What you saw from the 49ers in the practice games, on offense and defense, was pure vanilla. What you’ll see in Sunday’s opener against the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick will be quite different.
On defense, you can expect defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to unleash numerous blitzes. Aldon Smith was taken in the first round of the draft with the expectation that he could give the Niners a strong pass rusher from outside linebacker, and he’s shown that ability, though I’m sure Fangio will drastically limit Smith’s exposure on pass coverage. Read More
Perspective is a word fans do not like and often don’t understand. They are looking for wins and championships, not explanations or reference points. Yet for the 49ers, in what surely will be a transition season, perspective may become the saving grace.Jim Harbaugh has arrived as the coach with a big contract and big expectations, but also with big problems. It’s much like Bill Walsh — 32 years earlier also came from Stanford to a Niners team desperately attempting to escape its past. Read More
As we get ready to kick off a new NFL season, pull up a barstool 49ers and Raiders fans for the violence-free Bay Area football smackdown:Round 1: Hue Jackson or Jim Harbaugh?
If this were a presidential primary, Jackson’s firebrand speeches would win in a landslide. Unfortunately, nobody in the NFL gets points for being clever at press conferences. Read More
At least for the 49ers, there’s a glimmer of hope.
It took until the final opening quarter of the preseason for the 49ers to provide the first piece of evidence that could be parlayed into a possible recipe for success in 2011.
Unfortunately, a single quarter against a group of half-hearted San Diego Chargers does little more than edge the 49ers from no-shots into long shots. Read More
The first two practice games have been meaningless, but 49ers fans should get some idea of how fast players are assimilating Jim Harbaugh’s offense in Saturday night’s game against the Houston Texans.
The problem with evaluating a team in the first two exhibitions — and the fourth one, when the starters hardly play — is that coaches are calling plays to see how they work in specific situations, not to win that specific game.
For instance, in the game against the Raiders, the 49ers twice had the ball inside the Oakland 10 and didn’t throw a pass. Read More
So now what do we tell L.A.? That we have as many thugs at our sporting events as they do? That Candlestick Park is every bit as dangerous as Dodger Stadium? That the scofflaws and punks have imposed their will on society, just like in Southern California?
Fans entering NFL games are patted down. As if it does any good. Fights — brawls, really — were prevalent in the stands in the second half of the Raiders-49ers game Saturday. There were shootings in the parking lot.
What good is it to be checked at the gate when the weapons are in the RVs and pickup trucks? Read More
Yes, as Jim Harbaugh pointed out, we love talking about the quarterback position. Why wouldn’t we? Arguably, it’s the most important in any team sport. It’s the position that wins games. Or loses them.
We know quarterbacks. We’ve watched Joe Montana and Steve Young and Jim Plunkett. What we don’t know, after six seasons, is whether Alex Smith is the quarterback who will win games for the Niners. Or whether the less-publicized Jason Campbell will win them for the Raiders. Read More
The 49ers have long been true to Bill Walsh’s ban on rookie hazing. Too bad first-year coaches can’t avoid rude introductions to the NFL.
After watching Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick take turns getting pummeled in New Orleans on Friday, Jim Harbaugh sheepishly acknowledged the 49ers, “weren’t quite ready for the Saints’ blitz.” Read More
It’s a truism that the most popular player on a football team is the backup quarterback. For the 49ers, it’s now Colin Kaepernick.
Nothing new here. I remember when fans — and some writers — clamored for George Mira to replace John Brodie.
Given a chance, Mira fell flat on his face. Then it was Steve Spurrier. Ditto. Brodie played through all this nonsense and, when the Niners finally put a good cast around him, got the team to the playoffs for three straight years, once to the NFC Championship. Read More
The 49ers brought FanFest to Candlestick Park and unveiled new amenities to the stadium, but what stood out was the dislike for quarterback Alex Smith.
Smith, the much-maligned signal-caller entering his seventh season with the Niners, has had to adjust to a new offensive coordinator in each of his pro seasons. Smith has also had to work through several shoulder surgeries, but none of that seemed to matter to most of the 49ers faithful in attendance Sunday. Read More