42 articles listed
  • By D.C. Owens on Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 8:07 AM
    Most general NFL fans already know the "burning questions" the 49ers face as they prepare for their 2013 schedule: How will the 49ers replenish their receiving core? How will the team replace the defensive-back losses? Will the pass rush revive? Special teams? These burning questions do matter, and how the 49ers handle them will go far in determining the...
  • By D.C. Owens on Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 7:13 AM
    NFL coaches frequently divvy up their schedules into four-game quadrants, handy during a sixteen-game season. Of course, they want to win four games out of every four, but, barring that, a three-and-one record keeps them on track for home-field advantage come post-season. Two-and-two, especially during the first quadrant, causes coaches some consternation,...
  • By D.C. Owens on Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 7:07 AM
    The 49ers identify their own weaknesses, and attack them. Going into the off-season, many perceptive Niner-watchers focused on three areas of roster need: pass defense, special teams, and free agency losses. The 49ers, after the smoke screens cleared, addressed each of these perceived needs. First, they have replaced the...
  • By D.C. Owens on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:53 PM
    Part 1 of "Dynamic Running" looked at 49ers' history of strategic running, while Part 2 focused on the contemporary version of the team's running game. Part 3 will take a gander at a specific formation, the "pistol," and how the Niners may or may not utilize it in the future. I say "may not," because I expect it to remain a feature, and not the whole, of...
  • By D.C. Owens on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 8:09 AM
    49er fans will remember the play: January 12, 2013, 3rd quarter, playoff against Green Bay, game still in the balance. Colin Kaepernick keeps the ball on a read-option, ducks past a discombobulated defender, and sprints fifty-six yards into the end zone. In bars, living rooms, and beauty parlors across America, viewers sit, nonplussed, stunned by the speed...
  • By D.C. Owens on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 7:56 AM
    Long long ago in football leagues of yesteryear, great teams once practiced ball control. Ball control consisted of a stout defense, a mistake-free quarterback, and a pound-the-rock running style. Sounds a lot like the regular-season 2011 49ers, head coach Jim Harbaugh's first year. Ball control sought as its primary goal the physical...
  • By D.C. Owens on Monday, June 3, 2013 at 6:57 AM
    In a move long anticipated by dedicated 49er watchers, the team last week hired Eric Mangini. The blogosphere immediately exploded with speculation as to the exact nature of Mr. Mangini's duties. Some said he posed a threat to the Niners' existing offensive/defensive coordinators. Others suspected he represented a nefarious plot by his ex-boss, Bill...
  • By D.C. Owens on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 6:52 AM
    In the off-season, football fans dream their teams to victory. "Surely, our team will contend for a championship this year." "Of course, our team has a stacked roster." "Certainly, our team had a top-tier draft." "Obviously, our coaching staff and general manager walk on water." I do this myself. It's part of the fun of being a fan. We spin every player's...
  • By D.C. Owens on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 6:56 AM
    As part of the run-up to this year's draft, and its aftermath, ESPN has aired several broadcasts of "From Elway to Marino" as part of their "30 for 30" series. This docutisement utilizes many of the methods made familiar by modern masters of the documentary form. Like Errol Morris, it employs music to pump up the suspense. Like Ken Burns, it collages all...
  • By D.C. Owens on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 6:57 AM
    Among those companies not selected: Microloft. Midway through the negotiation process, irate Seahawk fans stormed the corporation's Washington campuses. Microloft withdrew. Boys-R-Us. Proposed that the lower sections of the stadium consist of gigantic sand boxes with plastic red shovels, gold plastic picks, and alabaster...
  • By D.C. Owens on Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 6:55 AM
    Legendary 49er receiver Jerry Rice gained notoriety not only for his Hall-of-Fame-caliber on-field exploits, but for his intensive training as well, particularly the "running of the hill." Nor did he quit his uphill regimen once he reached the assumed pinnacle of his profession; on the contrary, he kept ascending. The current 49ers face a similar challenge....
  • By D.C. Owens on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:01 AM
    Players the 49ers did not take: Tavon Austin. Imagine this jet-speed jitterbug, among the Niners' possession plodders, receiving Kaepernick passes in tight spaces, end-zone bound. Or he might have returned punts, kickoffs, even run some read-options. Who, then, could have possibly stopped the 49er offense? Certainly not the Seahawks, with...
  • By D.C. Owens on Monday, April 29, 2013 at 7:21 AM
    Pundits, perhaps rightly, have lavished praise on 49er personnel honchos and their scouts for the just-completed draft. We love to hype the stars, and, competitive unto obsession, we like to believe our home team can out-draft their NFL counterparts. However, with regard to the 2013 San Francisco draft, another group also deserves vast credit: the 49ers'...
  • By D.C. Owens on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 6:56 AM
    1. We totally biffed this year's draft. 2. We didn't get any player we really wanted. 3. Where can I get some more of those nachos? 4. We made few trades because, in the heat of the moment, we froze. 5. We made a lot of trades to cover the fact that we really had no idea. 6. Who, exactly,...
  • By D.C. Owens on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 6:49 AM
    Creative destruction, or what one 49ers webzone fan has called the "slash-and-burn" method of roster construction predominates in today's NFL. Given this current environment, how might the 49ers best work the draft? Let's look at some traditional strategies, and see which may or may not remain valid. Draft for value versus draft for need. Of...
  • By D.C. Owens on Monday, April 8, 2013 at 11:28 AM
    With the voluminous information available via the internet, many fans today know almost as much about a potential 49er's measurables as do some NFL personnel departments. The scads of mock-draft info available during roster-replenishment season, not just from beat writers and national experts, but from the appended comments by fans, testify to the generally...
  • By D.C. Owens on Monday, April 1, 2013 at 7:04 AM
    While defensive coordinators around the league busily bone up on stopping the 49ers' version of the pistol offense, particularly the read option, the Niners themselves, in a small-but-subtle way, have developed a counter move, a new formation tentatively named "the derringer." Understandably, the 49ers, as per usual, have kept this new...
  • By D.C. Owens on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 8:52 AM
    Jim Harbaugh undoubtedly wants a winning team, preferably a championship one. During this roster-refresh season, we might more pointedly ask: What kind of personnel does he think will most likely get him those Super Bowl wins? When Harbaugh assumed head-coaching responsibility prior to the lockout-shortened 2011 off-season, he inherited a team...
  • By D.C. Owens on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 8:39 AM
    Like all NFL teams, the 49ers make roster moves throughout the year. But the weeks preceding the draft, with their mad flurry of trades and free-agency additions/losses, demand particular attention. These moves may impact both the roster and salary cap for several subsequent seasons. While some teams seem to prefer a get-there-first-with-the-most strategy,...
  • By D.C. Owens on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 11:48 AM
    With the 2013 NFL draft fast approaching, the 49ers have suddenly realized they have accumulated far too many draft choices. Pending future trades, they could end up with as many as fourteen picks, which must be expended over the course of just three days. The recent free-agency frenzy only increases the pressure to make perfect picks. Talk about...