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.
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, Carter Bykowski, Craig Dahl, Donte Whitner, Eric Reid, Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams, Michael Crabtree, Trenton Robinson, Vance McDonald
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 28 Comments »
In a fitting Veteran’s Day tribute, the 49ers will be recognizing the men and women serving the United States across the world this Sunday when they face the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park.
A camouflaged ribbon sticker has been placed on each gold helmet this week, along with the player’s choice of another sticker to recognize the five branches of our armed forces. Of the 53 49ers, 13 chose Marines or Navy stickers, 11 chose Army, nine chose Air Force and seven chose Coast Guard.
For Tavares Gooden, picking an Army sticker was a no-brainer.
Gooden joined the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps as a high school student in Florida, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who served in the Army, and a brother who served in the Navy. Gooden reached the rank of Sgt. 1st Class during his time with the ROTC, and has since tattooed the Sgt. 1st Class patch on to his left shoulder.
“I was raised in a military family so that’s why I did ROTC,” Gooden said. “I learned leadership, discipline and how to defend myself – key characteristics of life.”
Tags: Daniel Kilgore, Ian Williams, Tavares Gooden
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Several undrafted 49ers rookies have made their way on to the 53-man roster in recent years based on strong performances in training camp and the preseason. The chances of it happening again will be tougher based on the depth across the 49ers roster.
However, players like Demarcus Dobbs, Ian Williams and Joe Hastings made it happen in 2011, all making appearances in regular season games last season despite going undrafted. Will the trend continue in 2012? CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco examined the likelihood of one of this year’s unheralded prospects making the final cut.
The performances of this year’s rookies will come into better focus once they begin competing with the veterans at the start of training camp. Friday is when it officially gets started. For now, the rookies are practicing for the first time in pads this week as they get acclimated to what training camp will be like.
When the vets officially report on Thursday, things will be, as Harbaugh likes to say, “really real.”
More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.
Tags: Alex Boone, Cam Johnson, Daniel Kilgore, Demarcus Dobbs, Ian Williams, Joe Hastings, John Brodie, Tramaine Brock
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 6 Comments »
Campers at the 49ers annual three-day Youth Football Camp were treated to a top-notch experience this week in Santa Clara.
Current players like Delanie Walker and Ian Williams, as well as former 49ers greats Guy McIntyre, Eric Wright, Dennis Brown, J.J. Stokes and Joe Nedney also spent time giving tips to this year’s campers.
“I spent the last 20 years of my life kicking the ball and now that I’m done, teaching other people how to do it is just as fun,” said Nedney, a 15-year NFL veteran who retired last training camp after spending six seasons with the club.
“Knowing that the Niners are having their kids camp today, I was more than happy to come out here and work with them,” added Nedney, who connected on 86.6 percent of his field goals and never missed an extra point during his time in San Francisco.
The San Jose State alum still lives close to the 49ers facility in Santa Clara and jumped at the chance to share his wisdom.
Tags: Delanie Walker, Dennis Brown, Eric Wright, Guy McIntyre, Ian Williams, J.J. Stokes. Joe Nedney
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Thanks to productive efforts in free agency and in the 2012 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers have added depth to numerous position groups on both sides of the ball.
The added depth figures to keep key veterans like Frank Gore and Justin Smith fresher throughout the upcoming season.
According to a recent report from Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee, Gore handled 57-percent of San Francisco’s rushing attempts last season. Following up on Barrows’ initial findings, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com believes Gore’s volume of carries will decrease based on the team’s backfield additions this offseason. Maiocco notes that Gore finished seventh in the NFL in terms of running back playing time.
In addition, Maiocco notes: “Part of the 49ers’ strategy for keeping Gore fresh will be getting comfortable with other running backs on the roster to take on the duty of blitz pickup.”
A similar conundrum is presented by Maiocco in regards to All-Pro defensive tackle Justin Smith, who rarely spent time on the sideline in 2011.
Though the 49ers did not draft, nor sign any defensive line free agents this offseason, several young linemen (Will Tukuafu, Demarcus Dobbs and Ian Williams) are expected to see the field more often in 2012 with the hopes of resting key contributors like Smith and fellow starting defensive tackle Ray McDonald.
According to Maiocco, Smith played the third-most snaps (91.12-percent) of any defensive linemen in the league.
More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.
Tags: Brandon Jacobs, Demarcus Dobbs, Frank Gore, Ian Williams, Joe Montana, Joe Staley, Justin Smith, Mario Manningham, Will Tukuafu
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 7 Comments »
One of the league’s best defenses of 2011 continues to round into form during the 2012 offseason.
With free agency approaching on March 13, the 49ers have used a non-exclusive franchise tag on Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson, who was scheduled to hit the free agent market.
After signing outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks to a six-year extension on Monday, Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers is the only defensive starter from 2011 not under contract for this upcoming season.
Goldson’s franchise tag, however, doesn’t ensure he’ll return for 2012.
If Goldson were to receive a contract offer from another club, the 49ers will have the right to match the offer. If they choose not to match the offer, then the team would receive two first-round draft choices as compensation.
Goldson has started all 46 games in which he’s appeared over the past three seasons and his 11 interceptions are the most by a 49er since 2007.
“By using the franchise tag on Dashon, it affords us the opportunity to continue to work on a long-term contract with him,” general manager Trent Baalke said in a team-issued press release.
More on Goldson and latest team-related headlines can be found after the jump.
Tags: Dashon Goldson, Ian Williams
Posted in Announcements | 61 Comments »
Fullback Bruce Miller and guard Daniel Kilgore were the first of 10 rookie draft picks to sign contracts with the 49ers. Not to be forgotten, 18 undrafted rookies put their names on a dotted line too.
Wednesday was a busy day inside the offices at 4949 Centennial Blvd. and a memorable experience for the newest members of the 49ers.
Tags: Bruce Miller, Bryant Young, Daniel Kilgore, Ian Williams, Jeremiah Masoli
Posted in Announcements | 8 Comments »