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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 22

Posted by Taylor Price on August 22, 2012 – 10:01 AM

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.”

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Posted in Morning Tailgate | 42 Comments »

Morning Tailgate: Aug. 17

Posted by Taylor Price on August 17, 2012 – 10:31 AM

Jim Harbaugh doesn’t subscribe to the “breaking camp” theory. Although there won’t be a practice today, the 49ers will conduct a “Mock Game” before departing to Houston for the team’s first preseason road trip.

To get you ready for San Francisco’s matchup with the Texans, check out our latest Niner Talk podcast which features interviews with quarterback Scott Tolzien and Drew Dougherty of Houston Texans TV.

Tolzien discussed Randy Moss’ positive influence on the locker room, as well as his mindset heading into an important preseason game. Tolzien said it’s all about maximizing opportunities. Dougherty also gave perspective on the opponent’s side of things and said the team’s fans are very friendly when it comes to tailgating. In you’re in Houston for the game, put on a smile and they’ll likely pass you some grub.

As for the current state of the 49ers, ESPN.com’s Mike Sando recently filed his Camp Confidential report on the recent developments in Santa Clara.

Sando asks if the strides shown by the 49ers passing game last season were only the start of something greater.

“That question ran through my mind while watching Smith fire passes on time and on target during a recent three-day stay at 49ers training camp. The answer became clearer every time Smith connected with newcomers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, which was frequently. He appeared more accurate, more confident and more in command than I can ever recall seeing Smith during a training camp — or any other time, for that matter.”

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Posted in Morning Tailgate | 120 Comments »

Rock Cartwright Brings All-Around Game

Posted by Alex Espinoza on August 16, 2012 – 6:21 PM

Rock Cartwright received a warm welcome – albeit an unexpected one – to the Tony Montana squad last week at Candlestick Park.

As kicker Giorgio Tavecchio teed up the ball for the opening kick-off, the Future song, “Tony Montana” blared over the loud speaker as the coverage unit started swaying and dancing side-to-side. Cartwright had seen the trademark warmup routine on TV last season, but joining the fun was an entirely different experience.

“I think it gets the opposing team frightened a little bit,” Cartwright said. “I didn’t know they were going to play (the song) in the preseason, but they did. They got me kind of amped up, too. I think it’s a good fit.”

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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 9

Posted by Taylor Price on August 9, 2012 – 10:30 AM

The 49ers are one day away from kicking off the 2012 preseason, and it appears as though first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins is putting together some of his best practices leading up to Friday night’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.

According to CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco, the No. 30 overall pick had the best day of any 49ers receiver in training camp on Tuesday. Jenkins caught six passes in team and 7-on-7 drills, and told Maiocco he still found areas he can improve on following his solid day of practice.

Jenkins’ steady improvements won’t be seen today. The 49ers will have a “Mock Game” this afternoon without media in attendance. After, coach Jim Harbaugh and quarterback Alex Smith will speak with the reporters.

More 49ers headlines can be found after the jump.

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Posted in Morning Tailgate | 16 Comments »

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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Posted in Announcements | 47 Comments »

Morning Tailgate: Aug. 3

Posted by Taylor Price on August 3, 2012 – 8:57 AM

Training Camp is a great time of the year to brush up on fundamentals. Stance. Alignment. Tackling. Throwing. You get the picture.

For second-round draft pick LaMichael James, camp serves as a great time to practice… huddling. The Oregon running back never huddled in college as part of college football’s fast-break attack under coach Chip Kelly. With the 49ers, however, James is brushing up on the finer details of the game like huddling up with teammates to get the play call from offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Cam Inman of The San Jose Mercury News shares James’ comments on his first week huddling up since his high school playing days. Despite the huddling rust, James has impressed teammates early on. Veteran running back Rock Cartwright referred to James, the taller running back by one-inch (Cartwright is 5-foot-8), as “the truth,” according to Eric Branch of The San Francisco Chronicle.

Check out more 49ers headlines after the jump.

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Posted in Morning Tailgate | 26 Comments »

Morning Tailgate: June 20

Posted by Taylor Price on June 20, 2012 – 9:30 AM

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.

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Posted in Morning Tailgate | 45 Comments »

Morning Tailgate: March 20

Posted by Taylor Price on March 20, 2012 – 10:06 AM

There’s plenty to discuss this morning in our reoccurring week day post.

First, there’s talk regarding the top perimeter players available in this year’s draft and a prominent draft evaluator who has broken up the top wideouts into different tiers.

One of those players mentioned, Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, was also the first player profiled in our 49 in 49: Big East Week coverage.

More on the top receivers in the 2012 NFL Draft class and of course, the latest in 49ers free agency headlines can be found after the jump.

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Posted in Announcements | 201 Comments »

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