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
Hue Jackson did such a good job as offensive coordinator for the Raiders last season, he was rewarded by club owner Al Davis with his first pro head coaching job this season.Be careful what you wish for.Jackson was a good choice to replace the buffoon Tom Cable, who was fired by Davis for his off-field behavior, which included a tussle with an assistant coach. Read More
Bruce Bochy said all the right things about continuing to fight after the Arizona Diamondbacks crushed the Giants’ hopes over the weekend. But Bochy has to face the reality, even after Monday’s rare blowout win against the Padres: The Giants are done, and he has to look at what kind of team he’ll have next season.
That team should have more young players, instead of veterans who can no longer do the job. Read More
Brian Sabean and Giants ownership deserve credit for taking a serious financial hit to improve the team, as they designated Miguel Tejada and Aaron Rowand for assignment on the last day of August. Now, as the Giants start a critical series against the Arizona Diamondbacks today, it is up to manager Bruce Bochy to use current performance in making playing decisions, not a player’s history. Read More
Program vendors should do a brisk business at Cal football games this fall because coach Jeff Tedford estimates that at least five freshmen will get significant playing time, and the number may go as high as 10. “Usually, it’s just two or three, or even just one,” Tedford said as summer practice wound down.One who seems certain to get a lot of playing time is the man-mountain from Sacramento in the middle of the defensive line, Viliami Moala, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 350 pounds. Tedford has been impressed with defensive backs Kameron Jackson and Stefan McClure. Read More
Some Bay Area sports journalists have swallowed the canard that Billy Beane may leave because he thinks the A’s can’t win while playing in the Oakland Coliseum without even considering these questions: 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
If Giants manager Bruce Bochy wants to extend his team’s season beyond the 34 regular-season games remaining, he needs to remind himself that he should play his best players, not those making the most money.
And that should start with Brandon Belt, who absolutely should be in the lineup every day, either at first base or left field. Read More
Centuries ago, Sir Isaac Newton wrote that, in science, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Turns out that applies to sports, too. Just ask the Giants.
Everything went right for the Giants in the closing weeks of last season and the postseason. The San Diego Padres, who had been cruising atop the NL West all season and had a 6½-game lead, collapsed with a 10-game losing streak, giving the Giants a chance to win the division. 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
Chris Mullin has come a long way, from the consolation prize in the 1985 draft to a richly deserved induction into the basketball Hall of Fame today.
The NBA had just started its draft lottery in 1985, and Al Attles was the Warriors representative when the lottery order was decided and televised. Patrick Ewing was the big prize, and the nation could see Attles’ stricken look when the Warriors were slotted at No. 7.
Ewing did indeed become a great pro, but so did Mullin, as much because of hard work as natural talent. Read More
Bruce Bochy was as low as I’ve ever seen him when we talked before Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
“The way we’re playing, I don’t think we could beat anybody,” he said — and the Giants then lost another, 2-1 to the Phillies.
Baseball teams can have unaccountably hot or cold streaks. The Phillies were in one of those hot streaks, stretching their win streak to nine that day, and the Giants were in their worst stretch of the season, with eight losses in nine games. Read More
Though Cal football coach Jeff Tedford insists there will be competition for the starting quarterback position this fall, Zach Maynard emerged as the top QB in the spring and should be under center when the Bears open at Candlestick on Sept. 3 against Fresno State.
“He can make all the throws,” Tedford said this week. “He throws a nice deep ball and he has the arm strength to zip the ball on the intermediate routes.”
Maynard also has some running ability, which is a positive. Read More
There is a simple solution to the Barry Zito problem: When he recovers from the mysterious foot ailment that landed him on the DL on Monday night, the Giants should put him on the “designated for assignment” list and send him to Triple-A Fresno. If he refuses to go, just release him.
And, yes, that means the Giants will probably have to eat the rest of Zito’s contract, about $60 million. Even if another club signed him, the Giants would almost certainly have to pay for most of the remaining contract. Read More
The new NFL labor contract brings the 49ers’ stadium in Santa Clara closer to reality.
As team President Jed York pointed out in a conference call this week, the new collective bargaining agreement has a provision setting 1.5 percent of revenue aside for new stadiums. This is why the owners wanted a new deal reducing the players’ share, so they’d have money for new stadiums. Read More