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Morning Tailgate: Feb. 6

Posted by Alex Espinoza on February 6, 2013 – 11:27 AM

Colin Kaepernick faced the media for the final time of the 2012 season on Tuesday in the 49ers locker room. The second-year quarterback spoke about his first Super Bowl experience in just his 10th game as a starter, as he nearly guided the team back from a 22-point deficit in the second half.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee examined Kaepernick’s exit day gathering with the media.

“Kaepernick still was simmering and on edge after cleaning out his locker Tuesday,” Barrows wrote. “Wide receiver Kyle Williams said Kaepernick already was maniacal when it came to offseason training, so having a Super Bowl title within his grasp will boost that intensity level a few more degrees. Kaepernick said he will start training next week in Atlanta, where he prepared for the scouting combine and the draft in 2011.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks at Harbaugh’s parting words of the 2012 season and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 22

Posted by Taylor Price on January 22, 2013 – 11:15 AM

The Harbaugh brother talk has officially started, but it hasn’t reached overdrive just yet. There’s still plenty of other storylines to dissect as the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens embark on Super Bowl XLVII preparations.

For starters, Colin Kaepernick’s role on the 49ers offense is one to discuss. Furthermore, Kaepernick’s strong relationships with his teammates is quite remarkable after considering he will make start No. 10 in the biggest singular game in professional sports.

The respect Kaepernick’s teammates have already shown the second-year player was recently noted by ESPN.com’s Ashley Fox.

“There’s the conflict Kaepernick creates for opponents, and then there is the love that his teammates have for him,” Fox wrote. “It was obvious when (Frank) Gore interrupted Kaepernick’s postgame news conference, answering a question for him.

‘He can do whatever.’ Gore said. ‘He’s a hard worker. He’s a different quarterback, how he takes pride and leads us. He’s started [nine] games. Hey, he’s football. If it weren’t for him, it would’ve been a tough game for us.’

Gore looked at Kaepernick and added, ‘You deserve it.’”

It’s not hard to see why the second-year player has earned such praise from veterans.

After leading the 49ers to a 28-24 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC title game, Kaepernick finished his second come-from-behind postseason win completing 76.2 percent of his passes, good for the third-best single-game outing in 49ers postseason history.

Kaepernick has already showcased maturity and poise and enters Super Bowl XLVII with seven regular starts, tied for the third fewest for a starting quarterback to reach the Super Bowl in NFL history.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 2

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 2, 2013 – 11:18 AM

The New Year is here and the 49ers are already back at team headquarters getting ready for their Divisional Round matchup next week. Players were given Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off this week, but it hasn’t stopped some 49ers from working out at team headquarters on their own time.

Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group relayed comments from Jim Harbaugh’s appearance on KNBR Wednesday, when he said the 49ers are preparing to play in “three Super Bowls.” Harbaugh also touched on other topics like Justin Smith’s health and the Stanford victory in the Rose Bowl.

“Watching Stanford win the Rose Bowl on Tuesday also gave Harbaugh a thrill, and fondly recounted how he sat in some of those Stanford players’ living rooms while recruiting them in his days as the Cardinal’s coach,” Inman wrote.

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks at the potential impact of newly-signed kicker Billy Cundiff and a look at 49ers front office members and assistant coaches who could be candidates to fill positions for other organizations.

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 27

Posted by Taylor Price on December 27, 2012 – 9:31 AM

Nine Niners made the 2013 Pro Bowl on Wednesday. However, it is now a goal for those members of the San Francisco 49ers to not play in the game.

Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Frank Gore, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner all would rather play in the Super Bowl than the league’s annual All-Star game.

Nonetheless, it was still remarkable for the 49ers to send nine players to the Pro Bowl for a second consecutive season. Furthermore, San Francisco led the NFL with nine Pro Bowl selections.

“The 49ers sent two-fifths of their starting offensive line and six members of their defense to the Pro Bowl,” noted ESPN.com’s Mike Sando.

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Manningham Doubtful; Jenkins Ready

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 7, 2012 – 5:00 PM

Jim Harbaugh didn’t even need words to affirm the news: A.J. Jenkins could finally step between the lines for some NFL regular season action on Sunday against Miami.

Harbaugh nodded his head on Friday when asked if the first-round pick wideout could see action to help fill the void likely to be left by Mario Manningham. The veteran receiver did not practice this week with a shoulder injury and was listed as doubtful on the final injury report.

“I’ve seen progress from A.J,” Harbaugh said. “He’s been on his assignments. He’s executed well when he’s been out there. So, he’s given great effort. Football rewards that effort.”

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 4

Posted by Taylor Price on December 4, 2012 – 10:06 AM

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San Francisco 49ers first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins was active for the second time this season in Sunday’s 16-13 overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams. Jenkins, however, did not play. Second-round pick LaMichael James wasn’t active for the 12th time this year, but that could soon change.

The speedy running back could see action late in the season according to Jim Harbaugh in comments shared by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

The 49ers coach visited with the KNBR Morning Show as he does every Tuesday and explained that the running back, who’s yet to be active in 2012, could see playing time in December.

“I think that’s a real possibility, and he’s worked hard for an opportunity,” Harbaugh said. “And that’s something that’s definitely a possibility that’s coming.”

Trent Baalke, the team’s general manager, also hinted at a possible December debut for James. Baalke visited with 95.7 The Game on Monday as part of his weekly show, his comments were discussed by CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco.

If James is active and can contribute to a 49ers win over the Miami Dolphins this Sunday, the team could clinch a playoff spot with some help from NFC playoff contenders. There’s actually two scenarios in play for the 49ers to be guaranteed of postseason football for consecutive seasons.

Here are the scenarios:

1. San Francisco win + DAL loss + MIN loss + TB loss + WAS loss + SEA loss or tie.

2. San Francisco win + DAL loss + MIN loss + TB loss + WAS loss + STL loss or tie.

The Vikings host the Bears. The Buccaneers host the Eagles. The Redskins host the Ravens. The Seahawks host the Cardinals. The Rams visit the Bills. The Cowboys visit the Bengals.

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Harbaugh Confident in 49ers Youth

Posted by Taylor Price on November 30, 2012 – 1:36 PM

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San Francisco’s running back reps behind Frank Gore will be a key to Sunday’s game in St. Louis. Whether Brandon Jacobs or LaMichael James becomes the featured No. 2 runner behind Gore remains to be seen.

Jim Harbaugh said the reps against the Rams would be shared “among the other backs.”

With the loss of Kendall Hunter and Kyle Williams to season-ending injuries last week in New Orleans, the 49ers coach will have to find ways of showcasing other players on the roster.

Even so, Harbaugh admitted the injured players will be tough to replace.

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Morning Tailgate: Nov. 29

Posted by Alex Espinoza on November 29, 2012 – 11:21 AM

The 49ers are no strangers to quality quarterbacks. Dating back to the likes of Y.A. Tittle and John Brodie to Joe Montana and Steve Young, San Francisco has been spoiled with signal-callers throughout the years. The 2012 49ers are lucky to have two players under center that have led the team to big victories: Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith.

A huge contingent of media gathered at 49ers headquarters on Wednesday, as coach Jim Harbaugh revealed Kaepernick will receive the start this Sunday in St. Louis, his third straight for the team. The decision to name the second-year emerging star as the quarterback was dissected every which way by the media, including Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group.

“QB coach Geep Chryst and OC Greg Roman are certainly hands-on and deeply involved in all parts of the QB play,” Kawakami wrote. “But I think we have to give most of the credit for this to Harbaugh–who did some things with Andrew Luck, I seem to recall. Harbaugh has a fine focus on the QB spot, and the guy can flat-out coach the position.”

Today’s Morning Tailgate rounds up all the Kaepernick coverage, Pro Bowl voting leaders, Santa Clara Stadium news and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 24

Posted by Alex Espinoza on October 24, 2012 – 10:58 AM

It’s already Week 8 of the 2012 season and identities of the NFL’s 32 clubs are taking shape. Through their first seven games, the 49ers have featured one of the league’s best rushing attacks, ranking first in yards per carry (5.9) and second in yards per game (176.6).

Frank Gore (103 carries) and Kendall Hunter (50 attempts) have carried the load for the 49ers so far this season, totaling 859 rushing yards as a tandem already. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee also noted that Gore (5.8 yards per carry) and Hunter (5.2) are the only duo to average better than five yards per carry this year.

“Gore, 29, trails only Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller ,a change-of-pace back who has sprinter’s speed, in averaging 5.8 yards per carry,” Barrows wrote. “He’s on pace for 1,374 yards this season, which would be his best output since he ran for 1,695 yards in 2006.”

Today’s Morning Tailgate looks at the challenge the Arizona run defense imposes, Eddie DeBartolo’s upcoming profile on the NFL Network and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Sept. 13

Posted by Taylor Price on September 13, 2012 – 10:13 AM

Calvin Johnson’s injured foot is the hot-topic as the 49ers continue to prepare for a Sunday night home opener against the Detroit Lions.

The wideout gracing this year’s EA Madden video game cover did not practice on Wednesday but returned to work on Thursday according to multiple reports.

In order to stop the wide receiver who has caught 45 touchdowns since 2008, the most in the NFL, the 49ers will use many defensive looks. The same coverage or defensive philosophy just won’t work for 60 minutes against Johnson.

Cornerback Tarell Brown is “geeked” for the challenge, writes Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle.

“Brown and the rest of the 49ers secondary will likely need all available senses on Sunday night when the Lions arrive with All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson, who led the NFL in receiving yards (1,681), ranked second in touchdowns (16) and was fourth in receptions (96) last year,” Branch wrote.

CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco and Mindi Bach also discussed the challenge of stopping the player known as “Megatron” in their latest Matt & Mindi segment.

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