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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 7

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 7, 2012 – 11:32 AM

The 49ers are frequent inductees to Hall of Fames. Brent Jones was the latest alumni to be recognized for his stellar career, as he was recently elected to the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame along with Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti, ex-Raiders receiver Tim Brown and the late Oakland A’s owner Walter Haas, Jr.

Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke to Jones and Righetti about their Bay Area upbringings and what it means to be a part of the 2013 BASHOF.

“Jones played on three Super Bowl champions, earned four Pro Bowl berths and caught 417 passes in his career,” Kroichick wrote. “Now he’s going into a Hall of Fame filled with childhood heroes (including Willie Mays, Nate Thurmond and Fred Biletnikoff) and his 49ers teammates (including Montana, Young and Jerry Rice).”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks at Jim Harbaugh’s value to the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick vs. RGIII and more.

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Alex Smith Discusses QB Situation

Posted by Alex Espinoza on November 29, 2012 – 3:23 PM

Being the competitor he is, Alex Smith was understandably upset to hear that he won’t be the starting 49ers quarterback on Sunday in St. Louis.

Earlier this week, coach Jim Harbaugh met with Smith and Colin Kaepernick, eventually telling both talented signal-callers that Kaepernick would get the starting nod for the third straight game. While Smith wishes he could be out on the field, he will be counted on to be a valuable asset and teammate for Kaepernick.

“This is such a great team, such a great group of guys in this locker room,” Smith said. “There’s something special going on. It’s a tough pill to swallow, for sure.”

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Roman: Alex Smith Not Cleared for Contact

Posted by Alex Espinoza on November 22, 2012 – 3:17 PM

Quarterback updates are all the rage at 49ers headquarters these days. On Thursday, offensive coordinator Greg Roman offered the latest news on Alex Smith, saying he hopes the signal-caller will finally be cleared for contact on Friday.

Smith wore a black jersey designated for non-contact players during the Thanksgiving practice session, before Roman briefed reporters on the latest developments between Smith and Colin Kaepernick.

“No decision has been made,” Roman said. “We’re hopeful that Alex gets cleared tomorrow, physically. We’re confident in both quarterbacks to be on the field. We’re always going to weigh all the information as we have it and make the best decision for the team at the time. We have ultimate confidence in either.”

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Alex Smith Questionable for Monday Night

Posted by Taylor Price on November 17, 2012 – 4:09 PM

Alex Smith didn’t speak to reporters on Saturday, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman gave a pretty good indication of how the San Francisco 49ers quarterback is progressing six days removed from his second concussions in as many seasons.

“He’s looked good,” Roman said. “He’s looked very sharp.”

Officially, Smith is listed as questionable for Monday night’s pivotal NFC showdown with the Chicago Bears. Roman said his quarterback will need to pass one more contact test in order to play on Monday night.

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Morning Tailgate: Nov. 9

Posted by Taylor Price on November 9, 2012 – 10:38 AM

Behind the scenes and on the gridiron itself, Randy Moss has endeared himself to teammates and coaches with the San Francisco 49ers.

The veteran wideout with a resume worthy of inclusion into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is coming off his best performance with his new team, a Week 8 effort on “Monday Night Football” that saw Moss level a Cardinals defensive back and score a 47-yard touchdown within span of four plays.

Moss’ hard-work in the run game was recently spotlighted by offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who had plenty of positive things to say about some of the guys on offense who are doing the dirty work behind the scenes, Moss included.

Truth be told, Moss has added value to the 49ers in the run game, not just the pass game. That aspect was covered in depth by Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

“Moss has been only a small part of the 49ers’ success on the field. He has 13 catches – fifth on the team – for 235 yards and two touchdowns,” Barrows wrote. “He’s been the team’s third- or fourth-most used wide receiver, depending on the game. On many plays, he’s merely a decoy, lining up far wide of the formation and taking a cornerback and safety downfield with him as Alex Smith hands the ball to Frank Gore.

Barrows went on to write, “The fear heading into the season was that a disengaged Moss would be a disruptive Moss. That he hasn’t had a large role in the passing game, however, doesn’t mean he’s not plugged in. Along with everyone else – the media, opposing coaches, opposing linebackers – Moss appears to be rapt by the 49ers’ complex running attack.”

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Morning Tailgate: Nov. 2

Posted by Taylor Price on November 2, 2012 – 10:45 AM

Randy Moss has caught 13 passes for 235 yards and has two touchdowns, plus a team-leading average of 18.1 yards per reception in his first eight games with the San Francisco 49ers.

The future Hall of Fame wide receiver has had a positive impact on his teammates and has enjoyed learning the offensive concepts of coordinator Greg Roman. Moss shared these insights in a recent interview with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

The 49ers wideout who caught a 47-yard touchdown last week in Arizona (photographed above) also tells CSN he plans on being a (high school or junior high) coach when his playing career is over.

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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 29

Posted by Alex Espinoza on October 29, 2012 – 10:47 AM

The 49ers, Cardinals and Monday Night Football are no strangers to each other. In fact, San Francisco has six MNF matchups with Arizona all-time, including five of the past six years. Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group examined tonight’s tilt in the desert and the burgeoning rivalry between the two divisional foes.

“No, it’s not as historic as the Bears-Packers, Cowboys-Redskins or Raiders-Chiefs,” Inman wrote. “It’s also not the type of high-stakes rivalry the 49ers have forged with the Cowboys and Giants. But the 49ers and Cardinals aren’t friendly neighbors in the increasingly competitive NFC West.”

Today’s Morning Tailgate rounds up the best headlines from the weekend and offers more insight on tonight’s primetime showdown.

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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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Alex Smith Up for FedEx Air Award

Posted by Taylor Price on October 9, 2012 – 9:36 AM

With a season-high 303 passing yards and three touchdown passes last week in a 45-3 win against the Buffalo Bills, Alex Smith has been nominated for FedEx’s Week 5 Air Player of the Week award.

Smith joins quarterback nominees Drew Brees and Andrew Luck, who both enjoyed 300-plus yard passing performances for the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts, respectively.


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49ers Offense Mixes It Up

Posted by Alex Espinoza on October 4, 2012 – 5:32 PM

Greg Roman still doesn’t know why the Jets called a timeout around 4-minute mark in the first half of Sunday’s game. Or so he wants you to think.

A look at the game tape will reveal a wide-open Colin Kaepernick lined up as wide receiver without a defender within 15 yards of him, moments before the New York coaching staff called for a timeout. But Roman seems to have trouble remembering the play.

“I don’t know what play you’re talking about,” Roman said with a wry smile.

After some more prodding, it seems Roman might have a hazy recollection of the play-call.

“Yeah, I think he was talking to the official about the previous play,” Roman said with a laugh. “Next question.”

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