From all of us with the San Francisco 49ers we’d like to wish you a very safe and happy New Year. Fresh off Sunday’s 27-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers have clinched consecutive NFC West titles and NFC No. 2 seeds.
It was a solid team effort against the Cardinals, followed by some anxious television watching as the Minnesota Vikings narrowly defeated the Green Bay Packers to give San Francisco a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Re-live Sunday’s season finale in today’s roundup of the top 49ers headlines from the Week 17 victory.
Tags: Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, Justin Smith, Michael Crabtree, Ricky Jean-Francois
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 50 Comments »
Ricky Jean Francois was a wanted man inside the 49ers locker room on Friday.
After Justin Smith missed his third straight practice with an elbow injury, his streak of 185 straight starts, the third-longest active streak in the NFL, appears to be in jeopardy. Once Smith went out in the second half at New England last week, Jean Francois filled in for Smith and even contributed a crucial sack of Tom Brady in the late stages of the game.
So as Jean Francois fielded questions from reporters at his locker, Randy Moss and Mike Iupati couldn’t help but jump into the media scrum and ask some questions of their own.
“Do you think you’re pretty strong?” Moss asked Jean Francois.
“I squat about 700 (pounds), is that good enough?” Jean Francois responded.
Moss laughed and let Jean Francois go after that, but the point was made. Ricky is ready.
Tags: Cam Johnson, Randy Moss, Ricky Jean-Francois
Posted in Announcements | 19 Comments »
Raising money for the Boys & Girls Club in Hunter’s Point is a serious deal to San Francisco 49ers linebacker Larry Grant.
The Bay Area native spent time at the club as a young boy and knows just how powerful of a place the center can be for those less fortunate. With that in mind, the 49ers linebacker arranged a Celebrity Chili Cook-Off Monday night to help raise money for the “A Better Hand Foundation” and the B&G Club in Hunter’s Point.
Tags: Keena Turner, Larry Grant, Ricky Jean-Francois
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Fourth-year defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois has seen his playing time increase each year of his NFL career. With more responsibility in the defense’s success this year (best scoring defense in the NFL allowing 13.4 points per game), Jean Francois has continued to prove critics wrong who only look at him as a seventh-round selection.
Jean Francois discussed his development and a number of other topics in the latest Niner Talk podcast. In our conversation, the improving defensive linemen talked about the importance of this week’s game against the Saints.
Tags: Aldon Smith, Justin Smith, Ricky Jean-Francois
Posted in Niner Talk | 1 Comment »
Will Alex Smith be in the huddle this Monday night when the Chicago Bears come to town? That’s the question on everyone’s mind two days removed from the 49ers quarterback suffering a concussion against the St. Louis Rams.
Smith’s status will be determined later in the week according to coach Jim Harbaugh. But if San Francisco is asked to call on backup Colin Kaepernick once again, the team feels confident about the play-making ability of the second-year player.
If Kaepernick gets the nod, Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco 49ers, believes Kaepernick’s first start would be as good of a test as any against the league’s most opportunistic defense.
“If Smith sits, an intriguing game becomes even more fascinating. Kaepernick would make his first NFL start, staring into the menacing eyes of linebacker Brian Urlacher as he attempts to solve the league’s fifth-ranked defense – in prime time, with the full and undivided attention of our football-mad nation,” Kroichick wrote.
Tags: Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Jim Harbaugh, Randy Moss, Ricky Jean-Francois
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 35 Comments »
The San Francisco 49ers have one of, if not the, best rush defenses in the NFL. Filled with multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl players, it’s hard for all 11 deserving players to get recognition.
One of the most unheralded defenders is defensive tackle Ray McDonald, a hard-working lineman who’s earned the respect of his teammates and coaches with his consistent approach.
McDonald continues to be at the forefront of San Francisco’s tough defense and maintains his role as one of the locker room’s favorite players. This week’s Gameday Magazine cover story touched on McDonald’s respect amongst his peers in their words only.
Tags: Dashon Goldson, Jim Tomsula, Justin Smith, Parys Haralson, Ray McDonald, Ricky Jean-Francois, Tarell Brown, Vic Fangio
Posted in Gameday | 1 Comment »
Alex Smith has impressed local reporters all training camp long with his steady development. In his second season running Greg Roman’s offensive attack, Smith has looked like an “expert” in the system according to head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Count Clark Judge as another believer of Smith’s ability to improve in 2012. The CBS Sports football writer recently visited 49ers practices and came away with that distinct impression.
“You can see it in practice when Smith runs the first-team offense,” Clark wrote, “and you can hear it from teammates who believe, as I do, that this is the season Smith shakes his critics.”
Tags: Alex Smith, Chris Owusu, Greg Roman, Jim Harbaugh, Larry Grant, Randy Moss, Ricky Jean-Francois, Rock Cartwright, Vic Fangio
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 42 Comments »
Ricky Jean Francois made a bold claim on Monday when he said he was the strongest man on the 49ers defense. When looking at his 6-foot-3, 295-pound frame the argument is enough to make you stop and think, but ultimately, Jean Francois’ versatility is what makes him so valuable to his team.
Coaches often call Jean Francois the fourth starter on the defensive front, despite the fact that the team utilizes a 3-4 system.
Listed as a defensive tackle, Jean Francois knows all three spots on defensive line and he plays each with impressive effectiveness. That fact allows Jean Francois to push his teammates to improve all the time.
The battle among the 49ers defensive linemen often carries over into the weight room with arguably the strongest unit in the NFL competing with each other just like they’re playing on the field.
Jean Francois’ claims that he can move more weight than any other 49ers defender could raise some eyebrows when considering some of his teammate’s abilities.
Tags: Ricky Jean-Francois
Posted in Announcements | 8 Comments »
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.
Tags: Alex Smith, Daniel Kilgore, Dashon Goldson, Jim Harbaugh, Leonard Davis, Mario Manningham, Randy Moss, Ricky Jean-Francois, Vernon Davis
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 11 Comments »
It’s officially the first day of summer and that means 49ers football is right around the corner. How good does that sound?
Before we can get to training camp (36 days away, but who’s counting?), let’s take a look at the latest 49ers headlines, beginning with the latest from Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, who will analyze each position group on the roster. First up, the quarterbacks.
The tenured 49ers beat writer believes Alex Smith “completely passed the eyeball test as the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback.” Maiocco noted that the eighth-year pro looked more comfortable than any other 49ers quarterback over the offseason. Smith’s performances in two-minute scenarios especially impressed Maiocco.
Another observation from Maiocco worth passing along dealt with Smith’s growth at the position:
“Smith’s accuracy and anticipation seemed to progress throughout the seven week of practices, including the execution of back-shoulder throws.”
More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.
Tags: Ahmad Brooks, Alex Smith, R.C. Owens, Randy Moss, Ricky Jean-Francois, Rock Cartwright
Posted in Morning Tailgate | 45 Comments »