Tag:San Francisco 49ers
Posted on: September 9, 2011 2:24 pm

Kubiak: Foster took 'big step forward'

Posted by Will Brinson

The Arian Foster injury saga continued Friday, as the running back didn't practice ... but still made progress. Again.

Such is the life for any athlete with the combination of scrutiny -- Twitter, fantasy football -- and injury -- hamstring -- that Foster's dealing with.

"Arian did not practice today but worked extremely hard in his rehab," head coach Gary Kubiak said after practice Friday. "He took a big step forward ... it will be a game-time decision."

If I were a sick fantasy football fan who drafted Foster in like 15 leagues, I would resign myself with a "sigh" right now. But right after that, I would run out and pick up Derrick Ward, who will be, according to Kubiak, starting IF Foster can't go on Sunday.

Ben Tate will also get some snaps, although it seems most of the world (sans Kubiak) believes he's a better runner. Ward, on the other hand, is a better blocker.

So it actually makes sense, as our friend Steph Stradley of the Houston Chronicle points out, that if the game between the Texans and Colts is close, that Ward will continue getting the lion's share of carries. If the Texans, as we expect, pile up a big lead on Indy, then you can be sure you'll see plenty of action from Tate.

We mentioned yesterday that Kubiak has an interesting gamble on his hands with this game -- sitting Foster to give him an extra week of rest assuming that the rest of the team can handle a Peyton Manning-less Colts team -- and it's clear he's leaving that option open.

Even if Foster does play, it's unlikely that he'll get anything more than 10-15 carries, though, as the Texans have a full season to worry about, not just Sunday's game.

There've been some reports that Foster is going to miss the game. And there have been some reports that he won't. Speculation, though, is almost pointless until Foster get a ping from the hamstring gods.

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Posted on: September 8, 2011 7:58 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 8:01 pm

'Game-time' Foster waiting on 'hamstring gods'

Posted by Will Brinson

You wanna know when Arian Foster will be cleared to play on Sunday? Yeah, well, so does everyone else, including him.

Unfortunately, from the sound of the things that Gary Kubiak -- who called Foster day-to-day Wednesday -- said after practice it doesn't look like we'll get an answer until a little closer to kickoff against the Colts.

"Everything’s still progressing the same way," Kubiak said Thursday. "But obviously we’re getting close to game time."

But Kubiak won't ever really know. Only Foster will when his  unless the "hamstring gods" carbon copy his coach as well.

"I'm going to get an e-mail from the hamstring gods, and they’re going to tell me when it’s ready," Foster said when asked how he'd know when he's ready to play. "I refresh my e-mail every 20 minutes."

Foster also had some serious answers -- "when you try to push through it's just going to re-occur" and "it's something that has to heal completely before you can come back completely" -- but that right there is why this guy is one of my favorite players in the NFL right now.

In other Texans-Colts news, every single person on Houston's team refuses to talk about the fact that Kerry Collins isn't as good as Peyton Manning.

"No, I don’t think so," new defensive coordinator Wade Philips said when asked if he'd change his preparation without Manning in the game. "Like I said, the first ball game is enough. Maybe later in the season maybe some things change, but right now we’re excited about playing this game. We want to put our defense together, play mistake-free and make some plays."

What Phillips didn't mention is that he absolutely owns the Colts new starting Kerry Collins, who is 0-7 in his career when going against Philips-coached teams, having never scored more than 17 points.

Does that mean that the Texans are finally going to shake the Colts and dominate the AFC South. Well nothing's a guarantee but if the stars could ever align for a division title my goodness it's happening for Houston.

Which is probably why they don't want to jinx it.

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Posted on: September 6, 2011 9:39 pm
Edited on: September 6, 2011 9:53 pm

Braylon Edwards avoids DUI suspension, fined $50K

Posted by Will Brinson

Braylon Edwards pled guilty in court for a DWI and somehow escaped jail time. More good news came Edwards' way on Tuesday, too, as the NFL informed the 49ers that Edwards won't be suspended during the 2011 season.

That's per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, who also reports that Edwards will be tagged with a $50,000 fine from the league for violation of the league's substance abuse policy. In other words, he's getting off pretty cleanly.

Edwards' case is bizarre because he's been sitting out in limbo for quite some time -- his DUI occurred in September 2010 -- and because he's had other run-ins with the law since his DUI arrest. The league, however, indicated that this fine (and the lack of suspension) was for the DUI only.

"Any other matters will be addressed at the appropriate time," a league spokesperson said.

So, yeah, Edwards could up facing more discipline from the league, although it's not guaranteed. Perhaps, like the rest of the league during free agency, they'll just forget about him.

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Posted on: September 5, 2011 12:42 pm

Arian Foster 'ready' for Week 1 versus Colts?

Posted by Will Brinson

The two biggest superstar injury concerns are going down in the AFC South, and while Peyton Manning's neck is a big concern for Colts fans, so to is the hamstring of Texans running back Arian Foster.

Foster's been the subject of much scrutiny since leaving a preseason game with the hamstring injury -- including his tweeting a pic of his MRI last week -- but the Houston Chronicle's John McClain wrote on Monday morning that he believes Foster will be good to go for the first week of the season against Indy.

"Because it wasn't a serious hamstring injury, merely an aggravation of the injury that caused him to miss two weeks of camp, he'll be ready for the Colts," McClain wrote. "No one knows for sure about it being an issue this season, but fantasy football owners should take him and not look back."

Yes, there's a good chance McClain's decision to mention fantasy football will sit hilariously well with Foster. And no, he's not actually reporting that Foster has been cleared to play Week 1, I don't believe.

And no, it's also not an official word from either the Texans or head coach Gary Kubiak.

But McClain knows the team as well as anyone not actually employed by said team, and if he's willing to push his chips into the center of the table to back Foster's ability to get on the field Week 1, that's about as good a sign as you can get for the Texans running game.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 4:31 pm

Harbaugh thinks Smith can develop into a good QB

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Fair or not, Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers will forever be linked. The first two quarterbacks drafted in 2005, Smith was taken No. 1 by the 49ers, and Rodgers, who many thought was worthy of the top pick, sat in the green room for several uncomfortable hours until the Packers took mercy on him and selected him 24th overall.

Now more than six years later, Rodgers is a Super Bowl champ and Smith is, well, still trying to establish himself as a competent NFL quarterback. It hasn't helped that Smith has had a revolving door of head coaches, offensive coordinators and new offenses to learn. But things are different in San Francisco. New coach Jim Harbaugh gives Smith something he hasn't had previously: stability and support.

Way back in June, just as the lockout was heating up, Harbaugh said Smith's decision to return to the 49ers required "a rare kind of character, it probably falls somewhere in the endangered and extinct range, so we can win with that."

Smith eventually agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal and all indications are that he will be the starters in 2011, despite the team taking Colin Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Harbaugh recently appeared on San Diego sports radio to talk about Smith's role with the team this season (via SportsRadioInterviews.com).

"Yes he can (develop into a good starting quarterback). The things that have occurred over the first seven years of Alex’s career have been good," Harbaugh said. "There has been some tough times, but all those experiences I believe lead to success. You never know what path it is going to take or what’s going to transpire to get Alex and our franchise to where we want to go, so just with continuous effort just keep plugging away and he’s done a great job of that. He’s been mentally tough guy. He’s been physically tough and a strong young man. It’s been a pleasure to work with him and hopefully we are doing everything we can to make our team better and get Alex and us where we want to go.” 

The Seattle Seahawks look to take the division once again as the Cardinals, 49ers and Rams are eager to take the top spot. Who will finish on top? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan joins Jason Horowitz to preview the NFC West this season.

Smith may not have much in the way of actual results to show for it, but he's proven through his actions that he's a tough dude. Of course, the NFL scrap heap if full of guys who could take a beating. Having a high tolerance for pain doesn't magically equate to success. But again, that could have more to do with the transient nature of the 49ers' coaching staff during Smith's career than his ability to lead a team.

We've often wondered what Rodgers' career would look like if he ended up in San Francisco. Maybe they would be coming off a championship season. More likely: they wouldn't be much different than the team we see now. Yes, franchise quarterbacks are vitally important, but having a steady presence in the front office can't be understated, either.

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 9:25 pm

What do the Bengals hope to get from Taylor Mays?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Taylor Mays, the safety from USC taken by the 49ers in the second round of the 2010 draft, was traded to the Bengals nine days ago. At the time, the terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but various outlets are now reporting that San Francisco got a 2013 seventh-round pick for their troubles. It doesn't take much draft-math calculating to figure out that it's a shoddy return-on-investment for the 49ers, who saw enough in one season to give up on a player with through-the-roof measurables but not much in the way of on-field ability.

So, naturally, Mays ends up in Cincinnati.

The move didn't immediately make sense (at least in terms of Mays filling an obvious void in the secondary); the team had Roy Williams on the roster for the '09 and '10 season and he didn't make much of impact. Mays is similar to Williams in that he's supposed to be a hard-hitting safety, but he comes without the NFL track record or Pro Bowl pedigree.

There's also the issue of the Bengals willingly giving up a draft pick when, earlier this month, the 49ers sent out a mass email to 31 teams asking if there was any interest in Mays. At the time, there were no takers but the implication was that, barely a year after San Francisco had drafted him, Mays would be released before the start of the season.

It never got to that point.

Maybe the Bengals should've waited until Mays was cut to go after him. But if they really wanted him, you could argue that they were smart to give up just a seventh-rounder ... two years from now. It allowed the team to get Mays for literally next to nothing while also guaranteeing he wouldn't hit the open market.

But we still don't know why Cincinnati acquired Mays. He didn't show much as a rookie and the feeling around the league was that he probably never would.

So we asked CBS analyst, Cincinnati resident, and former NFL defensive back Solomon Wilcots what the Bengals might be thinking.

"Clearly, a player like Mays does have some ability … but you've got to have a plan for him because he hasn't proven that he can embrace all the elements of what it means to be a good defensive back in the NFL, whether its coverage, run-stopping, or quarterbacking your secondary," Wilcots told CBSSports.com recently.

"But for (defensive coordinator) Mike Zimmer and the Cincinnati Bengals defense, they've been lacking that big physical presence at the safety position. And traditionally, they have loved to have that kind of David Fulcher-type player. I think that's kind of what they're thinking (with Mays), I think they'd love to have a guy they can use in all their blitz packages.

Then-49ers coach Mike Singletary was instrumental in bringing Taylor Mays to San Francisco. Now it will be up to Bengals' defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer (center) and head coach Marvin Lewis (right) to mold Mays into an NFL safety. (Getty Images)  
"Remember," Wilcots continued, "their head coach, Marvin Lewis, was a defensive coordinator … they understand that if they have a safety who can change the line of scrimmage -- whether it's stuffing the run or pressuring the quarterback in the blitz packages -- and have him be an in-the-box defender, (in theory) it makes them a much better defense. And this defense is going to have to carry the team. You have such a young offense, young quarterback, young wide receivers. … I think that's just some of the psychology behind (making the trade). Now whether or not Mays can do all those things remains to be seen."

As for why the Bengals would trade for a player destined to get cut? One reason, according to Wilcots, could be that the team needed to bolster the position and were willing "taking a flier on him."

He continued: "I think the reasons why a lot of other teams passed, they were probably hoping that [the 49ers] would release him and they'd get him (for nothing). But he hasn't proven that he can do those things and these were some of the questions we had on him coming out of USC. Great specimen but not what we'd call an instinctive football player. The bar is so high when it comes to the Adrian Wilsons, the Ed Reeds, the Troy Polamalus -- big play-making safeties -- that's what we were wanting to see from Mays coming out. We saw that in Eric Berry. We saw it from Earl Thomas. We didn't see that with (Mays)."

It's a no-risk proposition for the Bengals, a team in transition and with needs at key positions on the roster, including safety. Worst case: Mays doesn't work out, the two sides go their separate ways, and the all the Bengals lose is a 2013 seventh-rounder. Best case: Mays flourishes in Zimmer's system and he proves his doubters wrong.

Either way, Cincy has much bigger problems heading into 2011, starting with the aforementioned young quarterback and the group of young pass-catchers.

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 4:29 pm

Arian Foster tweets hamstring MRI, still fine?

Posted by Will Brinson

Much ado has been made of the hamstring injury that Arian Foster's suffered on Saturday night as the Texans beat down San Francisco in the preseason.

And Foster told Gregg Doyel and me on Tuesday that his hamstring is doing just fine. But don't just listen to the podcast for that evidence (though you should do that anyway, duh) -- you can see the proof yourself courtesy of, of course, a recent tweet from Foster which featured an MRI of his hammy.

"This is an MRI of my hamstring, The white stuff surrounding the muscle is known in the medical world as anti-awesomeness," Foster tweeted on Wednesday.

"If I had a "significant injury" why post it?" Foster added on Twitter later in the afternoon. "I'll be fine, it was jus meant to make fun of the whole situation. Humor is lost nowadays."

Look, Foster's got a point here. If this MRI showed his leg being broken in half, there wouldn't be anything amusing about it. And he's indicated over and over that he'll be fine, but pretty clearly he's dealing with a hamstring injury. No one is debating this.

There's some chatter that this injury could be a "three-to-four week" healing process, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll miss that time, just that the Texans might take it easy with their workhorse.

That's the smart thing to do if you're in charge of keeping the 2010 NFL rushing leader healthy, regardless of what fantasy owners want.

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 10:34 am

Podcast: Top-10 QBs, Power Rankings, Frank Gore

Posted by Will Brinson & Ryan Wilson

Podcast time, kids! And it's the last one before we go full-on with our heavy schedule of talking on the Internet radios during the regular season. So I suggest you get your subscribe on right here.

New season, new name (CBSSports.com's Pick-6 Podcast) and snazzy new art. Yeah, that's how we're rolling.

In the meantime, we debate our top-10 quarterback list if the season started right now (read: Peyton Manning doesn't make it unless you think he's faking), wonder whether Tony Romo can make the jump to an "elite" quarterback, why Will thinks Philip Rivers is better than Drew Brees and what on earth Ryan's doing with Ben Roethlisberger in his top three.

We also debate Pete Prisco's power rankings and then wonder why the 49ers gave Frank Gore so much money.

Conversatin' starts … now (and while we have you, remember to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes). If you can't listen to the podcast below, download it here. And if you'd like to keep working while listening in your browser, pop that puppy out in a new tab here.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com