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Morning Tailgate: All About QBs

Posted by Taylor Price on July 17, 2013 – 9:38 AM

There’s a clear theme in today’s Morning Tailgate. Several articles about the quarterbacks on the San Francisco 49ers have been published in the last 24 hours and it’s our job to share those writeups

First, Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com examined Colin Kaepernick’s standing as one of the elite young quarterbacks in the National Football League and how the 49ers starting signal-caller’s prospects compare to some of the best young passers in the game today.

Kaepernick’s breakout season in 2012 is also up for a prestigious award. In fact, there’s only a few hours left to vote for Kaepernick to win a 2013 ESPY award.

Kaepernick enters training camp as the unquestioned starter, but the coveted backup quarterback roles have not been determined just yet.

More on the upcoming quarterback battles can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: 49ers Minicamp Preview

Posted by Taylor Price on June 10, 2013 – 9:53 AM

Starting Tuesday, the San Francisco 49ers 90-man roster will get together for three days this week for a mandatory minicamp. The three practice sessions will conclude the 2013 offseason program.

The mandatory minicamp will be open all three days for the media to learn more about the progress being made by the defending NFC Champs.

Numerous storylines will be examined.

In the passing game, the 49ers will look to identify emerging performers to showcase in 2013.

Which wide receiver is stepping up to start opposite of Anquan Boldin? Will Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald be utilized more in the passing game to account for the loss of Michael Crabtree?

How is Colin Kaepernick developing as the team’s full-time starting quarterback? Will Colt McCoy continue to solidify himself as the No. 2 signal-caller? How will Scott Tolzien and B.J. Daniels perform with their opportunities?

Then there are questions to be resolved with the team’s newcomers.

Which rookie has made the biggest leap in a short time this offseason? Will Eric Reid insert himself into the conversation to start Week 1? How is undrafted defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye performing in his first offseason playing football in his entire life?

Defensively, the 49ers appear to have less unresolved situations. But those questions will mostly be decided in training camp where physicality stands out. When the players put pads on, we’ll learn which member of the team deserves to start at nose tackle. We’ll also learn the pecking order for the team’s cornerback roles.

In the short term, the 49ers will hold three days of practice to get ready for training camp and showcase the improvements they’ve made through “Football School” workouts and Organized Team Activities.

We’ll watch it unfold and report back on 49ers.com.  Jim Harbaugh, plus coordinators Greg Roman and Vic Fangio, will all speak to the media this week. Several players will talk as well.

But until then, more 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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Morning Tailgate: Madden Cover Vote

Posted by Taylor Price on April 2, 2013 – 9:09 AM

It’s voting season.

NFL.com is asking fans to choose the best play in NFL history and two of San Francisco’s Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Joe Montana and Steve Young, are among the great eight remaining plays. Montana delivered “The Catch,” while Young seemingly broke 49 tackles on his way to a 49-yard game-winning touchdown run against the Minnesota Vikings back in 1988. Fifth round voting ends on April 3.

Another important offseason vote involves 49ers past and present.

Montana, along with Hall of Fame teammate Jerry Rice and current 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, still remain in the Madden Cover Vote for the game’s 25 anniversary edition.

Kaepernick, a No. 1 seed, faces Houston Texans running back Arian Foster in the “New School” side of the bracket.

Montana, a No. 1 seed, faces Super Bowl XIX opponent and Kaepernick fan, Dan Marino, a No. 4 seed, in the “Old School” bracket. Meanwhile, Rice, another No. 1 seed, will match up against Michael Strahan (No. 5 seed) as one of the other throwback pairings.

It’s worth noting that no other team has more than one representative in the Madden tournament.

That’s important if you subscribe to the “Madden Curse” theory. Detroit Lions mega-star wideout Calvin Johnson didn’t fall for it in 2013. Johnson, the most recent player to grace the Madden cover, broke Rice’s single-season receiving record with 1,964 yards for the Lions. Rice’s old record was set in 1995.

Meanwhile, Kaepernick’s Twitter feed has recently been filled with retweets of fans supporting his quest to be on the Madden cover.

If you don’t want to vote for the current 49ers quarterback, Montana and Rice are long removed from their playing careers and will surely accept placement on the Madden cover. Both stars have joined Twitter, too. Connect with them here: @JoeMontana & @JerryRice.

Round three of the Madden vote ends on April 3. Vote often for any three of the 49ers representatives.

Check out additional 49ers headlines in the Morning Tailgate, including reports of a new quarterback joining the team in 2013.

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Morning Tailgate: Backup Quarterbacks

Posted by Scott Kegley on March 29, 2013 – 10:58 AM

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With Alex Smith now in Kansas City, the 49ers only have two quarterbacks on the roster, Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien. The 49ers will surely add to that position group, either in free agency or the draft.

Matt Barrow’s of the Sacramento Bee reported that former West Virginia Quarterback Pat White stopped by 49ers headquarters for a visit yesterday. White reportedly played catch with Jim Harbaugh.

If the 49ers look to the draft for a quarterback, San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch suggests the 49ers could target Duke quarterback Sean Renfree, who Harbaugh recruited at Stanford. Harbaugh offered Renfree a scholarship to play for the Cardinal, but the quarterback chose to head to Durham, NC to play for the Blue Devils.

“I developed a relationship with (Harbaugh) and knew that he was a great coach with a great staff,” said Renfree, who took several trips to Stanford during high school. “In the end, I think it worked out pretty well for both of us.”

Other headlines discuss who the 49ers might target in the NFL Draft:

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Alex Smith Questionable for Monday Night

Posted by Taylor Price on November 17, 2012 – 4:09 PM

Alex Smith didn’t speak to reporters on Saturday, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman gave a pretty good indication of how the San Francisco 49ers quarterback is progressing six days removed from his second concussions in as many seasons.

“He’s looked good,” Roman said. “He’s looked very sharp.”

Officially, Smith is listed as questionable for Monday night’s pivotal NFC showdown with the Chicago Bears. Roman said his quarterback will need to pass one more contact test in order to play on Monday night.

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Morning Tailgate: Sept. 4

Posted by Alex Espinoza on September 4, 2012 – 10:40 AM

At long last, it’s Week 1 of the NFL regular season. The 49ers are headed to Lambeau Field for their season opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, but first they have a week of practice at team headquarters in Santa Clara.

The 53-man roster is set and it features a pair of players who are expected to play offense, defense and special teams this season for San Francisco. Will Tukuafu and Demarcus Dobbs take pride in their do-it-all roles with the team and are also roommates on the road. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com spoke to Dobbs about the new responsibilities he and Tukuafu have added to their plates this season.

“Tukuafu and Dobbs were both converted into two-way players in the offseason,” Maiocco writes. “Dobbs played both ways in all three exhibition games in which he appeared. Tukuafu did not see two-way action in training camp until after the first three weeks of camp. He concluded the exhibition season in impressive fashion.”

Today’s Morning Tailgate rounds up the best coverage from Labor Day Weekend and takes a look forward to the Week 1 matchup.

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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 30

Posted by Taylor Price on August 30, 2012 – 10:12 AM

The San Francisco 49ers conclude the 2012 preseason tonight at home against the San Diego Chargers, with the 41st all-time preseason meeting between the clubs serving as a preseason rubber match of sorts. Both California franchises have faced each other in the preseason for 26 consecutive seasons and have played each other 40 times all-time in the exhibition season with the series tied at 20 games apiece.

The 49ers (2-1) will look to end the Chargers (3-0) undefeated run this preseason. If the 49ers win, you can look forward to another 49ers.com “Remix” video just like the one from last week’s 29-24 victory in Denver.

As for Thursday’s preseason finale, many roster questions remain for the 49ers. How many players to carry at certain positions could be decided based on impressive performances against the Chargers. Jim Harbaugh said the playing time for starters will be on an individual basis.

Cam Inman of The San Jose Mercury News lists 20 questions that remain entering the final preseason matchup, a primer for the 7 p.m. kick-off that can be watched on CW44.

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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 29

Posted by Taylor Price on August 29, 2012 – 9:56 AM

There’s nothing Tavares Gooden wouldn’t do to bring down an opposing ball carrier, or make a block to spring one of his players (See photo atop this post). The 49ers special teams standout has endeared himself to teammates and coaches for his relentless pursuit to the football whether it’s on kickoff or punt coverage teams. Gooden’s unselfish play as a blocker is also well-respected.

The 49ers linebacker explained his all-out mindset in the latest Niner Talk podcast on 49ers.com. In addition, the 6-foot-1, 242-pound, fifth-year pro also explained how the birth of his newborn son, Kadence, has already made a major impact on his life.

Also on the show, San Francisco Chronicle 49ers beat writer Eric Branch previewed two of his feature stories set to hit the newspaper this week. Branch also previewed things to look for in Thursday night’s preseason finale, including the No. 3 quarterback competition between Scott Tolzien and Josh Johnson.

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Morning Tailgate: Aug. 28

Posted by Taylor Price on August 28, 2012 – 9:37 AM

All offseason we’ve heard commentary and prognostications from members of the local and national media as it pertains to the San Francisco 49ers.

Now, we know how Hall of Famers from the team’s storied past feel. In a recent appearance on ESPN’s NFL Live, Jerry Rice and Joe Montana joined host Trey Wingo to discuss to their former team’s outlook in 2012.

“I think with that defense they can (be successful) because they brought all the guys back,” Rice, an ESPN analyst, said. “It’s going to be up to the offense. They brought in some additional weapons to help Alex Smith out, so now he has to put the ball in the hands of the playmakers, this team is going to go far.”

Montana said he was really impressed by Smith’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis in the team’s Divisional Playoff win over the New Orleans Saints.

“That showed me confidence in his ability to throw the ball,” Montana said of Smith. “He can make those throws, now it’s about managing the game.”

The legendary 49ers quarterback stressed that Smith has to distribute the ball to the playmakers and let them create big plays.

“They should be settled in, they understand what it takes to operate,” Montana said.

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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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