Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dashon Goldson Signs One-Year Tender (VIDEO)

49ers Sign G Leonard Davis

The San Francisco 49ers announced they have signed G Leonard Davis to a one-year contract.

Davis (6-6, 375) was originally a first round draft pick (2nd overall) by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2001 NFL Draft. He has started all 155 games in which he has appeared, was named Second-Team All-Pro in 2007 and is a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2007-09). After spending six seasons with the Cardinals (2001-06), Davis was signed by the Dallas Cowboys on March 5, 2007 where he remained with the club for four seasons (2007-10). Davis spent the majority of the 2011 season with the Detroit Lions.

A 33-year-old native of Wortham, TX, Davis starred collegiately at the University of Texas where he was named First-Team All-American, First-Team All-Big 12 and was a finalist for the Outland Trophy.
The team also announced they have waived OL David Gonzales.

Gonzales (6-6, 286) signed with the club as an undrafted free agent on May 4. Gonzales starred collegiately at Washington State where he started all 19 games in which he appeared and earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 honors as a senior.

Alex Smith > Peyton Manning???

You’ll read the following more than once this summer: Can the 49ers win the Super Bowl with Alex Smith? (Italics included to convey how the author can’t believe he/she is putting Alex Smith and Super Bowl in the same sentence).

The truth is Alex Smith hasn’t been that guy — Alex Smith — for the past 21 months, 24 games and 665 attempts.

Starting after the emotional nadir of his career – the prime-time 2010 loss to the Eagles when he was publicly berated by his head coach and 60,000 WE-WANT-CARR!! screaming fans – Smith has produced this statistical line: 395 of 665, 4,780 yards, 30 TDs, 6 INTs, 92.8 rating.

Sound good? I thought so. And to see just how good, I compared Smith with the NFL’s top quarterbacks over their past 665 attempts, including any playoff games.

The findings? Smith has posted a better passer rating than Peyton Manning, has thrown more touchdowns than Philip Rivers and has tossed fewer interceptions than any elite NFL quarterback.

So is Smith a Super-Bowl-winning signal-caller? That remains to be seen.

There remain legitimate questions about his ability to operate a less buttoned-up offense. The 49ers have added potential downfield threats in Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins. Now, can Smith consistently get them the ball?

The stats below offer fodder for Smith’s biggest fans (Look at his rating!) and harshest critics (The guy can’t even complete 60 percent of his passes?)

In other words, the numbers might not definitively answer any questions. At the very least, however, they offer this: Alex Smith has been far better than many people think.

The list of the best quarterbacks included with Smith is subjective. Carolina’s Cam Newton isn’t included because he doesn’t have 665 career attempts:

QB RATING (past 665 attempts)

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers, 114.88
2. Drew Brees, Saints, 106.21
3. Tom Brady, Patriots, 102.85
4. Tony Romo, Cowboys, 101.45
5. Matthew Stafford, Lions, 96.32
6. Eli Manning, Giants, 94.23
7. Alex Smith, 49ers, 92.81
8. Peyton Manning, Broncos, 92.74
9. Matt Schaub, Texans, 91.93
10. Matt Ryan, Falcons, 90.79
11. Philip Rivers, Chargers, 88.98
12. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers, 88.25
13. Michael Vick, Eagles, 86.35
14. Jay Cutler, Bears, 83.69
15. Joe Flacco, Ravens, 83.12

YARDS (past 665 attempts)

1. Rodgers, 5,822
2. Brees, 5,519
3. Brady, 5,503
4. E. Manning, 5,407
5. Rivers, 5,363
6. Romo, 5,339
7. Roethlisberger, 5,212
8. Vick, 5,189
9. Stafford, 5,060
10. Schaub, 4,940
11. Cutler, 4,824
12. Alex Smith, 4,780
13. Ryan, 4,777
14. P. Manning, 4,690
15. Flacco, 4,433

TOUCHDOWNS (past 665 attempts)

1. Rodgers, 53
2. Brees, 46
3. Brady, 42
4. Romo, 41
5. Stafford, 40
6. P. Manning, 33
T7. Cutler, 32
T7. E. Manning, 32
T7. Ryan, 32
T10. Schaub, 30
T10. Alex Smith, 30
T12. Rivers, 29
T. 12 Vick, 29
T14. Flacco, 27
T. 14 Roethlisberger, 27

INTERCEPTIONS (past 665 attempts)

1. Alex Smith, 6
2. Rodgers, 9
3. Schaub, 13
T4. Ryan, 14
T4. Flacco, 14
T6. Brees, 15
T6. Brady, 15
T6. E. Manning, 15
9. Stafford, 16
T10. Romo, 17
T10. P. Manning, 17
12. Roethlisberger, 19
T13. Cutler, 21
T13. Vick, 21
15. Rivers, 22

COMPLETION PERCENTAGE (past 665 attempts)

1. Brees, 70.1
2. Romo, 67.2
T3. P. Manning, 66.5
T3. Rodgers, 66.5
5. Brady, 65.6
T6. Rivers, 63.0
T6. Stafford, 63.0
8. Schaub, 62.4
9. Rothlisberger, 62.3
10. E. Manning, 62.0
11. Ryan, 61.8
12. Vick, 60.5
13. Alex Smith, 59.4
T14. Cutler, 58.2
T14. Flacco, 58.2


Monday, July 23, 2012

Press Pass - Ted Ginn Jr (VIDEO)

49ers Rookies Report to Training Camp (VIDEO)

49ers Add Veteran Defensive Back Darcel McBath

The 49ers signed defensive back Darcel McBath, whom the Jacksonville Jaguars cut in April, as they reached the 90-player roster maximum before the opening of training camp.

The 49ers also placed linebacker Darius Fleming on the physically unable to perform list, with guard Joe Looney and running back Jewel Hampton going on the non-football injury list.

The club announced the signing of McBath on Monday, but the other moves appeared on the wire that was distributed throughout the league. Although he has played his entire career at cornerback, the 49ers list McBath as a safety.

The 49ers are prepared to start training camp without Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson, who has given no indication whether he plans to sign his franchise tender and report on time.

McBath (6-foot-1, 198 pounds) was a second-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2009 out of Texas Tech. He saw action in 20 games over two seasons with the Broncos, where he played under current 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell. McBath played one game last season with the Jaguars. He was cut in July.

Rookies and selected veterans had their first practice of training camp on Monday. On Friday, the 49ers will hold their first full-squad practice.

Fleming, a fifth-round draft pick, sustained a torn ACL this offseason and is likely ticketed for injured reserve. Looney sustained a foot fracture while practicing for the Senior Bowl in January.

Monday, July 16, 2012

San Francisco 49ers and Dashon Goldson Not Able to Reach Multiyear Deal

Safety Dashon Goldson and the 49ers were unable to reach a multiyear contract before Monday's 1 p.m. deadline, a 49ers spokesman confirmed.

Goldson can collect only his $6.2 million tender this season as the 49ers' designated "franchise" player in free agency. He said last week he'd play on that one-year franchise tag rather than boycott the season without a multiyear deal.

"If I have to play for the tag, I'll play for the tag," Goldson told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "But any guy would love long-term security. ... If not, I'll still be a 49er."

Monday was the league-imposed deadline for clubs to either reach multiyear deals with franchise players or scuttle such pacts until the season ends. The 49ers could place the franchise tag on him again next year, at the cost of nearly $7.4 million.

Goldson's status is the 49ers' biggest contract quandary heading into training camp, which officially begins July 26 when all players must report to the 49ers' Santa Clara facility. (Rookies report Saturday and will hold their first practices of training camp Monday and Tuesday.)

Goldson, entering his sixth NFL season, has yet to sign that one-year tender, and it's unknown when he'll report to camp. He was not available for comment Monday, and his agent, Ben Dogra, did not return messages seeking comment.

The 49ers return all their defensive starters coming off their breakout NFC-runner-up season. Linebacker Ahmad Brooks and cornerback Carlos Rogers signed multiyear contracts earlier this offseason.

Last year, Goldson turned down a reported five-year, $25 million offer from the 49ers and couldn't strike a deal elsewhere in free agency. He returned to the 49ers during training camp on a one-year, $2 million deal. Goldson then produced a career-high six interceptions, the second-most among NFL safeties and one shy of the total by San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle.

Two particular plays served as bookends to Goldson's stellar 2012 season: He recovered a win-clinching fumble Oct. 2 at Philadelphia, and he intercepted a Drew Brees pass in an epic playoff victory over the New Orleans Saints on Jan. 14.

Goldson, however, wasn't flawless. While his aggressive approach fit the 49ers' style, it also left the secondary vulnerable on occasion. Known as a hard hitter, that reputation took on new meaning when he got ejected from a Nov. 20 game against the Arizona Cardinals for brawling with wide receiver Early Doucet.

After the 49ers fell in the NFC Championship game to the New York Giants on Jan. 22, Goldson skipped the Pro Bowl because of a sore ankle. He did not participate in the 49ers' offseason program.

49ers Clutch Plays of 2011 (VIDEO)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Frank Gore: The Second Most Overrated RB in the NFL?

This article was written by Andrew Sweat and appeared on Yahoo! Sports. 49ersSpin loves Frank Gore and think he is very underrated in the league. He was one of the only sparks of hope through the dark ages of the 49ers. We do not endorse this article; rather just wanted to bring it the attention of the 49ers faithful.

"Evaluating the performance of running backs used to be as easy as looking at rushing yards, touchdowns, and yards per carry.

But evaluating running backs on those simple criteria alone can be misleading. Fortunately for educated football fans, Football Outsiders provides a treasure trove of advanced statistics that go much deeper than the simple stats that appear on the back of a football card.

Football Outsiders uses two primary statistics to evaluate running backs - DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) and DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average). In summary, DYAR shows the yards a running back gains when compared to a replacement-level running back, adjusted for situation and opponent. DVOA shows the value, per play, over an average running back in the same game situations.

The simple version: DYAR means a running back with more total value. DVOA means a running back with more value per play. You can read Football Outsiders' full descriptions of DYAR and DVOA here.

Using Football Outsiders' data, here is my assessment of the five most overrated running backs based on DYAR and DVOA. To view Football Outsiders' statistics, click these links for 2011 stats and 2010 stats.

1. Chris Johnson - Tennessee Titans
2011 DVOA = -12.5%; 2010 DVOA = -7.2%
2011 DYAR = -39; 2010 DYAR = 18
The last two seasons have been brutal for Chris Johnson. After rushing for 2,006 yards in 2009, Chris Johnson in 2010 and 2011 has been less effective than "average" running backs based on game situations (the negative DVOA) and has yielded a combined -21 yards over what a replacement level running back would have produced (DYAR). Despite rushing for more than 1,000 yards and at least 4.0 yards per attempt in each of the last two seasons, Chris Johnson's advanced stats show a rusher who is actually less effective than average, replacement-level RB's.

2. Frank Gore - San Francisco 49ers
2011 DVOA = -8.1%; 2010 DVOA = -8.9%
2011 DYAR = 8; 2010 DYAR = -2
Despite being a perennial 1,000+ yard rusher (when healthy), Frank Gore's advanced statistics are less than stellar. Frank Gore has produced a negative DVOA in each of the last two season and his combined DYAR is basically a break even. When Gore missed five games in 2010 his backup, Brian Westbrook, produced a better DVOA (2.6%) than a healthy Frank Gore (-8.9%) and a better yards-per-attempt average of 4.4 compared to Gore's 4.2.

3. Steven Jackson - St. Louis Rams
2011 DVOA = 0.6%; 2010 DVOA = -12.1%
2011 DYAR = 90; 2010 DYAR = -48
I know, picking on the St. Louis Rams is like shooting fish in a barrel. But still, Steven Jackson's DVOA and DYAR have been average, at best, over the last two years. Out of respect for the still-healing Rams fan base, I will mercifully say no more.

4. Michael Turner - Atlanta Falcons
2011 DVOA = -2.5%; 2010 DVOA = -1.4%
2011 DYAR = 76; 2010 DYAR = 102
Michael Turner has rushed for more than 1,300 yards and scored at least 11 TD's in each of the last two seasons. However, he has also carried the ball a combined 635 times over those last two seasons. While Turner's fantasy value is great, his actual performance is pedestrian. Turner's negative DVOA in each of the last two seasons show a running back who has been below average when factoring in variables such as down, distance, and opponent. His positive DYAR is a result of his sheer volume of carries.

5. Matt Forte - Chicago Bears
2011 DVOA = -2.7%; 2010 DVOA = 0.4%
2011 DYAR = 45; 2010 DYAR = 87
So maybe this is why the Chicago Bears have been so difficult when it comes to Forte's long-term contract. Over the past two seasons Forte has produced a combined negative DVOA. His DYAR are not stellar, either. While Forte is a weapon out of the backfield in the passing game, his advanced rushing statistics have been average, at best, over the last two years."

Monday, July 9, 2012

Niners Will Field One of the NFL's Most Explosive Offenses in 2012

The San Francisco 49ers were on the verge of capturing the NFC crown a season ago, but a scattershot offense kept them from reaching their potential. San Francisco ranked 26th in total offense and 29th in passing offense. However, after watching the offense work out in minicamp, I'm convinced the Niners will have one of the NFL's most explosive offenses.

Here are four reasons why:

1. Alex Smith's game continues to evolve.
The former No. 1 overall pick surprised everyone with his outstanding play a season ago. Smith completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 3,144 yards with 17 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He ranked ninth in the NFL with a 90.7 passer rating -- ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Michael Vick, Cam Newton and Joe Flacco, among others.

While his numbers were certainly impressive, it was his ability to adapt to Jim Harbaugh's system that stood out the most to me. Smith was more decisive in the pocket and appeared to have a strong grasp of where to go with the ball on each play. This was reflected in his ability to find the second and third receivers in the progression, something he hadn't done well in the past.

In watching Smith closely at minicamp, I see a quarterback who continues to make major strides in his development. He efficiently works through his reads and quickly gets the balls into the hands of his playmakers on the move. This allows Vernon Davis, Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree and others to utilize their superior athleticism and outrun defenders in space.

Smith also displayed better footwork and fundamentals in the pocket. He routinely set up at the top of his drops with proper balance and body control, allowing him to fully incorporate his lower body into throws. As a result, his balls had more velocity and zip, and he was able to squeeze throws into tighter windows. Smith's improvement in this area was apparent when he connected with Crabtree on an angle route between multiple defenders in the end zone to conclude the 49ers' red-zone period. This was a similar throw to the game-winning toss to Davis against the Saints in the NFC divisional round, but Smith's willingness to let it rip reflects a renewed confidence in his ability to fit the ball into small windows.

If Smith's growth as a passer and playmaker transfers from the practice field to game action, the 49ers' passing game will improve by leaps and bounds in 2012.

2. The 49ers have a deeper and more talented receiving corps.
The 49ers' passing game revolved around their tight ends a season ago, but that will change in the fall. The receiving corps has been completely revamped with Randy Moss, Mario Manningham and A.J. Jenkins coming aboard in the offseason. That trio brings size, speed and big-play ability to the field, and Harbaugh will craft a game plan that takes advantage of their unique skills.

 Moss, who sat out last season following the lockout, still possesses the speed and quickness to thrive as a vertical weapon on the perimeter. He has impressed Niners coaches with his ability to track the ball in flight, and remains a threat to run past defenders on deep routes. After watching him work out at practice, I was not only impressed with his raw speed, but his burst coming out of breaks. He routinely separated from defenders on crossing routes, and that could encourage the 49ers to use him on more horizontal routes to capitalize on his ability to get outside the defense.

Manningham joins the team after a productive four-year run with the New York Giants. He amassed 160 receptions for 2,315 yards and 18 touchdowns as a part-time starter, but has shown flashes of brilliance when healthy. For instance, Manningham totaled five receptions for 73 yards in Super Bowl XLVI, including the 38-yard catch the keyed the Giants' game-winning drive. His ability to make big plays down the field will add a different dimension to a 49ers' offense that lacked a consistent vertical threat a season ago. In practice, Manningham's playmaking ability was on full display, as he routinely came down with acrobatic catches in traffic. With most defenses lacking quality corners throughout the depth chart, the 49ers have a huge advantage when spreading out the field.

Jenkins, the 49ers' first-round pick, is a smooth, fluid playmaker in the mold of Brandon Lloyd. He excels at running the intermediate portion of the route tree. From speed outs to square-ins, Jenkins' ability to separate from defenders will allow him to man any position in San Francisco's four-receiver sets. If he can quickly master the playbook, he could be a key contributor as a first-year player.

3. The Randy Moss factor will alter opponents' game plans.
Moss has been virtually invisible over the past two seasons -- sitting out all of last season, while tallying just 28 receptions for 393 yards and five touchdowns with the Patriots, Vikings and Titans in 2010 -- but defensive coordinators will still pay extra attention to the six-time Pro Bowler out of respect for his impact potential. This will likely lead some teams to roll coverage in his direction, making sure the corner always has a safety over the top to limit deep-ball opportunities. Opponents will also mix in different combinations of coverage with various brackets and traps to ensure Moss doesn't face isolated matchups on a consistent basis.

Although these tactics will impact Moss' ability to make big plays, it should open up the field for the rest of San Francisco's pass catchers. Davis and Crabtree, in particular, should benefit from the added attention paid to Moss. Both excel at finding openings in the intermediate areas of the field, and Moss' ability to clear zones with his speed should provide them with more room to work. The 49ers' passing game is built upon the utilization of crossing routes at various levels, making Moss a perfect vertical decoy.

Moss' impact will also improve the 49ers' running game, with opponents unable to extensively use eight-man fronts to crowd the line of scrimmage. Defensive coordinators will hesitate to drop a safety in the box when considering the potential problems created by leaving a corner isolated on Moss on the outside. As a result, Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James will find more room to run between the tackles without an additional defender at the second level.

4. Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman are getting more creative with formations and personnel packages.
The 49ers' offensive staff deserves a ton of credit for utilizing various formations, shifts, motions and personnel packages to mask their offensive deficiencies a season ago. Harbaugh and Roman would creatively switch between "21" (two running backs, one tight end and two receivers), "12" (one back, two tight ends and two receivers) and "22" (two running backs, two tight end and one receiver) packages to prevent defensive coordinators from honing in on their offensive intentions, while also creating mismatch opportunities for their top playmakers (Davis, Crabtree and Gore) in space.

Here are some of the exotic formations and packages used by the 49ers a season ago:

While most offensive coordinators around the league attempt to create big-play opportunities in a similar fashion, the 49ers were exceptional at using multiplicity to generate big gainers in the passing game despite lacking a legitimate outside threat last year. However, the additions of several playmakers to the receiving corps could make the 49ers' utilization of multiple formations, shifts and personnel packages deadly in 2012.

At practice, San Francisco seamlessly shifted from two-back formations with one or two tight ends on the field to empty sets with two receivers aligned in the slots and the tight ends and/or running backs deployed on the outside. The 49ers complemented their exotic formations with various motions and shifts in the backfield. This subtle tactic can alter the strength call for the defense, making it difficult for the defenders to know their assigned gaps and coverage responsibilities.

Long story short: The Niners showcased clever strategies last season, but now they have the pieces to really give opposing defenses fits.

Kendall Hunter has 'IT' for San Francisco 49ers


Running back Kendall Hunter approached the line of scrimmage looking for a hole, finding nothing. It was third-and-one against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16. The 5-foot-7 dynamo had been stuffed the play before.

This was supposed to be Frank Gore's down. Or even Anthony Dixon. Those guys were the short-yardage hammers. What was Jim Harbaugh doing giving it to Hunter up the middle on back-to-back plays with playoff positioning on the line?

Hunter crept to the outside, but there was nowhere to go. The Seahawks had him surrounded with five defenders. In a moment of hesitation, depending on your vantage point, Hunter seemed to disappear. He waited. And then exploded up the middle like he was shot out of a cannon for 24 yards. The Seahawks defenders never saw him. So that's why Harbaugh had him in.

Making the Leap: Kendall Hunter

I don't care that the 49ers signed Brandon Jacobs. He's not even a lock to make the team. I don't care that Frank Gore is one of the most underrated players at any position over the last decade. The 49ers think they can get more with less from the aging back. I don't even care that the 49ers drafted another promising back in LaMichael James.

Kendall Hunter is going to break out this year because he has "it." And because he was drafted by the right team.

The 49ers might have the most creative offensive staff in football when it comes to the running game. They won't hesitate to have Gore and Hunter in the backfield together in a variety of formations. They will find a way to use Hunter as a receiver, a position in which he averaged 12.2 yards-per-reception.

Hunter put up 668 yards from scrimmage as a rookie. He's not going to suddenly become a workhorse, but that number could double as the 49ers find more ways to get him the ball.

He's San Francisco's answer to Darren Sproles, except he has more surprising power. Again and again, we saw Hunter gain additional yards after contact. He falls forward when getting hit -- at least when you can find him.

San Francisco 49ers 2012 NFL Team Preview (VIDEO)

Courtesy of

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

49ers V. Saints Nominated for an ESPY

 The 49ers vs. Saints game has been nominated for an ESPY for "Best Game" of 2012. With 3 touchdowns scored in the final 2:11 of the game, this game was an exciting nail biter and deserves to win. Make sure you go to the link below and vote. Let's make sure our 49ers get the acknowledgement they deserve.