Jim Harbaugh traded in his trademark black sweater for a red one on Thursday as he hit the Pebble Beach Golf Links in the first round of the AT&T Pro-AM. Along with partner Jason Day, Harbaugh finished tied for second with a score of 9-under 61. Harbaugh and Day are playing Friday’s second round at Spyglass Hill with Giants pitcher Matt Cain and Matt Bettencourt and you can follow with live scoring from PGATour.com.
Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle recapped Harbaugh’s initial round at Pebble Beach. “Harbaugh arrived at the practice range Thursday morning … well, needing to practice. He hadn’t swung a golf club in nearly a full year, since last year’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am,” Kroichick wrote. “Then he went out and helped his professional partner, Jason Day, post a team score of 9-under-par. That planted Harbaugh and Day in the thick of early contention, tied for third among the 156 pro-am tandems in the tournament.”
The rest of Today’s Morning Tailgate looks back to Harbaugh’s day on the links, Colin Kaepernick’s playoff success and more.
Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Donte Whitner, Jim Harbaugh, Kendall Hunter
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Looking for an unsung hero on the San Francisco 49ers defense? Look no further than sixth-year cornerback Tarell Brown.
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound cornerback continues to be one of the key contributors on a 49ers defense that stands one win away from reaching the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl.
Brown recorded a career-high 59 tackles in the regular season to go with 14 pass breakups and two interceptions.
Quietly, Brown has come up big all season for the 49ers. The fundamentally-sound defensive back intercepted a pass in San Francisco’s Week 17 win and followed it up two weeks later with an impressive interception in the 45-31 Divisional Playoff win over the Green Bay Packers.
For a second consecutive postseason, Brown turned in a key interception.
Brown’s efforts, however, aren’t going unnoticed. ProFootballFocus.com reviewed the 49ers dominant victory over the Packers and singled out Brown’s performance. According to PFF, Brown was thrown against on four different occasions by Green Bay’s high-powered passing attack. In the end, Brown allowed two receptions for 16 yards. His interception, a quality over-the-shoulder reception of a deep Aaron Rodgers throw, was also returned 39 yards.
With the NFC title game just around the corner, the 49ers defensive back will be counted on once more against Atlanta’s impressive passing arsenal.
Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Donte Whitner, Jed York, Jim Harbaugh, LaMichael James, Patrick Willis, Tarell Brown
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 88 Comments »
The 49ers will do a lot more scoreboard watching this weekend, just like Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner was doing after the regular season finale in the photo atop this post.
The game San Francisco is most focused on features the two teams they anxiously watched at the conclusion of a Week 17 win over Arizona. On Saturday night, if the Green Bay Packers are victorious at home over the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers will travel to San Francisco to face the 49ers on Jan. 12 in the Divisional Playoff round.
For what it’s worth, longtime Sports Illustrated writer Peter King is predicting a Packers win.
If the Vikings win, however, the winner of the Seattle Seahawks-Washington Redskins Sunday afternoon tilt will travel to Candlestick Park for a primetime postseason clash.
Tickets for the Jan. 12 Divisional matchup presented by State Farm will be made available on Monday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. PT via Ticketmaster. Quantities will be limited, so fans will be encouraged to visit NFL Ticket Exchange for additional seats.
But before the 49ers can find out who they’ll play next week, the team will hold one last workout this week that figures to impact San Francisco’s decision at kicker for the postseason.
Tags: Aldon Smith, Andy Lee, Billy Cundiff, David Akers, Donte Whitner, Eric Davis, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 156 Comments »
Nine Niners made the 2013 Pro Bowl on Wednesday. However, it is now a goal for those members of the San Francisco 49ers to not play in the game.
Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Frank Gore, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner all would rather play in the Super Bowl than the league’s annual All-Star game.
Nonetheless, it was still remarkable for the 49ers to send nine players to the Pro Bowl for a second consecutive season. Furthermore, San Francisco led the NFL with nine Pro Bowl selections.
“The 49ers sent two-fifths of their starting offensive line and six members of their defense to the Pro Bowl,” noted ESPN.com’s Mike Sando.
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, Aldon Smith, Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, Frank Gore, Joe Staley, Justin Smith, Mario Manningham, Mike Iupati, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis
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For the first time since 2005, a safety tandem from the same team has been named as starters for the NFC.
Safety Donte Whitner, a first-time Pro Bowler, joins teammate Dashon Goldson, as this year’s NFC safety tandem.
“It’s a long time coming,” said Whitner, a seven-year veteran who was previously honored as an alternate for the Buffalo Bills and again on last year’s 49ers team.
Tags: Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner
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It’s going to take a group effort to limit the production of New England Patriots slot receiver Wes Welker.
At least that’s the assessment of Carlos Rogers, San Francisco’s starting cornerback, who will line up in the nickel package this Sunday night against one of the most productive wideouts in the NFL.
Welker, New England’s shifty slot playmaker, ranks ninth in receiving yards (1,116), fourth in targets (142) and third in receptions (95).
He also needs five catches to become the first player in league history with five, 100-catch seasons.
It’s a challenge that San Francisco’s Pro Bowl defensive back is ready to face.
Tags: Carlos Rogers, Donte Whitner, Randy Moss
Posted in Announcements | 8 Comments »
Aldon Smith now owns the San Francisco 49ers single-season sack outright record thanks to a two-sack performance against the Miami Dolphins. With 19.5 sacks on the season, Smith leads the NFL in sacks and has the team’s single-season sack record, distancing himself from Fred Dean’s 17.5 sacks set in 1983.
Now, it remains to be seen whether or not the second-year linebacker can record 3.5 sacks in his last three games to break Michael Strahan’s NFL single-season sack record (22.5).
Smith’s also including himself into the league’s Defensive Player of the Year conversation according to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King.
“A factor that must be considered, obviously, is Smith threatening the NFL sack record,” King wrote in his weekly MMQB column. “He has 19.5 after getting two Sunday against Miami. The record is 22.5 by Michael Strahan. With three games left — at New England and Seattle, then home against the leaky Arizona line — Smith needs 3.5 sacks. Today I’ll take Watt, with his 16.5 sacks and league-record 15 passes batted down, four of which resulted in Houston interceptions. Three weeks from today, who knows?”
King also ranked San Francisco as the league’s No. 4 overall team heading into Week 15.
Tags: Aldon Smith, Alex Boone, CJ Spillman, Colin Kaepernick, Donte Whitner, Frank Gore, LaMichael James
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 65 Comments »
When it comes to the San Francisco 49ers safety tandem of Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson, both are very like-minded when it comes to playing the game of football.
The duo resembles one another in the fact that both are extremely passionate, hard-nosed, intelligent players who play the game the right away. They also deliver some of the most jarring open-field hits in the National Football League.
The hard-hitting safeties were the subject of our latest 49ers Gameday Magazine cover story, a Holiday-inspired shoot photographed by team photographer Terrell Lloyd and designed by team graphic designer Ben Mayberry. A poster version of the cover is also available just in time for stocking-stuffers.
Find out how much fun the 49ers safety tandem has playing beside one another and the respect they have for playing physical football the right way.
Tags: Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, Vic Fangio
Posted in Gameday | 6 Comments »
San Francisco 49ers first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins was active for the second time this season in Sunday’s 16-13 overtime loss to the St. Louis Rams. Jenkins, however, did not play. Second-round pick LaMichael James wasn’t active for the 12th time this year, but that could soon change.
The speedy running back could see action late in the season according to Jim Harbaugh in comments shared by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
The 49ers coach visited with the KNBR Morning Show as he does every Tuesday and explained that the running back, who’s yet to be active in 2012, could see playing time in December.
“I think that’s a real possibility, and he’s worked hard for an opportunity,” Harbaugh said. “And that’s something that’s definitely a possibility that’s coming.”
Trent Baalke, the team’s general manager, also hinted at a possible December debut for James. Baalke visited with 95.7 The Game on Monday as part of his weekly show, his comments were discussed by CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco.
If James is active and can contribute to a 49ers win over the Miami Dolphins this Sunday, the team could clinch a playoff spot with some help from NFC playoff contenders. There’s actually two scenarios in play for the 49ers to be guaranteed of postseason football for consecutive seasons.
Here are the scenarios:
1. San Francisco win + DAL loss + MIN loss + TB loss + WAS loss + SEA loss or tie.
2. San Francisco win + DAL loss + MIN loss + TB loss + WAS loss + STL loss or tie.
The Vikings host the Bears. The Buccaneers host the Eagles. The Redskins host the Ravens. The Seahawks host the Cardinals. The Rams visit the Bills. The Cowboys visit the Bengals.
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, Colin Kaepernick, David Akers, Donte Whitner, Jim Harbaugh, LaMichael James, Trent Baalke
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 43 Comments »
The 49ers boast arguably the best quartet of linebackers in the NFL. Ahmad Brooks might not get the national publicity of the other players in his position group — Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith — but those around the 49ers know how valuable Brooks is on the left edge of the defense.
On Sunday, the seventh-year veteran showed why the 49ers signed him to six-year extension in the offseason, recording five tackles, 1.5 sacks and an interception return for a touchdown. Brooks, who is vying to be named to his first Pro Bowl, is among a host of 49ers that are making strong cases to be nominated to the NFL’s annual All-Star game. You can vote for San Francisco’s finest at 49ers.com/ProBowl.
Tags: Ahmad Brooks, Bruce Miller, Donte Whitner, Pro Bowl
Posted in Announcements | 9 Comments »