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Morning Tailgate: Competitive Secondary

Posted by Taylor Price on May 16, 2013 – 10:41 AM

Out of all the upcoming competitions set to take place on the 49ers defense, secondary roles will be most coveted. Cornerback and safety spots will feature the most spirited battles.

That’s the opinion of 49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.

San Francisco’s front-seven appears to be set, other than the starting spot at nose tackle. Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey are two of the top contenders to fill Isaac Sopoaga’s role as the anchor of the 3-4 defensive alignment.

On the back end of the defense, cornerback and safety will be the position battles to watch. Eric Reid, Craig Dahl and Trenton Robinson are some of the players who will have the opportunity to start at free safety opposite of Pro Bowl safety Donte Whitner. At cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha’s arrival in San Francisco signaled an interesting competition for defensive back roles in the team’s base and nickel personnel groups.

The upcoming competitions will be intriguing all offseason and should only intensify when Organized Team Activities take place starting next week.

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Gameday Story: The Forty Niner Way

Posted by Taylor Price on August 13, 2012 – 10:28 AM

The first 49ers Gameday Magazine cover story of 2012 discusses this year’s incoming rookie draft class and their quest to learn “The Forty Niner Way.” Seven players from all over the country have been chosen to be the next batch of great players, but before they get there, coaches and veterans have schooled the NFL newcomers on what it takes to truly become a 49er.

This year’s rookies posed for the cover after a recent training camp practice. They also stood close to Jim Harbaugh’s “Forty Niner Way” street sign, recently installed by San Francisco’s coach prior to the start of camp. Graphic designer Ben Mayberry touched up the image to give the cover its final look.

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Morning Tailgate: June 7

Posted by Taylor Price on June 7, 2012 – 9:32 AM

It didn’t take long for fans of the New York Giants to express remorse for losing running back Brandon Jacobs to the San Francisco 49ers via free agency.

Kyle Ratke of USA Today shares the story of a 6-year-old Giants fan named Joseph who recently reached out to Jacobs to express his desire to have the power running back return to New York for an eighth season. After Joseph’s mother explained to her son that Jacobs left the Giants because the team didn’t have enough money to pay him, Joseph, with the help of his mother, sent Jacobs $3.36 with the hopes Jacobs would return to The Big Apple.

The gesture was appreciated by the new 49ers running back, who just so happens to be New York’s all-time rushing touchdown leader with 56 scores on the ground.

“Here’s what I am thinking for the kid,” Jacobs tweeted last night. “I have a 5 year old, I will go and pick Joe up at his home in jersey and take him and my son 2 chucky cheese, what y’all think about that?”

More on the 49ers backfield and additional team headlines can be found after the jump.

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Donte Whitner Mentors Young Safeties

Posted by Alex Espinoza on June 5, 2012 – 4:46 PM

Height has never been an issue for heavy-hitting Donte Whitner, who has established himself as one of football’s fiercest safeties. Heading into the 2012 season, Whitner finds himself surrounded by a couple of rookie safeties who have been labeled by some as undersized.

But listening to Whitner’s comments following Tuesday’s practice, sixth-round pick Trenton Robinson and undrafted signee Michael Thomas haven’t missed a beat despite their smaller stature.

“This is not really basketball,” Whitner said. “This is about who can run, who can jump, who can change direction and who can explode and hit people.”

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Morning Tailgate: May 18

Posted by Taylor Price on May 18, 2012 – 9:07 AM

If you were attempting to rank the top 100 players in the National Football League, it would be hard to not list just about every member of the San Francisco 49ers defense among the group.

Following a 2011 season in which the 49ers allowed three rushing touchdowns (t-5th for fewest allowed in NFL history since the league went to a 16-game schedule in 1978), the 49ers defense seemingly left a lasting impression on every member of the national and local football media.

The defense also produced a 14-game stretch of not allowing a rushing touchdown to start the season, good for the longest single-season streak of its kind in league history. And of course, how could you look past the defense’s 36-game stretch of not allowing an individual 100-yard rusher from Nov. 29, 2009 all the way until Dec. 19, 2011? That mark tied for the longest streak in league history since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

Count CBS Sports columnist Pete Prisco in the group of writers thoroughly impressed by such performances. In a recent column, Prisco offered his top 100 players in the league based on his opinions formed from film review and conversations with NFL scouts. Prisco put six 49ers on the list, including five members of the league’s best rush defense and second-best scoring defense.

Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis checks in first at spot No. 13, followed by fellow All-Pro Justin Smith at spot No. 14. Prisco described Willis as a “tackling machine” and said it’s “an-all day battle for whover is lined up across” Smith.

Prisco lists all-time 49ers rushing leader Frank Gore at spot No. 66, noting that Gore is “one of the tough inside runners in the league.

Third-year linebacker NaVorro Bowman made the list at spot No. 72. “He emerged last year as a force,” wrote Prisco on San Francisco’s tackling leader in 2011.

Rounding out the 49ers contingent are defensive tackle Ray McDonald (No. 85) and outside linebacker Aldon Smith (No. 98). Prisco believes McDonald is slightly overshadowed because of the team’s complete defense, but noted the fifth-year lineman, “plays hard, makes a lot of plays and is starting to get the attention.” On Smith, Prisco believes the second-year pass-rusher has a chance for “so much more” production following a 14-sack rookie campaign.

More defensive headlines and the latest team news can be found after the jump.

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Robinson Races at Rookie Camp

Posted by Taylor Price on May 11, 2012 – 2:04 PM

Trenton Robinson couldn’t sleep very well last night. He tossed. He turned. He just couldn’t get his mind off of what was about to unfold – a three-day rookie minicamp at San Francisco 49ers headquarters that would signal the start of his career in the National Football League.

“I couldn’t wait to get out there,” said the team’s sixth-round selection No. 180 overall. “Last night, I really couldn’t sleep.”

If the Michigan State safety felt sluggish the night before, he certainly didn’t show it in the first of two rookie minicamp sessions held on Friday. With one of the first drills being a kickoff period, Robinson, the 5-foot-10, 195 pounder looked impressive while covering kicks.

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Meet the Rookies: 2012 Edition

Posted by Alex Espinoza on May 2, 2012 – 1:57 PM

The 2012 49ers draft class is one marked with intrigue and excitement. From traditional powerhouses like Notre Dame to up-and-coming programs like Oregon and even Division II schools like Western Oregon, the new crop of 49ers bring their own share of interesting stories to the team.

In his third year at the helm of the 49ers draft room, general manager Trent Baalke was able to add some explosive offensive weapons while adding some back-end depth on the final day. Above all, the 49ers are excited to bring another group of high character players in the locker room at 4949 Centennial Blvd.

Baalke and his staff felt good about the 49ers prospect board heading into the draft and are even happier with the seven players they added to the roster.

“It creates competition,” Baalke said. “I can’t say it enough, that’s what this game’s all about, is competing and developing this roster from the top down and the bottom up. And as those things come together, that’s when you start to develop a team that we feel we can play long into the year with.”

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Morning Tailgate: April 30

Posted by Taylor Price on April 30, 2012 – 9:45 AM

Now that the 2012 NFL Draft is in the books, several prominent football writers have praised the performance of San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke.

The 49ers GM identified a player, Wake Forest guard Joe Looney, as a prospect worth drafting in the third-round. However, Baalke moved back three times, picking up a sixth-round pick (Michigan State safety Trenton Robinson), and three selections in next year’s draft (Carolina’s third-round pick, Indianapolis’ fifth-round pick and Miami’s sixth-round pick).

When it was all said and done, the 49ers ended up selecting Looney in the fourth-round and had four additional picks to show for it.

The draft day experience for many of the 49ers rookies was unique to say the least. First-round selection A.J. Jenkins’ arrival in the Bay Area was documented exclusively by TV49.

Robinson’s experience was also captured over the weekend by a Michigan television station.

More on Robinson’s draft weekend and other 49ers headlines after the jump.

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