Alex Smith could have moved on at various points during his eight-year stint with the 49ers. But he chose to stay because, as a one-time No. 1 pick in the draft, he felt a responsibility to the then-struggling franchise.

Antoine Bethea intercepted a pass, forced a fumble and even deciphered the Eagles’ audibles in Sunday’s San Francisco 26-21 win. For that, the 49ers safety was named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday, the first time the nine-year veteran has won the award.

Vernon Davis said he is moving around better than he was after Sunday’s game but that his back spasms have not gone away entirely. He missed Wednesday’s practice and declared himself “day to day.”

Antoine Bethea made No. 100 count.

Colin Kaepernick today credited Alex Smith for helping keep the 49ers locker room stable during what could have been a rocky transition from Smith to Kaepernick during the 2012 season.

SANTA CLARA -- Alex Smith isn’t the only player the 49ers shipped east to Kansas City last year.

The 49ers' strategy for sustainability involves loading up on draft picks and always having an influx of young players who can replace expensive, soon-to-be free-agent talent. Last year, Trent Baalke appeared to hit the jackpot when he traded Alex Smith to the Chiefs for not one but two early-round draft picks.

Dancing Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, shuffling Ickey Woods and the group high-fiving Fun Bunch? Their entertaining touchdown celebrations would be illegal in today's NFL.

For years, football fans have bemoaned the rule barring NFL home games that haven't sold out from being televised in the local market.

See what The Bee's Matt Barrows had to say about the 49ers following their critical victory and the aftermath that included strong criticism of coach Jim Harbaugh.

The elder statesmen of the 49ers' offense and defense, Frank Gore and Justin Smith, have played fewer snaps through four games than at this point last year.

Jim Harbaugh had a strong reaction to Deion Sanders’ comments that the 49ers’ head coach is losing the locker room and his players want him out. “Personally, I feel that’s a bunch of crap,” Harbaugh said at his news conference today. The coach also addressed other anonymous reports about discontent in the organization.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said the 49ers must do a better job managing the clock one day after the team committed two delay-of-game penalties and ran out of timeouts with more than three minutes remaining.

The 49ers lead the league in delay-of-game penalties after four weeks, which shouldn't be a surprise. They had more than any other team last year as well.

SANTA CLARA -- There were two amazing aspects of Frank Gore's 55-yard touchdown catch and run in the second quarter of Sunday's game.

The 49ers addressed their anemic pass rush by replacing outside linebacker Corey Lemonier with rookie Aaron Lynch on passing downs.

The 49ers’ coaching staff wanted to make Friday’s practice so taxing on the defense that Sunday would seem like a breeze by comparison.

S This was more like it, more familiar, more effective. Unofficially, this was the 49ers’ regular-season debut in their splashy new Levi’s Stadium. This was … them.

SANTA CLARA --- The 49ers have taken the vaunted Eagles offense out of the game and yet still trail 21-13 at the half.

Both Vernon Davis and Anthony Davis are active today and in line to start, good news for a 49ers rushing attack that enters the game ranked 18th in the league and was lightly used in last week’s loss.

The Bee's live blog featuring updates from Matt Barrows and other reporters will provide observations, opinions and other key information from the game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles. The live blog begins at noon and will run until well after the game concludes.

By Matt Barrows

A look at the today’s 49ers game against Philadelphia, including broadcast information, five players to watch and injury report.

Zach Ertz played tight end in Stanford’s deliberate, plodding, run-heavy offense for four years before the Philadelphia Eagles and their head coach, Chip Kelly, selected him in the second round last season. He said his introduction to Kelly’s constant-motion, no-huddle offense was jarring.

Prosecutors have again postponed a court hearing involving San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald in connection with his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.

Tank Carradine had 11 sacks his final season at Florida State, and he led all 49ers defensive linemen in tackles in the preseason. So why, with San Francisco struggling with a watered-down pass rush, is the team’s 2013 second-round draft pick standing on the sideline?

For the third straight day, a new player showed up on the 49ers’ injury report. This time it was veteran safety Antoine Bethea, who apparently injured his ankle late in the week.

The 49ers' 10-penalty game against the Cardinals resulted in three fines of $8,268 from the NFL. Anquan Boldin was fined that amount for his headbutt of a Cardinals defensive back in the third quarter.

The Bee's Matt Barrows tries to help make sense of the troubling start of the 49ers' season. Replay the live chat he hosted Friday morning.

Spike in penalties in the NFL is taking fun out of the games.

Defensive end Ray McDonald has been playing well, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said, despite the off-the-field issues Fangio believes must be weighing on his mind.

Three 49ers who missed Wednesday’s practice were back on the field for the start of Thursday’s session.

SANTA CLARA -- When the 49ers are on defense Sunday, there won't be time for celebrating a great play, or complaining to officials about a bad call or conferring with teammates about an alignment. Because when you are facing an Eagles offense that forgoes a huddle and can snap the ball five seconds from when it was set, typical post-play routines go out the window.

Tank Carradine has been inactive for two of the 49ers' three games this season and played exactly zero defensive snap in the third. Why, with the 49ers struggling with an anemic pass rush rush, is the 40th overall pick in last year's draft being under-utilized, especially when he showed such promise this summer?

The 49ers received a double dose of Davis on Wednesday as both tight end Vernon and right tackle Anthony went through a limited practice session. Neither played in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals.

The 49ers host the Eagles on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium, and opposing coaches Jim Harbaugh and Chip Kelly have much in common, including mutual admiration.

Both Vernon Davis (ankle) and Anthony Davis (hamstring) were limited in practice today. Reading the tea leaves, Vernon Davis seems likely to play in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals. Anthony Davis might be slightly less so considering he missed all of the preseason (shoulder surgery), then suffered the hamstring strain as the regular season was beginning.

Jim Harbaugh said today he’s never complained publicly about the officiating in a 49ers game. He said that with a straight face.

***Update*** Both Vernon Davis and Anthony Davis were on hand for the start of 49ers practice. Tramaine Brock (toe), Vance McDonald (knee), Justin Smith and Patrick Willis were not practicing. Smith and Willis were working out on a side field, apparently getting a veteran day off from practice.

When Chip Kelly was with Oregon and Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, there obviously was a strict embargo on sharing information. The California-Oregon border was on lockdown from 2009-2010.

Colin Kaepernick’s chances of winning his “inappropriate language” appeal dwindled even more Monday night when Chicago Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston changed his story and said the 49ers quarterback did in fact use the “N” word following a fourth-quarter interception.

SANTA CLARA -- A week ago, Vernon Davis needed crutches to get around. Today the 49ers tight end was moving without a limp, a sign that his injured ankle is healing rapidly and that he has a good chance of being on the field Sunday against the Eagles.

The first reaction to watching the game is that all of the Cardinals scoring drives either were aided by big plays or big penalties.

SANTA CLARA -- Colin Kaepernick's chances of winning his “inappropriate language” appeal dwindled even more Monday night when Lamarr Houston changed his story and said the 49ers quarterback did in fact use the “N” word following a fourth-quarter interception.

Workhorse back Frank Gore wasn’t used much in 23-14 loss to Arizona, underscoring how much the team’s offense veered from its usual run-first identity.

Dan Bunz played eight NFL seasons. He gave his mind, body and soul to the game, enduring shoulder, back and knee injuries that still make him wince just crawling out of bed. He suffered more concussions than he has fingers. He frets over memory loss and the toll it might take on his family.

His players may have complained about the officiating after being penalized for 107 yards in Arizona, but Jim Harbaugh tried his best to steer clear of the blame game during his Monday press conference.

Two men have been arrested on assault charges after fighting in the stands during Sunday's game between the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.

Frank Gore played half the 49ers’ snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals and had only one carry in the second half despite San Francisco’s eight-point lead at the start of the third quarter. Gore’s relatively small impact in the game underscored how much the team’s offense veered from its usual run-first identity against Arizona.

Authorities say they are investigating a weekend burglary at the home of San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald.

For the second straight game, the 49ers lost their cool, lost a lead and then lost the contest. This time they took a 14-6 lead and what appeared to be an offense that couldn't be stopped into the locker room at half time only to be ravaged by costly penalties and wide-open opponents in the second half.

The 49ers, who have been as run-oriented, old-school and stodgy as any team in the league in the Jim Harbaugh era, rolled out a slick new look against Arizona on Sunday.

The Bee’s Matt Barrows grades the 49ers on their performance Sunday afternoon in Arizona.

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Who kidnapped Jim Harbaugh and brainwashed Greg Roman?

Colin Kaepernick was fined more than $11,000 last week because of a racial slur he said following an interception to the Bears, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, who cited “refs” as his source in a tweet today.

Both Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald are inactive for today’s game against the Cardinals, which will give Derek Carrier, who had his first-ever NFL catch last week, his first-ever NFL start this week.

If your offense includes designed runs by the quarterback, you may have to live with an ugly-interception game every now and then. That was the take of NFL Films’ Greg Cosell after he watched Colin Kaepernick’s performance against the Chicago Bears last week.

A look at the today’s 49ers game against Arizona, including broadcast information, five players to watch and injury report.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- In a move that suggests at least one of their injured right ends won't play on Sunday, the 49ers today promoted tight end Asante Cleveland from their practice squad to the 53-man roster.

The 49ers’ injured tight ends, Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald, were able to do some light running Friday, but both missed their third day of practice and are question marks for Sunday’s game in Arizona.

Check out today's chat with The Bee's Matt Barrows as he assesses the 49ers' fortunes as they prepare for their upcoming game following last week's stunning defeat.

SANTA CLARA The 49ers added quarterback Colin Kaepernick to their practice participation report Thursday with a back injury. Kaepernick was not listed on Wednesday’s report and went through Thursday’s practice in full, signaling that the issue is unlikely to cause him to miss any of Sunday’s game.

Derek Carrier entered last Sunday’s game against Chicago without an NFL catch. The 49ers’ young tight end finished it with three for 41 yards and seems to have a good chance of adding to his tally this Sunday in Arizona.

Three months before they arrested Ray McDonald at his home, San Jose police responded to an incident involving a woman brandishing a handgun at the same house.

**UPDATE** Neither Vernon Davis nor Vance McDonald were on hand for the start of practice. Anthony Davis (hamstring) and Tramaine Brock (toe) also were not present.

In an era of flea-sized attention spans, news stories tend to peter out after a couple of days. The story of domestic abuse and the NFL, however, has had rare staying power, which should be expected when a different player gets in trouble every few days.

Playing the part of Cardinals running back Andre Ellington this week as gone to the most obvious actor. Who else better to portray the small but powerful Arizona tailback during 49ers practices this week than the guy who has been shadowing Ellington all his life?

Colin Kaepernick on Wednesday said he would appeal the more than $11,000 fine he received this week from the NFL for using “inappropriate language” following a fourth-quarter interception against the Chicago Bears.

The Cardinals today deactivated one of their running backs, Jonathan Dwyer, after he was arrested for aggravated assault in a case involving a 27-year-old woman and an 18-month-old child. Dwyer has been Arizona’s No. 2 running back, averaging six carries in the team’s first two contests.

Two ex 49ers are looking for work this week.

The 49ers began practice today with just one healthy tight end from their 53-man roster, Derek Carrier. The other two, Vernon Davis (ankle) and Vance McDonald (knee), were working out in the team’s weight room. Davis emerged using the same crutches he was seen using after Sunday’s loss to the Bears.

SANTA CLARA -- Colin Kaepernick today said he would appeal the more than $11,000 fine he received this week from the NFL for using “inappropriate language” following a fourth-quarter interception against the Bears.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians today said there has been no change with his team's quarterback situation: Drew Stanton is beginning the week as if he will start against the 49ers while regular starter Carson Palmer continues to deal with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder.

Here’s an update on some of the 49ers’ injured players as they began preparing for the Arizona Cardinals today:

Jim Harbaugh likened the performance of the crowd at Levi's Stadium to that of his team: There were some great efforts on Sunday and some areas that need work.

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh declines to comment when asked if he thinks defensive end Ray McDonald will be cleared of wrongdoing.

Coach Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers is seeking more information on the “inappropriate language” penalty given to 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick following one of his fourth-quarter interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the Bears.

Linebacker Shayne Skov, who gambled on joining the 49ers as a free agent in May despite an abundance of inside linebackers, was waived from the practice squad today. Also waived was cornerback Chance Casey.

There are many, many observations and notes after re-watching last night's 28-20 win by Chicago, the first by the Bears on the road against San Francisco since Walter Payton, Mike Singletary, Jim McMahon and William “Refrigerator Perry” were in Bears uniforms together.

The demise of Frank Gore’s starting role may have been greatly exaggerated.

Offense: With all their weaponry, Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers should have dominated the Bears. Instead, mistakes, penalties and turnovers first prevented San Francisco from putting the game away then allowed the Bears to crawl back into it. Grade: D-

A 49ers team that seemed ready to run away with a win against the seemingly hapless Chicago Bears in the first half ended up giving away the contest in the second half and spoiling the debut of their new stadium.

S You can open the doors on the prettiest new building in the NFL, celebrate the kickoff with 68,500 of your close friends, but when you throw a party and the most important person in the league declines his invitation, well, there is no ignoring the obvious.

Here’s the transcript from Jim Harbaugh’s press conference following the team’s 28-20 loss:

Like they did last week in Dallas, the 49ers pounced early in their home opener at Levi's Stadium and they lead 17-7

As expected, Chris Culliver will start at cornerback for the 49ers but Tramaine Brock will not. Brock suffered a turf-toe injury in the first quarter last week. He did not practice in the run-up to the game. Culliver, meanwhile, suffered a concussion and shoulder stinger but passed the league-mandated protocol and practiced throughout the week.

The Carolina Panthers today deactivated defensive end Greg Hardy, who is the subject of a domestic violence case, despite saying all week that they believe in due process and that Hardy would play in today’s game. The 49ers, meanwhile, have been resolute in saying that their own defensive end, Ray McDonald, would continue to be in good standing despite a domestic violence case that revolves around him and his fiancee.

A look at the today’s 49ers game against Chicago, including broadcast information, five players to watch and injury report.

Perrish Cox enters Sunday’s game as one of the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks, the top backup at nickel cornerback and the No. 2 punt returner. That’s a lot of responsibility for someone who was a three-time castoff in 2013.

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers on Saturday will do something they've never done in the Jim Harbaugh era: Go through a pre-game practice in their home stadium.

Before the 49ers and Bears meet Sunday, they are engaging in a different kind of competition: most unsettled position. For the 49ers, it’s cornerback. The team lost both starters, Chris Culliver and Tramaine Brock, in the first quarter Sunday against the Cowboys and both are listed as questionable on the team’s injury report.

Vic Fangio made it clear Thursday: He expected big things out of rookie cornerback Dontae Johnson. But maybe not in the first quarter of the first game of the first season of his NFL career.

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers classified cornerback Tramaine Brock and offensive tackle Anthony Davis as “questionable” on their injury report today. But neither practiced this week and it’s unlikely that either plays Sunday against the Bears.

SANTA CLARA -- Investigators are still examining what happened at Ray McDonald’s home on Aug. 31 and have not handed the case to the district attorney’s office for review. That means it’s likely that McDonald’s court hearing on Monday will be delayed by two weeks.

The Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows hosted a live chat as the 49ers prepare for their Week 2 home opener against the Chicago Bears in the new Levi's Stadium. Replay it here.

Before there was “Kaepernicking” and grousing about a tattooed starting quarterback, before all of the commercials and glossy magazine covers, before the two marches through the playoffs and the throws that fell just short, there was The Start.

SANTA CLARA -- LaMichael James' frustrations with his lack of playing time were well documented and team officials knew he wasn't going to have a major role either at running back or on special teams in the opener against the Cowboys. Which begs the question: Why wait until after Week 1 to grant James' request to be released?

The 49ers have suspended radio play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson for the team’s next two games, punishment for comments he made earlier in the week about domestic violence while speaking on KNBR.

The 49ers have just two running backs, Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde, on the active roster after releasing LaMichael James and letting promising rookie Glenn Winston get away via waivers.

Rookie safety Jimmie Ward did not suffer a concussion at the end of Sunday’s game in Dallas and will not go through the post-concussion protocol that 49ers teammate Chris Culliver must pass in order to play against the Chicago Bears.


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.

49ers Blog Archives

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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