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Morning Tailgate: Alex Smith Departs

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 14, 2013 – 11:26 AM

Player turnover is inevitable in the NFL. On Wednesday, the 49ers welcomed Glenn Dorsey to the organization while Alex Smith, Dashon Goldson and Isaac Sopoaga held their introductory press conferences with their new teams.

Following an eventful eight-year run that culminated with back-to-back playoff runs, Smith joined Kansas City coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey at the podium to greet the local press on Wednesday. Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle shared her impressions of Smith’s first appearance with his new organziation.

“Wednesday was the first day of Smith’s marriage to the Chiefs, following his quick divorce from the 49ers,” Killion said. “Both parties sounded infatuated with each other. Smith targeted the Chiefs as soon as he realized he wouldn’t be released, and hoped for a trade.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate updates you on the latest activity with the 49ers in free agency.

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Posted in Announcements | 33 Comments »

Morning Tailgate: NFL Bracketology

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 13, 2013 – 10:25 AM

There have been thousands and thousands of plays in the proud history of the NFL, but does “The Catch” stand above the rest? With the help of the 49ers Faithful, Dwight Clark’s iconic, last-minute touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship can be crowned as the greatest play in NFL history.

NFL.com recently unveiled it’s NFL Bracketology contest, which will begin with the first round of voting on Monday. Clark’s catch will compete against 63 other plays, including Steve Young’s epic 49-yard run against Minnesota and Terrell Owens’ playoff catch against Green Bay, in football’s version of March madness.

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate rounds up the busy first day of free agency for the 49ers, including the Alex Smith and Anquan Boldin trades and other player movement.

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Morning Tailgate: Honey Badger Runs the 40

Posted by Taylor Price on February 26, 2013 – 9:07 AM

He’s one of the most talked about prospects at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. His talent stands out, but so does his nickname. He might not want to be known by it, but as much as Tyrann Matheiu wants to be remembered for his play-making ability at LSU, he’ll always be known as the “Honey Badger.”

That’st just what happens when you become a pop culture phenomenon.

Nonetheless, the LSU cornerback put his best foot forward Tuesday at the combine with an unofficial 4.43, 40-yard dash. Mathieu was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011, but was kicked off the Tigers football team in 2012 for repeatedly violating the team’s substance abuse policy.

Mathieu aims to change the perception of him and looking past the nickname is part of it.

“I’m Tyrann right now but if the Honey Badger sticks, it sticks,” the 5-foot-9, 186-pound cornerback with return ability said at the combine. “Right now I’m focused on being Tyrann Matheiu.”

Teams, too, are focused on getting to know the real Matheiu. They’ve seen the highlight-worthy plays he reeled off in 2011, but also know about the issues he faced the following season.

Mathieu has time to improve his image, running a solid 40 time is a step in the right direction.

Track all the combine statistics here.

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Morning Tailgate: Offseason Trade Talk

Posted by Alex Espinoza on February 25, 2013 – 11:14 AM

Alex Smith played a huge role in San Francisco’s Super Bowl run in 2012, posting a 6-2-1 record as the 49ers starter through the first 10 weeks of the season. But with the emergence of Colin Kaepernick in the second half of the season, many are wondering what the future holds for the 49ers quarterback situation.

Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com helped fuel the latest round of speculation, as he cited league sources who said the 49ers have a tentative agreement to trade Smith to another team once the league year starts on March 12.

“No trades can be official until the league year begins March 12, so nothing can be finalized now, but sources said the two teams involved have the key terms in place at this point, and will finalize it down the road,” La Canfora wrote. “At this point, I don’t know the identity of the other team involved, but the 49ers have made it clear they are moving Smith and he will not be a part of the team this year.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate wraps up weekend headlines from the NFL Scouting Combine and more.

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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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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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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 24

Posted by Taylor Price on January 24, 2013 – 11:23 AM

We’re just getting into the swing of things for Super Bowl XLVII, but after the 49ers held their first workout to prepare for New Orleans, it seems like gameday will be here before we know it.

Spirits were high on an overcast day at 49ers headquarters. The team appeared to be very upbeat about what lies ahead, a Feb. 3 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

The matchup is undeniably interesting based on the Harbaugh family dynamic. The passion the football family has is also quite unique. Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, along with daughter Joani Crean, discussed their relationships with Jim and John Harbaugh in a national conference call Thursday morning.

By the end of the call, it was quite evident how special the Harbaugh family is and how much they mean to each other. For Jackie and Joani, Super Bowl XLVII is a truly proud moment for the family.

More Super Bowl headlines can be found after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 11

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 11, 2013 – 11:38 AM

In the past seven games, Colin Kaepernick has led the 49ers to a 5-2 record and closed out their run as NFC West Champs and the No. 2 seed in the conference. But it’s a whole new ballgame now.

Heading into his first postseason action, Kaepernick will have a chance to show why Jim Harbaugh elected to make the quarterback switch to the young, athletic signal-caller in Week 11. Kaepernick has approached the 5 p.m. Saturday kickoff as business as usual, but realizes the magnitude of the NFC Championship bid that’s on the line.

Daniel Brown of the Bay Area News Group said it’s time to see if Harbaugh’s decision will pay off for the 49ers in earnest.

“Harbaugh pushed in all his chips this season with a midseason change of starting quarterbacks and, on Saturday against the Green Bay Packers, the coach finds out if lucky No. 7 comes up a winner,” Brown wrote. “That’s the jersey number of Colin Kaepernick, the boundlessly talented, minimally experienced quarterback who earned Harbaugh’s endorsement over the cautiously efficient Alex Smith.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate features all the latest links on the Packers matchup, Eddie DeBartolo’s bid for the Hall of Fame and the 49ers kicker situation.

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Posted in Announcements | 130 Comments »

Kaepernick Named NFC Off. POW

Posted by Taylor Price on December 19, 2012 – 8:27 AM

Five starts into his career in the National Football League, Colin Kaepernick can now say he has received NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

The San Francisco 49ers second-year signal-caller took home the Week 15 award Tuesday morning after his impressive four touchdown passes in a 41-34 road win over the New England Patriots.

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 6

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 6, 2012 – 11:23 AM

Jim Harbaugh has lived quite the football life. Raised by his football coach father, Jack, and alongside his brother and current Baltimore Ravens coach, John, Harbaugh has been surrounded by the pigskin since day one. NFL.com has put together a great photo gallery of the 49ers coach throughout the years, dating back to his days as a prolific college quarterback at Michigan.

NFL.com columnist Adam Schein wrote that Jim Harbaugh has the 49ers posed to make a deep postseason run in 2012. “The 49ers have as good a chance as any NFL squad to capture a title,” Schein wrote. “The main reason why? Jim Harbaugh. He’s the smartest guy in the room. Just ask him.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate spotlights the coach’s “brief acting career,” Aldon and Justin Smith headlines and more.

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Posted in Announcements | 51 Comments »