam, Cedrick Hardman, Jimmy Webb and Tommy Hart.

  33. For anyone who just likes football: 2 Hr. special on Seahawks Training Camp.

    SportsCenter Special: Seahawks Training Camp, which will air live for nearly two hours Tuesday, July 29.

      1. Jordo,
        she’s gotten a little too comfortable up in here….. For all you guys know, she’s DS….

          1. Starting to believe it. Remember when she admitted to Space she’d been lying about the connection to the team? If Mud can’t stay away…
            Who says DS can?

            1. That rotten tomato up in here, I never liked her, I never trusted her. For all I know she had Kaepernick set up and had my friend Navarro Bowman put on IR…..

              1. I thought there was something fishy about her….i’m pretty sure she planted those assault rifles on Aldon as well….and I did see her walking around with Brass knuckles at one point

    1. I consider myself middle-of-the-road tough, but two hours of them flippin’ Seahags? Good Gawd! Almost nobody could stand that slop!
      Who has it that bad?
      Seahags suck

  34. News around the usual sources about Pat Bowlen stepping down as Owner/CEO of Broncos due to encroaching Alzheimer’s. Pretty sad all the way around.

  35. July 23: Full reporting date
    July 24: First practice (no pads)
    July 25: Second practice (no pads)
    July 26: First practice in pads
    Aug 7: Preseason opener @ Ravens
    Aug 8: Practice w/Ravens @ M&T Bank Stadium
    ​Aug 9: Practice w/Ravens at Ravens facility
    ​Aug 10: Practice w/Ravens at Ravens facility
    ​Aug 11: Practice w/Ravens at Ravens facility

        1. Leo, Reads perfectly fine to me. Nice to see folks adopting the proper English method of stating the date. :0)

  36. Vernon Davis reports to camp! Shocker!!!! As many on this site tried to tell grant, Vernon has zero leverage….

    1. Yeah, I’m one of those who predicted that correctly. I only mention that because I’m so often wrong in my predictions!

    2. CK-Elite,
      Like some topics that seem to take on a life of their own, many turn out to be much ado about nothing. And some we just need to let play out before having concrete evidence.

      Such as Frank Gore’ swan-song theme of the last 3 years (still team rushing LDR over that period).

      C.Hyde will take carries away from FG this year (all hypothetical at the moment).
      And Steve Johnson’ 3 straight 1,000 receiving yrd seasons being devaluated, just to name a few.

      Hey, until the season starts and everything is played out, it is what it is : >)

  37. Come on Boone! They’ll pay you if you show up at camp.

    Unless you want to play LT for another team next year. I can understand that for sure…

    1. I’m not sure they will. They don’t have a lot of cap room to play with and haven’t shown much of an interest in paying big money for interior lineman. They also have some pretty good depth behind him. I’m not sure they want to do anything with Boone other than possibly extending him if he agrees to an extension that would pay him middle of the road salaries for Guards.

      1. Yea, don’t count on Mr. Boone being a prodigal son. Trade is more likely…..

    1. Johnny Manziel leads the NFL in jersey sales, does that mean he is the best player in the league?

      1. So who else besides Browns fans are buying the jersey of a guy who hasn’t played a down yet? I don’t get it.

      2. FDM,
        Probably just the equivalent of some misguided “Bieber Fever” popularity lol.

        Controversial figures often strike interest in many people. I like Manziel, but then again I like Tebow as well.
        Both are polarizing characters, unlike Tebow, let’s see if Manziel can actually play in the NFL.

  38. Bottom line, this is great news. At some point we can line up Crabs, Boldin and Lloyd with Vernon as the TE. With Kaep under center and Hyde in the backfield. Really is a pick your poison offense. Deadly really.

    Imagine when they and put Ellington and Davis on opposite sides. Lets hope that the offense is clicking on all cylinders by the 13th week.

    1. Very true Bay.

      If Roman can’t get this offense to show much improvement than is something seriously wrong here. I’m really looking forward to this season. I’m hoping for no surprise injuries. We need this offense running at a 100% to make up for all the losses on defense.

  39. And as usual, Grant is the LAST one to report the latest happenings with the 49ers…Maybe he’s keeping it low-key since VD reporting to camp snuffs out his silly argument that VD had the leverage in contracts/negotiations all along…Haha

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Where is that boy? Nothing new from him since Sunday.
      I want his job! Except for the part of the job where it’s necessary to criticize and disrespect the Niners players, coaches and front office constantly. I don’t want that part.

  40. Great. There goes Grant’s next 3 “How are the 49ers going to adjust to Davis’ absence?” columns.

  41. Roster prediction before TC gets underway:

    QB (2) Kaepernick, Gabbert

    RB (5) Gore, Hyde, Lattimore, Miller, James

    WR (6) Crabtree, Boldin, Johnson, Lloyd, Patton, Ellington

    TE (3) Davis, McDonald, Carrier

    OL (8) Staley, Iupati, Kilgore, Boone, Davis, Looney, Martin, Martin

    DL (6) Smith, Dorsey, McDonald, Carradine, Dial, Jerod-Eddie

    ILB (5) Willis, Wilhoite, Moody, Borland, Skov

    OLB (4) Smith, Brooks, Lemonier, Skuta,

    CB (6) Brock, Culliver, Cook, Morris, Johnson, Cox

    S (4) Reid, Bethea, Ward, Spillman

    ST (4) Dawson, Lee, McDermott, Ventrone

    PS (8) Acker, Bethel-Thompson, Cleveland, Bykowski, Seymour, Jacobs, Purcell, Okoye

    IR (6) Bowman, Ramsey, Lynch, Reaser, Thomas, Millard

    Hunter is traded if Lattimore proves to be healthy, if not Hunter stays.

    Ian Williams starts the year on PUP as does Bowman, but I think ultimately Bowman misses the whole season.

    There will also be some young players like Ramsey and Lynch who may sustain injuries (wink, wink) and wind up on IR.

    Wildcard is Boone. If he doesn’t show and things come to an impasse, he may be traded in which case a player like Ryan Seymour could slide onto the roster.

    1. rocket – I’m liking you line of thinking… I’m also hoping Faulkner/Okoye somehow sticks to PS or IR stashed

      The 49ers love Hunter. I wouldn’t be surprised if they extend him. If he plays like he did in 2012 before injury, he’ll be too expensive to retain.

      The 49ers are ready and willing to pay Boone because he provides depth at 2 spots which saves a valuable roster spot… but the style clash between “we don’t negotiate with holdouts” Baalke and Boone’s agent might mean Boone is the one that gets traded.

    2. The math on Boone is tricky.

      Any signing bonus is likely more then his current salary, even combining the next two seasons. If Baalke is hard line on never negotiating till a player shows up in camp, a season(s) long holdout or trade seems inevitable.

      1. Can’t all sides save face by coming to an agreement behind the scenes and agreeing on the language both sides use as Alex shows up at Camp saying the Niners promised a deal? Then a deal is publicly agreed to within a couple of days.
        Not all that hard. If GMs and HCs can twist around a subject for five minutes without really saying anything, surely the agent and GM can script a a little ‘play’ that presents everything in the best light possible.

        1. Good idea. You are hired as my next GM. (I’m saving up to by an NFL franchise).

          Its silly for Boone and the 49ers not to come to a deal, especially if Iupati goes next year. The 49ers covet two position players because it saves scarce roster space. It’s the reputation of Boone’s agent and Baalke’s unique way of sticking with policies that seem to be the holdup.

          I wonder who the “we don’t negotiate with players not in camp” message is for. I’m not sure its about face. Might be a hardline Baalke thing.

    3. Just to quibble:
      >I’d hate to see Hunter go, but if ML is healthy, something has to give.
      > No Costanzo? So there’s some Bubbleness among Costanzo-Ventrone-Spillman-
      >Even if he can’t do much else, if Lynch can get after the passer this summer and play some ST he could make the 53. Aldon’s rookie year they just asked him to get upfield in games and let him work on his tool box in practices.
      > We lost a promising CB from PS last year. I’d be afraid to dangle another one out there. I’m still a little wishy-washy on Cox.
      > There are a lot of reasons to hope that Boone gets something worked out.

    4. rocket,
      Nice list.
      I do respectfully disagree regarding the absence of KHunt from your list.

      My sense (well, imo), is that Hunter will be the second leading rusher (behind F.Gore) on the team this upcoming season.
      His importance to the team can not be dismissed or overlooked especially on the heels of making very good contributions last season after coming back from a major injury.

      Anything can happen regarding players in sports, but I would certainly be very surprised if KHunt is not here in 2014.

    5. Good stuff Rocket. I see you’re really sticking to that Hunter be traded notion, even though you seem to be all alone with that.

      I like the list, although I say Hunter stays and does well. I just don’t see Lattimore making major contributions this season, if anyone goes its James, but we’ll see.

      I also don’t see Lloyd making the roster. No need for 6 WR with this offense, barring injury of course. I also don’t see Skov making the 53, but they’ll definitely try and keep him on the PS. I also see Lynch making the 53 and possibly contributing early with Aldon’s absence. Other than that we’re good.

    6. I appreciate the feedback guys. Thanks for reading through all of that.

      I realize I’m alone on an island with my thoughts about Hunter, but I’m sticking to it and I’ll tell you why:

      1) They’ve drafted two RB’s since they drafted Hunter. Imo you don’t do that if you feel Hunter is your future in any way.

      2) Other than an extra year of experience, Hunter gives them nothing they don’t already have with the other options on the roster.

      3) He doesn’t return kicks which is why in my mind LMJ has the edge on a roster spot over him

      4) He’s in the final year of his contract. If they were going to resign him my guess is they would have done it already. Instead not only have there been no attempts to resign him, but they’ve added more players at his position which tells me they have already put a plan in place to move on without him next year.

      Now obviously I could be completely wrong in my thinking and Hunter is the second guy behind Gore this year, but imo it all comes down to Lattimore. If he’s healthy and shows he’s ready in TC, they are faced with having too many bodies at RB. By process of elimination Hunter is the guy on the block for me because he hasn’t shown he’s that much better than LMJ as a RB if at all, and he can’t return Punts. I know many on here have LMJ out the door already and that could happen if they find somebody able to take over the Punt return chores, but the reality is LMJ has two years left, was a top ten returner last year and has put up a pretty solid ypc average the few times he’s been given a shot to carry the ball. That’s how I see it and we’ll see how it works out. If Lattimore doesn’t show he’s regained his pre injury form and/or isn’t healthy, then it’s a moot point because Hunter will be kept.

      In regards to the 6 WR’s, I believe they will only do that if Lloyd continues to shine in TC as he did in OTA’s. My thinking is simple: They only have two young WR’s on the roster assured of being here next year. They might want to have an extra body to see who is viable to bring back and add to the depth chart next season. As much as I’d like them to resign Crabtree the odds aren’t great he agrees to a number they are comfortable with. If that comes to pass, they’ll be in a better position if they have guys like Lloyd and Johnson ready to step in with a year already under their belt in the system.

      Boone is a tough one for me because while he has been valuable to this team, I think he’s actually reached overrated status and the depth behind him is very good. Boone was great in 2012, but last year he struggled quite often, and in fact was the 40th rated OG on PFF’s grading at the end of the year. He’s actually playing out of position as I think he’s more suited to OT, but the Niners are set there already so the question becomes: do you pay him big money to keep playing a position he’s not ideally suited for, or do you find a needy team and trade him to get some value in return? It’s a tough call and if they didn’t have solid depth it would be an easy answer, but I think that is going to cause the front office a lot of sleepless nights before they arrive at a decision.

      Lynch has been injured throughout the offseason and was pretty raw to begin with. I just get the feeling unless he shows he’s 100% healthy and blows up rushing the passer in TC, they’ll find a way to redshirt him. Ideally he’ll make the roster and be a good fill in for Smith while on suspension, but I don’t see him being able to get to that level starting from scratch in TC.

      BT I guess you are referring to Acker when talking about not wanting to let a CB get away? I agree to an extent, but Acker is also pretty raw and was ST’s savvy in College more than a great CB. The same was said about Cooper last year so it could happen, but there’s too much inexperience at the CB position to keep Acker over Cox imo.

      Just some food for thought.

      1. I understand what you’re selling Rocket but here’s why I disagree. Hunter has been the 2nd in carries since his arrival and it seems like the coaching staff really likes him and what he offers to the team. He’s been very productive when given the opportunity. Last year he saw a decline in production likely due to the injury, however, even with the decline and not fully healthy they still refused to give LMJ the carries he’s so desired. I think at this point James is strictly a returner and the staff could be looking to replace him with Ellington or Cox.

        Also it seems, to me at least, that at this point Lattimore has become more of a project than anything else. He’s completely 50-50 on whether he can ever be close to his former self and whether he can ever have success in the NFL. Yes the team has added another RB this year in Hyde, a likely successor to Gore, however I don’t think that is any precursor to Hunter’s future with the team. Obviously its time to start planning for life after Gore, which is Hyde, Lattimore is certainly no sure bet at this point, James future is completely up in the air, and I doubt Hunter was every really seen as a true bell cow runner. I’m sure the teams visions for Hunter have not changes, which is likely a change of pace type runner to couple with a Gore-like replacement, which is Hyde.

        I could see a deal for him coming soon before or during the start of the season, but we’ll see. You could be right. And the good thing about being on an Island is you’ll get to bask in all the glory and look like a genius :)

        1. I don’t disagree with much of what you said Leo, and I don’t see LMJ getting the carries that become available either. Those will go to Hyde and Lattimore. In my mind they made their decision on Hunter when they drafted Hyde. Lattimore and Hyde in back to back years, LMJ the year before that, along with not seeking an extension with Hunter, tells me he is not in the long range plans.

          Now I could be reading too much into that obviously, but I can’t see them resigning Hunter if Lattimore and Hyde are both healthy, so if that’s the case, why not get something for him before he walks in FA? Hunter has been pretty good, but it’s been in limited action. The truth is, he hasn’t had a lot of work and he was a 4th round pick 3 years ago. Since then they’ve used two seconds on LMJ and Hyde and a 4th on Lattimore. I don’t think you do that if you are enamored with Hunter.

          I have been an advocate for LMJ, and don’t really see much of a difference between him and Hunter at RB, and their averages pretty much say the same thing. However, I also agree that the same reasons I’ve given for Hunter being traded called also apply to LMJ. Neither has shown they are thought of as any more than change of pace backs. The difference between them is that LMJ has become a pretty good return man in a short period of time while Hunter offers nothing in that area. We’ll see how it plays out, but again it all hinges on Lattimore to me..

  42. Sheesh, I guess July 20th was the perfect time for Grant to take a vacation. It’s not like training camp opened up and everybody is reporting on injuries, position battles, who is showing up (or holding out), etc, etc.

    Hope you’re enjoying the vacation! I really miss your posts, a couple short paragraphs asking your readers to debate something (like the 2015 starting lineup, geez that was silly).

    1. Maybe he was the one who told Mary to jack us all up to keep the blog hits coming while he’s in Cabo! ; >)

  43. Elway emotional (now on NFL Network) regarding Pat Bowlen stepping down due to health reasons.

  44. Boone will be a super-stud LT wherever he lands. He took the guard slot because our RG players sucked. He did the team a huge favor playing out of position and saved their butts doing so. Davis was stinko at RT and Snyder who got cut by Arizona and sculked back was a baan open barn door for the opposing defense. I wish Boone nothing but the very best…

    1. I agree, I think at this point he’s probably better that half the starting tackles in the league. I wonder what kind of value he has?

      1. I see him getting the huge bucks to play LT.

        The signing bonus alone for a good LT has to be more then Boone’s salary over the next two years. It might be counter to his interests to play and risk injury… so he’s “coming out early.” so to speak.

        With two years on his contract, I can see teams trading a pretty good draft pick for him. I don’t know exactly how sign-n-trades work, but that might be even better.

        1. I agree B2W, I just really wonder what his value is. If we traded to a very tackle needy team, I’m sure for a quality starter at his age could maybe get us a 3rd or so. I wonder if that’s reasonable.

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  46. if it’s a flip of the coin between LMJ and Hunter as to who stays..
    I’ll hafta go with rocket ..and Hunter has more of a chance..
    Leo and B2W ..

    It sounds as though you both have Boone out the door ..
    I hate to see that happen ..cuz .. think about it ..

    The next Super Bowl will be # 49 … right ??

    u-hhhh … do you believe in fate ?

    Boone should stick around one more year (at least) ..
    (That is … if he wants a ring)

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