The 49ers won’t reveal an official depth chart until preseason games begin in August, but Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee gave a preview of what San Francisco’s depth could look like when training camp begins.
Barrows placed fourth-year wideout Kyle Williams ahead of last year’s first-round pick A.J. Jenkins to start opposite of Anquan Boldin.
The wide receiver positions will certainly be evaluated closely all through camp. But for now, the speculation game will continue.
More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, Anquan Boldin, Colin Kaepernick, Jed York, Kyle Williams, Vance McDonald
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He’s absolutely essential to San Francisco’s overall success. Without Justin Smith in the lineup, it wouldn’t be the same 49ers defense. Smith leads by example, inspires teammates and dominates in the trenches.
The four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle means that much to the 49ers defense, as noted by Adam Schein of NFL.com.
When compiling nine of the most indispensable players in the NFL today, San Francisco’s stout defensive tackle was placed at No. 4 on the list.
“Both NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, the best linebacker combination in the league, have told me Smith is the most important player on the Niners’ defense,” Schein wrote. “He’s tough. He’s clutch. He takes on blockers and frees up other players.
“Smith sets the tone in practice and in games. He’s the Energizer Bunny on one of the truly elite defenses in the league.”
Smith is on the mend this offseason. He hasn’t taken part in Organized Team Activities, but has been around to help out younger teammates on the defensive line. Currently, Smith’s working his way back from offseason triceps surgery. Smith, however, is back in the weight room getting himself ready for his 13th season.
In regards to the offensive side of the ball, Schein placed 49ers tight end Vernon Davis at No. 5 on the key offensive figures list.
Today’s Morning Tailgate features additional 49ers-related headlines and the latest on Levi’s® Stadium.
Tags: Anquan Boldin, Colin Kaepernick, Jed York, Justin Smith, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis
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It won’t be a one man job.
To replace Michael Crabtree’s production on the San Francisco 49ers (85 catches, 1,105 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2012) it’s going to take a collective effort from the team, the team, the team.
Jim Harbaugh is eager to see which young wide receiver will emerge to fill Crabtree’s shoes as San Francisco’s starting wideout opposite of Anquan Boldin. So far, the young wideouts have been letting their work on the practice field make their case. Players like A.J. Jenkins and Ricardo Lockette are intriguing prospects to line up with Boldin. Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are also close to returning from late-season injuries.
It should also be noted that the 49ers can still continue their power-running approach in 2013. They also have the unique running threat of Colin Kaepernick. In the backfield, Kendall Hunter is working his way back from a season-ending injury. Plus, Frank Gore is Frank Gore.
Receivers are key in any offense, but the 49ers have shown the ability to be creative in personnel groupings. Not to be forgotten, Vernon Davis, one of the game’s most dangerous tight ends, still figures to be heavily involved in the passing game.
More on the team’s options to fill in for Crabtree can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, Anquan Boldin, Brent Jones, Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid, Frank Gore, Jed York, Kendall Hunter, Michael Crabtree, Navorro Bowman, Quinton Patton, Ray McDonald, Ricardo Lockette, Tank Carradine, Tarell Brown, Vance McDonald, Vernon Davis
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The rookie class will join veterans at Organized Team Activities on Tuesday. The NFL newcomers have been working with their new teammates at San Francisco’s “Football School” workouts, but now they can all practice together with helmets at OTAs.
The rookies will also have fourth-round draft pick Quinton Patton in attendance. The Louisiana Tech wide receiver was the only draft pick who couldn’t remain at the team’s facility following rookie minicamp. Patton had to wait until the conclusion of Louisiana Tech’s graduations ceremonies on Saturday.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke with Patton who’s set to join veterans at OTAs.
Patton’s initial arrival to San Francisco was pretty epic. He shouldn’t have any problem sticking around the facility now that graduation is over.
Tags: Brent Jones, Jed York, Jim Harbaugh, John York, Quinton Patton
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The San Francisco 49ers have a name to their future home, Levi’s® Stadium.
Thanks to a unanimous, 7-0 vote buy the Santa Clara City Council, the $220 million stadium naming rights deal between the iconic Bay Area brands is now official.
“It’s a testament to why we always thought this project would work,” 49ers CEO Jed York told the San Jose Mercury News. “To anybody who ever doubted this project would happen, these numbers speak for themselves.”
York spoke at the city council meeting along with Levi’s® CEO Chip Bergh, who wisely wore 49ers-colored Levi’s® jeans.
Following the approval, both CEOs shook hands with big grins. Soon after, they posed for photos with members of the City Council and members of the 49ers front office.
LevisStadium.com is now the place to learn all about the team’s future home. Book your tour of Levi’s® Stadium today.
Tags: Jed York, Joe Staley, Lawrence Okoye
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The new Santa Clara Stadium remains a strong contender to host Super Bowl L. The future home of the 49ers, set to open in 2014, is one of two candidates to host the biggest game in professional sports at the conclusion of the 2016 season.
The San Francisco Super Bowl committee is up against South Florida to host Super Bowl L. The decision will come down to a vote from NFL owners on May 21.
After recent developments in South Florida, Santa Clara could be considered favorites to host the big game. Peter King of Sports Illustrated explained the reasoning in his Monday Morning Quarterback column.
“When the Florida legislature on Friday refused to allow the citizens of South Florida to vote on whether to increase the South Florida hotel tax from 6 to 7 percent, it put a huge damper on the chance for Super Bowl L to be held at Dolphins Stadium,” King wrote.
“The league had said the site very much needs the proposed $350 million stadium improvement. Owners are slated to vote for Super Bowls 50 and 51 at the spring meetings in Boston May 20-22. Super Bowl 50 was a battle between the San Francisco Bay Area and South Florida, with 51 likely headed to either Houston or the loser of the fight for 50.
“So, barring a late Hail Mary from Miami owner Stephen Ross, it’s likely Santa Clara (45 miles south of San Francisco) will get 50 and Houston 51. It would be the first Super Bowl in the Bay Area in 31 years, since the Joe Montana-Dan Marino faceoff in Palo Alto in January 1985.”
Tags: Jed York, Michael Crabtree
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 26 Comments »
For a second consecutive year, Trent Baalke pegged a first-round draft pick at least 24 hours before the actual draft.
In 2012, it was A.J. Jenkins who was the preferred pick of the San Francisco 49ers general manager. In 2013, the honor went to LSU safety Eric Reid.
Baalke’s 24-hour preference of the SEC safety was shared by Jed York.
The 49ers CEO offered a glimpse into Baalke’s pre-draft mindset in a Thursday night conversation with Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports.
“We weren’t nervous,” York said of the 49ers draft room. “Trent made up his mind yesterday what he wanted to do and he went out and did it. And if it hadn’t worked out, we’d have still had some pretty good options.”
Perhaps the 49ers will have those other options in play for the No. 34 overall pick, a selection they acquired from a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The fast-paced first-round of the NFL Draft is recapped in today’s Morning Tailgate.
On to the links…
Tags: Eric Reid, Jed York, Jim Harbaugh, Trent Baalke
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Both Frank Gore and Marcus Lattimore suffered multiple knee injuries in college. Both, however, are considered highly talented running backs, ones who have been known as explosive play-makers during their respective careers.
Gore stands as the San Francisco 49ers all-time leader in rushing yards, carries and rushing touchdowns. At 29, Gore is also coming off a Pro Bowl season, the fourth of his career.
Lattimore, the NCAA’s national freshman of the year in 2009, has yet to make a lasting career in the NFL. He’s still aiming to be drafted in 2013 after suffering his second major knee injury at the University of South Carolina.
However, the comparisons between the two are still easy to dissect.
Gore was a third-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2005 and proved to be a brilliant selection for San Francisco.
Lattimore, on the other hand, stands poised to follow in Gore’s footsteps. The two also developed a relationship last year. Thanks to 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver, a college teammate of Lattimore, the two were put in touch after the running back prospect tore all three major knee ligaments in his right knee against the University of Tennessee.
Lattimore later compared himself to Gore at the 2013 Scouting Combine.
“I feel like we both run hard,” Lattimore said. “He runs like nobody’s there. He runs with total destruction. I feel like if I could compare my game to anybody, it would be Frank Gore. He’s got low pads, he’s got great vision, he can see the whole field. Great balance.”
The comparisons between the two running backs continued this week in a recent episode of John Gruden’s Camp on ESPN.
The former NFL head coach asked Lattimore about both major knee injuries he suffered in college and how he’s been able to bounce back from the hardships.
“Anything that comes to me in life,” Lattimore began, “I feel like I’ve been through it all. Nothing can ever take the smile off my face because I’ll never take anything for granted again.”
Lattimore continued to detail the lessons he’s learned through rehab and why he’s pursuing a career in the NFL.
“I love football,” the South Carolina star told Gruden. “My kids they’re going to watch this one day and they’re going to see my dad never gave up.
“My story relates to everybody…Adversity introduces a man to himself.”
Gruden later commented that his father ribbed him for not drafting Gore back in 2005. When the 49ers running back broke a big run against a Gruden-coached Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, the elder Gruden immediately sent his son a text message with a reminder of his praise for Gore.
It remains to be seen where Lattimore gets drafted in 2013, but his story is one to watch come April 25, especially with how it compares to San Francisco’s own starting running back.
More NFL Draft and 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.
Tags: Chris Culliver, Demarcus Dobbs, Frank Gore, Jed York, Joe Staley, Mike Iupati
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By the end of last season, Jim Harbaugh argued that the NFC West could be named the toughest division in football. After watching the first week of free agency unfold, it looks like the road to a third consecutive NFC West title for the 49ers will be formidable. Peter King of Sports Illustrated took stock of the division heading into 2013.
“They’ll have more draft choices in 2013 than any other team — 14 — and GM Trent Baalke, despite what the Niners say publicly, has to be thinking about what it would take to acquire Darrelle Revis, with extra picks in the second, third and fourth rounds as chips,” King wrote. “Whatever, San Francisco has to be markedly better in the back of the defense to have a chance to win the Super Bowl in 2014. Clutch physical receiver Anquan Boldin will help Colin Kaepernick make plays downfield.”
The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate gets you primed for the NFL team owners meetings and more.
Tags: Craig Dahl, Jed York, Jim Harbaugh, Trent Baalke
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The NFL free agency frenzy is just around the corner. Starting Friday night at 9 p.m. PT, teams can start negotiating contracts with the agents of free agent players, but no deals can be signed until 1 p.m PT on Tuesday, March 12.
Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle noted the ins and outs of the free agent process in a recent post. “For the first time, the league will tiptoe into free agency by allowing teams to begin negotiating with agents of pending unrestricted free agents in advance of the official start of free agency (1 p.m. PT Tuesday),” Branch wrote. “Contracts can’t be signed until Tuesday. During the three-day negotiating period, a UFA can’t take visits or have contact with another team, other than his own.”
The 49ers would also like to invite their Faithful Fans to a Colin Kaepernick autograph signing on behalf of Gatorade later today from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Danville Safeway (3496 Camino Tassajara).
The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks ahead to free agency and more.
Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Dashon Goldson, Jed York, Tramaine Brock
Posted in Announcements | 34 Comments »