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Morning Tailgate: Meet Lemonier

Posted by Taylor Price on July 18, 2013 – 11:28 AM

The San Francisco 49ers added depth to an already strong group of linebackers when the team selected Corey Lemonier in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

The former All-SEC standout defensive end at Auburn is adjusting to life as an outside linebacker with the 49ers, but feels like he’s coming along in the transition most undersized defensive ends make in their first year of professional football.

Lemonier recently sat down with CSN Bay Area to discuss his progress and confirm the pronunciation of his last name.

Lemonier aims to make his name standout even more with strong performances in training camp practices set to take place at the end of the month.

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

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Morning Tailgate: All About QBs

Posted by Taylor Price on July 17, 2013 – 9:38 AM

There’s a clear theme in today’s Morning Tailgate. Several articles about the quarterbacks on the San Francisco 49ers have been published in the last 24 hours and it’s our job to share those writeups

First, Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com examined Colin Kaepernick’s standing as one of the elite young quarterbacks in the National Football League and how the 49ers starting signal-caller’s prospects compare to some of the best young passers in the game today.

Kaepernick’s breakout season in 2012 is also up for a prestigious award. In fact, there’s only a few hours left to vote for Kaepernick to win a 2013 ESPY award.

Kaepernick enters training camp as the unquestioned starter, but the coveted backup quarterback roles have not been determined just yet.

More on the upcoming quarterback battles can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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Morning Tailgate: Whitner in the UK

Posted by Taylor Price on July 16, 2013 – 11:25 AM

Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner represented the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL’s International Series media day.

Whitner posed for photos and conducted interviews along with select representatives of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers. For the first time ever, the NFL will hold two games in London. The 49ers will face the Jaguars on Oct. 27; the Vikings and Steelers will play on Sept. 29.

Photos of the media day can be seen in this 49ers.com photo gallery.

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

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MT: Minicamp Day 1 Recap

Posted by Taylor Price on June 12, 2013 – 10:46 AM

The 49ers opened up veteran minicamp with C.J. Spillman taking first-team reps on defense alongside Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner.

Second-year wideout A.J. Jenkins turned in the best offensive play of the day, snagging a high pass during a team period from second-team quarterback Colt McCoy.

Jenkins continues to improve this offseason and is looking to make a case to start Week 1 along with veteran Anquan Boldin.

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

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Morning Tailgate: Competitive Secondary

Posted by Taylor Price on May 16, 2013 – 10:41 AM

Out of all the upcoming competitions set to take place on the 49ers defense, secondary roles will be most coveted. Cornerback and safety spots will feature the most spirited battles.

That’s the opinion of 49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.

San Francisco’s front-seven appears to be set, other than the starting spot at nose tackle. Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey are two of the top contenders to fill Isaac Sopoaga’s role as the anchor of the 3-4 defensive alignment.

On the back end of the defense, cornerback and safety will be the position battles to watch. Eric Reid, Craig Dahl and Trenton Robinson are some of the players who will have the opportunity to start at free safety opposite of Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner. At cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha’s arrival in San Francisco signaled an interesting competition for defensive back roles in the team’s base and nickel personnel groups.

The upcoming competitions will be intriguing all offseason and should only intensify when Organized Team Activities take place starting next week.

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MT: Donte Whitner Remains Hungry

Posted by Taylor Price on April 12, 2013 – 11:01 AM

In his second season with the San Francisco 49ers, Donte Whitner totaled his second-most tackles in seven years in the NFL.

Whitner, who joined the 49ers as a free agent in 2011, recorded 119 tackles in his first ever Pro Bowl season. The hard-hitting safety was a key member of last year’s NFC Conference championship club and sounded eager to get back to work in 2013. In fact, Whitner only took two weeks off at the end of Super Bowl XLVII.

“We had a taste of it,” Donte said of the team’s Super Bowl appearance in 2012 which followed a loss in the NFC title game in 2011. “The third time’s the charm.”

Whitner shared some of his thoughts on the upcoming season in a Friday morning appearance on NFL Network’s “NFL AM” show.

“We feel like we’re the best defense in the NFL,” Whitner said. “We have pass rushers. We have a tremendous front seven.”

Whitner praised his inside linebacker tandem of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman as two of the best in the league.

Asked how the 49ers would replace outgoing safety Dashon Goldson, Whitner explained that the 49ers front seven would help whoever steps in as a replacement. In Whitner’s mind, pressure from the defensive front can really help the back end of a defense.

“We have a bunch of possibilities,” Donte said. “When we step out on the field we’ll be ready.”

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

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Morning Tailgate: Greg Roman Profile

Posted by Taylor Price on April 3, 2013 – 11:51 AM

There’s a lot to like about San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. I repeat, a lot.

He’s energetic, he’s thoughtful and perhaps most important of all, he knows how to put his players in position to win.

Twenty-seven victories in two seasons later, those impressive traits were recently documented by esteemed Yahoo! Sports writer Michael Silver, who wrote a solid profile on the 49ers play-caller. Silver and Roman spoke for so long over lunch recently, the 49ers coordinator’s car was impounded. Not to worry, Roman picked his car up and got back to doing what he loves.

Silver went into detail on how Roman is moving on from Super Bowl XLVII and how the game’s final sequence overshadowed a stellar season in 2012.

“The upshot is especially cruel,” Silver wrote. “Roman, the man who probably dialed up more brilliant calls than anyone in the business last season, the audacious innovator who overhauled the Niners’ offense on the fly in midseason and literally and figuratively unveiled formations that turned the football world upside down, is the guy getting blasted by half the folks who’ve ever held a Madden joystick.”

But don’t only take Silver’s words. Consider the comments from two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley.

“I’ve never been around a coordinator who understands everything,” Staley told Silver. “Not just X’s and O’s and how you draw it up, but the bigger picture, too. Watching games [on tape], I find myself saying, ‘This is a perfect call here.’ It seems seamless to him. There are a lot of guys who are really smart with plays and who run creative schemes, but it’s the way you call those plays that makes all the difference. He’s great at both. He’s very innovative.”

Roman continues to find ways to make the 49ers better in 2013 and is surely eager to work with recently acquired quarterback Colt McCoy, in addition to installing more wrinkles to the hybrid offense the 49ers ran last season.

Roman can analyze the Super Bowl outcome all he wants, but in the back of his mind he knows there’s more to come from his offensive unit.

“The reality is, if you’ve got a guy who can throw the ball like [Colin Kaepernick] can and run it like he can, it eventually becomes a numbers game,” Roman told Silver. “What do you want to stop? Then we turn to something we call play-action, and it’s a huge advantage.

“So yeah, (defenses are) gonna be spending a lot of time on this. They should. This is real. And we’re just getting started.”

More 49ers headlines can be found in the Morning Tailgate.

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Morning Tailgate: Team Needs

Posted by Taylor Price on April 1, 2013 – 10:17 AM

Who will be the newest members of the San Francisco 49ers to run out of the tunnel at Candlestick Park? The question will be answered in 24 days when the three-day NFL Draft begins.

The 49ers have 14 selections in the upcoming draft and can add depth to the roster in addition to finding long-term replacements for outgoing free agents like Dashon Goldson and Delanie Walker.

Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee examined potential additions to the NFC’s defending champions.

The 2013 draft looms large for the franchise as it looks to reload for another Super Bowl run. Barrows points to a number of incoming rookies who can step in and help San Francisco in 2013.

“The 49ers won’t be able to hold onto everyone in coming years, especially with a potential mega deal for Colin Kaepernick on the horizon,” Barrows wrote. “That’s why having 14 draft picks is such a boon to the 49ers right now and so crucial to sustaining success. It gives them the ability to plan for the future.”

Barrows noted kicker, center, wide receiver, defensive end, quarterback, safety and tight end as potential draft targets for the 49ers.

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Recent 49ers Free Agency Additions

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 13, 2013 – 3:49 PM

The 49ers roster features many homegrown players that have been drafted and developed by the respected front office staff led by general manager Trent Baalke. But San Francisco also features some top-notch free agents which have shaped it into a Super Bowl contender.

As the 2013 free agency period gets off to its frenzied start, 49ers.com takes a look back at some of the biggest impact free agents signed by the franchise in recent history. View a photo gallery of recent 49ers free agent additions and vote for your favorite at the bottom of this post.

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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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