Tag:San Francisco 49ers
Posted on: July 27, 2011 2:21 pm

Frank Gore and DeSean Jackson plan to hold out

GorePosted by Josh Katzowitz

During the first two days of free agency, we haven’t heard too much about players threatening to hold out from training camp. Mostly, it’s been about high-priced veterans getting cut or teams overpaying for players who aren’t what they once were.

But that annual rite of training camp is about to begin, and, as the Sacramento Bee and the Philadelphia Sports Daily writes, that first two players who have made the probable decisions to hold out are 49ers RB Frank Gore and Eagles WR DeSean Jackson.

Gore is entering the final year of his contract, in which he’ll make a $2.9 million base salary with a $2 million roster bonus. But now that he’s 28, this might be the last chance he has to make a huge payday before teams consider him too old to be an effective starting RB.

It should also be noted that instead of participating in player-led offseason workouts that QB Alex Smith organized during the lockout, Gore remained in Miami to continue rehabbing his broken hip that ended his season last year.

For Jackson, the frustration has been evident since the beginning of training camp last year. He'll enter the final year of his rookie contract set to make $565,000, and QB Michael Vick intimated Tuesday that Jackson might not be at training camp, saying, "DeSean just has some things to think about and some decisions to make that only himself can make."

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:17 pm

Alex Smith returns to 49ers for $5 million deal

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For a guy who was nearly replaced in a Monday Night Football game last year by David Carr, 49ers QB Alex Smith is making out pretty well this season in what probably will be his last chance as a San Francisco starter.

ESPN, via the National Football Post, is reporting that Smith has reached an agreement for a one-year, $5 million contract with the 49ers.

The former No. 1 draft pick has been a major disappointment for San Francisco, which took Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick in the second round of the 2010 draft.

Unless Smith somehow has a breakout year, in his sixth season in the NFL, 2011 most likely will be the final opportunity for 49ers fans to gnash their teeth over him.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 10:08 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 10:23 pm

Takeo Spikes agrees to terms with Chargers

SpikesPosted by Josh Katzowitz

After three seasons in San Francisco, free agent LB Takeo Spikes has a new destination. The Chargers announced Tuesday night that Spikes and San Diego have agreed to terms on a three-year deal.

Even though Spikes will turn 35 in December, he’s coming off a standout year in which he combined for 109 tackles, his biggest number since 2003, and recorded three interceptions. Though it’s understandable why the 49ers wouldn’t want to give him a long-term contract -- though one of the San Francisco beat writers earlier this year said signing Spikes was a “no brainer” -- Spikes clearly still has value.

Even better for Spikes, his old defensive coordinator in San Francisco, Greg Manusky, is now in San Diego.

And maybe for Spikes, it’ll be nice to play for a team that has a pretty good chance to win. From my Five Questions (or More) with him last November:

4. CBS: You know, your career is fascinating to me. You’ve played at such a high level for so long, but you’ve only been on one team that’s finished with a winning record. After 12 years in the league …

Spikes: Thirteen years.

CBS: After 13 years, how do you still get excited about football, even when the teams you’ve played on haven’t been so good?

Spikes: I walk on faith. I think that’s the bottom line. Back in the day, early in my career, you don’t know anything about how a team is supposed to feel, and not understanding the reasons why we’re paying quarterbacks $10-12 million per year. If you have a good quarterback, you’re able to go out and compete no matter how bad your defense is. That’s a fact. Earlier in my career, I didn’t understand that. I thought the defense could do it all. But you still need help. Now, how do I keep myself going? I’m surrounded by a great group of guys, and it’s an even push. They push me all the time. I know what we can be. I see us working toward that as a defense.

- In other former Bills LB news, Paul Posluszny has agreed to a six-year deal with the Jaguars, according to NFL.com's Jason LaCanfora.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 11:50 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 12:09 am

Alex Smith's return to 49ers 'set in stone'

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL is pretty full of uncertainty these days. Unless you're Alex Smith, erstwhile starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

Because if you're Smith, now that the lockout's over, everything else is pretty much cream cheese. Or "set in stone," if you're not a big fan of Bobby Finstock motivational quotes.

"I'm not going to wait for anything," Smith said about signing with the 49ers, per Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. "I'm excited for this to start ... waiting for that opportunity.

"I'm sure it'll be pretty quick. I'm sure it'll move fast. It's pretty well set in stone, I think."

Smith declined to discuss whether or not any (hypothetical) contract with the 49ers would have a (hypothetical) option for a second year -- surely both sides would prefer that.

Smith would get a little more safety and if Jim Harbaugh can resurrect his career that quickly, the team won't get torched by having to give him a huge contract.

Worst case? It doesn't work out for either party and we're all left wondering "Who's the quarterback?" by midseason anyway.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 3:33 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 4:01 pm

Would the Raiders and 49ers be willing to share?

San Francisco would like to leave Candlestick Park (Getty).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The 49ers have wanted a new stadium in which to play for many years, and the Raiders have one of the oldest residences in the league. Presumably, they wouldn’t mind new digs either.

The perfect solution? Build one and let both of them play inside.

And that’s actually what the two sides are discussing, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"We've put our teams together," 49ers chief executive Jed York told the paper. "It doesn't mean we're going to find the right deal that fits for both teams, but we're certainly going to get a look at those options."

Said Oakland chief executive Amy Trask: "We have said repeatedly that we have an open mind with respect to our stadium solution. An open mind means an open mind as to sharing a facility with the 49ers. I say to Jed regularly that we should have not only an open mind to the sharing of the facility, but to the location of the facility which we might share. And so there are a lot of options for us to consider."

First, the two sides would have to figure out where to build the new stadium. The 49ers have been working diligently on getting a new home in Santa Clara, and already, the city has passed a bill that would allow $114 million of public money to be used to build it. At this point, the Raiders don’t have any options for building a new stadium.

The NFL likely would take a positive view of such an arrangement, considering how well it’s worked out in New Jersey with the Jets and the Giants. In fact, some believe that the two teams sharing the stadium is the ONLY way a new place will be built.

"You have a league that has no plan in place to support the building of new stadiums," said former 49ers president Carmen Policy. "You can't finance that deal in Santa Clara. I'm not sure you can in San Francisco, either."

"I believe the league has an internal belief that the only way to build a world-class stadium in the Bay Area would be a two-team stadium.”

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 8:23 pm

Mornhinweg: Vick can be better than Young

Posted by Ryan Wilson

If you've grown tired of the Brady-Manning debates, here's one you probably never (ever ever) considered: Steve Young vs. Michael Vick. Sounds preposterous, right?

Well, Vick's offensive coordinator in Philadelphia, Marty Mornhinweg, made the comparison recently, and the man knows a few things about NFL quarterbacks. He coached Brett Favre in 1996 (Super Bowl), Young in 1997 and 1998 (last Pro Bowl seasons), Jeff Garcia in 2000 (Pro Bowl), Donovan McNabb from 2004-2009 (he had his five best passing seasons), and Vick last season (Pro Bowl).

Which brings us back to Young and Vick.

"Here was a man (in Vick) who hasn't played for a couple of years," Mornhinweg said. "However, if he did it the right way, I thought he could be a Steve Young-type player … Mike's got a long way to go, but, you know what? I think he can be better than Steve."

We know what you're thinking. "This is the same guy who won the overtime coin toss and elected to kickoff instead of receive, right?" Yes. But we're blaming Lions president Matt Millen. His mismanagement style was infectious; at just about every other stop Mornhinweg has been successful. And it's for that reason that we shouldn't summarily dismiss him when he talks about Vick in the same breath as Young, a Hall of Famer.

PFT.com's Michael David Smith makes a good point. "Asking Vick to be a better quarterback than Young is a tall order. …However, there are a lot of similarities between Vick and Young. They’re both mobile left-handed quarterbacks playing in similar offensive systems. And Young didn’t become the 49ers’ quarterback until he was 30 years old — the same age Vick was last year."

The Philadelphia News' Marcus Hayes writes that Vick had a passer rating of 100.2 last season under Mornhinweg. That was good for fourth in the league. As an NFL starter with the Falcons, Vick never had a passer rating above 81.6.

Whether the rest of Vick's career will mirror Young's is a story that has yet to be written, but there's no disputing that 2010 was Vick's best NFL season. Pretty sure nobody saw that coming, either.

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Posted on: July 1, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 9:31 am

Aaron Rodgers not worried about missed practices

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The defending Super Bowl champs aren't holding informal workouts during the lockout. And by all accounts, they seem content with that strategy heading into the 2011 season.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy first addressed the issue publicly two weeks ago.

“I’m more interested in them being together as a group for Greg Jennings’ event or Donald Driver’s event," McCarthy told ESPN Milwaukee's Jason Wilde. "I think that’s as important as them going onto the field and trying to manufacture a practice. I think anytime you have a group of people, especially professionals, there’s other factors involved that obviously have to deal with risk. Part of our business in the training environment is risk assessment."

On Thursday, it was quarterback Aaron Rodgers' turn. Speaking on a conference call to promote the American Celebrity Championship golf tournament (because what better time to discuss non-football activities than with fairways and beer carts as the backdrop), the Rodgers sounded unconcerned by the lack of player-organized workouts.

“We did have a great gathering in Green Bay a few Thursdays ago,” Rodgers said of the Super Bowl ring ceremony. “Other than that, we haven’t had anything official. And the reasoning is that guys’ schedules and the risk-reward, which I think (coach) Mike McCarthy hit on. … Mike has always been a big supporter of the work we do individually. I’ll just refer to what Mike said as far as some of that stuff goes and just leave it at that.”

We mentioned it last month, but it's hard to argue with how the Packers choose to prepare since, you know, they're five month removed from a championship. And it's not as if their Super Bowl run was a fluke; Green Bay, for all those years with Brett Favre and now with Rodgers, are a perennial playoff team.

So while these get-togethers might be "better than nothing" (Eli Manning's words last month), they don't replicate the intensity of minicamp or training camp sessions, and come with the associated injury risks. McCarthy's right: Part of training is risk assessment.

Take, for example, 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree who, according to teammate Vernon Davis, injured his foot during an informal team training session June 9.

This helps explain why, if the lockout ends in the coming weeks, McCarthy probably won't hold pre-training camp workouts.

"The league might allow some workout/practice days at team facilities before training camps open, but McCarthy won’t put his players through any minicamp or organized team activity-type practices, the Press-Gazette's Rob Demovsky wrote Thursday.

"Instead, he plans to use those allotted pre-training camp days to get players in the weight room and in the classroom to make sure they’re ready to go when training opens, which would be July 30 if a new CBA is done in time."

Meanwhile, progress toward a new CBA continues in fits and starts.

“I think everybody has a sense that [the lockout is] going to end soon,” Rodgers said. “It’s just a matter of how soon is soon.”

For the time being, Rodgers is more focused on golf. Now watch this drive.

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Posted on: June 30, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 6:04 pm

Report: Nutcracker ended Heitmann's 2010 season

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Call it the Nutcracker or call it Oklahoma, but the reality of the preseason drill that showcases a defensive player going head to head with an offensive player in an effort to move the other backward is that it’s a thrilling -- yet dangerous -- proposition.

The highlight of the 2009 Bengals preseason camp for me occurred when WR Maurice Purify dominated S Roy Williams, known as one of the hardest hitters in the league, and knocked him backward in an embarrassing display for Williams. To watch it live and up close was awesome -- the speed, the power, the car crash intensity.

But it can be terrifying, especially when we hear the news that 49ers C Eric Heitmann’s neck injury that kept him out of last season occurred during a Nutcracker drill in San Francisco’s training camp.

That’s what 49ers T Joe Staley told SFGate.com (via CSN Bay Area), and it’s the disturbing result of a drill that perhaps should be taken out of practice altogether (like not giving water breaks on excruciatingly hot days).

CSN Bay Area reached former coach Mike Singletary by phone Thursday, and he said, “I have no response to that. I don't really know what Eric's prior situation was, so I'm not going to respond to that.”

According to CSN, a number of players were injured during the drill in Singletary’s first full season as head coach, and afterward team trainer Jeff Ferguson expressed concern to Singletary about the practice.

"When I sat down and explained to him why we did the Nutcracker, then he saw it as a very positive thing," Singletary said in the spring of 2010.

Hmm, that’s an interesting approach.

But Singletary also apparently tweaked the drill before last training camp to make it safer.

"I really had the coaches get together and look at the Nutcracker," he said. "Instead of just one guy getting on one side and the other guy getting on the other side and just knocking the crap out of each other, we're trying to get more out of it."

Unfortunately for Heitmann, it sounds like the tweaking didn’t go far enough.

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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