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Morning Tailgate: Lattimore Stays Patient

Posted by Taylor Price on July 23, 2013 – 11:38 AM

Marcus Lattimore is currently on San Francisco’s Active/Non-Football Injury List. However, the fourth-round pick remains determined to make an impact for the 49ers.

How soon is the question.

Lattimore told Yahoo! Sports that he feels like he could practice now, but will wait until team physicians deem him 100-percent ready to join his 49ers teammates. Lattimore suffered multiple knee injuries in college and is nine months removed from a devastating injury that caused him to slide in the 2013 NFL Draft.

The star college running back at South Carolina said he’s, “cool” with the rehab process with the 49ers. Lattimore added, “It gives me more time to make sure I’m really ready when I do practice.”

Lattimore won’t be out on with the 49ers at training camp practices, but he’ll continue to work his way back to playing shape. It’s a situation football fans all over the country will monitor until he makes his triumphant return.

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

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MT: Crabtree Shares Rehab Update

Posted by Taylor Price on July 2, 2013 – 11:27 AM

Michael Crabtree hasn’t gone silent after suffering an Achilles injury in offseason workouts. The leading wideout for the San Francisco 49ers has used his Twitter account to share updates on his outlook for the 2013 season. He’s also made several comments on the NBA Finals. Crabtree’s champion pick, the San Antonio Spurs, lost to the Heat. But Crabtree hasn’t been quiet on Twitter since the NBA season wrapped up.

The 49ers wideout informed his 132,000-plus followers that he’s returning to the gym.

“I’m ready,” Crabtree wrote.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee examined the post from the 49ers wideout and explained the rehab process from the perspective of Dr. Eric Giza, chief of the foot and ankle service at UC Davis.

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

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MT: Bowman Hosts Football Camp

Posted by Taylor Price on July 1, 2013 – 9:34 AM

All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman hosted his first annual football camp last week. He also did it with a little help from his friends.

San Francisco 49ers teammates Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis and Anthony Dixon all joined Bowman to teach football fundamentals to children in Bowman’s hometown of District Heights, Md.

Bowman shared photos and videos from the event on his social media accounts.

Today’s Morning Tailgate features some of the top 49ers-related headlines to close out the month of June.

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Boldin Passes on White House Visit

Posted by Taylor Price on June 4, 2013 – 10:36 AM

Loyalty to the fullest.

Anquan Boldin is not visiting the White House this week with his former club, the Baltimore Ravens. Instead, the new 49ers wide receiver is sticking around in the Bay Area to finish out the final three sessions of OTAs.

Boldin explained through his verified Twitter account.

Young receivers on the roster like fourth-round pick Quinton Patton (pictured right) have learned a great deal from the 11-year veteran receiver already this offseason.

“Since Anquan Boldin’s been out here,”  Patton told 49ers.com, “he’s been helping me with my releases.”

The 49ers wideouts will continue to soak up knowledge with Boldin being a solid teammates and bypassing a trip to Washington D.C.

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate and be sure to check back in the afternoon for OTA coverage on 49ers.com.

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Justin Smith ‘Indispensable’ on Defense

Posted by Taylor Price on June 3, 2013 – 9:45 AM

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.

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MT: Nnamdi Asomugha at OTAs

Posted by Taylor Price on May 28, 2013 – 10:19 AM

He’s the fifth-most experienced player on the 49ers roster, but Nnamdi Asomugha is a rookie of sorts this offseason.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound cornerback has been learning San Francisco’s defense this offseason during Organized Team Activities and will continue his studying with another three-day OTA session at team headquarters. Even if Asomugha is entering his 11th season in the NFL, there’s still plenty of defensive nuances to master at this time of the year.

The veteran cornerback signed a one-year contract with the 49ers this offseason to compete for a coveted position in San Francisco’s defensive backfield and has been an active participant in the team’s offseason program. So far, Asomugha has stood out at practice.

The tallest cornerback on the roster was examined closely by Kevin Lynch of SFGate.com.

“In the first organized team activity practice open to the media, Asomugha was a 49ers’ starting cornerback in team drills,” Lynch wrote. “He was substituting for starter Tarell Brown, who was not in attendance during the voluntary practice.”

Lynch noted that Asomugha wasn’t afraid to use his physical tools to his advantage.

“Asomugha often latched on quickly to the receivers he was covering and he muscled them. However, he had difficulty sustaining coverage on longer plays, which isn’t surprising at age 31.”

Asomugha’s coverage skills will continue to be analyzed with Tuesday’s OTA session being opened to the media.

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MT: Replacing Michael Crabtree

Posted by Taylor Price on May 24, 2013 – 10:45 AM

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.

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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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Morning Tailgate: Competitive Secondary

Posted by Taylor Price on May 16, 2013 – 10:41 AM

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.

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MT: 49ers Reach 90-Man Roster Limit

Posted by Taylor Price on May 15, 2013 – 10:57 AM

Following a third week of “Football School,” the San Francisco 49ers will finish the month of May with two sets of Organized Team Activities (May 21-23, May 28-30).

Those voluntary workouts are expected to have a great turnout. The 49ers offseason program has been heavily attended every step of the way from many of the team’s veterans. Now, the rookie class can participate in the offseason schedule. With the signing of fullback Jason Schepler, the 49ers are at a 90-man roster.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee analyzed San Francisco’s personnel and noted the holdovers from the 2012 NFC Champion squad. Wide receiver and inside linebacker are two positions with the most change heading into 2013.

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

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