SANTA CLARA -- It's unknown how long it will take Alex Boone to seize the 49ers' starting right guard position after missing the team's entire preseason. But he'll arrive at team headquarters today in very good shape, said the man who trained with him in Cleveland.

Defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic abuse Sunday morning in San Jose, bringing more scrutiny to a 49ers team that spent the offseason tangled in legal matters.

The missing pieces to the 49ers’ offensive line are beginning to reappear. Alex Boone is expected to end his months-long contract holdout Monday after he and the team compromised on the remaining years of the right guard’s deal.

The 49ers already have lost several players via waivers they were hoping to put on their practice squad. Here is the running list:

Guard Alex Boone, who missed the 49ers’ entire offseason while seeking a new contract, will report to the team Monday with a restructured two-year deal, a league source confirmed. News of the agreement first was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Listening to Colin Kaepernick talk about his current group of wide receivers is a bit like sitting down with a kid as he shows off his favorite action figures. Anquan Boldin is great because he’ll smash through anything to make a catch. Michael Crabtree’s hands are so quick and strong he can snatch passes even in heavy traffic.

The 49ers have finished no lower than fifth overall in total defense since defensive coordinator Vic Fangio arrived in 2011. If they even come close to No. 5 this season, it could be Fangio’s most masterful coaching performance yet.

Rookie safety L.J. McCray was surrounded by veterans when Jim Harbaugh walked into the team meeting room Saturday afternoon, so he tried to act cool with what the 49ers’ coach told the group.

Sept. 7, at Dallas, 1:25 p.m., FOX 40: A weakened defense and a balky preseason conspire to give coach Jim Harbaugh his first opening-week loss as an NFL head coach. Big D may struggle on D, but Tony Romo and Co. still can put up a lot of points. Loss (0-1)

The 49ers reduced their roster to 53 players with several players who had been on the proverbial bubble, including quarterback Josh Johnson and receiver Brandon Lloyd, making the cut, at least for now. The day also was kind to a pair of upstarts -- undrafted rookies Dillon Farrell, an offensive lineman, and James McCray, a safety.

The 49ers must reduce their roster to 53 players today. Here’s the list of those who have been cut and those bubble players who have appeared to have made the initial roster. The team can begin building its 10-man practice squad on Sunday.

SANTA CLARA -- Josh Johnson, whose 110.8 passer rating in the preseason was far higher than that of any other 49ers quarterback, has made the team’s initial roster, multiple sources confirmed today. The 49ers had to reach the 53-man limit by 1 p.m.

The NFL Players Association, which negotiated a nine-game suspension on Aldon Smith’s behalf, released the following statement from the 49ers’ outside linebacker Saturday morning:

Aldon Smith and the 49ers on Friday received the news they’d been bracing for since last year: The team’s star outside linebacker has been suspended for nine games without pay this season for his long list of legal run-ins. Smith is eligible to return to the playing field Nov. 10, one day after the 49ers’ game at New Orleans.

Here’s my projection for the 49ers’ “initial” 53-man roster, which must be finalized by 1 p.m. Saturday. Explanations (a lot of them) below.

If a general manager's goal is to make cut-down day difficult, Trent Baalke has succeeded. He will begin the process of trimming the 49ers’ roster to 53 players this afternoon, and he is bound to have trouble at a couple of spots, including cornerback.

Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider was watching from the Levi’s Stadium press box when the 49ers played the Denver Broncos on Aug. 17. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was there, binoculars in hand, for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers.

SANTA CLARA -- NFL preseason games are weak overall, but the fourth game? It's the the runt of the litter, the one that Homer Zuckerman, axe in hand, ought to take behind the barn. A case in point: the Tolzien-Johnson Affair of 2012.

The 49ers’ No. 1 quarterback started last year’s preseason finale, too, picking up two first downs before connecting with Quinton Patton for a 43-yard touchdown. He could use a similar drive against the Texans, even if it’s against Houston’s reserves. So far this preseason, Kaepernick has led the 49ers to two field goals. They’ll need a lot more than that when they return to Texas in 10 days to take on the Cowboys.

SANTA CLARA -- When Anquan Boldin arrived last offseason, his connection with Colin Kaepernick was immediate. As early as May OTAs, the two looked like they had been playing together since childhood, and in Week 1 they hooked up 13 times for 208 yards.

The NFL preseason is not about wins and losses. The outcome of these games are about as important as the miles of dirty, grass-stained equipment tape found on a locker room floor at the end of a contest.

How does someone pull both hamstrings at the same time?

SANTA CLARA -- Vic Fangio isn't quite ready to name Michael Wilhoite the winner of the team's competition to replace linebacker NaVorro Bowman in the starting lineup.

What was supposed to have been a two-man battle to become the 49ers’ starting center this year never was much of a competition. When training camp began, draft pick Marcus Martin was on the sideline with an ankle injury. Then just as he was starting to assert himself in preseason games, he suffered a knee injury that could keep him out until midseason.

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers began whittling their offseason roster to 75 players on Monday, including by placing players on injury lists. The players on those lists must sit out at least the first six weeks of the season but do not count against the 53-man roster until they are activated. The team must further reduce the roster to 53 players by Saturday afternoon.

SANTA CLARA -- As expected, the 49ers have ripped up the grass field they put down less than 72 hours ago and are in the process of installing a new, hopefully more permanent, playing surface.

SANTA CLARA -- Marcus Lattimore said Monday he expects to start the season on the 49ers’ non-football injury list, the second straight year the running back has begun the season on the list.

SANTA CLARA -- Rookie center Marcus Martin suffered an injury to his kneecap late in Sunday’s game and will miss eight weeks, according to a report by The San Francisco Chronicle.

On the 49ers' first snap of the day, Corey Liuget beat a one-on-one block by Jonathan Martin (who had lined up on the overloaded left side of the offensive line) to hit Frank Gore for no gain. It set the tone for the rest of the quarter as the Chargers defensive line, especially Liuget, dominated the vaunted left side of San Francisco's line.

SANTA CLARA -- Not only did Quinton Patton enter Sunday's game well ahead of Stevie Johnson, he played more snaps than any other 49ers receiver against the Chargers – 31. Asked if Patton was the team's No. 3 receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree, Jim Harbaugh said, “We don’t have that yet for you, the ordering. I thought he did well.”

A 49ers team that only mustered only three points in its previous two exhibition outings beat the San Chargers 21-7 on Sunday, but most of the damage was done by backups.

LaMichael James didn’t mince words when asked about the just-installed grass at Levi’s Stadium.

At least no one is talking about the field anymore.

SANTA CLARA -- Officials began inspecting Levi’s Stadium at 6 a.m. and found no damage from the large earthquake that struck the Napa area early Sunday morning. Today’s game against the Chargers will go on as scheduled. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

To use a food metaphor, the San Francisco 49ers got creamed by the Denver Broncos in last week’s preseason game, the NFL debut of the new $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium.

Is the third time the charm? The 49ers really want Gabbert to win the role of No. 2 quarterback – they’ll owe him $2 million if he makes it or not – and they are giving him every opportunity to take the job. Gabbert has been a slow starter to this point. He needs to enter this game aggressively and to sustain at least one or two drives. If he doesn’t? Eh, he’ll probably make the team anyway.

Not only has it been hard to tell who’s winning the 49ers’ backup quarterback competition, it’s difficult to nail down whether there’s ever been a competition in the first place.

LaMichael James is ready to make his preseason debut Sunday, but he’ll do so without the bulky, plastic brace that he says was like wearing “a 10-pound dumbbell on my arm.”

SANTA CLARA -- San Francisco 49ers COO Al Guido spent 20 minutes with reporters Friday discussing the playing field at Levi's Stadium. Here's everything you ever wanted to know about stadium grass:

SANTA CLARA -- Which 49ers are eligible for the practice squad? This year it would be easier to list which players aren't eligible. That's because new rules not only bumped the squad from eight to 10 players, it expanded the criteria for making the practice squad.

The San Francisco 49ers’ $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium debuted Aug. 17 in a preseason matchup with the Denver Broncos. The only glitches: There were still a few traffic snarls getting to the game, the audio for the National Anthem was spotty and the grass on the field hasn’t fully taken root. Oh, and the home team appears to have suffered a major power outage. The 49ers had managed just one Phil Dawson chip-shot field goal in their first two warmup games, and they only sniffed the goal line on their final drive Sunday. They were stopped 2 yards short, and their Levi’s housewarming party turned into a 34-0 rout at the hands of the Broncos, the first time since 1979 the 49ers had been shut out at home in either the preseason or regular season.

SANTA CLARA – There will be no shakeup in the quarterback order in the 49ers' third and most important preseason game, Jim Harbaugh said Friday. Blaine Gabbert will be the second passer off the bench, followed by Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers’ head coach, has a distinct lexicon. If you study this guide, practice in front of a mirror and converse with your friends, you, too, will be able to speak and understand Harbaughian.

After just one football game at $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers on Thursday were forced to tear up the playing field and replace it with new sod.

Do you know who Ryan Mallett is? You’re not the only one. For all anyone knows, Mallett is Nathan Lane’s understudy in a Broadway musical.

See what The Bee's Matt Barrows - and hundreds of participants - had to say abut the 49ers as they head into the latter parts of a preseason that so far has been a little problematic.

No NFL team collects injured guys, troubled guys and otherwise discarded guys like the 49ers.

The 49ers halted Wednesday’s open practice at Levi’s Stadium less than an hour into the session after chunks of the field, which had been torn up during Sunday’s exhibition game against Denver, started to come up.

SANTA CLARA -- It turns out the grass isn’t always greener at a new stadium.

SANTA CLARA -- Before the grass swallowed up 49ers practice, the team was going through its final open session of the year. Here are the highlights from Levi's Stadium:

SANTA CLARA -- What would it take to pry holdout Alex Boone from the 49ers? According to one source, the 49ers are asking for a first- or a second-round draft as compensation. Another, however, said that the team would rather not trade Boone and would have to be “blown away” by an offer to consider it.

Coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers has colorful and unique ways with the language, especially as it relates to his team, players and their interaction with the world at large. Take our quiz and see if you can choose which phrases match up with the descriptions.

SANTA CLARA -- Three weeks ago when he was asked about a possible contract extension for receiver Michael Crabtree, the best face Trent Baalke could put on the matter was that the 49ers were “going to try.”

The 49ers last year reined in Colin Kaepernick’s running plays to save their starting quarterback from excessive wear and tear, and because he suffered a significant injury to his foot.

Glenn Dorsey might not be ready to play for several more months, but the 49ers feel he’s worth signing for a couple more years.

SANTA CLARA -- Glenn Dorsey may not be ready to play for several more months, but the 49ers feel he's worth signing for a couple more years. The team on Tuesday signed Dorsey, a nose tackle who was scheduled to become a free agent in March, to a two-year contract extension.

SANTA CLARA -- Right tackle Anthony Davis, who has started every game for the 49ers since the team drafted him in the first round in 2010, will be in uniform and go through individual drills today, Jim Harbaugh said. The 49ers practice at 2:45 p.m.

SANTA CLARA -- Phil Dawson said field-goal kicking boils down to two things: aim and execution. He was a little bit off in both categories in his Levi's Stadium debut Sunday, missing from 55 yards looking north and from 44 yards heading south.

The product on the field may have been hard to watch Sunday, but at least one 49er liked what he heard during his team’s debut at Levi’s Stadium. “Just in terms of noise – even compared to the regular season – that was a pretty good volume in there,” quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Monday.

You have to dig long and hard to find the good news from Sunday’s game. But I think I discovered a gold nugget amid all the rubble from the 34-0 loss: The 49ers’ kick-return game is outstanding.

Here’s the snap count from Sunday's 34-0 win for the Broncos at Levi’s Stadium. Denver ran 71 plays, the 49ers had 59.

The only glitches in Levi's Stadium's NFL debut: There were still a few traffic snarls getting to the game, the audio for the National Anthem was spotty and the grass on the field hasn't fully taken root.

The only glitches in Levi’s Stadium’s NFL debut: There were still a few traffic snarls getting to the game, the audio for the National Anthem was spotty and the grass on the field hasn’t fully taken root.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh and his brother, San Francisco 49ers coach John Harbaugh, avoided questions about how they were alike and how they were different during joint practices last week.

The death of a 49ers fan at Levi's Stadium and the huge crowds who abandoned the sunny seats for shady concourses are shining a bright light on an issue that many Niner faithful were unprepared for Sunday: the heat.

Midway through the first quarter Sunday, nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward gave up a 15-yard pass to the Broncos’ slot receiver. Of course, he happened to be competing against “a legend” on the play.

SANTA CLARA – Midway through the first quarter Sunday, nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward gave up a 15-yard pass to the Broncos' slot receiver. Of course, he happened to be competing against “a legend” on the play.

SANTA CLARA -- Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore and Brandon Lloyd made their preseason debuts for the 49ers. Crabtree, who returned to practice on Friday after dealing with a muscle strain, started the game at wideout along with Anquan Boldin.

Like any tweak to the NFL rule book, the league’s scrutiny on defensive holding and illegal contact fouls this season is sure to draw mixed reactions from the 49ers.

Five key players to keep an eye on during today’s 49ers preseason game vs. the Broncos in Santa Clara:

Here are some key players - 10 plus a bonus player - who deserve scrutiny when the 49ers play the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

In the end, Jim Harbaugh had a bucket of ice water emptied over his head on Friday, but the 49ers coach made it clear it wasn’t because arch rival Pete Carroll challenged him to do it.

There will be no shakeup when it comes to the 49ers’ quarterback rotation Sunday against the Denver Broncos, Jim Harbaugh said Friday. Blaine Gabbert will be the second quarterback to enter the game, just as he was in the preseason opener in Baltimore.

First the good news from the 49ers' final training camp practice, which was held at Levi's Stadium: The team's injured players continue to trickle back into the lineup, headlined Friday by Michael Crabtree.

Jim Harbaugh said he recently received a “good report” on 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore from the two people in charge of his rehabilitation. Still, Lattimore is not yet ready to join his teammates at practice.

SANTA CLARA – There will be no shakeup when it comes to the 49ers' quarterback rotation Sunday against the Broncos, Jim Harbaugh said Friday. Blaine Gabbert will be the second quarterback to enter the game, just as he was in the preseason opener in Baltimore.

*ICE BUCKET UPDATE* -- Jim Harbaugh said he will accept the ice-bucket challenge. But not Pete Carroll’s challenge.

Capitol Corridor officials announced today trains will deliver 49er fans directly to the team's new stadium in Santa Clara, starting this weekend with a 25 percent ticket discount for people attending the team's inaugural game at Levi's Stadium.

Check in on what The Bee's Matt Barrows had to say during Thursday's live chat focusing on the 49ers as they get near the end of preseason practice.

Saying a young player is like Aldon Smith is a loaded simile. Smith very well may be the best pass rusher in the league, and he's drawn heaping spoon fulls of praise this summer from everyone from Jim Harbaugh to John Harbaugh to Joe Staley.

When Jim Harbaugh last week said reinforcements were set to arrive on his depleted roster, he wasn't kidding.

Glenn Dorsey had never had surgery in his life. So before his procedure to repair a torn biceps tendon this month, he went to teammate Ian Williams for advice on what to expect.

The 49ers began their fourth week of training camp Wednesday. Some positions are beginning to take shape. Others remain cloudy. Here’s where things stand on defense as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against Denver, the first NFL game at Levi’s Stadium:

When both Michael Wilhoite and rookie Chris Borland started last Thursday’s preseason opener at inside linebacker, it illustrated where things stand in the battle to replace NaVorro Bowman early in the season.

A music therapy program for pediatric patients received a boost Wednesday when NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and his wife, Barb, presented a check for $150,000 to Sutter Children’s Center, Sacramento to construct a music therapy facility on the midtown campus of Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento.

When both Michael Wilhoite and Chris Borland started Thursday's preseason opener at inside linebacker, it was an illustration of where things stand in the battle to replace NaVorro Bowman early in the season.

Apparently, the 49ers didn’t dodge every injury bullet during their six-day trip to Maryland. The team on Wednesday placed linebacker and special teams standout Blake Costanzo on injured reserve and signed another inside linebacker with special teams ability, Kion Wilson. Costanzo was injured in Thursday’s game but did not leave the contest. The team did not specify his injury.

As the 49ers enter their fourth week of training camp and begin preparing for Sunday’s preseason game against Denver – the first NFL game at Levi’s Stadium – some positions are beginning to take shape. Others remain cloudy.

The reinforcements are beginning to arrive.

As the 49ers head into their fourth week of training camp, some positions are beginning to take shape. Others remain cloudy. Here's where things stand on offense as the team returns home from six days in Maryland.

Jim Harbaugh acknowledged that NFL players and coaches are accustomed to high-end accommodations and that when something isn’t up to snuff there is plenty of griping. The suggestion box after the 49ers’ six-day trip to Baltimore, however, is empty.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Jim Harbaugh acknowledged that NFL players and coaches are accustomed to high-end accommodations and that when something isn't up to snuff there is plenty of griping.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Joe Flacco got plenty of opportunities to show off his big arm in Saturday's practice, hitting his speedy receivers, especially newcomer Steve Smith, on several deep passes. On Sunday, however, the 49ers defense struck back.

“Got high on a few plays.” That was 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s note on Joe Looney’s exhibition debut at right guard. Looney played 24 snaps Thursday in Baltimore, the most memorable coming on a third-and-short run near the Ravens’ goal line when he could not contain nose tackle Brandon Williams, who spun free of Looney’s block and tackled tailback Jewel Hampton for a 1-yard loss.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had plenty of opportunities to show off his big arm in Saturday’s joint practice with the 49ers, hitting his speedy receivers on several deep passes.

Two days after they faced each other in their preseason openers, the 49ers and Ravens scrimmaged for 21⁄2 hours in hot and muggy Maryland. The result: Many handshakes and several affectionate back thwacks.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- “Got high on a few plays.”

Anquan Boldin and his wife, Dionne, couldn’t decipher the slew of vague text messages that appeared on her phone when they landed in Dakar, Senegal, in March 2013. A few minutes later, when they were in the terminal, the mystery was revealed. During the eight-hour flight from the United States, Boldin was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the 49ers for a sixth-round draft pick.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Two days after they faced each other in their preseason openers, the 49ers and Ravens scrimmaged for 2 ½ hours in hot and muggy Maryland. The result: A whole bunch of handshakes and some affectionate back thwacks.

Tank Carradine on Thursday played in his first game since tearing his ACL at Florida State in 2012. He wasn’t exactly eased back into the fray.


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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Note: The 49ers blog switched blog platforms in May 2014. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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