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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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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: Harbaugh to Drive Pace Car at Indy 500

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

Jim Harbaugh will drive the pace car on Sunday at the 97th installment of the  Indianapolis 500.

The 49ers coach, who is a racing fan and has a principle role with Panther Racing, said it will be a “tremendous thrill” according to a news release sent out by track officials.

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Morning Tailgate: Rookie Camp Recap

Posted by Taylor Price on May 13, 2013 – 11:02 AM

San Francisco’s rookies had a successful introduction into the “Forty Niner Way” over the weekend.

Three days of a rookie minicamp at 49ers headquarters saw the 2013 class learn the basics of San Francisco’s offensive, defensive and special team systems. It also saw the newcomers get to know each other and their coaching staff in perfect climate conditions.

The going will only get tougher for the rookies, like Sergio Garcia on the 17th tee box of Sawgrass, tough.

That’s because the rookies join forces with their veteran teammates this week for the third installment of “Football School.” The helmet-free fundamental work will take place this week to prepare the entire squad for upcoming Organized Team Activities.

49ers.com will check in with the rookie class after they get to work with the veterans, but for now, let’s look back at the opening impressions from rookie minicamp in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Kendall Hunter Back Sprinting

Posted by Taylor Price on April 18, 2013 – 10:07 AM

The San Francisco 49ers enjoy a bevy of talented running backs who can run Greg Roman’s complex offensive system. One of them, third-year runner Kendall Hunter, is back running sprints this offseason. He’s doing so five months removed from a torn left Achilles. Perhaps, Kobe Bryant might want rehab notes from the 49ers running back.

Hunter shared details of his progress with Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I’m just doing what the trainers want me to do,” Hunter told Branch. “That’s the process. I feel and know I can do more, but I’m not going to rush whatever the coaches and trainers want.”

Hunter rushed for 371 yards in 2012, good for 5.2 yards per carry. Hunter also scored two rushing touchdowns before injuring himself on Nov. 25 against the New Orleans Saints.

Hunter told Branch he’d like to participate in OTAs in May or San Francisco’s mandatory minicamp in June, but the talented running back understands the importance of a patient rehab process and expects to be held out of action until training camp.

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

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Morning Tailgate: Harbaugh Stays Driven

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 22, 2013 – 8:34 AM

Five yards. That’s all that separated the 49ers from winning the sixth Super Bowl in franchise history earlier this year. Coach Jim Harbaugh has had a few weeks to reflect on the tough loss on football’s biggest stage and it appears he’s using the defeat to fuel him for 2013. Ashley Fox of ESPN.com shared comments from Harbaugh on his motivation for the new season going forward.

“Harbaugh is a fiercely competitive man now inspired by defeat, and that will be a problem for the other teams in the NFC West, the rest of the conference and ultimately the entire league,” Fox wrote. “It didn’t seem possible, given the intensity with which he worked his first two seasons as head coach, but Harbaugh is more inspired, more hungry, more dedicated than ever, all because of those 5 short but significant yards.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate focuses on the team’s evolving special teams unit and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Boldin Meets Media

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 21, 2013 – 8:50 AM

Fresh off his charitable trip to Senegal, Africa, new 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin met the Bay Area media on Wednesday in Santa Clara. The veteran wideout is already looking forward to building chemistry with Colin Kaepernick, telling reporters he’s eager to work with the young star in the coming months.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle shared Boldin’s thoughts as he stood in the 49ers locker room for the first time.

“Boldin, 32, knows from recent experience how that chemistry can take time to establish,” Branch wrote. “He was traded to the Ravens in 2010 and slowly began to develop a rapport with Joe Flacco. In 2012, he had 65 catches for 921 yards, the highest totals of his three seasons in Baltimore. In four playoff games, he added 22 receptions and 380 yards. After he joined the Ravens, he spent time working with Flacco after organized team activities concluded. He hopes to have a similar arrangement with Kaepernick, whom he termed a ‘special kid.'”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate features more reaction from Boldin news from the final day of league owners meetings in Arizona.

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2012 Plays of the Year: Final Five

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 8, 2013 – 1:33 PM

The 49ers Faithful have spoken. Now it’s time for one final vote.

In recent weeks, 49ers.com has brought you the top 5 takeaways, touchdowns, sacks, big hits and big plays and asked for the Faithful to vote for their favorite plays of the year. For the last round of voting, a winner will emerge from the Final Five candidates as picked by the 49ers Faithful.

The Final Five features a great mix of breakneck offensive plays, bone-crushing defensive plays and game-changers. Until 5 p.m. PT on Monday, you can vote for the 2012 Play of the Year at the bottom of this blog post. Let’s take a look at the top play for each category.

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2012 Plays of the Year: Big Hits

Posted by Taylor Price on March 4, 2013 – 2:00 PM

We need your help in selecting the top plays from the 2012 season. We’re asking our Faithful fans to choose the top takeawaytouchdownsack, 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 round.

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

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Morning Tailgate: Bowman Visits Uganda

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 4, 2013 – 11:35 AM

Following in the footsteps of his teammate Vernon Davis, NaVorro Bowman is in Africa to help fit local, underprivileged residents with hearing aids. Davis made the trip in 2011 with his brother, Colts cornerback Vontae Davis, and several other players. Comcast SportsNet Bay Area shared a four-part video series. (Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4)

On Monday, Bowman tweeted out a picture of himself helping the Pros For Africa Foundation in Uganda. For more information, visit ProsForAfrica.com.

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks at the franchise tag situation on the verge of Monday’s deadline and more.

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