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Morning Tailgate: Meet Lemonier

Posted by Taylor Price on July 18, 2013 – 11:28 AM

The San Francisco 49ers added depth to an already strong group of linebackers when the team selected Corey Lemonier in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

The former All-SEC standout defensive end at Auburn is adjusting to life as an outside linebacker with the 49ers, but feels like he’s coming along in the transition most undersized defensive ends make in their first year of professional football.

Lemonier recently sat down with CSN Bay Area to discuss his progress and confirm the pronunciation of his last name.

Lemonier aims to make his name standout even more with strong performances in training camp practices set to take place at the end of the month.

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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Morning Tailgate: 49ers Deep at RB

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

From top to bottom, the San Francisco 49ers boast one of, if not the, deepest running back groups in the National Football League.

Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James, San Francisco’s top runners, could all be featured as star weapons on any given team. Together, the 49ers have one of the strongest backfields in the league. The group also includes Anthony Dixon, Jewel Hampton and fourth-round pick Marcus Lattimore, who is working diligently to rehab a major college knee injury.

To further prove the point of San Francisco having a top-notice stable of runners, Marc Sessler of NFL.com put San Francisco atop his list of the NFL’s deepest backfields.

“Gore at age 30 remains highly productive, but the 49ers have planned for his eventual departure with a packed stable of backs,” Sessler wrote. “Hunter is coming off Achilles surgery but remains a strong bet to keep the No. 2 spot if he’s healthy come September. James completes coordinator Greg Roman’s three-headed monster in the backfield.”

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Kaepernick Among Top Young QBs

Posted by Taylor Price on May 30, 2013 – 9:11 AM

Colin Kaepernick ranked No. 3 on NFL.com’s Top-10 quarterbacks 25 or under list.

San Francisco’s signal-caller earned the nod over Josh Freeman, Andy Dalton, Sam Bradford, Ryan Tannehill, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton.

Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are presumably the top 2 selections.

Kaepernick earned the No. 3 spot because of his impressive 10 starts in 2012, including his impressive comeback rally that nearly earned the 49ers a victory in Super Bowl XLVII.

“Kaepernick makes difficult throws look so easy,” NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal wrote. “Early mistakes did not stop Kaepernick from squeezing the ball into tight windows requiring his considerable arm strength. His outstanding overall performance got ignored because of how the game ended.”

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Joe Staley Temporarily Sidelined

Posted by Taylor Price on May 29, 2013 – 11:25 AM

The 49ers starting left tackle was not practicing at Organized Team Activities on Tuesday. Joe Staley was in attendance, but not participating in the two-hour workout.

After the open OTA session, Jim Harbaugh informed reporters that Staley had a minor procedure done this offseason.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reported it was a minor meniscus tear in Staley’s left knee.

Staley went to Twitter to alleviate any concerns from the team’s fan base.

“Procedure I had this offseason was very minor but necessary,” Staley wrote. “I will be 100 percent and better than ever by training camp.”

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Kaepernick Builds His Brand

Posted by Taylor Price on May 23, 2013 – 10:08 AM

Colin Kaepernick keeps building his understanding of the 49ers offense at the team’s Organized Team Activities. Off the field, Kaepernick is growing his marketing appeal.

Months removed from a Super Bowl appearance, the 49ers quarterback has been racking up endorsement deals. Kaepernick’s commercial appeal was the recent subject of a Forbes.com piece.

Kaepernick, however, is not mixing publicity with football. The 49ers quarterback has been “sharp” this offseason according to his coach, Jim Harbaugh.

“He’s been really strong,” the 49ers coach told reporters on Wednesday. “Running the offense, throwing the ball extremely well. He’s in great physical shape with a total command of the offense.”

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MT: 49ers Offseason Workouts Begin

Posted by Taylor Price on April 15, 2013 – 9:00 AM

It’s the first football activity the San Francisco 49ers can hold in 2013. Voluntary offseason conditioning work begins today at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

In Phase One of the offseason program, the 49ers will hold two weeks of conditioning work under the supervision of the team’s strength and conditioning staff.

When the two weeks have passed, Phase Two of the program will allow coaches on the field to work on drills with the players before the start of 10 days of offseason team activities (OTAs) and minicamps to be held in May and June.

The first OTA sessions will be held on May 21-23, May 28-30 and June 3-6.

A rookie minicamp will be held after the 2013 NFL Draft. Rookies, however, must finish their spring semester or fourth quarter of school before participating in the OTA sessions with veteran teammates. Last offseason, second-round pick LaMichael James had to finish school at Oregon before taking part in offseason workouts with the 49ers.

More headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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49 in 49: Pac-12 Week

Posted by Taylor Price on March 18, 2013 – 10:45 AM

For the next seven days, 49ers.com will continue profiling the most compelling prospects available in the 2013 NFL Draft as part of our “49 in 49″ series.

Next up, the Pac-12’s talent comes into focus. Seven prospects from the conference will be featured, including a son of a former San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowler.

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2012 Plays of the Year: Big Plays

Posted by Alex Espinoza on February 26, 2013 – 2:29 PM

We need your help in selecting the top plays from the 2012 season. We’re asking our Faithful fans to choose the top takeaway, touchdown, sack, big play and biggest hit of the season. Next, the winning five plays (one from each category), will move on to the championship round to determine 49ers.com’s “Top Play of 2012.”

Watch our “Top 5” video highlights on the best plays for each category, then vote in the poll section of the corresponding blog post to see which top play will reach the championship.

Help us crown the top play of 2012 by choosing your favorite big play from this past season. You can vote for your favorite big play up until Thursday at noon. Let’s take a look at the five nominees.

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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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