Today is the last day to vote your San Francisco 49ers into the 2011 Pro Bowl which will be played Jan. 30, 2011, in Hawaii. Here’s a look at five members of the team who have stood out in particular this season and deserve your vote:
Tags: Andy Lee, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes, Vernon Davis
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The show goes on.
Even after the 49ers lost 34-7 last night, at 5-9 with two divisional games remaining, they have not yet been eliminated from playoff contention.
St. Louis and Seattle will have to lose this weekend to keep the 49ers playoff hopes alive. But there’s a possibility that both could do just that.
Tags: Alex Smith, Anthony Dixon, Dashon Goldson, Manny Lawson, Nate Clements, Takeo Spikes, Travis LaBoy, Troy Smith
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No matter how many times you’ve been to the Pro Bowl, it never gets old. Just ask Patrick Willis, who has gone to the NFL’s annual All-Star game every season in his three-year career.
“It’s a great honor to make the Pro Bowl, to know the players, coaches and fans think you’re the best at what you do,” the 49ers inside linebacker said. “And even though I’ve been a few times now, I’ll never take it for granted.
“Whether you’ve been 10 times or zero times in your career, you have to approach every season the same. You go out and play the best you can, and everything else will take care of itself.”
And while all of the 49ers have that mindset, six in particular have stood out the most in 2010. Now they need you, the 49ers Faithful, to vote for them to make it to the 2011 Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
Tags: Andy Lee, Frank Gore, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes, Vernon Davis
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The 49ers are too familiar with the havoc created by Seattle’s rowdy fan base known as the “12th Man.” But as linebacker Patrick Willis told me Monday afternoon, it’s time to turn the tables on the Seahawks with the support of the 49ers Faithful when the two sides meet this Sunday at Candlestick Park.
“We’re going to need our fans big-time,” Willis said a day after the 49ers dropped to 4-8, two games out of first place with four left to play. “Good or bad, don’t give up on us until the season is done and we’re out of it. We have faithful fans. We know we’re not proud of where we are now and we certainly wish we could be in a better situation than where we are now.
“We got four games to finish strong. We’ll see what happens, but continue to be behind us.”
Beyond the 12th man, the 49ers haven’t named their 11th man on the offensive side of the ball yet.
Tags: Ahmad Brooks, Alex Smith, Anthony Davis, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes, Troy Smith, Vernon Davis
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It’s true that Mike Singletary enjoys physical football. But it’s also true that the 49ers head coach is a player’s coach.
The Hall of Fame linebacker demonstrated that fact at Monday’s second training camp practice of the day, allowing several prominent veterans to take the day’s second practice off.
Linebacker Takeo Spikes, defensive tackle Justin Smith, safety Michael Lewis, tackle Barry Sims and linebacker Travis LaBoy all watched practice in sneakers.
While some of the veterans were able to rest their legs, the rookies continued to work theirs as they got a taste of their first two-a-day as professional football players.
Tags: Alex Smith, Navorro Bowman, Takeo Spikes
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With the NBA Finals tipping off tonight, why not get some predictions out of some of the players in the locker room? There’s always basketball talk going on in the locker room anyway, so I figured I’d get some of our guys on record with their NBA Finals picks.
Last year, Takeo Spikes went around during OTAs for his debut episode of “Spikes TV” and asked teammates about their picks between the Lakers and the Orlando Magic.
The Lakers received most of the votes in 2009, but this time around, the opinions were much more divided.
Rookie safety Taylor Mays is picking the Lakers to win.
“I know the work that Kobe puts in because I’ve seen him put it in. He works with a trainer that’s from my school,” Mays said. “I don’t know how many games it’ll go. Those Celtics are physical. We’ll see.”
Nate Byham, the tight end the 49ers selected in the sixth-round, appreciates Boston’s toughness, but can’t see them dethroning the defending champions.
“I’ll take the Lakers and I’ll say six games. Boston is tough, but I think it’ll go six.”
Other rookies seemed to be swayed by the physical style of defense that the Celtics play, a key to helping them defeat the Lakers two years ago in the Finals. (I think Coach Singletary would approve of the defensive thought process behind this).
“I like the Celtics, because they have the experience and they’ve brought it all together in the playoffs, offensively and especially defensively,” rookie cornerback Phillip Adams said.
Sixth-round pick Kyle Williams is pretty blunt about his reasoning for seeing the Celtics hoist another title.
“Celtics in six. I can’t stand the Lakers. My whole family is Lakers fans. I can’t stand them. Can’t do it. Can’t go with them.”
Tags: Kyle Williams, Nate Byham, Phillip Adams, Takeo Spikes, Taylor Mays
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In the short amount of time Karl Paymah has been a part of the 49ers this offseason, several things have impressed the free agent cornerback.
But in particular, the 49ers secondary coaches, Johnnie Lynn and Vance Joseph have really had a positive influence on Paymah already.
“To tell you the truth I think they are the best DB coaches I’ve had since I’ve been in the NFL,” said the five-year veteran, who is with his third team. “I’ve never pounded technique as much as I do here. They’ve instilled confidence in all of us. They believe in you, they trust you and they’re going to let you play the game. It’s a good situation.”
Lynn is entering his 17th NFL season, and sixth season with the 49ers. For his entire tenure in the Bay Area, Lynn has shared the position group with Joseph, who has coached all six of his NFL seasons with the 49ers.
As a former defensive coordinator with the New York Giants, Lynn is one of the team’s most respected coaches, that’s why he’s also the team’s special assistant to the head coach. Although he’s mostly known by outsiders for his raspy voice which tends to give-way the first week of training camp, inside the building Lynn is one of the most respected coaches. The same goes for Joseph, who is not afraid to motivate players if he’s not satisfied with their effort.
Paymah showed early return on the wisdom he’s attained so far from both coaches, intercepting a pass from Alex Smith at Wednesday’s voluntary organized team activity.
“I was just out there playing,” Paymah said downplaying the turnover. “I knew the situation and I just reacted. I tried to get a good jam on (Ted Ginn Jr.) and I noticed him trying to cut back, I was surprised (Smith) threw the ball. I just tried to beat him to the ball and make a play.”
Paymah’s pretty interception on such a nice day weather-wise was fitting for the defensive back, considering how much he was looking forward to Bay Area weather when signing with the 49ers in March.
“It’s beautiful out there, sometimes I refer to it as Club Med,” Paymah said while cracking a grin. “I don’t really feel like I’m at work, except for when practice starts hurting. But really I’m just trying to have fun, play ball and not think too much. I’m just trying to make it happen.”
Likewise, rookie defensive backs are adjusting to their new surroundings. Fortunately, Lynn and Joseph have made the experience a challenging one.
Second-round pick Taylor Mays is just like Paymah, loving his new position coaches.
“They’re good coaches because they coach you, the individual player. I think that’s important. They’re coaching me up on everything I do,” the rookie safety said.
Mays knows he won’t be perfect this week, but as long as he’s giving maximum effort, the former USC standout can live with that at the end of the day.
“It’s about giving full effort. That’s all I can really do right now. I’m trying to learn as much as I can, retain as much as I can and just go from there. I’m trying to get as much work in as I can. I’m not really worried about messing up or anything. I’m trying to get as many mistakes out the way and go forward,” Mays said.
Mays said he already understands what type of effort is needed just from watching two solid safeties like Michael Lewis and Dashon Goldson.
“I know what to expect and know what the tempo should be,” Mays said. “It’s good to see guys at the highest level prepare and see what it takes to be great and successful. We have two successful safeties to watch and I couldn’t think of a better situation to be in.”
Notes and Quotes
Greg Manuksy wore a microphone for 49ers.com on Tuesday. On Wednesday, head coach Mike Singletary wore the wire and the defensive coordinator stepped up to a podium with a microphone to answer questions from the media. Many wondered about his initial impressions on the three defensive players selected by the 49ers in the 2010 Draft, but Manusky wasn’t quick to judge his new talent. “There are a lot of things thrown at them the first couple of weeks. They just got out of a scenario of a worldwide tour going to teams and stuff like that. It’s good to get them here, start sitting them down, understand the system and understand where their role is. They’ll eventually and hopefully move on and upward.”
Manusky was also questioned about his defensive philosophy of using defenders who mirror each other and Navorro Bowman’s name came up. The third-round pick out of Penn State, who played outside linebacker in a 4-3 college scheme, is now making the change to inside linebacker in a 3-4. But the change is not a problem according to Bowman who is relishing the opportunity. “I’m glad to be back inside, you get to each side faster,” Bowman noted. “Being an outside ‘backer you’re stuck to one side and you can’t really make plays on the other side of the field. I’m glad to be inside, but whatever the coaches need me to learn – I’ll do that.”
Speaking of linebackers, Takeo Spikes is a veteran in the truest sense of the word. Asked if he’s excited about the upcoming season, the 13-year veteran said he’ll curb his enthusiasm until late July. “When training camp comes around and we start playing games, I think that’s when it really gets all the way turned up.”
Mike Iupati has been off to a good start so far this week. During the team period, the rookie left guard did a nice job of pulling and kicking out the blitzing Bowman, to give running back Glen Coffee a huge running lane. “Nice job Mike!” offensive line coach Mike Solari belted out upon seeing the play develop.
Smith rebounded from the early interception and completed several passes in the 10 to 20-yard range, but none more impressive than the touch pass 25 yards or so down the middle of the field to wide receiver Dominique Zeigler, who got past the coverage of cornerback Tarell Brown and ran right under the perfectly thrown pass.
Although Patrick Willis is recovering a minor offseason knee surgery, he’s still very active at practice. Besides leading stretches with the rest of team captains, he’s been 50 yards behind the defense during team periods, mirroring the movements of both inside ‘backers. Willis might not be on the field with his teammates full-go, but he’s getting plenty of mental reps.
Tags: Alex Smith, Greg Manusky, Johnnie Lynn, Karl Paymah, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes, Taylor Mays, Ted Ginn Jr., Vance Joseph
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In the spirit of March Madness, linebacker Scott McKillop paid tribute to Kentucky’s dynamic freshman point guard during Monday’s first OTA practice session of the 2010 offseason. While making “reload” calls in reaction to shifts by the offense, the second-year player from Pittsburgh not only called out the change in assignments, he did so with flare.
“I did the John Wall dance a couple of times, he’s the guard from Kentucky,” linebacker Scott McKillop said. “I also did a little Spiderman, a little bowling and a few leg kicks. I just wanted to make it fun so when the offense watches film, we can laugh about it.”
McKillop and the rest of his teammates are much more relaxed at this point of the year than any other season in recent memory. The offense will be running the same system for two years in a row while McKillop will play in a defense that will be headed up by Greg Manusky for the fourth straight season.
“I’ve got about a month head start compared to last year and I’m familiar with the guys, familiar with the system,” McKillop said. “I’m more comfortable so you can have fun. If you can’t have fun out there, you shouldn’t be playing.”
Like McKillop, the rest of the players went through a very lively practice, especially considering training camp is roughly five months away. Below is a video and several photos from Monday.
QB Alex Smith
WR Michael Crabtree
TE coach Pete Hoener with the tight end group
LB Takeo Spikes
Tags: 2010 OTAs, Alex Smith, Michael Crabtree, Scott McKillop, Takeo Spikes
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Eagles head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb called in to the 49ers media room today for their game week conference calls. Both Reid and McNabb described the 49ers as a “dangerous” football team and stressed the importance of Sunday’s matchup to both clubs.
McNabb also said that the 49ers middle linebacker tandem of Takeo Spikes and Patrick Willis has the makings of a Hall of Fame combination. He also spoke glowingly of his former teammate Michael Lewis who in his opinion, is a natural leader.
Reid reflected on the team’s decision to draft DeSean Jackson in 2008. The coach said he didn’t have any reservations about Jackson after being well-informed by California head coach Jeff Tedford.
Tags: Michael Lewis, Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes
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Mike Singletary began his Monday press conference by announcing that two starters in right tackle Tony Pashos and inside linebacker Takeo Spikes will undergo MRI’s today on the shoulder injuries they sustained against the Texans.
Singletary went over the rest of the 49ers injury report from the Houston game and then made an announcement on the team’s starting quarterback position for the 49ers next game at Indianapolis and for the foreseeable future.
“As far as this upcoming week in terms of quarterback, Alex Smith will be the quarterback,” Singletary said.
“As far as, ‘Will Shaun Hill be back?’ and all this other stuff… we’re not going to be a flavor of the month kind of team,” he added. “I wanted to make the decision based on who gives us the best chance to win.”
More Notes from Monday
-Singletary said Pashos suffered a left shoulder contusion, outside linebacker Marques Harris suffered a hamstring strain, defensive tackle Justin Smith suffered a left calf strain, nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin suffered a right knee sprain and Spikes suffered a right shoulder sprain.
-The 49ers head coach touched on the play of his offensive line again on Monday, but he sounded confident that the group would improve its play and reestablish Frank Gore and the 49ers running attack.
“We want to run the ball, but usually they have 8.5 guys in the box, sometimes nine. Sometimes that makes it a little more difficult. When you have an offensive line that has been banged up and is trying to get things right, it makes for not a good combination. But as we build confidence and continue to get better, it will work itself out.”
-If Pashos is unable to return in time for Sunday’s game against the Colts, Singletary said the team would “figure it out,” in naming a replacement.
-Singletary sat in on the team’s defensive meeting this morning to cover some communication issues that have been hampering the unit’s play. Singletary wants to see better results from that side of the ball, but was sure to remind them know how highly he thinks of them.
“We’re a good defense with the opportunity to be a great defense,” he said of his message to the defense. “But because of the communication factor, particularly in the last couple of games, you get guys starting to do their own thing. That’s when you really have to communicate very well, to make sure guys don’t start doing their own thing. We just have to get on one page, relax, settle down and let’s go from there.”
-Singletary said nothing stood out to him from watching the film in regards to the play of Michael Crabtree.
“Nothing jumped out to me, it was very evident yesterday,” Singletary said. “I just wanted to see it on film, just like when you see a good movie; you want to see it again.”
-Singletary spoke with Crabtree earlier this morning to let him know how he appreciated all the work Crabtree did while he was away from the team.
“All of the work he did, all of the studying he did while he wasn’t here – it showed,” Singletary said.
Tags: Alex Smith, Aubrayo Franklin, Frank Gore, Justin Smith, Marques Harris, Michael Crabtree, Shaun Hill, Takeo Spikes, Tony Pashos
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