Brandon Jacobs explains what’s surprising about the Niners playbook, and more

SANTA CLARA – The Niners’ 260-pound running back Brandon Jacobs spoke in the media tent for the first time on Thursday. He discussed the NFC Championship Game and his first impression of Jim Harbaugh’s offensive playbook. Here’s what Jacobs said. Q: Are there things in Harbaugh’s playbook that have surprised you so far? JACOBS: Yes – not as far as the plays, but as far as the formations. There’s a…

August 2, 2012

Harbaugh breaks down the Niners running backs, plus more

How did your thud-ball session go yesterday? “Good. Lively, hard-hitting, aggressive, but I thought we worked well together and got a lot out of that first day in pads.”   There was one incident on the field where it appeared as if you sent off WR Brian Tyms. Can you explain what happened out there? “Yeah, it was an incident that, just the way we do things, how we do…

July 30, 2012

LaMichael James talks

SANTA CLARA – Second-round pick LaMichael James missed seven weeks of the Niners offseason program because he was still in school. He’s working out at the team’s facility this week, and he spoke to reporters today about how he’s gotten himself up to speed, what he can bring to the team, and what he wants to accomplish in training camp. Here’s a transcript. Q: Were you able to make up…

July 23, 2012

Top five Niners questions heading into training camp

Top five questions as we head into training camp, starting Monday: Will Dashon Goldson hold out? He wanted a multi-year extension from the Niners, but the July 16 deadline passed and the Niners didn’t give him one. All he can do now is sign the one-year franchise tender. The same situation happened to former Niners nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin two seasons ago. Franklin wanted an extension and didn’t get one,…

July 22, 2012

Taking stock of Trent Baalke

Here is a list of every player Trent Baalke has acquired since he became the Niners general manager in 2010. I categorized the players by offense, defense and special teams. Is there a pattern in how he acquires players? OFFENSE Mike Iupati – 17th pick in the first round of the 2010 draft. Pro Bowl alternate in 2011. Randy Moss – signed in 2012 to a one-year, $2.5 million contract….

June 20, 2012

Top five NFL running backs

While we’re waiting for next week’s Mini-Camp to arrive, let’s play a game. Who are the top-five running backs in the NFL? I’ll play the game first, and then you go. Arian Foster – Houston Texans: Led the NFL in yards from scrimmage the last two seasons with 4,072. Foster also seemed unstoppable in last season’s playoffs. He rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the Wild Card game…

June 9, 2012

Anthony Dixon: “Just trying to be perfect.”

SANTA CLARA – Last season, Anthony Dixon was the 49ers’ short-yardage running back. Now, he’s competing for that job with Brandon Jacobs, whom San Francisco signed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract in March. Dixon caught up with reporters today to talk about his mentality this offseason, the improvements he’s made to his game and his no-gain carry on third-and-one in the NFC championship game. Q: What specifically do you…

June 7, 2012

Rathman breaks down the Niners running backs

SANTA CLARA – 49ers running backs coach, Tom Rathman, spoke to a group of reporters after practice this afternoon. I transcribed the interview below. Here are Rathman’s main points: Brandon Jacobs “is a very physical runner” who “has the ability to pack it up inside and run over guys…If we want somebody to run outside, we’ll put somebody else in.” The Niners want to keep Frank Gore “fresh so he’s…

June 6, 2012

Preview: How the Niners match up against the Patriots

49ERS DEFENSE VS. PATRIOTS OFENSE: Arguably the best offense against the best defense in the NFL, but San Francisco matches up well and here’s why. The Niners can harass Tom Brady with their four defensive lineman – Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Ahmad Brooks – and cover the skill players with their seven other defenders (linebackers and defensive backs). The Niners can do what the Giants defense did…

June 1, 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

Five ways the Niners offense should improve next season

I’m waiting to hear from the Niners about media availability this week, but as a prelude to that here’s something for you to think about. We don’t know if the offense will be better this year, but let’s assume it is indeed better. How will it be better? Here are five ways. 1. The Niners got fast receivers who can beat single coverage – Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. At…

May 14, 2012

Moss steals the show

SANTA CLARA – The Niners called today’s practice a Veteran Football School On-field session. Most of the veterans showed up. Frank Gore didn’t, and neither did Mario Manningham or Brandon Jacobs, but that’s OK because VFS is voluntary. But Alex Smith showed up. He stretched with the offensive lineman and chatted with Alex Boone, one of his good friends on the team. Michael Crabtree showed up, too. He stretched next…

May 10, 2012

The 49ers top-10 offseason battles

With rookie mini camps around the corner and OTAs around the bend too, let’s rank the Niners top-10 offseason battles in reverse order. 10. Michael Crabtree vs. his left foot. Will Crabtree win the battle against his left foot this offseason? He’s 1-2 in his professional career when he’s faced the foot in the summer. It beat him in ’09 when it sustained a stress fracture and held him out…

May 4, 2012

Grading the 49ers: Red zone offense

Before: Alex Smith, Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Delanie Walker, Kyle Williams and Frank Gore. Grade: F Why: Vernon Davis is a monster red zone target, but he got double covered constantly last season. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman wanted to establish his red zone offense with Braylon Edwards at the beginning of last season – force feeding him fade passes in the corner of the end zone. Edwards couldn’t catch a single…

April 29, 2012

Grading the 49ers: Running backs

Before: Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon. Grade: B Why: Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter were one of the best rushing duos in the league last year. They got the bulk of the Niners’ carries, and the offense finished eighth in rushing. However, the trio was collectively bad in short yardage. Anthony Dixon was supposed to be the goal line guy, but he failed. Now: Add Brandon Jacobs and…

April 29, 2012

Brandon Jacobs is really, really excited to be a Forty-Niner

This afternoon the 49ers officially announced they’ve signed Brandon Jacobs to a one-year deal. Trent Baalke had this to say: “The 49ers are pleased to add a player with Brandon’s wealth of experience and talent. He has been productive throughout his career, and provides our offense a different dimension. We look forward to incorporating Brandon into our system.” Jacobs answered questions just now on a conference call, and here’s what…

April 6, 2012

49ers sign Brandon Jacobs

The Niners have signed 265-pound running back Brandon Jacobs, according to an ESPN report. Jacobs is 29 years old and he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry last season as the Giants’ backup RB. During the season Jacobs made it clear he wanted to go to a team in 2012 where he could start. For him to sign with the Niners he must feel he has a good chance to take…

March 28, 2012