Week 14 grades

Here are my Week 14 grades for the 10-3 Niners, who lost 21-19 today in Arizona against the 6-7 Cardinals. Quarterback: C-. Alex Smith muffed what should have been the signature play of his career. On fourth down – the last play of the game – he rolled right, searching for a receiver. He looked like Joe Montana before he made the throw that led to the “The Catch,” except…

December 11, 2011

Roman on the red zone problems: “We’ve got to run it better down there to start.”

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what offensive coordinator Greg Roman said at his Week 14 Thursday press conference. ROMAN: Getting ready to play the Cardinals, who have obviously won four of five. They’re one of the hotter teams in the league. They’re hot for a reason. The defense is playing really well, keeping people out of the end zone – the Dallas game is probably their best game defensively all year….

December 8, 2011

Jim Harbaugh reads The Art of War, and more

SANTA CLARA – Here’s the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Wednesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers. Opening Statement: “Want to start off and just say how saddened we are as a team with the passing of Chester McGlockton. Chester’s been a very close and dear friend over the last four years. Was a part of our team here with the 49ers and also at Stanford. Chester worked with the defensive…

November 30, 2011

Top-five reasons I’m thankful for Vernon Davis

This Thanksgiving, among other things, I’m thankful for Vernon Davis. He’s my favorite 49er, and here are the top five things I like about him. He’s always available to talk. Some star veterans insist they talk only once a week, after they’re fully dressed, after they’ve put in their ear rings. Vernon Davis is not that kind of guy. If you go up to Vernon Davis and ask if you…

November 23, 2011

Are Thursday night games dangerous?

SAN FRANCISCO – About a week and a half ago John Madden said on the radio that the NFL should discontinue Thursday night football games because they’re unfair for players. They don’t get enough rest between games, so the Thursday night game becomes dangerous. I asked Vernon Davis and Donte Whitner, two of the team’s spokesmen, if they agree with Madden. Here’s what they said. Q: Vernon, do you agree…

November 21, 2011

Alex Smith’s top-five targets

Ray Rice will speak on a conference call at 10:00 am and John Harbaugh will speak at 10:30 am, but before I got to transcription land let’s play a game. Who are Alex Smith’s top-five weapons in the pass game? Smith has thrown the ball 68 times the last two games as Greg Roman tries to establish the pass attack before the playoffs. Over these last two weeks we’ve gotten…

November 21, 2011

Vernon Davis goes deep for the media

SAN FRANCISCO — Here’s an all-time great postgame transcript, courtesy of Vernon Davis and the 49ers. If you haven’t noticed, Vernon Davis is becoming the voice of the team. He relays Harbaugh’s message as all the other players do, but he’s also honest and he goes deep when answering a question. Vernon, what’s it like to say you are on a winning team? You have been here for a long…

November 20, 2011

Week 10 grades

SAN FRANCISCO — Here are my Week 10 grades for the 8-1 Niners. Alex Smith: B+. The best game of his season, maybe his life – he proved he’s more than a mere game manager. So, I’ll grade him accordingly. Here are his stats: 19 for 30 passing for 242 yards, one TD, one INT, and a rating of 85.7. The interception wasn’t his fault – it went through Ted…

November 13, 2011

Week 9 NFL pick

Here is my Week 9 NFL pick. You might notice I’m using the singular “pick” instead of the plural today. That’s because I’m putting myself on a one-week timeout from picking games other than the Niner game. You see, I picked the Broncos to beat the Lions last week, and that was probably the worst pick in the history of picks. So, timeout for me. 49ers @ Redskins: 49ers. The…

November 4, 2011

Vernon Davis on double coverage: “I hate it. It sucks.”

SANTA CLARA – Here’s what Vernon Davis said at his locker this afternoon. Q: You’re returning home to Washington D.C. this weekend. A lot of people expected in the stands? VERNON DAVIS: A lot of people. I think I’ve got about 90 tickets. It’ll be nice. First time playing back at home since I’ve been in the NFL. So I look forward to the game, I look forward to seeing…

November 3, 2011

Josh Cribbs on the Browns new offense: “Not too many wrinkles in there.”

Q: You went to Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. with Vernon Davis. What were your impressions of him in high school? CRIBBS: Elite guy. We knew he was blessed with size and strength. You could look at him and tell already that he was going to be an athlete. When I first met him, he came in eighth grade before his ninth grade year, I was like, “Wow!” Like…

October 26, 2011

Vernon Davis insists Jim Harbaugh is not crazy

SANTA CLARA – Here’s the transcript of today’s Q&A with Vernon Davis from the 49ers locker room. Q: How do you feel after the rest of the Bye week? VERNON DAVIS: Very refreshed physically. I have to say the bye week does some justice for you when you’re banged up and you’re trying to get back. Q: November is going to be tough, did the bye week come at a…

October 25, 2011

Trent Dilfer’s #filmstudy of the 49ers

Trent Dilfer just wrote a series of tweets on the 49ers which he tagged #filmstudy. Here’s what he wrote. 1. Alex Smith DEALING in Big Moments whole year, Vertical accuracy has been very good. Passing game making strides” 2. “Iupati 77 is going to be a premier OG for years. Huge, great feet, great length, dominant at point and fantastic puller” 3. “O-line continues to gel and improve in their…

October 18, 2011

Frank Gore interrupts Vernon Davis

SANTA CLARA — Two Mondays ago, the morning after the big comeback win in Philly, Frank Gore and Vernon Davis walked into the locker room at the same time, roughly 10:30. Vernon Davis was wearing a towel, and Frank Gore was wearing a 49ers sweat suit. Their lockers are on opposite corners of the room. The reporters all walked over to Gore’s locker first to interview the star running back….

October 12, 2011

Week 5 grades: Niners annihilate the Bucs 48-3

Here are my week 5 grades for the 49ers. Quarterbacks: A. Here’s Alex Smith’s stat line: He completed 11 of 19 throws for 170 yards, 3 TDs and QB rating of 127.2. His first TD throw – the long one down the seam to Delanie Walker on the Niners first drive – was perfect. His screen pass to Joshua Morgan in the third quarter was perfect as well. He also…

October 9, 2011

Vernon Davis and Joshua Morgan in-game quotes

SAN FRANCISCO — The 49ers just e-mailed me these quotes from Vernon Davis and Joshua Morgan, so I’m passing them along. VERNON DAVIS On his evaluation of the offense in the first half: “I think the offense came out here and did a great job. Despite not getting in the end zone, I think we still did a tremendous job with learning a new offense and putting everything together within…

August 20, 2011

Beating the blitz

SAN FRANCISCO – Blitz-pickup was the theme of the day for the 49ers 13th practice of training camp. But Harbaugh didn’t spend his personal teaching time at the beginning of practice on the offensive line. Instead, he corralled Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Braylon Edwards, Joshua Morgan, and Vernon Davis – the skill players. He had them practice quick-slant plays. This is a standard drill in this year’s training camp, and…

August 14, 2011

Vernon Davis on the quarterback competition

SANTA CLARA – Matt Maiocco asked Vernon Davis after practice if there will be a quarterback competition in training camp this year. Here’s what Davis had to say. DAVIS: I can’t really jump into that because that’s not my deal. I leave that up to the coaches. I’ll let them decide that. I’m sure they strongly believe in Alex along with the rest of the teammates and myself, and we…

August 3, 2011

8/3 Practice notes

SANTA CLARA – When you watch Aldon Smith work individually with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, you think, “Here’s a rookie with a lot to learn.” Today Fangio worked with Smith on the blocking sleds, and he’d repeatedly stop Smith to work on his technique. Fangio wanted Smith to hit the sled, rip away to the right and square up. But Smith wasn’t squaring up, he was ending up sideways. Parys…

August 3, 2011

Practice notes: The good and not-so-good

SANTA CLARA – Practice ended at 5:30 and then Jim Harbaugh and Frank Gore spoke to the media, but before I pass along those transcripts, here is the good and not-so-good from today’s training camp. THE GOOD Frank Gore. He was the best player on the field. Almost every time he took a hand off he made one cut to get through the defensive line and one more cut to…

August 2, 2011