Harbaugh says LaMichael James’ hands and route-running have improved dramatically

SANTA CLARA — Here’s what Jim Harbaugh said at his press conference Friday afternoon about LaMichael James, courtesy of the 49ers.   I understand that RB LaMichael James has been playing the role of RB Darren Sproles in practice this week? “Sproles, yeah.”   That’s a pretty good comparison, those two? “Yeah, it really has. LaMichael’s really benefitted a lot from … he’s been a wide receiver a lot of…

November 23, 2012

Harbaugh on Laurinaitis: “One of the many players that jumps out at you when you look at the Rams defense.”

SANTA CLARA — Here’s the complete transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers.   Can you give us a progress report on the rookies? We haven’t seen WR A.J. Jenkins or RB LaMichael James since the exhibition season. How are those guys doing behind the scenes? “Good. They’re working hard, doing it with a very good attitude. And just same thing we tell them is work…

November 7, 2012

Midterm report card: Trent Baalke

Is Trent Baalke a superior general manager? Of course he is. Are the 49ers flourishing because of him? Of course they are. But I’m grading him on his performance this season, just as I’ve graded everyone else. For him, this season is what he did in the preseason. He re-signed outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks to a six-year extension, and that was a good move. Brooks is a top outside linebacker…

November 5, 2012

LaMichael James: “I don’t know the game fully.”

SANTA CLARA – Second-round pick LaMichael James, who has not played this season, spoke in the 49ers locker room Monday afternoon about his development. Here’s what he said. Q: You haven’t played yet this season. You didn’t play much your first year at the University of Oregon, either. Have the two experiences felt similar? JAMES: It’s the exact same thing. I went to Oregon and I had to work my…

October 22, 2012

Harbaugh: “Morale is to the physical as three is to the number one.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Friday afternoon. He talked about meeting Willie Mays, playing three home games in a row and the role of motivational speaking in coaching. Harbaugh even quoted Napoleon. Here’s the transcript, courtesy of the 49ers.   We haven’t talked to you since you had your special visitor here on Wednesday, number 24 Willie Mays. How was that? “It was awesome. It…

October 5, 2012

Roman explains what a “mixer” is, and more

SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman’s Thursday press conference transcript, courtesy of the 49ers.   Opening Statement: “Good afternoon. Really proud of how our guys finished out that road trip and we’re back here working on the Bills. Got a lot of respect for what we’re seeing of the Bills. They had tough second half the other day, but really it’s just as much a credit to the team they were…

October 4, 2012

Harbaugh on Bills: “Statistically a very good football team.”

SANTA CLARA – Wednesday in the media tent, Jim Harbaugh answered questions about the Buffalo Bills, Colin Kaepernick, Alex Boone, the rookies, Randy Moss and more. Here’s a transcript, courtesy of the 49ers.   The Bills obviously had a pretty rugged second half last week against the Patriots. What do you see from them? Obviously, they have challenging players on that side of the ball. What did you see from…

October 3, 2012

Roman philosophizes about the read option, and more

SANTA CLARA – Here’s the transcript of Greg Roman’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers. Opening Statement: “Good afternoon. We had a really good training camp. Thought our guys were dialed in every day. I think we got accomplished what we wanted accomplished in camp and we’re able to turn the page here this week, get into the regular season. So, obviously we’re knee deep in Green Bay. Looking…

September 6, 2012

Preseason Week 4 grades

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are my grades for the 49ers 35-3 preseason victory over the San Diego Chargers, who may or may not have shown up to play. Alex Smith: P. Smith gets a “Pass” even though he didn’t pass the ball once. He played five snaps and handed off five times, and he looked good doing it. Smith may be the finest hander-offer this side of the Mississippi. Colin…

August 31, 2012

Preseason Week 2 grades: The offense

Here are my preseason Week 2 grades for the 49ers’ offense. OFFENSIVE LINE: B+. They opened up big holes in the running game and played pretty well overall, but it’s important to note they didn’t have to face two of the Texans’ starting defensive linemen – Shaun Cody and J.J Watt. Alex Smith got sacked twice and took five big hits in the first quarter, but the offensive line wasn’t…

August 19, 2012

Preseason Week 2 grades: The defense and special teams

Here are my preseason Week 2 grades for the 49ers’ defense. DEFENSIVE LINE: B+. The starters didn’t get much pressure on the quarterback, but they mostly shut down Arian Foster and the Texans’ great running game – Foster gained most of his yards in the second quarter against the Niners’ backups. Speaking of the backups, Ricky Jean Francois and Ian Williams played well, busting into the Texans’ backfield a few…

August 19, 2012

Training camp report: Tuesday, the not-so-good – Two top picks fumble

SANTA CLARA – First-round pick A.J. Jenkins, who had been making progress the past few weeks, took a step back today. He bobbled an easy pass, dropped another one and fumbled – he was running a reverse and as he got to the sideline it seemed like he expected cornerback Tarell Brown to tag him, but Brown punched the ball out of his hands instead. Second-round pick LaMichael James, who…

August 14, 2012

Preseason Week 1 grades: The offense

SAN FRANCISCO – Here are my preseason Week One grades for the Niners’ offense. Offensive line: A. In the running game, they completely pushed the Vikings’ defensive line around. The 49ers averaged 6.3 yards per rush because the offensive line created gaping holes all night. Rock Cartwright gained 44 yards on 8 carries. When was the last time you saw Cartwright do that? In pass protection, the offensive line looked…

August 11, 2012

Training camp report: Wednesday, the good — Delanie Walker and Kendall Hunter

SANTA CLARA – The Niners practiced in shorts today, and some of the time it seemed like they were going half-speed – especially the linemen. The first team offense never faced the first team defense, either. Both starting units mostly faced scout teams – third string players fighting for roster spots. Jim Harbaugh gave Vernon Davis the day off from drills, so Delanie Walker got the first-team tight end reps…

August 8, 2012

Training camp report: Tuesday, the not-so-good — LaMichael James misses practice

SANTA CLARA – Rookie running back LaMichael James did not practice on Tuesday. This was the first practice he’s missed in training camp, and it is not known why he missed it. Backup quarterback Josh Johnson struggled today. He played with the second team offense and mostly faced the first team defense. His passes sailed high, he threw a lot of incompletions and two interceptions – one to Carlos Rogers…

August 7, 2012

LaMichael James says “it’s kind of easier” rushing in the NFL than it is in college

SANTA CLARA – Former University of Oregon record-setting running back LaMichael James spoke outside of the media tent this afternoon. He talked about punt returning, learning the playbook and being in a huddle for the first time since high school. Here’s what he said. Q: Do you have any idea how they’re going to use you in this offense? JAMES: I really don’t have any idea. I think the first…

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

Training camp report: Vernon Davis runs great routes, Crabtree injures ankle

SANTA CLARA – The Niners first practice of the 2012 training camp was padless – full contact doesn’t start until Sunday. Keeping that in mind, here are my impressions from Friday. THE GOOD TE Vernon Davis – Twice the coaching staff raved about the routes Davis ran. Last year, Harbaugh mentioned he wanted Davis to improve his route running, to make his movements more precise. Today, Davis was the most…

July 27, 2012

Kaepernick and James: The 49ers option option

This is the time of year when we go through certain scenarios, and this is a lurking scenario: the option option. The Niners have two players on their roster who are two of the greatest college players to ever play in an option offense. I’m talking about their last two second round picks, quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back LaMichael James. Here’s what Ron Jaworski recently said about the read…

July 24, 2012

Colin Kaepernick says he has “that option bond” with LaMichael James

SANTA CLARA – 2011 second round pick Colin Kaepernick briefly spoke outside the Niners locker room this afternoon. He discussed the part of his game he wants to improve the most, his relationship with Josh Johnson – his main rival for the backup quarterback job –and his budding friendship with this year’s second round pick, LaMichael James. Here’s a transcript. Q: What are you accomplishing these first few days of…

July 24, 2012