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Morning Tailgate: Aldon Smith Tries MMA

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 1, 2013 – 11:20 AM

Aldon Smith may have put together a historic start to his career, but the 23-year-old is pushing himself in a new direction this offseason. Smith, who has set an NFL record with 33.5 sacks through the first two seasons of his career, started training in a local Mixed Martial Arts gym to improve his athleticism.

Comcast Sports Bay Area shared a video of Smith working out with UFC Heavyweight Daniel Cormier. “It’s definitely a good way to stay in physical shape,” Smith said. “In football you use your hands and feet so much, they definitely do it a lot in this sport.

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate features the latest mock draft predictions for the 49ers and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Feb. 13

Posted by Taylor Price on February 13, 2013 – 10:10 AM

Michael Crabtree is not your average Joe at wide receiver. He makes ridiculous catches look easy. He breaks numerous tackles after making the tough catches, too. He blocks for teammates. He competes. He really does it all.

Crabtree turned in career highs in catches (85), receiving yards (1,105) and touchdowns (9) in his fourth season with the San Francisco 49ers. He also turned in best performances in the closing stages of 2012. Crabtree finished the final eight games of the year with five, 100-yard receiving games and seven touchdowns during that stretch.

In three playoff games, Crabtree caught 20 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns.

Because of his standout season, Crabtree was included in USA Today’s “All-Joe” team for 2012, a collection of the best NFL players that haven’t been named to a Pro Bowl. Crabtree was joined by teammates Alex Smith and Anthony Davis on the team that fields a 53-man roster with representation from every team.

Nate Davis of USA Today explained that Crabtree and Davis are likely soon to earn Pro Bowl recognition based on breakout seasons in 2012.

Crabtree also showed a lot of toughness, willingly going over the middle, as he turned potential into production,” Davis wrote.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 29

Posted by Taylor Price on January 29, 2013 – 5:47 AM

NEW ORLEANS – Good morning, it’s Media Day at Super Bowl XLVII. If the San Francisco 49ers thought they’d been a part of a media swarm before, Tuesday’s annual media day will crush that in comparison.

Thousands of credentialed reporters will get their chance to speak with the 49ers Tuesday morning in the Superdome. It should be quiet the scene compared to Monday’s media session which can be viewed in this 49ers.com photo gallery.

Only a handful of players have spoken to the press so far, but the entire team, plus coaches, will be available. It should make for quite the day, 49ers.com will have it all covered LIVE. That’s right, LIVE.

Visit 49ers.com/live during Media Day at Super Bowl XLVII for unprecedented access to the 49ers.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 24

Posted by Taylor Price on January 24, 2013 – 11:23 AM

We’re just getting into the swing of things for Super Bowl XLVII, but after the 49ers held their first workout to prepare for New Orleans, it seems like gameday will be here before we know it.

Spirits were high on an overcast day at 49ers headquarters. The team appeared to be very upbeat about what lies ahead, a Feb. 3 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

The matchup is undeniably interesting based on the Harbaugh family dynamic. The passion the football family has is also quite unique. Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, along with daughter Joani Crean, discussed their relationships with Jim and John Harbaugh in a national conference call Thursday morning.

By the end of the call, it was quite evident how special the Harbaugh family is and how much they mean to each other. For Jackie and Joani, Super Bowl XLVII is a truly proud moment for the family.

More Super Bowl headlines can be found after the jump.

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NFC Title Game Tailgate: Jan. 21

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 21, 2013 – 3:08 PM

The 49ers are headed back to the Super Bowl. And they did it in style.

Sunday’s 28-24 road comeback in Atlanta to win the NFC Championship was an instant classic that left 49ers Faithful breathless. In the end, a second half shutout by the defense and an impressive group effort by the offense was enough to overcome an early 17-0 deficit in the hostile Georgia Dome.

San Francisco is undefeated in its previous five Super Bowl appearances, and returns to the World Championship for the first time since defeating the Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX following the 1994 season.

Super Bowl XLVII, which will be held in New Orleans on Feb. 3. By now, you may have heard about the two coaches who will be coaching the 49ers and Ravens in two weeks: Jim and John Harbaugh. Peter King of Sports Illustrated took a look ahead to the second edition of the HarBowl after a thrilling Championship Sunday in Atlanta and Foxboro.

“The Niners are back,” King wrote. “Hard to believe it’s been 18 years since Steve Young threw six touchdown passes to shred the Chargers, then mimed having a monkey on his back while begging Harris Barton to rip it off, only to throw up a Gatorade/cookie mix all over agent Leigh Steinberg’s shoes in the postgame. Aaah, those were the days. But San Francisco’s finally in the Big One again, to try to stretch its 5-0 record in Super Bowls.”

The rest of today’s NFC Title Game Tailgate recaps the big win in Atlanta and looks ahead to New Orleans.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 18

Posted by Taylor Price on January 18, 2013 – 11:41 AM

In the final weeks of the regular season, the San Francisco 49ers wisely hid the quarterback running element of the “Pistol” offense. Colin Kaepernick didn’t leave the pocket often on designed-runs, but unleashed the quarterback scrambles against Green Bay to the tune of 181 rushing yards, the most by a quarterback in any NFL game. Ever.

Do the 49ers have more weapons to unleash this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons with a  Super Bowl appearance on the line? CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco believes Vernon Davis is the one that fits the bill.

“After the victory over the Packers, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman pointed out that the 49ers like to keep their ace card hidden until they need it,” Maiocco wrote in a Friday mailbag offering. “This would appear to be the time for Davis to emerge.”

Davis hauled in a 44-yard pass against the Packers last week on a perfectly thrown touch pass from Kaepernick. The 49ers tight end ran by A.J. Hawk’s coverage to make the over-the-shoulder reception.

Could that happen against the Falcons in the NFC title game? It’s certainly possible. Seahawks tight end Zach Miller caught eight passes for 142 yards and a touchdown in last week’s Divisional Playoff defeat.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 9

Posted by Taylor Price on January 9, 2013 – 10:36 AM

Patrick Willis’ potential role against the Green Bay Packers has already been discussed at great length this week. But to his credit, the six-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers said he’s eager to carry out whatever responsibilities are asked of him from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

If the Packers elect to use four wide receivers at a time in Saturday night’s Divisional Playoff matchup, Willis could very well be on the sideline in the 49ers dime defense in favor of fellow Pro Bowl linebacker, NaVorro Bowman. San Francisco’s “Mike” linebacker, played by Bowman, covers the middle of the field in the 49ers dime defense.

However, the likelihood of the Packers throwing even more against the 49ers isn’t a guarantee. After all, Green Bay has evolved into more of a balanced offense ever since San Francisco opened up the 2012 regular season with a solid, 30-22 road victory at Lambeau Field. Furthermore, wide receiver Jordy Nelson was reportedly missing at Tuesday’s open portion of Green Bay’s practice. Nelson suffered a leg injury in Week 17 and later limped off the field late in Green Bay’s Wild Card win over Minnesota. Both teams will release the first injury reports of the week later today.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Packers test their improved running attack against the 49ers or utilize their numerous playmakers at the wide receiver position. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com and Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee both examined the possibility of Willis being on the sideline in situational packages against Green Bay.

Regardless of the personnel Green Bay utilizes on Saturday, Willis will surely find ways to impact the game.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 7

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 7, 2013 – 10:47 AM

It’s been nearly four months since the 49ers kicked off the 2012 season with a 30-22 victory against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. By virtue of their 24-10 victory over Minnesota on Saturday, the Packers are headed to Candlestick for the 5 p.m. PT Saturday kickoff against the 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round.

Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay to an 11-5 record and the NFC North title in the regular season, earning the No. 3 seed in the postseason. The 49ers and Packers and no strangers to each other in the playoffs. Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com took a look back at the rich postseason history between the two proud franchises over the years.

“When the third-seeded Green Bay Packers visit Candlestick Park on Saturday to face the No. 2 seed 49ers, it’ll be their sixth postseason meeting,” Maiocco wrote. “But it’ll be the first time Chico native Aaron Rodgers has played in San Francisco in his career. And it’ll be the first playoff appearance for Colin Kaepernick.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks ahead to the playoff matchup with the Pack as the 49ers open their Quest for Six.

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 28

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 28, 2012 – 11:44 AM

As the regular season winds down, the 49ers are starting to fill up 2012 award lists and the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Mike Sando of ESPN.com offered his all-NFC West team and listed 11 49ers among the best players in the division.

Among San Francisco’s players on Sando’s list included wideout Michael Crabtree, who is having a career year in his fourth NFL season. 49ers Public Relations director Bob Lange shared this cool photo spread of Crabtree explaining his ability to make sideline catches to ESPN the Magazine reporter Anna Katherine Clemons.

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks at Justin Smith’s injury, Vernon Davis’ return to practice and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Dec. 24

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 24, 2012 – 12:00 PM

The 49ers suffered a humbling 42-13 defeat in Seattle on Sunday night, but still woke up on Christmas Eve with a half-game lead in the NFC West over the Seahawks. With a victory on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals at Candlestick Park, San Francisco will capture their second straight division crown.

Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group examined the lopsided loss and what it means for the 49ers. “Both the 49ers and Seahawks are assured playoff berths,” Inman wrote. “The 49ers clinched at least a wild-card spot a week ago after outlasting the New England Patriots 41-34. The Seahawks earned their playoff ticket with Sunday’s prime-time win.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks at the defeat and possible playoff scenarios for the 49ers.

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