SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- With right guard Alex Boone's holdout entering its fourth week and right tackle Anthony Davis just beginning to do individual work this week as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery, the right side of the San Francisco 49ers' offensive line is in flux.

After all, since Davis' rookie season of 2010, the 49ers have averaged 5.1 yards per rush to the right side, the fourth-best such figure in the NFL in that time frame, per ESPN Stats & Info.

But in two preseason games, Joe Looney has started at right guard and Jonathan Martin at right tackle and the 49ers like what they have seen so far from the current right side of their line, even if the team is 0-2 while getting outscored by a combined 57-3.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said the 49ers "can win with Joe Looney" and was also effuisive in his praise for Martin, who was acquired in a trade with the Miami Dolphins for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2015 draft.

"Jonathan Martin has done very well," Harbaugh said. "(He’s) been a great addition to our football team. Sure glad we got him. Like everybody else on our football team, (he’s) working to improve in certain areas. He’s been very effective and efficient."

Davis, it should be noted, has never missed a game in his four-year career and he told reporters this week that he did not need to play in an exhibition to be ready for the 49ers' season opener at the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 7.

49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said if and when Davis returns, Martin’s versatility will be a boon for him and the team.

"I think John’s a guy that can play probably four positions on the offensive line," Roman said. "And at some point you’d like to be able to get him some work in those areas. We’ll see how that goes."

49ers work to re-sod home field

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers were working to re-sod the field at new Levi's Stadium on Thursday, a day after a public workout was cut short and moved to the regular practice fields because players were slipping.

San Francisco hosts the San Diego Chargers at the $1.2 billion stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT, and the team has said it expects to have the field ready in time. KTVU's news chopper showed images of the sod replacement in some areas of the turf Thursday.

"They assured us the field will be fine and ready to go at the scheduled time,'' Chargers coach Mike McCoy said.

The Chargers will give it an inspection before the game.

"We take a look at every field when we go on the road,'' McCoy said. "The players bring a number of pairs of shoes every time we go on the road. So we are going to have our normal pregame routine, have everybody walking through the field to make sure they have their right cleats on. It's not different than any other game we are playing.''

"The 49ers organization would like to apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced by today's practice ending early," the team said Wednesday. "We have determined the appropriate measures necessary to have the field ready for Sunday and look forward to hosting the San Diego Chargers."

Coach Jim Harbaugh moved his team out of the stadium Wednesday about an hour into the practice.

"It's a beautiful field for a first-year field," veteran placekicker Phil Dawson said this week. "Those guys are working their brains out to get that thing ready."

(Read full post)

MNF moments, No. 18: T.O.'s Sharpie

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
Terrell Owens Tami Tomsic/Getty Images
To celebrate the 45th season of "Monday Night Football," a panel of contributors has selected the 45 most memorable moments in MNF history. Follow along as we reveal one per day and count down to this season's MNF debut.

No. 18: 49ers 28, Seahawks 21 | Oct. 14, 2002

That had to be awkward for Greg Eastman, right? Financial advisor to both star San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens and top Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shawn Springs, Eastman was sitting in Springs' luxury suite at Seahawks Stadium (now CenturyLink Field) the night of the infamous Sharpie incident.

After Owens caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Garcia over Springs for what was the game-winning touchdown, the receiver pulled a pen out of his sock, autographed the ball and got it to Eastman, who was sitting in the burned cornerback's suite.

Owens had promised Eastman all of it before the game, and seconds before that series began Owens asked his training staff for the Sharpie.

The incident was another in a long line of Owens' antics, including posing on the Dallas Cowboys' star at midfield, throwing a fan's popcorn into his helmet, borrowing a cheerleader's pompoms and the most-covered driveway workout in sports history. But celebration generally follows accomplishment, and Owens' six catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns on this Monday night helped San Francisco notch a division win.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- With his résumé and skill set, Stevie Johnson has the credentials to be a No. 1 receiver on many teams in the NFL. So yeah, there's a reason the San Francisco 49ers acquired him in a draft-day trade.

It's just that with Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin already on the roster, Johnson being Colin Kaepernick's go-to guy was not the team's motive when it shipped a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2015 draft to the Buffalo Bills for him.

Rather, Johnson was brought in for depth and he is competing with Brandon Lloyd, Quinton Patton and fourth-round draft pick Bruce Ellington to be the 49ers' third receiver, even if they seldom used three-wideout sets last season.

“I'm pretty sure everybody already knows the bulk of it will be with Crab and Boldin,” Johnson said Wednesday. “So we're just fitting in right after them.”

In fact, to make his case more appealing, Johnson has worked at all three receiver spots in camp.

“[I'm] not necessarily thinking who's going to be out there in certain personnel [groups],” he said, “just, whenever you get your opportunity, let's make it work. Because that's what we're all thinking. We have a lot of great players, a lot of good players that can make plays.

“Everybody can't be on the field at once. So there's going to be times when you're called upon and just, hopefully, you show up.”

That's exactly what Johnson, a seventh-round draft choice of the Bills out of Kentucky in 2008, did with three straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons from 2010 to 2012. That's something not even Hall of Famer Andre Reed did in 15 years with the Bills.

Johnson averaged 79 catches, 1,041 yards and eight TD catches in those years, before missing four games last season and finishing with 52 catches for 597 yards and three touchdowns.

“I think we definitely understand how he can fit in," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said of Johnson. “I really believe ... that we just need to keep working to develop the level of chemistry that we want.

“Really happy to have Stevie and I think he'll bring a lot to the table. Have a good feel for his skill set. I love his energy out there and just us as a unit need to continue to work every day to develop that chemistry.”

49ers practice report

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Before being pulled off Levi’s Stadium’s loose grass field less than an hour after practice began by coach Jim Harbaugh, the San Francisco 49ers did go through the paces for a bit in front of a couple thousand fans.

A few highlights, then, of the 49ers' final public practice.
  • Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was still not in attendance, as he was in Texas the day before for the birth of his son Michael III.
  • Even before the public practice was cut short, the poor condition of the field was obvious, from divots flying out when players made cuts to the discolored spots in the middle of the field. And if Bruce Ellington tweaking his right ankle in a one-on-one drill with cornerback Chris Culliver was not proof enough, then Stevie Johnson taking a spill untouched on an out pattern at the goal line and jerking his left leg sealed it.
  • Phil Dawson, one of the more accurate kickers in NFL history, continued to work on his craft after missing a pair of field goals in Sunday’s 34-0 exhibition loss to the Denver Broncos by kicking numerous field goals. If Andy Lee was not holding, then Dawson had a metal holder in his place so he could work solo.
  • Ellington, LaMichael James and veteran Anquan Boldin were the three players fielding punts.
  • Cornerback Tramaine Brock picked off McLeod Bethel-Thompson on a pass intended for David Reed on the right sideline and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- What had been an unspoken but well-known secret among the San Francisco 49ers went public Wednesday afternoon -- the field conditions at the new $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium are not up to snuff.

About 45 minutes into a free public practice for fans, and after numerous slips on the grass, which was discolored near midfield and already had several new patches in place after Sunday's NFL exhibition debut, coach Jim Harbaugh curtly led his team off the field.

This after receiver Stevie Johnson took a tumble making a cut on an out pattern near the goal line and appearing to be shaken up. Earlier, rookie receiver Bruce Ellington tweaked his right ankle in a drill with cornerback Chris Culliver and fell to the grass before being looked at by a trainer. Ellington continued to practice.

Many of the thousands of fans in attendance were confused -- "That's it?" one yelled -- when the public address announcer proclaimed the practice over, though fans could gain free admission into the stadium's team museum. Besides, the practice, which was originally scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. PT, was moved up to 4:15.

Then, Harbaugh led his team out and onto the adjacent practice field to continue work, in private, at 5:12 p.m.

Thus far, there has been a San Jose Earthquakes soccer match and the 49ers-Broncos exhibition at Levi's Stadium, where the sod has apparently not yet taken root, and the 49ers play host to the San Diego Chargers this coming Sunday. Then there are two high school football games on Aug. 29 and an international soccer game between Mexico and Chile on Sept. 6 before the 49ers regular season home opener against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 14.

UPDATE: The team, through public relations director Bob Lange, apologized to fans a few hours later via Twitter for the abrupt end to the 49ers' final public practice.

Lange added that the field would be ready for Sunday's exhibition game against the Chargers.

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – On their first offensive drive of the preseason, the San Francisco 49ers went 66 yards in seven plays against the Baltimore Ravens and Phil Dawson kicked a 25-yard field goal.

Since then?

[+] EnlargeColin Kaepernick
Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY SportsColin Kaepernick and the 49ers' offense have struggled to score points throughout the preseason.
Nothing. The 49ers have been shut out. That’s 20 fruitless possessions total, and running.

Granted, starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick and, to a great extent, the first-team offense has only played two of those ensuing series. But to be blanked for such a lengthy time should not sit well with the 49ers, especially after being pummelled, 34-0, by the Denver Broncos on Sunday in the first game at Levi’s Stadium.

“Not good,” 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Wednesday, “at all.”

Consider: the 49ers are the only team in the NFL without a touchdown after at least two preseason games. Which is why it seemed strange but appropriate that Roman opened his presser by commending his colleagues in what appeared to be a pump-up speech.

“We’ve got a lot of things going on right now,” he said, unprompted. “Our offensive staff, I’ve just got to commend them. To a man, they do a great job. Very fortunate to work with this group. This is our fourth year together, for the most part, a couple guys here and there, and to a position, I think they do as good a job as anybody in the NFL.”

Asked why he would make such a statement, Roman did not flinch.

“Probably could do it every day,” he said. “They do a great job, day in and day out. Work tirelessly. It’s a staff with absolutely no motives, other than to help the players and to win.

“Probably should do it more.”

Kaepernick said a day earlier that the 49ers' offense merely had to establish a “rhythm” to get going.

“I think that’s the biggest thing we need to get right now,” he said.

And by Roman’s analysis of the game tape, that should not be too hard to establish soon. Perhaps even in this weekend’s third preseason game, against the visiting San Diego Chargers.

“A lot of very good individual performances, a lot of good individual moments but not enough collective, cohesion, precision by the offensive unit to play winning football,” Roman said of his players’ performance against Denver.

“You go through the tape, [here are] a lot of good things. But it serves as a great tool for us to understand that football is the ultimate team sport and it takes 11 guys on the field to get the job done. We’ve got to do better.”
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Two more San Francisco 49ers players check in Wednesday on’s Top 100 players list.

Linebacker Ahmad Brooks is No. 74 among defensive players while safety Eric Reid is ranked No. 71.

"Brooks recorded a postseason-best 4.5 sacks last year, the most in a postseason since 2010 (Terrell Suggs, five)," read the list. "During the regular season, Brooks also set a career high with 8.5 sacks."

Reid, meanwhile, has become an elder statesman, of sorts, in the 49ers' secondary with fellow safety Antoine Bethea currently concussed.

"Eric Reid intercepted four passes in 2013," the report read, "second-most among rookies last season."

Brooks and Reid join Bethea and right tackle Anthony Davis, who were ranked No. 97 and No. 81 on the defensive and offensive lists, respectively.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- With a gleaming new home rising from the South Bay landscape, the San Francisco 49ers are no doubt on the NFL’s hot list. And when it comes to Forbes’ list of most valuable franchises in the league, the 49ers, who have played in three straight NFC title games and a Super Bowl in that span, are also a Top 10 franchise.

The 49ers check in at No. 9 in the 32-team NFL with an estimated value of $1.6 billion. The Forbes list also listed the franchise’s revenue for 2013 at $270 million and an operating income of $25 million.

“The 49ers opened their new, privately financed, 68,500-seat stadium in Santa Clara in July, and will host Super Bowl 50 in February 2016,” the Forbes report read.

The Dallas Cowboys were No. 1 on the Forbes list, valued at $3.2 billion, for the eighth straight year, and were followed by the New England Patriots ($2.6 billion), Washington ($2.4 billion), the New York Giants ($2.1 billion) and the Houston Texans ($1.85 billion) in the top five. And in case you did not notice, the only team in that list to make the playoffs last season was New England.

The league average for franchise worth was $1.43 billion.

As far as the NFC West is concerned, the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks were 15th overall with an estimated value of $1.33 billion, followed by the Arizona Cardinals ($1.0 billion, 25th overall) and the St. Louis Rams ($930 million, 32nd).

Meanwhile, across the Bay, the Oakland Raiders were 28th, with an estimated value of $970 million to go with a revenue of $244 million in 2013 and an operating income of $43 million.

“The Raiders signed a new short-term lease with the joint Oakland-Alameda County board that runs Coliseum in late 2013 and have been exploring opportunities about moving to Los Angeles and San Antonio,” Forbes wrote.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has suggested the Raiders becoming a tenant of the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium in the near future.

Eight PAT misses in NFL preseason

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Reviews have been mixed around the league for the NFL's experiment with longer kicks on extra points.

Regardless, it appears there's a future for them.

Eight kicks from the longer distance -- usually 33 yards -- were missed during the first two weeks of the preseason. The 94.3 percent success rate (133 of 141) was below the regular-season rate (99.6 percent) from 2013 when the ball was snapped from the 2-yard line instead of the 15.

Only five of 1,267 short kicks were missed in 2013.

All of this summer's misses came with the ball snapped from the 15. Snaps will move back to the 2 this week and for the regular season.

NFL officiating director Dean Blandino says he believes longer PAT kicks are "in the league's near future." The results this preseason will be brought to the competition committee, and a proposal for change almost certainly will be presented to team owners at next March's annual meetings.

Blandino isn't sure the 15-yard line will be the focal point of any change.

As with any alterations to the game, coaches and players offered a variety of viewpoints.

San Francisco's veteran placekicker Phil Dawson didn't get a chance to try a long extra point because the 49ers didn't score any touchdowns in their first two exhibition games. He sees the positive and negative sides of a longer kick.

"It could rear its head in a game where the kicker hasn't been on the field in a while," Dawson said. "It's hard to stay loose and then all of a sudden there's a sudden score, maybe a fumble recovery, kickoff return, interception return. You might not be super loose yet. It's one thing to go out there and pop through a 20-yarder. You back up (another) 13-15 yards and you're a little stiff, you could possibly run into some problems there."

On the other foot ...

(Read full post)

Phil Dawson challenged by Levi winds

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
San Francisco 49ers reporter Paul Gutierrez says kicker Phil Dawson is busy trying to figure out how to kick in Levi’s Stadium.

MNF moments, No. 19: Jerry Rice goes wild

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
Jerry RiceJohn G. Mabanglo/AFP/Getty Images
To celebrate the 45th season of "Monday Night Football," a panel of contributors has selected the 45 most memorable moments in MNF history. Follow along as we reveal one per day and count down to this season's MNF debut.

No. 19: 49ers 37, Vikings 30 | Dec. 18, 1995

There isn't much debate about who is the greatest NFL receiver of all time.

Jerry Rice not only holds most receiving records -- he holds them by wide margins. He has 6,961 more receiving yards on the career list than the next player (Terrell Owens). To put that into perspective, that's basically the same gap between Owens and the 57th player on the list.

Rice's biggest contribution to that record came on "Monday Night Football" between the San Francisco 49ers and Minnesota Vikings in 1995.

The 33-year-old Rice caught 14 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns, the second-most receptions and the most receiving yards he would accrue in a single game in his career. Although Rice fell 47 yards shy of Flipper Anderson's single-game record, his mark still stands as the most yards in a game in "Monday Night Football" history and the most yards by a receiver 33 years or older.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Colin Kaepernick was on the San Francisco 49ers' injury report most of the first half of the 2013 season with a foot injury.

No mystery there.

But Kaepernick came clean to the Sacramento Bee Tuesday in disclosing the severity of the injury, saying he had a "chipped bone on his forefoot and a ruptured capsule in the ball of his foot" suffered in a Week 2 loss at the Seattle Seahawks.

And after rushing for 87 yards on nine carries in that game, Kaepernick did not surpass 20 yards rushing in a game for another five weeks.

He still rushed for 524 yards on the season, second among 49ers quarterbacks in franchise history to Steve Young, who ran for 537 yards in 1992.

Now, Kaepernick insists it's all in the past. Especially since he did not have to undergo surgery on the foot in the offseason.

"Just rest," he said of his recovery.

"It's a non-factor. It's a year-old injury now."

Kaepernick has only appeared in three series in two exhibitions thus far, and has not attempted a carry.

The 49ers have yet to score a touchdown in the preseason and have been outscored by a combined 57-3. So what do they need to do offensively, keeping in mind the starters have not played all that much?

"Just establish a rhythm," Kaepernick said. "I think that's the biggest thing we need to get right now."

And with the third preseason game this weekend against the San Diego Chargers at Levi's Stadium -- traditionally, that is the exhibition teams utilize as a dry run for the regular season -- you would think the 49ers would play their starters the most to establish said rhythm.

"Yeah, we're going to try and get in a rhythm in every game that we play," Kaepernick said. "How much we play is going to be determined by coach."

Coach Jim Harbaugh was asked if Kaepernick would play more against the Chargers.

His answer? "Maybe."