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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 10

Posted by Taylor Price on August 10, 2012 – 9:47 AM

The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here: Gameday. The 49ers will begin the 2012 preseason schedule tonight when the Minnesota Vikings come into town for a 6 p.m. kick-off at Candlestick Park.

It figures to be an important night for many on the 49ers roster. As for the players photographed above, All-Pro defensive tackle Justin Smith will likely take part in a limited number of plays. Second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick, however, will get an opportunity play a lot more than Smith, last season’s team MVP.

If you’re unable to catch the game on in person, or locally on CBS 5, don’t worry, NFL.com’s Preseason Live subscription service offers complete re-broadcasts of every preseason game with plenty of unique features for the die-hard football fan to enjoy.

If you’re heading into “The ‘Stick” tonight, check out the latest 49ers.com’s Niner Talk podcast, featuring interviews with rookie wide receiver Nathan Palmer and CSN Bay Area’s 49ers Insider Matt Maiocco. Download the 49ers Gameday Live App and listen to the podcast on your way to the game.

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 9

Posted by Taylor Price on August 9, 2012 – 10:30 AM

The 49ers are one day away from kicking off the 2012 preseason, and it appears as though first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins is putting together some of his best practices leading up to Friday night’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.

According to CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco, the No. 30 overall pick had the best day of any 49ers receiver in training camp on Tuesday. Jenkins caught six passes in team and 7-on-7 drills, and told Maiocco he still found areas he can improve on following his solid day of practice.

Jenkins’ steady improvements won’t be seen today. The 49ers will have a “Mock Game” this afternoon without media in attendance. After, coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Alex Smith will speak with the reporters.

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Defense Competes: Left Side vs. Strong Side

Posted by Jacob Most on August 8, 2012 – 4:25 PM

For football fans the world over, the film “Remember the Titans” is a classic. Members of the San Francisco 49ers defensive unit have used one particular scene from the movie to bolster an already strong and unique team chemistry.

One of the more memorable scenes of the film pitted fellow linebackers and Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell shoving and yelling “left side” and “strong side” at one another respectively in a moment that represented a turning point in the team’s first training camp.

A similar friendly rivalry has developed within the 49ers, one that is pitting outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks and defensive tackle Ray McDonald on the left side of San Francisco’s 3-4 scheme against outside linebacker Aldon Smith and defensive tackle Justin Smith on the right.

Brooks spoke about his and McDonald’s reenactment of the scene, which they first did last season, when he met the media on Wednesday.

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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 7

Posted by Taylor Price on August 7, 2012 – 9:50 AM

You know you’re getting closer to the start of the preseason when the 49ers first depth chart is released. Such was the case Monday afternoon when the team released its first depth chart for Friday night’s exhibition opener against the Minnesota Vikings.

Download the official preseason game one press release by clicking here.

The battle for San Francisco’s No. 2 quarterback remains fluid according to coach Jim Harbaugh, who’s looking forward to see how things shake out after his team’s first preseason contest.

One player looking to make an impact, defensive back Cory Nelms, received special permission to temporarily leave practice on Monday. Not to worry, it was for a great reason. Nelms dashed off the field to watch a live stream of the women’s 400-meter hurdles at the Summer Olympics. Nelms’ girlfriend, T’erea Brown, qualified for a spot in Wednesday’s final by posting a personal-best time of 54.21 seconds. CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco learned of Nelms’ brief absence from practice and shared the details.

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 6

Posted by Alex Espinoza on August 6, 2012 – 10:24 AM

The 49ers will return to Candlestick Park in four days to kick off their preseason schedule with a Friday night (6 p.m.) matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. The reigning NFC Champs have put together a productive first two weeks of training camp and are eager to see some other jerseys out on the field.

Heading into 2012, the 49ers boast one of the league’s most talented and complete group of linebackers. Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks is a key part to the San Francisco defense both in the run game and the pass rush, as evidenced by the six-year extension he signed with the team in February. Despite starting all 16 games during his career year in 2011 (50 tackles and 7.0 sacks) and his new contract, Brooks is more motivated than ever entering his seventh NFL season.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee spoke to Brooks about his offseason, which included some trips to the local pilates class. “As a result Brooks enters the 2012 season with a changed physique,” Barrows wrote. “He weighs just as much as he has in previous training camps – 266 pounds – but it’s a different, more muscular type of weight, he said.”

Today’s Morning Tailgate features a variety of news, including the latest training camp headlines, a heart-warming story about 49ers great Jesse Sapolu, an inspiring video of Alex Smith’s career and more.

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Morning Tailgate: June 20

Posted by Taylor Price on June 20, 2012 – 9:30 AM

It’s officially the first day of summer and that means 49ers football is right around the corner. How good does that sound?

Before we can get to training camp (36 days away, but who’s counting?), let’s take a look at the latest 49ers headlines, beginning with the latest from Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, who will analyze each position group on the roster. First up, the quarterbacks.

The tenured 49ers beat writer believes Alex Smith “completely passed the eyeball test as the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback.” Maiocco noted that the eighth-year pro looked more comfortable than any other 49ers quarterback over the offseason. Smith’s performances in two-minute scenarios especially impressed Maiocco.

Another observation from Maiocco worth passing along dealt with Smith’s growth at the position:

“Smith’s accuracy and anticipation seemed to progress throughout the seven week of practices, including the execution of back-shoulder throws.”

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: June 18

Posted by Alex Espinoza on June 18, 2012 – 11:08 AM

The 49ers Faithful celebrated Father’s Day this weekend and shared their favorite photos of their #NinerDads on Twitter. Check out @49ers to see some of the best pictures submitted on Sunday.

The holiday also held a special meaning for sixth-year CB Tarell Brown, who lost his father to a heart attack shortly before being drafted by the 49ers in 2007. Brown spoke to Nate Kuester of National Football Authority recently and spoke about the strong relationship Brown had with his late father, who inspired him to play football at a young age.

Things are a bit quieter now around 49ers headquarters with the conclusion of veteran minicamp, but 49ers.com has you covered with a wrap up of the last team-wide action until training camp. Those headlines — plus a trip down memory lane with Joe Montana and Steve Young — can be found after the jump.

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Posted in Announcements | 38 Comments »

Morning Tailgate: June 15

Posted by Taylor Price on June 15, 2012 – 10:05 AM

Big news from Jim Harbaugh came at the conclusion of Thursday’s minicamp finale: The San Francisco 49ers will once again spend a week in Youngstown, Ohio, to prepare in between Week 3 and 4 East Coast road matchups against the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets.

But before the Morning Tailgate dives into the announcement from the 49ers coach, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks offered a must-read review of the 49ers recent veteran minicamp.

According to Brooks, Alex Smith’s play continues to evolve.

“Smith was more decisive in the pocket and appeared to have a strong grasp of where to go with the ball on each play,” Brooks wrote.

Brooks referenced a short red zone touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree that demonstrated the quarterback’s willingness and confidence to drive the football into tight throwing windows. In addition to Smith, Brooks praised San Francisco’s revamped receiving corps, including Randy Moss’ contributions, and the creative play-calling from coordinator Greg Roman.

Brooks’ report is summed up best with his closing line: “The Niners showcased clever strategies last season, but now they have the pieces to really give opposing defenses fits.”

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Fangio Raises Expectations for Aldon Smith

Posted by Taylor Price on June 13, 2012 – 2:26 PM

Vic Fangio has been coaching in the NFL long before the days of free agency and is well-versed on what it takes to be a successful linebacker in the professional ranks. In the late 80s and early 90s, Fangio benefitted from working with the same set of linebackers for seven straight seasons during his time with the New Orleans Saints.

The consistency developed by those Saints defenses were seldom seen in league history as four of his Saints linebackers were once named to the Pro Bowl in the same season.

These days, however, it appears as if Fangio might be experiencing flashbacks of his days working with “The Dome Patrol,” the moniker given to his dominant linebacking crew.

While Fangio is in the midst of his first offseason working on the field in OTAs and minicamps with 49ers players, he’s doing it largely with the same personnel he had in 2011.

So how does the 49ers coordinator react to having all 11 defensive starters from one of the league’s top defensive units back for 2012?

“We should be as good or better,” Fangio said on Wednesday.

Fangio also has similar expectations for last season’s first-round pick, outside linebacker Aldon Smith.

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Morning Tailgate: March 5

Posted by Taylor Price on March 5, 2012 – 10:35 AM

Jim Harbaugh continues to receive praise for a strong showing in 2011.

The NFL Coach of the Year was honored twice over the weekend, first by being co-honored as the Golden Heart Award winner at the 2012 Athletes First Classic Gala along with Vizio CEO William Wang. Later, Harbaugh was honored as the NFC Coach of the Year at the 101 Awards, Kansas City’s salute to professional football.

Harbaugh was first honored at the St. Regis Resort at Monarch Beach and later in the weekend at the 101 Awards, a civic event which has 101 members of the national media select its honorees.

More 49ers headlines from the first weekend of March can be found after the jump.

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Posted in Announcements | 15 Comments »

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