New Blood

When the 49ers start the 2014 season, almost half the defense will be different than the one that started the 2013 season. DC Vic Fangio will have his biggest challenge since taking over the job in 2011.

The team will have a new base CB to replace Tarell Brown, slot CB to replace Carlos Rogers, ILB fill-in for a rehabbing Navorro Bowman, and a pass rushing ROLB to replace a suspended/released/jailed Aldon Smith. Fangio will also be working Tank Carradine into the D-line rotation. Chris Culliver was supposed to fill the base CB role, but he’s facing a possible league suspension.

Most teams use the Free Agency period to improve their teams, but the 49ers have taken the novel approach of weakening theirs. I’m sure it’s just a cunning new strategy from our all world GM Trent Baalke.

For the past decade, the defense has been the better half of the team, but that may change this coming year. The addition of Brandon Lloyd gives the offense three veteran and productive wide receivers — an almost unheard of situation. On a team that rarely uses three wide outs, however, let alone four, how many opportunities is promising 2013 draft pick Quinton Patton going to get? It will be an important Training Camp for him.

With LaMichael James on the trading block, the entire 2012 draft class can be considered a total bust. Not an all world performance from Baalke that year. The 2013 class will be more or less good or bad depending on the the performance this year of Carradine and RB Marcus Lattimore, and the growth of TE Vance McDonald. If these three guys do well, joining first round pick Eric Reid, then 2012 can be viewed as an aberration and not a trend.

All in all, a challenging year ahead. It might be difficult for HC Jim Harbaugh to maintain his streak of finishing three straight seasons with the second best team in the league.

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Posted in Vacant Observations

Mug Shot Patrol

The past week has not been a good one for the 49ers. Train wreck about covers it.

On Sunday, OLB extraordinaire Aldon Smith went off the rails yet again, getting arrested in L.A. for a false report of a bomb. The charge seems more like a case of hard ass police tactics than any real “report,” but Smith already is facing DUI and gun charge felonies, so making the news yet again is bringing his NFL career to the brink of extinction.

It’s looking more and more like Aldon is going to do some jail time, which might be the best thing to happen to him. If it was you or me, you can bet the orange jump suit would already be draped on our precious bodies. A jail sentence would certainly make Roger Goodell’s task of handing out 49er suspensions for the coming year a bit easier. And probably the Niners’ HQ rationalizations and no-speak responses, also. If Aldon was a marginal player, he’d have been cut long ago.

What a waste. Suddenly, the 2011 draft class, which had “superb” written all over it, is now looking like a juvenile delinquent crime wave. This offseason, Chris Culliver and Daniel Kilgore have both been arrested, along with Aldon, and we’re still waiting to see if Colin Kaepernick is going to join them for last week’s weird event in Miami.

GM Trent Baalke’s 2014 Draft Board may have been set a week ago, but it’s now being hastily revised. With more than three weeks left to go until draft day, it’s possible he’ll need to revise it yet again.

The team’s squeaky clean image, fostered and promoted by HC Jim Harbaugh, is clearly in free fall. Much to the amusement of the other NFC West division opponents and coaches.

Aldon’s arrest shoved the Miami incident temporarily into the background, but it may not stay there. We’re still waiting to hear the results of rape and toxicology reports on the woman who reported the event. About all we know for sure is that Kaepernick has a big ass suite in Miami, big enough for three guys to live there (Quinton Patton and Ricardo Lockette), and these three big dudes were joined for an evening of partying by one woman, who later ended up in the hospital. One girl, three guys? Doesn’t conjure up much of a wholesome image. At the very least.

Stay tuned for another interesting week on 49er Crime Beat.

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Posted in The Usual Suspects

Miami Vice

The 49ers are reportedly anxious to get Colin Kaepernick into camp so they can work on his mechanics. Really? They’ve had him for three years now and are just getting around to his mechanics?

Hmmmm. This looks suspiciously like a management attempt to portray Kaepernick as a non elite, unpolished QB who’s still somewhat lacking in basic skill sets. Aimed mostly at bringing his price down in the contract extension talks that are currently underway. Otherwise, you have to wonder what the hey QB coach Geep Chryst has been doing for the past three years?

The team is probably anxious to get the other two top picks from the 2011 Draft into camp, also. For different reasons. These two bad boys — Chris Culliver and Aldon Smith — are due to be arraigned Friday on their various criminal charges. Evidently, Kaepernick felt embarrassed sandwiched between these two fellows sporting a halo, so he made a feeble, or perhaps bold, attempt to get dirty himself down in Miami. Or, embellishing his halo in a kinky way, got dirty so his own agent has to whack a few million off his contract demands.

2013 draft pick WR Quinton Patton was also in this episode of Miami Vice, bringing the total to four 49ers Who Could Start The 2014 Season With A Suspension. Terrific. Certainly takes the wind out of our sails regarding disparaging remarks about the Seahawks PED users.

What is it with Miami? What does it have that Turlock, California doesn’t? Other than a lot more mega babes ready to party and a lot more drug dealers.

This story will either burn away this weekend like a morning fog, or blow up into a major crisis this coming week, bringing into play the knee-knocking words Blaine Gabbert. Kaepernick, Culliver, and Smith are all entering the final year of their rookie contracts and all three of them were looking for significant coinage upscale some time this year. It’s safe to say their agents’ initial bargaining positions have been seriously weakened.

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Posted in FOS Speculation


Posted on April 7, 2014Skeebers 85 Comments ↓

It’s been two months now since the 2013 season ended, but it feels more like two years. This is either the longest, quietest offseason in memory, or it’s time to go see my dementia doctor.

The Draft should be two weeks from Thursday, but the league pushed it back two more weeks to May 8th this year. Thanks, suits.

I’d say by now the 49ers draft board is 99% set. There’s still time for one of their prospects to get arrested for one thing or another, and slip down the board or off it completely.

Only a month ago, the 49er FO was depicted by Ann Killion as a powder keg of egos and dysfunction, but that story got laughed out of town and Ms. Killion has been pretty much MIA since, never once insisting her “sources” were accurate and she stood by them. I suppose we should thank Ann for trying to jump start the offseason news, but it was a woeful effort all in all.

The team will be playing the AFC West and the NFC East this coming year, so we’ll put them down for 8-0 against that bunch, pending divisional game outcomes. The exact schedule will be released sometime in the next week or two, pending whatever last minute screw jobs the geeks are concocting in their top secret concoction laboratories.

This is the first time in Jim Harbaugh’s reign as HC that the team is not the defending NFC West champion. A distinction now owned by Seattle. Harbaugh isn’t the only 49er FO guy eating the second banana lunch, either. It was four years ago last month that GM Scot McCloughan was shown the door and replaced by Trent Baalke. Now McCloughan is one of the architects of the SB champion Seahawks and Baalke is having lunch with Harbaugh at the also ran table.

At least none of our lads are strutting around the country basking in the glow of being a Super Bowl loser this offseason. That was a bad look. If Joe Montana was in his grave, he’d have rolled over on that one. As it is, he’s suffering along with the rest of us. It’s no fun at all being second best — even once, let alone two years in a row.

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Posted in Vacant Observations

Plenty of Nothing

Posted on April 4, 2014Skeebers

Four weeks into Free Agency and the 49ers have done just about nothing, except re-signing some of their own players and picking up some table scraps from other teams. The only FA starter signed was SS Antoine Bethea. He replaced the departed SS Donte Whitner. The stats say Bethea isn’t as good as Whitner, but he’s not that far worse, either.

Pretty ho-hum effort from 49er GM Trent Baalke so far. And it’s hard to see any wowzer ripples cast upon the placid roster waters during this last month before the Draft in early May.

I suppose there’s not much more he could do, since all 22 starting positions are already locked in for next year. Maybe there will be an incumbents battle for starting center and for the 3rd WR, plus a stand-in-for-Bowman battle at ILB, but everywhere else there’s a name on the locker already.

Pete Carroll will get a contract extension today, probably making him the highest paid coach in the league. The most interested spectators to this deal will be Jim Harbaugh and Jed York. York’s going to see how high he has to go if Harbaugh wins a SB, or what ceiling he can slide under should Harbaugh not win the big win by the time his current deal expires.

The Desean Jackson saga mercifully played out, and the little guy ended up in Washington. Baalke sent out a last minute sniffing party, but they never made it past the Rockies. The initial reports of Jackson having gang ties has shifted to Philadelphia being okay with racist white players, but down on black guys who grew up in the inner city.

Jeez, pass me a hankie. Jackson was cut because he’s a whiny, me-first meathead in a team game, who’s already admitted loafing through one season because of stressful unhappiness about his paycheck. It’s the same road walked by Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. Washington might get a good effort year out of Desean, but sooner or later he’ll be sulking in front of a mirror, giving speeches to himself and pissing off his mates and coaches.

Mock Draft mania should heat up in the coming days. For the second straight year, the 49ers will be drafting in the thirties. Last year, it was 31. This year it’s 30. Given Baalke’s previous drafts, it’s not likely he’ll stay put in the first round. He’s traded up twice in his first four years, netting Anthony Davis and Eric Reid. In 2011, he didn’t need to trade up. He was already up, drafting Aldon Smith at spot number 10, IIRC. The other year, he should have traded up, but stayed put in 2012 and drafted the immortal A.J. Jenkins, who was such a BUST he was kicked out of town after one year.

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Posted in Mindless Drivel
2014 49er Free Agents
Anquan Boldin (re-signed)
Donte Whitner (to Cleveland)
Jonathan Goodwin
Mario Manningham (to Giants)
Phil Dawson (re-signed)
Tarell Brown (to Oakland)
Colt McCoy (to Washington)
Perrish Cox (re-signed)
Anthony Dixon (to Buffalo)
Eric Wright (re-signed)
Kassim Osgood (re-signed)
Demarcus Dobbs (RFA) (tendered)
Michael Wilhoite (RFA) (tendered)

2013 Schedule
1. GB (W 34-28)
2. at SEA (L 3-29)
3. IND (L 7-27)
4. at STL (W 35-11)
5. HOU (W 34-3)
6. AZ (W 32-20)
7. at TEN (W 31-17)
8. at JAC (W 42-10)
9. BYE
10. CAR (L 9-10)
11. at NO (L 20-23)
12. at WAS (W 26-7)
13. STL (W 23-13)
14. SEA (W 19-17)
15. at TB (W 33-14)
16. ATL (W 34-24)
17. at AZ (W 23-20)

at Green Bay (W 23-20)
at Carolina (W 23-10)
at Seattle (L 17-23)
2013 Prognostications
Dennis: 9-7
Berger: 12-4
Grumpy: 11-5
Rob: 13-3
Skeebers: 12-4
NJ49er: 10-6
Winder: 11-5
Tony: 14-2
Earl: 13-3
Mr Fletch: 11-5
Barley: 11-5
Spitblood: 16-0
Other Dennis: 11-5
Chuck: 12-3-1
Bullit: 12-4
BigJon49er: 13-3

2013 Draft Class
1 Reid, Eric FS
2 Carradine, Tank DE
2 McDonald, Vance TE
3 Lemonier, Corey DE
4 Patton, Quinton WR
4 Lattimore, Marcus RB
5 Dial, Quinton DE
6 Moody, Nick OLB
7 Daniels, B.J. QB
7 Bykowski, Carter OT
7 Cooper, Marcus CB