1,792 articles listed
  • By Vincent M. Wu
    June 18, 2018 at 9:36 PM
    Much fan concern revolves around the state of the 49ers defense going into next season, particularly regarding a pass defense that finished 22nd last season, with the team's 30 sacks landing them in the bottom quarter of the league. Those observing the team are likely also unimpressed with the personnel changes the team made in the offseason, signing Jeremiah Attaochu, he of 10 career sacks over a four-year career, and cutting team sack leader Elvis Dumervil. Sure, there are arguments to be made that young players on the team such as Cassius Marsh or Eli Harold still have the potential to break out, but the bottom line is that the team has not experienced any huge infusion of new talent at edge rusher. However, there are other reasons to believe that the 49ers pass rush can...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    June 15, 2018 at 1:32 PM
    The evolution of football has always been intriguing. What's old, like a veer run, can get a fresh coat of polish and a place in 21st-century professional football playbook. The elements and scheme of a play may remain the same, but players and positions are always in a state of metamorphosis. The days of a slow quarterback with little ability to rush have died a slow death. The fullback is almost non-existent in most offenses, and a shorter slot receiver running slant and choice routes is all the rage. During the 1980s and 1990s, tight ends were lighter tackles who could catch. Today, tight ends have taken on a new look, and a new role as offenses spread out and push the ball vertically with higher frequency. NFL head coaches and offensive...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    June 9, 2018 at 8:38 AM
    The 2018 San Francisco 49ers have a strong first squad of linebackers coming into mini-camp, and the battle for the reserve unit should be entertaining during the preseason. Indeed, the 49ers need two things from their linebackers: 1. An injury-free season. Last year, veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith was injured early in training camp. Rookie Reuben Foster missed four games due to an ankle injury he received in Week 1, and two games due to an injured rib. Other linebackers who missed games due to injury were Dekoda Watson, Pita Taumoepenu, Donavin Newsom (released on April 30, 2018) and Jimmie Gilbert (also released on April 30, 2018). 2. Greater depth for the second squad. I went through at least four different...
  • By AJ Bolino
    June 5, 2018 at 11:34 AM
    January 10, 1982. It was a Sunday, the NFL playoffs were in full swing, and my grandparents' house was buzzing, as it did every Sunday during football season. The air was thick with the smell of garlic and fresh tomato sauce, the antipasto was on the table, and the family was huddled in the living room, watching history unfold. The skinny kid from Notre Dame (what my grandfather always called him) and his band of castoffs had gone toe-to-toe with the Dallas Cowboys, but they were trailing, 21-27. The 49ers had marched 83 yards to the Cowboys' 6-yard line. There were 58 seconds left in the game. The 49ers' Cinderella season had all come down to this: third down and three yards to go against "America's Team." Montana took the snap, rolled out to his right, calmly...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    June 1, 2018 at 8:22 AM
    There are few certainties or locks for any player to make the 2018 San Francisco 49ers roster. The running back cadre for the 49ers is a notable exception, as even in early June it is clear who will make the 53-man roster. That is unless something weird happens between today and the start of training camp. Running Back Jerick McKinnon Matt Breida Raheem Mostert Fullback Kyle Juszczyk Since the 2014 season, 49er running backs have not had an offensive line that creates clear running lanes. The 2017 season saw the 49ers rush attack finish 21st in the NFL. The team was ninth in rushing touchdowns (15 rush TDs) and 15th in yards per rush attempt (4.1...
  • By D.C. Owens
    May 29, 2018 at 6:45 AM
    What the offense giveth the defense taketh away. That homily may come to define the 49ers' 2018 season. After all, with kickers in place, returners now abundant, and several swift backups added this offseason, the special teams might excel. And I've already hinted, in part one, at how the offense could improve. But, ah, the defense, with its best linebacker in legal spin-cycles, its most proven cornerback compromised by an aching Achilles, and nary a consistent edge rusher in sight. What possible fun might even the most faithful fan derive by rooting for such a ramshackle outfit? Well, to start, Americans traditionally like to root for the underdog, and, going into the season, the Niners' defensive squad lies somewhere beneath the underdog, with consensus expectations way...
  • By D.C. Owens
    May 23, 2018 at 9:58 AM
    The 49ers slid into the 2018 draft poised, according to consensuses, to select with their first pick either an edge rusher, a cornerback, or a possible replacement for linebacker Reuben Foster. All defense. Instead, they settled on an offensive tackle. Then, they traded up in the second round to take a wide receiver. What's going on with these goofballs? And what do their off-season decisions bode for the kind of football we might see on the field this fall? Like it or not, all ye faithful, the 49ers have embarked on yet another five-year plan. Five years, because that's how long the remaining contracts of Shanahan/Lynch last. Five years, because Jimmy G's new contract now correlates with theirs. Five years, because any longer would overly try Mr. York's patience. Lynchahan...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    May 20, 2018 at 1:00 PM
    Late yesterday evening, I was scratching notes together for a look at the interior defensive linemen. My list of trench warriors for the San Francisco 49ers isn't shocking, but we'll get into the specifics of the position group later. When I jotted down veteran Arik Armstead's name, I took a brief pause and asked the Great Magnet, "How does he fit on the defensive line this year?" We know the 49ers lack a real star at the edge position. Armstead, who played 236 snaps as an edge defender in 2017, has not been a roaring success. Further, the team does not have an edge player on today's roster who could be considered a diamond in the rough. I have faith that general manager John Lynch tried to find a player to dominate the end of the line; nobody can...
  • By Richard Madrid
    May 11, 2018 at 5:54 PM
    This is part 5 in a 5-part series examining quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's 5 game stretch in 2017 that will examine some troubling trends in the quarterback's performance. Parts 1-4 are linked at the bottom of the article. In the first four articles of this series, we spent a great deal of time examining all the things Jimmy Garoppolo does well. His accuracy, decision making, third down efficiency, and poise under pressure and against the blitz are borderline elite for a quarterback who's started just seven games in four years. However, no examination of a quarterback would be complete without highlighting the areas he needs to improve. There are not many but they are enough to cause some concern going into the 2018 season. Quarterback evaluations are...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    May 11, 2018 at 10:31 AM
    The 2018 NFL season formally started on March 14, 2018, though the day following the NFL Draft feels more like the unofficial start to an upcoming season of professional football. Since January, a possible 53-man roster for the San Francisco 49ers has been over-analyzed, over-thought and over-mocked. Every scenario, even those crafted before the team signed a new player or extended a veteran, was right or wrong, depending on your view of how to build a championship football roster. Today, we're in a better place to view the roster and determine who may or may not make the final 53-man squad. Over the next few weeks, I'll review each position and provide thoughts on who is starting, who's in reserve and who will not don the scarlet and gold this...
  • By Al Sacco
    May 10, 2018 at 9:32 AM
    It's hard to argue with the approach the San Francisco 49ers have taken during their most recent rebuild. After all, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan took over a roster that was largely devoid of talent in 2017, and turned it into a playoff contender in just a little over a year. In doing so, they've put their stamp on the team, and added exciting playmakers on both sides of the ball via the draft and free agency. So while it's easy to get excited about what's been done and where this team is headed, there's still one glaring need that could derail the Niners' plans to be playing football in late January, and that's the pass rush. Getting to the quarterback isn't a new issue for this franchise, as it's one that's plagued it for the last five years. In...
  • By Peter Panacy
    April 27, 2018 at 6:28 PM
    The San Francisco 49ers grabbed offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey in Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft, and then followed up with a Round 2 selection of wide receiver Dante Pettis. Now it's time to focus on the defense. The San Francisco 49ers chose to upgrade the offense over the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft, taking Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey at No. 9 overall and then Washington wide receiver Dante Pettis after a trade-up in Round 2. These two moves might have shocked a few fans, who thought the Niners' first two picks would have focused on the defense. That said, there are still some options for San Francisco in Round 3. And the two names to watch here are Florida State edge rusher Josh Sweat and Stanford cornerback Quenton...
  • By Peter Panacy
    April 27, 2018 at 1:40 PM
    The San Francisco 49ers appeared to pull off something of a shocker at No. 9 in the 2018 NFL Draft, grabbing Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey instead of one of the top-name defenders. But subsequent moves, like trading fellow OT Trent Brown to the New England Patriots, justify the selection a lot. Raise your hand if you were among those who felt the San Francisco 49ers would take an offensive tackle with their first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Well, that's what they did, grabbing Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey at No. 9 overall. Not Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick (No. 11), not EDGE Marcus Davenport (No. 14), not linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (No. 16) and not defensive back Derwin James (No. 17). No, San Francisco elected to go...
  • By Al Sacco
    April 27, 2018 at 7:41 AM
    The San Francisco 49ers made a somewhat surprising selection in the first-round of 2018 NFL Draft, taking Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey ninth overall. The reason the pick caught some off guard was that the Niners seemed to have more pressing needs elsewhere (specifically on the defensive side of the ball) and there were still impact players on the board that would have alleviated those issues on the roster. If you look a little deeper though, you'd see that San Francisco made a forward-thinking move that filled a hole before it became a major problem. The real buzz surrounding McGlinchey started earlier in the week when Peter King of Sports Illustrated wrote that the 49ers were giving...
  • By Aaron Erickson
    April 26, 2018 at 7:16 PM
    With the ninth pick in the NFL draft, the 49ers selected Mike McGlinchey from Notre Dame. With Josh Rosen, my favorite quarterback in the 2018 draft class, slipping to them, the 49ers elected not to trade back, selecting McGlinchey where they knew they could get him. McGlinchey was widely regarded as the best offensive tackle in the draft, and the 49ers certainly did their homework on tackles, spending time with all of the top zone-blocking tackle prospects. It is now clear that the 49ers were looking to make a move at tackle with their eyes to the future, seeking a replacement for one of their talented veteran tackles. Unfortunately, the 49ers secured the best tackle in a poor draft for tackles. While I agree that McGlinchey is the best tackle in this draft...
  • By TJ Bice
    April 26, 2018 at 7:07 PM
    How many draft "experts" saw this one coming? Even the newest addition to the 49ers family, Mike McGlinchey, didn't see this one coming. He said his only contact with the team was at the combine and not a peep since. This might not have been the most popular pick due to the obvious needs in the pass rush and the secondary, but it makes a lot of sense. Yes the 49ers need a star pass rusher, but with Bradley Chubb gone, was one really available at pick No. 9? Same for a true outside cornerback with Denzel Ward off the board early. Inside linebacker certainly would have made sense but Roquan Smith was already gone and perhaps the team has questions about Tremaine Edmunds at the next level. McGlinchey makes sense for a number of reasons. First, and perhaps the most obvious is...
  • By Aaron Erickson
    April 25, 2018 at 9:33 AM
    While the 49ers certainly improved against the run in 2017, their pass defense was a problem. The team addressed the most glaring weak spot in the secondary by signing Richard Sherman in free agency. While Sherman has not yet been cleared to practice, he has already begun to mentor the young defensive backs on the roster, and he promises to be healthy in time to man the boundary cornerback spot opposite of Akhello Witherspoon. In order to continue improving against the pass, the 49ers must upgrade their pass rush and their intermediate zone coverage. The 49ers already have an impressive array of interior rushers, and the most dramatic improvement to the pass rush would come from securing the services of an edge rusher who can win quickly and provide immediate outside...
  • By Aaron Erickson
    April 23, 2018 at 10:10 AM
    The 49ers defense was historically bad in 2016, setting franchise marks for futility in Jim O'Neil's complicated scheme. The unit was particularly bad against the run, finishing last in the league in rushing yards per game and rushing yards per carry. In one year, the 49ers' new defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh, turned the unit around. Installing a comparatively simple 4-3 under scheme (created by George Seifert and Pete Carroll and successfully implemented in Seattle, Atlanta, Jacksonville, and San Diego) allowed the defense to play faster, with clearer reads. Saleh advertised before the 2017 season that the 49ers would improve against the run, and they certainly did. Unfortunately, the 49ers continued to struggle in coverage, particularly outside of the numbers. While...
  • By Richard Madrid
    April 22, 2018 at 7:13 PM
    This is part 4 in a 5-part series looking at quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's 2017 season. Part 4 looks at Garoppolo on 3rd down and utilizing play action. Parts 1-3 are hyperlinked at the bottom of the article. In part 1 of this series, we looked at Garoppolo's accuracy across 5 games. In part 2, we looked at his performance under pressure. In part 3, we looked at his performance against the blitz. Today we'll briefly examine his performance on 3rd down and utilizing play action. Source: Pro Football Reference On...
  • By Aaron Erickson
    April 19, 2018 at 6:41 AM
    With the 2018 draft just around the corner, it is a good time to look at some prospects that have been discussed as options for the 49ers with the ninth-overall pick. In the first of three installments, we will look at the offensive players who the 49ers have been linked to in the first round. I don't expect any of these players to be the pick at nine, as Kyle Shanahan teams have rarely picked offensive players in the first round. These prospects bear discussion, however, as John Lynch and Shanahan have only been together through one draft, which does not establish a reliable trend for this combination of decision makers. Quinton Nelson As I said in the...
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