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Morning Tailgate: Asomugha Fascinates

Posted by Taylor Price on July 11, 2013 – 11:39 AM

Nnamdi Asomugha’s role on the San Francisco 49ers is one of the most fascinating storylines set to unfold in 2013, according to NFL.com’s Adam Schein, who named the 11-year veteran cornerback as the No. 4 most fascinating player to track in 2013.

Asomugha, 32, has spoken positively about his early experience with the 49ers. The four-time All-Pro cornerback told reporters that he likes San Francisco’s defensive scheme and has instantly fit in well with new teammates in the locker room.

Comfort is one thing, but many NFL observers are curious to see how Asomugha will perform in his return to the Bay Area.

Count Schein in the group.

“This offseason, however, Asomugha signed with arguably the most talented team in the NFL, to play on arguably the most talented defense in the NFL,” Schein wrote. “Plus, Niners coach Jim Harbaugh has a way of bringing out the best in players. Asomugha escaped Philly after being the poster child for disaster, returned to the Bay Area and just got married. I am fascinated to see which Nnamdi we get this year.”

More headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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Morning Tailgate: 49ers Deep at RB

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

From top to bottom, the San Francisco 49ers boast one of, if not the, deepest running back groups in the National Football League.

Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James, San Francisco’s top runners, could all be featured as star weapons on any given team. Together, the 49ers have one of the strongest backfields in the league. The group also includes Anthony Dixon, Jewel Hampton and fourth-round pick Marcus Lattimore, who is working diligently to rehab a major college knee injury.

To further prove the point of San Francisco having a top-notice stable of runners, Marc Sessler of NFL.com put San Francisco atop his list of the NFL’s deepest backfields.

“Gore at age 30 remains highly productive, but the 49ers have planned for his eventual departure with a packed stable of backs,” Sessler wrote. “Hunter is coming off Achilles surgery but remains a strong bet to keep the No. 2 spot if he’s healthy come September. James completes coordinator Greg Roman’s three-headed monster in the backfield.”

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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Morning Tailgate: Underrated 49ers

Posted by Taylor Price on July 9, 2013 – 10:40 AM

The kind folks at NFL.com have shared their opinions on the most underrated and overrated players for each team in the National Football League.

On Monday, the San Francisco 49ers underrated and overrated players were unveiled.

Keep in mind, this is the opinion of two NFL.com writers. It’s hard to agree with all of their selections, especially when Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana was placed among the overrated players.

Sorry, can’t support that claim.

However, the top underrated player was a solid choice. NFL.com selected former 49ers wide receiver John Taylor.

“Robin to Jerry Rice’s Batman, Taylor was the perfect No. 2 receiving option for the San Francisco 49ers. He was neither flashy nor physically imposing, but he was multi-dimensional — finishing his career with the second-most punt return yards in franchise history. He was also big in the clutch. You might recall Montana’s game-winning touchdown pass to Taylor — not Rice — in the waning seconds of Super Bowl XXIII. Taylor is sixth all time in receiving yards in team history, but even more impressive is that he’s one of just two Super Bowl champions enshrined in the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame (Randy White is the other). If that doesn’t epitomize “underrated” I don’t know what does.”

NFL.com selected Garrison Hearst, Frank Gore, Bryant Young and Tom Rathman as San Francisco’s most underrated players.

The overrated list included R.W. McQuarters, Dexter Carter, Kevan Barlow, William Floyd and Montana.

More headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Willis Gives Back to Hometown

Posted by Taylor Price on July 8, 2013 – 11:21 AM

Patrick Willis returned to his high school, Bruceton Central High School, to host his “Duracell Patrick Willis Pro Camp.”

Willis’ hometown of Bruceton, Tenn., holds a special place in his heart. It was the school where the six-time Pro Bowl linebacker excelled as a three-sport athlete, including as a star basketball player under his guardian and coach, Chris Finley.

Over the weekend, Willis gave back to the Bruceton community by hosting his first football camp in his hometown.

“It is truly a blessing to come back to my hometown where it all started for me,” Willis told the local ABC affiliate, WBBJ. “To be able to come back and give you guys a little bit, sometimes I wish I could do a lot more, but sometimes doing something is better than doing nothing at all.

“At the end of the day, it’s about coming together. It’s all about making your community strong.”

Willis shared a photo of the proud campers via his Twitter account.

More NFL headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate. Read more »


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MT: Colin Kaepernick ‘Playing to Win’

Posted by Taylor Price on July 5, 2013 – 7:55 AM

He’s short with his answers. He doesn’t like to ramble on. He doesn’t like to hear himself talk.

Just like his play on the field, Colin Kaepernick gets straight to the point. He’s direct. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback has kept a level-headed demeanor when dealing with the media and he’s maintained that throughout his time in the Bay Area.

The 49ers quarterback, however, opened up to ESPN the Magazine about his future goals, his motivation and his body. The later conversation point had much to do with the magazine’s annual “Body Issue.” Kaepernick followed in the footsteps of teammate Patrick Willis in being photographed in the much discussed issue.

In an interview with the magazine, Kaepernick explained how his offseason preparation has him fueled for a big season in 2013. After taking a week off following the Super Bowl, the 49ers quarterback shared insight on his workout routine.

“Harbaugh was a little worried I was going to get too jacked — he talked to me about that — but I think the biggest thing for a quarterback is making sure that as you get bigger, you keep your flexibility,” Kaepernick said. “You have to train hard and be strong while staying flexible and limber, so I’m trying to find that balance. I’ve been trying to make my legs stronger and more explosive and build more fast-twitch muscles. I’ve been running with bands and chains, I’ve been pushing sleds, I swim tied to a bungee. Will I be faster this year? You’ll just have to wait and see.”

Kaepernick’s speed will be watched closely, but more so, people will be evaluating his every move. Kaepernick is motivated by those who are doubting his ability to maintain the level of play he established in 10 starts.

“A lot of people say last year was a fluke,” he said. “They say defenses are going to figure out how to stop our offense, and we can’t do it again. That constantly drives me. Anytime I’m told I can’t do something or told someone is better than me, that motivates me to prove them wrong. It doesn’t matter what I’m playing — tic-tac-toe, chess, Monopoly — I’m playing to win. I don’t want last season to be an outlier. I don’t want to be one of those players who had a good year and comes back and has a bad one. I want to be similar to the Tom Bradys of the world — every year you get a great year out of them. They go out there and perform at a high level.”

Lastly, Kaepernick shared how advice from Aldon Smith has helped his mental edge.

“Aldon Smith gave me this quote: “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” The more you can do that and the more you can push your body out of its comfort zone, the better you’ll be. Your mind can make your body do things you don’t think it can. So I push myself to be uncomfortable. If my body is feeling perfect, if I’ve got no aches, pains or soreness, something is wrong.”

More headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Gore Shares Kaepernick Praise

Posted by Taylor Price on July 3, 2013 – 10:27 AM

Frank Gore is a firm believer in his quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.

Gore, the San Francisco 49ers all-time rushing king, shared his opinion of Kaepernick’s development in a recent appearance on ESPN.

“He could get a lot better,” Gore said via ProFootballTalk.com. “One thing I love about that young guy, he works. He works very hard. Even before he got the starting job he used to be the first one there and one of the last guys out. As long as he keeps learning, working from the coaches and just being him, he’ll be fine.”

It’s not the first time Gore has publically given props to the 49ers signal-caller.

Gore paid tribute to his quarterback with a “Kaepernicking” celebration in Super Bowl XLVII and told reporters this offseason that Kaepernick’s running ability opened up rushing lanes in the late stages of the season.

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Crabtree Shares Rehab Update

Posted by Taylor Price on July 2, 2013 – 11:27 AM

Michael Crabtree hasn’t gone silent after suffering an Achilles injury in offseason workouts. The leading wideout for the San Francisco 49ers has used his Twitter account to share updates on his outlook for the 2013 season. He’s also made several comments on the NBA Finals. Crabtree’s champion pick, the San Antonio Spurs, lost to the Heat. But Crabtree hasn’t been quiet on Twitter since the NBA season wrapped up.

The 49ers wideout informed his 132,000-plus followers that he’s returning to the gym.

“I’m ready,” Crabtree wrote.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee examined the post from the 49ers wideout and explained the rehab process from the perspective of Dr. Eric Giza, chief of the foot and ankle service at UC Davis.

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Kaepernick Throwing Out First Pitch

Posted by Scott Kegley on June 21, 2013 – 8:51 AM

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Colin Kaepernick, a former 43rd round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs in 2009, returns to the mound tonight. This time, Kaepernick will not be facing any batters, throwing out the first pitch at the San Francisco Giants game as they take on the Miami Marlins. The game begins at 7:15 p.m.

49ers.com will be there with Kaepernick so make sure to stay tuned to @49ers on Twitter and Instagram for updates.

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s morning tailgate.

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MT: Reaction to Justin Smith Extension

Posted by Scott Kegley on June 20, 2013 – 1:21 PM

Justin Smith
After signing a two-year extension with the 49ers, Justin Smith expressed his excitement to be able to finish his career in San Francisco on his own terms.

“Usually in the NFL, a chance to go out on your own terms so to speak is, I never dreamed that would happen, so I’m pumped about that,” the 13-year veteran told reporters.

Smith, a co-captain, has been a key figure on San Francisco’s defense since joining the team as a free agent in 2008. Smith is recovering from a triceps injury he sustained last season and says he’ll be back to full strength in plenty of time for next season.

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: 49ers Depth Chart Preview

Posted by Taylor Price on June 18, 2013 – 11:38 AM

The 49ers won’t reveal an official depth chart until preseason games begin in August, but Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee gave a preview of what San Francisco’s depth could look like when training camp begins.

Barrows placed fourth-year wideout Kyle Williams ahead of last year’s first-round pick A.J. Jenkins to start opposite of Anquan Boldin.

The wide receiver positions will certainly be evaluated closely all through camp. But for now, the speculation game will continue.

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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