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What we learned during the 49ers’ offseason program

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:58:26 UT

This is day four of a 40-day respite before the 49ers gather for Training Camp 2018. Thus, a perfect time to review what we learned during the team’s off-season program, which ended last Thursday with a three-day minicamp. 1. The offense lags badly behind the defense. In off-season practices open to the media, the offense struggled mightily, including last Wednesday, when the offense threw three straight interceptions on consecutive drives. 2. The above is not surprising because the defense is simplified and the 49ers quarterbacks are relatively new to the system. 3. The 49ers receiving corps is improved, however, the group lacks a big receiving target. 4. Fifth-round pick Trent

Kaepernick compares police to runaway-slave patrollers

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 20:10:43 UT

Colin Kaepernick compared police officers to fugitive slave patrolmen in the wake of a jury verdict acquitting a Minnesota officer in the shooting death of a black motorist.

Heck of a honeymoon: 49ers raving about Kyle Shanahan

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 05:40:43 UT

Before we get to the 49ers gushing over rookie head coach Kyle Shanahan’s brilliance, let’s get this out of the way: In other words, it’s customary for athletes to initially exalt the new leader who controls their playing time. Let’s start with Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, whose first 10 years with the 49ers have included three winning seasons, seven head coaches and eight offensive coordinators. During the offseason, many players have said Shanahan has shown a savant-level grasp of the game while explaining plays during video sessions. In April, safety Eric Reid, a five-year veteran, emerged from one of Shanahan’s first meetings and told reporters he’d “learned a lot of football in 10 minutes.” Said defensive tackle Arik Armstead: “It’s kind of like genius-crazy, the stuff he does.” Said Hoyer of the video breakdowns: “If you’re really paying attention, you'll learn a lot about football and realize what he's trying to do with his scheme.” Staley said Shanahan excels at explaining what both the offense and defense are trying to accomplish on each play, and why each player’s assignment is important. Both Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have directly addressed trade rumors involving tight end Vance McDonald and inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman with the players and media. When you have leadership like that, you have to raise your game. Because you know that you have to be exactly on your assignments and your techniques because he leaves no stone unturned.

Impressions from the 49ers’ last day of minicamp

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 20:29:35 UT

Brian Hoyer during football practice at the team’s training facility Tuesday in Santa Clara. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) The 49ers conducted the last of their off-season practices on Wednesday before a 40-day break until the start of training camp on July 27. Here are some of the things that we learned during the press conferences before the team’s last mandatory minicamp practice. 1. Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster is progressing well with his shoulder recuperation and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said the first-round pick should be ready for training camp. 2. Shanahan sounds as if he would consider conducting training camp off site. He said that training camp off site can

Shanahan: 49ers LB Foster should be ‘more than ready’ for training camp

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 20:00:11 UT

Shanahan: 49ers LB Foster should be ‘more than ready’ for training camp There should be something different about the 49ers when they return from a six-week layoff for training camp in late July: Today, head coach Kyle Shanahan said he expects the rookie inside linebacker who had shoulder surgery before the combine to be a full participant when the 49ers open camp. After the draft, there were reports that teams were leery of Foster because they thought he would require a follow-up surgery on the shoulder. The 49ers have expressed confidence that he would be ready for training camp.

Rookie DC Robert Saleh eager to prove 49ers made strong hire

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 17:40:55 UT

Rookie DC Robert Saleh eager to prove 49ers made strong hire The same goes for Robert Saleh, 38, their rookie defensive coordinator who first became a position coach in 2014. When I recently spoke with Saleh for a feature story that will run during training camp, I asked him about not being the top candidate for the job. After Bradley, one of his mentors, chose the Chargers over the 49ers, Saleh was ready to join his defensive staff in Los Angeles. Saleh had spent five of the previous six seasons working with Bradley, including the last three as Jacksonville’s linebackers coach. With the 49ers, Saleh inherits a defense that ranked 32nd in the NFL last year and allowed the most yards, points and rushing yards in franchise history. Given his inexperience, and the bigger names the 49ers didn’t land, is Saleh even more motivated to prove he’s the right man for the job?

49ers’ Elvis Dumervil faces old question

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 06:02:12 UT

Age can be a sensitive topic for anyone — especially world-class athletes. On Tuesday, the 49ers’ newly signed pass rusher met Bay Area reporters for the first time, and he stopped a reporter in mid-question after his “age” was invoked. [...] the reporter noted that’s old for an NFL player. [...] the 49ers hope Dumervil isn’t merely a mentor; they signed him last week because they believe the five-time Pro Bowl selection still can menace quarterbacks. Not surprisingly, Dumervil, who ranks seventh among active players in sacks (99), thinks he’s ready to showcase his 2014 form (17 sacks) after an Achilles tendon injury that partly explains his relatively paltry production over the past two seasons with the Ravens (nine sacks in 24 games). Dumervil could share snaps with Arik Armstead at the “Leo” defensive end position, which is reserved for the team’s most ferocious pass rusher. [...] Dumervil hopes to prove he still can do what he has done for most of his decorated NFL career. Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard signed a four-year contract, making defensive lineman Solomon Thomas of Stanford the only one of the 49ers’ 10 draft picks who remains unsigned. … Thomas can join the 49ers for the final day of their mandatory minicamp Thursday, although the last day won’t include a practice. Because of an NFL rule, Thomas has been unable to participate in the offseason program since he attended rookie minicamp because he went to a school which uses the quarter system.

49ers’ NaVorro Bowman inspired by Kevin Durant’s first title

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 22:53:22 UT

49ers’ NaVorro Bowman inspired by Kevin Durant’s first title NaVorro Bowman followed Kevin Durant into professional sports, and now the 49ers inside linebacker hopes to follow the NBA Finals MVP onto a championship podium. Just to see the joy in his mom’s eyes - I remember going to his house and seeing his mom get home from work, putting in those hours and time with her son. Good news for Warriors fans: Bowman thinks Durant will stay hungry in his pursuit of a second championship. “One thing I know about him is he’ll never get complacent,” Bowman said.

One 49ers intern will serve as team's first female coach

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 20:49:12 UT

Katie Sowers, an intern with Bill Walsh's Minority Coaching Fellowship program, will serve as the San Francisco 49ers' first female assistant coach this summer.

49ers’ Solomon Thomas likely to stay sidelined until training camp

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 23:42:09 UT

Thomas, the No. 3 overall pick from Stanford, was expected to participate during their mandatory minicamp Wednesday, which will include the final practice before training camp. [...] the NFL rule that prevents players who attend colleges on the quarter system from participating in most of the offseason program should keep Thomas off the field Wednesday. The Panthers’ team web site noted rookie running back Christian McCaffrey, Thomas’ teammate at Stanford, can’t practice until Thursday when Carolina has its final practice of its mandatory minicamp.

Weight and see: 49ers RT Brown racing to get ready for season

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 21:22:36 UT

Offensive line coach John Benton prefers players who are athletic and a bit lighter than average to run the 49ers’ outside zone running scheme. With that in mind, his first impression of jumbo-sized right tackle Trent Brown wasn’t wonderful in April. Listed at 6-foot-8 and 355 pounds, Brown has surprisingly nimble feet and his athleticism isn’t an issue in the outsize-zone scheme. If a player can do what he want him to from that athletic standpoint -- and has the size and power of Trent Brown -- now we’ve got something really special. The good news is Brown appears to be on track to drop the necessary weight. The 49ers did sign former Seahawks right tackle Gary Gilliam, who has started 44 games in his three-year career and has taken some first-teams snaps this offseason. [...] Gilliam doesn’t figure to pose a serious threat to Brown, as long as Brown doesn’t taken a step back in his latest race to get ready for the regular season. “He came back a little heavy, but he’s worked incredibly hard to bring that weight down,” general manager John Lynch said this month on PFT Live.

49ers LB Reuben Foster signs four-year rookie deal

Fri, 9 Jun 2017 21:14:32 UT

A week after his position coach became the latest to rave about Reuben Foster, the 49ers signed the rookie inside linebacker to a four-year contract. The 49ers now have eight of their 10 draft picks under contract, with defensive tackle Solomon Thomas (No. 3 overall) and quarterback C.J. Beathard (third round) still unsigned. Both general manager John Lynch and vice president of player personnel Adam Peters have said Foster, the No. 31 overall pick, was their favorite player in the draft. [...] 49ers linebackers coach Johnny Holland was also doing cartwheels when the 49ers traded up three spots to land Foster. Last year, Foster was a first-team AP All-American, the SEC Championship Game MVP and the winner of the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation’s top linebacker. At the combine, he failed a drug test and was dismissed after he got into an argument with a hospital employee. Amid multiple reports that Foster will require a follow-up shoulder surgery, Foster and the 49ers have expressed confidence that he will ready for training camp in late July.

49ers’ offense racing to be ready by September

Fri, 9 Jun 2017 05:41:58 UT

The offense being installed by head coach Kyle Shanahan is known for its graduate-level complexity, and players have noted that defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme is fairly easy to digest.

49ers’ new regime won over by DT Chris Jones’ hustle

Thu, 8 Jun 2017 01:11:18 UT

Consider the case of defensive tackle Chris Jones, who was a rarity this offseason. The 49ers had 17 unrestricted free agents March 9, the first day of the new league year, and their new regime re-signed only one player: [...] he runs to the ball, defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina said. [...] despite modest ability, the 2013 sixth-round pick has carved out a decent career. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was asked how Jones has been able to overcome his limitations. Because he’s going to work harder and longer,” Saleh said, “than you’re willing to go. The 49ers re-signed Jones, 26, but he’s not guaranteed a roster spot on a team teeming with defensive linemen who will play plenty inside. Former general manager Trent Baalke and assistant general manager Tom Gamble raved about his play in exit interviews, but Jones wasn’t sure how the new regime would view him. [...] Jones played in the Super Bowl with a torn calf muscle and the injury sidelined him for the 2015 season and led to his release in April 2016.

What does the signing of Elvis Dumervil really mean?

Tue, 6 Jun 2017 15:17:57 UT

Elvis Dumervil #58 of the Baltimore Ravens sacks Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) A few elements animate the Seattle-fashioned defense the 49ers now play. One is a balling, instinctive free safety who knows where the play is going before it happens. Think Earl Thomas. The second is a voracious pursuer of quarterbacks. Think Elvis Dumervil in his prime. Now think 33-year-old Dumervil trying to revive what’s left of his career with the 49ers. At least that’s what general manager John Lynch is thinking after signing Dumervil to a