Aldon Smith says he’s “all healed up and ready to go” after stabbing

SANTA CLARA – Aldon Smith spoke to reporters for the first time since his stabbing on June 30, and here’s what he said. Q: There’s been a lot of concern around the country for your well-being. What was the saddest part for you? ALDON SMITH: Letting everyone down was probably the saddest part. I’m back to 100 percent and I’m ready to go. Q: You felt like you let who…

July 27, 2012

The importance of Perrish Cox

I was reading a Greg Cosell article this morning called “The Evolving Chess Match” and I found it interesting, so I’m passing it along to you. Here’s the key excerpt from the article: “There are always exceptions, but defensively, if you expect to beat the top passing games, you must be able to stop shotgun offenses with five receivers than can align at any position. That’s the next frontier.” The…

July 6, 2012

Five players the Niners can least afford to lose

In the wake of Aldon Smith’s stabbing – and the frightening possibility they might have lost him, it appears they didn’t – let’s rank the players the 49ers can least afford to lose for next season’s Super Bowl run. This list is highly subjective. I’m open to your ideas. It’s hard to quantify value. Aldon Smith –I recently ranked him as the Niners’ third-best player behind Justin Smith and Patrick…

July 2, 2012

Aldon Smith stabbed

Matt Maiocco of and Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee are tweeting that Aldon Smith was stabbed at a party Saturday morning. Barrows tweeted two people were shot and one was stabbed, and Smith’s injury is not believed to be serious. I will give you more details as they are forthcoming. Here’s a statement from Trent Baalke: “The San Francisco 49ers are aware that Aldon Smith incurred minor injuries…

June 30, 2012

Fangio says the Niners defense has potential to be best defense he’s ever coached

SANTA CLARA – It was defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s turn to explain the state of the Niners defense today. He said it has the potential to be the best defense he’s ever coached. He also talked about turnovers, and why he’s confident his players can continue to force them at a high rate next season. Finally, he spoke specifically about Aldon Smith and new cornerback Perrish Cox, and how they’re…

June 13, 2012

Aldon Smith on learning new positions

SANTA CLARA – Last season, Aldon Smith played about half of the Niners’ defensive snaps and recorded a whopping 16 sacks. This offseason he’s working to become an every-down player, and today he talked to reporters about his progress. Here’s what he said. Q: How’s the transition going to being an every-down guy? ALDON SMITH: It’s going good so far. I’m enjoying the learning process and the watching-myself-get-better process. Q:…

June 13, 2012

Scott Tolzien on himself, his competition and Aldon Smith

SANTA CLARA – After practice, three of the 49ers quarterbacks – Alex Smith, Josh Johnson and Scott Tolzien – had a long discussion in the weight-lifting tent adjacent to the practice field as they did bicep curls. Occasionally Smith would set down his weights, face the other quarterbacks and elucidate a point with his hands – pantomiming what looked like routes. When Smith did this, Tolzien and Johnson sat, listened…

June 6, 2012

Harbaugh praises Vernon Davis, Tukuafu, Cox and more

SANTA CLARA – Below is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Tuesday post-practice interview, courtesy of the 49ers. Here are Harbaugh’s main points: Will Tukuafu is playing defensive tackle and full back in practice, like Isaac Sopoaga did last season. Vernon Davis has improved his route running and he’s having an excellent offseason. Rookie defensive end Cam Johnson did not attend practice due a minor procedure but he should be ready…

June 5, 2012

Preview: How the Niners match up against the Cardinals

We’ve broken down the Niners matchups with the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. Now let’s break down their matchup with another rival – the Arizona Cardinals. 49ERS DEFENSE VS. CARDINALS OFFENSE: The Niners pass rush is young, excellent and improving, and the Cardinals pass protection is no good. They gave up 52 sacks last season, 2nd worst in the NFL. They gave up four to the Niners –…

May 29, 2012

Preview: How the Niners match up against the Seahawks

Yesterday we broke down how the Niners match up with the Green Bay Packers. Today, let’s check out how they match up with their main NFC West rivals – the Seattle Seahawks. 49ERS DEFENSE VS. SEAHAWKS OFFENSE: Seattle signed Aaron Rodgers’ backup and Mike McCarthy’s newest quarterback protégé, Matt Flynn. Although he’s only started two games in his NFL career, he’s performed marvelously in both of those games and many…

May 24, 2012

Preview: How the Niners match up against the Packers

As we examine the details of team building this offseason, let’s also look at the big picture, just for fun. How do the Niners match up against the Green Bay Packers, their first opponent next season? NINERS DEFENSE VS. PACKERS OFFENSE: Green Bay may have the best offense in the NFL, but it doesn’t match up well with the Niners defense because Green Bay’s offensive line simply isn’t good enough….

May 23, 2012

How A.J. Jenkins might help the Niners offense this season

SANTA CLARA – The Niners first round pick A.J. Jenkins spoke to the Bay Area media in person for the first time this afternoon. He’s warm, talkative and humble. Also, he has huge hands. After the interview I told Kevin Lynch that Jenkins’ hands looked like E.T.’s hands. In a second interview a few minutes later Jenkins told the media this: “They used to call me E.T back in high…

April 27, 2012

The top-five 49ers under contract

Who are the top-five Niners under contract right now? Recently, we’ve focused on players who don’t have contracts, like Coby Fleener and Carlos Rogers and Alex Smith, to name a few. What about the players the Niners have currently? Who are the best ones? Here’s the top-five. 1. Justin Smith – He’s the best player on the team, arguably the best defensive player in the NFL. He’s a great run…

February 27, 2012

The top-five most important free agents for the 49ers to re-sign

Trent Baalke reiterated this morning at the NFL Combine that the 49ers want to keep their guys in place, as in re-sign their free agents. Baalke said there’s no priority list for who he wants to re-sign, which is baloney, probably. Let’s try to guess that priority list. Which of the 49ers free agents are most important to resign? And in what order? Keep in mind, no free agent is…

February 23, 2012

Baalke’s top-five moves of 2011

Trent Baalke is having a monster year. On Friday, the 49ers extended his contract through the 2016 season, this coming a few weeks after he won the NFL’s Executive of the Year award. Almost every move he made in 2011 worked out. It was like he was on a heater at a craps table in Vegas and he was hitting ten the hard way over and over again. Here are…

February 11, 2012

Harbaugh and 49er tradition

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat just posted the article I wrote for their Sunday paper. It’s about the art gallery that’s growing on the hallway outside the team’s meeting rooms. Not just everyone can view the gallery, though. Only players and coaches and certain football-related personnel can. 49ers public relations director Bob Lange graciously invited me in to see it this week. In my article, I describe it and I…

January 21, 2012

King Harbaugh and the Knights of the Round Table

SANTA CLARA – Jim Harbaugh was especially talkative today. His Monday press conference transcript was almost 5,000 words. I’m focusing on about 80 of them. One writer asked Harbaugh an Alex Smith question. Harbaugh responded by calling his quarterback tough. Then he went on this tangent: “These guys are my heroes. All of them. Alex was heroic in this game. So was Justin, so was Donte, so was Aldon, so…

January 16, 2012

The outstanding rookies’ breakout moments

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat just posted my article for Thursday’s paper on the Niners outstanding rookies. I focus on their breakout moments from this season. My idea was to ask each rookie to identify and discuss his breakout moment, but Harbaugh’s rookies didn’t feel comfortable with that type of reflection – not right now, not during the playoffs. Luckily, Ricky Jean Francois is always up for reflection and discussion….

January 11, 2012

Five reasons the Niners have a good chance to beat the Saints

Here are five reasons the Niners have a good chance to beat the Saints on Saturday. 1. The Niners can get pressure on Drew Brees with their front by attacking the weak link on the Saints line – center Brian De La Puente – with Aldon Smith on stunts. Justin Smith can occupy Pro Bowl left tackle Jermon Bushrod and Pro Bowl left guard Carl Nicks and free up Aldon…

January 8, 2012

Eight Niners selected to Pro Bowl

It turns out Jim Harbaugh overshot his Pro Bowl prediction. Eight Niners made the NFC Pro Bowl team – one or two or three short of his prediction. Six Niners ended up making the team as starters, and two made it as reserves. The starters are Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Joe Staley, Carlos Rogers, David Akers and Andy Lee and the reserves are are Frank Gore and Dashon Goldson. Not one…

December 27, 2011