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49ers Gear Up For Dallas

Posted by Taylor Price on August 28, 2009 – 1:19 PM

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Head coach Mike Singletary made two important announcements on Friday, right before his team boarded a plane for Dallas.

One, Shaun Hill will start against the Cowboys this Saturday night. And two, tackle Marvel Smith will not travel with the team due to personal reasons.

Singletary added that Hill’s playing time has not been determined. “He’ll start the game and we’ll go from there,” Singletary said.

Veteran tackle Barry Sims will get the start in place of Smith and Adam Snyder, as the team’s two top right tackles on the depth chart are both unavailable. Snyder will be resting a knee injury he sustained against the Oakland Raiders.
 
Singletary said he doesn’t know how long his starters on both sides of the ball will play. He said the coaches will see how the game is going then they’ll make playing time decisions from there.

With this being the 49ers third preseason game, Singletary wants to see his players “continue to make steps.”

Making this game even more crucial is how backups will be making their final push for roster spots. But the same thing can be said for the entire team.

“For the guys that are on the edge every game is very important, every snap is,” Hill said. “That doesn’t just go for them, that goes for everybody. It’s a very important game for everyone on this team. For the guys that are going to be starting, we need to establish a tempo, do some good things, and get some confidence. As far as the backups are concerned, this is a huge opportunity for them.”

Patrick Willis said the chance for backups to compete against a talented team like the Cowboys would only be beneficial to everyone in the long run.

“I think it’s very big,” Willis said.  “To go out there and have a good game against a good-caliber team like the Cowboys, it means a lot across the board from the ones to the twos. Coach [Mike Singletary] will say all the time, ‘We don’t have backups. We have guys who come in and when they’re in there, they’re starters at that point in time.’ So, it’s going to be really big across the board.”

Rookie Waiters

It’s hard enough to prepare yourself for your first preseason road game in the NFL when you’re a rookie. But when veteran players are demanding you buy them food for the plane ride, life can become a lot more difficult.

Tackle Alex Boone is getting to learn what rookie life in the NFL is all about.

Alex Boone found himself in that situation after Friday’s “mock game” practice. As soon as the players trotted off the practice fields, Boone began fielding lunch orders from all the offensive linemen.

After ordering six pizzas and 12 sandwiches, Boone was relieved to get his order in.

“My pizza order was ridiculous,” Boone said. “I’m excited though, I got a medium pizza.”

Boone said he wasn’t irritated that he had to order pizza. “I guess that’s what rookies have to do,” he said.

Rather, he was annoyed with the pizza parlor’s manager.

“The guy seemed so flustered he kept telling me to, ‘Slow down, slow down!’” Boone said. “I kept telling him he had to hurry with my order because if the delivery was late, my teammates would be so mad at me.”

But Boone got his order in and now it’s time for him to get a lot of playing time against the Cowboys, which is an opportunity he’s relishing.

“I’m not at all nervous or excited about this game; I’m just going to do what I do best and have some fun with it.”


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No Decision Made on Starting QB

Posted by Scott Kegley on August 23, 2009 – 1:49 PM

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In his conference call with the media on Sunday, head coach Mike Singletary did not name a starting quarterback.  Singletary and the coaching staff will review the film from the game and be very detailed in their evaluation before coming to such a decision.

“I have to look at some more film,” Singletary said. “It takes me a little longer than some other people.”

Alex Smith injured his thumb against the Raiders making a tackle after his pass intended for Josh Morgan was intercepted by linebacker Ricky Brown.  Smith will be evaluated and is day-to-day.  Singletary insisted that the injury will have no impact on which quarterback is ultimately selected to start against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 13.

Other notes from the conference call included:

-  The main thing that jumped out to Singletary after watching the game was the physicality. “The execution of the offensive line was a challenge going into the game. We had to have it in order for our quarterbacks to develop. The running game allowed them to have a bit of a comfort zone.”

- Adam Snyder injured his right knee and ankle in the game.  He will be evaluated before any update is given on his condition.

- Singletary praised the play of both the offensive line and running backs.  “I think it goes hand in hand. If you put a running back behind an offensive line that is not good, he could be the greatest in the world and you’d never know. For a rookie, the more [Glen Coffee] plays the better he’s going to get.”

- Singletary was pleased with the effort of the defense which has forced six interceptions in the first two preseason games.  “It’s nice to see that early on. We certainly would like for that to be a trademark of the defense. The most important thing is do your job, the reason those turnovers happen is because guys are in the right place.”

- Linebacker Scott McKillop, guard Chilo Rachal, safety Reggie Smith and cornerback Carlos Thomas were a few of the young players who stood out to Singletary. “There are a few guys who did a nice job.  Scot McCloughan and his staff have done a great job of bringing in guys who can play, so I take my hat off to him.”

- The 49ers will travel to Dallas next Saturday, a game in which the starters will probably see more playing time.  “For us, the thing I really want to focus on is it’s our first road game and we’re playing a talented football team. I know they’re considered an elite team. We have to continue to take steps and move forward in being the team we want to be.”


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49ers vs. Broncos Live Blog

Posted by Scott Kegley on August 14, 2009 – 3:34 PM

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The 49ers are getting prepared for their first preseason game of the year against the Denver Broncos.  The game is presented by Sports Gallery.  Stay tuned to the blog for drive and score updates.

There is not an inactives list for the preseason game, but the players who did not dress for tonight’s game are Patrick Willis, Ray McDonald, David Baas, Joe Nedney, Michael Robinson, Delanie Walker and Isaac Bruce.

I was just handed the game release by our PR staff.  The 49ers captains for tonight’s game are LS Brian Jennings, LB Takeo Spikes and T Joe Staley.

We’ve received a lot of questions about how to watch the game.  Locally, it airs on CBS 5 and it’s also on NFL Network nationally.  You can listed to the game online at http://www.knbr.com/pages/main

Kickoff

The 49ers began their first drive from the 22 yard line.  On 2nd down, Shaun hill completed a pass to TE Vernon Davis for a gain of 22 yards.  Two plays later, Hill was brought down by Elvis Dumervil.  Despite a third and long situation, Hill was able to move the chains, finding Davis again for a gain of 18 yards.  On the next play, Hill was flushed from the pocket and scrambled up the middle, picking up 9 yards.  The 49ers then picked up their third first down on the drive behind a short carry for Glen Coffee.  Mario Haggan brought Hill down on the next play for the Broncos second sack of the drive.  Coffee quickly picked up much of the lost yardage with a 15-yard carry.  Coffee was stopped short on third down, bringing out the field goal unit.  With Joe Nedney not dressed for the game, Alex Romero came on to connect on the 38-yard field goal.  It was an 11 play drive that went 58 yards.

49ers 3 – Denver 0

Our PR staff just announced that FB Zak Keasey has a right elbow injury and his return is questionable.

Correll Buckhalter picked up a first down for the Broncos on two carries.  On 3rd and 11, Orton dropped back and found Eddie Royal for a 7 yard gain, getting down to the 4-yard line.  On 2nd down, Nate Clements came up huge with an interception, coming back and stepping in front of Daniel Graham.  Clements took a knee in the end zone for the touchback.

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Alex Smith takes the field for the 49ers second drive of the game.  The first team offensive line is still in the game.  The only other replacement is Brit Miller who takes over for Keasey.

On 2nd down, Ryan McBean pressured Smith, bringing him down for the sack.  That brings up 3rd and 14.  Smith completed the next pass to Josh Morgan, but he was just shy of the sticks.  Lee’s punt was returned to the Broncos 37-yard line.

Update on Keasey: he will not return to the game.

The Broncos start their second drive with a 13 yard gain.  The Broncos picked up their second first down on the drive thanks to the efforts of their 2009 first-round draft pick, Knowshon Moreno.  The 49ers defense came up big again as Dre’ Bly picked off the pass intended for Stokely.  This is why he was 49ers.com’s practice MVP last week!!

After a 7 yard pass from Smith to Battle and a short run by Glen Coffee, the 49ers picked up a first down just past the 40-yard line.  Smith couldn’t connect on third down.  Lee came on to punt, hitting it out of bounds at the 10-yard line.

Third pick by the 49ers secondary, this one by Reggie Smith.  Alex Smith took over hitting FB Brit Miller in the end zone.  The extra point was missed by Romero.

49ers 9 – Broncos 0

The secondary continues to make big plays – this time in the run game.  Dre’ Bly rushed the edge, bringing down Lamont Jordan.  On 3rd and 10, Orton completed the pass for a short gain to Chad Jackson.  The officials called pass interference on the Broncos, but the 49ers declined, bringing up 4th and 7.  The 49ers will take over at their own 11-yard line.  Alex Smith is still in with the starting offense.

The 49ers look content to run out the clock and get to the half.  Glen Coffee continues to run very hard, breaking a long run on third down to keep the drive going.  The third-round draft pick out of Alabama gets out to midfield as time expires.

It was an impressive first half for the 49ers highlighted by three picks by the secondary, a touchdown pass from Smith to Miller and several big gains by Vernon Davis.

Halftime score: 49ers 9 – Broncos 0

The quarterback competition looks pretty close in the first half, especially if you’re looking at QB rating.  Smith’s rating was 120.8 while Hill wasn’t far behind at 118.8.

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Looks like the night is over for Smith as he’s come back out in the second half without his shoulder pads.  Damon Huard and Nate Davis are getting loose on the sideline.

On 3rd and short, the Broncos covert, taking the ball to midfield behind the legs of Peyton Hillis.  Chirs Simms completed a pass to Nate Swift as the Broncos marched down to the 4-yard line.  Movement on the Broncos’ line back them up 5 yards.  Two plays later Simms hits Jeb Putzier who beat the coverage of Mark Washington for the score.

49ers 9 – Broncos 7

Shaun Hill talked about his performance on the first drive of the game which resulted in a field goal. 

“We were able to move the ball and we had a big conversion on third down,” Hill said.  “That last sack kind of hurt us.  That was completely on me.  The offensive line did a great job out there.  So I’d like to have that play back and I feel like we could have gotten 7 out of that.”

The 49ers will begin their next drive at the 20-yard line with QB Damon Huard at the helm.  On 3rd and long, Huard it Micheal Spurlock for the first down.  Spurlock picked up another first down, making a nice move after a short pass to pick up 10 yards.  Chris Baker brout down Huard, bringing up 2nd and long for the 49ers.  Huard’s third down pass fell incomplete as Joe Jon Finley couldn’t reel it in.

On 3rd and 6, Simms pass was complete to former 49ers WR Brandon Lloyd for the first down.  Great play by the 49ers secondary again as Simms tested Terrail Lambert deep.  Lambert deflected the pass down the right sideline.  That’s the end of the third quarter.

Cornerback Nate Clements spoke about the strong play of the secondary.

“I think that guys were just relaxed out there, taking chances, trusting and believing in what they saw.  We weren’t really worried about what they were going to do.  We were more focused on what we could do.”

Another catch for Lloyd as the Broncos drive to the 49ers 12-yard line.  The 49ers Faithful helped the tea out on 3rd and 6, getting loud as the 49ers flushed Simms from the pocket, forcing him to throw it away.  The Broncos converted the short field goal and took the lead.

Broncos 10 – 49ers 9

The 49ers will begin their drive from the 18-yard line.  Huard is in at quarterback.  Huard nearly hit Spurlock deep, but the pass was batted away by Alphonso Smith.  Big third down conversion as Huard hit Finley just past the sticks.  Huard moved the chains again, hittling Thomas Clayton for a nice gain.  After a short carry, Clayton is down on the field.  As soon as I hear anything about the injury, I’ll pass that along. 

Clayton is being carted off the field now.  His teammates are around him.  Whatever the injury is, it doesn’t look good.

With Clayton out, Kory Sheets is in at running back.  The 49ers continue to play well on third down as Huard found Jason Hill for the conversion.  Wow!  Two touchdowns for FB Brit Miller.  The Denver Broncos sent the house on the blitz.  The line picked it up and Huard found Miller with absolutely nobody around him.  Huard raced in down the right sideline for the 40 yard TD.  The 49ers will go for two.

Wow again!  On the conversion it appeared that Huard’s first read was to Zeigler, but when he was covered, Huard lofted the ball to the back of the end zone.  Bear Pascoe used his height to pull the ball away from one of the Broncos defensive backs and the 49ers go up by a touchdown!

49ers 17 – Broncos 10

Update on Clayton: He has a right knee sprain and is out.

I’ll have to run down to the field as there’s just five minutes left in the game.  Follow us on Twitter for additional updates.


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Shaun Hill Named Starter for Friday Night

Posted by Taylor Price on August 13, 2009 – 1:54 PM

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Head coach Mike Singletary announced that Shaun Hill will be his starting quarterback this Friday night when the 49ers host the Denver Broncos at Candlestick Park.

Shaun Hill will start the game,” Singletary said on Thursday after the team held a “mock game” practice. “I do not know who will start next week.  Really it could have been Shaun Hill or Alex Smith.  We chose Shaun Hill.  Don’t read anything into it.”

Hill didn’t hear the news until he walked off the practice field, but no matter the timing of the announcement, he was pleased with the outcome.

“I’m just excited to get out there and play again,” Hill said. “I agree there’s no reason to read into this in any way, but obviously, my goal is to start every regular season game and go from there. I’m just excited for the opportunity.”

Other news from Singletary’s press conference included Frank Gore and Isaac Bruce’s playing time on Friday. Both players will not play against Denver. Rookie Glen Coffee will get the nod in the backfield, but Singletary said a replacement for Bruce has yet to be determined.

Singletary also said Hill’s playing time also hasn’t been finalized.

Right now we’re just going to get into the flow of the game,” Singletary said. “I think the flow will dictate more or less, how much they (quarterbacks) will get to play.”

Although Hill’s getting the first crack with the first-team offense, Singletary said he’s more concerned with the end of the quarterback competition than the day-to-day details.

“I don’t care about today,” he said. “What I care about is at the end of it.  One can go a little bit ahead and a little bit behind.  In all fairness to them, that’s the only thing that I want to comment on is when we know what it is.  But in terms of who it is, who’s ahead, who’s not, it really doesn’t matter right now for us.” 

Fifth-round draft pick Nate Davis isn’t guaranteed playing time, but Singletary said he’d like to get the Ball State product into the game at some point.

Now that the first preseason game is one day away, the entire 49ers locker room is itching to compete against a different colored jersey.

“Everybody is very excited,” Hill said. “When you’ve been facing each other and going as hard as we’ve been at each other for a couple of weeks, you’re very excited to see a different uniform across from you. There’s a lot of excitement and optimism in that locker room heading into this season, without a doubt.” 

Singletary canceled the team’s afternoon practice to let the players rest up for Friday.

You can purchase tickets for Friday’s game by clicking here!


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It’s Game Week

Posted by Scott Kegley on August 10, 2009 – 1:24 PM

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The 49ers have officially begun preparation for the first preseason game of the 2009 season against the Denver Broncos on Friday night at Candlestick Park.  While the team will focus more on what they need to accomplish rather than matching up against the opposition, there is still a good amount of game planning taking place in the film room.

“Where not going to overdo it, because all of these games are in preparation for the game at the beginning of the season,” head coach Mike Singletary said, following the team’s morning practice.  “It’s just making sure you don’t focus on the minor [things] and lose the big picture.  We certainly want to go out and do the things that we need to do. All of the fundamentals we’ve worked on here can carry over into the game.  And, we’ll get what we want out of that game.”

Singletary said he has not yet made a decision on who will start at quarterback against Denver, but no matter who takes the first snap, the coaching staff will keep a close eye on both Shaun Hill and Alex Smith, with hopes of naming a starter sometime in the coming weeks.

“Hopefully, as we’ve said before, by the third preseason game, we’ll have a pretty decent idea,” Singletary said of who will start the regular season opener.  “There is no guarantee that we will name someone then.  But, hopefully at that time, we will.  I think the preseason games; they play a big role.  We’re going against somebody totally different, and we have to see how they respond, how the team responds to them, how they respond to the pass rush, all of those little things.”

One person who will not be receiving much playing time is running back Frank Gore.  Singletary hopes to keep him fresh heading into the season and give increased reps to some of the younger running backs.

“I would think that [Glen] Coffee is certainly going to have some time,” Singletary said.  “Before game time, we will know; we’ll play it by ear.  All I know right now as far as the running backs are concerned is that Frank will not be going a whole lot.”

The matchup with the Broncos will also bring a familiar face to Candlestick as former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan returns as Denver’s defensive coordinator.  Singletary still maintains a close relationship with Nolan, who he learned a great deal from during their time with the 49ers as well as with the Baltimore Ravens.

“The most important thing that I learned from Coach Nolan is the work ethic,” Singletary said.  “I saw Mike come in and roll up his sleeves and go to work, trying to bring a structure to this organization and trying to bring about a mental toughness and trying to bring about character and all of those things.  Mike will always be a great friend.”

Morning Practice Notes:

The 49ers completed the longest pass so far of training camp so far, as Alex Smith found Arnaz Battle deep down the right sideline.  The play began from the offense’s own 30-yard line and Smith’s pass hit Battle in stride around the opposite 30-yard line.  Battle raced in for the long score.

Fellow receivers Josh Morgan and Dominique Zeigler also made spectacular catches during one-on-one drills.  Overall, the receiving corps has continued to impress during camp.

Follow SF_49ers on Twitter and get all the highlights from practice as they happen.


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Skeet Shooting with Shaun and Alex

Posted by Taylor Price on July 28, 2009 – 3:20 PM

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It’s a big day for the 49ers website staff over here at team headquarters in Santa Clara, but not exactly for the obvious reasons.

Yes, rookies, quarterbacks and players coming off injury report in a couple of hours later today (Tuesday), two days before the rest of the veterans.

Yes, that signals that we are inching closer to the 49ers first training camp practice this Saturday.

And yes, head coach Mike Singletary will be addressing the media at 4:00pm – of course, we’ll be covering Singletary’s presser and the players arriving later today…

But, there’s another reason why our department is excited for today’s proceedings and that is because it signals the debut of “TV49 Outdoors: Skeet Shooting with Shaun and Alex.”

Technically, the video was shot mid-June, so airing it at the end of July should minimize our excitement. But, this one-of-a-kind outing deserved the royal treatment. When else are you going to get two quarterbacks competing for a starting position, out on the shooting range with a camera crew?

A quality outing with two entertaining competitors deserved the best coverage available; therefore we decided to save the video/story to be shown on our new website which debuted two weeks ago.

So let’s take a look back and find out exactly where the idea for TV49 Outdoors came from and break down what eventually took place on the shooting range that day.

It was the end of March and our digital media manager Scott Kegley (my boss) was up in Lake Tahoe at the 49ers 9th annual Winter & Wine Fest. Scott was covering the weekend event that featured appearances by a number of current and former 49ers players. Up in Tahoe that weekend were quarterback Shaun Hill and offensive lineman Adam Snyder. The two were planning a fly fishing excursion in nearby Truckee and Kegley decided to tag along with a video camera.

Hours later, Kegley had tons of great footage. Ultimately, right then and there “TV49 Outdoors” was born.

Kegley decided every once and awhile we’d try and convince some of our players to try different outdoor activities. Not only would it get the natural athletes out of their element, but it would become an entertaining show that could be aired on 49ers.com.

Once “Fishing with Hill and Snyder” aired, it was evident that TV49 Outdoors would be worth continuing.

But what would the next episode be about? Would it be possible to even top the fly fishing outing?

After debating between other outdoor activities like lumberjacking and canoeing, Kegley and Hill agreed that skeet shooting would make excellent sequel.  Hill’s good friend Alex Smith was sitting at the locker next to Hill and the two began to discuss the outing.

Fast forward to the middle of the offseason, and the 49ers had just concluded seven consecutive days of practice (three days of minicamp practices and four days of organized team activities) and rest and relaxation seemed like a good idea.

shaunblog-subHowever, the quarterbacks decided they wanted to do their cooling down on a shooting range with TV49 in attendance.

Joining Hill and Smith at the shooting range in Morgan Hill that day was Larry Schreiber, a former 49ers running back from 1971-75. Schreiber is a skeet shooting enthusiast, who was up to the task of spending the day on the range with the quarterbacks and giving them various shooting tips.

Before the competition began, Schreiber made sure to give his opponents some needed advice as they approached the first hole on the shooting range.

“It’s just like throwing a pass to a receiver in football,” Schreiber said. “When you follow the skeet, keep your gun moving and shoot out in front of it. If you were to shoot were the receiver was – you’re going to miss him!”

After hearing those words, Hill quickly asked, “They don’t put a defense out there do they?”

“There’s no defense out there,” Schreiber answered. “But you only have three seconds to shoot. So that’s faster than football, it’s almost identical!”

Even if they were out of their normal competitive scene, both Hill and Smith were up to the task of battling it out on the range.

“I’m sure we’ll find a way to make a friendly competition out of this,” Hill said in his opening monologue for the TV49 Outdoors episode while looking over at Smith. “How do you feel about your chances today?”

Smith wasn’t too confident in his chances of winning, since he’s only gone shooting one other time and Hill had gone five times mainly in his home state of Missouri.

“I’m not very good at this point, I feel like Larry is going to beat us. But we’ll see though, we’ll make it interesting,” Smith said.

Right off the bat, Schreiber had the advantage and got off to a comfortable lead. Hill connected on a couple of clay pigeons in his first round, while Smith had no such luck. He finished 0-for-10 on his first hole.

But two holes later, Smith picked his game up quickly.

“Little did I know that (three clays) was going to be the winning number on this hole (hole No. 3),” Hill said. “It was a tough one!”

Following Schreiber and Hill, Smith connected with his first clay of the day and was pumped about it.

alexblog-sub“I got one! Which I’m feeling pretty good about,” he said to the camera.

“Really? You are feeling good about one?” Hill asked.

“It’s better than zero!” Smith answered back.

“Well, it was looking like zero for a long time for ya!” Hill teased back.

Although they took turns taking verbal jabs at each other for fun, the friends took time to enjoy the scenery around them.

“We’ve been going at it for seven straight days at the practice facility but this is a good way to get out and unwind a little bit,” Smith said in between holes.

Once the trio finished their first five holes, Schreiber left early to attend a prior engagement, but the quarterbacks continued on their way and decided to make the competition one-on-one. The back nine (second stage) of the shooting range included clay pigeons that came out at the shooter from multiple angles.

The different clays were called “birds” and “rabbits.”

“The birds, they don’t change their flight patterns,” Hill explained. “The rabbits, sometimes they jump higher or they’ll run.  They’re just different targets.”

With different aiming points, Smith looked to get back in the competition that had started over with the quarterbacks against one another.

“I’m more of a bird guy,” Smith said to the camera after he had an impressive hole.

But despite his comeback effort, Hill edged Smith narrowly to win the skeet shooting competition.

“It went well today,” Hill said. “There’s a lot of practice that goes into being good with this, as there is with everything, but we had a lot of fun shooting at stuff. It was a blast and I won!”

Not even a second-place finish could hinder the fun Smith had on the range.

“Yeah, he did win, but it was fun,” he said. “I’ve done this one time (before). I didn’t grow up shooting guns and I wasn’t exposed to this before, but it’s a lot of fun to come out here. Even if you hit a couple, it’s still fun to come out and do something different.”

While Smith was a good sport about the competition, he couldn’t help but lay down a challenge to Hill.

“How about we do TV49 Indoors: Darts!”

To which Hill replied, “Darts? Where were you last night when we were playing them?”

A time and place for that matchup has not been set quite yet. But are there any other potential TV49 Outdoors segments you’d like to watch and read about in the future? Leave a comment on this blog post and who knows, maybe someday soon you’re episode idea will become an actual show on 49ers.com.


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