Minicamp notes: Alex Smith shines in Wednesday’s afternoon practice

SANTA CLARA – Here are some unofficial stats from today’s minicamp. Alex Smith completed 27 of 32 passes. In red zone drills he completed two touchdowns. For about an hour he didn’t miss a single pass. Most of his throws were short and intermediate ones to open receivers. Smith is clearly the most confident Niners QB when it comes to making decisions in the pocket. He was throwing the ball…

June 13, 2012

Minicamp notes: Breaking down Alex Smith’s third down and red zone performance from Tuesday

SANTA CLARA – Alex Smith threw two touchdowns and converted one third down in Tuesday’s afternoon practice. He threw his first touchdown to Vernon Davis. The offense lined up in the red zone, Davis ran toward the end zone and Smith threw the ball high over Davis’ back shoulder. Davis leaped in the air, caught the pass and landed on his back. It was the catch Wes Welker couldn’t make…

June 12, 2012

OTA notes: Moss makes remarkable one-handed catch

SANTA CLARA – This is the last week of OTAs for the Niners, and today was the one practice open to the media. It started like all their other practices – drills first, then scrimmaging, but one thing was different. Alex Smith flat out dominated the quarterback drills. Nearly every warm up pass to every uncovered receiver was perfect. Last year during training camp he’d miss a few passes as…

June 5, 2012

Harbaugh pumps up Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Colin Kaepernick, and more.

Here is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers. Recently Harbaugh’s had the pattern of pumping up certain players. Last week he announced that Michael Crabtree has the best hands he’s ever seen on a wide receiver. Last season he called Alex Smith a Pro Bowl quarterback. Today, he’s pumping up his right guard, right tackle and backup quarterback. I don’t know why Harbaugh chooses…

May 23, 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

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: Quarterbacks

Before: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien. Grade: C+ Why: The Niners rolled the dice with two rookie backups last season – Kaepernick and Tolzien – who probably couldn’t have led last year’s team to the playoffs. So the Niners lucked out Alex Smith played all 18 games, even though he was inept on third down and in the red zone. Despite those iniquities, he still helped the team…

April 29, 2012

Who is Harbaugh’s Joe Montana?

If Alex Smith is Jim Harbaugh’s Steve Deberg, then who is his Joe Montana – Colin Kaepernick or Josh Johnson? I have an opinion, but before I give it I’ll make a case for both guys, as our friendly commenter DS94everXev suggested I do. That way, the Kaeper-nicks and Johnsonites feel I’m being fair. THE CASE FOR KAEPERNICK: The Niners traded up in the second round to draft Kaepernick. Johnson…

March 31, 2012

Niners sign QB Josh Johnson to 2-year deal, turn up the heat on Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick

The Niners just announced they signed free agent quarterback Josh Johnson to a two-year contract. What does this mean? Jim Harbaugh is going to say it’s all about competition. But what this really means is the Niners think they can do better at quarterback. They’re not satisfied with the production they got from the position last season, and they’re not satisfied with their current trio – Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick…

March 22, 2012

Failing grade for Jim Harbaugh (Lowell column)

Here’s my dad’s column about the 49ers quarterback vacancy. He argues that Jim Harbaugh blew it with Peyton Manning, and unless he handles it correctly, could also blow it with Alex Smith. I totally disagree with the second part of his argument. My dad says the Niners need Smith. I say they’re better off going with Kaepernick. Also, the Dolphins just signed David Garrard, taking away some of Smith’s leverage….

March 19, 2012

Why the Niners should go with Kaepernick

Here’s why I think the Niners should let Alex Smith sign with the Dolphins, and then the Niners could sign Mike Wallace and Josh Johnson instead, and then let Johnson and Colin Kaepernick compete for the starting quarterback job in 2012. Last season, Alex Smith was a game manager who played his best when he was losing in the second half, and whose best attribute was not turning the ball…

March 19, 2012

Manning to Broncos. Alex Smith or Mike Wallace to Niners?

Peyton Manning chose to sign with the Broncos this morning, according to Chris Mortenson. What a bad choice by Manning. His chances of winning a Super Bowl in Denver are modest at best (the team is no big deal), and the chances of reinjuring his brittle neck soar in the mile-high cold (To read my dad’s take on Manning’s decision: click here). But, those are the Broncos’ issues. Now the…

March 19, 2012

Alex Smith and 49ers at stalemate

Look, I’m on the outside, but I can’t help but notice that Mark Sanchez just got a five-year contract extension from the Jets, $24 million guaranteed. Alex Smith is a better quarterback than Sanchez. It would be embarrassing for Smith and his agent to accept a three-year deal with less than $20 million guaranteed. The best move for them is to find out if a team like the Seahawks or…

March 10, 2012

In five years, who will be the best NFL QBs? just posted my latest article on the top-five young quarterbacks in football. For the purposes of this article I define ‘young’ as incoming rookies and soon-to-be second-year guys. Of those QBs, which ones will be the best five years from now? Here’s my list: 1. Cam Newton 2. Andrew Luck 3. Robert Griffin III 4. Jake Locker 5. Colin Kaepernick. To read the article, click here.

February 28, 2012

Harbaugh says Alex Smith is a Pro Bowler and the Niners’ long-term QB. Really??

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what Jim Harbaugh said about Alex Smith during his Tuesday press conference. Read it, and then I have a few questions for you below. Q: The turnover differential – is that something you’ve harped on with Alex Smith since day one? HARBAUGH: “Well, coached it. And Alex has a great understanding. Veteran player, experienced player who understands situational football and good football and the difference between…

December 20, 2011

The southwest corner

SANTA CLARA — For what it’s worth, the Niners really like each other. They may or may not man up against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Monday night – I think they will – but regardless, they get along. Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati are best friends. Parys Haralson and Aldon Smith act like brothers. Colin Kaepernick and Bruce Miller joke around with everyone. But there’s a cool section of the…

December 18, 2011

What I want to see from the Niners

The Niners are going to have to be creative and efficient to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. Here’s what I want to see from them. It’s a given the Steelers are going to blitz, blitz, blitz the Niners offense. They will bring extra rushers up the middle and other times they’ll overload the right side of the Niners’ O-line – the Anthony Davis side – and run four-man…

December 14, 2011

Why no RB screens against the Ravens? Greg Roman: “Why didn’t you call me during the game and say that?”

SANTA CLARA – Here’s the transcript of offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s Thursday afternoon press conference, courtesy of the 49ers. Opening Statement: “First thing I’d like to do is just recognize Chester McGlockton and what a tragedy that was. I know [Head Coach] Jim [Harbaugh] mentioned it yesterday and he was very dear to all of us. I first met Chester at the Pro Bowl following the 1996 season. Working with…

December 1, 2011

Braylon Edwards misses warmups, and other notes from practice

SANTA CLARA — I just got back from the practice field, and Braylon Edwards wasn’t on it. I expect the Niners make him inactive for this Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams. I also expect Brett Swain to take his place at receiver on the active roster. And finally, I expect Ted Ginn Jr. to start opposite Michael Crabree, not Kyle Williams. Adam Snyder was on the practice field…

November 30, 2011

Jim Harbaugh on his confidence in backup QB Colin Kaepernick, and more

SANTA CLARA — Here’s the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Monday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers. How are you guys treating the extra day this week? Another game planning day for the Rams? “Yes. Players will be in today lifting and getting treatment. Coaches (are) game planning. We’ll view the Ravens game and preview the Rams.” The fact that you can clinch on Sunday, does that affect the way you…

November 28, 2011