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Morning Tailgate: Sept. 4

Posted by Alex Espinoza on September 4, 2012 – 10:40 AM

At long last, it’s Week 1 of the NFL regular season. The 49ers are headed to Lambeau Field for their season opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, but first they have a week of practice at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

The 53-man roster is set and it features a pair of players who are expected to play offense, defense and special teams this season for San Francisco. Will Tukuafu and Demarcus Dobbs take pride in their do-it-all roles with the team and are also roommates on the road. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com spoke to Dobbs about the new responsibilities he and Tukuafu have added to their plates this season.

“Tukuafu and Dobbs were both converted into two-way players in the offseason,” Maiocco writes. “Dobbs played both ways in all three exhibition games in which he appeared. Tukuafu did not see two-way action in training camp until after the first three weeks of camp. He concluded the exhibition season in impressive fashion.”

Today’s Morning Tailgate rounds up the best coverage from Labor Day Weekend and takes a look forward to the Week 1 matchup.

Sports Illustrated’s panel of football experts offered their predictions for the 2012 season. The 49ers appear to be heavy favorites to repeat as NFC West Champions while Jim Harbaugh, Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith also receive some individual recognition. Peter King singled out the 49ers as the most impressive team he saw during his training camp tour throughout the league.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle traces Alex Smith’s career and how he has evolved as a quarterback in recent years, while also giving readers his full Q&A with the 49ers signal-caller. Branch: “In the first five games of 2010, he threw nine interceptions in 190 attempts and compiled a 71.6 rating. In his final six games, a scattered stretch interrupted by a shoulder injury and two benchings, he threw one interception in 152 attempts and posted a 95.5 rating. Although few noticed, the transformation had begun. And then Smith joined forces with Harbaugh, a head coach who endorsed his approach.”

Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group discusses Colin Kaepernick’s importance to the 49ers as the team’s second-string quarterback. Inman: “Kaepernick’s eye-opening, read-option runs in the exhibition season should at least cause defenses to plan for the 49ers’ latest threat. Memo to the Green Bay Packers: You’ve been warned.”

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee talked to No. 3 quarterback Scott Tolzien about the behind-the-scenes work that goes along with his job. Barrows: “Tolzien leads the so-called ‘look’ team, which runs the opposition’s offense against the first-team defense in practice. This week, he’ll be Aaron Rodgers. The next, he’ll be Matthew Stafford, and so on.”

Maiocco also discussed the San Francisco signal-callers while looking at the QB situations around the NFL. Maiocco: “The 49ers gave it a long thought before deciding to part ways with veteran Josh Johnson while keeping Scott Tolzien as the No. 3 guy behind starter Alex Smith and backup Colin Kaepernick.”

Branch took a visit to LaMichael James’ hometown of Texarkana, Texas to see the environment that produced San Francisco’s second-round pick. Branch: “Raised by a team of doting and devoted women, his motivation to attend the University of Oregon, 2,200 miles away, wasn’t inspired by a desire to escape danger. Rather, it was a realization that he needed to flee the cocoon of safety provided by his forever-fretting support system.”

Branch spoke to undrafted rookie tight end Garrett Celek about making the 49ers roster after a strong showing the preseason finale. Branch: “On Thursday, however, Celek made an effortless 37-yard, over-the-shoulder catch, added a three-yard touchdown grab and finished with three receptions for 54 yards in the preseason finale against the Chargers. The performance likely earned him a roster spot.”

Daniel Brown of the Bay Area News Group takes a look ahead to the 2012 season. Brown: “Now, to avoid the pitfalls of increased expectations after a 13-3 finish, the 49ers are looking for words of wisdom beyond the coach’s pop. Players are quoting from Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Vince Lombardi, Tupac Shakur and Greek statesmen as they prepare for a Super Bowl-or-bust season.”

Inman also provides readers with a three-part season preview that looks at difference-making players, questions surrounding the team as it enters the 2012 season and a look at the NFC West.

Barrows also wrote about the loss of outside linebacker Parys Haralson and the addition of former Arizona Cardinal Clark Haggans. Barrows: “Even with the addition of the 35-year-old Haggans, who signed a one-year deal Monday, the 49ers enter the season with only three outside linebackers and may not be finished bulking up the position.”


Vernon Davis gives a shout out to the 49ers Faithful.

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Posted in Announcements | 43 Comments »

43 Responses to “Morning Tailgate: Sept. 4”

  1. By Micah on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Alex Smith baby…..Everyone take notice this is Alex’s year and he will finish with his best season yet. Just like this article said he has been doing nothing but getting better since mid 2010 and before that he has had the toughest road in the NFL that I have wittnessed. Through injuries that sidelined him, new OC every year, more head coaches than he possivly could have wanted, always having to deal with people talking trash, my boy Alex has come out on top of all the bull he has had to put up with and all the Alex hatters will have no choice but to shut up or get on board. Alex may never throw for 5000 yards and 50 touchdowns but this is because we have a running game and Alex will compliment the running game perfectly this season with a 4200 yard year and 29 touchdowns 10 interceptions. He will have a solid year with the better talent he has at reciever and the best Tight end duo in the league. Lets go Niners!!!!!

  2. By bow9ers53 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    @micah , well said,i agree 100%,alex will shine this season…….i don’t care what 11 or jerome say….his still the main man in the middle that will lead as to the promise land (S.B.)…

  3. By Abe on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Go niners!! lets beat the packers! were going all the way this year!

  4. By #1 D-FENSE 2012 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    the loss of parys haralson is bad. he was the guy who set the edge against the run and allowed bowman and willis to run around and tackle everything. the addition of haggans will help some as he comes from a similar base 3-4 scheme in arizona and his time with the steelers as well,but at his age speed has got to be a concern c’mon aldon you gotta grow up quick now, next man up is how the old saying goes. and I am pretty sure trent baalke will find someone else to add depth at our ROLB spot. in harbaugh and baalke we trust,,

  5. By iswordsman on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    To some I suppose a realist student of the game is a “hater”. If Alex Smith throws for 4200/ 29TD I will self immolate on the 50yd line at the stick at seasons end. Wonderful, tough, measured and hard working as he is, (and as much as i would LOVE it), those numbers are not in his game.
    Whether its paralysis by analysis or “whatever ya do dont throw a pick” i dont know but he cant seem to pull the trigger on the chancy 1. God i hope im wrong!

  6. By @BOOBYJOHNDOTCOM on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Alex will be great my only fear is I hope he will get the ball to our receivers ……… specially MOSS because everyone know’s if he dont get the ball the way he act will bring that negativiy on our other players. If its True how the Media says it is he has been doing good in camp we should have no problem puttin up 28 – 35 points a game with our defense plus RB & WR Core. & like i told all my friends if we WIN That first game against PACKERS .

  7. By J.R. Baca Albuquerque New Mexico SF 49er on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Alex and Randy Moss have something to prove this season, you wait and see, our team is going to be feared and is the best NFL team ever to set foot on the field. 49ers are going to dominate this season, they will take this season by storm and hopefully win every game.

    Go 49ers>>>>>>> >>>>>>> >>>>>>>

  8. By ELEVEN YEARS WITH ALEX on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    hard schedule ….lots of unknowns …..we shall see …we shall see

  9. By Basil on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, Alex will be just fine. He played just fine last year with just one WR, But some here need to keep in mind that ‘we don’t, will not’ throw for 5000 yards. Thats not our game plan. we are power running team thats is
    our Signature as a team, so don’t expect something else! Because if you are you will be disappointed !

  10. By Basil on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    J-11 I’m still waiting for your comments on the team voting Alex a team caption!

  11. By gary potter on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    basil: i am also waiting on 11 to answer my question on what Joe Montana said about AS. ever notice when backed into corner he disappears??

  12. By Ted Woods on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Going to Gren Bay where are all the niners staying?

  13. By 40niner808 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Alex is too slow to throw and run. He would have been sacked on half of the plays where Colin made big plays. Stop blaming the offensive line, coordinators etc… He doesn’t get the ball out on time. Cut Alex and start Colin in Green Bay! I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. GO NINERS!

  14. By Basil on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    gary; yep I have notice that! and I guess 808 doesn’t see too many games that Alex has played in, because myself I’ve seem Alex scamper and make some nice throws while doing just that. And BTW Alex is not slow not a burner, but not slow either!

    ps: 808 this is not personal, just telling you what I have seem, not your fault you don’y get to see many 9er games!

  15. By Basil on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    yet another post gets lost in cyberspace, I wonder where they all end up?

  16. By 40niner808 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve watched every niner game since ’82. Nothing keeps me from watching my niners. You can get everything online. Plus, flew my family over for Saints game last year. Worth every penny. Best game ever!
    I’m just saying, Alex almost never hits guys in stride. Have you ever seen him do a pump fake? He doesn’t have good anticipation when the bullets are flying. I say give the Kid the keys to the Shiny Red Corvette! GO NINERS!

  17. By ace on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    yes i wear # 11 alex smith, thats right,i bought it at walmart on a sunday that alex smith lead the niners 2 a come from behind victory over the bucs a couple years ago, wierd huh, anyway i dont recall joe montana throwing for 4000 yards in a season i dont think and he was pretty good

  18. By ace on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    so nobody saw the gutsy throw to vernon davis in trafic that won the game against the saints, or the perfectlly thrown deep ball on the sideline that set up the touchdown , shame on you,he pulled the trigger !i think fantasy football makes people think wierd things about players all being about numbers,sigh,i would only draft the niners for my fantasy team but thats just me gooooo niners,BEAT THE PACK BEAT THE PACK, wait one more BEAT THE CHEESE OFF THEIR HEADS, k were good

  19. By gary potter on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    8: you are wrong. he does not call the plays coach JH calls the plays and AS plays within the system. that is where you,11, jeromy, don’t get it. as ace said Montana never threw for tons of yardage but played within Bill Walsh system. as for giving the kid the keys, don’t you think that CK had outplayed AS he would be starting?? or are you saying coach JH doesn’t know what he is doing??

  20. By ace on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    ty gary i couldnt have said that better, i hope alex keeps doing exactly what coach says,cuz coach has got it going on, to doubt the niners now is to doubt coach harbaugh and i see no reason to doubt coach at all, so sneaky smart and constantly scheming, only tied with siefert for wins in rookie season ? seifert wasnt much of a coach inharited good team, that was used to winning, HARBAUGH has made us believe we could win with the same team that wasnt used to winning,wow, soooo WHO’S GOT IT BETTER THAN US ? NOOOOOOOBDY, BEAT THE PACK, COME PEOPLE HELP ME OUT I DONT WANNA BE THE ONLY ONE SCREAMING BEAT THE PACK, BEAT THE PACK!!!!

  21. By ZenTwist on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    I would say that Alex proved himself in the New Orleans game period! Pressure time running out and a bullet to Vernon, 11 years is slowly turning he has no choice at least he still sticks around after all the hate thrown his way!

  22. By ace on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    yeah that whole drive took a minute and change against a saints defense that was hoping to get paid for hurting offensive players body parts gores head micheals knee, and alex smith would not be stopped or denied, he grabbed the situation, threw the team on his back and said we are gonna score !!! thank god cuz i almost died right then, and thank you alex smith # 11

  23. By jeromy on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    Alex proved he cant take the game into his own hands in the Saints game, thats all!

  24. By jeromy on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    he plays scared, he doesnt catch the recievers in stride, if he catches them at all. he is a YAC-less QB

  25. By gary potter on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    j: you are truly pathetic. you have the guts to call yourself a niner fan and continue to hate on AS. you say coach JH doesn’t know what he is doing by your putting down AS. i think blog would take coach JH over anything you might say.

  26. By gary potter on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    jeromy: can’t think of anything original to say huh?? copy 8 can’t hit anybody in stride. still pathetic

  27. By mando on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    BEAT THE PACK!!!!!!!!!!!!! LETS GO NINERS!!!!!

  28. By 40niner808 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    No need ruffle feathers. This discussion is moot because Harbs knows exactly what he’s doing. I bet he works Colin in slowly in game situations and Alex will fade. Colin has had happy feet but It was awesome to watch the game slow down for him against SD. Montana was so good because Rice only had to turn his shoulders and the ball was there. I see that in Colin, not Alex. #6?????2012.

  29. By #1 D-FENSE 2012 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply


  30. By #1 D-FENSE 2012 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    the ability,or lack of ability,to post on this blog is quickly becomming annoying

  31. By #1 D-FENSE 2012 on Sep 4, 2012 | Reply

    off to bleacher report dot com I go

  32. By ace on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    he was just reacting to my post, again not wanting to realize, the truth, alex is the man, pro-bowler <<<<,this year alex smith turns down the probowl to play in the SUPERBOWL ya feel me ?

  33. By ace on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    for reel for reel !!!

  34. By ace on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    im just saying right now cuz the season hasnt started yet, i dont care who we play we got the NINERS BABY, LETS GO NINERS LETS GO !!!

  35. By ace on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply


  36. By gary potter on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    8 I bet you are wrong on working CK in slowly. not the way coachJH operates.

  37. By rjdniner on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    1def am going to wait until after the game to post a comment. Because right now am laughing too hard after reading some of these comments that have been posted.

  38. By bow9ers53 on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    another name for 11 , ha…8

  39. By Basil on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    “Montana was so good because Rice only had to turn his shoulders and the ball was there” Really ?

    Montana drafted in 1979 — Rice drafted in 1985 !!
    808: Montana won 2 SB’s 81- 84 before Rice became a Starter and rookie of the year 85

  40. By Basil on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    ace this one’s for you !!
    Sorry ace, bit horse today, but I tried, eh?

  41. By Basil on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    ” Alex almost never hits guys in stride” and you went to the Saints game, did ya?
    and you didn’t see Alex hit Davis in stride, eh?
    and you didn’t see Alex run like the wind down the sideline’s?
    and you didn’t see the game, right!
    what some here don’t get, is that Alex will take the sack before he throws the pick. Point in case 5 picks 44 sacks? Hence the fewest turnovers in the NFL. There’s always a price to pay!

  42. By Gil on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    Go 49ers!! Beat the pack!!!!

  43. By Basil on Sep 5, 2012 | Reply

    2012 season starts 09/09 @ Lambeau Field 9ers vs packers!
    I like so many others here put all my faith in Alex Smith, because I really believe he never had the talent needed. Most here understand that the so called elite QB’s have elite WR’s, I don’t think you can have one without the other?
    Alex Smith finely has the chance to show what he has, yep! he has the keys to the family race car. Its got all the equipment needed to win each race and the Championship, and we have the best Driver for ‘our’ car. beat the green and yellow car, eh!

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