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MT: Lattimore Compared to Frank Gore

Posted by Taylor Price on April 10, 2013 – 11:05 AM

Both Frank Gore and Marcus Lattimore suffered multiple knee injuries in college. Both, however, are considered highly talented running backs, ones who have been known as explosive play-makers during their respective careers.

Gore stands as the San Francisco 49ers all-time leader in rushing yards, carries and rushing touchdowns. At 29, Gore is also coming off a Pro Bowl season, the fourth of his career.

Lattimore,  the NCAA’s national freshman of the year in 2009, has yet to make a lasting career in the NFL. He’s still aiming to be drafted in 2013 after suffering his second major knee injury at the University of South Carolina.

However, the comparisons between the two are still easy to dissect.

Gore was a third-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2005 and proved to be a brilliant selection for San Francisco.

Lattimore, on the other hand, stands poised to follow in Gore’s footsteps. The two also developed a relationship last year. Thanks to 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, a college teammate of Lattimore, the two were put in touch after the running back prospect tore all three major knee ligaments in his right knee against the University of Tennessee.

Lattimore later compared himself to Gore at the 2013 Scouting Combine.

“I feel like we both run hard,” Lattimore said. “He runs like nobody’s there. He runs with total destruction. I feel like if I could compare my game to anybody, it would be Frank Gore. He’s got low pads, he’s got great vision, he can see the whole field. Great balance.”

The comparisons between the two running backs continued this week in a recent episode of John Gruden’s Camp on ESPN.

The former NFL head coach asked Lattimore about both major knee injuries he suffered in college and how he’s been able to bounce back from the hardships.

“Anything that comes to me in life,” Lattimore began, “I feel like I’ve been through it all. Nothing can ever take the smile off my face because I’ll never take anything for granted again.”

Lattimore continued to detail the lessons he’s learned through rehab and why he’s pursuing a career in the NFL.

“I love football,” the South Carolina star told Gruden. “My kids they’re going to watch this one day and they’re going to see my dad never gave up.

“My story relates to everybody…Adversity introduces a man to himself.”

Gruden later commented that his father ribbed him for not drafting Gore back in 2005. When the 49ers running back broke a big run against a Gruden-coached Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, the elder Gruden immediately sent his son a text message with a reminder of his praise for Gore.

It remains to be seen where Lattimore gets drafted in 2013, but his story is one to watch come April 25, especially with how it compares to San Francisco’s own starting running back.

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

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Morning Tailgate: Gore Reaches Out

Posted by Taylor Price on February 21, 2013 – 6:14 AM

INDIANAPOLIS – The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine is just about to begin. We’re all set in the media work room inside of Lucas Oil Stadium to cover the top college prospects for the next three days. First, 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke will speak with reporters as several GMs and head coaches will take turns talking to reporters this week. Jim Harbaugh will talk to the press on Friday.

As for players, it’ll be offensive linemen, tight ends and kickers talking with the press on Thursday. We’ll share some of their comments throughout the day, but first, let’s take a look at some of the top 49ers related headlines before the start of the NFL Scouting Combine.

Robert Klemko of USA TODAY Sports shared an interesting anecdote in a pre-combine story on South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore. The injured star running back was given a lot of advice after suffering a second major injury to his knee, most notably from 49ers rushing king Frank Gore.

“By his count, about 15 NFL players who have suffered similar injuries have contacted him to offer encouragement and advice,” Klemko wrote. “San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, a former Gamecock, asked running back Frank Gore to call Lattimore.”

Gore dealt with knee injuries in college and was drafted in the third round back in 2005. Lattimore has been pegged as a third-rounder by many draft experts before the combine. Although Lattimore won’t be able to participate in drills, getting the opportunity to meet with coaches and NFL doctors this week will be crucial for him.

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 11

Posted by Taylor Price on December 11, 2012 – 10:20 AM

A Week 15 road win over New England and a Seattle road loss to Buffalo (in Toronto)… and the San Francisco 49ers are in, the playoffs that is, as NFC West Champs. If that scenario happens this week, the team would be happier than Anthony Dixon after a 1-yard touchdown run.

A win over the Patriots and a Seattle win over the Bills… and the 49ers can make their way into the dance with a postseason bid, just not a division title.

The 49ers can make the playoffs if the following scenarios take place:

San Francisco clinches NFC West division with:

1)      SF win + SEA loss

San Francisco clinches a playoff spot with:

1)      SF win OR

2)      SF tie + DAL loss or tie + WAS loss or tie + MIN loss or tie OR

3)      SF tie + DAL loss or tie + WAS loss or tie + GB-CHI does not end in tie OR

4)      SF tie + DAL loss or tie + MIN loss or tie + CHI loss OR

5)      SF tie + NYG loss + MIN loss or tie + CHI loss OR

6)      MIN loss + DAL loss + WAS loss + SEA loss or tie

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Niner Talk: 49ers-Dolphins Week 14

Posted by Taylor Price on December 7, 2012 – 2:01 PM

The San Francisco 49ers are seeing the fruits from their 2011 draft class on a weekly basis. First-round pick Aldon Smith leads the NFL with 17.5 sacks and is already set the NFL’s record for most sacks in consecutive seasons to start a career. Second-round pick Colin Kaepernick has been elevated to the team’s starting quarterback in recent weeks and third-round selection Chris Culliver stands out as San Francisco’s No. 3 cornerback.

In regards to Culliver, the young defensive back chosen out of South Carolina has thrived in the role he’s held for consecutive seasons. With the 49ers, Culliver often finds himself matching up against some of the league’s top perimeter weapons. Culliver discussed those challenges as well as his own development in 49ers.com’s latest Niner Talk podcast.

The 49ers cornerback with two interceptions on the season said a lot of his confidence comes from the fun he has playing the game. In the interview, the former South Carolina Gamecock explains the story behind his “Cully in the house” nickname, plus his favorite TV shows and the best dishes he can cook in the kitchen.

For the Miami Dolphins perspective, we welcomed Jesse Agler, host of Dolphins.com’s “Finsiders” online programming, to hear his thoughts on Miami’s offensive line situation and the keys to beating the 49ers on the road.

Click here to listen to the Niner Talk podcast, which is also available on our 49ers Gameday live App.

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Morning Tailgate: Nov. 7

Posted by Taylor Price on November 7, 2012 – 10:34 AM

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a mid-season awards list without members of the San Francisco 49ers.

Several 49ers were listed on mid-season awards released earlier in the week and continue to be named on recently released All-Pro teams from various media outlets.

ESPN.com’s respected NFL writer John Clayton took a break from rocking out to heavy metal music in his parents house and listed three 49ers among his mid-season All-Pro team, naming Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati and Patrick Willis on his first-team unit.

Davis and Iupati were also selected by NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN.com’s Mike Sando’s All-NFC West team (along with several 49ers teammates). Sando listed four members of the 49ers offensive line on his first-team unit, with Jonathan Goodwin being left out. The 49ers center, however, received praise from Yahoo! Sports.

More on that in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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Morning Tailgate: Nov. 5

Posted by Taylor Price on November 5, 2012 – 11:04 AM

Fresh off a bye week, the San Francisco 49ers remain in first place of the NFC West with a 1.5 game lead over the Seattle Seahawks, who defeated the Minnesota Vikings 30-20 at home on Sunday.

The 49ers, themselves, will play a third consecutive division game in Week 10 when the St. Louis Rams visit Candlestick Park.

While the Rams are alone in last place in the NFC West at 3-5, Sunday’s game remains pivotal for both teams.  Since 2000, 29 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and proceeded to the playoffs, including at least one in each season.

The 49ers aim to make sure the Rams aren’t the 30th team to make the group.

San Francisco is coming off a strong showing in Week 8, a 24-3 win over Arizona that featured impressive quarterback play from Alex Smith.

The NFC’s Week 8 Offensive Player of the Week’s performance was reviewed in greater detail by Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who believes the 49ers remain Super Bowl contenders heading into the second half of 2012.

“I really like what I’ve seen out of him this year, mostly,” King wrote about Smith, who is second in the NFL with a 69.4 completion percentage. “He’s as accurate an intermediate passer as I’ve seen this season. I think he’s going to be asset, not a question mark, as the 49ers make a Super Bowl push.”

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Niner Talk: Bye Week

Posted by Taylor Price on November 2, 2012 – 1:36 PM

The voice of the San Francisco 49ers Ted Robinson was profiled in a 49ers.com feature story earlier today along with his broadcasting partner Eric Davis. Robinson, however, played double-duty for 49ers.com on Friday, also joining us for our latest Niner Talk podcast.

The respected broadcaster discussed his bright spots of the first half of the season, naming third-year guard Mike Iupati and second-year cornerback Chris Culliver as his two most unsung players of the first half for the 49ers.

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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 19

Posted by Taylor Price on October 19, 2012 – 11:59 AM

The San Francisco 49ers can enjoy a mini bye week this weekend after defeating Seattle 13-6 Thursday night at Candlestick Park.

The 49ers relied on Frank Gore to carry a heavy workload against a stingy Seahawks rush defense and the franchise’s all-time leading rusher delivered with a 16-carry, 131-yard performance against an NFC West rival.

Jim Harbaugh liked the way all of his offensive players competed throughout the team’s first division game of 2012.

“Just point to the physical play of our offensive line,” the 49ers coach said. “Coming off the ball there were some big holes. [RB] Frank [Gore] ran well. Receivers were blocking. [WR Michael Crabtree] Crab had a physical play early in the game breaking two or three tackles. But, it was just that kind of physical play. Some good plays were called and guys were feeling it and coming off the ball.”

Crabtree’s impressive body control is photographed in the image atop this blog post. Let’s take a look at all the headlines from the 49ers win.

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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 18

Posted by Taylor Price on October 18, 2012 – 10:36 AM

Thursday night’s matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks features plenty of intriguing storylines. San Francisco’s first divisional game of 2012 is also one with first-place implications. The matchup of 4-2 teams in a three-way tie for first-place in the NFC West also figures to be a clash of two of the best defenses in the NFL.

A cause of concern for the 49ers, however, is the health of Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, who is questionable to return to game action after suffering a concussion against the New York Giants.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee looked at the injury reports of both teams and addressed the potential matchups for Staley’s replacement.

“His status likely won’t be known until 90 minutes before kickoff when teams submit their inactive lists. Whether (Staley) plays or not, left tackle will be a focal point tonight,” Barrows wrote. “Seahawks speed rusher Chris Clemons (team-leading seven sacks) will line up opposite the left tackle and the Seahawks also will place rookie Bruce Irvin, whom the 49ers were eying before the draft, on that side of the line at times.”

Another challenge for the 49ers will be limiting the production of Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about San Francisco challenge of stopping Lynch, a runner who’s enjoyed success against the 49ers.

“San Francisco’s 19-17 win at Seattle last year, Lynch (107 yards) broke the 49ers’ string of 36 straight games without allowing a 100-yard rusher and accounted for a season-high eight missed tackles,” Branch wrot.e “(Vic) Fangio ranked Lynch ahead of Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy and Baltimore’s Ray Rice, other elite backs the 49ers faced in 2011.”

The all-times series in knotted at 13 games apiece between the two franchises. San Francisco has also never lost at home on a Thursday night (2-0). Tonight’s 5:20 p.m. PT kick-off from Candlestick Park can be seen on NFL Network or KGO TV, or heard on the radio on KGO 810 and 107.7 The Bone. All the pre-game information for die-hard 49ers Faithful can be read in this Goal Posts blog entry.

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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 10

Posted by Taylor Price on October 10, 2012 – 11:01 AM

Alex Smith remains the topic of conversation this week as the 49ers prepare for a Week 6 home contest against the defending Super Bowl champions.

Smith enters Sunday’s matchup against the New York Giants with the best quarterback rating in the NFL (108.7). He’s also won 18 of his last 22 starts.

Not only is Smith nominated for this week’s FedEx Air Player of the Week, but the 49ers quarterback ranks No. 4 on ESPN.com’s Mike Sando’s MVP Watch.

“Smith was about as effective as a quarterback could be during the 49ers’ 45-3 victory over Buffalo,” wrote the NFC West blogger. “He threw scoring passes to three different wide receivers. He scrambled for 49 yards on three plays. He beat the Bills with passes traveling, on average, 9.7 yards past the line of scrimmage. That was the fifth-longest average for a starting quarterback in Week 5.

“The four with longer averages combined to complete 52.6 percent of their passes. Smith completed 75 percent. He leads the NFL in passer rating and Total QBR this season. He also leads the league in victories by a starting QB since the start of last season (17).”

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