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Tag:Jim Harbaugh
Posted on: August 11, 2011 4:27 pm
 

Hot Routes 8.11.11: Osi could return Monday



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Looks like Chargers LT Marcus McNeil will miss the first two preseason games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs from his knee. "It’s one of those things if you were working through May and June," Norv Turner said, "some of that gets out of the way earlier.”
  • Steelers rookie Baron Batch tore his ACL at practice Wednesday, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette wonders if it occurred because the team practiced on artificial turf. Remember, Heinz Field is natural grass, because the Steelers believe it cuts down on injuries.
  • As we’ve all been taught, pimping ain’t easy. Especially if you’re the guy who set up Lawrence Taylor with his prostitute.
  • After being suspended for all of last year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, former Falcons DB Jimmy Williams has been reinstated by the league.
  • The Dolphins would prefer their fans NOT to post videos of practice online, thanks very much. You know, the whole competitive disadvantage thing.

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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: June 16, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: June 16, 2011 12:07 pm
 

Harbaugh mum on Smith, calls Crabtree 'good guy'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

New 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has been outspoken about his plans for quarterback Alex Smith, even though Smith will be a free agent once the lockout is resolved, and the NFL issued a memo last month to the team reminding them not to comment on players not on the roster.

Either Harbaugh just got around to reading said memo or he didn't give it much credence until now. Either way, he's toned down the Alex Smith cheerleading. According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Harbaugh avoided mentioning Smith by name during a Wednesday interview on "The Murph & Mac Show" on KNBR-680.

"On Sunday, Harbaugh, despite the memo, had spoken freely about Smith during an on-air interview with Padres announcer Dick Enberg during a Padres-Nationals game in San Diego," the Press Democrat's Eric Branch wrote Wednesday. "Harbaugh said Smith's decision to return to San Francisco, where he's been the subject of withering criticism, displayed 'a rare kind of character. It probably falls somewhere in the endangered and extinct range. So we can win with that.' On KNBR, however, Harbaugh was asked two Smith-related questions and, in response, spoke in general terms."

Harbaugh also spoke about wide receiver Michael Crabtree who, unlike Smith, is currently under contract with the 49ers:

"I've been around him a little bit," the coach said. "And Crab to me is a good guy and a good football player. Just some of the things lately kind of goes back to the analogy I gave a little bit ago, when you're kids and working it out and sometimes you get into some tussles and shirts get ripped and noses get bloodied, but that's part of figuring it out.

"I know he's a good guy. I know the other guys on our team are good guys. That's another interesting part of watching these guys figure it out. I know personally, when it comes to me, getting into quite few scrapes growing up. Most people I know and are friends with had some run-ins at some point in time. And, usually, you're better friends because of it. But, no, he's got the license and the ability. And from my experience begin around him, I think he's a guy who's about us and about the team being successful."

And we can't hold it against Crabtree that he didn't know that Alex is supposedly the 49ers starting quarterback in 2011. Last season, two Smiths -- Alex and Troy -- shared the starting duties, and both had run-ins with then-coach Mike Singletary. All that matters is that Crabtree isn't picky.

"Whoever the quarterback is, I'm 100 percent down with it and I'm ready to go," he said last week. "That's it."

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 5:34 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2011 7:19 pm
 

So, about Alex Smith starting for the 49ers...

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Maybe 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree misunderstood the question last week when he was asked if "throwing with the quarterback was beneficial toward improving chemistry." His response -- "Who's the quarterback?" -- was the latest slight in a career full of them for former first-overall pick Alex Smith.

Smith's six years in the NFL can kindly be described as underwhelming, a mix of bad luck and bad teams (and don't forget small hands). But new coach Jim Harbaugh stated in late April, shortly after the team drafted Colin Kaepernick, that Smith (who will be a free agent once the lockout ends), pretty much has the starting job sewn up.

"Well, Alex is going to definitely have the head start," Harbaugh said at the time. "He has played in the National Football League. He's won games in the National Football League. So if I'm a betting man, I'm betting on Alex Smith."

Technically, yes, Smith has "won games in the National Football League." So have Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell, two other QBs drafted at the top of the first round who will only get into Canton by purchasing a ticket. So realistically, what can Harbaugh expect from a guy who has played in 54 games in six seasons, and completed just 57 percent of his passes?

ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando breaks out his TI-35 in search of the answer. Specifically, going back to 1970, Sando looked at seasons two through six for every quarterback who had thrown between 40 and 55 touchdown passes, had no more than 45 interceptions, and had started at least 40 games during this period. (Sando excluded rookie seasons because Smith was so dreadful his first year in the league that it threw the analysis out of whack.)

The quarterbacks most similar to Smith through six seasons, according to Sando (scroll to the bottom for the statistical comparisons): Jim McMahon, Greg Landry and -- wait for it -- Jim Harbaugh.

No wonder Harbaugh wants to give Smith the job; Jim literally seems himself in Alex. (Another contributing factor: Kaepernick hasn't taken part in one organized practice with the 49ers.) 

Actually, Harbaugh doesn't have much choice. And while fans aren't typically a forgiving bunch, particularly after watching a player make the same mistakes for the better part of six seasons, Smith still has a chance to be a decent NFL starter. We mentioned Leaf and Russell above, but that was in response to "hey, this guy's won NFL games!", not a strict comparison of skills. Smith has shown glimpses of abilities, albeit brief. Either injuries or distractions have intervened, sidetracking any progress.

Whatever, unless Smith plays like Derek Anderson did with the Browns in 2007 (it's hard to believe now, but Anderson was a Pro Bowler that year), or Tommy Maddox did with the Steelers in 2002, he's probably nothing more than a one-season bridge to Kaepernick. There are worse fates than trying to salvage an NFL career. Smith, for instance, could be caught up in the sordid world of purple drank.

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 10:06 am
Edited on: June 15, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Fewell still confident about coaching prospects

FewellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

A few months ago, after Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell had gone 0-for-4 on landing a head coaching job in the offseason, Fewell felt fine about his position in the NFL.

He didn’t wonder if he had taken over for Leslie Frazier as the hot new Rooney Rule token interview. In fact, he felt as if the Rooney Rule helped him get his face and his ideas in front of the executives who hire head coaches – not just those who needed new coaches immediately, but for the entire league.

And just because the Browns job went to Pat Shurmur and the Broncos job went to John Fox and the Panthers job went to Ron Rivera and the 49ers job went to Jim Harbaugh – all of them beat out Fewell for those respective positions – that doesn’t mean Fewell feels hopeless.

Instead, Fewell – who was in charge of a Giants defense that ranked No. 7 in the league last year (after it was No. 13 in 2009) – is a confident man.

His attitude hasn't changed. Fewell still feels pretty good about his spot in the NFL.

“I know now, probably more so than ever, that I’m ready,” he told the Newark Star Ledger. “I’m prepared to lead a club and an organization and a football team into battle on Sundays to win a Super Bowl. I learned a lot about administration and organization and preparation as far as the interview process is concerned.”

Fewell's journey
Not only has Fewell steadily improved New York’s defensive ranking, he also has true proof that he can be a successful head coach. In 2009, the Bills fired Dick Jauron midway though the season, and they elevated Fewell – the defensive coordinator in Buffalo – to the interim head coach position.

Almost miraculously, Fewell led the Bills to a 3-4 record during the final seven games, giving his head coaching profile a huge boost. It was a wonderful performance by Fewell, and though the Bills passed him over in order to hire Chan Gailey, Fewell suddenly became a legit candidate.

Obviously, he went undefeated in NOT getting a new job this offseason.

But like Frazier before him, Fewell eventually will land his head coaching job. And it will have had nothing to do with the Rooney Rule.

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Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 12:36 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.13.11: Nice payday for De Smith



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • The Sports Business Journal reports today that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith made $2.45 million last year and that his current term ends next March. Depending on how this lockout plays out, I wonder if he’ll get much opposition for another term.
  • Before the NFL Draft, Jets RB Shonn Greene didn’t know what the team had planned for him next year. But after coach Rex Ryan announced he would be the main guy in the backfield, Greene said he now knows the kind of confidence his coaches have in him.
  • AEG is doing everything it can to woo a team to Los Angeles, but the Bills are not on the immediate list for relocation. However, the Buffalo News points out that when owner Ralph Wilson dies the organization could be a viable candidate to leave Buffalo.
  • 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is optimistic about the labor situation. He thinks a deal can be done by early July.

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 10:25 am
 

Sounds like Alex Smith will stay in San Francisco

SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Though 49ers QB Alex Smith made his first meeting with the media this offseason an off-the-record session (meaning that he asked reporters, including Comcast Sports Net’s Mindi Bach not to quote him directly), he also made it pretty clear that he expects to return to San Francisco in 2011.

Though he looked pretty much good as gone at the end of last season – it was certainly a mutual feeling between him and his team – and despite the fact San Francisco proclaimed its next QB of the future by drafting Colin Kaepernick in the second round of last month’s NFL draft, Smith said he and new coach Jim Harbaugh are getting along well.

The fact Harbaugh is an offensive-minded head coach – as opposed to the 49ers last two hires, Mike Singletary and Mike Nolan – also plays well in Smith’s mind.

There are also other reasons why Smith’s mindset has changed. Smith’s wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to their first child last week, meaning he’d like to stay put for now, and with the lockout freezing free agency, he hasn’t had a chance to look elsewhere for a new organization anyway.

The 49ers also appear to want him back, which could be why Harbaugh already has presented him with the team’s 2011 playbook, featuring Harbaugh’s West Coast offense terminology.

And now considering the lockout could extend into training camp, which would profoundly effect incoming college players, it makes sense to have a more experienced QB who’s taken plenty of NFL snaps as the team’s starter, rather than a rookie who has shined the past few years in the WAC.

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Posted on: May 6, 2011 7:25 pm
 

Hot Routes 5.6.11: Count Javier Arenas as lucky



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • As a devastating tornado raged around him in Tuscaloosa, Chiefs DB Javier Arenas took shelter in a bathtub. Arenas was fine, but a block away, the weather caused complete devastation. Said Arenas: “I want to thank the makers of my tub.
  • Although Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz turned down a contract extension from the club, he still says he badly wants to stay in Chicago. He’s just letting his negotiator do his thing.
  • TV broadcaster Gus Johnson isn’t necessarily gone from CBS quite yet. Here’s hoping he and CBS can come to sort of agreement on a new contract.
  • Legendary Dolphins coach Don Shula speaks to the Miami Herald about a variety of topics, including how he was disappointed when Bill Parcells abruptly bailed on the organization.
  • If the Buccaneers end up on Hard Knocks this season, Tony Dungy has some advice for the players: Don’t try to be like Sidney Poitier.

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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