Tag Archives: San Francisco 49ers

How much will the 49ers miss Aldon Smith?

49ers Aldon Smith

SMITH

Entering the season with a revamped secondary and questions around the return of All-World linebacker NaVorro Bowman, the San Francisco 49ers may play the 2014 without another key cog in their elite defense, elite pass rusher Aldon Smith. In the latest in the line of off-the-field issues, Smith was arrested at LAX this past week in a bizarre case that involved Smith declaring that he had a bomb with him. In the past couple of seasons Smith was charged with multiple DUI’s and completed rehabilitation for issues with alcohol. Through all of his off-the-field issues the 49ers have supported Smith, but according to the San Jose Mercury News that may be coming to an end. According to Tim Kawakami its likely Smith sits out the entire 2014 season. Beyond potential team disciplinary issues it’s possible that the NFL suspends Smith for an extended period of time, if charges are pressed against him.

Smith’s legal issues are the latest in a handful of off-the-field incidents the 49ers are dealing with this season. Chris Culliver, an important part of the 49ers revamped secondary, will soon be charged for a recent hit and run incident. The 49ers are likely to hold onto Culliver, who will play a major role for the team due to the loss of multiple cornerbacks in free agency. This past week quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s name came up in relation to a “suspicious incident” that Miami police are still investigating. It’s unknown whether or not Kaepernick will be charged with anything, but any potential drama around Kaepernick will be yet another distraction for the franchise. It’s been an eventful offseason, beginning with rumors that the team actually looked to trade Head Coach Jim Harbaugh to the Cleveland Browns. The Harbaugh story was followed by a tough free agency period where more of the 49ers impressive defensive depth was picked apart by NFL free agency.

Aldon Smith

ALDON SMITH

The potential loss of Smith may be a major blow to the 49ers pass rush. Smith forms a tremendous combination with defensive end Justin Smith. Couple the loss of Aldon Smith with the devastating knee injury that NaVorro Bowman is returning from and the 49ers linebacker corps is clearly diminished. Bowman is a unique player, an every down player, who will likely be replaced by a handful of players as well as changes in scheme. With the 49ers secondary rebuilding, including new safety Antoine Bethea, a solid pass rush will be important. Corey Lemonair, who showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie season, is the logical replacement for Smith. San Francisco also has a massive number of draft picks in the upcoming NFL draft, with ample opportunity to pick up potential pass rush talent.

Whether or not they can find a player who can average a sack a game, like Smith, is another story. In an offseason where they were forced to replace exiting talent at several positions, the distraction of another Smith incident is exactly what the 49ers didn’t need. With Seattle coming off of a Super Bowl title the 49ers will need their typical elite defense. If they are unable to make up for their losses on the defensive side of the football they could be looking at another wild card run next season. By Chris Cabrera

Potential Depth Issues For The 49ers

San Francisco 49ers Tickets

49ERS

The key to an effective pass rush, beyond the obvious talent up front, is a strong secondary. For the past three seasons the San Francisco 49ers have had the best defense in the NFL, with three deep playoff runs and a Super Bowl appearance to show for it. The 49ers organization has done a tremendous job drafting and developing players, keeping an elite defense even against the threat of free agency. Last offseason San Francisco lost Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and didn’t miss a beat. Eric Reid, a first round draft pick from LSU, stepped in for Goldson and was a strong contributor from the start. This offseason began with the 49ers losing Donte Whitner, another elite Pro Bowl talent. The 49ers responded by signing former Indianapolis Colts safety Antoine Bethea to replace Whitner and team with Reid. At cornerback the 49ers decided to cut Carlos Rogers and avoid his $6.6 million salary. The team attempted to re-sign Tarell Brown, to provide depth and play the nickel quarterback, but Brown decided to leave the club and ink a contract with the Oakland Raiders.

Levis Stadium Tickets

49ers New Home

The loss of Whitner, Brown and Rogers is an impact to the 49ers depth and potential leadership, putting pressure on Tremaine Brock and Chris Culliver to take over the starting cornerback positions, along with Bethea at safety. Unfortunately for the Niners the plan to start Culliver at cornerback took a potential bad turn when the controversial corner was arrested for felony hit and run and weapons charges. The arrest of Culliver is another blight on a player who offended many in the Bay Area with anti-gay comments he made during Super Bowl week in 2012. Less than a year away from the Aldon Smith controversy, in which the 49ers star pass rusher was arrested for a second drunk driving offense and disorderly conduct, there is a heightened awareness regarding off the field issues for 49ers players. Could the 49ers decide to cut Culliver? If they do the once vaunted secondary is a major question mark and puts the pressure on the organization to improve via the draft.

Culliver is in the final year of his contract and the 49ers would save $1.4 million by cutting him loose. It may be popular from a public perception standpoint to cut Culliver loose but it sets up legitimate depth problems for the team. San Francisco did sign Chris Cook away from the Vikings during the free agency period. Cook is a skilled player who wore out his welcome in Minnesota, which included a felony assault trial. The 49ers ability to develop players could do wonders for Cook, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll turn into an elite player immediately. If Culliver is cut they could conceivably turn to Carlos Rogers, or a veteran like Champ Bailey, if he has anything left in the tank. Either way a position that was once an area of massive strength for the organization is in serious doubt, putting pressure on the remaining players to step up and perform and giving the team a small margin for error when the inevitable injuries occur.

49ers Levis Stadium

Levis Stadium

Will Culliver’s issues and the loss of Brown, Rogers and Whitner set the 49ers back in their effort to win a Super Bowl under Jim Harbaugh? Windows off opportunity are small in the NFL and like every team that compiles a large amount of talent the 49ers are suffering free agent defections. The combination of Reid and Whitner was a solid combo at safety last season, but will Bethea and Reid be as strong? Bethea is a talented cover safety but not the physical presence that Whitner was. With or without Culliver the 49ers overall depth at cornerback is not as strong as last season. Toss in a potential career threatening injury to Navorro Bowman and San Francisco could see their defense fall back a peg. Will that impact their ability to compete with Seattle? Time will tell. Chris Michaels.

49ers Take A Hit In Free Agency

San Francisco 49ers

49ers

The first three days of National Football League free agency has seen some high profile players switch teams, including San Francisco 49ers All-Pro safety Donte Whitner. The two-time Pro Bowler returned home, signing with the Cleveland Browns. For the second consecutive offseason the 49ers will have lost an elite safety. Last offseason Dashon Goldson signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 49ers replaced Goldson in the draft with LSU safety Eric Reid, who had an outstanding rookie season. Due to the talented roster the 49ers have assembled losing free agents is a fact of life in the NFL, the key replacing the talent they lose. San Francisco moved quickly to replace Whitner by signing Antoine Bethea from the Indianapolis Colts. In replacing Whitner with Bethea San Francisco essentially saved $5 million over four years. Like Whitner, Bethea is a two-time Pro Bowl selection, after the 2007 and 2009 seasons. Bethea isn’t the physical presence that Whitner was in the secondary, but possesses arguably better range and cover skills than Whitner and should provide a solid combination with the physical Reid. In addition to singing Bethea the 49ers resigned Eric Wright to a one-year contract for additional secondary depth.

The 49ers are hosting visits with a handful of other intriguing players, including Walter Thurmond of the Seattle Seahawks and Chris Cook of the Minnesota Vikings. The talented Thurmond is also visiting Jacksonville and Washington. He’d be an interesting addition to the 49ers roster, adding a capable player while subtracting a talented depth player from their chief division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks. Cook, coming off a couple of disappointing seasons in Minnesota, is a rangy and skilled player who hasn’t lived up to his potential in the NFL. Perhaps a change of scenery and the ability to play for an elite coaching staff can benefit Cook and help him reach his potential.

While the 49ers were hosting Thurmond and Cook, running back Anthony Dixon was visiting the Tennessee Titans and his former college running backs coach Sylvester Croom. Dixon is also set to visit the Buffalo Bills. Dixon is a capable backup but his potential loss could be offset by the presence of Marcus Lattimore. After missing his entire rookie season due to a devastating knee injury he suffered in college the former South Carolina star may be ready to contribute behind Frank Gore. If Lattimore can return to form the 49ers may have found the steal of the 2013 NFL draft.

In addition to the free agent signing of Bethea the 49ers made a couple of interesting, and high profile trades. The first move was sending a 7th round draft pick to the Dolphins for offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. Like Cook a change of scenery may benefit Martin after the well publicized Richie Incognito controversy. Martin didn’t perform well in his limited starts in Miami but the thought is his former college head coach, Harbaugh, can potentially help Martin reach his potential. If Martin can live up to his potential the 49ers may have picked up some good depth and a player who could be a potential starter down the road. In addition to Martin the 49ers also traded a 6th round pick for former Jaguars starter Blaine Gabbert. The former 10th overall pick never lived up to his potential, but could end up being a valuable backup in San Francisco. It’s a classic low risk move that helps boost the talent of the overall roster and gives the 49ers a potential solid backup should Colin Kaepernick ever go down for an extended period of time.

The 49ers open up the 2014 in the new Levi’s Stadium leaving their old home of Candlestick Park. Levis Stadium cost $1.2 Billion and has a capacity of 68,500. 49ers Ticket prices for their opening game of the 2014 – 2015 season have yet to be announced but with the new stadium they are expected to run from $200-$1000 per ticket. By: Chris Cabrera

Can The 49ers Survive The Frozen Tundra

San Francisco at Green Bay
When: 4:40 PM ET, Sunday, January 5, 2014
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

SF 49ers Vs Packers

49ers Vs Packers

Between them the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers have 9 Super Bowl victories and 18 total NFL titles. The two storied franchises have had many great postseason battles over the years, including last year’s divisional round game where the 49ers blew out Aaron Rodgers and the Packers behind a dominating performance from San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick. With Aaron Rodgers back and the game at Lambeau Field the 49ers suddenly have an extremely difficult first round road game. Here’s a look at the matchup:

When San Francisco has the ball: After displaying an improved run defense at the beginning of the season the Green Bay Packers have quickly fallen to the bottom of the NFL standings in total defense and rush defense. With run stopping tackle Johnny Jolly out for the season and star outside linebacker Clay Matthews out with a broken thumb the 49ers should be able to exploit the Packers defense on the ground. After dominating Green Bay on the ground in last year’s playoffs the 49ers defeated the Packers in the season’s opener in San Francisco through a 407-yard passing effort from Colin Kaepernick. The Packers pass defense is healthier than they were in the opener due to the return of safety Morgan Burnett and corner Tramon Williams, but the Green Bay secondary has had an up and down season and has struggled against good quarterbacks. If Kaepernick and company can overcome the frigid conditions in Green Bay they should be able to score on the Packers defense. The key for San Francisco is to limit turnovers and put touchdowns on the board when they visit the red zone.

Advantage: San Francisco

Packers Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers

When Green Bay has the ball: The Packers are a different team with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. The former NFL MVP returned after missing nearly two months with a collarbone injury and helped the Packers defeat the Bears to win their third consecutive NFC North. The Packers also saw elite slot receiver Randall Cobb return versus Chicago, giving the Packers the Packers a healthy receiving corps for the first time since week three. With Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jarrett Boykin the Packers have a deep and talented groups of receivers, as good as any foursome in the NFL. Green Bay is missing tight end Jerimichael Finley, but Andrew Quarless has filled in admirably and become a big target in the last quarter of the season. The big difference for Green Bay is the fact that they’ve established a running game. The combination of Eddie Lacy and James Starks has 1,671 yards and 15 touchdowns. Lacy is a powerful back who’s given the Packers a physical presence they haven’t had in years while Starks gives them a nice change of pace when he comes in. Even with Aaron Rodgers out for nearly half the season the Packers finished 7th in the league in rushing offense, averaging just four yards fewer per game than San Francisco. Even without Aaron Rodgers for half the season Green Bay averaged 25 points per game. With Rodgers they are extremely deadly, as evidenced by the 28 points they scored on San Francisco in the season opener. Rodgers was rusty in the first half versus Chicago last week but once he got his rhythm in the second half the Packers offense looked deadly.

Advantage: Green Bay

49ers Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick

Special Teams: On paper the 49ers have a significant advantage. They have perhaps the best punter in football, Andy Lee, combined with an excellent veteran kicker in Phil Dawson. The 49ers return and coverage units are top notch. Green Bay is a solid punter in Tim Masthay and their veteran kicker, Mason Crosby, has had a bounce back season. Green Bay has struggled in their coverage units, both kickoffs and punts. With 15 players on injured reserve the Packers have had roster upheaval all season, affecting their special team units. The wild card in the special team’s battle will be the weather and how the 49ers adjust top playing in a cold environment. Green Bay will have played in a cold environment in four of their past five games, so their special teams units are acclimated to playing in the cold weather. Since taking over as the Packers primary returner rookie Micah Hyde has proven sure handed and dangerous.

Advantage: Slim advantage to San Francisco

Home Field Advantage: The frozen tundra hasn’t been as big of a home field advantage in recent years for Green Bay. San Francisco is a team well built to thrive in a cold environment. Sunday’s weather is expected to be particularly frigid, with game time temperatures likely below zero degrees and dropping. Green Bay’s string of cold weather games cannot be underestimated, particularly when it comes to the quarterback matchup. Green Bay logical path to victory is to not turn over the football while Aaron Rodgers outplays Colin Kaepernick. The 49ers quarterback has had a solid season and proved his value in last year’s playoffs, but has never played in the conditions he’ll see on Sunday. If Rodgers puts together a strong performance and Kaepernick struggles the Packers could very well pull an upset. The frigid temperatures could be a massive factor in the game and are a critical element to watch.

Advantage: Green Bay

Prediction: The national consensus is that the 49ers will find themselves in a tough battle but should prevail due to a superior running game and defensive advantage. With Aaron Rodgers healthy the Packers are a major wild card in this year’s playoffs. When the two teams met in September the 49ers won by six points, but Green Bay had the lead 28-27 in the fourth quarter. Prior to Rodgers injury the Packers were 5-2 and rolling. If Green Bay can somehow muster up enough defense to stop the 49ers in the red zone and hold them to field goals they could very well pull the upset. Expect an extremely close game with the Packers winning late due to a strong performance by Rodgers.
Green Bay 27 San Francisco 23
By:Chris Michaels.

Published by Barry’s Ticket Service.

Alex Smith has to play better then last year!

Alex Smith San Francisco 49ers

Alex Smith San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off one of the best turn around seasons under a new head coach that any team could have done. Last year new head coach Jim Harbaugh lead the 49ers to the NFC Championship game against the New York Giants. The Giants wound up winning that game due to bad special teams play the 49ers.

Alex Smith had the best season of his career throwing for 3144 yards with 17 touchdowns while only turning the ball over 5 times on interceptions. Smith had his best performance of the season in week 13 against the St. Louis Rams where he completed 73.9 percent of his passes for 274 yards and 2 touchdowns. Smith will have to put up bigger numbers in 2012 while continuing to not turn the ball over.

The 49ers went out to help the passing game out by picking up free agents Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. These 2 receivers should compliment Michael Crabtree and tight-end Vernon Davis to give Smith more weapons through the air. While the team also drafted A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James to give them more weapons on offense.

As far as defense the 49ers were one of best overall in the entire league in most categories including second in fewest points with 14.3 points per game and also third in interceptions with 23. One of the best defensive performances came in week 15 against the Pittsburgh Steelers where the defense picked off 3 passes and recovered a fumble to help lead the team to a 20-3 win. The team will look for the veteran Patrick Willis to anchor the defense in 2012.

The 49ers should win the NFC West easily over the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams. All three of those teams have a lot of concerns on both sides of the ball.

Steelers look to avenge last season

Steelers to avenge last season

Steelers to avenge last season

The ending to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2011 season was tragic at best. The Steelers were one of the three favorites to win the AFC title going into the 2011 season having come off a defeat by the Packers in Super Bowl XLV. The team played well throughout the season battling the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC North’s top spot. However, Week 14 was the beginning of the end for the Steelers’ season. While playing the Cleveland Browns, Ben Roethlisberger suffered a high ankle injury while scrambling out of the pocket. Instead of deciding to heal the ankle Big Ben decided to start the next game against the San Francisco 49ers in order to clinch a playoff birth in Week 15. Roethlisberger was noticeably limping during the game and ultimately had to sit out. Charlie Batch started the next two games for the Steelers, eventually clinching a Wild Card playoff spot. The Steelers were heavily favored in the Wild Card game against the miracle Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow. In shock and amazement to everyone in the world, the Broncos were successful in passing the football against the top defense in football. With a single overtime play of 80 yards, the Steelers were sent packing home and left scratching their head. With the collapse of the 2011 season behind them, what will the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers bring to the table?

The 2012 Steelers will be quite a bit different from the Steelers of the past five years. Due to the new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players, the Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves with salary cap problems during the 2012 offseason. Player casualties from front office decisions were the releasing of veteran Steelers players such as Hines Ward, James Farrior, Aaron Smith, and Max Starks. An analyst once said that the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t have backup players but “starters in waiting” and there has been no other time more important for those “starters in waiting” to play at the same level of standard that the Steelers fans are accustomed to than during the 2012 season. Other veteran Steelers players have restructured their contracts to also help the organization in its salary cap problems.

The historic franchise has done its best in trying to replace its cap casualties by signing back Max Starks, resigning Jerricho Cotchery, and signing Leonard Pope. The Steelers also addressed its offensive line disasters through the draft, using its first two picks in selecting two offensive linemen, David DeCastro and Mike Adams. The Steelers have also drafted several other weapons to develop as “starters in waiting” as is the Steelers way. Electric running back Chris Rainey looks to be a change of pace back on third down situations and the primary kick and punt returner, Sean Spence will be developed into a Steelers future middle linebacker, and Alameda Ta’amu looks to replace nose tackle Casey Hampton in the future.

The Steelers have also dealt with disgruntled wide out Mike Wallace. Mike Wallace has demanded a long term contract with money equivalent to one of the top players in the league. Not giving into the demands of Wallace, the Steelers prepared to play the season without him and rewarded second year standout wide receiver Antonio Brown with a five year contract extension. Wallace and company finally decided to sign the restricted free agent tender offered to him by the Steelers and report to the team with only two weeks away from the start of the 2012 season.

The Steelers have always had one of the best defenses year in and year out. With Dick LeBeau still in command of the defense and some younger players being inserted into the starting roster, it looks like the Steelers will continue its dominant defensive tradition. The offense on the other hand might need some time to adjust to new offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s offensive system. It’s no secret that Ben Roethlisberger loved Bruce Arians’ offense the past couple of seasons but with a changing of the guard and Pittsburgh native Haley in command of the offense, the Steelers may struggle early on in the season.
All in all, the Steelers have an elite defense and playmakers on offense. They may struggle for the first month, trying to learn the new personnel changes but they will once again be a heavy favorite in the AFC rivaling the Patriots, Ravens, and Texans for top honors. The first test will be against the same team that sent them home last season, in the same building, however Tim Tebow is no longer running the team, that job now belongs to Peyton Manning. We will see how prepared the Steelers are to redeem its 2011 season right from Week 1.