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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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MT: Minicamp Rounds Out 49ers Offseason

Posted by Taylor Price on June 11, 2013 – 11:33 AM

Before we begin today’s Morning Tailgate, we’d like to reiterate the condolences felt by the entire 49ers organization following a morning incident at the team’s new stadium construction site.

The team will hold a three-day mandatory minicamp and will come together to finish off the 2013 offseason. Head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman are both scheduled to speak in the afternoon.

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: Underrated FAs

Posted by Taylor Price on February 15, 2013 – 10:57 AM

Free agency doesn’t begin until March 12, but that’s not stopping NFL scribes and pundits from looking at the best players soon to be available.

In the case of NFL.com’s Adam Schein, the most underrated free agents came into greater focus in a recent post. The respected columnist listed his top-nine underrated free agents with 49ers Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson coming in at No. 3.

Goldson, a two-time Pro Bowler in consecutive seasons, recorded nine tackles in Super Bowl XLVII. It’s hard to believe a first-team All-Pro would be underrated, but Schein believes the 49ers defensive star power covers up Goldson’s impact play. After the season concluded, Jim Harbaugh made it clear that the 49ers want their 28-year-old safety around long-term.

Schein believes that’s the right train of thought.

“Goldson was the San Francisco 49ers’ ‘franchise player’ last year, so chances are he won’t be slapped with the tag again, as that would force the Niners to shell out a gigantic one-year raise,” wrote Schein, who voted for Goldson to be a first-team All-Pro. “Goldson wants a long-term commitment from San Francisco, and he has earned it.”

Goldson’s situation will be one to monitor when free agency talk heats up in the coming weeks.

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Morning Tailgate: Feb. 12

Posted by Taylor Price on February 12, 2013 – 11:26 AM

The closing moments of Super Bowl XLVII will sit in the hearts and minds of the 49ers Faithful throughout the offseason, but it doesn’t take away from San Francisco’s remarkable season nor does it diminish the team’s comeback effort against the Baltimore Ravens.

In examining the game tape twice, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King uncovered several intriguing aspects of the 49ers offensive performance. He also spoke with offensive coordinator Greg Roman to find out his take on the final four offensive plays of the game.

“This is what I found amazing about what the tape revealed,” King wrote. “On the first 13 offensive snaps for San Francisco, Roman dialed up 13 different alignments using 12 different combinations of running backs, wide receivers and tight ends.

“In those 13 plays, Roman had four wide receivers in the game, four running backs (two running backs, two fullbacks) and four tight ends. On the fifth play of the game, a no-back look, he spread three receivers left and two to the right, with a fullback (Bruce Miller) and running back (LaMichael James) split the furthest; (Colin) Kaepernick hit (Michael) Crabtree, running from the left slot, on a 19-yard incut.

“On the very next snap, Roman dialed up something Walter Camp invented 140 years ago, the T formation. Kaepernick lined up under center, with three backs tight together behind him — Gore to the left, fullback Walter Tukuafu in the middle, and fullback Miller to the right. None went in motion. (Frank) Gore powered ahead for no gain into the teeth of the Ravens’ D. Win some, lose some.”

King noted that the 49ers had Kaepernick in the Pistol formation 51 times and under center nine plays. King counted 13 plays in the read-option scheme and 47 snaps without Kaepernick playing option football.

Roman discussed the final four plays and the disappointing result with King.

“I’ll use it as motivation going forward,” the 49ers offensive coordinator told King. “To dwell on something that’s over is so utterly pointless. Anytime you make a call and the play doesn’t work, you think of another play that might have worked. We had a valiant effort, a great comeback, and it wasn’t enough. That’s life. It’s the game we love, the highs, the lows. But it doesn’t take away from what we did this year, and how excited I’m going to be to coach these guys next year.”

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 25

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 25, 2013 – 11:01 AM

As the 49ers make their Quest for Six, it’s appropriate to remember the central figures who were behind previous five Super Bowls in franchise history. Along with former owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., coach Bill Walsh was the face of the 49ers as they became one of the NFL’s most storied organizations.

Walsh, who was also a friend and mentor to Jim Harbaugh, has left his fingerprints all over the league. From his teachings of the West Coast Offense to his impressive coaching tree of former assistants who have shaped the NFL over the years, Walsh will always be remembered as one of the sport’s greatest innovators.

Seth Wickersham of ESPN the Magazine detailed Walsh’s legacy and how a book written by Walsh captures the coach’s dedication to his craft.

“Walsh began writing alone at his beach house in Monterey, Calif., always at 8 a.m., on yellow legal pads, in pencil, in all caps, his penmanship so clean that it could be its own font,” Wickersham wrote. “He would tear off sheets and stack them neatly in piles on the floor. This was in 1995, and Walsh didn’t know what kind of book he wanted. A leadership guide? A playbook? A coaching manual? A blueprint for front offices? Walsh told (Roger) Craig he wanted it to be a ‘real football book,’ not some light autobiography, waxing poetic about Super Bowls and Montana-to-Rice touchdown passes. He wanted his first book to motivate coaches, not delight fans.”

The 49ers would also like to announce that the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority is offering a Super Bowl special on pet adoptions. Select cats can be adopted for $4 and select dogs can be adopted for $9.

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate also features the latest Super Bowl headlines, Patrick Willis’ strong relationship with his foster family, a historical look at the biggest games in 49ers postseason history and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 7

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 7, 2013 – 10:47 AM

It’s been nearly four months since the 49ers kicked off the 2012 season with a 30-22 victory against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. By virtue of their 24-10 victory over Minnesota on Saturday, the Packers are headed to Candlestick for the 5 p.m. PT Saturday kickoff against the 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round.

Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay to an 11-5 record and the NFC North title in the regular season, earning the No. 3 seed in the postseason. The 49ers and Packers and no strangers to each other in the playoffs. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com took a look back at the rich postseason history between the two proud franchises over the years.

“When the third-seeded Green Bay Packers visit Candlestick Park on Saturday to face the No. 2 seed 49ers, it’ll be their sixth postseason meeting,” Maiocco wrote. “But it’ll be the first time Chico native Aaron Rodgers has played in San Francisco in his career. And it’ll be the first playoff appearance for Colin Kaepernick.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks ahead to the playoff matchup with the Pack as the 49ers open their Quest for Six.

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 28

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 28, 2012 – 11:44 AM

As the regular season winds down, the 49ers are starting to fill up 2012 award lists and the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Mike Sando of ESPN.com offered his all-NFC West team and listed 11 49ers among the best players in the division.

Among San Francisco’s players on Sando’s list included wideout Michael Crabtree, who is having a career year in his fourth NFL season. 49ers Public Relations director Bob Lange shared this cool photo spread of Crabtree explaining his ability to make sideline catches to ESPN the Magazine reporter Anna Katherine Clemons.

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks at Justin Smith’s injury, Vernon Davis’ return to practice and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 14

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 14, 2012 – 11:29 AM

The 49ers will head to New England on Friday afternoon with heavy hearts following the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

Both teams feature two of the best football minds in the game in Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick. As Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group noted, both Harbaugh and Belichick have respect for each other.

“During Harbaugh’s 15-year playing career, he opposed a Belichick-led team only once,” Inman wrote. “Although Harbaugh’s Indianapolis Colts lost 21-14 at home to Belichick’s Cleveland Browns in 1994, Harbaugh passed for 194 yards — and ran for a career-high 63 yards.”

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Greg Roman Previews Patriots Showdown

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 13, 2012 – 5:51 PM

Much has been made of the new blood that’s been infused into the 49ers in 2012.

Young players like Colin Kaepernick and running back LaMichael James, along with other free-agent signings like Mario Manningham and Randy Moss have paid huge dividends for San Francisco this season. But when the 49ers look across to the opposite sideline on Sunday night, they’ll see another team that has restocked its talent for the 2012 season.

The Patriots have especially revamped the defensive side of the ball this year and it shows up on film.

“As you look at them on defense,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said, “they’re as physical a defense as we’ve seen since we’ve been here, as fundamentally sound a defense as we’ve seen.  And they present you just a multitude of things to prepare for, both from a personnel and schematic standpoint.”

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