The "Official 2008 San Francisco 49ers Thread"

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Props Slaps
 9 years ago '06        #161
Pyro911 4 heat pts
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Will football season just fu*kin start already?!
 07-27-2008, 11:45 AM         #162
Myles Away  OP
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BTW, NFL Network is replaying the 98' Packers-Niners game wit the Young to Owens "The Catch II" Monday @ 5:00 pm.
 07-28-2008, 05:55 PM         #163
Myles Away  OP
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Buzz up!
49ERS TRAINING CAMP
Highs and lows of annual gathering


Tom FitzGerald, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, July 28, 2008

(07-27) 19:53 PDT -- Most NFL training camps take place in hotter, more humid weather than the 49ers' camp in Santa Clara. The balmy weather doesn't ease the constant exertion and tedium. For many players, camp is enclosed in a pressure cooker of sweating to get or keep a job.

"The high of training camp is breaking camp," cornerback and return specialist Allen Rossum said. "The low is starting camp."

Rossum laughed as he said it. He has played with four other teams in a decade in the NFL. Not all his coaches treated camp the same. In Atlanta, for example, coach Dan Reeves reduced it to two weeks and gave the players Sundays off.

Camp is never a picnic, Rossum said. The low comes "around the third day," he said.

That's when the fatigue really takes hold. Coach Mike Nolan is lightening the load somewhat. His players don't wear full pads and commence hitting in earnest until today, the fourth day of camp.

Early in camp, he reasons, players are too eager for contact. He'd rather eliminate that until the adrenaline subsides. "Everybody is hungry to tattoo somebody," he said. "It shouldn't be a release."

Several players were asked what the highs and lows of camp are. Some well-traveled players said those varied from team to team, but most of the players agreed the main downer simply is exhaustion.

For tackle Barry Sims, the high is "the excitement of a new season, forgetting about last year."

That wasn't always easy, considering he spent his nine previous camps with the Raiders.

There's "a lot of anticipation," he said. "It's like playing golf, and you make the turn to the back nine. It's a fresh start."

To linebacker Jeff Ulbrich, who - along with long snapper Brian Jennings - has been to more 49ers training camps (nine) than anyone else on the roster, the high point is simply the first break in the routine.

"After the first 10-day stretch, you usually get a night off and the next day off," he said. "You look forward to that, a night to go out with the guys."

Center Eric Heitmann, attending his seventh 49ers camp, said, "In a way, you feel like you're at summer camp, going back to when you were a kid. You're able to get yourself away from your life and focus wholeheartedly on the task at hand. You're surrounded by a bunch of your best friends nonstop. You build camaraderie and goof off a little now and then."

After leaving Cal, linebacker Tully Banta-Cain spent his first four NFL camps in the noble company of the New England Patriots. Here's how he describes the best part of training camp:

"You have that solitude. You break away from civilization and focus on your craft and playing football. It gives you a chance to isolate yourself from the world and focus on your job and bond with your teammates. When it's over, you're ready to get released back into the wild a little bit. You're a better football player and a better person because you've been so disciplined for four weeks."

To receiver Bryant Johnson, the best part is "knowing the season is right around the corner." To cornerback Nate Clements, it's "getting back into football practicing and physical contact."

"The best part," 13-year cornerback Walt Harris said, "is getting to a point a week into it where you see the team is really jelling. Everything is coming together."

The low, on the other hand, is "the daily grind," Banta-Cain said. "You put 100 percent into the morning practice and spend your body, and you've got to get up a few hours later and do it over again."

It's "that 10th day before the night off," Ulbrich said. "Your body's sore. Camp is long and arduous. It's hard to be in football shape. You're asking your body to do something strange: Go 100 percent, then rest, go 100 percent, rest, go 100 percent and run into somebody. ... It's really weird."

Players talk about "hitting the wall" at some point in camp. The wall might not appear at the same time for all players, but everybody hits it.

"At some point, you start to hit a wall after you've gone through 12 or 13 practices, and you've still got two weeks," Heitmann said. "The worst part is figuring a way to get over the hump, the wall period, and still stay focused on what you have to do. If you can't stay focused, you're not going to have a good camp."

Feelings of inadequacy haunt many if not most NFL players, and camp compounds those thoughts with numbing fatigue.

Tight end Delanie Walker said that in two previous camps, "I wasn't getting the blocking down in the running game. I wasn't picking it up quick enough. That was my biggest disappointment."

The way Nolan sees it, the best thing about camp is "going from an a.ssembly to a team. Right now, we've got an a.ssembly of young guys who are trying to create a team."

The worst part, he said, is watching players get hurt. On Sunday, it was seeing running back Michael Robinson's knee buckle as soon he hit the line. After staying on the ground for a few minutes, he walked off gingerly. Nolan said it was a sprain and hopefully not a severe one.

He added, "I'm just praying between sentences that he's OK."

E-mail Tom FitzGerald at .

This article appeared on page C - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
 07-30-2008, 08:47 PM         #164
Myles Away  OP
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Facing the facts: Practice this morning was really bad

Sometimes in the haste to report the information from the recently completed practice, the full perspective is lost.

After practice today, Mike Nolan began his opening remarks in a similar fashion to how he begins every post-practice media session.

"Good practice this morning," he said.

Who was he kidding?

The thing that struck me while watching practice today was, "Man, this is really, really bad."

There did not seem to be a whole lot of energy on the practice field, other than a brief skirmish between Michael Lewis and DeShaun Foster. And the play was extremely sloppy -- perhaps the worst I've ever seen.

The 49ers' passing game looked just as Mike Martz described it the other day - "organized chaos" - though I'm not sure about the organized part. The offense is clearly going through some growing pains.

On most plays, it seems as if someone ran a wrong route, the quarterback threw to the wrong receiver or there was some other breakdown along the way.

I've never paid attention so closely to the opening week of training camp, but I can't believe it has ever been like this. It's difficult to believe they'll be able to function in a game setting on Aug. 8 against the Raiders.

But they will. As ragged as the 49ers looked this morning, this is probably to be expected with a new, complex system being installed and two quarterbacks sharing the load.

"They'll start making progress, probably after seven or eight days," Martz said on Monday. "Then, they'll feel much more comfortable with this information."

It seems as if the offense was looking better every day of practice. This morning the unit clearly took a step backward.

No reason to push the panic button on the sixth day of camp. After all, some aspects of the team look a lot better, such as the receivers. But this morning's work on the field provided an indication that this offense takes a while for the players to absorb.

Nolan cited the team's offensive stats during his three seasons with the club. The 49ers' offense ranked 32nd in 2005, 26th in '06 and 32nd last season. They gained 39.5 fewer yards a game than the No. 31 offense, which belonged to the Chiefs.

Nolan said, "By a long shot, I would expect this offense to be better than all three."

That's certainly not too much to ask. But the 49ers have a lot of work between now and Sept. 7 to get there.
 9 years ago '05        #165
lakersboy03 6 heat pts
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went to the afternoon practice yesterday...was pretty mellow nobody really hyped up..Alex Smith looked way more efficient than any of the quarterbacks and JT O sullivan actually looked really good too...Issac Bruce looks like the clear stand out of all the wide outs...reggie smith looks to be in the rotation at corner...and i saw some plays that made me realize we are gonna move the ball down the field...it was a tie between Vernon Davis and Billy Bajema for catch of the day...

off the field Delaine Walker was crackin jokes at the football i had when he signed it...P Willis was a beast and signed the autograph in his helmet...overall fun day...and Thomas Clayton was pulling out of the facility when we left and this bi*ch we pulled while there stopped the traffic and got his autograph on her purse and our ball...he was hella popping at her...haha...ill post the pics later
 08-01-2008, 12:47 AM         #166
Myles Away  OP
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 lakersboy03 said:
went to the afternoon practice yesterday...was pretty mellow nobody really hyped up..Alex Smith looked way more efficient than any of the quarterbacks and JT O sullivan actually looked really good too...Issac Bruce looks like the clear stand out of all the wide outs...reggie smith looks to be in the rotation at corner...and i saw some plays that made me realize we are gonna move the ball down the field...it was a tie between Vernon Davis and Billy Bajema for catch of the day...

off the field Delaine Walker was crackin jokes at the football i had when he signed it...P Willis was a beast and signed the autograph in his helmet...overall fun day...and Thomas Clayton was pulling out of the facility when we left and this bi*ch we pulled while there stopped the traffic and got his autograph on her purse and our ball...he was hella popping at her...haha...ill post the pics later
 08-01-2008, 12:50 AM         #167
Myles Away  OP
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Camp Confidential: Niners patiently waiting for QB to emerge


[pic - click to view]


SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers needed an offensive leader to step forward Wednesday morning and demand better work from his teammates. They needed a big play or inspired words to pump life back into a dismal practice, the type every NFL team endures at some point in training camp.

The 49ers would get neither, which isn't surprising for a team that doesn't have a starting quarterback.

The organization that once chose Steve Young over Joe Montana has not decided between Alex Smith and Shaun Hill. Conventional wisdom says the job will go to Smith, the first player chosen in the 2005 draft, but the 49ers offer no indication they're leaning toward picking him or even rooting for him to beat out his unknown challenger.

The coaching staff has taken pains to make sure Smith and Hill get equal reps. When Hill's weary arm faltered during a recent practice, coaches funneled the forfeited snaps to third-stringer J.T. O'Sullivan, not Smith.

Why not give Smith every chance to win the job? Why give those extra reps to O'Sullivan?

"In fairness to Shaun and Alex, and keeping things the same, and in all fairness to J.T.," coach Mike Nolan said.

The noncommittal approach suggests the 49ers might wait until deep into camp before naming a starter. Making a decision after the second exhibition game would give the starter a chance to work extensively the following week, when the first team generally plays into the second half. But the 49ers have not announced a timetable.

Key questions

1. What will new offensive coordinator Mike Martz mean to the offense?

Improvement.

The St. Louis Rams went from a No. 24 yardage ranking without Martz in 1998 to a No. 1 ranking with him as coordinator the following season. The Detroit Lions improved seven places in Martz's first season as coordinator (2006). They improved five more spots in 2007.

The 49ers fielded the worst offense in the NFL last season.

Martz knows how to exploit matchups and confuse opponents. He also has the credibility to turn locker-room skeptics into believers, a key to any turnaround in San Francisco.

Martz's predecessor, Jim Hostler, stepped into a difficult situation. Without an established résumé at the NFL level, and with Nolan's sometimes doubting him publicly, Hostler had a harder time getting through to players. Credibility shouldn't be a problem for Martz.

2. How much will Martz change the offense for Vernon Davis?

Not much, by all indications. The Martz offense doesn't work at peak efficiency without an outside threat that has the speed to scare defenses. For the first time in his NFL career, Martz is running an offense featuring its best players at halfback and tight end.

Josh Morgan might become that dynamic threat on the outside -- he continues to impress in practice -- but rookie receivers usually need time to develop. They aren't consistent right away.

Martz said he expects Davis' yards-per-catch average to increase from 9.8 last season, which matched the team's league-low average. But it's unrealistic to expect an 80- or 90-catch season from the 2006 first-round choice.

The way Martz sees things, the 49ers need Davis to block and stretch defenses by running deeper routes than tight ends generally run, presenting a big-play threat. They don't need him to catch all the passes.

3. How good are the 49ers on defense?

Good, and getting better, now that outside linebacker Manny Lawson is back from injury and outside linebacker Justin Smith, a former defensive end in Cincinnati's 4-3 scheme, came on board through free agency.

Inside linebacker Patrick Willis already ranks among the league's best players. And don't forget about cornerback Nate Clements.

The 49ers need to improve their pass rush without possessing one dominant rusher. Lawson and Smith give defensive coordinator Greg Manusky the personnel to manufacture a rush the way 3-4 teams often do. The 49ers will have to prove they can deliver one consistently.

[pic - click to view]



Market watch

Nolan, 16-32 as a head coach, might need to finish .500 or better to keep his job. He certainly needs to handle the quarterback situation and other sensitive subjects with more aplomb.

Running back Frank Gore is coming off an impressive season in which he topped 1,100 yards rushing with a 4.2-yard average despite the 49ers' league-worst ranking on offense. Martz appears to be serious about making Gore a focal point of the offense, both on the ground and through the air. Gore has caught some passes where receivers generally roam. He is the best back Martz has worked with since Marshall Faulk in St. Louis.

Veteran receiver Isaac Bruce is winding down. He's a stopgap solution for a franchise that hasn't drafted receivers with much success in recent seasons. For the first time in a decade, Bruce isn't catching passes from a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback. The 49ers signed Bruce because he knew Martz's offense and still had enough left to contribute. Defenses no longer fear him, however.

Dashon Goldson is pushing veteran starter Mark Roman for the job at free safety. Even if Roman holds on for now, look for Goldson to take over at some point during the season.

Newcomer to watch

Bryant Johnson. The former third receiver in Arizona will get a chance to start in San Francisco. He doesn't appear suited to play inside, and he has never caught more than 49 passes in a season. Johnson won't have to compete with Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin for playing time. That should give him a chance to put up career-best numbers.

Defensive end Kentwan Balmer is another newcomer worth monitoring. The first-round choice provides depth at an important position, but the nature of his position in the scheme means he might not stand out. The defense is set up for the linemen to do the dirty work and the linebackers to make plays.

Observation deck

Lawson is a rare athlete because he's tall with long legs, but not clumsy when left to cover in space. His surgically repaired knee is not yet at full strength, but this should be a bounce-back season for him. … Cornerback Donald Strickland has had a strong camp. He has a chance to be the first cornerback off the bench, although Shawntae Spencer is also among those in the race. Starter Walt Harris could slide inside in the nickel. … The 49ers could start two "Mike" linebackers if they don't feel good about the "Ted" linebacker position. (Ted linebackers do the dirty work, taking on big blockers and allowing the Mike linebackers to roam free and make plays.) Jeff Ulbrich is the leading candidate at Ted, but the prototypical player at the position is bigger and therefore better equipped to keep linemen off Mike linebacker Willis. … Rookie offensive lineman Chilo Rachal has shown he has the physical tools to play if needed. The mental side of the game takes time to develop. … All six 2008 draft choices could earn roster spots, a reflection of the 49ers' depth as much as their drafting prowess. … Receiver Jason Hill appears more comfortable in his second season. General manager Scot McCloughan recently mistook him for the more polished Bruce when watching video of practice. He had to watch the play again to make sure it wasn't Bruce. … Martz sometimes watches the team portion of practice from a distance, to see the big picture better. Some coordinators stand behind the huddle, allowing for easier communication with quarterbacks. When the 49ers practice, the quarterbacks run off to the side to meet with Martz between plays. … Look for the 49ers to favor two basic personnel groupings. Both are one-back sets. One grouping features three wide receivers and a tight end. The other features two receivers and two tight ends. The second tight end, Delanie Walker, has impressed Martz. The 49ers wanted to feature him last season, but their offensive imploded, and Walker never became a serious threat. … Morgan, a sixth-round pick from Virginia Tech, arguably has been one of the more impressive receivers in camp. That isn't necessarily saying much, but Martz and McCloughan think they've found a big-play threat. Morgan's draft stock sagged because he was inconsistent at Virginia Tech and once drew charges for disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice. Morgan has admitted his mistake and called it a regrettable exception. He made one of the best plays of camp Wednesday when he tipped a deep pass to himself despite coverage.

Mike Sando covers the NFL for ESPN.com.
 9 years ago '05        #168
iCON216 16 heat pts16
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 lakersboy03 said:
went to the afternoon practice yesterday...was pretty mellow nobody really hyped up..Alex Smith looked way more efficient than any of the quarterbacks and JT O sullivan actually looked really good too...Issac Bruce looks like the clear stand out of all the wide outs...reggie smith looks to be in the rotation at corner...and i saw some plays that made me realize we are gonna move the ball down the field...it was a tie between Vernon Davis and Billy Bajema for catch of the day...

off the field Delaine Walker was crackin jokes at the football i had when he signed it...P Willis was a beast and signed the autograph in his helmet...overall fun day...and Thomas Clayton was pulling out of the facility when we left and this bi*ch we pulled while there stopped the traffic and got his autograph on her purse and our ball...he was hella popping at her...haha...ill post the pics later
Thats wassup...
 08-01-2008, 02:33 PM         #169
Myles Away  OP
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49ers' Gore is ready to soar
After a difficult season, the 49ers tailback returns with a lighter body and spirit - and a stronger resolve
By Matthew Barrows -

Published 12:00 am PDT Friday, August 1, 2008
Story appeared in SPORTS section, Page C1

Print | E-Mail | Comments (3) |

SANTA CLARA – Step aside, Jenny Craig. Frank Gore has a weight-loss routine that's guaranteed to shed the pounds.

If it doesn't k!ll you first.

The 49ers tailback, who weighed about 225 pounds during June practices, returned a month later 10 pounds lighter and looking far more fluid. His secret? It involves a truck tire, a length of rope, a steep hill and a murderous Miami summer during which the heat index sometimes soars past 110 degrees.

Kyle Wright, the 49ers' No. 4 quarterback and a former teammate of Gore's at Miami, said he and other Hurricane players would run the same hill in that city's Tropical Park to prepare for the college season.

"It's probably the tallest hill in Miami, and it's not very tall," Wright said. "But it's long and gradual. It's about 180 yards. It levels off and gets a little steeper at the end. It's tough."

While the Miami players might run the hill 14 times in a day and always run up the gradual side, Gore runs it from the opposite – and steeper – side. And he does it 25 times per session … while dragging a truck tire … that's progressively filled with weights.

He has had the same grueling summer routine since high school, and he still commandeers some of his former high school coaches to help him train.

What some people might consider torture, Gore, 25, finds therapeutic. Indeed, everything a.ssociated with football – from weight training to watching film – is welcome routine for Gore. Football is his sanctuary.

And that was the problem last season. Gore had no escape.

His terrible year began on the second day of training camp when he broke a bone in his hand. In Week 7, he twisted his ankle, an injury that slowed him for most of the remainder. In between came the hardest jolt, the death of his mother, Liz, who had been everything to him – best friend, inspiration, confidante.

Even on the football field, there was no safe haven.

Runs that Gore routinely ripped for 25-yard gains in 2006 were bottled up in 2007. The 49ers' offense was dull and unimaginative. If the 49ers needed a crucial yard, everyone – the fans, the media and especially the opponent – knew they would try to get them by sending Gore off the left guard.

He finished the season with a respectable 1,102 rushing yards. But his average run dropped to 4.2 yards from 5.4 the year before. His rushing touchdowns fell from eight to five, and he crossed the goal line only twice after Week 2.

"It was tough because, one, the situation with my mom," Gore said. "Then nothing was going right on the field. We kept losing, losing, losing. We couldn't get in a zone running the ball or passing the ball. It was like a black cloud was over us. Nothing would go right. Especially for me."

Coach Mike Nolan, who lost his father last season, sometimes would be working late at his office and find his running back at his door.

Said Nolan: "He was frustrated with his injuries, and he was frustrated with us losing as I would expect any good player to be."

This summer, there's a sense that the black cloud has lifted.

The plodding offense from 2007 is being replaced with a more wide-open attack that offensive coordinator Mike Martz is building around Gore in the same way he built his Rams offenses around Marshall Faulk.

Said Martz: "We use him everywhere we can in the running game, of course, and in the passing game, we'll use him everywhere possible – as a deep threat, as a short threat, as a crossing threat."

Perhaps the best way to illustrate the change is to look at who's leading the way for Gore.

Last year, his lead blocker was fullback Moran Norris, a 252-pounder with boulder-like shoulders who is most effective smashing things straight on. This summer, Zak Keasey – who weighs 15 pounds less than Norris – has gotten most of the first-team repetitions. Martz said Keasey is better at working his way through traffic to deliver blocks. And he's also able to stay ahead of Gore on running plays that stretch wide to the right or left.

"It's tough," Keasey said of blocking for Gore. "You've got to get out there and get off the ball quick. You definitely have to be moving out there when he's behind you."

Gore also wants to answer Martz's challenge.

He said he reported to training camp seven pounds lighter – 215 – than he did last season. And aside from the hill work, which is designed to build power and explosion, he spent hours weaving in and out of cones to improve his quickness.

He also worked on his hands.

While in Miami, he grabbed former Jaguars and Falcons quarterback Byron Leftwich, who also was working out in South Florida, and ran as many routes as he could. When that session ended, he went home and had a younger cousin throw him more passes until the sun went down.

"I've got moves. I've got power," Gore said. "I feel I have the whole package. Whatever they want me to do, I can do it. I just have to keep working."
 08-04-2008, 07:35 PM         #170
Myles Away  OP
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Niners, Raiders hold joint practice

By JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer 1 hour, 47 minutes ago

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NAPA, Calif. (AP)—Moran Norris took offense after getting hit by Edgerton Hartwell, leading to a minor scuffle between the San Francisco 49ers offense and the Oakland Raiders defense. Oakland defensive tackle William Joseph got tangled up with San Francisco offensive lineman Chilo Raschal.

Those two small tussles proved to be an exception at an intense but controlled joint practice Monday between the Bay Area rival 49ers and Raiders.

“It’s always fun to go against another color,” Raiders safety Jarrod Cooper said. “You get bored with the same thing. But that’s just part of it. It was fun. A lot more productive than I thought it was going to be. I thought people’s tempers would be flying, but it really wasn’t. It was good. It was a good practice. I got a lot out of it.”

Raiders coach Lane Kiffin and Niners coach Mike Nolan decided to spice up training camp with the joint practice session that allowed the two teams to work against different players and different styles in advance of their preseason game Friday.
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The teams used the Raiders’ format for practice, with the teams starting off by doing individual drills on opposite fields and then going up against each other in seven-on-seven, 11-on-11 and individual formats. The players were in full pads, but there was no tackling, with coaches yelling “Stay up! Stay up!” at times.

Raiders owner Al Davis even made his first training camp appearance at a morning practice session, sitting on a golf cart in between the two practice fields, watching intently as his defense went against the Niners offense.

“I think it was very productive,” Kiffin said. “I think it seemed like the defense got the best ends on both sides of the field, which would be normal situation, with guys coming in and not knowing what the other side is going to do exactly and what they’ve been doing all offseason.”

The concern of the coaches before the practice was that the intensity of facing an opponent would boil over and lead to a scuffle. But for the most part the teams stayed under control, with the exception of the two minor incidents.

The bigger one started when Hartwell hit Norris with a shoulder as he went across the middle to make a catch in a seven-on-seven drill.

“I wasn’t trying to take him to the ground,” Hartwell said. “It was just that when I hit him it kind of lifted him up. I guess it was kind of too hard for him. I didn’t really hit him that hard but he got kind of upset.”

Norris got up in Hartwell’s face, leading to the small scuffle. Cooper then grabbed running back Frank Gore from behind, thinking it was his friend and former Carolina teammate DeShaun Foster. Gore knocked Cooper’s helmet off and the two wrestled a bit before the entire scuffle died down.

Afterward, Nolan went over and tried to calm down Hartwell, who played in Baltimore when Nolan was an a.ssistant with the Ravens.

“If things are important to you, you will f!ght about it,” Nolan said. “We had a couple of those. It was nothing that took away from our ability to work.”

Niners tight end Vernon Davis got involved in some yelling after the Hartwell hit but was mostly on his best behavior, which was a concern considering he has been known to f!ght with his own teammates.

“I didn’t look to start any f!ghts or anything like that,” Davis said. “As my coach said, ‘If you get into anything, be careful to do it safely and be smart.’ I just pretty much walked away from everything.”

The practice served as a reunion for some players, such as Raiders tackle Kwame Harris and Niners tackle Barry Sims, who switched teams in the offseason.

Harris, a first-round pick by the Niners in 2003, signed with Oakland as a free agent in the offseason. He started all 32 games in 2005-06 for the 49ers before being relegated to a backup role last season.

After practice, Harris made a point to walk over to the Niners’ field and catch up with former teammates and coaches he had been close to in his five years in San Francisco.

“Those are the guys that brought me into this league, like family in a sense,” he said. “There’s not the sense of vindictiveness as much as it’s like playing against your sibling.”

Sims, who joined the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 1999, started all 16 games at left tackle for the Raiders last season as their longest-tenured player. He played both guard and tackle for Oakland, making 119 starts before being released in February in a cost-cutting move.

Sims said there wasn’t much trash-talking on the field from his former teammates.

“Nobody said anything to me. They just said, ‘What’s up?”’ he said. “I got a lot of love up here. That felt good. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like but a lot of my former teammates gave me a lot of love and that was nice.”


Last edited by Myles Away; 08-04-2008 at 07:36 PM..
 9 years ago '05        #171
ChickzNKickz 100 heat pts100
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Gore Channels his Inner Marshall


[pic - click to view]



Not much going on in Santa Clara Tuesday, just a single special teams practice in the late afternoon. So, with all the negativity surrounding the 49ers' offense and their passing game, we thought we might try to lift some spirits and turn to Frank Gore.

This is the the best shape I've seen him in. He said he dropped 10 pounds and he said he weighs about 214. He's never had the cut physique of a Vernon Davis, but gone is last year's baby fat. I don't blame him for that. Last year was one of the toughest of his life. He lost his mother, Liz, in September and then good friend Sean Taylor later in the season. He wanted to gain over 2,000 yards and he barely made half of that with 1,102 yards. He also saw his yards per carry drop from 5.4 in 2006 to 4.2 last year. He battled through a sprained ankle for most of the season and had to watch opportunities disappear while the offense put together the most three-and-outs of any team in the league.


SFChronicle
Frank Gore is a huge positive for this year's offense.
Gore has the type of personality where he blames much of last year's offensive woes upon himself. So this year he decided to take a different approach. He's doing everything future Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk is telling him to do.

"I talked to him three of four times," Gore said. "Before training camp he told me some things."
The first was to get down to 212 pounds, the same weight Faulk was when he was the centerpiece of the Rams' offense under Mike Martz. He told Gore to run after practice every day. Gore does that. And he said to pepper Martz with questions and Gore is complying there too.

The mimick of Faulk is going well. Gore looks like a more polished receiver and he's darting into holes with razor-like cuts.
Martz is likely to use Gore differently than Faulk - more running and less pass receiving. Martz is also likely to do everything he can to get defenses from loading up against Gore by using three- and four-receiver sets and lots of motion.

Maybe Gore does rush for 2,000 yards, just a year later than he anticipated.
 08-06-2008, 09:16 PM         #172
Myles Away  OP
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O'Sullivan to start 49ers' exhibition opener

J.T. O'Sullivan will get the first chance to prove what he can do. Coach Mike Nolan announced just moments ago that O'Sullivan will start the 49ers' exhibition opener Friday night against the Raiders.

Nolan said O'Sullivan will work with the first team for the first quarter to quarter-and-a-half because he is less familiar with O'Sullivan than Alex Smith and Shaun Hill. Obviously, Smith and Hill have started games in the past for the 49ers. O'Sullivan is in his first season with the 49ers.

"We have experience with Shaun and Alex in game situations, and we do not have that experience with J.T. O'Sullivan," Nolan said.

He added that this does not mean O'Sullivan is atop the team's depth chart. Nolan said this is only the announcement of which quarterback will start Friday.

Smith is scheduled to play the remainder of the first half and start the third quarter against the Raiders, Nolan said. Hill will finish the game.

"I'm excited about our quarterbacks," Nolan said. "I'm excited about all three of them. They've done a very good job. I continue to feel better and better about the possibility of us actually having three guys who can play and win games for us during the season."

The first unit will be in the game, along with O'Sullivan. With the injuries at wideout, Josh Morgan and Jason Hill can be expected to see a lot of action with the ones.

* * *

O'Sullivan took every first-team rep this afternoon during practice. He completed 10 of 16 passes with two interceptions (his first two in 11-on-11 drills), while Smith completed 3 of 6, and Hill completed 3 of 7.

Bottom line: This does not make O'Sullivan the front-runner, but he clearly has a chance to apply some pressure to the other starting candidates with a good showing. Smith looked very good in the morning. Hill also played well in the morning. Neither Smith nor Hill had much of a chance to get any rhythm going in the afternoon.

* * *

In other practice notes: DeShaun Foster and Dashon Goldson were among the players who were rested. Keith Lewis took over at free safety for Goldson. . . . The danger of the hot reads became apparent today when Nate Clements sniffed out an interception on a quick dumpoff to Morgan. . . . Jeff Ulbrich also recorded an interception of a quick slant. . . . O'Sullivan showed excellent touch on a deep ball to Delanie Walker for a big gain. . . . Cam Colvin had a couple nice catches, including an intermediate route from Alex Smith in which he jumped up and plucked it away from Walt Harris. . . . O'Sullivan and Isaac Bruce showed nice timing on a deep out. O'Sullivan let the ball fly well before Bruce made his move. The ball was completed in front of Clements. . . . LB Dennis Haley broke up a Hill pass to Dominique Zeigler on a hot read. . . . O'Sullivan hit Davis down the seam. Davis had a couple steps on Patrick Willis in coverage. . . . Defensive lineman LaJuan Ramsey batted down a Hill pass at the line of scrimmage. . . . Tully Banta-Cain got through and would've had a sack on Smith, who ended up throwing a pass out of bounds -- well, it would've gone out of bounds if DBs coach Johnnie Lynn hadn't caught it. . . . On 7-on-7, Jason Hill made a nice diving catch outside the numbers on an O'Sullivan pass. . . . Reggie Smith made an interception of a Hill pass (or at least from 50 yards away, it looked as if Smith made the catch. He held it aloft in an attempt to convince those watching). . . . Colvin made another jumping catch, using his body like a shield to ward off a defender, of a Hill pass.

That's it for now. Back at it tomorrow, as the 49ers have just one practice scheduled. They're scheduled to go from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

* * *
 08-06-2008, 09:46 PM         #173
Myles Away  OP
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If Favre lands in Tampa, Niners could be interested in Garcia

There are reports this evening that Brett Favre could be joining the Buccaneers. OK, so what's that news doing on a 49ers' blog?

If the dominoes fall a certain way - a completely logical way - it could have a great impact on the 49ers' season.

You see, if Favre ends up with the Buccaneers, that would seem to suggest Jeff Garcia's time in Tampa Bay will be over. And if Garcia is looking for a place to land, the 49ers might be interested.

The 49ers are under pressure to win this season. An easy argument can be made that Garcia would easily give the 49ers their best opportunity to succeed.

They have three players vying for the starting job:

--The person who probably gives them the best chance to win right now, J.T. O'Sullivan, has not started a game in six NFL seasons.

--Alex Smith, whom most believe is the favorite to win the job, has an 11-19 record as a starter. (Actually, that's not bad when you consider the 49ers are 5-13 when other quarterbacks have started games during that timeframe.)

--The other quarterback, Shaun Hill, has two career starts (both wins) but has never broken camp anywhere other than No. 3 on the depth chart.

The current 49ers regime has twice passed over Garcia on the free-agent market. Coach Mike Nolan was not interested in 2005 when the 49ers owned the No. 1 overall pick. (Garcia signed with the Detroit Lions, pre-Mike Martz.) And in 2006, the 49ers passed on him again and eventually traded for Trent Dilfer to serve as Smith's mentor/backup.

So why might the 49ers be intrigued this time? It's called pure necessity.

Garcia has thrived in the NFL in the West Coast system. He's made four Pro Bowls, including last season when he played an integral role in the Buccaneers' 9-7 record that resulted in an NFC South division title.

At 38, Garcia would have to cram but he could get up to speed in Martz's offense in relatively short order - enough time for the regular-season opener against the Cardinals on Sept. 7.

Of course, the feeling would have to be mutual. Would Garcia want to return to play for the 49ers? Might he also be sought to play for teams he might consider closer to championship level, such as the Vikings or Bears?

* * *

The 49ers' exhibition game Friday at the Raiders is not sold out, so the TV coverage will fall under NFL blackout rules. But, in checking my local listings this evening, it looks as if KICU-6 will carry the game on tape delay at 10 p.m. Friday night. The 49ers' affiliate, KPIX-5, will televise it at 11:30 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, the game can be seen twice: 1 p.m. on KBCW-12; and 7 p.m. on KICU-6. That, of course, is according to my local listing. Double-check the times and channels in your area.

* * *


Last edited by Myles Away; 08-06-2008 at 09:47 PM..
 9 years ago '05        #174
iCON216 16 heat pts16
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A Blackout game in Oakland...nothing new there...

A lot of praise for Josh Morgan, interested to see how he performs in Pre-season...wishful thinking but would be nice if he turned out to be a Marques Colston type steal...
 9 years ago '08        #175
Jeans&Sneakers 158 heat pts158
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they always show the niner games out here, can't wait:party0045:
 08-09-2008, 12:44 AM         #176
Myles Away  OP
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Only caught this game on the radio at work, and from what I heard this game will be quickly deleted from my dvr... However, from what I heard Josh Morgan seemed real dope on receiving & blocking.... Other than that this game was a waste of most Niner fans time. Why Nolan decided to roll with O'Sullivan(a guy who probably had no shot to start anyways) is beyond me. I really don't know what to take from the preseason, but I damn sure hope this team looks absolutely nothing like what we saw(or heard) from them tonight. On a side note, in 06' we were terrible in the preseason, and it started in Oakland(we ended up being surprisingly watchable). We never really played well there I swear the last time we won in in Oakland, Steve was the QB...


Last edited by Myles Away; 08-09-2008 at 12:47 AM..
 9 years ago '05        #177
iCON216 16 heat pts16
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 Myles Away said:
Only caught this game on the radio at work, and from what I heard this game will be quickly deleted from my dvr... However, from what I heard Josh Morgan seemed real dope on receiving & blocking.... Other than that this game was a waste of most Niner fans time. Why Nolan decided to roll with O'Sullivan(a guy who probably had no shot to start anyways) is beyond me. I really don't know what to take from the preseason, but I damn sure hope this team looks absolutely nothing like what we saw(or heard) from them tonight. On a side note, in 06' we were terrible in the preseason, and it started in Oakland(we ended up being surprisingly watchable). We never really played well there I swear the last time we won in in Oakland, Steve was the QB...
Josh Morgan made some nice catches and looked smooth...Battle was solid also...also keep in mind Bryant Johnson & Bruce did not play at all, Frank Gore only played a couple plays...yeah the offense did not look good...Sully made some good and some bad plays...Smith didnt standout but the pass protection was pathetic for him (but it was poor overall)..Hill didnt impress much either...Jason Hill needs to step it up...

One playcall that bugged me was the FG at the end of the 1st half...30 secs left 4th & 1 inside the 5 in a preseason game come on...

Starting Defense was solid...remember the 1st half TD came from STs...Pass rush and Pass D was pretty good but Run D was a little poor but the Raiders do have a good running crew...but it was the backups that were getting k!lled for the most part...

Only 1 preseason game, the sky is not falling...yet...

IMO Alex has the lead based on Pre-season play...


Last edited by iCON216; 08-09-2008 at 03:42 AM..
 9 years ago '04        #178
SharkyLocz408 
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smashy smash smash:greetings10:

it's good though. I wasnt caring too much about this game. It's all bay love from here on out til we meet again!
 9 years ago '05        #179
ChickzNKickz 100 heat pts100
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Wtf is Nolan doing!!!

It's time to let him go....
 9 years ago '08        #180
Jeans&Sneakers 158 heat pts158
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same'ole niner team from last year
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