Patrick Willis’ potential role against the Green Bay Packers has already been discussed at great length this week. But to his credit, the six-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers said he’s eager to carry out whatever responsibilities are asked of him from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
If the Packers elect to use four wide receivers at a time in Saturday night’s Divisional Playoff matchup, Willis could very well be on the sideline in the 49ers dime defense in favor of fellow Pro Bowl linebacker, NaVorro Bowman. San Francisco’s “Mike” linebacker, played by Bowman, covers the middle of the field in the 49ers dime defense.
However, the likelihood of the Packers throwing even more against the 49ers isn’t a guarantee. After all, Green Bay has evolved into more of a balanced offense ever since San Francisco opened up the 2012 regular season with a solid, 30-22 road victory at Lambeau Field. Furthermore, wide receiver Jordy Nelson was reportedly missing at Tuesday’s open portion of Green Bay’s practice. Nelson suffered a leg injury in Week 17 and later limped off the field late in Green Bay’s Wild Card win over Minnesota. Both teams will release the first injury reports of the week later today.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Packers test their improved running attack against the 49ers or utilize their numerous playmakers at the wide receiver position. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com and Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee both examined the possibility of Willis being on the sideline in situational packages against Green Bay.
Regardless of the personnel Green Bay utilizes on Saturday, Willis will surely find ways to impact the game.
Tags: Anthony Dixon, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Staley, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Vernon Davis
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 94 Comments »
Nine Niners made the 2013 Pro Bowl on Wednesday. However, it is now a goal for those members of the San Francisco 49ers to not play in the game.
Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Frank Gore, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner all would rather play in the Super Bowl than the league’s annual All-Star game.
Nonetheless, it was still remarkable for the 49ers to send nine players to the Pro Bowl for a second consecutive season. Furthermore, San Francisco led the NFL with nine Pro Bowl selections.
“The 49ers sent two-fifths of their starting offensive line and six members of their defense to the Pro Bowl,” noted ESPN.com’s Mike Sando.
Tags: A.J. Jenkins, Aldon Smith, Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, Frank Gore, Joe Staley, Justin Smith, Mario Manningham, Mike Iupati, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis
Posted in Announcements | 97 Comments »
NaVorro Bowman was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2011, but did not make it to the Pro Bowl.
Bowman, however, won’t have that problem this year. The third-year inside linebacker was named to his first Pro Bowl on Wednesday. Soon, All-Pro honors are likely to follow.
“It just means a lot,” Bowman said of his selection as an NFC reserve linebacker. “When I didn’t go last season, for me personally, it was to work harder and not let it affect me.”
Tags: Aldon Smith, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis
Posted in Announcements | 5 Comments »
The 49ers will head to New England on Friday afternoon with heavy hearts following the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
Both teams feature two of the best football minds in the game in Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick. As Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group noted, both Harbaugh and Belichick have respect for each other.
“During Harbaugh’s 15-year playing career, he opposed a Belichick-led team only once,” Inman wrote. “Although Harbaugh’s Indianapolis Colts lost 21-14 at home to Belichick’s Cleveland Browns in 1994, Harbaugh passed for 194 yards — and ran for a career-high 63 yards.”
Tags: Aldon Smith, Chad Hall, Greg Roman, Jim Harbaugh, Navorro Bowman
Posted in Announcements | 98 Comments »
Time and time again the San Francisco 49ers have proven to be a united front. Two recent examples shed a bright light on the team-oriented locker room.
According to CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, teamwork was involved in the recent five-year contract extension for All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Three players, Vernon Davis, Carlos Rogers and Ray McDonald, all restructured their contracts to give the 49ers enough cap flexibility to sign the talented linebacker long-term.
The other example would be the professionalism shown by Alex Smith in the wake of Jim Harbaugh’s decision to start Colin Kaepernick Sunday in St. Louis. In order to understand the potential reasoning for the move, Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports caught up with a cast of Harbaugh’s former teammates to learn more about the 49ers coach’s playing career as it relates to his coaching decisions.
Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk told Silver, “I’m pretty sure about the fact that this is not a game-playing thing for him. It’s for the greater good of the team. There is no personal gain for him. Everything he does is for the greater good of that team, and he’s not going to deviate from that.”
Tags: Aldon Smith, Alex Smith, Carlos Rogers, Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Jim Harbaugh, Michael Crabtree, Navorro Bowman, Ray McDonald, Vernon Davis
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 55 Comments »
Who’s got better linebackers than the 49ers? All-Pro NaVorro Bowman inked a five-year contract extension on Tuesday that will keep him with the 49ers until the 2018 season. Combined with the contract status of the team’s other linebackers, Aldon Smith (Signed through 2015), Patrick Willis (2016) and Ahmad Brooks (2017), it will be interesting to watch the new group during the final stages of Candlestick Park’s great history and entering the new home of the 49ers in 2014.
Kevin Kurz of CSNBayArea.com described the scene at 49ers headquarters as Bowman talked to the media after signing his extension. “The move ensures that Bowman and fellow linebacker and good friend Patrick Willis will be together through at least the 2016 season,” Kurz wrote. “In fact, Willis was among the first people Bowman gave his good news. He just couldn’t keep the secret any longer.”
Tuesday was also a noteworthy day for bad reasons, as Kendall Hunter and Kyle Williams were placed on the season-ending Injured Reserved list. Read up on all the latest 49ers new after the jump.
Tags: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Drew Rosenhaus, Kendall Hunter, Kyle Williams, Navorro Bowman
Posted in Announcements | 96 Comments »
Third-round draft picks carry boulder-like chip on their shoulders, just ask Frank Gore.
But another San Francisco 49ers third-round pick, 2011 All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman, also continues to carry the memories of being passed over through two rounds of the NFL’s annual draft.
The chip will stick with the third-year linebacker even after Tuesday’s big news: A five-year contract extension that’ll keep Bowman in a 49ers uniform through the 2018 season.
Tags: Jim Harbaugh, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis
Posted in Announcements | 6 Comments »
The 49ers are back in the building following last week’s bye. As the team gets ready for its Week 10 home matchup against the St. Louis Rams, the 49ers Faithful should be getting ready to send their favorite players to the 2013 Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
Eight members of the 2011 49ers were voted to the NFL’s annual all-star game last year, and there are even more players making their cases to play in the Pro Bowl this season. Faithful Fans can vote for the 49ers in all three phases of the game — offense, defense and special teams.
Quarterback Alex Smith has established himself as one of the league’s most efficient quarterbacks through eight games, leading the NFC with a 69.4 completion percentage and ranking No. 3 in NFC passer rating (102.1). Smith also earned praise from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who wrote, “Smith didn’t play Sunday; the 49ers had their bye this weekend. But I didn’t want the week to get away from us without extolling his virtues after his performance last Monday. His numbers were alarmingly good: 18 of 19 for 232 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions — and the one incompletion was a clear drop by Delanie Walker.”
Tags: Alex Smith, C.J. Spillman, Michael Crabtree, Navorro Bowman, Pro Bowl
Posted in Announcements | 8 Comments »
BOARDMAN, Ohio – I used to think Disneyland was the happiest place on earth. Maybe I was a pre-teen at the time, but as of Wednesday morning, my opinion has officially changed. That’s because a group of 49ers reporters (Cam Inman, Matt Barrows, Eric Branch, TV49’s Scott Kegley and myself) all jumped in a car and headed to the most wonderful place on earth – The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Where do I begin on this…
Let me see, the anticipation of driving up to the Hall of Fame was exciting in its own right. But once you pull up to the building and see the exterior (the same one you’ve seen on television for all those years) it hits you right then and there, this is a place unlike any other.
Joe Horrigan, the Hall’s Vice President of Communication and Exhibits and all of his staff members were more than accommodating to us on our visit. Upon entering the “bust room,” Matt Waechter, the Hall’s website coordinator, found us immediately and showed us the most amazing artifacts in the archive room.
From rare helmets, to unique game-worn cleats, to the first ever pylon used in NFL history, to Pat Tillman’s travel bag – there was history all over the room. 49ers.com’s photo gallery showcased some of the rare sights in the room and other 49ers-related images littered throughout the shrine to pro football’s proud history.
All the beat writers further documented their experiences, a must-read for die-hard football fans.
Inman shared the experience through a storify report, recapping his posts on social media. A highlight was the lunch photo of Taggart’s Ice Cream, a lovely Canton eatery that’s been in business since 1926 – 20 years before the San Francisco 49ers were even founded.
By the time we got back from lunch to finish seeing the rest of the hallowed grounds, the Hall of Fame staff notified us that David Akers’ NFL record-tying, 63-yard field goal ball was prominently displayed in the players of today section of the hall.
I also couldn’t help but hook Jerry Rice up with a 49ers New Era hat. Don’t worry, I held it up over Rice’s head, would never disrespect the bust itself.
Tags: David Akers, Jerry Rice, Navorro Bowman
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 26 Comments »
Greetings from Boardman, Ohio, site of the 49ers headquarters for the next five days.
We’re up early (East Coast time) to share the top headlines from the 49ers first loss of the season, a 24-13 defeat to the Minnesota Vikings. The loss was uncharacteristic for the 49ers in the Jim Harbaugh era. The team’s normal efficient, ball-control offense and hard-hitting defense did not perform for 60 minutes and it cost the team.
Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com writes that the Vikings “Out-Ninered the Niners.” As a result, All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman recorded a career-high 18 tackles against a run-heavy offensive attack.
Minnesota’s commitment to the run game was key, according to Barnwell, who added, “Fortunately for the Niners, they caught a lucky break in terms of scheduling. They’re assigned to play the Jets next week, a team that will likely be without star cornerback Darrelle Revis, who appears to have suffered a serious knee injury during his team’s win over the Dolphins on Sunday.”
Tags: Jed York, Jim Harbaugh, Kyle Williams, Navorro Bowman, Vernon Davis
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 28 Comments »