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Niners could mimic Raiders in attempt to turn around fortunes

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 06:00:38 UT

Niners could mimic Raiders in attempt to turn around fortunes The 49ers appear to be at the beginning at an interminably long rebuilding project, but the Raiders have proved the climb from punchline to power can take far less than a presidential term. Just hit grand slams with their first two drafts picks in 2017 — and make sure one of those selections is a franchise quarterback. The NFL combine in Indianapolis begins Wednesday and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will arrive as the just-hired leaders of a franchise that looks remarkably similar to the Raiders in 2014. In 2014, the Raiders jump-started their about-face by using the No. 5 pick on outside linebacker Khalil Mack, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and spending their second-rounder on Derek Carr, their best quarterback since Rich Gannon was leading them to their last Super Bowl in the 2002 season. Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio will speak at the combine Thursday after overseeing a 12-4 season that included a playoff berth and two must-haves in a pass-driven league: a quarterback, and a pass-rusher to terrorize opposing quarterbacks. [...] Lynch has sounded optimistic notes about the potential for a Raider-esque turnaround, saying the roster he inherited is better than last year’s two-win season suggests. [...] the 49ers are projected to have the NFL’s second-most salary-cap space when free agency begins March 9 and they own 10 draft picks, with two selections in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. Both Lynch and Shanahan have stated that quarterback is the NFL’s most important position, but there’s no certainty they’ll address that glaring need on the draft’s first day. A possible target at No. 34 is Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, who has said he received a second-round grade from the NFL draft advisory board. The 49ers presumably would be thrilled if the QB-needy Browns bypassed Texas A&M defensive lineman Myles Garrett at No. 1. [...] the Raiders aren’t a finished product after their memorable season that went off the rails when Carr broke his leg in Week 16. Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Allen will be long gone by the time the Raiders pick 24th, so they will spend some time this week at the combine getting to know Michigan State’s Malik McDowell and Florida’s Caleb Brantley. The Raiders also have needs at inside linebacker, cornerback and likely at right tackle and running back, as Menelik Watson and Latavius Murray, respectively, are free agents. McKenzie doesn’t believe in using high draft picks on inside linebackers or running backs, but that could change if Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey is still on the board at 24 and the Raiders view him as a special talent. The Raiders, facing many of same needs as the 49ers, used two selections in the 2014 NFL draft to help change the direction of their franchise: First round [...] round

49ers sign ex-Dolphins DT Earl Mitchell

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 04:56:39 UT

In the first significant signing of general manager John Lynch’s tenure, the 49ers agreed to terms Friday with former Dolphins defensive tackle Earl Mitchell. Last year, the 49ers set an NFL record by allowing 100-yard rushers in seven straight games and surrendered the sixth-most rushing yards (2,654) since 1990. Last year, Mitchell suffered a calf injury, but the Dolphins activated him from injured reserve to play in their final nine games. Niners defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina was a defensive assistant with the Texans when Mitchell was there in 2013. The 49ers’ poor run defense last year did get a boost as nose tackle Glenn Dorsey gradually returned to form after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in November 2015. Carter, 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds, was a first-team FCS All-American after a senior season that included 1,321 yards and 17 touchdowns. The 49ers were awarded a compensatory draft pick, the No. 37 selection in the fourth round, in the wake of free agent offensive lineman Alex Boone signing with Minnesota last season.

49ers can hope draft nets perfect 10

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 00:27:19 UT

With the addition of a fourth-round compensatory pick they were awarded today, the 49ers will 10 selections in the upcoming draft. They will have two picks in the fourth, fifth and sixth round: Round 1: No. 2 overall Round 2: No. 34 Round 3: No. 66 Round 4: No. 109 Round 4: No. 143 (compensatory) Round 5: No. 146 Round 5: No. 161 Round 6: No. 186 Round 6: No. 202 Round 7: No. 219 Twitter: @Eric_Branch

49ers sign WR DeAndre Carter; receive compensatory pick

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 21:38:13 UT

49ers sign WR DeAndre Carter; receive compensatory pick Carter, 23, is an undrafted free agent who entered the NFL with the Ravens and spent time on the practices squads of the Raiders and Patriots in 2015. Carter, 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds, was a first-team FCS All-American after a senior season which included 1,321 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Harbaugh jokes he's due a 'courage medal' for coaching Jed York's 49ers

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 22:41:32 UT

It was a touchy topic for a while, but at least it looks like Jim Harbaugh can laugh about it all now.

49ers’ Lynch, Shanahan have ‘positive discussion’ with Kaepernick

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 05:12:15 UT

A year after Colin Kaepernick requested a trade that didn’t materialize, general manager John Lynch provided news Wednesday that suggested the 49ers’ new regime is open to retaining the quarterback who has been expected to land elsewhere in 2017. On KNBR, Lynch said he and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan met with Kaepernick in Lynch’s office at the team’s Santa Clara facility Wednesday. Kaepernick, 29, can opt out of the final year of his contract as early as next week to hit the market before free agency begins March 9. If Kaepernick doesn’t opt out, the 49ers almost certainly will release him to avoid paying him a $14.5 million base salary in 2017, but they could negotiate another deal. In 11 starts last season, Kaepernick threw 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions. Shanahan was Cousins’ offensive coordinator from 2012 through ’13 and they share a mutual respect. Gamble’s exit wasn’t a surprise after Lynch hired Denver director of college scouting Adam Peters as vice president of player personnel and former Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew as a senior personnel executive. Gamble, a 29-year NFL veteran, spent 10 seasons with the 49ers. The 49ers signed former Cleveland cornerback K’Waun Williams, 25, who spent his first two seasons with the Browns before sitting out last year with an ankle injury.

49ers executive Gamble no longer part of reshaped front office

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 01:11:10 UT

Tom Gamble, the 49ers assistant general manager last year under Trent Baalke, is, like Baalke, out of a job. Gamble’s tenure with the 49ers’ reshaped front office was brief. Gamble’s exit wasn’t a surprise after Lynch hired Broncos director of college scouting Adam Peters as vice president of player personnel and former Lions general manager Martin Mayhew as a senior personnel executive. Gamble, a 29-year NFL veteran, spent 10 seasons with the 49ers.

Hello, again: 49ers reportedly sign former Browns CB Williams

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:46:44 UT

The first player new 49ers general manager John Lynch has signed is familiar with new head coach Kyle Shanahan and secondary coach Jeff Hafley. The 49ers have signed former Browns cornerback K’Waun Williams, 25, who spent his first two seasons with Cleveland before sitting out of the NFL last year with an ankle injury. Williams, an undrafted free agent, was with Shanahan, then the Browns offensive coordinator, in Cleveland in 2014. Redmond, a 2016 third-round pick, didn’t play last year because of a torn ACL he sustained in college.

49ers add former linebacker DeMeco Ryans to staff

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 23:26:48 UT

The group also includes offensive line coach John Benton, 53, who held the same title with the Dolphins (2014-15) and Texans (2006-13). Last year, Benton was the Jaguars’ assistant offensive line coach. Daniel Bullocks (assistant defensive backs); Stan Kwan (assistant special teams); Vince Oghobaase (assistant defensive line); Adam Stenavich (assistant offensive line) and Michael Clay (strength and conditioning assistant).

Why is John Lynch doing this? Inside new 49ers GM’s crash course

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 15:53:48 UT

Former NFL safety John Lynch recently detonated his idyllic life as though it was a wide receiver crossing the middle. Lynch, 45, in a suit and tie after his introductory news conference, was asked, as he leaned against a counter in the media room at Levi’s Stadium, why he’d swapped serenity for stress. Before joining the 49ers, the 15-year NFL veteran spent eight years as a well-respected Fox broadcaster, and his work-half-the-year gig let him stay close to family as well as football. Lynch was smiling, too, but then the grin faded and his eyes pooled with tears. The answer involves the craving for competition that fuels countless athletes and often can’t be satisfied after the final whistle. At the end of a telecast, the nine-time Pro Bowl player and four-time Hall of Fame finalist often fist-bumped his play-by-play partner and then … nothing. During his playing career, that was typically when he transformed from mild-mannered to maniacal. For his first five NFL seasons, cornerback Champ Bailey knew Lynch only from afar as a bone-rattling enforcer who punctuated hits with screams. In 2004, however, they became teammates with the Broncos and Bailey saw there was far more to the madman than met the eye. In 2006, Lynch won the Bart Starr Award, which is given to the NFL player who best exemplifies outstanding leadership and character. The 12-time Pro Bowl pick also played 15 seasons — partly because he noticed how Lynch cared for his body and how his obsessive film study compensated for declining late-career skills. Before becoming a GM, Lynch prepared for the job by learning from his close friend, Broncos general manager John Elway. With the Hall of Fame quarterback, Lynch discussed front-office intricacies and the emptiness that was prompting him to consider an executive role. The ultra-competitive Elway returned to the NFL in 2011 when he joined Denver’s front office. During Elway’s tenure, he has asked Lynch to evaluate college prospects, asked him to attend draft meetings and asked him this: [...] I think — that’s what I told him — I don’t know how much TV fills up your balloon, but being in this position to where you’re putting a football team together, a football staff together, is very satisfying. [...] the man ranked the 10th-hardest hitter in league history by NFL Network specialized in obliterating obstacles during his football career. At Stanford, he spent his first two seasons as a never-used quarterback, transitioned to a hybrid linebacker role as a junior and didn’t start until he moved to safety his final season. “What it really comes down to is he’s extraordinarily competitive,” said Tom Holmoe, a former 49ers safety who was Lynch’s position coach during his senior season. In the NFL, Lynch was a third-round pick of the Buccaneers whose inexperience at safety partly explained why he didn’t start more than six games in any of his first three seasons. Lynch earned his first Pro Bowl berth in 1997, his fifth season, and was a captain of the 2002 Buccaneers, who won a Super Bowl on the strength of one of the best defenses in NFL history. [...] Tampa Bay released Lynch in a salary-cap move after the 2003 season, and the then-32-year-old underwent surgery to remove bone spurs in his neck. [...] the complications of their temporary separation were clear when plane-grounding fog in San Diego prevented his family from surprising him at his introductory news conference. Lynch, who said he’s been getting little sleep, joked that he’s still trying to locate his new work-life balance when asked about contacting quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Moments later, the former NFL tough guy was fighting back tears and the moment illustrated the anguish involved in his latest task. The safety from Torrey Pines High in San [...]

Report: Free-agent DT Mitchell will visit 49ers

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 17:11:04 UT

Mitchell, 29, who was released by the Dolphins this week in a salary cap move, has visits scheduled with the 49ers, Seahawks, Falcons and Broncos, the NFL Network reported. Last year, Mitchell sustained a calf injury, but the Dolphins activated from injured reserve to play in their final nine games. Niners defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina was a defensive assistant with the Texans when Mitchell played for Houston in 2013. In 2016, the 49ers’ 32nd-ranked defense set an NFL record by allowing 100-yard rushers in seven straight games and surrendered the sixth-most rushing yards (2,654) since 1990.

KNBR Conversation with ex-49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 05:44:35 UT

KNBR Conversation with ex-49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman An edited transcript of an interview with Tom Rathman, former running back and running backs coach for both the 49ers and Raiders: Why will you not be a part of the 49ers staff going forward? Teams that are successful, you’re not having coaching changes. He was going to bring Bobby in to coach running backs. [...] that’s great, you know what I’m saying? [...] I just decided to take a step back and let these guys go. Can you talk about what you guys discussed? Just sitting down talking to Kyle, I don’t think there was going to be a role that was going to be very comfortable. [...] that’s what I say, let those guys develop their relationships, let them mentor those kids, let them develop those relationships without me being in back. Is there any way you can point us to what direction you’re looking right now? What can you say to 49er fans about the state of the franchise? [...] I know a lot of the stuff that people don’t know. What are the emotions?

Kid coordinators: 49ers’ staff features youthful leaders

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 23:39:01 UT

The 49ers’ rookie head coach will be joined by a rookie defensive coordinator and first-time special-teams coordinator. The 49ers announced the hiring of nine assistants and the group includes defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, 38, and special-teams coordinator Richard Hightower, 36. Saleh has spent the past three seasons as the Jaguars linebackers coach. The 49ers have retained defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley, who coached with Shanahan in Cleveland in 2014, and former outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver, who is now a senior defensive assistant.

Babysitter to boss: Gary Kubiak on 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:24:22 UT

[...] fortunately for Kubiak, who later hired Shanahan as his offensive coordinator, the kid grew up to be a better play-caller than babysitter. Kyle’s dad, Mike Shanahan, was the Broncos offensive coordinator from 1984-87 when Kubiak was Denver’s backup quarterback. Through it all, Kubiak, 55, saw plenty of Kyle, a former wide receiver at Duke and Texas who was a ball boy, attended coaches meetings, caught passes from Denver’s quarterbacks and radiated a passion for football. In 2006, Kubiak’s first year as Houston’s head coach, he hired Kyle, then 26, as his wide receivers coach. In 2008, Kubiak promoted him to offensive coordinator, making him the youngest in the NFL. Kubiak acknowledged Texans owner Bob McNair had reservations about giving a 28-year-old such a title. “I know Mr. McNair, he was concerned -- ‘He’s very young’ and those type of things,” said Kubiak, who was 33 when he became Denver’s offensive coordinator. Kubiak has no doubts about Shanahan’s passion and offensive acumen, but the rookie head coach will be tested in other areas as he remains the play-caller and has final say on the 53-man roster. How does Kubiak, who had an 82-75 record and a won a Super Bowl as a head coach, think the NFL’s second-youngest head coach is prepared for a job with myriad other responsibilities? [...] you get into the fire and you’re still trying to call plays, and run an offense, and run a team, and discipline a team, and handle the media … all of those things that come into play. [...] I know through my conversations with him, he’s formed his own ideas on how he wants to handle things. In recognition of Black History Month, the 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium is hosting a traveling exhibit from ESPN and the Center for Civil and Human Rights, Breaking Barriers: [...] the museum will be featuring “Letters to Bill Walsh,” a NFL Films presentation that debuted in January at the launch of the Institute for the Study of Sport, Society and Social Change at San Jose State.

49ers running back among NFL players to pull out of 'goodwill' trip to Israel

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:37:01 UT

The all-expenses paid trip came under scrutiny last week when the Israeli tourism minister said that the participating players would be "ambassadors of goodwill for Israel."