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Morning Tailgate: Past Draft Picks

Posted by Alex Espinoza on February 20, 2013 – 11:31 AM

With the start of the NFL Scouting Combine this week in Indianapolis, 2013 Draft day preparations will start to heat up. 333 prospects have been invited to this year’s Combine, where they will compete in individual drills, post measurables and speak to some of the 32 NFL teams in attendance.

Two years ago, Colin Kaepernick ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash before the 49ers selected him in the second round of the 2011 Draft. Since he was brought aboard by general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Jim Harbaugh, Kaepernick has blossomed into one of the league’s top talents. Mike Sando of ESPN.com labeled Kaepernick as the team’s best draft pick in recent years.

“There were other strong candidates, for sure. Finding a franchise quarterback in the second round strikes me as more impressive than, say, finding an elite pass-rusher (Aldon Smith) early in the first,” Sando said. “Let’s not forget about NaVorro Bowman, either.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks at Kaepernick’s running ability, potential 49ers draft targets and more.

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2012 Plays of the Year: Sacks

Posted by Alex Espinoza on February 19, 2013 – 3:33 PM

We need your help in selecting the top plays from the 2012 season. We’re asking our Faithful fans to choose the top takeaway, touchdown, sack, big play and biggest hit of the season. Next, the winning five plays (one from each category), will move on to the championship round to determine 49ers.com’s “Top Play of 2012.”

Watch our “Top 5” video highlights on the best plays for each category, then vote in the poll section of the corresponding blog post to see which top play will reach the championship.

Help us crown the top play of 2012 by choosing your favorite sack from this past season. You can vote for your favorite sack up until Thursday at noon. Let’s take a look at the five nominees.

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Morning Tailgate: Offseason Work

Posted by Alex Espinoza on February 19, 2013 – 10:40 AM

Oscars? Nope. Grammys? Nope. Colin Kaepernick would rather be in Atlanta, working out with his teammates.

Just days after leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl XLVII, Kaepernick was back at work at CES Performance, his home away from home during the offseason. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wrote about Kaepernick’s offseason regimen and how he’s joined by 49ers receivers Ricardo Lockette and Chad Hall.

“Rather than pressing the flesh with Anne Hathaway and Denzel Washington on the red carpet in Hollywood, Kaepernick is busting his tail alongside little-known college players on the green grass at CES Performance, a training facility in Atlanta,” Barrows wrote. “That’s where Kaepernick got ready for the 2011 draft. And it’s where he figured he’d find training partners who are as hungry as him.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate spotlights Aldon Smith’s mixed-martial arts offseason training, the upcoming combine and more.

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2012 Plays of the Year: Touchdowns

Posted by Alex Espinoza on February 15, 2013 – 11:29 AM

We need your help in selecting the top plays from the 2012 season. We’re asking our Faithful fans to choose the top takeaway, touchdown, sack, big play and biggest hit of the season. Next, the winning five plays (one from each category), will move on to the championship round to determine 49ers.com’s “Top Play of 2012.”

Watch our “Top 5” video highlights on the best plays for each category, then vote in the poll section of the corresponding blog post to see which top play will reach the championship.

Help us crown the top play of 2012 by choosing your favorite touchdown from this past season. You can vote for your favorite touchdown up until Monday at noon. Let’s take a look at the five nominees.

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Morning Tailgate: Underrated FAs

Posted by Taylor Price on February 15, 2013 – 10:57 AM

Free agency doesn’t begin until March 12, but that’s not stopping NFL scribes and pundits from looking at the best players soon to be available.

In the case of NFL.com’s Adam Schein, the most underrated free agents came into greater focus in a recent post. The respected columnist listed his top-nine underrated free agents with 49ers Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson coming in at No. 3.

Goldson, a two-time Pro Bowler in consecutive seasons, recorded nine tackles in Super Bowl XLVII. It’s hard to believe a first-team All-Pro would be underrated, but Schein believes the 49ers defensive star power covers up Goldson’s impact play. After the season concluded, Jim Harbaugh made it clear that the 49ers want their 28-year-old safety around long-term.

Schein believes that’s the right train of thought.

“Goldson was the San Francisco 49ers’ ‘franchise player’ last year, so chances are he won’t be slapped with the tag again, as that would force the Niners to shell out a gigantic one-year raise,” wrote Schein, who voted for Goldson to be a first-team All-Pro. “Goldson wants a long-term commitment from San Francisco, and he has earned it.”

Goldson’s situation will be one to monitor when free agency talk heats up in the coming weeks.

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Best of 2012: Terrell Lloyd

Posted by Taylor Price on February 14, 2013 – 4:16 PM

If a picture is worth a thousand words, 49ers.com’s top photos from team photographer Terrell Lloyd provides 450,000 words on a remarkable 2012 season.

With so many memorable games and moments from 2012, it was only right for us to scour the countless photos snapped by Lloyd this season and trim them down to the top 450 photos from the year.

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Morning Tailgate: Feb. 14

Posted by Taylor Price on February 14, 2013 – 10:46 AM

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the 49ers Faithful. Flowers and chocolate, not football headlines, will dominate everyone’s attention on Thursday, but that’s not such a bad thing.

With the San Francisco 49ers in week two of Jim Harbaugh-ordered rest and relaxation following the 2012 season, things will soon pick up in terms of offseason movement. The new league year begins officially on March 12 which means the 49ers will have 12 unrestricted free agents and two restricted free agents from the team’s most recent Super Bowl roster available for 31 other teams.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News shared the complete list of pending NFL free agents with San Francisco’s free agents headlined by Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson and versatile tight end Delanie Walker.

If the team is unable to retain its free agents or find replacements through NFL free agency, the 49ers hold 14 draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, including four selections in the top 95.

San Francisco will also get a better sense of the potential of the incoming rookie draft class when the NFL Scouting Combine begins on Feb. 23.

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Posted in Morning Tailgate | 100 Comments »

Morning Tailgate: Feb. 13

Posted by Taylor Price on February 13, 2013 – 10:10 AM

Michael Crabtree is not your average Joe at wide receiver. He makes ridiculous catches look easy. He breaks numerous tackles after making the tough catches, too. He blocks for teammates. He competes. He really does it all.

Crabtree turned in career highs in catches (85), receiving yards (1,105) and touchdowns (9) in his fourth season with the San Francisco 49ers. He also turned in best performances in the closing stages of 2012. Crabtree finished the final eight games of the year with five, 100-yard receiving games and seven touchdowns during that stretch.

In three playoff games, Crabtree caught 20 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns.

Because of his standout season, Crabtree was included in USA Today’s “All-Joe” team for 2012, a collection of the best NFL players that haven’t been named to a Pro Bowl. Crabtree was joined by teammates Alex Smith and Anthony Davis on the team that fields a 53-man roster with representation from every team.

Nate Davis of USA Today explained that Crabtree and Davis are likely soon to earn Pro Bowl recognition based on breakout seasons in 2012.

Crabtree also showed a lot of toughness, willingly going over the middle, as he turned potential into production,” Davis wrote.

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Posted in Morning Tailgate | 88 Comments »

2012 Plays of the Year: Takeaways

Posted by Taylor Price on February 12, 2013 – 1:40 PM

We need your help in selecting the top plays from the 2012 season. We’re asking our Faithful fans to choose the top takeaway, touchdown, sack, big play and biggest hit of the season. Next, the winning five plays (one from each category), will move on to the championship round to determine 49ers.com’s “Top Play of 2012.”

Watch our “Top 5” video highlights on the best plays for each category, then vote in the poll section of the corresponding blog post to see which top play will reach the championship.

Help us crown the top play of 2012 by first choosing your favorite takeaway from this past season. You can vote for your favorite takeaway up until Thursday at noon. Let’s take a look at the five nominees.

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Posted in Announcements | 6 Comments »

Morning Tailgate: Feb. 12

Posted by Taylor Price on February 12, 2013 – 11:26 AM

The closing moments of Super Bowl XLVII will sit in the hearts and minds of the 49ers Faithful throughout the offseason, but it doesn’t take away from San Francisco’s remarkable season nor does it diminish the team’s comeback effort against the Baltimore Ravens.

In examining the game tape twice, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King uncovered several intriguing aspects of the 49ers offensive performance. He also spoke with offensive coordinator Greg Roman to find out his take on the final four offensive plays of the game.

“This is what I found amazing about what the tape revealed,” King wrote. “On the first 13 offensive snaps for San Francisco, Roman dialed up 13 different alignments using 12 different combinations of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.

“In those 13 plays, Roman had four wide receivers in the game, four running backs (two running backs, two fullbacks) and four tight ends. On the fifth play of the game, a no-back look, he spread three receivers left and two to the right, with a fullback (Bruce Miller) and running back (LaMichael James) split the furthest; (Colin) Kaepernick hit (Michael) Crabtree, running from the left slot, on a 19-yard incut.

“On the very next snap, Roman dialed up something Walter Camp invented 140 years ago, the T formation. Kaepernick lined up under center, with three backs tight together behind him — Gore to the left, fullback Walter Tukuafu in the middle, and fullback Miller to the right. None went in motion. (Frank) Gore powered ahead for no gain into the teeth of the Ravens’ D. Win some, lose some.”

King noted that the 49ers had Kaepernick in the Pistol formation 51 times and under center nine plays. King counted 13 plays in the read-option scheme and 47 snaps without Kaepernick playing option football.

Roman discussed the final four plays and the disappointing result with King.

“I’ll use it as motivation going forward,” the 49ers offensive coordinator told King. “To dwell on something that’s over is so utterly pointless. Anytime you make a call and the play doesn’t work, you think of another play that might have worked. We had a valiant effort, a great comeback, and it wasn’t enough. That’s life. It’s the game we love, the highs, the lows. But it doesn’t take away from what we did this year, and how excited I’m going to be to coach these guys next year.”

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Posted in Morning Tailgate | 28 Comments »
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