• Don Atkinson
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    Don Atkinson
    Don Atkinson is a writer and sports analyst for Reach North Media and The Morning Line.

Don Atkinson's Latest Articles

  • By Don Atkinson
    Nov 7, 2019 at 12:53 PM 11 comments
    Now halfway through the 2019 season, the exotic moves that make pro football an exciting chess game to watch are already starting to appear. Fresh on the heels of rumor and speculation about wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.'s future with the Cleveland Browns, comes the news that former Dallas Cowboys superstar wideout Dez Bryant is, at least by his own proclamation, ready to return to the NFL. From 2010 until 2017, Bryant was largely the catalyst of the Cowboys' offense, and his ability to make game-winning catches and crank out spectacular kick returns made him a football icon of that time period. He parted ways with Dallas under rumblings of conflict with Cowboy's Coach Jason Garrett over an offensive unit scheme that reportedly iced Bryant out of being an...
  • By Don Atkinson
    Oct 29, 2019 at 8:27 PM 2 comments
    Being the 49ers offense must be a little like being an older sister to a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. You may be gorgeous, too, but you're never going to get the same level of attention as your sibling. Last Sunday, the 49ers offensive unit took a bold step toward letting the rest of the world know that it was rather special as well, racking up a whopping 51 points against what is widely regarded as one of the tougher defenses in the NFC. The 49ers offense has scored 207 points over the first seven games of the season. Toss out the 9-0 score in the underwater game they played in Washington two weeks ago, and the team has averaged an impressive 33 points per game. Not bad for an offensive unit that has largely taken a back seat to the 49ers defensive unit...
  • By Don Atkinson
    Oct 25, 2019 at 5:36 PM 11 comments
    Former Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has already donned his fresh number 17 jersey, gotten a few practices under his belt, studied some playbook, and is settling into his new life as a San Francisco 49er. Judging from both his demeanor and his smile, he seems genuinely happy to be here. While everything is looking good within Niner City itself, there is still an element of second-guessing, and even some outward media criticism, over the team sending its third- and fourth-round selections in the 2020 draft in exchange for the veteran Sanders and Denver's fifth-round pick. Some are saying two mid-draft picks was too great a price to pay for what they deem to functionally be a "rental player," in that Sanders plays out his contract at the end of this...
  • By Don Atkinson
    Oct 9, 2019 at 5:46 PM 5 comments
    Brace yourselves, 49ers faithful. As the team continues to rack up wins, the fan-based bandwagon activity is, predictably, starting up. There's been recent sightings of lightly worn Vernon Davis and Alex Smith jerseys in markets outside the Bay area. If the Rams fall to the 49ers this Sunday, expect Amazon sales of Niners apparel to soar. But while the fringe fans are starting to come alive, many of the NFL's insiders continue to look at the 49ers as if they were a cheap Rolex knockoff: flashy on the outside but ready to quit telling the correct time at any minute. And those critics are digging in. In the Tuesday episode of ESPN's First Take, commentator Stephen A. Smith continued to downplay what the 49ers have done so far this season, saying "I'll give the...
  • By Don Atkinson
    Sep 26, 2019 at 8:40 PM 13 comments
    Two weeks until the beginning of the end – that's the low-brow fortune-telling amongst many of the NFL's very best armchair quarterbacks this week. Indeed, it's only a matter of time before the 49ers disintegrate before our very eyes, and we're just one game away from the wheels falling off the proverbial wagon in Los Angeles. For those who are ready to embrace that epiphany of football's elite thinkers, I just happen to have a newly repainted section of the Golden Gate up for sale. Ignore the fact that both the paint on the bridge and the printer's ink on the deed are both still wet. And maybe for those not in need of a bridge, or who perhaps just want to take a more intellectual and analytical look at the 49ers and the state of the NFL, here's another idea that...
  • By Don Atkinson
    Sep 11, 2019 at 9:00 AM 3 comments
    With the first Sunday of the NFL season barely in the books, the molten lava of dissatisfaction and fretting over the strength of Jimmy Garoppolo as the 49ers' quarterback of the present and future has started once again to bubble to the surface. Garoppolo, it seems, has never been quite free of the doubters after his honeymoon of five inspired wins to finish off the 2017 season came to a halt on the field at Arrowhead stadium in the third game of 2018. Garoppolo's season-ending injury in that game gave detractors fodder to chew on for the next fourteen months, and some less than brilliant practices before this 2019 regular season began provided all the spice the naysayers needed to keep the negative chatter going. But while many are ready to disembark from the...
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