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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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Andy Lee Named NFC ST POW

Posted by Taylor Price on October 24, 2012 – 9:31 AM

For the second time of his nine-year career with the San Francisco 49ers, three-time All-Pro and Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee has been named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Lee’s five-punt performance in a Week 7 win over the Seattle Seahawks was crucial to San Francisco’s 13-6 win. Lee’s punts averaged 45.6 yards (44.6 yards net) and included a 66-yard punt late in the fourth quarter to pin Seattle on their own 11-yard line.

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#Vote49ers to the 2013 Pro Bowl

Posted by Taylor Price on October 23, 2012 – 10:41 AM

It’s officially voting season for NFL fans.

As of early Tuesday morning, polls are open for fans to select players to the 2013 Pro Bowl, set to be played on Sunday, January 27, 2013 from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 22

Posted by Taylor Price on October 22, 2012 – 10:22 AM

San Francisco 49ers fans are somewhat spoiled when it comes to special teams. It’s understandable though.

After all, it’s hard to notice and appreciate all the efforts of All-Pro, Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee when everything he does looks so routine.

Lee’s five-punt effort last week against Seattle, however, wasn’t overlooked by respected Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King, who listed Lee as his Week 7 Special Teams Player of the Week. King ranked San Francisco as his No. 5 overall team, too.

The nine-year veteran punter continues his stellar play with a 47.5 average on his 26 punts, including 14 inside the 20-yard line. Lee placed 28 punts inside the 20-yard line last season and is on pace to beat that mark this season.

According to King, Lee’s booming right leg blends perfectly with San Francisco’s roster.

“Jim Harbaugh knows the kind of team he has. It’s a field-position team. His passing game is not explosive, but his running game is very good, and his defense mostly suffocating,” King wrote in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column.

“On Thursday night, Lee, the superb punter for the Niners, played right into Harbaugh’s plans. He punted five times. He pinned the Seahawks back at their 4-, 33-, 14-, 9- and 6-yard lines. (Average post-punt drive start: 13-yard line.) Seattle had five punt-return yards all night. Niners 13, Seahawks 6.”

King also gave praise to the interior of the 49ers offensive line for their dominant running in the second half of the 49ers win.

“Left guard Mike Iupati, center Jonathan Goodwin, right guard Alex Boone. You want to see how to wear down a defensive front? Watch the three men on the Niners offensive line batter a very good Seattle front seven (and tackles Joe Staley and Antony Davis played well too) for 175 rushing yards on 32 clock-eating carries,” King Wrote.

“My favorite run of the Thursday night win over the Seahawks: Early in the fourth quarter, Frank Gore took a handoff from Alex Smith. Boone cut left to erase defensive lineman Jason Jones, Goodwin blasted out to smother defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, and Iupati, foraging for a victim, ran ahead to clear out middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Gore was off to the races. Gain of 37. This is what these three guys did all night for Gore and Kendall Hunter, particularly late, when their physical dominance showed.”

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Niner Talk: 49ers-Bills Week 5

Posted by Taylor Price on October 5, 2012 – 12:18 PM

Fresh off the San Francisco 49ers three-state, 10-day road trip, this week’s Niner Talk podcast has a guest worthy of explaining all the scoops from last week’s trip.

Three-time Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee joined us on the show this week to discuss his frequent visits to a local ice cream shop in Boardman, Ohio, plus details on his fine effort against the New York Jets.

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Andy Lee Showcases All-Pro Toe

Posted by Alex Espinoza on October 2, 2012 – 2:11 PM

Andy Lee looks like he picked up where he left off last year as the NFL’s best punter.

The reigning first-team All-Pro turned in his finest performance of the young 2012 campaign on Sunday, when he sent three punts inside the 5-yard line that were capable of pinning the New York Jets near their own goal line. While the first punt was ultimately pushed into the end zone for a touchback, Lee and the 49ers special teams still downed two punts inside the New York 5-yard line.

“They’re good,” Lee said of his fellow 49ers special teams contributors. “They’re doing a good job of protecting and they’re doing a good job of covering. Like I’ve always said, having a good coverage team, having a good long-snapper like Brian (Jennings), it always makes my job easier.”

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Brian Jennings Celebrates Twice

Posted by Taylor Price on September 18, 2012 – 5:39 PM

Brian Jennings was thrilled to beat the Detroit Lions this past Sunday night, but it wasn’t his best news of the day.

Hours after the 49ers improved to 2-0 on the season, the 49ers long snapper’s wife Nicole went into labor and gave birth to couple’s second son, Max, at 2:11 Monday morning.

Like a good husband and father, Jennings raced over to the hospital like he was covering an Andy Lee punt.

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David Akers Discusses Historic FG

Posted by Jacob Most on September 12, 2012 – 10:33 AM

David Akers was still the talk of the 49ers locker room on Tuesday just two days after he tied an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal during the team’s Week 1 win at Green Bay.

Jim Harbaugh called Akers the greatest kicker of all-time after the game and a close look at Akers’ career makes it hard to argue with the 49ers coach. Still, the veteran kicker was quick to send much of the credit to his teammates.

“The one thing I need to reiterate is it would not have been possible without our O-line,” Akers said. “If you get any penetration on a kick like that you’re done. Those guys stood in there and they took the brunt of the force.

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Morning Tailgate: June 12

Posted by Taylor Price on June 12, 2012 – 10:03 AM

The 49ers mandatory three-day minicamp begins today, signaling the start of the team’s final on-field work prior to training camp.

Similar to Organized Team Activities, the minicamp will involve the same non-contact principles as the previous stages of the offseason program. Team and 7-on-7 periods are permitted, one-on-one pass-rushing battles, however, will have to wait until training camp.

49ers.com will have extended minicamp coverage throughout the week, but before camp begins, let’s take a look at the top team-related headlines.

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Pro Bowl Headed Back to Hawaii

Posted by Alex Espinoza on May 30, 2012 – 4:41 PM

Following an offseason of speculation regarding the future of the Pro Bowl, the NFL and the NFL Players Association jointly announced Wednesday that football’s annual All-Star game will return to Honolulu in 2013.

The Pro Bowl became a hot topic after many questioned the value of the game and the effort of the players involved, but 49ers punter Andy Lee said he was happy to hear it would be returning to Aloha Stadium.

“Who doesn’t enjoy going to Hawaii? It’s awesome,” Lee said.

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