• By Alex Pedregon
    Jul 22, 2019 at 7:30 AM 1 comment
    Like a number of the 2019 San Francisco 49er position groups, the linebacking corps has an intriguing mix of emerging youngsters looking to establish more consistency, key veterans looking to rebound from serious injuries and a handful of athletic but unproven backups. The point being, this group of linebackers is not lacking in talent and potential. However, enough question marks exist to make many 49er fans feel as anxious as they are hopeful. One of the more interesting dynamics to watch will be how this group adjusts to the new wide-nine defensive technique in front of them and its implications on their responsibilities. Historically (if played effectively with the right type of personnel), the wide-nine technique can be highly disruptive to opposing passing games but can...
  • By Michael D'Ambrosio
    Jul 19, 2019 at 3:00 PM 2 comments
    We're taking a quick look at the San Francisco 49ers' tight ends with training camp just around the corner. Projected to Start George Kittle Kittle is coming off a Pro Bowl season where he racked up nearly 1,400 receiving yards, 88 receptions, and found the end zone five times. He will be the focal point for many defenses this year, so we will see how he adjusts when defensive game plans are designed around stopping him. Much of the success that Kittle saw in 2018 came from backup quarterback Nick Mullens, so keep an eye on the chemistry Kittle has with Jimmy Garoppolo now that he's back healthy. I don't think Kittle racks up as many yards, but I do believe he finds the end zone more frequently. Projection: 75...
  • By Jason Aponte
    Jul 19, 2019 at 12:00 PM 2 comments
    The 49ers will head into training camp with a running back room full of talent and questions in 2019. Jerick McKinnon signed in 2018 only to lose his season to an ACL injury, Matt Breida was the fastest ball carrier in the league in 2018 and averaged 5.3 yards per carry (4th best in the league). Tevin Coleman was added to the fold on a cheap deal and is an obvious fit in Kyle Shanahan's scheme. Even in limited playing time last season, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, Jr. contributed admirably. Shanahan's scheme is set up for running backs to succeed, especially given the speed in 2019's running back group. The question on everyone's mind is, who will be the odd man out on game days? Mostert seems safe being a special teams ace, but can the team have five (Hey, Kyle Juszczyk) active backs...
  • By Levin T. Black
    Jul 19, 2019 at 9:00 AM 3 comments
    What a difference a year makes. The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2019 season with wide receivers being one of the deepest position groups on the team. This hasn't been the case in recent seasons. The 49ers have a few veterans mixed in with a group of young, super high potential youngsters. Other position groups have led the way in the past. George Kittle emerged as a force as a tight end last season, fullback Kyle Juszczyk has been the best receiver at his position for a few years now and the running back position has multiple players known for their receiving skills. Previously, the wide receivers had lagged behind but coming into 2019 the 49ers wideout options are so deep that last season's leading receiver is on the bubble for making the 53-man...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jul 17, 2019 at 10:00 AM 0 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2019 season with a questionable interior offensive line. The upside: starting guards Laken Tomlison and Mike Person, along with starting center Weston Richburg, will all keep their roles with the first-team offense this season. Consistency and communication are intangible assets that can overcome deficiencies in combined skill. The downside: the projected interior starters are average players, and the 49er brass did little to bring in new talent to deepen the roster. It was an odd strategy considering head coach Kyle Shanahan saw firsthand what happens when terrible reserve linemen fail to play at the same level as the starter. There are thousands of reasons general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan...
  • By Matthew Mani
    Jul 17, 2019 at 7:00 AM 2 comments
    The 49ers have been a dark horse pick by many experts to make a significant upward move in the 2019 season, from possibly making the playoffs to winning the division and maybe even challenging the top dogs for a run at the big game. Whatever the prediction, the focus has been on the wide receivers group on offense and the pass rush and DBs on the defensive side of the ball. The receiver position was addressed in the draft (and the signing of Jordan Matthews, to a lesser extent). The pass rush was addressed through the signing of Dee Ford and the drafting of Nick Bosa. The cornerback position was addressed somewhat with the Jason Verrett signing, although he is coming off of a significant injury. The safety position, however, was left completely as it was at the end of last...
  • By Zach LaBar
    Jul 15, 2019 at 3:34 PM 3 comments
    Kyle Shanahan made it clear this offseason: he would address the team's red zone deficiencies by adding playmakers. Matthews vs. Toilolo defines an under-the-radar battle for a roster spot. In consideration of Coach Shanahan's "position-less" offense, attempting to project the 53-man roster for the 49ers is quite the ambiguous task. So, let's take a look at some upcoming position battles to see why I consider a TE and a WR battling for a roster spot. Projecting the TE Depth Chart TE1 TE2 TE3? Hybrid...
  • By Peter Panacy
    Jul 3, 2019 at 5:52 AM 10 comments
    With the 2010s coming to a close this season, 49ers Webzone goes back to look at the best 49ers player at each position this decade. The 2010s started off relatively well for the San Francisco 49ers, as the team reached three consecutive NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl under former head coach Jim Harbaugh between the 2011 and 2013 seasons. In the years since, of course, things haven't gone so well. But that doesn't mean San Francisco entirely lacked talent. So it's no surprise that the best players at each position largely center around those teams which were perennial playoff contenders. That said, with the 2010 decade winding down, a number of other players ended up solidifying themselves as the best at their positions on what would be...
  • By Peter Panacy
    Jul 2, 2019 at 5:55 AM 4 comments
    San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk is the best player at his position in the entire NFL. There's no doubting that. Juszczyk is, after all, a three-time Pro Bowler and has represented the Niners in the league's all-star game in each of the last two seasons. And the Niners are essentially overpaying him. This isn't to say it's bad Juszczyk is on the team's roster. Head coach Kyle Shanahan requires a fullback in his offense, and Juszczyk offers more than just a traditional lead blocker in a run-heavy offense. Over his first two seasons with the 49ers, the 28-year-old has totaled 63 receptions for a combined 639 yards and two touchdowns. You won't find that kind of production from the scant few other fullbacks around the league. That...
  • By Site Staff
    Jun 28, 2019 at 3:52 PM 1 comment
    We asked the 49ers Webzone staff to discuss the (reasonable) expectations surrounding the San Francisco 49ers as the team prepares to enter the 2019 season and the critical third season under head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. This article isn't necessarily about total wins for the upcoming season. The question was left open-ended so each writer could interpret what he deemed a success or failure. Below are the responses in the order in which they were received. Matthew Mani I expect the defensive front seven to be a serious problem for opposing offenses. I expect 35-or-more sacks from the defense. I expect the corners to be a strength, and the safeties to struggle. I expect the running game to remain strong, and...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Jun 28, 2019 at 10:36 AM 2 comments
    Today we round the 49ers draft prospects with a closer look at rookie tight end Kaden Smith. Could the 49ers have possibly added another late draft steal when they drafted tight end Kaden Smith out of Stanford with their 6th round, 176th overall pick? Based on his college tape alone, one would be hard pressed to not come to that conclusion. Of course, projecting how a given player will do is not an exact science and for the most part is just made up. Outside a handful of really good players, no one really knows. With Smith however, it's easy to see why head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch fell in love with the prospect: scheme versatility....
  • By David Bonilla
    Jun 24, 2019 at 7:00 AM 1 comment
    "No one has been defined by a singular moment more than Dwight Clark." Those are Eddie DeBartolo Jr.'s words, and that's how "Letters to 87: Fans Remember the Legacy of Dwight Clark" opens in a forward by the former San Francisco 49ers owner. "Letters to 87" is an interesting take on a 49ers-related book. It's not just a celebration of Dwight Clark, the former NFL wide receiver whose catch in the back of the end zone during the NFC Championship game following the 1981 season launched a dynasty, but a stroll down memory lane for anyone who remembers that game against the Dallas Cowboys. For fans who are too young to remember the feeling of watching Clark leap into the air and wrap his fingertips around the Joe...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    Jun 21, 2019 at 9:00 AM 2 comments
    In the depths of the cavernous Twitter-takes dungeon, there is a secret room where some hot takes actually became a reality. Somewhere, someone is mining through cat memes, facepalm gifs and arguments over fast-food restaurants looking for that shining moment where he/she correctly predicted how well linebacker Fred Warner's first NFL season would be. Warner proved to be a diamond in the rough for the 49ers, starting all 16 games his rookie year, playing 1,060 snaps and racking up 124 combined tackles – ranking him 12th in the NFL. One of Warner's best games last season was in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. He led all defenders with 12 combined tackles, had one tackle for a loss, one pass defended and forced a fumble. Warner played every...
  • By Richard Madrid
    Jun 4, 2019 at 7:00 AM 0 comments
    Today we take a look at the film of rookie receiver Jalen Hurd of Baylor. The 49ers made a surprise pick with their third round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft (67th overall) by selecting receiver Jalen Hurd out of Baylor. Presumably, the 49ers could've drafted Hurd in the later rounds with receivers like Terry McLaurin, Riley Ridley, and Hakeem Butler all still on the board after Hurd was selected. However, it's easy to see why head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch went the route they did with Hurd. Hurd is an interesting prospect who offers a lot of length, size, and versatility. He originally entered his college career as a running back at the University of Tennessee where he shared backfield duties with current New Orleans Saints start...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    May 31, 2019 at 8:00 AM 2 comments
    Philosophically, has your defense changed at all with the change at defensive line and the talk of more wide-nine? Has anything changed from your standpoint about what you want to get accomplished? "No. We might look different, but philosophically, the overall foundation of the defense hasn't changed." Robert Saleh. May 29, 2019 Since the San Francisco 49ers hired defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, the rumblings of a "new" wide-9 defense have been floating through the sports page and Twitter timeline. The wide-9 technique is not a new addition to defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's defensive...
  • By Matthew Barr
    May 24, 2019 at 12:00 PM 4 comments
    The San Francisco 49ers enter this season as a team of both hype and uncertainty. Some, such as Peter King, are buying that they will return to the form of their five-game winning streak to finish out the 2017 campaign while others are far more cautious in anointing them as contenders after last year's roller coaster season. The success and failure for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers rests on a litany of unknown factors. Here is a look at the biggest ifs going into the 2019 season. If All Players Return From Injury at Full Strength It is no mystery that injuries have been a major issue for this team for many consecutive seasons. Last year saw two cornerstones of...
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    May 24, 2019 at 8:00 AM 4 comments
    Organized Team Activities (OTAs) mark a significant shift on the professional football calendar. The draft feels like it was months ago, and teams have moved beyond over-hyping the 2019 schedule. The San Francisco 49ers enter the 2019 season with five offensive linemen who played the bulk of the 2018 season together, building a bond and learning how to communicate in loud, raucous stadiums. There's no point in the coaching staff creating artificial position battles; last year's first-team earned the right to come back and start this fall. Here are my projections, including the back-up linemen. First-Team Left Tackle: Joe Staley At some point in the distant future, someone will write a comprehensive history of the 49ers...
  • By Matthew Mani
    May 21, 2019 at 3:43 PM 4 comments
    You hear the phrase all the time, particularly coming from the mouths of coaches who are taking over really bad teams: "We are going to try to change the culture here." What does that mean, exactly? The word culture can mean all sorts of things, depending on the context. In terms of sports, and of teams, it generally means that management is trying to bring a work ethic, a team-first mentality, a camaraderie, a professionalism and a single-mindedness to literally everything that goes on inside the team facility. This, as you can well figure, is not an easy thing to do. Teams need talent, first and foremost. It is fairly impossible to win in the NFL, and certainly to win consistently, without talent on the roster. That does not mean that the most talented teams win every year. Last...
  • By Matt Andruscavage
    May 8, 2019 at 7:00 AM 8 comments
    It has now been over a week since the NFL Draft and the San Francisco 49ers have added seven drafted rookies and ten undrafted rookie free agents. Here is a "way-too-early" projection of the 53-man roster. Quarterbacks Currently there are four quarterbacks – Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens, C.J. Beathard, and undrafted rookie Wilton Speight. Due to needs at other spots, expect the 49ers to try to move Beathard in a trade and possibly retain Speight on the practice squad. Expected to make the roster: 2 Running Backs This is a deep squad with Matt Breida, Jerick McKinnon, and Tevin Coleman in the same backfield. Expect Coach Shanahan to do some creative things to get all of them a lot of reps during the season....
  • By Bret Rumbeck
    May 4, 2019 at 7:45 AM 24 comments
    Four years ago, former San Francisco 49ers' general manager Trent Baalke selected punter Bradley Pinion in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The 49ers already had a capable punter in Andy Lee on the roster, but Baalke decided Lee's services and his 46.4 average yards per punt were no longer needed in the Bay. Just when the groans about the Pinion pick had been lost to the memory hole, general manager John Lynch selected punter Mitch Wishnowsky from Utah in the fourth round of the 2019 draft. Most fan and expert reactions were a justified balance between angry and confused. It was as if Lynch forgot the 49ers' defense struggled to remain consistent and healthy in 2018,...
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