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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 6

Posted by Alex Espinoza on August 6, 2012 – 10:24 AM

The 49ers will return to Candlestick Park in four days to kick off their preseason schedule with a Friday night (6 p.m.) matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. The reigning NFC Champs have put together a productive first two weeks of training camp and are eager to see some other jerseys out on the field.

Heading into 2012, the 49ers boast one of the league’s most talented and complete group of linebackers. Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks is a key part to the San Francisco defense both in the run game and the pass rush, as evidenced by the six-year extension he signed with the team in February. Despite starting all 16 games during his career year in 2011 (50 tackles and 7.0 sacks) and his new contract, Brooks is more motivated than ever entering his seventh NFL season.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee spoke to Brooks about his offseason, which included some trips to the local pilates class. “As a result Brooks enters the 2012 season with a changed physique,” Barrows wrote. “He weighs just as much as he has in previous training camps – 266 pounds – but it’s a different, more muscular type of weight, he said.”

Today’s Morning Tailgate features a variety of news, including the latest training camp headlines, a heart-warming story about 49ers great Jesse Sapolu, an inspiring video of Alex Smith’s career and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 2

Posted by Taylor Price on August 2, 2012 – 9:33 AM

Following a sudden end to the 2011 postseason, Kyle Williams has vowed to bounce back with a vengeance. Ever since the 49ers season ended, Williams went back to work and is seeing positive results from his efforts.

Cam Inman of The San Jose Mercury News noted that Wiliams made “a couple of phenomenal catches Wednesday while the 49ers worked on third-down conversions, a dismal area last season when they ranked second-to-last in the league.” Inman’s story shares the support Williams received from teammates and the entire 49ers organization.

CSN Bay Area’s Mindi Bach also observed the strong play of Williams at the 49ers’ fifth training camp session. “In a 7-on-7 drill, Williams lined up wide right in front of cornerback Tramaine Brock, who was playing seven yards off. Williams grabbed a nice 35-yard reception.”

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: July 31

Posted by Taylor Price on July 31, 2012 – 9:25 AM

Players have the day off, but that’s not stopping them from coming into the facility to work out. Donte Whitner just tweeted that he’s headed into 4949 Centennial Blvd. and doesn’t expect to be alone.

The 49ers have gone through two padded practices, the second of which on Monday, resulted in several highlights from both the offense and the defense. In some cases, defensive players were making plays for both sides of the ball. So far, the 49ers have built strong camaraderie in camp. Take a look at the image atop this blog, two newcomers Brandon Jacobs and Leonard Davis, are already embracing each other before the start of practice like they’ve been teammates for years. Surely, they enjoyed the physical day at 49ers Training Camp presented by HP.

More on Monday’s camp standouts and the latest 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: July 30

Posted by Taylor Price on July 30, 2012 – 9:01 AM

Real football, according to offensive coordinator Greg Roman, began on Sunday for the San Francisco 49ers. Pads were out in full-effect, as evidenced by All-Pro defensive tackle Justin Smith consistent manhandling of opposing offensive linemen.

Smith’s dominance was noted extensively by CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco and Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee.

Other Sunday practice reports focused on the production of the team’s young wide receivers. After Jim Harbaugh defended A.J. Jenkins’ performance with the club this offseason, Cam Inman of The San Jose Mercury News reviewed the first-rounder’s first day with the pads and added this note on another young 49ers wideout: “Nathan Palmer, undrafted out of Northern Illinois, continues to impress and made several nice grabs today, starting with one against Carlos Rogers in one-on-one, press-coverage drills.”

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: July 27

Posted by Taylor Price on July 27, 2012 – 9:01 AM

Finally, football has come back to the 49ers training facility in Santa Clara. Camp is here. Position battles, non-stop competition, and the smell of fresh-cut grass all signal the start of an exciting time of the year.

The 49ers, 87-men strong (with three players placed on the 90-men roster on the Physically Unable to Perform List), will hit the fields Friday afternoon. But first, select veterans like Alex Smith and Randy Moss, plus coach Jim Harbaugh will address the media from 12-1. The first training camp practice runs from 2:30-5:10 p.m.

All eyes and ears will be on Moss according to CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco. Many want to know what the future Hall of Fame wide receiver has left in the tank at the age of 35. We’ll find out Moss’ outlook on training camp when he meets the press later today.

Without even taking a training camp rep, 49ers camp got off to an interesting start. Dashon Goldson signed his one-year franchise tender Thursday morning, calling the decision a “no-brainer.” Shortly after, the team announced the signing of three-time Pro Bowl guard Leonard Davis to compete for the starting right guard position.

If that’s any indication of what’s to come, we should all be in for an entertaining ride.

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: July 19

Posted by Taylor Price on July 19, 2012 – 9:31 AM

Let’s begin Thursday’s Morning Tailgate by talking golf. It’s only right. After all, it’s the first day of The Open Championship and the American Century Celebrity Golf Championships in Lake Tahoe.

The celebrity tournament, of course, is relevant to the 49ers because Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice is in the field once again and is joined by a first-time 49ers participant, current starting quarterback Alex Smith.

If you happen to be in the Lake Tahoe area over the weekend, click here for tournament information which features a Thursday celeb pro-am. The actual tournament begins on Friday and will be televised on NBC Sports Network from 1-4 p.m. PT, and by NBC on Saturday and Sunday from 12-3 p.m. PT.

NFL.com reporter Ian Rapoport also happens to be on the scene covering all things NFL-related. Rapoport ran into Smith as the quarterback was walking from the 18th green to the first tee box.

“In between signing autographs and dodging stray carts, Smith came off as a guy pumped to get going,” Rapoport wrote. “Considering his team added weapons like Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, I can’t blame him.”

Rapoport also noted that Smith crushed his tee shot. Thatta’ boy Alex.

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: June 13

Posted by Taylor Price on June 13, 2012 – 9:30 AM

One down, two more to go.

After the remaining two days of 49ers mandatory minicamp passes, the team will be off until training camp. That means the next two days will be crucial for the team to continue developing in a fast-paced offseason tempo. But despite the days of the offseason program starting to dwindle, the 49ers coaching staff remains confident that the players inside the locker room will retain the information they’ve picked up this offseason.

In speaking exclusively with ESPN.com’s NFC West blogger Mike Sando, Jim Harbaugh detailed the intelligence of his team, referencing 14 offensive players by name.

“It’s early in the offseason for identities to take shape,” Sando wrote, “but Harbaugh said his team’s collective smarts would allow for great flexibility.”

More 49ers headlines can be found after jump.

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Morning Tailgate: June 11

Posted by Taylor Price on June 11, 2012 – 9:38 AM

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.

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Morning Tailgate: June 4

Posted by Taylor Price on June 4, 2012 – 8:03 AM

One of the San Francisco 49ers’ quietest, but perhaps, most crucial offseason additions, wide receiver Mario Manningham, enjoyed some well-deserved time in the spotlight over the weekend.

Dan Brown of The San Jose Mercury News recently spoke with the former New York Giants wideout, who signed a two-year contract with the 49ers shortly into the free agency signing period following a dominant 2011 postsesaon. With an assist from the team’s video director Michael Bracken, Manningham and Brown discussed the athletic, play-making receiver’s 38-yard catch in last year’s Super Bowl, one that set up the game’s go-ahead touchdown.

“I don’t ignore it,” Manningham told Brown. “I know what I did: I won a Super Bowl with a nice catch. But I’m trying to get another one, man.”

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Posted in Announcements, Morning Tailgate | 19 Comments »

Vernon Davis Likes 49ers Makeup

Posted by Taylor Price on May 31, 2012 – 5:28 PM

As the No. 43 overall player in the game today, according to NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2012 list, tight end Vernon Davis is pleased to see so many teammates joining him on the list.

As last year’s No. 88 overall player, Davis made the biggest leap from last year’s bunch, climbing 45 spots to his current ranking.

You might think Davis is excited with the increased respect from the NFL players who voted, but that’s really not the case.

“I’m more excited about my teammates being on the list,” Davis told 49ers.com.

“It’s nice,” Davis also said. “But like anyone, I always want better.”

In the mind of the versatile 49ers tight end, joining teammates NaVorro Bowman, Carlos Rogers and Joe Staley (so far) on the list is special.

To Davis, it’s a testament to the improvements made by the 49ers.

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Posted in Announcements | 26 Comments »

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