There’s no question that the San Francisco 49ers are off to a great start this year, several players deserve recognition for it, too.
But so does the football staff. Without the efforts of equipment manager Steve Urbaniak, there’s no way the team would function on gameday.
Urbaniak and his staff make sure everything goes as smooth as possible. The efforts of the tenured equipment man were profiled recently by Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. In the piece that ran earlier this week, Baxter explained the challenges that come along with a under publicized role in the NFL.
“Although many NFL teams — including the Raiders — train a short distance from their home stadium, the 49ers’ practice facility is 40 miles south of Candlestick Park, meaning Urbaniak and his crew must pack a semi-trailer two days before every game and unpack it again when the game is over,” Baxter wrote.
Urbaniak’s role is further described in the story. But for fans looking for visual aid, check out this 2010 TV49 video of our own Scott Kegley spending “A Day in the Life” as an equipment intern.
CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco explains why 49ers rookies have been challenged to crack the 46-man active roster.
Maiocco also writes that Justin Smith is as dominant as ever in a recent mailbag offering.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee examines the rivalry between former Ohio State Buckeyes Alex Boone and James Laurinaitis. Barrows: “Laurinaitis, an inside linebacker with the Buckeyes, never tangled much in practice with Boone, a left tackle, while in college. On Sunday, however, the matchup between Laurinaitis, who leads the Rams in tackles, and a 49ers running attack that ranks No. 1 in the league promises to be the main event.”
Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News discusses the postseason implications for Sunday’s 49ers-Rams game.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle shares the comments made by right tackle Anthony Davis on receiving mid-season praise from several media outlets. Branch: “At the midway point of the season, Davis is now receiving loftier praise from one of the nation’s most well-respected NFL writers. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King named Davis the right tackle on his midseason all-pro team, in effect terming him the league’s best at his position through eight games. “
Ron Kroichik of the San Francisco Chronicle examines the role of center Jonathan Goodwin. Kroichik: “Just think about the job. Quickly identify the defensive front and pass the word to your fellow linemen. Then call out blocking adjustments, make a clean snap – the center controls the ball on every play, for a fleeting moment – and quickly rise into position to swat away a menacing defensive tackle.”
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks lists the 49ers as his No. 2 Super Bowl contenders. Brooks: “Jim Harbaugh has built a team that is ideally suited for postseason play. The 49ers’ smash-mouth offense can move the ball through the air or on the ground, and their suffocating defense knocks opponents around at the point of attack. Some question Alex Smith’s ability to thrive in a situation that demands precise passing, but his consistency and effectiveness in Harbaugh’s system suggest he’ll be fine when the chips are pushed to the middle of the table. Adding Randy Moss and Mario Manningham gave Smith more weapons on the perimeter, and the 49ers have turned their biggest offensive weakness into a strength that just might propel them into the Winner’s Circle.”
NFL.com’s writers predict the second half of the season; Albert Breer is the lone reporter to pick the 49ers to win the Super Bowl.
SI.com’s Don Banks list the 49ers No. 4 on his latest power rankings. Banks: “The 49ers, when not facing the Giants, have their old vaunted homefield advantage back. The one that told visiting teams it wasn’t going to be their day good and early in most games. San Francisco comes off its bye to play host to the Rams and Bears in the coming two weeks, and a win over St. Louis will further the 49ers’ drive to put a stranglehold on the NFC West for a second consecutive season.”
ProFootballFocus.com’s cast of writers list the 49ers as the top team in the NFL through nine weeks of play.
49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree is looking for a name to his new touchdown dance. For each end zone dance, money will be raised for the Boys & Girls Club.
49ers.com looked at the offensive unit’s improvements on third downs and in the red zone, we also looked at the team’s tribute to our armed forces, shared the comments of Laurinaitis and Rams coach Jeff Fisher, plus shared video of Patrick Willis’ locker room interview.
TV49’S CLIP OF THE DAY
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Check out Moss’ interview with Lil Wayne, airing this Sunday on ESPN.
Tags: Alex Boone, Alex Smith, Anthony Davis, Frank Gore, Jim Harbaugh, Jonathan Goodwin, Michael Crabtree, Patrick Willis, Randy Moss
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