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Morning Tailgate: Oct. 17

Posted by Alex Espinoza on October 17, 2012 – 11:34 AM

Sacks can be a useful indicator of success for a team’s pass rush, but they aren’t the end all be all. Despite ranking 26th in the league with 9.0 sacks this year, the 49ers rank among the league leaders in pass defense. San Francisco has given up just 6.0 yards per attempt, the lowest in the league, while ranking second in yards allowed per game (183.2).

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com relayed comments from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who said that the 49ers pass rush isn’t an issue. “The 49ers must be doing something right with their pass defense,” Maiocco wrote. “They have already faced Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and Eli Manning, and the 49ers rank second-best in the league in passing yards allowed.”

Today’s Morning Tailgate also features the latest on the Bay Area’s bid for a Super Bowl, Seahawks vs. 49ers coverage and more.

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Monday’s Locker Room Talk: Aug. 30

Posted by Taylor Price on August 30, 2010 – 4:51 PM

Back in OTAs, Mike Singletary said the final players to make his 53-man roster would be the ones who contribute the most on special teams.

On Monday, the 49ers head coach reiterated those intentions days after his team put its best special teams performance together in a 28-24 win over the Oakland Raiders.

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Coffee Tells 49ers He Intends to Retire

Posted by Taylor Price on August 13, 2010 – 12:55 PM

At the conclusion of Friday’s only training camp practice of the day, Mike Singletary announced that second-year running back Glen Coffee informed the 49ers he intends to retire from the National Football League.

Coffee released this statement through the team earlier on Friday:

“This has been a tough decision for me to make, but at this time in my life I feel it is best for me that I move on from football. I appreciate what the 49ers, my teammates and coaches have done for me, and I wish them a blessed season and all the best in the future.”

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Robinson Provides Wisdom for Rookie Class

Posted by Taylor Price on April 30, 2010 – 3:27 PM

Running back, jack-of-all-trades, special teams ace and now blogger, Michael Robinson is back at team headquarters after missing out on the team’s first two days of organized team activities last month.

But the absence was for good reason.

Robinson had been preoccupied with the creation of his foundation, “Excel 2 Excellence” along with his first football camp in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Now that Robinson has the camp situated, he got back to work with his 49ers teammates for a morning organized team activity (OTA) on Friday before the start of a three-day rookie minicamp.

Being away from teammates was tough on the fifth-year back.

“I just wanted to see the squad,” Robinson said. “I had some free time this weekend and I had to make sure my guy (Navorro) Bowman got in alright. But a lot of it was me missing the guys and wanting to be around my teammates.”

The former Penn State quarterback has plenty of wisdom to impart on his new teammates, including Bowman, a fellow Nittany Lion like himself. Just being back at the facility reminded Robinson of the experiences he felt at his first minicamp with the 49ers in 2006.

“I remember life being a whole lot different back then from when I was playing quarterback in college,” Robinson recalled. “I was with the runners, individual drills were a lot different and my mind was spinning and I had never experienced offense as a running back every day. They might as well spoke a different language because I didn’t know what was going on.”

As Robinson can attest, the adjustment took time. But once he figured it out, Robinson took off with it, becoming one of the team’s most versatile players.

With a new set of rookies watching the veterans OTA session, Robinson can relate to what they must have been thinking. But as Robinson can attest, players with the right mentality will eventually make it in the long run.

“I know guys are seeing how fast we practice, but they have to understand the learning will come. They’ll get it. They just have to be patient and let it all come. They need to know that they’re in the league now and this is their profession. This is not an extracurricular activity. You can get fired and won’t have a job with the team anymore. You have to approach it that way, and if they do that, I think they’ll be fine.”

Robinson recently authored a blog on his own website, discussing what rookies should look out for in further detail.

We know Robinson already is impressed with Bowman’s abilities, but he’s also been taken back by the rest of the 2010 draft class.

“I see attitude. They all have a little attitude about them. That’s all embodied in Coach Singletary,” Robinson said. “The ones who will be here in the end are the guys who play with an attitude and a little bit of a chip on their shoulder.”

Coach Singletary also talked about his first rookie minicamp and much more after the morning session, watch the video HERE.

The rookie minicamp is set to begin, we’ll have more on the first day in the careers of Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Taylor Mays and many more.  Check back 49ers.com for more on the rookie minicamp. But in the mean time, check out the sights and sounds of the veteran OTA session.


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Michael Robinson Launches “Excel 2 Excellence”

Posted by Taylor Price on April 16, 2010 – 9:31 AM

On the field, 49ers running back Michael Robinson is a fearless competitor, so much so, he’s been voted by his teammates as a team captain for the past two seasons.

In continuing that leadership in his Virginia community, Robinson has created his “Excel 2 Excellence Foundation.” With the launch, Robinson announced his plans for his first charitable events, including a visit to VCU Children’s Medical Center on May 21, 2010 and a football camp at his alma mater, Varina High School the following day.

Robinson led Varina to four consecutive regional titles and two state runner-up finishes before he went on to star at Penn State. Now he’s eager to be back on his high school field working with kids who want to follow his in footsteps.

“I’m excited to host these events in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia,” Robinson said. “The city of Richmond has been very influential in my personal and professional development and I’m very much looking forward to giving back to my community.”

Robinson’s camp is free and limited to the first 500 registered campers. You can get sign up information right here. In addition to a fun day of activities on the football field, campers can expect to see various NFL players in attendance as camp instructors.


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Pro Bowl Update: Week 15

Posted by Taylor Price on December 16, 2009 – 3:53 PM

Pro Bowl balloting is open so make sure you go to nfl.com/probowl to send you favorite 49ers to South Florida.  For the first time since 1980, the Pro Bowl is being held somewhere other than Hawaii.

Several players are having great seasons such as Vernon Davis, Patrick Willis and Aubrayo Franklin, but don’t forget to vote for special teamers like Andy Lee and Michael Robinson.  You can vote as many times as you want, so make sure to vote often!  Here’s a look at what some of the 49ers standouts have done so far:

TE VERNON DAVIS - Davis is having a career-year, leading the team with 66 catches for 815 yards and 11 TDs. His 11 TD receptions rank 1st in the NFL among all pass catchers and are the most by a 49ers tight end in a single-season in franchise history. He ranks 1st among NFC TE’s in yards. and tied for 3rd in receptions.

-“There should be no excuse for him not making the Pro Bowl this year because he is definitely, in my eyes, far and beyond any tight end in the league,” – 49ers Head Coach Mike Singletary, 11/30/09.

LB PATRICK WILLIS - Willis leads the 49ers in tackles to go along with 4.0 sacks, 2 INTs (1 returned for TD), 3 FFs and 11 PDs. According to NFL stats, Willis ranks 2nd in the NFL in tackles (132).

P ANDY LEE - Lee leads the NFC and ranks 2nd in the NFL with a 41.5 net punting avg. and 47.8 gross punting avg.

LB MANNY LAWSON- Lawson ranks 4th in the NFC among LBs with 5.5 sacks, while his 3 FFs rank tied for 2nd in the NFC among LBs.

NT AUBRAYO FRANKLIN - Franklin leads the D-Line with in tackles and TFLs. He recorded a crucial INT against Chi. (11/12) and has a career high 2 sacks. Franklin has helped limit opponents to 3.7 yards per carry (3rd in NFL) and the 5th-fewest rushing yards per game (95.0).

RB FRANK GORE
- Despite missing nearly 3 games due to an ankle injury, Gore has still managed to rush for835 yards and 7 TDs, while ranking tied for 2nd in the NFC in scoring among running backs (60 points).


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Singletary Pleased With Offensive Balance

Posted by Taylor Price on December 15, 2009 – 3:06 PM

There was no locker room talk the day after the 49ers 24-9 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, only podium talk.

Players normally have Tuesdays off, and that meant an empty locker room following Singletary’s day after the game press conference.

But the 49ers head coach had plenty of quality notes and quotes to share with the gathered Bay Area media, including praise for his pass rush and his offense’s performance against Arizona.

Singletary began his presser by announcing the injuries suffered against the Cardinals. Running back Michael Robinson suffered a shoulder stinger in the game and is listed as day-to-day. Rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree suffered a hip contusion. Tackle Barry Sims will undergo an MRI after he complained of knee pain. Lastly, tackle Joe Staley remains day-to-day with a knee injury.

Staley worked out on Sunday, but Singletary said it was a “good idea to give him a little rest time.” Staley remains a day-to-day situation.

Singletary revealed that a point of the 49ers defensive game plan versus Arizona was to get Kurt Warner to move in the pocket. After sacking Warner four times, Singletary said the reason was due to the get-offs of the 49ers defensive line.

In particular, Singletary highlighted the performance of outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks who had a career-high 3.0 sacks and two forced fumbles against Warner.

“It was nice to see Ahmad step into his own on a national stage,” Singletary said. “All the guys really got after the quarterback and made him move.”

Asked if Brooks could push for playing time as a starter at the outside linebacker position, Singletary responded, “Don’t know. That’s a next offseason question.”

Offensively, Singletary pointed to the balance established by the 49ers offense. Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes and Frank Gore rushed 25 times for 167 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run.

“I was happy to see our offense strike a balance,” Singletary said. “For the first time, we struck a nice balance with the run and the pass.”

Singletary was even happier to see a big smile on the face of his star running back.

“I thought Frank did a nice job running the ball. It was nice to see him smiling last night after the game.”

It was a perfect 50-50 split, with the 49ers running 36 times out of their 72 offensive snaps.

The only downside to the offense’s performance was two interceptions thrown by Smith. However, the first was not placed on Smith’s shoulders. Singletary credited Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett with making a great play at the line to tip the ball up in the air to himself. Smith’s second interception could be chalked up to “miscommunication,” Singletary said.

Smith thought tight end Delanie Walker would cut across the face of Cardinals strong safety Adrian Wilson, but instead ran up the field.

The 49ers hope to have those issues ironed out before they travel out to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in an important mid-December meeting this Sunday. The 49ers need help in order to pass the Cardinals in the division race, but also remain alive in the Wild Card race too.

Knowing that, the 49ers will give their best performance against the Eagles and let everything else play out.

“All I know is if we win out we have a chance. It’s a small chance, but we have a chance,” Singletary said. “I don’t really care about the other stuff, the tiebreakers. I don’t get into that. Let’s just see what happens.”


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Pro Bowl Update: Week 13

Posted by Taylor Price on December 3, 2009 – 3:21 PM

Pro Bowl balloting is open so make sure you go to nfl.com/probowl to send you favorite 49ers to South Florida.  For the first time since 1980, the Pro Bowl is being held somewhere other than Hawaii.

Several players are having great seasons such as Vernon Davis, Patrick Willis and Aubrayo Franklin, but don’t forget to vote for special teamers like Andy Lee and Michael Robinson.  You can vote as many times as you want, so make sure to vote often!  Here’s a look at what some of the 49ers standouts have done so far:

TE VERNON DAVIS – Davis is having a career-year, leading the team with 57 catches for 670 yards and 9 TDs. His 9 TD receptions rank 1st among TE’s and tied for 1st in the NFL among all pass catchers. He ranks 1st among NFC TE’s in yards and is tied for 2nd in receptions.

“There should be no excuse for him not making the Pro Bowl this year because he is definitely, in my eyes, far and beyond any tight end in the league,” – 49ers Head Coach Mike Singletary, 11/30/09.

LB PATRICK WILLIS - Willis leads the 49ers with 120 tackles to go along with 3.0 sacks, 2 INTs (1 returned for TD), 2 FFs, 7 TFLs and 11 PDs. According to NFL stats, Willis ranks 2nd in the NFL in tackles (107).

RB FRANK GORE
- Despite missing nearly 3 games due to an ankle injury, Gore has still managed to rush for 643 yards and 6 TDs, while ranking tied for 3rd in the NFL in scoring among running backs (54 points). Gore is 2nd on the team with 36 catches (234 yards and 3 TDs).

P ANDY LEE - Lee ranks 2nd in the NFL with a 41.6 net punting avg. and 48.1 gross punting avg. (48.1). He is tied for 4th in the NFC with 20 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

NT AUBRAYO FRANKLIN - Franklin leads the D-Line with 65 tackles and 7.5 TFLs. He recorded a crucial INT against Chi. (11/12) and has a career-high 2 sacks. Franklin has helped limit opponents to 3.6 yards.


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Pro Bowl Update: Week 12

Posted by Taylor Price on November 24, 2009 – 4:56 PM

The 49ers players need your support to get to the 2010 Pro Bowl in South Florida.  Here’s a recap of what some of the 49ers top Pro Bowl candidates have done through the first eleven weeks of the season.  You can vote as many times as you like at nfl.com/probowl.

TE Vernon Davis - Davis is having a career-year, leading the team with 51 catches for 601 yards and 8 touchdowns. His 8 touchdown receptions rank 1st among tight ends and is tied for 2nd in the NFL among all pass catchers. He ranks 1st among NFC tight ends in yards and 3rd in receptions.

LB PATRICK WILLIS - Willis leads the 49ers with 107 tackles to go along with 2.5 sacks, 2 INTs (1 returned for TD), 2 FFs, 6 TFLs and 10 PDs. According to league stats, Willis ranks 2nd in the NFL in tackles (96).

RB FRANK GORE - Despite missing nearly 3 games due to an ankle injury, Gore has still managed to rush for 610 yards and 6 TDs (tied for 4th in NFC), while ranking tied for 2nd in the NFC with 5.4 yards per carry. Gore ranks 3rd on the team with 29 catches (220 yards. and 2 TDs).

P ANDY LEE
- Lee ranks 2nd in the NFL with a 42.0 net punting avg., 2nd in the NFL in gross punt avg. (47.9) and tied for 7th in the NFL with 19 punts downed inside the 20-yd. line.

NT AUBRAYO FRANKLIN
- Franklin leads the defensive line with 60 tackles and 6.5 TFLs. He recorded a crucial INT against Chi. (11/12) and has set a career-high with 2.0 sacks. Franklin has helped limit opponents to 3.5 yards per carry (3rd in NFL) and the 6th-fewest rushing yards per game (94.7).

RB MICHAEL ROBINSON - Robinson ranks 4th on the team in special teams tackles (16) and has led the team in special teams tackles in three different games. He was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2008.


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Monday’s Locker Room Talk

Posted by Taylor Price on November 23, 2009 – 4:20 PM

A day after his team dropped its fifth game of the season by less than seven points and sixth overall, 49ers head coach Mike Singletary hinted personnel changes were on the horizon.

“I am confident that there may be one or two [changes], but I am still looking at the film,” Singletary said.

Although he would not show his cards on the potential changes, Singletary vowed his players would perform better in the remaining games.

“I am confident that this season will be a good season,” Singletary said. “We’ve got six games left. I am convinced that we will play better.”

Despite dropping another game behind the division leading Arizona Cardinals and the rest of the NFC teams muddled in the Wild Card race, Singletary believes the 49ers can still reach their goals.

“At the very start of this season, our goal was to win enough games to go to the playoffs. That is still our goal. That has not changed, will not change. In my mind, we’re good enough to do that,” he said. “We just have to get it done.”

Singletary’s press conference included several questions pertaining to the shotgun formation that the team predominantly used in the second half against Green Bay to score three touchdowns.

“I think, as we go forward, we have to really look at what’s working for him and what works for the offense and continue to do more of those things,” Singletary said of tailoring the offense to quarterback Alex Smith.

Smith too was asked a high volume of questions regarding the shotgun attack, but insisted that the second half rally had more to do with desire than the shotgun formation. (You can watch video from his interview right here.)

“When you’re down that much, there wasn’t much left to do but to go after those guys and try to mount a comeback,” Smith said. “We finally made a few plays and got ourselves going.”

The one play that clearly kick-started the 49ers offense and the entire team for that matter, was Smith’s 38-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree on a third-and-20.

“I think it did a lot,” Smith said of Crabtree’s first NFL touchdown. “That whole drive, we made a couple of plays and then we were in third-and-long and Crabtree made a big play for the score – I think that got us going. That’s a little bit of what we needed.”

The 49ers added two more touchdown passes in the second half, but never could get the run game going because they were trailing heavily for most of the game.

Looking back at the film, one could infer that the team is best suited to throw the ball from the shotgun formation on every play – but not so says Smith.

That would require the 49ers entering another ‘world.’

“It’s easy to say let’s go live in that world [spread offense] – but I don’t think it’s realistic. I don’t,” Smith said. “That’s something you evolve to down the road maybe. Right now, it’s about finding that balance. Maybe it’s something you go in and out of, but you still have to have balance.

“We have one of the top running backs in the NFL and we need to find a way to continue getting him the ball and put him in situations to succeed.”

Gore rushed for 59 yards on just seven carries, with his best run coming on a 46-yard gain on a delayed draw with Smith not in the shotgun formation, but rather under center.

More Monday Notes:

-The 49ers had their longest injury report of the season following Sunday’s defeat. (Note that names with a * next to them will undergo an MRI Singletary said). *Michael Robinson (stinger), Michael Lewis (quad), Arnaz battle (leg strain), Jason Hill (left ankle sprain), Delanie Walker (forearm contusion), David Baas (right ankle sprain), Patrick Willis (trap spasm), *Marcus Hudson (back strain), Tarell Brown (left knee contusion) and Reggie Smith (abdominal strain) were all named by the head coach to start his press conference.

-According to Singletary, Smith’s injury was not related to the groin injury that has hampered him all season.

-Josh Morgan’s 76-yard kickoff return late in the game impressed Singletary but wouldn’t commit to naming Morgan as the team’s starting kick returner. “Obviously we liked what we saw yesterday. If Josh Morgan is the kickoff returner, then hopefully he’s not returning too many of them in a game so we don’t have to worry about it too often. I just think that yesterday, he did a nice job when called upon. We’ll have to look at that a little bit more.”


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