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Tag:Jim Harbaugh
Posted on: April 30, 2011 10:38 am
 

Niners still singing the Alex Smith tune

Posted by Andy Benoit

Colin Kaepernick is a 49er, which means Alex Smith is one no longer, right? Wrong.

"The plan for Alex is unchanged," 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday, according to CSN Bay Area. "Everything we said from the very beginning: We want to get the best players on our roster that we possibly can and throw out the balls and let them compete.
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"Alex has the ability and the license to be the starting quarterback -- same thing I said about (outside linebacker) Aldon (Smith) yesterday. Same goes for Colin. Guys will run on their own gas. We believe in competition and earning your positions around here.
"With Alex, we are rowing and we're not going to miss a beat. Nothing has changed."

For months, many have speculated that Harbaugh is genuinely fond of the former No. 1 overall drafted quarterback. But that’s mere speculation, as Harbaugh and Smith have had minimal interaction due to the lockout.

Smith, at this point, is an unrestricted free agent, which makes it all the more curious that the Niners would insist he’s their guy. Most teams only discuss players under contract.

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Posted on: April 15, 2011 12:33 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: San Francisco 49ers

Posted by Will Brinson



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups



The 49ers were doomed almost from the very start of last season. After all, check out their schedule for the first five games – the Seahawks, the Saints, the Chiefs, the Falcons and the Eagles (all made the playoffs and combined for a 51-29 record while knocking off the 49ers) – but two weeks after running through that gauntlet, San Francisco fell to the Panthers also. So, that’s not too good.

Neither, for that matter, was coach Mike Singletary, who was fired after Week 16, and neither was much of anybody else. The offense ranked 24th in the league – almost a miracle considering Alex Smith and Troy Smith traded off starting QB spots and RB Frank Gore missed the last five games because of a fractured hip – and though the defense was actually slightly better than average, San Francisco just couldn’t put it together under Singletary’s leadership.




Quarterback Issues

When Singletary named Troy Smith as his starting QB midway through the season, you knew neither of them were long for their respective jobs. When Singletary replaced andinjured Alex Smith with Troy Smith in Week 10 and then switched back to Alex the next week (and then continued to switch the two throughout the rest of the year), there was almost no chance San Francisco would win consistently.

Actually, the trouble began earlier in the season during that infamous Sundayy Night Football game when the San Francisco fans booed Alex Smith and demanding to see the backup QB, and Singletary thought hard about replacing him with David Carr. Smith then led a near comeback attempt vs. the Eagles. Still, not a great sequence for San Francisco.


1. Patient History
We gave the patient history of this position in the section above, so now, let’s figure out what the 49ers will do about it. They actually could keep Alex Smith – they’ve already offered him a one-year contract – but it’s unclear whether Smith will sign it. But yeah, it might make sense for San Francisco to look for quarterbacks in the draft. And remember, Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb are still out there as well.

2. Jim Harbaugh
He’s got zero NFL head coaching experience, but 49ers fans have to be excited about the possibilities (considering his success at Stanford and because his brother, John, has done such a bang-up job with the Ravens), and considering he’s getting paid $25 million over five years, he’d BETTER have more success than Singletary. And don’t forget: San Francisco also hired Trent Baalke as GM in the offseason. So, the 49ers are kind of starting over.

3. Cornerback
Nate Clements is fine at one CB spot, but Shawntae Spencer didn’t have a great year last season. Which is why it makes sense for San Francisco to grab either LSU’s Patrick Peterson or Nebraska’s Prince Amukamara with the No. 7 pick in the draft.




The defense is good enough to compete. The 49ers LB corps with Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes (and maybe Manny Lawson) is pretty darn good, and the defensive line, led by Justin Smith, does a nice job as well. The problem here is offense, and not just at QB either.

Gore is coming off a bad injury, and WR Michael Crabtree still hasn’t broken out in a big way. Assuming Harbaugh can get the respect of his team right away – something Singletary struggled with last season – San Francisco could get back to 8-8. Which means the 49ers could contend for the NFC West crown.

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Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:08 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Hot Routes 4.13.11: Now with even more sabotage



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman, who’s been breaking news like crazy lately, writes that the NFL is trying to sabotage the NFLPA’s draft week events. 
  • Will already told you about the arrest of Titans WR Kenny Britt. Now, Britt has been charged with three counts (including eluding an officer, a felony), and his court date is set for April 19.
  • Although Peyton Manning has been awfully quiet about the birth of his twins, the Indy Star did some digging and found out they actually exist. So, an official Mazel Tov to the Manning family.
  • 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh asked an interesting question of QB Alex Smith: does he have baby deer skin or skin like an armadillo? He thinks the latter. I’m not sure I even knew armadillos have skin. I thought they had scales.

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Posted on: April 6, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 3:20 pm
 

Offseason Checkup: Miami Dolphins

Posted by Josh Katzowitz



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups .



Entering their Monday Night Football matchup against the Patriots in Week 4, the Dolphins had to be feeling confident in their chances of beating New England in Miami. The Dolphins defense had looked good in knocking off the Bills and Vikings (which, at the time, was considered a pretty good win), and then Miami played the Jets to a close loss before the Patriots came to town.

A 41-14 disaster later, Miami fired special teams coach John Bonamego and never got more than a game above .500 for the rest of the season (and, in fact, finished the year at 7-9).



Coach on the hot seat, quarterback

Although Tony Sparano took a 1-15 team and turned it into an 11-5 division title winner a year later (beating out the Patriots for the honor), he’s gone 7-9 in back-to-back seasons. Apparently, owner Stephen Ross listened to Bill Parcells’ recommendation and decided to bring back Sparano for another season (though Ross DID disgustingly go out of his way to woo Jim Harbaugh for the job). But the specter of Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher still are out there and until Sparano is off the hot seat, fans will wonder about their availability.

Sparano would get a great deal of help if QB Chad Henne could put together a consistent season. WR Brandon Marshall blasted his QB at the end of last season and said he actually works better with QB Tyler Thigpen (a major ZING, by the way). It’s too early to give up on Henne, especially now that Chad Pennington will miss all of 2011 because of a torn ACL, but it’s getting to the point where Henne needs to show somebody something.




1. Running back
On paper, the duo of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams would seem a surefire way for the Dolphins to rack up rushing yards and plenty of touchdowns. Yet, the Dolphins managed to finish 21st in running last season. There’s a good chance that neither back will return to Miami next year, leaving Patrick Cobbs and Lex Hilliard on the roster at RB. Which means the Dolphins will need some big-time help at that spot and which is why Alabama’s Mark Ingram might be a good draft pick (though the Dolphins might want to trade down instead).

2. Offensive line
You know what doesn’t help your third-string quarterback perform better? A terribly inconsistent offensive line. That’s what Tyler Thigpen faced in Miami’s 16-0 loss to the Bears in Week 11 – a line missing starters Jake Long and Joe Berger who then watched backup Cory Procter get injured on the second offensive series, meaning Richie Incognito had to move from guard to center. Miami could make a play for a solid center in the draft.

3. Keep improving the defense
n 2009, the Dolphins ranked 25th in the league in defense, but last year, they improved that number to No. 13. Most of the starting front seven is solid, but Miami’s DBs had a tough time hanging onto interceptions last season. It also would help if they got more playmakers in the secondary.




After Ross stopped emasculating Sparano for Harbaugh and then gave him a two-year extension, Ross made it clear he wanted a more aggressive, more exciting offense. Sparano, though, said he plans to keep running the ball more often than not. Could we see both? I suppose, though I kind of doubt it.

I also don’t see a playoff run with Miami, considering the Patriots and Jets still will be battling for AFC East supremacy. All of which means the meddling Ross probably will fire Sparano, and then, everybody can just start over again in Miami. Which means we might not see good pro football in Miami for a while.

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Posted on: March 29, 2011 1:57 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.29.11: Madden cover vote, 2nd round

Posted by Will Brinson



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Posted on: March 17, 2011 11:56 pm
 

After strong Pro Day, Gabbert could go No. 1

Posted by Rob Rang

A strong throwing session from Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert could push him to the No. 1 overall pick.

According to a Twitter note from Dave Matter of the Columbia Daily Tribune, Gabbert completed 44 of 49 passes and characterized "at least three" of the incompletions to drops by the collection of D-II receivers organized for the workout. With Missouri having no draft-eligible receivers, he was left to rely on others, rather than former teammates to catch his passes.

A source on the scene characterized Gabbert's workout as a "8" when asked to score it on a scale of 1-10. The source pointed out some "little issues intermediate and deep." But also noted "good velocity and accuracy on the move."

Gabbert's "little issues" on deeper passes wasn't unexpected. This was a primary concern based off of the largely horizontal (rather than vertical) passing he was asked to do while operating Missouri's spread attack.

In demonstrating good footwork from under center and accuracy while on the run, Gabbert helped alleviate concerns about his ability to translate to a more traditional pro-style offense.

As expected, the Missouri Pro Day was well attended by NFL decision-makers, including Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, Jets' head coach Rex Ryan, Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh, 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, Bengals' head coach Marvin Lewis, and Jaguars' head coach Jack Del Rio.




This post was cross-posted from Rob Rang's NFL Draft blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: March 2, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Hot Routes 3.2.11: Gary Wichard got served

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • The North Carolina Secretary of State's office sent a search warrant to Bank of America demanding a pile of financial records relating to suspended NFL agent Gary Wichard's financial activity from January 2009 on. This is important to the NFL, because it could -- conceivably -- open up a can of worms with relation to other players, other coaches and pay-for-play accusations. It's way more important to the NCAA side of things, however, because Elaine Marshall's office is currently investigating the big pile of dirty things that happened on Chapel Hill's campus. Of course, Marvin Austin, the guy at the center of this warrant, is about to be an NFL'er, so there's that too.
Posted on: February 16, 2011 9:50 pm
 

Gore says hip is completely healed

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Less than three months after suffering a season-ending hip fracture, 49ers RB Frank Gore said he’s completely healed, and he’s been cleared to begin running Feb. 28.

Gore "I will be better," Gore told CSN Bay Area. "I will take it one day at a time. I'm just happy to say that my injury healed perfectly. And right now I'm trying to get some strength, and in another week start running."

Before he got hurt, Gore was having a strong season, gaining more than 1,300 yards of offense while scoring five touchdowns.

New San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh has said he wants to get backup RB Anthony Dixon more playing time, but he also realizes he can’t place Gore on the bench very much. Because, frankly, that would be rather foolish.

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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