Sunday, September 30, 2012

49ers vs Jets Postgame Press Conference - Jim Harbaugh

49ers vs Jets Postgame Press Conference - Alex Smith

49ers at Jets Post Game Locker Room Speech

49ers Vs. Jets Week 4 Box Score - 49ers Win 34-0

49ers at Jets Inactive List

49ers: QB Scott Tolzien, WR AJ Jenkins, RB LaMichael James, S Trenton Robinson, RB Brandon Jacobs, G Joe Looney, NT Isaac Sopoaga

Jets: CB Darrelle Revis, RB Jonathan Grimes, QB Greg McElroy, DT Damon Harrison, OL Caleb Schlauderaff, TE Dustin Keller, WR Stephen Hill

Enemy Report - No Dustin Keller or Stephen Hill for Jets Today

Tight end Dustin Keller and wide receiver Stephen Hill will both miss the game with injuries. Keller was on the wrong side of a game-time decision for the third straight week due to a hamstring injury that’s robbed Mark Sanchez of one of his favorite targets. Hill hurt his hamstring in Miami last weekend and was listed as doubtful heading into the game with coach Rex Ryan all but officially ruling him out on Friday.

The Jets will miss Hill because they don’t have another receiver who will take as much attention away from Santonio Holmes. Hill has had a rocky start, but his ability to get deep in a hurry means defenses have to keep an eye on him and that can open things up underneath. With the passing game so diminished, it will be interesting to see if the Jets look to Tim Tebow any more often this week.

Jeff Cumberland will see the bulk of the tight end snaps with Keller out. He has seven catches for 71 yards on the season. Chaz Schilens will start in place of Hill, with Jeremy Kerley likely seeing a bigger role as well.

The 49ers defense was going to be a tough enough mountain for the Jets to climb at full strength. It’s looking like an even worse matchup for them right now.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

NFL Week 4 TV Map

Vernon Davis Added to 49ers Injury Report

Tight end Vernon Davis, who leads the 49ers with four touchdown catches, was a late addition to the team's injury report with a back injury. That injury did not keep Davis from practicing Friday -- he was a full participant -- and he is listed as probable on the team's injury report.

Three 49ers are listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Jets: running back Brandon Jacobs (knee), receiver Ted Ginn (ankle) and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga (ankle, knee). Sopoaga did not practice this week, and Ricky Jean Francois is expected to take his place Sunday.

Linebacker Patrick Willis (ankle) and punter Andy Lee (hand) practiced all week, and both are listed as probable.

Via Matt Barrows

Read more here:

Isaac Sopoaga Not Likely to Play Against Jets

Ricky Jean Francois is expected to start at nose tackle Sunday in place of an injured Isaac Sopoaga when the 49ers visit the New York Jets.

Sopoaga did not practice Thursday for a second straight day, having sustained a left-knee injury late in the 49ers' 24-13 loss Sunday at Minnesota. The injury is not believed to be serious enough to sideline him more than one game.

Jean Francois started in place of Sopoaga one game last season, when Sopoaga couldn't play Oct. 9 against Tampa Bay because of a reported staph infection.

"They're both big, physical guys on the nose for us," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "Ricky's got a little bit, maybe, more movement ability. Isaac's got maybe a little bit more stoutness to him. But I don't see a big difference in both guys, and we would expect Ricky to go out there and play really good for us."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

49ers Regroup in Youngstown (VIDEO)

Jets Moving RB Joe McKnight To Cornerback

Joe McKnight will get to see the field more – just not at running back.

Rex Ryan said Wednesday that the Jets’ third-year player will see “a ton” of time at cornerback in light of losing All Pro defensive back Darrelle Revis (torn ACL) for the season.

As far as his defensive work, McKnight has played some scout team at corner for the Jets and also played the position in high school.

His premiere on defense in the NFL could start Sunday, when the Jets take on the San Francisco 49ers.

“Hey, they can go ahead and do it,” McKnight said. “I’m ready for it. If they want to come throw to my side, I can easily show them I can play.”

Be careful what you ask for Mr. McKnight, the 49ers will be sure to give it to you. I even imagine Coach Harbaugh is putting a couple extra plays in the game plan just for you.

The 49ers take on the Jets live from New Jersey on Sunday at 10 am(49er time).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Call It Maybe (NFL Replacement Officials Parody Song)

New Jersey Politician Tries to Ban Replacement Refs

In a move that could cause the NFL problems for Giants and Jets home games, New Jersey state Senate President Stephen Sweeney has announced plans to introduce legislation that would prevent sports leagues from using replacement officials in the state.

Although Sweeney is reportedly a big Packers fan, he says that the reason he wants to ban the replacements is a concern for player safety.

“This past weekend in the NFL has not only made a mockery of a great sport, but shined a very bright light on how important fully trained and professional officiating is to player safety,” Sweeney said this morning. “We wouldn’t allow a factory or construction site to operate without fully trained supervisors on hand to ensure the safety of employees. Why should we do anything differently when the job site is a playing field?”

Sweeney made clear that he thinks players are at risk with replacements on the field.

“Whether the sport is football, soccer or baseball, when referees don’t know how to properly enforce the rules, there is a real chance for unnecessary and serious injury,” Sweeney said. “If the NFL insists on putting replacement officials on the field, putting players at risk, then the state shouldn’t be playing a part in that.”

This is probably bloviating from a politician more than it’s actually a path toward legislation that could end the lockout of the NFL’s referees. But with football fans across America complaining, it’s not surprising that politicians are complaining, too.

Via ProFootballTalk

Monday, September 24, 2012

Jim Harbaugh Press Pass 9-24-12

49ers sign ex-Seahawks WR Lockette to practice squad

Wide receiver Ricardo Lockette announced today, via his Twitter account, that he’s been signed to the 49ers’ practice squad.

Lockette, who spent his rookie season with the Seahawks in 2011, will replace wide receiver Nathan Palmer, an undrafted rookie who was signed by the Colts earlier today.

Lockette, 26, made his NFL debut in Week 16 against the 49ers last year and had a 44-yard reception. He added a 61-yard touchdown in a 23-20 overtime loss to the Cardinals in the season finale. Those were his only catches of the season in which he spent the first 13 weeks on Seattle’s practice squad.

Lockette (6-2, 211) was among the Seahawks’ final roster cuts this summer and was subsequently signed to their practice squad. Seattle released him Tuesday.

A product of Division II Fort Valley State, Lockette, who went undrafted last year, had 23 catches for 262 yards and a touchdown as a senior. Lockette ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at the 2011 NFL combine, which matched the fastest time by a wide receiver.

Patrick Willis/Isaac Sopoaga Latest Injury Update

Linebacker Patrick Willis and nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga were observed walking out of the 49ers' locker room Sunday with no noticeable problems.

Willis and Sopoaga appeared to sustain leg injuries  in the fourth quarter of the 49ers' 24-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. When asked about Willis' status, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh answered, "We'll find out."

On Sopoaga's condition, Harbaugh said, "Same. I think we just don't have enough information right now. We'll get some X-rays of those met."

The 49ers did not disclose the results of the X-rays. Harbaugh this season has banned at least some players from discussing injury situations. Both Willis and Sopoaga were seen walking after the game with no noticeable problems.

Linebacker Ahmad Brooks left the game for two plays in the first half with a leg injury, but returned and played the remainder of the game.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Week 3 49ers vs. Vikings Box Score: 49ers Lose 24 - 13

Tedd Ginn/Brandon Jacobs Updated Statuses for Today's Game

Backup running back Brandon Jacobs and Ted Ginn Jr. will both have to wait at least another week to make their season debuts for the San Francisco 49ers.

Both are on the inactive list against the Minnesota Vikings after being listed as questionable Friday. Ginn has been bothered by a right ankle injury and had said earlier in the week that he hoped to play Sunday. Jacobs has yet to play this season because of an injured left knee.

The other 49ers that will be inactive for today's game are WR A.J. Jenkins, RB LaMichael James, G Joe Looney, QB Scott Tolzien, and DT Ian Williams.

And the Week 2 " Fan Game Ball" goes to...

In a very close vote, the " Fan Game Ball" for week 2 has been awarded to Alex Smith. He beat out Michael Crabtree by just one vote.

Smith had another turnover free game, keeping his no interception since Thanksgiving streak alive. He has thrown 216 straight regular season passes without being picked off.

Alex Smith went 20 of 31 for 226 yards and two touchdowns, leading the 49ers to a 27-19 win over the Detroit Lions.

Remember you can cast your vote  for who deserves the " Fan Game Ball" after each game.

NFL Films "Defense Never Rest": Best ILB's in the Game (Willis/Bowman Video)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

49ers beating people up, taking their breakfast money

Good teams can beat you wherever, and whenever.

Playing 10 a.m. Pacific Time games has long been the bane of West Coast teams when they play back East, but the 49ers have little regard for that right now.

According to Mike Sando of, a win Sunday against the Vikings would be six in a row for the 49ers under Jim Harbaugh in games that start when they’d normally be having brunch.

That’s the longest streak by a team in the Mountain or Pacific time zones since the Raiders won six in a row in 1999 and 2000.

While many teams out there on the other side of the U.S. have had poor records when playing the early game, it mostly has to do with them being poor teams. Pre-Harbaugh, the 49ers had won two of their previous 11, and were 7-27 under Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary (.206) in games that kick off before noon, their time. While that’s awful, the team was 37-59 over that span overall (.385), so you can’t blame it all on circadian rhythms.

 Via ProFootballTalk

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dashon Goldson's biggest fan: 49ers great Ronnie Lott

Ronnie Lott, who knows something about hard-hitting defensive backs, said the 49ers should wrap up free safety Dashon Goldson and hold on tight. Goldson could become an unrestricted free agent after this season, a possibility that concerns the 49ers' Pro Football Hall of Famer.

"I'm surprised that he doesn't have a long-term contract," Lott told this newspaper. "He's an asset that you don't want to get away because he does everything the right way. He has all the intangibles you want on your team."

Goldson is playing on a one-year, $6.212 million franchise tag after failing to reach an agreement on a multiyear deal during the offseason. Now that possibility is on hold. NFL rules prohibit franchised players from signing extensions until after the season.

Goldson has said he won't let his contract status be a distraction this season -- and he's playing that way. As the 49ers (2-0) prepare to travel to Minnesota for Sunday's game against the Vikings, Goldson is still flashing the form he showed a year ago when he reached the Pro Bowl for the first time.

His emerging all-around play has caught the attention of Lott, 53, who played 10 seasons with the 49ers starting in 1981. The six-time All-Pro was a ferocious hitter who could cover the whole field and earned Pro Bowl invitations at three positions -- cornerback, free safety and strong safety.

Lott said he admires Goldson for the strides he has made since the 49ers took him of Washington in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. After totaling only five interceptions over his first four NFL seasons, Goldson had six interceptions last season."What I love about Goldson is this: He just plays the game. He's not patting himself on the back. He's not showboating. He just works," Lott said. "He's a great tackler and an exceptional ball-hawker."

When those comments were relayed to Goldson before practice Thursday, the defensive back smiled wide. He said he barely knows Lott -- they've met briefly -- so he was heartened to learn he has such an accomplished admirer.

"That's really amazing to hear from a guy like that," Goldson said. "Especially because I think he nailed it: I'm not out here trying to work on individual goals. I'm about the team.

"I've always been that way. When I was coming up, they always used to give me a hard time because I never liked publicity."

Against the Lions last Sunday, Goldson intercepted Matthew Stafford's deep pass intended for Titus Young and returned it 20 yards. Goldson also provided solid run-support against a Detroit offense that attempted 26 rushes.

Because of his range, Goldson sometimes lines up 12 to 14 yards off the line of scrimmage --
and still swoops in to make the stop. Vic Fangio, the 49ers defensive coordinator, said his schemes require safeties to cover a lot of territory. He said it helps that Goldson also has a knack for anticipating when to come up on the line."He comes up there with the intent of making the tackle, not hoping somebody else will," Fangio said.

One subject he won't tackle, however, is his contract status. Goldson, 28, said his focus is on the field. General manager Trent Baalke also declined comment through a 49ers spokesman.

The two sides never came close to an agreement before training camp. Reports suggested Goldson wanted a deal similar to the $8 million average that the San Diego Chargers gave to Eric Weddle.

After this season, the 49ers could again slap the franchise tag on Goldson, this time for 120 percent of his 2012 salary. That would translate to a one-year, $7.45 million deal.

If the 49ers decide not to use the tag, the free safety would be eligible for unrestricted free agency.
Lott is crossing his fingers that -- this time -- the rangy free safety decides just to stay put.

"He's a very valuable asset who is doing everything possible to improve his game," Lott said. "He's always working on his craft.

"He's not working just to get a contract. To me, that's a sign of a very meticulous player who is serious about improving."


"Aaron Rodgers Cry Baby" Chicken Sandwiches Served At Boyz II Men Concert

If the guys from Boyz II Men were still hungry for justice ... they could have finally taken a bite out of Aaron Rodgers at their L.A. concert last night... where a food vendor is serving up an item in his honor ... a big, fat chicken sandwich.

B2M had a show at the L.A. County Fair in Pomona ... and to remind the group that Rodgers is still refusing to wear the 49ers jersey he's obligated to sport after losing a friendly bet in Week 1 ... a sports bar at the fairgrounds called Finish Line Sports served a special Aaron Rodgers Cry Baby Chicken Club.

The bar owner said each ARCBCC was served on San Francisco sourdough bread ... with 49er fries on the side.

For the record, Rodgers acknowledged making the bet ... tried to weasel out of paying up ... and is now hoping everyone will simply forget it ever happened.

Never forget.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Shawne Merriman Visits With 49ers

On a day the 49ers filled a roster opening at outside linebacker with the signing of journeyman Eric Bakhtiari, the club also visited with a former Pro Bowl pass-rusher.

Linebacker Shawne Merriman visited the 49ers on Wednesday, reported Thursday morning. The 49ers had an opening on their 53-man roster after the NFL suspended Clark Haggans for three games for a violation of the league's policy on substance abuse.

The 49ers signed Bakhtiari, who was among the 49ers' final cuts before the start of the regular season. Bakhtiari, who practiced Wednesday, will serve as a backup to starting outside linebackers Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks, while also being a core special-teams player.

Merriman, 28, has recorded only five sacks in the past four injury-plagued seasons. He recorded 39.5 sacks in his first three NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers. After winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, Merriman was suspended for four games for violating the league's policy on steroids and related substances.

He recorded one sack in five games last season for the Buffalo Bills, who released him in training camp. Merriman did not see any action on special teams for the Bills last season.

Ted Ginn returns to Practice Field/Brandon Jacob Status

Receiver Ted Ginn Jr., who sustained a right ankle sprain on Aug. 26, returned to the 49ers' practice field on Wednesday.

Ginn ran pass routes and wore pads for the first time since sustaining his injury. it's not known whether he will be available for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Ginn is listed on the 49ers' depth chart as the team's No. 1 return man for kickoffs and punts.

After catching a few practices during individual work, Ginn removed himself from practice, spoke with coach Jim Harbaugh and moved to a side field for more conditioning, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Kyle Williams has averaged 14.0 yards on two punt returns (with three fair catches) in Ginn's absence. Kendall Hunter has averaged 23.2 yards on five kickoff returns with one lost fumble.

Meanwhile, running back Brandon Jacobs was also in uniform on Wednesday, but he was not wearing pads. Jacobs has been sidelined since Aug. 18 with a left knee injury.

Jacobs spent the early portion of practice rehabbing on a side field with injured rookies Jewel Hampton (foot) and Darius Fleming (knee). Jacobs, who missed the first two regular-season games, appears doubtful to return to action Sunday against the Vikings.

Bruce Bochy Shows Support For Alex Smith

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy used his rather large head to get Alex Smith’s back.

During his pre-game meeting with reporters, Bochy twisted a 49ers hat on in a show of solidarity.

Yesterday, Smith was threatened with a $15,000 fine from the league for wearing non-approved gear in post-game press conferences for supporting the local baseball team.

“This is our way of supporting him for supporting us,” Bochy said, via “And we’re all 49ers fans here so this is in honor of Alex. I’m glad he didn’t have to pay the fine. That’s good news.”

Bochy said he wasn’t worried about getting a threat of a similar fine from baseball officials.
“I don’t think so; I hope not,” Bochy said. “We’re having some fun with this. This is what it’s about. Some times we take things a little too serious, I think. [Smith] comes out here and supports us and we do appreciate it so this is our way of saying thanks.”

Bochy could have used a helmet, as he normally wears a size 8 1/8 cap, but had an equipment man stretch out a 7 3/4 49ers hat out for him. That’s as tight a squeeze as would have been on Smith’s wallet if the NFL didn’t show him some mercy.

Via ProFootballTalk

Patrick Willis "Alex Smith Has Silent But Deadly Swag"

"The San Francisco 49ers are the best team in football with the best defense in football. That's not up for discussion. Yet somehow, even as the Niners keep winning and dominating, my guy keeps getting lost in the shuffle.

Meet Alex Smith, star quarterback.

Too strong? Then you haven't been watching. Did you see him make clutch throws, survive poor officiating and endure a busted nose while beating the Detroit Lions in primetime? Did you see Smith establish Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis and make big plays in the telling win against the Green Bay Packers to start the season? Do you remember how he outplayed Drew Brees and made huge plays down field in the playoff win against the New Orleans Saints?

I don't care about his yards or where he went in your fantasy draft or if he's even on a team in your league. Alex Smith has defeated Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford in three of his past four games. He was a Kyle Williams fumble away from adding Eli Manning to that list. Smith has gone 216 straight passes without a pick, a franchise record in San Francisco. You might recall that Joe Montana and Steve Young played for the Niners.

(You also might have noticed Peyton Manning, the quarterback San Francisco flirted with this off-season, threw three picks on Monday night.)

Smith persevered through the Mike Singletary insanity and dealt with a new offensive coordinator every season until Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach. He is the epitome of toughness. That defines his play, especially in crunch time. That defines his leadership style.

Linebacker Patrick Willis is rightly recognized as being the heart of the 49ers. Talking to Willis on Wednesday on my SiriusXM show, he made it crystal clear how much Smith means to the Niners.

"Alex Smith is our guy," Willis said. "We believe in him. He doesn't go outside the box. He exists to win. If it is best for him to throw for 300 yards, that's what he will do. If the best option is a check down, he will. He doesn't get caught up in statistics like other quarterbacks. That man has been through a lot. It is a blessing to see this. I truly admire him. Our team admires him. He loves a challenge."

Willis then gave my favorite Alex Smith quote ever when he dropped, "He has a silent but deadly swag."

The fact that Smith has swag of any kind is rather remarkable. This is the same quarterback who was publicly humiliated by the over-matched Singletary, slung through the mud and branded as a bust. For the transformation, you credit Harbaugh pumping him with confidence and credit Smith for responding. You credit Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman for being smart play-callers. Smith finally has stability for his head coach, play-caller and offensive system in consecutive years.

You rightly read the Power Poll with the Niners sitting on top because of the best defense in the game. You don't worry about San Francisco overlooking the Minnesota Vikings this weekend because they take a "one game at a time" approach and have a championship feel to them. Jim Harbaugh gets his props. So does the run game. The Niners are a potential champion and Smith is a main reason why.

You call Smith a game manager. I call him a star who makes plays and sets the tempo and leads. The silent but deadly swag can come up and bite you. If you don't believe me, ask some of the quarterbacks with the gaudy stats who have recently lost to Smith. They'd advise you to stop overlooking him, too."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Former 49er Josh Morgan Gets Death Threats After Penalty Costs Redskins

Former 49ers receiver Josh Morgan’s 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on Sunday cost the Redskins 15 yards and took them out of range for a game-tying field goal. It also resulted in some ugly messages coming his way.

Morgan told reporters today that he got messages on Twitter such as, “I will kill you in your sleep you autistic [expletive].”

“I heard everything, especially when they got you on Twitter and they start sending the death threats and wishing bad on your family and your first born and things like that, you see it all, you hear it all,”

Morgan told the Washington Times. “You don’t got no choice but to see it all and hear it all. But you never let it get to you, especially me being from D.C.”

Morgan said he’s not scared by the threats and doesn’t take them seriously, but they do reveal a disturbing fact of life for pro athletes or anyone who’s in the public eye. Athletes like Morgan 49ers receiver Kyle Williams, who got death threats after fumbling in the NFC Championship Game last year, have to deal with a lot of idiots.

Moss goes “next question” on question of his playing time

Plenty of 49ers fans have been talking about the lack of playing time for receiver Randy Moss.  On Wednesday, Randy Moss didn’t want to talk about that topic — on a rare day that he was willing to talk to the media at all.

Talkative at first, Moss got terse when asked if he’s concerned about the amount of time he’s on the field.

“No, I’m not,” Moss said, via Matt Maiocco of  “Next question.”

Later, after several more next questions, he was asked again to explain why he wasn’t interested in talking about his playing time.

“Because it’s really not up to me,” said Moss, who had only 16 snaps in Week Two against the Lions. 
“Like I said, I come out here and practice every day and when called upon, I just go out there and try to make a play.  It’s not up to me.”

So while coach Jim Harbaugh has said Moss isn’t concerned about his playing time, saying “it’s really not up to me” suggests that he’s not playing as much as he wants to.  As long as the 49ers are winning, Moss will at worst be passive-aggressive.  If he’s not playing much and the 49ers stop winning, it’ll be a problem.

One way for Harbaugh to avoid having it become a problem will be for Harbaugh to unleash Moss in his return to the Metrodome on Sunday.

Moss isn't concerned, are you? Let us know here.

Adrian Peterson says he and Patrick Willis should've been drafted 1 and 2 in 2007 draft

Adrian Peterson remembers the play in vivid detail.

It was an inside zone run to the left side of the offensive line and he was trying to make a cut in traffic. All the sudden he was smacked by Patrick Willis and he went down to the ground. By the way, it was Week 2 of the preseason.

“He got me on that one,” Peterson said. “He got me.”

Minnesota’s talented tailback and San Francisco’s hard-hitting linebacker have forged a relationship over the years since being selected in the 2007 NFL Draft. Peterson was taken seventh overall by the Vikings and Willis was picked 10th overall by the 49ers, but Peterson thinks they both should have been drafted earlier.

“I don’t know why me and him weren’t the No. 1 and No. 2 picks coming out,” Peterson said. “I really felt that way, because I know talent when I see it. He was a guy that I just respected off the top because of how he plays the game. We play the game the same way.”

Asked who he thought deserved to be the first pick, Peterson said, “Come on now, you going to ask that question?”

Willis right?

“No,” Peterson said with a laugh.

As it was, Jamarcus Russell and Calvin Johnson were the top two picks of the 2007 Draft.

Does Peterson have a point? Share your thoughts here.

Alex Smith Threatened With Fine if he Keeps Supporting Giants

Alex Smith wants to  root for the home team, but it’s going to be expensive.

According to Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News, the 49ers quarterback was threatened with a $15,000 fine from the NFL if he continues to wear a San Francisco Giants cap to postgame interviews, as he did often last year.

The league considers non-NFL items non-sponsored gear, and players can’t appear wearing it 90 minutes before or after games.

Smith said the league took back an initial fine of $15,000 in lieu of a warning, which was issued by former 49ers safety Merton Hanks, who works for the NFL now.

Asked about the fine for his loyalty to the local team, Smith suggested he’d keep going if the baseball team picked up the tab, saying: “Yeah, can you call [Giants CEO] Larry Baer for me?”

The news comes at a time when the league’s hawking “football caps” made by New Era, the same company with baseball’s hat deal.

Time To Get Randy Moss More Involved? (VIDEO)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tarell Brown Fined $5,250 for “red undergarment sleeves”, Posts Picture of Fine Letter

San Francisco cornerback Tarell Brown is paying the price for wearing a shirt underneath his shoulder pads that didn’t meet with the NFL’s specifications.

Brown has been fined $5,250, and Brown posted the letter he got from the league explaining the fine.

“Dear Tarell: During the Detroit Lions-San Francisco 49ers game on September 16, 2012, you were in violation of the NFL Uniform and Equipment Rules. Specifically, you wore red undergarment sleeves. Your team designated undergarment color is white,” the letter says.

It’s unclear whether Brown didn’t know that his team designated undergarment color is white, or if he knew and just didn’t care. The NFL’s fine is an attempt to make him care.

Aldon Smith: “Everybody’s good” After Recent Car Accident

For a guy who has been followed by mayhem all year, 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith was fairly low-key about the latest episode.

Smith needed a few stitches for a cut over his eye, but was otherwise unhurt in a car wreck Friday that saw a BMW land on its side. The wreck happened when the driver swerved to avoid a deer. Smith said he was wearing his seat belt. The unidentified driver had a “broken back” according to the California Highway Patrol report.

“Everybody’s good,” Smith said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “We all walked away from it. The only thing messed up was the car.”

He played every snap in Sunday’s win over the Lions, and that seemed to be the important part.

“Being in something like that — being in an accident — and then being able to go out and have fun and do something that I love doing — it was a relief to be able to get away from everything,” Smith said. “So it was good that I was able to get out there and make plays and get the win. So I was fine. I was fine.”

The wreck comes after he suffered what were referred to as “minor stab wounds” and two people were shot at a party in June, and he was cited for DUI in Miami Beach in January.

Asked if the pattern was disturbing to him (as it would be to anyone, or at least their employers), Smith seemed to shrug it off.

“I’m just focused on moving forward,” Smith said. “If I saw a pattern with a person on my team, and he was able to make plays and play a good game, that’s what I’m worried about. I’m worried about how he plays the game. I’m worried about how he’s helping out this team. I’m worried about the wins we’re getting.”

Smith said the important part was that the incidents didn’t disrupt his game.

“It’s life,” he said. “You can sit here and make it want you want. But really it’s life. I’m in a good spot right now. I was able to go out and get seven tackles and two sacks, and now I’m ready for Minnesota and ready for the rest of the season.”

Life is going to work and paying the bills and picking the kids up from school to go to the doctor.

When people around you are routinely shot and injured and endangered, the fact you had a couple of sacks might not be the most important thing to consider.

Via ProFootballTalk

49ers take top spot in AP Pro32 power rankings

An efficient Alex Smith and a rock-solid defense have the San Francisco 49ers on top of the AP Pro32 power rankings.

Smith threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns and the 49ers shut down the explosive Lions in a 27-19 win over the weekend, giving San Francisco a second win over a playoff team from last season. 
The 2-0 Niners moved up from second in the latest AP Pro32 regular-season poll released Tuesday, receiving 11 of the 12 first-place votes and 383 points from the media panel who regularly cover the NFL.

Houston advanced two spots to second with one first-place vote and 360 points, eight points ahead of Green Bay, which started the season on top. Atlanta is fourth, followed by Baltimore and Philadelphia, up six places after a second straight one-point win.

"There isn't much not to like about the 49ers," voter Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune said in putting the 49ers first for the second week in a row. "At this point, the only question is who is No. 2?"
That would be the Texans, winners in each of their games by 20 points.

"The Texans have the NFL's top defense and a 2-0 record to show for it," reasoned Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, the only voter with Houston ahead of San Francisco.

Everyone else went with the 49ers, who opened the season with a big win at Green Bay before dominating the Lions at home.

"Almost everyone has holes, but you have to look hard to find any with this team," commented Clark Judge of "... and, please, could we stop the Alex Smith as 'game manager' talk? It's not only old; it's inaccurate."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Harbaugh backs away from “chippy,” but 49ers call Lions “cheap”

Before last night’s win over the Lions, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh called them a “chippy bunch,” and told his players to keep his head on a swivel for cheap shots.

But while he denied saying that after the game, his players generally concurred.

“I can’t really say that. I don’t recall that,” Harbaugh said of his comments to NBC’s Michelle Tafoya. (Maybe he was just evaluating Tafoya’s question and not really answering it.)

But 49ers left tackle Joe Staley made no bones about his feelings.

“I think it was key for our front offensive line to handle it tonight because they like to be cheap after the play and they think that makes them physical,” Staley said, via Bill Emkow of

Harbaugh went on to say he thought the game was “pretty clean for the most part,” even if other players did not agree.

“I got poked in my eyes,” 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said. “Since I got poked I had to sit down. I do not know if it was intentional by [Lions defensive end Cliff] Avril. I am just not sure.”

Quarterback Alex Smith said he was surprised there wasn’t a penalty on the play that saw him get his red badge of courage across the bridge of his nose from a Lions player’s forearm while he slid.

“I wouldn’t say dazed, just bleeding,” Smith said. “I looked up, saw the flag and thought for sure it was a personal foul call, but all of a sudden we were backed up and it was a holding call. I was pretty stunned we didn’t get that call.”

Via ProFootballTalk

49ers Joe Staley: Detroit Lions' defensive line overrated

Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz held a Twitter contest last summer for fans to come up with a nickname for his defensive line. The winner: Silver Crush.

The unit didn't crush anything in Sunday's loss to the San Francisco 49ers, and left tackle Joe Staley thinks the Lions' front four is extremely overrated.

"They didn't want any part of us up front," Staley told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. "Look at the game. We killed them. Every single pressure they got was cheap. It was on a keep or something like that. They weren't beating us one on one. We ran for about 200 yards (148 yards) on the so-called best D-line in all of football."

Staley added that he's never been impressed by the Lions' defensive line. Nor should he be. The Lions are 0-3 against the 49ers since coach Jim Schwartz took over in 2009.

"They think highly of themselves," 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis said. "I heard they said they were the best D-line in the league or something. I feel that's disrespectful to other good defensive lines."

It's hard to argue against the thought. Ndamukong Suh, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril do like to sing their own praises. But the Lions are going to need a few wins over name teams before the bravado turns into a running joke.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

49ers Week 2 Postgame Press Pass

49ers Vs Lions Box score - 49ers Win 27 - 19

Week 1 Game Ball Winner

The 49ersSpin week 1 game ball, as voted on by you, has been awarded to NaVorro Bowman. Bowman lead the team with 11 tackles. He also caught his first career interception. It was a key second half interception that led to a TD by Frank Gore.

Every week you can vote for the player who you think deserves the game ball here at

Ginn, Jacobs unlikely to play against Lions

Ted Ginn and Brandon Jacobs were not on hand for the start of 49ers practice, making them very unlikely to play Sunday against the Lions. Ginn (ankle) went through warmups with his teammates, and he appears close to returning to the lineup. When practice began, however, he went off to a side field to work with trainers.

Jacobs (knee) also was seen working out on a side field on Wednesday. He has not been on hand - for the start of practice, at least - the last two days.

Ginn's absence means Kyle Williams would make his 2012 Candlestick Park debut as the 49ers punt returner. Williams had a solid game against the Packers, returning one punt 20 yards, fair catching three others and letting two bounce.

Ginn and Jacobs were two of the 49ers' inactive players against Green Bay. The others were quarterback Scott Tolzien, running back LaMichael James, tight end Garrett Celek, guard Joe Looney and defensive end Ian Williams.

Aldon Smith was not fined by the NFL for removing his helmet, something for which he received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Sunday. Smith on Thursday insisted the helmet already was coming off after it flipped up by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' heel as the two were going to the ground.

Neither C.J. Spillman nor Packers linebacker Clay Matthews were fined for illegal hits they were penalized for in the game.

Lions injury report:
CB Bill Bentley*, Concussion, Out
S Louis Delmas*, Knee, Doubtful
CB Chris Houston*, Ankle, Doubtful
LB Travis Lewis, Quad, Doubtful
DE Lawrence Jackson, Calf, Questionable
DT Corey Williams*, Knee, Questionable
WR Calvin Johnson*, Foot, Probable

 * starter

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cox not fined for flipping, stepping on Finley

49ers cornerback Perrish Cox somehow avoided a fine for knocking Packers tight end Jermichael Finley to the ground and then perhaps accidentally (or perhaps subtly) stepping on Finley’s lower leg.

The league office advised that Cox wasn’t fined not knocking Finley down and then applying a cleat to Finley’s leg while walking away.

In all fairness to Cox, Finley got a little aggressive before Cox flipped Finley, pressing his knees/legs into Cox’s back.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Trent Dilfer Film Study: 49ers

Trent Dilfer takes requests on twitter for film study analysis and the 49ers were heavily requested this week. Here are his tweets concerning the team.

#filmstudy Niners Bruce Miller # 49 is quickly becoming top 5 FB in NFL. Takes great angles, physical, fast, versatile and finishes. #Beast

#filmstudy Smith Very decisive w/decision making post snap & OWENED LOS w/checks & audibles.

#filmstudy Smith vs 5+Rushers was #StraightDealing 11-12 92% 141 yds. Saw it early & got ball out. Product of #FunctionalFBIntelligence

#filmstudy Smith HUGE improvement w/Action ball fakes.Hand/ball extended & underneath ball, quick back 2 core, & head snaps around to see D.

#filmstudy #nextlevel Smith Play action passing: Hard work payed off statistically. 5-6 83% 85 yds 14.2 yes/att.

#filmstudy Smith Gun footwork is significantly improved. Base is staying wider & more balanced. Gun passing 10-14 71% 84 yds 2TD 6yds/att

#filmstudy Smith Ball security during pocket conflict was excellent. Niners allowed some free runners on AS, but he protected ball.

#filmstudy Smith Location on intermediate passing game was good. Ball finished on mask on most throws. Ball in air 10-20 yds 4-5 78yds 1 TD
#filmstudy Smith Criticism number 1 would be that he passed up 2 HUGE opportunities down the middle. At times, conservative bug bites him

#filmstudy Smith Criticism # 2 is a mechanical flaw. R hip doesn't fully release on some throws & spine tilts left way too much =high miss

#filmstudy Niners Crabtree looked as Sudden (quick/fast/balanced) as I have seen him as a 49er. He was open all day & showed up as a blocker

#filmstudy Niners Davis # 85 one most his 1 on 1 battles with Woodson in pass game. He blew by him once & AS didn't see it clearly.

Vic Fangio Press Pass 9-13-12

Greg Roman Press Pass 9-13-12

Frank Gore Press Pass 9-13-12

Jed York Cautions Against Hard Handshakes

As the 49ers and Lions prepare to get together again, less than a year after a post-game meeting between coach Jim Harbaugh and coach Jim Schwartz sent shock waves throughout the NFL, it’s hard not to avoid talking about the handshake.

It’s even harder when the owner of one of the teams is talking about it.

At a downtown rally on Wednesday, 49ers owner Jed York made light of the jaw-dropping moment as he wrapped up his remarks:  “By all means, when you’re shaking somebody’s hand at the end of the game, don’t do it too hard.”

It’s unlikely that Harbaugh and Schwartz will have another incident this year.  Still, something seems to overtake Harbaugh when it’s time to compete.

Of course, that “something” never seems to be too far under the surface.  And so when the nitro that is Harbaugh gets together with the glycerin that is Schwartz, it makes sense not to choose that moment to go grab a beer — or to go do the thing that needs to be done after drinking three or four of them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week 1 Locker Room Speech

NaVorro Bowman: 49ers’ win over Packers “was a huge statement”

NaVorro Bowman led the 49ers with 11 tackles and had an interception of Aaron Rodgers as the 49ers beat the Packers on Sunday, and Bowman thinks that win meant a lot more than just one game in the standings.

“That was a huge statement,” Bowman said on NFL Network’s Around the League Live. “Going up against the hot shots in the league prior to that game, we just wanted to go out and really set the tone.”
Bowman said the 49ers need to make the same kind of statement in their second game, Sunday night against the Lions, that they made in the first.

“It’s going to be similar to the first,” Bowman said. “It was great to go up against the Packers and now having the Lions coming to the Stick, we’re prepared for it. We know what to expect. We just have to go out there and approach this game with the same mindset that we did the first one, and I’m sure we’ll be OK.”

In Week One, the 49ers were better than OK. They made as big a statement as any team made in the first week of the season.

Via ProFootballTalk

Lions’ Chris Houston: "I would never talk trash to Randy Moss"

On Monday we passed along a quote from the Detroit News in which Lions defensive back Chris Houston referred to 49ers receiver Randy Moss as a “possession receiver.” The Detroit News reporter who got the quote from Houston wrote that “Chris Houston talked a little smack about Randy Moss,” but Houston says he did nothing of the kind.

Houston took to Twitter to give his version of the comments he made about Moss, saying that his “possession receiver” quote was actually a compliment in context: Houston was saying that Moss can do everything, including both stretching the field as a deep threat and moving the chains as a possession receiver, and that the Lions’ best chance to contain Moss would be to take away the deep threat and force him to be a possession receiver.

“Media sure do change your words to make a game and sale tickets,” Houston wrote. “No way I could talk negative about Moss he’s a legend HOF WR. . . . I said moss can take the top off of defenses and he can be a possession WR to move the chains simple and plain. How did they twist my words?”

The transcript of Houston’s comments at seems to back up his explanation: He doesn’t seem to be “talking smack” and saying Moss is only a possession receiver, he seems to be saying he’ll have his hands full when he’s covering Moss and will try to force Moss to be a possession receiver.

Josh Katzenstein, the Detroit News reporter who initially tweeted the alleged smack talk, has now tweeted an apology, saying he thought Houston said Moss “can’t still take the top off” an opposing defense, when Houston actually said Moss “can still take the top off.”

“Apologies to @Chris23Houston. An honest case of mishearing ‘can’t’ instead of ‘can.’ Didn’t realize my tweets would be used for nat’l story,” Katzenstein wrote.

And so if Jim Harbaugh thought he had some bulletin-board material this week, he’ll have to look elsewhere. Houston showed nothing but respect for Moss.

Via ProFootballTalk

Aaron Rodgers Backs Out of Boyz II Men Jersey Bet

Before week one’s game against the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers made a little wager with the group Boyz II Men. Rodgers wanted the Boyz to sing the National Anthem before the season opener, and they did so.

However, there was a little side action going on. Rodgers also made a bet with singer Nathan Morris of the group. If the Packers lost the game, Morris proposed, Rodgers would have to wear a 49ers jersey through this entire week.

The Packers did of course lose to the 49ers 30-22 on Sunday. Now, according to, Aaron Rodgers is trying to back out of his end of the bet.

“There’s nothing to that,” Rodgers said. “That got blown way out of proportion.”

When pressed, Rodgers said that “It was at best a joke between friends, and, unfortunately, the great reporting of TMZ blew another one.”

That is not how the Boyz II Men took it as they posted this via their twitter on Sunday:

It looks as though Aaron Rodgers is a sore loser.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Harbaugh, Schwartz Downplay Handshake Talk ahead of Sunday's Game

 It was the handshake heard around the world.

Last October, just after the 49ers beat the Lions 25-19 at Ford Field, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and Lions coach Jim Schwartz met for the customary post-game handshake. It was quick, with Harbaugh still celebrating a comeback win, but it had a second act when Schwartz then ran down Harbaugh, bumped him and a shouting match ensued. It made for quite a scene, leading to a memo from the league reminding coaches that they are not supposed to fight with each other on the field in the moments after the end of a game.

The Lions and 49ers renew acquaintances this Sunday night and, naturally, both coaches were asked about the incident when they met with the media on Monday. As you’d expect, both men did their best to make it a non-issue. Schwartz said that the two men have met “without incident” multiple times in the last year, according to Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News, and that he doesn’t expect one player on either team will be thinking about it. Harbaugh said pretty much the same thing, but, as is his habit, dressed up his answer a little bit.

“Our approach with the mini-controversies is to give them the attention they deserve, which isn’t much,” Harbaugh said, via Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Now people are going to use that to promote this game or any other game are really missing the point. The game is just so much bigger. Just as a rule of thumb, I have too much respect for the men who play this game on both sides to give it anything less than what it deserves.”

The handshake will have no bearing on a game between 1-0 teams, although that won’t have the slightest bearing on how many times we see the video of it in the week to come.

Chris Houston says Randy Moss Can't "take the top off” Defenses

Few players in NFL history respond more aggressively and decisively to external criticism than 49ers receiver Randy Moss.  What makes him great (i.e., the ability to muster a high degree of motivation when antagonized) also has been his greatest flaw (i.e., an inability to consistently muster that motivation absent external motivation).

Lions cornerback Chris Houston risked riling up Randy Moss on Monday, in advance of Detroit’s trip to San Francisco.  According to Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News, Houston said Monday that Moss is a “possession receiver.”  Houston added that he doesn’t think Moss can “take the top off” the defense.

Given Detroit’s well-documented problems in the defensive secondary, it’s not the smartest thing Houston ever has said.  With Moss snaring a touchdown pass in the 49ers’ Week One win over the Packers, Houston shouldn’t give Moss any extra reason to try even harder to make an impact.

After all, Moss once racked up three touchdowns against the Lions after he was supplied external motivation.  And that motivation didn’t even come from the Lions; it came from ESPN’s Merril Hoge, who accused Moss of taking plays off.

Aaron Rodgers Will Pay off Jersey Bet...But It May Take a While

Aaron Rodgers has a date with a 49ers jersey after losing a bet with the guys from Boyz II Men, but the singers say they're willing to give him some time to prepare himself for the crushing humiliation.

Singer Nathan Morris said, “Green Bay has another huge game [against the Bears] in 3 days so ... we understand where his head is, so I know he's focusing on that game.”

According to Nathan, Aaron promised to post the pic of himself wearing a 49ers jersey on his Twitter account if he lost against San Francisco ... which he did yesterday ... 30-22.

Nathan -- the biggest 49ers fan in the group -- is confident Aaron will hold up his end of the bargain, telling us, "Aaron might be one of the classiest guys we know.”

Tick tock, Aaron.

Packers' Jarrett Bush Says 49ers 'really didn't beat us'

Alex Smith was essentially flawless. Frank Gore ran wild through the Packers defense. Late in the Green Bay Packers' loss to the San Francisco 49ers, we thought the Packers were lucky just to be in the game.

The Packers feel differently.

"We beat ourselves. They really didn't beat us," cornerback Jarrett Bush said after the game, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "We just have to hunker down and make sure we're gap sound and get on the same page. Obviously, small things being miscommunicated on the field become big things, so they exploited us and that's what happened."

Oh boy. If any of this sounds familiar, let's replay some comments from Clay Matthews this offseason about Green Bay's playoff loss to the New York Giants.

"The fact is, (the Giants) didn't beat us; we beat ourselves," Matthews told Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports.

Give us a break. The Giants and 49ers pushed the Packers around. Green Bay has lost three of its last four games. Their defense was generally awful for all of last season.

We're starting to think Green Bay's attitude that no team can actually beat them is part of the problem.


Share your thoughts here

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Kyle Williams - Sunday NFL Countdown Promo

49ers Have Faith in Kyle Williams at Punt Returner

After nearly eight months of endless dissection, the 49ers continue to fully endorse Kyle Williams' ability to replace an injured Ted Ginn Jr. on punt returns for Sunday's season opener at Green Bay.

It's a tired, yet meaningful, issue. Williams botched two returns in the NFC Championship game loss to the New York Giants. But the 49ers are adament he can get the job done.

"We've always been extremely confident in Kyle back there as a punt returner and kick returner," coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Pressed further on Williams and his role in the NFC title game, Harbaugh responded: "Why even bring that up? When's enough enough?" Harbaugh said this out of more bewilderment than evident anger.
Then asked if he needed to give Williams an "atta boy" for encouragement, Harbaugh reitterated: "Why bring that up? Why continue to ask it? What is the reasoning?"
The obvious reason is to find out whether Williams and the 49ers have moved on from those title-game blues.

Ginn is listed as questionable for Sunday's game because of an Aug. 26 ankle injury that's kept him out of practice. Running back Brandon Jacobs (left knee) is also listed as questionable, and both players will make the trip to Green Bay before the 49ers rule on their final status.
Special teams coordinator Brad Seely is aware of the media's infatuation with Williams' ability to rebound, including from an initial gaffe where a punt bounced off his knee. The Giants converted that
turnover into a fourth-quarter touchdown, and Williams' overtime fumble on a return set up the decisive field goal.
"Obviously that was a mistake and hopefully he'll learn from it," Seely said of the first gaffe. "Everyone has mistakes, and that's one the whole world got to see.

"He wants to go out and show that wasn't him. He wants to get that memory out of his head and out of fans' heads."

Seely noted that he has no issue with Williams' aggressive approach on returns.

"I've got no worries with him going out there," Seely said. "He's judged balls all his life in football and baseball. He tries to attack (punt returns) more so than others, because he has an extreme amount of confidence to catch the ball."

Williams was unavailable for comment Friday. By the team the media had locker room access, he had boarded the 49ers' bus for their impending trip to the airport. But Williams has been accountable since that NFC final, and he's repeatedly talked about being comfortable returning punts.

Punter Andy Lee said he has no worries whatsoever with Williams' skills as a punt returner.

"Let's be honest, everyone wants to think back. But he's an unbelievable player with so much talent," Lee said. "Between him and Ted, we have two of the best punt returners in the league.

"All the other crap sucks, but he's such a good punt returner and such a big part of our team."

Asked to confirm that Williams would be Sunday's punt returner if Ginn can't, Harbaugh responded: "You've watched a lot of games, and it's not a state secret."

Harbaugh declined to reveal whether Kendall Hunter will serve as their primary kickoff returner. Hunter and rookie LaMichael James were the only ones to return kickoffs in the exhibition season.

"That may not be as easy to figure out, so we'll let Green Bay try," Harbaugh said.

Packers Preparing for 49ers to Use Colin Kaepernick in the Wildcat

Tim Tebow isn’t the only backup quarterback who might come in to run the ball on Sunday.

The 49ers showed some looks with backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick running the ball in a variation of the Wildcat offense during the preseason, and as the Packers prepare to face the 49ers on Sunday, they say they’re preparing to see Kaepernick in some of the same read option looks he ran in college at Nevada, where he was the only player in major college football history to have more than 10,000 passing yards and more than 4,000 rushing yards.

“It’s definitely something different,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s something that you have to prepare for. It’s like any other scheme. You have to put your time in. We feel fortunate that we have extra time to prepare for the 49ers. We’re confident that with all of our adjustments we’re ready to go.”

Whether the 49ers end up using Kaepernick or not, the fact that they have him available forces the Packers (and future opponents) to devote some time to preparing for him. That makes him a valuable asset as a backup quarterback.

Aaron Rodgers Wearing A 49ers Jersey Come Monday Morning?

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has agreed to a deal that could land him in a 49ers jersey on Monday morning ... and it's all thanks to the guys from Boyz II Men.

49ersSpin has learned Rodgers and the R&B legends are actually friends and recently, Aaron asked the guys if they would sing the National Anthem at the season opener at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

But before the guys would agree to sing, Nathan Morris  had one MAJOR demand.

Turns out, Morris is a bigtime 49ers fan and proposed a friendly bet to the QB; if SF wins, Rodgers MUST WEAR an Alex Smith 49ers jersey for the remainder of the week.

If GB wins, Morris has agreed to wear a Rodgers jersey.

A rep for the band confirms that Aaron accepted the challenge and Boyz II Men agreed to perform at the game.

The stakes are pretty high for Rodgers, considering SF passed on Aaron in the 2005 NFL Draft so they could pick up Alex Smith.

Plus, the Niners and the Pack are both considered NFC favorites this season.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Jim Harbaugh Press Pass 9-7-12

49ers at Packers Movie Preview

Just a little something to get you hyped up for Sunday's game(As if you needed help on that).

The 49ers Aren’t Intimidated By Lambeau Field

The 49ers enter Sunday's season opener with an eight-game losing streak at arguably the NFL's greatest game-day shrine: Lambeau Field.

Dire history aside, has the site of a 49ers-vs.-Packers tilt ever mattered less?

First, this is the 49ers' earliest appearance ever in Green Bay. The forecast calls for sunny skies, temperatures in the low 70s, light winds and, most certainly, no tundra.

Second, these are Jim Harbaugh's 49ers, a bow-to-nobody squad that went 6-2 on the road a year ago in his first season as coach, including four fourth-quarter comeback wins.

"To us, we don't see it being at 'Lambeau' or anywhere else," linebacker Patrick Willis said. "We just see it as being the first game of the season, and we want to win."
NFC supremacy will be in the air, especially after the New York Giants lost their debut Wednesday night as reigning Super Bowl champions. The Packers and 49ers were the NFC's top two seeds in last season's playoffs before each lost at home to the Giants.

When it comes to Green Bay's hallowed home, the 49ers players have spoken respectfully this week. But they've done so without any hint of intimidation.

"It's not the loudest stadium we've played in," left tackle Joe Staley said. "It does have history and tradition.

But each game is a new game, each season is a new season."

This game will be a tone-setter, rather than a season-altering experience amid Midwest foliage or snow-covered grass.

"Couldn't ask for a better place to start the season," said Alex Boone, who will make his first start at right guard. "It's historical, and we're ready to go."

Of the 49ers' past eight visits, the earliest -- and start of the losing streak -- came on Oct. 14, 1996, when they fell 23-20 in overtime. More lopsided losses followed, including in the January 1997 divisional playoffs (35-14) and 2002 wild-card round (25-15).

But this won't be a maiden voyage for nearly half of the 49ers' roster, as 24 players have experienced either the Nov. 22, 2009 trip (30-24 loss) or Dec. 5, 2010 game (34-16).

Not all memories of those trips are sour, either.

Michael Crabtree, who had a 38-yard touchdown reception in the 2009 visit, said of Lambeau: "It's a good field. It makes me feel like I'm in high school. They've got the bleachers there, no seats. That's the old-fashioned style. You don't see those these days."

That crowd of 73,094 needs to be blocked out of the 49ers' minds, according to Harbaugh, who went 3-3 at Lambeau as a starting quarterback during his 15-year career.

Said Harbaugh: "You go in with your roster and your coaches, and there could be a smattering of your own fans there. It's basically just us against a lot of them. But when you're on the field, it's 11 against 11."
The Packers will be opening at home for the sixth time in seven years under coach Mike McCarthy. They won four of those openers, and last season they went 8-0 in regular-season home games for only the fourth time since 1978. They also own a 13-game, regular-season win streak at Lambeau.

No 49ers player knows Lambeau better than Randy Moss, and no player in the NFL has caught more touchdowns passes against the Packers. Moss has 13 regular-season scores against Green Bay, plus two more in a January 2005 playoff game when he was with the Minnesota Vikings. He has eight touchdowns in eight Lambeau visits.

"I look forward to going out here on Sunday on a historical field such as Lambeau," said Moss, who is projected to start in what will be his first game since 2010.

Third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien is expected to merely observe Sunday's game, something he's familiar doing at Lambeau. He attended three games there as a fan, including once his junior year at the University of Wisconsin.

"It is probably the most unique game-day setting in the NFL as far as geography," Tolzien said. "It's basically plopped in the middle of a residential area. It's weird. You'll see signs in people's front yards: '$15 for parking and a brat.' "

Wouldn't the 49ers rather see the Packers' pass-happy attack on a cold, wintry day, however?

"It's irrelevant," said offensive coordinator Greg Roman. "Tell us when to show up."

Kickoff is 3:25 p.m., Lambeau time.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Aaron Rodgers Names All Eleven Members of 49ers Defense in Interview

As the 49ers prepare to face the Packers this Sunday, if one thing wasn't clear before, it certainly is now:

Aaron Rodgers does his homework.

Rodgers was recently a guest on 95.7 The Game, a sports radio station in San Francisco. When he was asked about what the perception of the 49ers is to the Packers, his answer was pretty impressive.

He called out all eleven members of the 49ers starting defense by name - literally.

Here's his response:
"[The 49ers are] one of the top teams in the game, no doubt about it. I think you gotta give Coach Harbaugh credit for what he's done with the team. But they got a lot of veterans out there that know how to play the game the right way. Getting to spend a little time with some of those guys at the pro bowl was a lot of fun for me. Getting to spend time with guys like Justin Smith just gives you a greater appreciation for what he does and what their team does.
I've known Patrick Willis for a number of years now, got a lot of respect for him and the way he plays the game, but there's a lot of guys on that team that are playing at a really high level that might not get the credit they always deserve.
I think of a guy like [NoVarro] Bowman, who is one of the top linebackers in the league and he just has the misfortune of playing with one of the most well known and best linebackers in the league in Patrick Willis, but Bowman is an incredible player in his own right.
Aldon Smith had a great season last year. He's coming off his rookie year where he did a lot of great things, and you have Brooks on the other side who's a real talented player in his own right.
It seems like the most important thing to them is the team, and they set aside egos and personal recognition to play their part and that's why they're so successful every year, on defense.
I think Tarell Brown is a guy who's coming of a really great season, he's making his way in this league and getting the respect he deserves. Carlos [Rodgers] is coming off one of his best if not his best in his career, and he's a guy that I've followed his progress, being drafted in the same draft as him, and excited about the way he's playing. Not when you're playing against him, but you gotta give him credit. A guy that can play outside and be effective, and move in the slot and be effective as well. That takes a talented player. Carlos is playing at a high level. Teams around the league know that and understand that, and when you're playing these guys you gotta figure out where he's at.
 Dashon [Goldson], I played against him in college when he was at Washington, he's extremely talented player. Donte Whitner, he's a guy that was picked in 06. We played against him when he was a rookie in Buffalo and now he's finding his way in San Fran and he plays great when he's outside matched up on tight end, he plays great when he's high, coming down, he's a big time hitter.
 This is a defense where, there's not many holes to find out there. They play really well together, they understand the scheme. I haven't talked about [Ray] McDonald and [Isaac] Sopoaga, but hey, here we go. This is a group of guys that's very formidable on defense."
Even if you don't like Aaron Rodgers, one thing you cannot deny is his absolutely methodical preparation for his opponents.

He may know their names but on Sunday we will find out if he knows how to stop the punishment they have in store for him.

Share your thoughts here.

49ers Defense Poised for Packers (VIDEO)

49ers Ready to Hit the Road (VIDEO)

Jim Harbaugh is a Dad Again, Son Jack Born Weighing in at 8 Pounds, 8 Ounces

Coach Jim Harbaugh had no trouble reporting Wednesday to 49ers practice, a day after his wife, Sarah, gave birth to their first son, Jack.

"Jack Jr. will understand in 20 years," Harbaugh said. "He wants to win, too."

Harbaugh commended his wife on a "great job," adding that she deserved a "gold medal for timing." The couple's third child came 10 days early, and Harbaugh wasn't planning on skipping Sunday's regular-season opener at Green Bay.

"My wife would have understood, too. She wants us to win and it was great to be there for the birth," Harbaugh said. "Wild horses couldn't have dragged us away from this game coming up this Sunday."

The newest Harbaugh is named after his grandfather, Jack, who coached football for 43 years and led the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to the Division I-AA national championship in 2002.

"Everything's scary good," Harbaugh added. "Word's out. Jack Jr. reported for duty yesterday at 1:27 p.m. He was 8 pounds, 8 ounces. He came 10 days early, which is to be expected. The good ones like to come in early.

"Also I think it bodes well for the 49ers. It's a sign of good luck to come, perhaps -- Jack Jr. being born on the fourth day of the ninth month of this year."

It is the elder Jack Harbaugh that long ago coined what became the 49ers' post-win catchprase throughout Jim Harbaugh's first season as coach last year: "Who's got it better than us? Noooo-body!"

This is the Harbaugh's third child, and Jack has already gotten to meet his older sisters, Addison and Katherine. Harbaugh also has three children from a previous marriage: Jay, James Jr. and Grace.

About 15 minutes before Tuesday's team picture, a frantic and smiling Jim Harbaugh did a curious lap around the locker room, saying farewell to his players and shaking their hands. A team spokesman explained that Sarah Harbaugh had gone into labor and asked that the matter be kept private. 

Running back Frank Gore was being interviewed when Harbaugh rushed up to him and said: "Frankie ... boom ... gotta go." To which Gore replied: "Huh? What did he just say?" Informed of the impending birth, Gore made sure to shake Harbaugh's hand and wish him well as the coach dashed off to the delivery room.

Two hours later, baby Jack Harbaugh checked in at 21 inches. Gore's jersey number: 21.

"He looks pretty big. He probably would have been a 10 pounder," said Harbaugh, noting his son can grow up to play any position, or, better yet, multiple positions.

Exactly nine months earlier, the 49ers clinched the NFC West title with a 26-0 victory over the St. Louis Rams...can you say victory celebration? 

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Aaron Rodgers: Alex Smith is more than a game manager

In the 2005 NFL draft, Alex Smith went first overall to the 49ers, while Aaron Rodgers took a tumble to the 24th overall pick, where the Packers finally grabbed him. As it turned out, Rodgers has become a much better quarterback than Smith, but Rodgers takes exception to the suggestion that Smith isn’t a fine quarterback in his own right.

With the Packers preparing to play the 49ers on Sunday, Rodgers was asked if he considers Smith a “game manager,” and Rodgers said he has a problem with that term.

“I think that term is a condescending term for quarterbacks,” Rodgers said, via USA Today.
Rodgers said he admires Smith and is troubled by the lack of respect Smith has received.

“I don’t think he’s a game manager,” Rodgers said. “I think he’s a guy who takes care of the football and makes a lot of plays. I don’t think he got the respect that he deserves. I’ve been friends with him since we were 21 and I’ve followed his career. I definitely pull for him and enjoy watching him play.”

The reality, however, is that any lack of respect for Smith is because he hasn’t produced the way a No. 1 overall pick should. Smith has averaged less than 180 passing yards a game and less than one touchdown pass a game over his NFL career, and has found success only when avoiding turnovers on a team with a good running game and a strong defense. That’s technically what a game manager is.

However, Smith began to show great progress under new coach Jim Harbaugh. As last season progressed, he began to look better in his new system. The highlight of that was his performance in the playoff win over the Saints, where he looked like anything but a game manager. With San Fran's new offensive weapons, could this be the season Alex Smith sheds the game manager title?

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Packers Aren’t Sure What to Expect from Randy Moss

The Packers defense doesn’t know what to expect from Randy Moss, but the know what they don’t want him to do.

“That’s what makes the game that much fun,” cornerback Tramon Williams said, via Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “People want to come in and see the old Randy Moss. They want to see the guy who goes up the field and makes great catches over guys and that’s the mystery of it.

“You don’t know what you’re going to get. You don’t know if you’re going to get that or if you’re going to get a different Randy.”

 The mystery is reasonable. The 49ers have had only glowing reports, but it’s hard to know what he’s got left for sure until you see it in a regular season game.

In the past, he’s played some of his best games against the Packers.

He’s played 14 games against the Packers, with 1,273 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

Then again, he’s 35, and all but one of those games were eight years ago.

The one in particular keeps coming back to mind, the January, 2005 game in which he faux-mooned the crowd.

“I can remember him wiping his butt on the goal post. I can remember that,” Packers safety M.D. Jennings, who was 16 at the time, said. “I was excited to see that happen. When you see someone do things like that, it’s crazy.

“That’s like a slap in the face if someone comes in your house and does something like that. So we have to keep him out of our end zone and not give him a chance at any celebrations.”

Via ProFootballTalk

John Skelton: "No reason Cardinals can’t top 49ers in NFC West"

The 49ers won the NFC West last year and are favored to win it again this year, but Cardinals quarterback John Skelton has other ideas.

Skelton said on the Dan Patrick Show that his expectations are high, and he expects to be hosting a playoff game in January.

“As long as we come out and we start fast — last year we kind of put ourselves in a hole, starting 1-6 — but if we come out fast, we win the games we know we need to win, we do well in our division, there’s no reason we can’t win the division, knock the Niners off and make it into the playoffs,” Skelton said.

Skelton is being generous when he says “we” started 1-6 last year: Skelton didn’t take a single snap in any of those first seven games. It was Kevin Kolb who led the Cardinals to a 1-6 start in 2011. The Cardinals went 6-2 in their eight games with Skelton at quarterback, including a big win over the 49ers when Skelton entered the game after Kolb got knocked out after throwing just one pass, so it’s easy to see why Skelton feels confident that they can be a winning team this year, when he’s starting the season as the starting quarterback.

Still, topping the 49ers in the NFC West is going to be a tall order for the Cardinals. Even if they have a better chance of doing it with Skelton than with Kolb.

Via ProFootballTalk