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#Vote49ers to the 2013 Pro Bowl

Posted by Taylor Price on October 23, 2012 – 10:41 AM

It’s officially voting season for NFL fans.

As of early Tuesday morning, polls are open for fans to select players to the 2013 Pro Bowl, set to be played on Sunday, January 27, 2013 from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 22

Posted by Taylor Price on October 22, 2012 – 10:22 AM

San Francisco 49ers fans are somewhat spoiled when it comes to special teams. It’s understandable though.

After all, it’s hard to notice and appreciate all the efforts of All-Pro, Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee when everything he does looks so routine.

Lee’s five-punt effort last week against Seattle, however, wasn’t overlooked by respected Sports Illustrated football writer Peter King, who listed Lee as his Week 7 Special Teams Player of the Week. King ranked San Francisco as his No. 5 overall team, too.

The nine-year veteran punter continues his stellar play with a 47.5 average on his 26 punts, including 14 inside the 20-yard line. Lee placed 28 punts inside the 20-yard line last season and is on pace to beat that mark this season.

According to King, Lee’s booming right leg blends perfectly with San Francisco’s roster.

“Jim Harbaugh knows the kind of team he has. It’s a field-position team. His passing game is not explosive, but his running game is very good, and his defense mostly suffocating,” King wrote in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column.

“On Thursday night, Lee, the superb punter for the Niners, played right into Harbaugh’s plans. He punted five times. He pinned the Seahawks back at their 4-, 33-, 14-, 9- and 6-yard lines. (Average post-punt drive start: 13-yard line.) Seattle had five punt-return yards all night. Niners 13, Seahawks 6.”

King also gave praise to the interior of the 49ers offensive line for their dominant running in the second half of the 49ers win.

“Left guard Mike Iupati, center Jonathan Goodwin, right guard Alex Boone. You want to see how to wear down a defensive front? Watch the three men on the Niners offensive line batter a very good Seattle front seven (and tackles Joe Staley and Antony Davis played well too) for 175 rushing yards on 32 clock-eating carries,” King Wrote.

“My favorite run of the Thursday night win over the Seahawks: Early in the fourth quarter, Frank Gore took a handoff from Alex Smith. Boone cut left to erase defensive lineman Jason Jones, Goodwin blasted out to smother defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, and Iupati, foraging for a victim, ran ahead to clear out middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Gore was off to the races. Gain of 37. This is what these three guys did all night for Gore and Kendall Hunter, particularly late, when their physical dominance showed.”

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49ers O-Line Ready to Adjust

Posted by Alex Espinoza on October 16, 2012 – 11:56 AM

Alex Boone got used to having center Jonathan Goodwin on his left side through the first five-plus weeks of the season. After spending his entire football career as a tackle, Boone made the transition to right guard this offseason, helping improve the offensive line into one of the team’s strengths.

But the unit might have to do some shuffling with the short week of preparation, as Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley suffered a concussion on Sunday against the Giants, missed Monday’s walkthrough practice and saw a neurologist. Once Staley went down in the third quarter after being hit hard on Antrel Rolle’s second interception return, Boone moved out to left tackle while veteran Leonard Davis filled in as right guard.

For Boone, it took a moment to adjust to the left edge of the offensive line.

“It was a little weird at first,” Boone said. “I looked over (to my left) and was, like, Jon? Jon? Where you at?”

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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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49ers O-Line Wins Madden MVP Award

Posted by Alex Espinoza on October 10, 2012 – 10:12 AM

The San Francisco 49ers gained a franchise-record 621 yards as they cruised to a 45-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills. The 49ers’ offense became the first team in NFL history to amass over 300 yards passing and 300 yards rushing in a single game. The 49ers had two receivers who eclipsed 100 yards on the day.  Led by superb protection by the offensive line, quarterback Alex Smith (Utah) was not sacked and was hit three times as he threw for a season high 303 yards and three touchdowns.  Sunday’s solid performance establishes the San Francisco 49ers offensive line as a contender for the fourth annual Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award.

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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 5

Posted by Alex Espinoza on October 5, 2012 – 11:17 AM

The 49ers roster is littered with playmakers. Team photographer Terrell Lloyd and Kym Fortina were in New York to capture the 34-0 shutout victory over the Jets and collaborated to make this great photo gallery. Don’t forget to check out their “Biggie Head” gallery from Green Bay either.

San Francisco has jumped out to a 3-1 start in the competitve NFC West, where Arizona (4-1), St. Louis (3-2) and Seattle (2-2) have .500 records or better. Much of the 49ers’ success has to do with their offensive line, which has developed a strong rapport in its four games as a unit. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com discusses the growth of the o-line and how they’ve improved since last year.

“Nobody is questioning the 49ers’ offensive line now,” Maiocco wrote. “In fact, the line might be the team’s strongest position on that side of the ball.”

Up next, the 49ers will have to try slow down Mario Williams and Buffalo’s defensive line, which is one of the best San Francisco will face all year. Tickets for Sunday’s 1:25 p.m. kickoff are still available through NFL Ticket Exchange. More stories about this weekend’s matchup can be found after the jump.

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Staley, Smith Become “Nose Bros”

Posted by Taylor Price on September 18, 2012 – 4:58 PM

Joe Staley and Alex Smith have always been close on and off the field.

Sunday, however, the 49ers blindside protector and starting quarterback became even tighter in a way.

Staley suffered a cut to the bridge of his nose two days into training camp. It’s been constantly re-opening because of contact to his helmet rubbing off on to his nose. That changed this past week with Staley electing to wear his older and much tighter helmet.

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Jonathan Goodwin: “Guys Are Working Hard”

Posted by Jacob Most on August 2, 2012 – 2:18 PM

For a team that was just one game away from the Super Bowl a season ago, much of the attention thus far at 49ers Training Camp presented by HP has been focused on whether offseason offensive additions can push the team over the top.

Before many of those acquisitions can contribute in a regular season game, things start in the trenches at training camp. Center Jonathan Goodwin can attest. The 10-year veteran won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints and sees similarities in 2012 at 49ers camp like the one he experienced in 2009 when the Saints won it all.

Physical practices set the tone. With the 49ers, Goodwin sees Jim Harbaugh and the coaching staff utilizing a physical approach early in camp.

Players like Goodwin expect that physicality to pay off long-term.

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Morning Tailgate: July 18

Posted by Taylor Price on July 18, 2012 – 9:20 AM

The offseason is almost over for the San Francisco 49ers – #Camp49 is just eight days away. (Not like we’re counting). For most of the summer, much of the conversation regarding the team has been centered around the improvements made at the wide receiver position and the expectations for the likes of Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins.

On Tuesday, however, CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco shared a different topic worth discussing – the team’s 2013 opponents – which are known due to the league’s rotating schedule. In 2013, the 49ers will host the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, as well as a team from the NFC North and all three NFC West rivals. On the road, the team will face the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, a team from the NFC East and all three NFC West division rivals. The NFC North and NFC East opponents will depend on how the 49ers fare in 2012.

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: June 12

Posted by Taylor Price on June 12, 2012 – 10:03 AM

The 49ers mandatory three-day minicamp begins today, signaling the start of the team’s final on-field work prior to training camp.

Similar to Organized Team Activities, the minicamp will involve the same non-contact principles as the previous stages of the offseason program. Team and 7-on-7 periods are permitted, one-on-one pass-rushing battles, however, will have to wait until training camp.

49ers.com will have extended minicamp coverage throughout the week, but before camp begins, let’s take a look at the top team-related headlines.

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