Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chris Culliver still apologizing, surrounded by reporters

The Chris Culliver interrogation played out with a throng of reporters surrounding the previously unknown 49ers corner after his homophobic remarks made him the hottest property at the Super Bowl since deer antler spray.

Culliver apologized profusely for his remarks to comedian Artie Lange, in which he said he would not want a gay teammate in the 49ers locker room.

Culliver said repeatedly “that’s not what’s in my heart,” and “I’m sorry if I offended anyone,” and invoked a number of conversations with people close to him, from his mother to unnamed gay relatives.

But he denied that he meant harm to any current or future gay players, or to the city he works in which has a significant homosexual population.

Asked if he was concerned that he’d be forever labeled as a homophobe, Culliver shook his head quietly and said: “No . . . I mean, hopefully not, that’s why I’m doing this today.”

What he was doing was effectively the act of contrition, saying the same things over and over, and looking like a man who’d rather be anywhere else in the world.

The 49ers stationed him at a table near the edge of the hotel ballroom where interviews are being held, the same table he sat at Wednesday when no one wanted to talk to him. They did move teammate Tarell Brown, so he wouldn’t be crushed by the horde of cameras and reporters.

Other players, the 49ers’ stars, were at podiums nearby, with team and league logos slathered across the backdrops.

Culliver, wearing his jersey and a 49ers ski cap, was left to go it alone, repeatedly apologizing and saying he didn’t mean the thing he said, and hoping it all goes away.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chris Culliver makes homophobic remarks during Media Day

While Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo is using his Super Bowl platform to advocate for same-sex marriage, it appears 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver is working in the opposite direction.

Culliver made several disparaging remarks when asked about the possibility of having a homosexual teammate by radio personality (and former Howard Stern sidekick) Artie Lange.

The audio of the exchange was played during Lange’s show (and passed along by the San Jose Mercury News), with Culliver making it seem clear that a gay teammate would not be welcome.

“I don’t do the gay guys man,” Culliver said. “I don’t do that. No, we don’t got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do.

“Can’t be with that sweet stuff. Nah … can’t be … in the locker room man. Nah.”

The 49ers as a franchise have been forward in their efforts to be open-minded, with four players (Ahmad Brooks, Ricky Jean-Francois, Isaac Sopoaga and Donte Whitner) appearing in a video supporting the anti-bullying campaign called “It Gets Better,” which is targeted at lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender youth.

“The San Francisco 49ers are proud to join, to let all LGBT teens know that it gets better,” Whitner said in the video. “On behalf of the entire 49ers organization, we are on your side, and we promise it gets better.”

Maybe Whitner can start by cleaning up his own locker room, or at least talk to Culliver about making a Flacco-style apology it before his next appearance in front of reporters tomorrow.

“Humble” Moss repeats his claim that he’s the best ever

On Tuesday, an ordinarily media-shy Randy Moss made a bold proclamation:  Moss said he’s the best receiver to ever play football.

On Wednesday, Moss reiterated the claim.

“Everybody is going to have their opinion,” Moss said, via Matt Maiocco of “I do not live on numbers.  I really do not.  If you sit here and just said, ‘Who is the greatest running back?’  Statistically it is Emmitt Smith.  People would say Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers or Jim Brown. [But] their numbers do not match Emmitt Smith.”

Basically, then, Moss thinks that in the end it’s a subjective assessment.

“You make your own judgment,” Moss said.  “You really do.  I know what I think.  I am not going to sit up here and tell you how to look at it and how to judge it.  I think when it comes to going out there, making plays and helping the team do the things that they are able to do to win the game, I think I am the greatest receiver ever.  Point blank.  Next question.”

But he continued, pointing to the impact his comments made as proof of his claim.

“I think that it speaks of the impact that I have made on this NFL football league,” Moss said.  “If Joe Blow would have said it, I do not know if it would have been in USA Today.  

“Since Randy Moss said it, it is front of the sports page.  Like I said, I just try to stay humble and do my job.  That is what I am able to do.  I am able to come out and try to say these things, but I do believe in my heart and my mind I am the greatest to ever do it.”

In our (or at least my) view, Moss could have been the greatest to ever do it, if he had given his all, all the time.  But it was Moss himself who said, “I play when I wanna play.”  All too often, he chose not to play, quitting on his team for a drive, a game, or (in 2006 with the Raiders) a whole season.

The only argument in his favor comes from the fact that Rice played with better quarterbacks.  Rarely if ever did Rice ever have to do anything that catch a ball that hit him in the numbers while running in stride.

Still, even with lesser quarterbacks, Moss could have had the chance to be the better player — if he had approached his profession with the same professionalism as Rice.

Monday, January 28, 2013

"Numbers Never* Lie": Kaepernick No Gimmick (VIDEO)

Super Bowl Arrival Press Conference (Day 2) - Tarell Brown

Super Bowl Arrival Press Conference (Day 2) - Aldon Smith

Super Bowl Arrival Press Conference (Day 2) - NaVorro Bowman

Super Bowl Arrival Press Conference (Day 2) - Jim Harbaugh

Moss plans to play at least one more year

Receiver Randy Moss emerged from retirement to play for the 49ers this season.  But if he manages to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, he won’t be walking off into the sunset with it like Michael Strahan or Jerome Bettis or John Elway.

Per a source with knowledge of Moss’s thinking, the future Hall of Famer plans to play at least one more year.

Absent a contract extension, Moss will become a free agent in March.  His first retirement came two years ago, after he received not much interest on the open market.  After a year away from the game, he decided to return — and he hasn’t complained once despite being a role player at best.

Of course, plans can change. 

Justin Smith says torn triceps tendon is getting better

49ers defensive end Justin Smith tore his left triceps tendon in Week Fifteen and missed the final two regular season games. He put a brace on the arm for the playoffs and was an impact run defender in San Francisco’s first two postseason wins, racking up nine tackles.

Smith told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee that the triceps tear is getting better.

“I can do more stuff every week,” Smith said. “I think it heals up, obviously, as more time goes by and it’s feeling better.”

The brace prevents full range of motion in the arm, but Smith feels he can play “with more abandon” in Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Ravens.

“I know how many games I have left now — four more quarters,” he said.

Smith will require post-season surgery, likely costing him all offseason activities.

He probably isn’t thinking about the offseason right now.

49ers name Aldon Smith their team MVP

The 49ers are in the Super Bowl, and no player had more to do with that than outside linebacker Aldon Smith.

At least, that’s the opinion of Smith’s teammates and coaches: 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed today that a Most Valuable Player vote was taken of all the team’s players and coaches, and Smith was the winner.

Smith was second in the NFL during the regular season with 19.5 sacks, and he also had an interception and three forced fumbles. There’s been some talk that Smith has declined lately, with no sacks in his last five games, but Harbaugh dismissed that. In fact, Harbaugh said he gave Smith a game ball for his NFC Championship Game performance against the Falcons, in which he didn’t have any sacks but did have several pressures and a fumble recovery.

When Smith was asked this afternoon whom he voted for team MVP, he gave a surprising answer: Randy Moss.

Alex Smith is expected to seek his release before free agency

It’s widely believed that the 49ers will trade quarterback Alex Smith.  The former starter is due to earn $8.5 million in 2013, with $1 million guaranteed now and the balance guaranteed as of April 1.   It makes him a luxury that the team can’t afford.

But the player prefers not to afford the 49ers a chance to trade him.  Instead, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Smith is expected to seek his release before the start of free agency.

It’s a calculated risk for Smith.  On one hand, he’s be able to join any team he wants.  On the other hand, he’d be losing the $8.5 million that he’d earn this year if his contract is traded.

Of course, that contract could make it harder to trade him.  And the 49ers will have plenty of time to explore their options for trading Smith before the new league year (and the free-agency period) begins.

Unless they can send him to a team for which he really wants to play, the fair move would be to let him go.  He has been a loyal member of the organization since he was the first pick in the 2005 draft, and he caused no trouble when he was benched during a very good season after suffering a concussion.

Former 49ers 1st Rd Pick Kwame Harris Arrested for Beating up "ex-boyfriend" After Argument Over "soy sauce and underwear"

Since the current members of the San Francisco 49ers are providing us with nothing interesting to discuss, a former member of the team has helped fill the void.

According to the San Mateo Daily Journal, former 49ers tackle Kwame Harris has been charged with assaulting “his former boyfriend at a Menlo Park restaurant during an argument over soy sauce and underwear.”

The alleged victim, Dimitri Geier, also has filed a civil lawsuit against Harris for assault, battery, false imprisonment, negligence, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Geier claims that Harris became upset when Geier “poured soy sauce on a plate of rice,” and that Harris later “pull[ed] the other man’s pants down and accused him of stealing his underwear.”Attorney Alin Cintean says that Harris did nothing wrong.  (Imagine that.)  “This really is a pure self-defense case.  [Harris] was attacked,” Cintean said. Harris, who faces seven years in prison, was freed on $75,000 bail.  The 2003 first-round pick played five years with the 49ers and one with the Raiders.

I'll take this opportunity to dedicate this video to Kwame and say "thanks for nothing, bro". Caution: This video is from 49ers' dark ages. (My how far we have come)

Super Bowl Arrival Press Conference - Jim Harbaugh

Saturday, January 26, 2013

San Francisco district attorney: No charges for Michael Crabtree

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree got some good news on Friday, when authorities confirmed that they are not filing charges after conducting an investigation into an accusation of sexual assault.

“The San Francisco Police Department-Special Victims Unit completed and submitted a thorough investigation of the allegations against Michael Crabtree,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement, via “Following a review of all the evidence, my office has determined that no charges will be filed against Michael Crabtree at this time.”

The statement comes a week after word emerged that police were investigating Crabtree. That investigation centered on an incident that allegedly took place at a hotel in the Bay Area just hours after the 49ers beat the Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Crabtree played in the NFC Championship Game, and the 49ers were reportedly very confident that he would not be charged. Now Crabtree and the 49ers can breathe a sigh of relief and prepare for the Super Bowl.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Alex Smith’s impressed with Kaepernick’s maturity

Much like everyone who enjoys exciting football, former 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith said he’s getting a kick out of watching replacement Colin Kaepernick right now.

“Absolutely, yes,” Smith said of enjoying the Super Bowl run, via Matt Maiocco of
“Very much so.”

Of course, that’s not without subtext, as Smith would clearly prefer to be the one playing.

But he said he’s been impressed with the maturity Kaepernick has shown since taking over his old job.

“I think the thing I’ve been impressed with most is, not so much the play-making. I knew that and the guys around here knew that,” Smith said. “I think it’s the lack of young mistakes that’s really jumped out at me.

“Most young guys who come in, yeah, they show flashes and they can play good at times. But they also seem to have those young moments as well, rookie moments, and bone-headed things. He hasn’t done it. Period. He’s played good ball. He’s played patient and smart, playing good football.”

He’s played better than good, which is the reason he replaced Smith. With 13 touchdowns and just four interceptions since taking over, Kaepernick hasn’t had the new-player regression some expected. And while it has to be a bittersweet run for Smith, the 49ers needed to evolve beyond good if they were going to make this push, and Kaepernick has.

Charles Haley is working with Aldon Smith

San Francisco outside linebacker Aldon Smith is preparing to play in his first Super Bowl, after getting some help from a former 49ers outside linebacker who is the only player ever to win five Super Bowl rings.

Charles Haley, the Hall of Fame finalist who won two Super Bowls with the 49ers and three with the Cowboys, talked to Smith before the 49ers played the Falcons. Smith told that Haley cornered him and instantly started coaching him.

“He gave me tips in our first five seconds of talking,” Smith said. “It was legit. He said, ‘You need to turn your foot like this and start rushing like that.’ And I was like, ‘All right.’”

Smith said Haley’s tips helped him pressure Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

“I did the tips,” Smith said. “They worked and helped out a little bit. I was in there.”

Although Smith did get pressure on Ryan a few times and recovered a fumble in the NFC Championship Game, he hasn’t had a sack in the last five games. Perhaps the help of a five-time champion will set Smith up for a big game in the Super Bowl.

Andrew Luck recommended Kaepernick to Jim Harbaugh

If the 49ers beat the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, folks in Baltimore have another reason to hate the team that left in the middle of the night nearly 29 years ago.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick plays for the 49ers in part because Colts quarterback Andrew Luck recommended Kaepernick to his former coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh.

As explained by Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, Luck returned from the Manning Passing Academy after observing Kaepernick there.

Harbaugh asked Luck if he saw anyone who looked good.  And Luck said Colin Kaepernick.

The information culminated in a clandestine trip by Harbaugh and G.M. Trent Baalke (some might call it an “evaluation”) to work out Kaepernick.  Kaepernick and Harbaugh got into a throwing competition,
 Kaepernick won, and Harbaugh left in a huff.

And then Harbaugh drafted Kaepernick.

While Harbaugh may have discovered Kaepernick without Luck’s input, it was Luck who put Kaepernick on Harbaugh’s radar screen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Colin Kaepernick Trademarks Kaepernicking

Colin Kaepernick has quickly become a media sensation after his signature touchdown celebration,
“Kaepernicking” went viral online. Now the young star has trademarked the term.

After being criticized by a writer about having tattoos covering his upper arms, Kaepernick began celebrating touchdowns by kissing his bicep. The pose spread around the meme community and became knows as “Kaepernicking.”

Kaepernick got in on the fun himself and held an online contest to see which fan could send him their best imitation through twitter.

Now Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle has revealed through Twitter that Kaepernick has trademarked the term.
His tweet reads:
“Per the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Colin Kaepernick has trademarked the term ‘Kaepernicking.’”
Of course Colin Kaepernick did not start the trend of having celebration poses named and mimicked online.  Tim Tebow is the grandaddy of it all. His signature pose is “Tebowing.”

There is also “Bradying,” “Gronking” and “Griffining.”

We hope there is plenty of Kaepernicking going on during the Super Bowl.

Update: Kaepernick’s marketing team already has authorized a few small T-shirt companies to use his name and image on their products.

The official “Kaepernicking” shirt is made by a company called Sportiqe. Some proceeds from that shirt go to Camp Taylor, which organizes camps for children with congenital heart defects.

Kaepernick has been involved with the camp; his adoptive parents lost two children to heart complications.

Frank Gore fined $10,500 for low socks

San Francisco 49ers players earned $40,000 for their participation in the NFC Championship Game.

Make that $29,500 for running back Frank Gore.

While you were watching 49ers running back Frank Gore running for 90 yards and two touchdowns to help the 49ers to their comeback victory over the Falcons, others were paying attention to other things about Gore.

The level of his socks, to be exact. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Gore has been fined $10,500 by the NFL for wearing his socks too low during the game against Atlanta. The $10,500 fine represents about one quarter of 1 percent of Gore's known compensation so far this season. The amount also equals the recommended amount for a second uniform/equipment violation. The recommended fine for first-time offenses is $5,250.

Gore was fined the same amount in the final week of the regular season for throwing a ball into the stands after a touchdown.

We’re long past the point of being surprised by such fines, although that doesn’t make it any less startling to see the amount Gore’s been fined for not wearing the uniform as mandated by the league.

Players are fined less for smacking other players in the face after games than they are for wearing their socks too low, something which sends an odd message. The schedule for the fines is spelled out in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, so both the NFL and NFLPA play a role that weights infractions incorrectly.

Report: Crabtree sexual assault allegation isn’t holding up

Over the weekend, there were reports that the 49ers doubted that wide receiver Michael Crabtree would be charged with a crime after it broke that police were investigating an accusation of sexual assault against him.

An update on the case from the San Francisco Chronicle does nothing to sow doubt about their doubts. A law enforcement source tells the newspaper that the woman making the allegation against Crabtree was one of three women in the hotel room on the night in question and that the other two women have told police that no assault took place. The source also added that there has been no physical evidence of a crime uncovered at this point.

According to the report, Crabtree has been cooperative with the police while denying any crime was committed after the 49ers beat the Packers earlier this month.

The police are declining the opportunity to comment on the case at the moment, saying only that they are still investigating and that they hope to wrap up the investigation in the next 10 days. That would be right before the Super Bowl, although all suggestions are that Crabtree won’t be charged unless something else comes to light.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Atlanta Stays Classy With Kaepernick Statue (PIC)

Here are Colin Kaepernick’s parents posing for a picture next to the statue of a steroidal Atlanta Falcon giving their son a wedgie.

I'm sure David Whitley is somewhere complaining that his tattoos weren’t accurately rendered.

Jim Harbaugh says he’s sticking with David Akers

According to Matt Maiocco of, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday that embattled kicker David Akers would keep that job for the Super Bowl.

Akers missed a 38-yarder yesterday, and hit his only attempt in the previous playoff game against the Packers. But he was 29-of-42 in the regular season, and was shaky enough they brought in Billy Cundiff as insurance/motivation.

Given that options aren’t many, pumping up Akers is probably the 49ers’ best play right now.

49ers Vs Falcons Postgame Press Conference - Jim Harbaugh

49ers Vs Falcons Postgame Press Conference - Colin Kaepernick

49ers Vs Falcons Postgame Press Conference - Frank Gore

49ers Vs Falcons Postgame Press Conference - Vernon Davis

49ers Vs Falcons Postgame Press Conference - Justin Smith

Sunday, January 20, 2013

49ers Vs Falcons Box Score - 49ers Win 28-24

WR Chad Hall promoted to 49ers roster, not connected to Crabtree

While questions about one 49ers wide receiver have been raised with the investigation of Michael Crabtree, the promotion of another wideout to the roster is not  related.

The 49ers promoted Chad Hall from their practice squad, to fill the roster spot created by cutting extra kicker Billy Cundiff.

Hall may not even be active for today’s game, even though they have just four other receivers on the roster. According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, Hall earned the promotion by virtue of a league rule which requires third-year practice squad players to be promoted if a spot is available on the 53-man roster on game day.

The 49ers released Hall from the practice squad earlier this year so they didn’t have to activate him for the same reason, re-acquiring him the next week.

49ers “highly, highly doubt” that Crabtree will be charged

The 49ers have an unwanted distraction for Sunday’s game, involving one of their best players, as receiver Michael Crabtree faces allegations of sexual assault.  And their immediate goal is to ensure that it won’t be.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the 49ers “highly, highly doubt” that Crabtree will be charged with a crime.

Per Schefter, another witness (a female) corroborated Crabtree’s version of the events to police.  Moreover, Crabtree cooperated with authorities, submitting to a two-hour interview.

We don’t doubt that Schefter is accurately reported that the 49ers “highly, highly doubt” that Crabtree will be charged.  But it’s always dangerous to predict with any degree certainty the actual contents of a police investigation or the manner in which a district attorney assessing the evidence will exercise the very broad discretion inherent to the question of who will and who won’t be prosecuted.

The fact that another witness corroborates Crabtree doesn’t mean Crabtree’s version is airtight.  The other witness could be a very bad witness.  Likewise, Crabtree could have made a very unconvincing case during his interview.  There could be physical evidence that renders the witness testimony less relevant.

At this point, we don’t know — and no one outside of law enforcement knows, either.

For now, though, it’s important for the 49ers to be confident and optimistic because that’s the best way to ensure it won’t be a distraction for Crabtree on Sunday.  Really, that’s all the team cares about right now: 
Ensuring that they will get maximum performance from Crabtree on Sunday.

If he eventually is arrested or charged, they’ll worry about that at the time.  For now, with no chance of Crabtree being arrested in Georgia for something that allegedly happened in San Francisco, the smart approach by the team is to act like it’s a non-issue — in the hopes that Crabtree will do the same.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dashon Goldson fined $10,000, admits “It was a good call by the ref”

San Francisco safety Dashon Goldson has been fined $10,000 for a hit in the 49ers’ win over the Packers, and he says he understands what he did wrong.

The NFL has confirmed that Goldson was fined for a hit on Green Bay’s DuJuan Harris. Goldson said he understands why he got a 15-yard penalty on the play.

“It was a good call by the ref,” Goldson told the San Jose Mercury News. “If it was helmet-to-helmet, good call. But it wasn’t late.”

Goldson has had five unnecessary roughness penalties this season, but he says he isn’t a dirty player.
“I just play football, at the end of the day,” Goldson said. “I don’t try to hurt anybody.”

Crabtree’s lawyer expresses “confidence” in process

Rarely if ever does a lawyer proclaim to the world that his client is guilty.  So it is with that grain of salted truth that we should regard any and all comments ever made by a lawyer about his client.

Including the statement from the lawyer representing 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, who is accused of sexual assault.

“On Friday, January 18, 2013, Michael Crabtree voluntarily met with the San Francisco Police Department and provided a statement,” Joshua M. Bentley said, via  “Michael fully cooperated with the inspectors and will continue to do so throughout the investigation.  We have confidence in the process.  Out of respect and integrity for the process, we have no further comment at this time.”

The incident allegedly occurred in a San Francisco hotel after the 49ers beat the Packers in the playoffs last Saturday.  The findings of the Special Victims Unit eventually will be presented to the District Attorney.

49ers issue perfunctory non-statement statement on Crabtree

The 49ers have acknowledged the allegation of sexual assault against receiver Michael Crabtree via the issuance of a standard, perfunctory statement that really doesn’t state anything.

 “We are aware of the allegation against Michael and understand that he has fully cooperated with authorities,” General Manager Trent Baalke said.  “The 49ers take such matters very seriously.  We will have no further comment at this time as the legal process is ongoing.  Additional requests for comment should be directed to Michael’s attorney.”

There is no indication that the 49ers are considering benching Crabtree for all or part of the NFC title game or otherwise disciplining him at the present time.  If anything, the statement suggests that the 49ers will allow the legal process to play itself out before doing anything.

And that’s entirely the 49ers’ prerogative.  Crabtree is entitled to the presumption of innocence.  That said, if the 49ers or the NFL discover via their own investigation that the allegation has merit, discipline could be imposed by the league office under the personal-conduct policy — even without an arrest or formal charges.

Reports: Michael Crabtree being investigated for sexual assault

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree is being investigated over allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman last week, according to multiple media reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that police have interviewed Crabtree about allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman in a San Francisco hotel early on January 13, hours after the 49ers beat the Packers at Candlestick Park.

Bay Area television station KTVU reports that San Francisco Police have confirmed the investigation, and that Crabtree is cooperating with the Special Victims Unit, whose detectives interviewed Crabtree.

Crabtree has not been arrested or charged. He is still expected to play on Sunday against the Falcons in Atlanta.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Frank Gore wasn’t sure new offense was “real football”

The results are good, but 49ers running back Frank Gore was slow to warm to his team’s pistol formation and reliance on read-option runs with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback.

He said the first time he saw the offense was on television “probably Oregon” and that he “didn’t like it at first.”

“I just felt like that’s not real football,” Gore said, via Lindsay Jones of USA Today. “But if it helps us get to where we want to go, I’m good.”

Gore’s actually getting more rush attempts per game with Kaepernick under center (or not under center, as the case may be), but he’s having to get used to not being the focal point of the run game, even as he piled up 1,214 yards in the regular season, the second-most of his career.

But last week, his 119 yards were overshadowed by his quarterback’s 181.

“Hopefully they keep looking out for [Kaepernick], and 21 keeps getting the ball,” Gore said.

Having a back the caliber of Gore is part of the reason Kaepernick is so effective, as it makes opponents honor those run fakes, and play honest in-the-box defense, which creates opportunities outside.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Justin Smith: I’ll be more comfortable this week

49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith made his return to the field with a partially torn triceps against the Packers last week and things went well.

He played on 53 of the 58 defensive snaps, held up against double teams from the Packers and made eight tackles as Green Bay’s plan to run at him mostly went nowhere. Smith’s teammates credited his return with an improvement across the board on defense and, generally, it looked like Smith was pretty close to his old self.

Smith is expecting even more this week against the Falcons. He said Wednesday that he’s more familiar with the brace he’s wearing to protect his injury and that he’s going to be more at ease on the field this time around.

“It felt pretty good for the most part, just getting used to it, playing with it. It should be even better this week after going through it and knowing how it felt and what to expect. So it should be even better this week,” Smith said, via Matt Maiocco of “I think there’s still a comfort level of getting used to it. Just mentally going out there and coming out of the game and knowing how it feels and felt during the game. I’ll be a lot more comfortable this week.”

There’s still a risk of further injury, one that Smith said he accepts as part of the price of playing at this point in the season. The 49ers defense is better for him rolling the dice as long as it keeps coming up seven.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Harbaugh goes old school to motivate his players

The 49ers might be road favorites this weekend against the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, but coach Jim Harbaugh took a step to remind his players that many of them were underdogs not that long ago.

As a motivational ploy, Harbaugh had photos pulled of each of his players from high school, and put them next to their high school recruiting rankings.

Some of them were five-star recruits, some weren’t, but they all got a reminder of how far they’ve come.

“Coach really wants us to tap into what we wanted to be at that time,” safety Donte Whitner said, via Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. “When you look at this picture, it’s like, ‘At this moment, what did I want to be?’ We all look at this and we understand what we wanted to be, and where we are now.”

The photos also create some natural banter in the locker room. So even though wide receiver Randy Moss was one of the top recruits in the nation, his is also one of two photos in black and white, and someone taped a note that read: “B.C. 1012” to his bio.

“I don’t think they had color pictures back then,” cornerback Chris Culliver said.

The reminders are the latest in a series of tactics by Harbaugh, which included giving out work shirts to remind his team to be blue-collar in their habits.

“It’s just something that spices things up a little bit to break up the monotony of the day,” 49ers chief executive Jed York said. “Something new for them to think about.

“You’ll get guys teasing each other, ‘Oh, you were only a three-star,’ or, ‘You weren’t even ranked.’ I remember NaVorro [Bowman] saying, ‘Guess they missed on me.’”

At a time when the world is telling his time how good they are, it’s a reminder for many of them that they still have plenty to prove.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Donte Whitner: 49ers didn’t understand “magnitude of the moment” last year

Last year’s trip to the NFC Championship Game was a new experience for many 49ers afters years of missing the playoffs in San Francisco.

The 49ers are back in the game again this year safety Donte Whitner says that last year’s experience was educational for the team. Whitner thinks that playing last year’s game against the Giants left the team with a better grasp of what they need to do to wind up winners.

“We didn’t understand the magnitude of the moment,” Whitner said, via Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “In a championship game like that, each and every play is going to be a roller coaster and we need to make plays.”

Last year’s game ended with the Giants moving onto the Super Bowl because Kyle Williams fumbled away a pair of punts and because their offense couldn’t generate enough points to keep the Giants from coming back to win the game in overtime. The offense has looked much different with Colin Kaepernick at the helm, which should give the 49ers a better chance of surviving any miscues like the ones Williams provided last season.

Jim Harbaugh again says he’s half the coach John Harbaugh is

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is as competitive as anyone who has played or coached or even watched football.  When he and his brother, John, were kids, the competitiveness manifested itself in the fact that Jim could throw a football over a large tree in their front yard, and John couldn’t.

But Jim has softened as an adult, at least when it comes to his brother.  In a recent interview with, Jim repeated a talking point from the conclusion of the 2010 Sports Illustrated profile of the Brothers Harbaugh.

“I’m probably half the coach he is,” Jim said of John at the time.  “But I’m trying.”

This time around, Jim Harbaugh elaborated on that point.

“I don’t think there’s any coach coaching in the game today that really has the full grasp of offense, defense, and special teams like my brother has,” Jim Harbaugh told

The best news is the coach who seems to be afflicted with the same desire to excel that keeps men like Bill Belichick and Nick Saban from ever seeming to enjoy the journey realizes how unique and special it is that two brothers are coaching in the NFL — and for the second straight year in the league’s final four teams.

“Definitely, I’ve thought of that,” Jim Harbaugh said.  “You know, we’ve both got great kids.  We both have a great wife and a great job, and it’s a harder job to get than being a U.S. Senator, and proud that our family has two people that are doing it.” The Harbaughs deserve to be celebrated for what they’ve accomplished.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kaepernick says 49ers’ offensive line dominated the Packers

After running for more yards than any quarterback had ever gained in any game in NFL history, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said it was a function of the play of his teammates.

“Our offensive line came out and they dominated upfront, so that makes it easy on a quarterback,” Kaepernick said.

The 49ers’ offensive line played well, but lots of quarterbacks have had great offensive lines. No quarterback has ever had as many yards as the 181 that Kaepernick gained on Saturday night. The previous record of 173 yards in a game, set by Michael Vick in 2002, when he scored his famous overtime touchdown against the Vikings, was broken even though Kaepernick didn’t even need to do any running late in the game, once the 49ers’ victory was in hand. (In fact, Kaepernick actually lost two yards on two kneeldowns at the end of the game.)

So doesn’t Kaepernick deserve some individual credit? Not according to Kaepernick himself after the game.

“Our offensive line played great today, they did a lot of things well upfront — our running backs ran well and our receivers made plays,” Kaepernick said. “It makes it a lot easier on me when other people are making plays.”

Kaepernick knows how to run. And he knows how to say all the right things after the game, too.

49ers Vs Packers Postgame Press Conference - Patrick Willis

49ers Vs Packers Postgame Press Conference - Michael Crabtree

49ers Vs Packers Postgame Press Conference - Jim Harbaugh

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

“God willing and the creek don’t rise” Justin Smith will play

It continues to look like all systems go for 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday that there has been “significant improvement” since Smith was initially injured and informed the media that he expected to have Smith on the field come Saturday against the Packers. He did it in a more colorful way than some of his colleagues might choose for themselves.

“God willing and the creek don’t rise, he’s going to play,” Harbaugh said during his press conference.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Tuesday that Smith would be pulled if he wasn’t effective, something Harbaugh wasn’t asked about during the session, but there’s no reason to believe that they’d put him on the field if they didn’t think he could play well. Smith will wear a brace that Harbaugh said increased his confidence in Smith’s ability to play when the 49ers return to the field this week.

49ers say grass thin, footing stable at Candlestick

A picture of the field at Candlestick Park posted on Facebook by kicker Billy Cundiff raised concerns that there might be another problematic playing surface one week after complaints about the poor conditions at FedEx Field in last weekend’s Seahawks win.

The 49ers were asked about the condition of the field on Wednesday and agreed that things aren’t in great shape. Long snapper Brian Jennings, who worked out at the stadium with Cundiff, said that the “grass is thin” but said that the footing was stable during the workout. Coach Jim Harbaugh expressed a similar sentiment.

“I thought it was OK, yeah. It’s not like it is in September. Most grass field tend not to be as lush in the winter months,” Harbaugh said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

Jennings said that the team has played twice on the field since it was resurfaced late in the season and theorized that a lot time under tarps during a rainy December could account for the sparse grass. Hopefully, the footing is stable and the quality of the field isn’t an issue again this weekend.

Vernon Davis: It’s been a tough season

In the Divisional Round of last year’s playoffs, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis had seven catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 14 seconds left to play.

Things haven’t been quite so robust in the passing game for Davis this season. In his last seven games, Davis has six catches for 61 yards and no scores. The sluggish production is right in line with what’s been happening on offense in San Francisco since Colin Kaepernick took over at quarterback and Davis admitted Tuesday that it’s been difficult to adjust to a lower profile role as a receiver.

“It is a different feeling for me because it’s been a tough season as far as just the feeling of being involved,” said Davis, via the Associated Press. “To me, it’s not a bad thing, because it’s something I had to get used to this year. Each and every season in the past, I’m used to helping the team in ways where I’m just catching balls and things like that. This year’s been a little bit different. It just feels different going into these playoffs, as far as my role and things like that. It’s not a bad thing, I’m not mad at it. That’s just how it is sometimes. It takes a little getting used to.”

Davis pointed out earlier in the season that he and Kaepernick have to develop chemistry, but he hasn’t made a stink about the impact changes to the 49ers offense have had on his own output. If they don’t win this weekend with Davis playing the same limited role, however, it’s a good bet someone in the Bay Area will make a stink about his lack of touches.

Justin Smith will be pulled if he isn’t productive

In the aftermath of last Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III both said part of the reason Griffin wasn’t pulled despite being at less than 100 percent was because the team felt he was still their best option at quarterback.

We don’t know what 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio would do with Griffin, but he said Tuesday that defensive lineman Justin Smith won’t be extended the same courtesy in this weekend’s game agains the Packers. Fangio said that he would rather have another player at 100 percent than stick with Smith if he is limited by his partially torn left triceps.

“If, from point of view, he’s not playing up to his standard or close to it, we’ll put the next guy in,” Fangio said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s been my experience that someone at 80 percent is not as good as the next guy at 100 percent.”

Ricky Jean Francois started in place of Smith in the final two weeks of the regular season and would presumably be the next guy if Fangio decides that Smith’s play isn’t up to par.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Candlestick Park looks a lot like FedEx Field

One of last weekend’s four playoff games was played on a field that has been called “crappy” and “horrible” and anything and everything but “actual grass.”

This weekend, the ultimately reality show that is the NFL will have as another source of unwelcome reality the condition of the surface on which the players will be playing.

Via, kicker Billy Cundiff posted on Facebook photos of the field at Candlestick Park, and it doesn’t look good.

It’s flat.  And most of it apparently once had grass on it.  Beyond that, there’s little in common with a real pro football field.

The truth is that too many NFL stadiums have subpar playing surfaces.  (In this era, one is too many.)  Whether it’s the uneven trays of grass in Houston or the green-painted dirt at Soldier Field or the mess at FedEx on Sunday or, if anyone could ever forget, the marsh that once was Heinz Field, the NFL and its teams have too much money to allow anything other than consistent, uniform, and safe playing surfaces in each facility.

The league obsesses over uniformity in every other possible way.  So if it’s not good enough for a guy’s socks to not be pulled up far enough (or, heaven forbid, to be pulled up too high), why is it good enough for two teams to play on a surface that looks bad, that plays bad, that keeps the players from demonstrating the full extent of their abilities, and that puts them in danger of being injured?
There’s no way that any effort to promote player safety can be taken seriously unless and until the NFL insists on consistency and uniformity in the construction of the 31 fields on which NFL games are regularly played.

Harbaugh says Kaepernick has “savant-like” understanding of playoff prep

With the 49ers preparing for a playoff game that they won a year ago against the team they beat to start the current season, it’s becoming harder to overlook the fact that the quarterback who led San Fran to victory against the Saints in January 2012 and the Packers in September 2012 will be on the bench on Saturday.

But that’s precisely where Alex Smith will be, and it puts even more pressure on current starter Colin Kaepernick.

So coach Jim Harbaugh is doing his best to reduce the pressure, in part by making it clear that Kaepernick is ready for his postseason closeup.

“His understanding of it this early in the week is savant-like,” Harbaugh said regarding Kaepernick’s mastery of the game plan for the game against the Packers, via Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group.

Harbaugh still finds himself periodically addressing the events that resulted in the benching of Smith and the elevation of Kaepernick.  “It was not a pre-determined move,” Harbaugh said.  “The decision was made, when Alex got hurt, Colin played, played well in his first start.  Came back the next week, still felt that against New Orleans that Colin gave us the best chance to win.  He was healthier and played well.

“Then after that, [we] saw enough really good things that we wanted to have the same faith and trust in Colin that we’d show in Alex.  And it’s pretty well documented how we felt about both guys.”
The question could be whether Harbaugh will stick with the guy who is on the field if he struggles in any way against Green Bay.  That possibility puts even more pressure on Harbaugh to ensure that Kaepernick doesn’t stumble.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Harbaugh says there’s a “leader in the clubhouse” at kicker

The 49ers sent both their kickers to Candlestick Park Monday, to continue the competition that will determine who kicks against the Packers Saturday.

And while 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he had a hunch which way he was leaning, he didn’t divulge which way it was.

“We have a leader in the clubhouse and we’ll see that goes today and tomorrow,” Harbaugh said, via Matt Maiocco of “It’s good competition and we’re working through it.”

Akers’ struggles (29-of-42 on field goals this season) caused them to sign veteran Billy Cundiff, who hasn’t been Mr. Automatic in the playoffs himself.

Harbaugh said his “leader in the clubhouse” was based on two practices last week, and said both will likely remain on the 53-man roster.

“We have some other issues that need to be fixed, too,” Harbaugh said. “We got to shore up our protection. That needs to be better. We’ve had too much penetration. We’ve had extra points tipped. We got split at the wing. There has to be an understanding that that needs to improve as well. We’ve been working on it.”

Either way, the 49ers have to hope it doesn’t come down to a late kick, because it’s hard to have that much trust in either right now.

Patrick Willis may play more of a role for 49ers this time

The Packers are a different offense than the first time they played the 49ers.

And that may actually help the 49ers this time through.

As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee points out, because Green Bay spent much of the opener spreading the field with four wide receivers, the 49ers fourth cornerback, Perish Cox, played more snaps than Pro Bowl middle linebacker Patrick Willis.

Willis and fellow inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman rotated quite a bit during that game, as the spent the majority of the day in dime defense.

But Cox played 51 of the 68 snaps against the Packers (he averaged 7.3 snaps a  game in the other 15), while Willis played 46 snaps and Bowman 56.

Those two normally play nearly every snap, much of the reason the 49ers defense is so good.

Of course, the 49ers held the Packers in check fairly well in that matchup, limiting them to 324 total yards, with 279 of them through the air.

Only 138 of those yards (112 passing, 24 rushing) came in the first half, as a late rally made the Packers numbers look better than they actually were. But with the Packers getting more from their run game of late, they may not elect to take Willis off the field as much as they did the first time.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mike McCarthy: Facing Webb will “definitely help” against Kaepernick

The Packers defense got an unexpected opponent on Saturday night when Joe Webb started at quarterback in place of the injured Christian Ponder.

Webb’s running skills led the Vikings to run some read-option plays early in the game, something that they don’t feature with Ponder in the lineup, and the Packers had a bit of trouble handling it. Not enough trouble to keep them from cruising to a fairly easy 24-10 victory and the experience is one that coach Mike McCarthy thinks is a good thing for his team as they turn their attention to the 49ers.

Jason Wilde of reports that McCarthy said Sunday that facing Webb and the read-option “will definitely help us with Kaepernick.” San Francisco has integrated those kinds of plays into their offense since Kaepernick’s ascension to the starting job and the Packers haven’t seen much of that style of play so far this season.

That’s pretty much where the comparison ends, though. Kaepernick’s shown a lot more ability to move the ball through the air than Webb showed on Saturday, which makes sense given the wildly different amount of playing time. Getting a look at the read-option will help the Packers, but, as McCarthy knows, there’s not much else the same about the two quarterbacks outside of the read-option in the play books.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore fined $10,500 each for throwing ball in stands

When 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree and running back Frank Gore scored touchdowns on Sunday, they decided to throw the ball into the crowd and let a San Francisco fan get a souvenir. That was an expensive decision.

The NFL has fined Crabtree and Gore $10,500 each for throwing the ball into the stands.

From the NFL’s perspective, it’s a fan safety and crowd control issue: Fans could get hurt if people are pushing, shoving, leaping, jostling and fighting for thrown footballs. So the NFL discourages players from doing it. Players are, however, permitted to hand the ball to a fan in the first or second row if they can do so without causing a commotion.

There was some good news on the fine front for the 49ers: Outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness on Sunday, was not fined. That suggests that the league office watched the tape of the play and concluded that the officials made a bad call.

David Akers had double sports hernia surgery over offseason

San Francisco 49ers kicker David Akers revealed Thursday he has been dealing with the lingering effects of a hernia surgery throughout most of the season.

According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, Akers underwent double sports hernia surgery last February. He had the issue flare up again during the season requiring him to seek further treatment from the doctors  that performed the procedure. In November, Akers traveled back to Philadelphia and took injections to try and lessen the discomfort.

“I worked real hard to rehab, to get back, to have a great training camp and be strong through that and things kind of went up and down,” Akers said. “It seemed I’d have a good game, then I’d miss on the next game, we’d have a situation where we’d get a block or I’d miss a long field goal. It seemed like I could never get the consistency where we wanted it to kind of get the snowball in a good direction.”

Akers’ struggles led the 49ers to sign Billy Cundiff earlier this week to compete for the kicking duties entering the postseason. Akers and Cundiff squared off in practice for the first time Thursday. The 49ers have the week off as they wait to find out who their first opponent will be after earning a first-round bye by winning the NFC West.

Akers said he hasn’t been told whether it will be him or Cundiff getting the game action when they take the field next week.

I have no idea,” Akers said. “Listen, that’s management’s decision. I’m here until they tell me otherwise.”

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Justin Smith back at practice

The 49ers had a welcome face back in uniform at practice on Thursday.

Defensive lineman Justin Smith, out since December 16th with a torn triceps that will require surgery, took part in individual drills with the 49ers during their afternoon practice. Matt Maiocco of reports that Smith was wearing a black brace on his elbow to protect the injury.

Smith is expected to make every attempt to play in the 49ers’ first playoff game, he said he’d be “ready to roll” last week, and Thursday’s appearance is a step in the right direction. With more than a week to go until they take the field, Smith has a lot of time to test his arm on the field and see how it responds to the work.

The 49ers defense was not the same without Smith on the field, so his presence and ability to play near his usual level will be a big factor in the 49ers’ chances of advancing in the postseason.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Joe Nedney on 49ers kicking situation: “This stuff happens in training camp”

The San Francisco 49ers signed kicker Billy Cundiff this week to challenge incumbent David Akers after Akers missed two more field goals in the regular season finale against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Akers made just 29 of 42 field goals during the season and made just six of his last 10 attempts over the final three games.

Former 49ers kicker Joe Nedney is an analyst for and discussed the oddity of having a kicking competition as a team enters the playoffs.

“I’ve just never seen this before. You’ve got a 14-year veteran going against a nine-year veteran,” Nedney said. ” This stuff happens in training camp. It doesn’t happen leading into playoff games. The fact that we’re discussing this is just crazy to me.”

It’s not a move head coach Jim Harbaugh would be looking to make if Akers wasn’t struggling.
Nedney said he believes that Akers missing kicks to the left points to confidence issues. For the left-footed Akers, missing left means he’s not clearing and completing the rotation on his kicks and that he’s trying to guide the ball rather than swinging his leg with conviction.

“He’s carrying a lot of noise into every single rep,” Nedney said. “When it’s going well, it’s quiet. You go out there, do your job and get it done. Every miss kind of compounds and there’s a little bit more. There’s noise in your head. There’s noise outside. You’re carrying a lot of stuff out on the field. It’s going to take a lot of mental strength for him to overcome that.”

Akers and Cundiff will have over a week to battle for the kicking duties with the 49ers on a bye this week. San Francisco will host either the Green Bay Packers or the winner of the Washington/Seattle match up in the Divisional Round next week.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

NFL Announces 2013 Regular-Season Opponents

The NFL announced the opponents for all teams' 2013 regular-season games on Monday (because there apparently wasn't enough going on in the NFL on Monday ...). We've got a full list below, but here's the formula, courtesy of the NFL, for determining the opponents:

The scheduling formula implemented in 2002 with realignment guarantees that all teams play each other on a regular, rotating basis.

Under the formula, every team plays 16 games as follows:

* Home and away against its three division opponents (6 games).

* The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle (4 games).

* The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (4 games).

* Two intraconference games based on the prior year's standings (2 games). These games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions that the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.

* Beginning in 2010, a change was made to how teams are paired in the schedule rotation to ensure that teams playing the AFC and NFC Western Divisions would not be required to make two west coast trips (e.g. at San Francisco and at Seattle), while other teams in their division had none (e.g. at St. Louis and at Arizona).

Thursday, Sept. 5 will be the 2013 NFL Kickoff, and the NFL will announce the full schedule in the spring. Dec. 29 will be the final night of the NFL regular season, and Super Bowl XLVIII will be played on Sunday, Feb. 2 in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

 NFC West

49ers Home: Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Falcons, Panthers, Packers, Texans, Colts
Away: Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, Buccaneers, Saints, Redskins, Jaguars, Titans

Seahawks Home: 49ers, Rams, Cardinals, Saints, Buccaneers, Vikings, Jaguars, Titans,
Away: 49ers, Rams, Cardinals, Falcons, Panthers, Giants, Texans, Colts

Rams Home: 49ers, Seahawks, Cardinals, Saints, Buccaneers, Bears, Jaguars, Titans
Away: 49ers, Seahawks, Cardinals, Falcons, Panthers, Cowboys, Texans, Colts

Cardinals Home: 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, Falcons, Panthers, Lions, Texans, Colts
Away: 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, Saints, Buccaneers, Eagles, Jaguars, Titans

AFC East

Patriots Home: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Browns, Steelers, Broncos, Saints, Buccaneers
Away: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Ravens, Bengals, Texans, Falcons, Panthers

Dolphins Home: Bills, Patriots, Jets, Ravens, Bengals, Chargers, Falcons, Panthers
Away: Bills, Patriots, Jets, Browns, Steelers, Colts, Saints, Buccaneers

Jets Home: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Browns, Steelers, Raiders, Saints, Buccaneers
Away: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots, Ravens, Bengals, Titans, Falcons, Panthers

Bills Home: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Ravens, Bengals, Chiefs, Falcons, Panthers
Away: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Browns, Steelers, Jaguars, Saints, Buccaneers

AFC North

Ravens Home: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Patriots, Jets, Texans, Packers, Vikings
Away: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Bills, Dolphins, Broncos, Bears, Lions

Bengals Home: Ravens, Browns, Steelers, Patriots, Jets, Colts, Packers, Vikings
Away: Ravens, Browns, Steelers, Bills, Dolphins, Chargers, Bears, Lions

Steelers Home: Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Bills, Dolphins, Titans, Bears, Lions
Away: Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Patriots, Jets, Raiders, Packers, Vikings

Browns Home: Ravens, Bengals, Steelers, Bills, Dolphins, Jaguars, Bears, Lions
Away: Ravens, Bengals, Steelers, Patriots, Jets, Chiefs, Packers, Vikings

AFC South

Texans Home: Colts, Jaguars, Titans, Broncos, Raiders, Patriots, Rams, Seahawks
Away: Colts, Jaguars, Titans, Chiefs, Chargers, Ravens, Cardinals, 49ers

Colts Home: Texans, Jaguars, Titans, Broncos, Raiders, Dolphins, Rams, Seahawks
Away: Texans, Jaguars, Titans, Chiefs, Chargers, Bengals, Cardinals, 49ers

Titans Home: Texans, Colts, Jaguars, Chiefs, Chargers, Jets, Cardinals, 49ers
Away: Texans, Colts, Jaguars, Broncos, Raiders, Steelers, Rams, Seahawks

Jaguars Home: Texans, Colts, Titans, Chiefs, Chargers, Bills, Cardinals, 49ers
Away: Texans, Colts, Titans, Broncos, Raiders, Browns, Rams, Seahawks

AFC West

Broncos Home: Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Jaguars, Titans, Ravens, Eagles, Redskins
Away: Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Texans, Colts, Patriots, Cowboys, Giants

Chargers Home: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Texans, Colts, Bengals, Cowboys, Giants
Away: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Jaguars, Titans, Dolphins, Eagles, Redskins

Raiders Home: Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, Jaguars, Titans, Steelers, Eagles, Redskins
Away: Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, Texans, Colts, Jets, Cowboys, Giants

Chiefs Home: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders, Texans, Colts, Browns, Cowboys, Giants
Away: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders, Jaguars, Titans, Bills, Eagles, Redskins

NFC East

Redskins Home: Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, Bears, Lions, 49ers, Chiefs, Chargers
Away: Cowboys, Giants, Eagles, Packers, Vikings, Falcons, Broncos, Raiders

Giants Home: Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles, Packers, Vikings, Seahawks, Broncos, Raiders
Away: Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles, Bears, Lions, Panthers, Chiefs, Chargers

Cowboys Home: Redskins, Giants, Eagles, Packers, Vikings, Rams, Broncos, Raiders
Away: Redskins, Giants, Eagles,Bears, Lions, Saints, Chiefs, Chargers

Eagles Home: Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Bears, Lions, Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers
Away: Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Packers, Vikings, Buccaneers, Broncos, Raiders

NFC North

Packers Home: Bears, Lions, Vikings, Eagles, Redskins, Falcons, Browns, Steelers
Away: Bears, Lions, Vikings, Cowboys, Giants, 49ers, Ravens, Bengals

Vikings Home: Bears, Lions, Packers, Eagles, Redskins, Panthers, Browns, Steelers
Away: Bears, Lions, Packers, Cowboys, Giants, Seahawks, Ravens, Bengals

Bears Home: Lions, Packers, Vikings, Cowboys, Giants, Saints, Ravens, Bengals
Away:Lions, Packers, Vikings, Eagles, Redskins, Rams, Browns, Steelers

Lions Home: Bears, Packers, Vikings, Cowboys, Giants, Buccaneers, Ravens, Bengals
Away: Bears, Packers, Vikings, Eagles, Redskins, Cardinals, Browns, Steelers

NFC South

Falcons Home: Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Rams, Seahawks, Redskins, Patriots, Jets
Away: Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Cardinals, 49ers, Packers, Bills, Dolphins

Panthers Home: Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers, Rams, Seahawks, Giants, Patriots, Jets
Away: Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers, Cardinals, 49ers, Vikings, Bills, Dolphins

Saints Home: Falcons, Panthers, Buccaneers, Cardinals, 49ers, Cowboys, Bills, Dolphins
Away: Falcons, Panthers, Buccaneers, Rams, Seahawks, Bears, Patriots, Jets

Bucs Home: Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Cardinals, 49ers, Eagles, Bills, Dolphins
Away: Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Rams, Seahawks, Lions, Patriots, Jets

49ers Waive RB Brandon Jacobs

Brandon Jacobs' three-game suspension is over. So is his San Francisco 49ers career.

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh indicated at his Monday news conference that the team would waive Jacobs, and the move was made official shortly after.

The eight-year NFL veteran had just five carries on the season and was suspended after writing negative comments about the 49ers on Instagram.

Despite an injury to backup running back Kendall Hunter, the team has no use for Jacobs.

He can’t join another team for the playoffs. Had they released him instead of suspending him, he could could have latched on with another team, and the fear that he’d join the playoff-pushing Giants at the time led to the suspension.

Jacobs has said he only will play for one team in the future: the New York Giants. That means his NFL career very likely is over.

Worried about Akers in playoffs, 49ers sign Cundiff

Going into the playoffs with a shaky kicker in David Akers, the 49ers signed Billy Cundiff Tuesday.

What could possibly go wrong?

According to Matt Maiocco of, Cundiff was signed after a workout Tuesday, though there was no word of the corresponding roster move.

Maiocco also points out that they’re keeping Akers for the moment, and will let them compete in practice.

Cundiff was released by the Ravens this offseason after missing a potential game-tying 32-yard field goal in last year’s AFC Championship Game.

He was immediately signed by the Redskins, but they cut him after he made 7-of-12 field goals.

Akers is in the midst of a slump, 29-of-42 this season (69.0 percent), his worst mark since 1999.