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Stewart M. Cockrell

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  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    July 17, 2017 at 4:23 PM
    I know that sounds like an ironic question and in reality many of us would likely wonder why it is even a question worth asking. However, as we are close to the eve of training camp, the idea of the comparison might be a fair one. As most of us 49ers fans will recall, going into the 2011 season there was a lot of uncertainty about Alex Smith and his future with the club. Similarly, in 2017 there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Brian Hoyer and his future with the team. The question really is whether Brian Hoyer can resurrect his career under upgraded coaching by Shanahan and company. Leading into the 2011 season, Alex Smith's career had been, for lack of a better term, a train wreck. Smith suffered through six different offensive coordinators and two subpar head coaches...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    February 28, 2017 at 10:39 AM
    John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have taken over the 49ers with the tough task of rebuilding a dynasty. While conventional wisdom says that this is a multiple year project for the 49ers, there are ways that the 49ers could jumpstart their rebuild with a smart use of draft capital and the huge amount of cap space the team currently has at its disposal. With the combine and new league year upon us, here are some thoughts that come to mind on how the 49ers can best start their journey back to competitive football: Trade For Kirk Cousins: I'm not a big fan of trading draft picks, especially when you own the second one of the draft. Unless you are going to get a haul from a desperate team that needs to move up for a quarterback, it makes no sense really to trade out...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    December 23, 2016 at 8:57 AM
    Since there is not really much good to say about the 2016 49ers outside of the promising play of Deforest Buckner and the prospect of Trent Baalke finally doing enough (or lack thereof) to get fired. I'd like to spend a moment to make the case for a former 49er favorite and current Indianapolis Colt Frank Gore for the Hall of Fame. Frank Gore, entered the league in 2005 as a backup with not much promise as an oft-injured third-round pick out of Miami. In his first season, he backed up Kevin Barlow and amassed 608 yards rushing in 14 games. His coming out year was 2006 though, where he rushed for 1,695 yards and 8 touchdowns. This began a streak of four straight seasons where Gore played at least 14 games and rushed for over 1,000 yards. His 2010 season was cut short with a...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    October 12, 2016 at 6:00 PM
    In our latest Round Table, our staff was asked what the San Francisco 49ers can hope to expect from newly named starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick, having signed a restructured contract, replaces Blaine Gabbert, who had won the offseason quarterback competition and then led the 49ers to a 1-4 start this season. Kaepernick's start on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills will be his first since November 1, 2015. Stewart M. Cockrell I think there is a lot of risk/reward to Colin being the starter. The risk, of course, is that he is playing one of the better defenses in the league in his first start in nearly a year. Coming off three injuries he...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    September 8, 2016 at 12:19 PM
    In our latest Round Table, our staff makes their predictions on the San Francisco 49ers' 2016 record and share their reasoning for their predictions. Stewart M. Cockrell The 5-11 2015 49ers stole a couple victories that inflated their record a bit and while I don't think this team will contend against top tier teams, this team is going to be better than the 2015 team by a lot. Assuming the key players stay healthy, there are seven winnable games on the 49ers schedule. This team will have an improved pass rush, the moves in the secondary seem to be promising and the drastically improved offensive line will allow the 49ers chances to be effective in the run game. Whereas this team will struggle within the NFC West, the 2016 49ers are on par talent wise with some...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    July 28, 2016 at 9:05 AM
    In our latest Round Table, we asked our team of writers about San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke's job security. Would he need to win a specific number of games to retain his post within the organization or is he on the hot seat? 49ers beat writer Chris Biderman from partner site Niners Wire of USA TODAY Sports joins us for this topic. Chris Biderman, Niners Wire I think it's hard to quantify purely by number of wins. I think it's more about the way players develop. If players like Tank Carradine, Eli Harold, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington, Vance McDonald and other important draft picks don't evolve into key contributors, then it's hard to justify keeping Baalke around. But those scenarios aren't...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    April 14, 2016 at 8:56 AM
    Thanks to the Los Angeles Rams, I have to rethink the whole article that was in my head. This morning, the Rams pulled off a blockbuster trade to move from the 15th spot in the upcoming 2016 draft to number one. The rumors are that the Rams will be looking to take a quarterback with the first overall pick and all signs are pointing to Jared Goff or Carson Wentz as being the selection. It is no secret that the Rams have been plagued with mediocre quarterback play since Marc Bulger left town in 2009. Even more shocking is the ripple affect it will have on every mock draft in the country. The widely...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    January 21, 2016 at 9:03 AM
    I'll go on record to say I am on the fence about the Chip Kelly hire as the 19th head coach of the 49ers. On one hand, I have a little excitement like I had when Harbaugh was hired. On the other, it is hard to ignore the dumpster fire of the 2015 season Kelly had in Philadelphia. Top that with rumors about his personality and you can see where there can be some trepidation on my part as a fan. Even though I like to subscribe to the adage of "Where there is smoke there is fire," since I don't know Kelly personally, I will be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and be objective about him as a coach until he proves me otherwise. Being totally objective, Kelly is bringing his offense to the NFC West, a division that has proven over the last few years to be a very tough...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    January 4, 2016 at 8:31 AM
    Well, it is official. The Jim Tomsula era is over in San Francisco and if we are perfectly honest with ourselves, did we ever think it would make it much past this year anyway? At least this way, the 49ers do not have to fire him in the middle of next season, deal with a stopgap, and possibly miss a really good candidate this off-season. While the rumor mill is likely to be in full effect over the next few weeks as we look to fill our coaching position, there are many names already floating to the surface, some are interesting, and some are not so much in my opinion. The Old Guard: The Two Mikes Rumors have already surfaced that former 49ers assistant coaches Mike Holmgren and Mike Shanahan have expressed interest in a return to the...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    October 5, 2015 at 2:08 PM
    Well this season got ugly pretty quick didn't it? After watching the 49ers hand Minnesota a convincing loss, the team is now coming off three straight losses and sits at an abysmal 1-3 record. Most fans probably knew going into the season that the first quarter of the season was going to be a bit rough for our beloved 49ers. Three out of the four teams have legitimate chances to make the playoffs and even the Vikings are playing like a fringe playoff contender and it appears we got them on a bad night. As it stands right now, it is going to take some major work for the 49ers to get even close to the .500 mark to end the season. The Good: Aaron Lynch: After collecting his second and third sack of the season against Green Bay over...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    September 4, 2015 at 10:34 AM
    Now that the preseason is officially in the books, the 49ers can finally turn to getting back to real football. Most of us can agree that this has been one of the craziest offseasons for the organization in at least a decade and that is the biggest reason that nearly the entire sporting world is not expecting much out of our beloved 49ers. I can agree with tempered expectations to a degree, but I can also disagree with them just the same. It wasn't long ago that the 49ers were put in the same situation they are in now with a new coach, new staff, and a many unproven players. That team, then under coach Jim Harbaugh exceeded expectations coming out of the players strike and nearly made it to the Super Bowl. I will admit that going into that 2011 season, I was very skeptical of...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    August 7, 2015 at 9:38 AM
    I was hoping my first commentary of this year's training camp would be a bit more positive. I was hoping to praise the defensive line for being a force through the first week of practice. I was hoping to see comments on how the new tempo of practice will translate into game management improvements. Sadly, Aldon Smith robbed me of that pleasure this morning. Pardon my surprise when I woke up this morning to learn that star outside linebacker Aldon Smith had been arrested again for DUI. I couldn't help but let out the deepest of sighs, shake my head, whisper a curse word, and put my phone down. Aldon Smith is fundamentally broken. He either has taken one too many blows to the head over his stellar football career, or he just wasn't fully present when common sense...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    June 8, 2015 at 2:29 PM
    It certainly has been an eventful off season for our beloved 49ers hasn't it? New coach, newish staff, unimpressive draft, payers retiring in exodus and the media experts singing from any available website or microphone about the massive change that is happening in Santa Clara. The real question that has been bugging me is…Are we really any different than the rest of the NFL? Most fans and experts point the blame straight as the 49ers' front office, and clearly there is some blame there on the mishandling of the Jim Harbaugh situation, but can you really lay the blame on Jed York and Trent Baalke for players retiring over health? As fellow 49erswebzone writer David Bonilla points out in his...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    March 18, 2015 at 1:10 PM
    Wow…What a crazy couple weeks. I had originally written this article as a "back off the ledge fellow fans" type of piece but it seemed I couldn't write fast enough to keep up with the unfolding drama. I feel like I need to at least say something about the recent developments. I once read a quote that stated, "Your strengths maximized become your liabilities". For the past four years, the 49ers' strength has been it defensive unit. The core that existed was one that it was easy to plug role players into and it all kind of fit. From coaching to personnel, it didn't seem that player turnover really hurt us. During this time period, our offense was our biggest liability as it never really turned into the juggernaut that we all expected. Now however, as I look...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    December 8, 2014 at 10:10 AM
    Dear Jed York, Rumors are swirling around that Jim Harbaugh and Company are quickly on their way out the door after the 2014 season. Tales of dysfunction and turmoil seem to fill up my news feed on a daily basis with stories of discontent with Harbaugh. Allegedly Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh don't see eye to eye on personal decisions at times. Coupled with an anemic offense this season and underwhelming performances pretty much across the board in every game, I can see why the rumors are there and most, if not all of the fan base feels that Harbaugh will prowling the sideline for another team in 2015. But as a fan, I have one bit of advice…Be careful what you wish for... In 2003, following two years of...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    November 4, 2014 at 4:04 PM
    Rather than breakdown the latest meltdown by our beloved team, I think an honest and frank look at the organization at this very moment just feels right. Look, I bleed Red and Gold like the rest of you. I've loved this organization for more than two decades and through the ups and downs I have given my honest support. The key word in that last sentence is my honest support and if I am being honest, I will simply say. This team just isn't really that good right now. If you are a tried and true fan, you should be able to take an honest look at the situation and understand that. There are so many layers to what is going on with the 49ers now that it cannot even be covered up with smoke and mirrors. But instead of beating up on what is going wrong. How can the 49ers as an...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    September 29, 2014 at 10:13 AM
    Every fan approaches game day a little different, especially game day when you know you are going to the stadium. For most of us, going to see our favorite team is something we only are able to do once or twice a year because geography, timing, and even escalating ticket prices make it hard for the average fan to go to games week in and week out. Either way, there is something magical about those days when you wake up and you know you are going to be there in person. For me, going to a 49er home game involves a three plus hour drive from the central valley of California to the San Francisco Bay area. It means firing up the car by six and racing up Interstate 5 before the cutting west over Pacheco Pass to hit the 101 north. There is no better feeling of dropping into Gilroy...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    September 22, 2014 at 2:19 PM
    You might recall that after our week one victory over the Cowboys, I declared that the 49ers might not be as bad as preseason led on, unfortunately for the second year in a row, the 49ers have opened the season at 1-2. This year, much like last year featured a thrilling victory in week one, a heart break in week two, and a big goose egg in week three. On the heal of last year's 1-2 start, the 49ers ran off five straight wins where they returned to their core strength of running the ball and playing good defense. It could be argued that the five game win streak last season basically saved the season for the team and built the momentum needed to get through the second half. The biggest question that stands for...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    September 8, 2014 at 1:34 PM
    All of that preseason talk of the demise of the 49ers might have just been a bit premature don't you think? True, we only have a small one week sample to look at and the matchup was favorable, but the 49ers were clearly the better team on Sunday. A few thoughts can be offered after re-digesting the game, which should give fans a bit more hope. Offense: Any question that this offense was not going to be more explosive were put to rest in the first quarter of the game and after just five offensive plays and two touchdowns to Vernon Davis the 49ers held a comfortable 21-0 lead. By my count, the 49ers didn't even call a run play until their third drive of the game. Does this point to a dramatic shift by the team? The answer to that might be a little too early...
  • By Stewart M. Cockrell
    August 27, 2014 at 3:57 PM
    The growing dilemma of Alex Boone seems to be a central story line of the offseason and as the 49ers near the end of training camp there has been no real progress made. There were reports that a contract offer was made to Boone that would have made him one of the top 15 paid guards, but this was rejected. Meanwhile, Pro-bowl guard Mike Iupati is entering a contract season and looking to bounce back from a devastating ankle injury sustained in the NFC championship game in Seattle earlier this year. The big question now sits with the front office on who do the 49ers decide to pay or is the answer to this question neither? Boone is one of those guys that you have to just love. Blue collar type guy from Ohio State, he had great talent coming out of college, but Boone went...
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