• Steve Busichio
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  • By Steve Busichio
    May 9, 2014 at 7:36 AM 4 comments
    With all the pre-draft pundit chatter suggesting the 49ers would move up to nab a wide receiver, one had to expect that this would be the last thing Trent Baalke and company would do. The 49ers front office operates under a thick veil of secrecy; predicting their draft selections is like forecasting the winning lottery numbers. Thus it should come as no surprise that the 49ers stood pat at pick 30 and selected safety Jimmie Ward out of Northern Illinois University. The first question is why San Francisco would draft a safety when they have Eric Reid and Antoine Bethea already set as the starters. The second question is why would they pass on a wide receiver. There are logical answers to both of those questions. For one, Antoine Bethea is not spring chicken; his days...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Apr 18, 2013 at 11:22 PM 3 comments
    Well, the cat is out of the bag and it looks like only two of my prognostications rang true: The 49ers will follow their trip to London with a bye week (some real crystal ball foresight there on my part)The 49ers have five primetime games, the maximum allowed at the onset of the season (teams can be flexed into an additional spot during the season, like the 49ers did last year against Seattle in December) Now, let's take a look at the schedule week-by-week, in EST since I'm writing this from New Jersey): Sept. 8 vs. Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m. Green Bay is going to be coming in hungry after beginning and ending their 2012 season with defeats at the hands of the Niners, so this one will be tough. Nevertheless, there's a reason the...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Apr 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM 1 comment
    On the precipice of the NFL schedule-release soiree, I figured it would be a good time to take a look at the 49ers' 2013 opponents and make some predictions about how things might shake out. 2013 Opponents Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams Road: New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars (London),Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Feb 19, 2013 at 12:20 PM 19 comments
    While some 49ers are (justifiably) spending time with their families and recuperating from the rigors of a 2012 campaign that fell just short, others are already back to work. That list includes quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is training alongside 49er wideouts Chad Hall and Ricardo Lockette at CES Performance outside Atlanta. When Kaepernick burst onto the scene midway through 2012, observers marveled at his physical gifts. More importantly, they were awe-struck by the young quarterback's verteran-esque leadership and poise in the spotlight. Yes, Kaepernick took two quarters to settle in at the Super Bowl, but that can hold true for any quarterback, at any age. As a budding superstar playing the NFL's most glamorous position, Kaepernick has to deal with the...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Feb 13, 2013 at 3:12 PM 23 comments
    1. Sharpen Specials Teams; Adios Akers, Ginn The Niners' special teams went from being the NFL's uncontested best unit in 2011; to downright dreadful in 2012 (this excludes you, Andy Lee). David Akers and the coverage unit held a heavy hand in doling out three different losses this season. Akers is single-handedly responsible for both a tie and a loss to the St. Louis Rams, thanks to whiffing on 41- and 51-yard game-winners. Once an unwavering force at the kicker position, Akers has since become a gigantic liability. He shanked at least one FG in over half the Niners' regular season games and failed on a 38 yard chip-shot that could have been crucial in the NFC Championship game had San Francisco not pulled it out in the end. Akers...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Feb 8, 2013 at 12:52 PM 8 comments
    Fresh off of a heartbreaking loss to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, it's more than understandable for the moods of 49ers fans to be in the doldrums. And while it's easy to revisit the gaffes of the final 3 plays on their last drive, or look to the team-wide flaws that dug them a hole too deep to climb out of, or blame the referees—what's done is done, and none of that is changing. One way to ease the pain is to look to 2013 and all of the possibilities this team has available to it with a coaching staff that remains in tact, a supremely talented roster, and 14 picks in the draft. But an even easier, and more humbling, way to appreciate the San Francisco 49ers in getting over their Super Bowl blues is to look at just how far this team has come. Not so long ago (nearly 2...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Dec 16, 2012 at 11:11 PM 15 comments
    First things first. The 49ers notched an improbable 41-34 win in New England (something that hasn't happened in December since 2002) over the vaunted Patriots, clinching their second consecutive playoff berth in the process. Now onto everything else and what it means. If you didn't watch the game, you'd imply that my choice of the word "improbable" would refer to the fact that the 49ers were viewed as pretty big underdogs in this game. What transpired in Foxboro transformed that choice of word. The 49ers jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and showed the nation that they came to play. A Carlos Rogers interception returned to about the 3 yard line, proved that the Niners were intent on taking it to New England. But the end of that play would set the tone for the...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Nov 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM 1 comment
    The recent news that backup running back Kendall Hunter was lost for the season with an achilles tear serves as a huge blow the 49ers' offense. Now, the Niners not only have to decide on which QB will start moving forward, but they also have to contend with how to replace arguably the best backup/change-of-pace running back in the league. Hunter was far more than a backup. He served as an ideal complement to Gore with his shifty speed and elusive running. He could also block extremely well for his size, and provided a nice threat out of the backfield. This injury will test Harbaugh and Roman's mettle but they (along with Baalke) equipped themselves as best they could for a loss such as this one. It's time for Brandon Jacobs, Anthony Dixon and possibly...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Nov 27, 2012 at 10:14 AM 29 comments
    There are several layers to this subject and I'm seeking to peel those back in order to offer a truly objective opinion. Let's start where it all began, with Alex Smith... Firstly, more than anything, I just feel really awful for the guy. Sure, he's making millions but he seriously can not catch a break no matter what he does. He was rifled through a new offensive coordinator every year of his 6 year career, undermined in the locker room by Mike Nolan who questioned his manhood, got berated and benched by Singletary, was booed out of Candlestick Park with fans clamoring for David Carr (hold back the vomit if you can). He could have left SF in 2009 and 2011 but he stayed and cited "unfinished business" as the reason for his return. Then Harbaugh enters--a bona fide offensive...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Nov 19, 2012 at 10:33 PM 10 comments
    Fresh off the 49ers' 32-7 romp of the Bears in Candlestick, reaffirming their spot among the NFL's elite, the media hysteria begins. Kaepernick or Smith? But before we go there, let's get to some of the key points from Monday Night. Kaepernick. What can you say that isn't being said. The kid from Nevada had as good of a debut as you hope for as a QB. A dominating win with incredible numbers that include 2 TD passes, over 240 yards, and NO turnovers. Most importantly, this was in his first start, under the bright lights of Monday Night, going against one of the top 2 defenses in the league. Was very smart, had great pocket presence, and was very accurate all night. He should have even had a few more completions but just missed on a couple throws to Davis and rifled...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Aug 11, 2012 at 4:21 PM 1 comment
    Sure, it's only preseason, but everything must have its start. In a 49er-esque 17-6 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, the team that fell one game short of the Super Bowl took to business as usual, while providing a glimpse of a few new flashes of talent. Here are five things I've taken away from the 2012 San Francisco 49ers thus far: Depth. The Niners' depth on both sides of the ball may just be the best in the league. Many of their backups could be very good starters on other teams. Take the cornerbacks for example. What was once the longtime bane of the 49ers defensive unit, the secondary is now one of the strengths of this team. 49ers fans would have been thrilled with the duo of Culliver and Cox as starters at any point during the span of...
  • By Steve Busichio
    May 31, 2012 at 10:07 PM 9 comments
    When the offseason arrived, it was a foregone certainty that the 49ers would have to forfeit a few pieces of their championship-caliber team, especially on defense. Everyone figured either Carlos Rogers, Dashon Goldson, Ahmad Brooks, or two of those three would be gone. Here the team stands on the precipice of training camp for the 2012 season and it not only retained all three (so long as Goldson shows up at some point - which he will) , they also held onto/bolstered their depth. One of the most unsung retentions was that of Larry Grant. Oddly enough, it was the one the 49ers put the least amount of effort into. After doing a remarkable job filling in for Patrick Willis in 2011 (29 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble, and five passes defensed in three-plus...
  • By Steve Busichio
    May 5, 2012 at 9:10 PM 24 comments
    With minicamps just around the corner, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the 49ers' offseason activity. For the first time since perhaps the Walsh era, the 49ers front office and coaching staff are in tune with not only one another, but with what this club needs to get to the big game. The 49ers' re-signings and acquisitions during free agency and the draft only reinforce this notion. The first order of business for Baalke and company was making sure that the 49ers locked up all starters from the 2011 roster--a near impossible task for a roster teeming with pro bowlers and players enjoying breakout seasons. It was widely expected that the 49ers would have to part ways with at least one, if not two, key players from 2011. Well, minus the loss of Adam...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Mar 18, 2012 at 5:26 PM 19 comments
    On the heels of a surprising, uncharacteristic acquisition of Randy Moss, the 49ers are in voracious pursuit of future Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning. In the beginning of the weekend, Manning announced that he would make a decision on Monday or Tuesday. In an approximate 24-hour span following: The 49ers signed Mario Manningham News broke that Smith was parting ways with agent Tom Condon (who also represent Manning) Alex Smith flew to Miami Alex Smith scheduled a visit with the Seahawks Matt Flynn signed with the Seahawks Alex Smith began negotiating with Miami Unless the 49ers are truly taking a wild gamble, all of this movement in such a short span of time would suggest that the...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Mar 7, 2011 at 7:32 PM 6 comments
    I'll begin this article by stating that I agree with the Harbaugh hire. For the first time in a long time, the San Francisco 49ers set their sights on a target and nailed it. There's something to be said for that during a decade of "settling". 49er fans have had to endure coaching hardship since 2002. Now the organization wins the most-coveted college coach of the year. Harbaugh is known around the league as a meticulous quarterback-grooming guru and one who has a nose for offensive innovation. The fact that he's bringing back the cherished West Coast Offense is another aspect of this hire that has fans drooling. After season upon season of heartbreak and failure, 49ers fans have a reason for hope. Sound familiar? If it does, it might be because those...
  • By Steve Busichio
    Jun 12, 2010 at 5:07 PM 18 comments
    All the talk in San Francisco this offseason revolves around the 49ers' strong candidacy as the NFC West favorite. Between Kurt Warner's departure from Arizona and the rebuilding efforts going on in St. Louis and Seattle, the 49ers appear poised to capture the crown in the NFC's weakest division. An aspect that has not been heavily discussed is whether or not the 49ers are equipped to handle success. After so many years of losing, are the 49ers ready to handle the pressure that comes along with winning? According to pundits and fans alike, the 49ers' success will depend on quarterback Alex Smith. Smith has his fair share of supporters as well as detractors, and there are valid arguments on both sides of the table. Yet even the harshest of critics has to...
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