49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

May 6, 2013
Harbaugh adds ex-Raider Ronald Curry to coaching staff

Jim Harbaugh was a lowly offensive assistant on the Raiders in 2002 when Oakland drafted wide receiver Ronald Curry in the seventh round. Now Curry will begin his coaching career at the same level on Harbaugh's 49ers staff.

"The 49ers and our staff are pleased to be initiating Ronald's NFL coaching career," Harbaugh said in a statement. "Our team will greatly benefit from Ronald's athletic experiences, and we are happy that he and his wife, Stacie, are joining our football family."

Curry also is familiar to receivers coach John Morton, who held the same position in Oakland when Curry arrived. He also will recognize cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, whom the Raiders drafted in 2003 and who is competing for a roster spot this season.
 
Curry, 33, played seven years in the NFL, recording 193 receptions for 2,347 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Raiders. He tore his Achilles tendon in 2004 and 2005.

Offensive assistant is the first rung on the NFL coaching ladder, but good prospects don't spend much time at that level. Harbaugh, for example, was the head coach at the University of San Diego two years after he took the Raiders job. The 49ers' offensive assistant in 2011, Bobby Engram, now coaches receivers at Pitt.

-- Matt Barrows

May 6, 2013
Welcome back: 49ers sign OL Adam Snyder to a two-year deal

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Adam Snyder is back with the 49ers after a one-year sojourn with the Cardinals, but the veteran will find the offensive line more crowded than when he left it. The former third-round draft pick signed a five-year, $17 million deal with the Cardinals last March but was released last week after just one year. The Cardinals used their top draft pick on a guard, Jonathan Cooper, and he is expected to start right away. Arizona gave up a league-high 58 sacks last season.

Snyder, who signed a two-year deal with San Francisco, can play any position on the offensive line, and that versatility is what makes him attractive to the 49ers. However, the five starting spots are set with tackles Joe Staley and Anthony Davis, guards Alex Boone and Mike Iupati and center Jonathan Goodwin. Two young players, Joe Looney and Daniel Kilgore, back up the interior positions on the line.

The 49ers are light at tackle, where Snyder has made 42 career starts. They used a seventh-round pick on Iowa State's Carter Bykowski and signed undrafted free agent Luke Marquardt. They also have Kenny Wiggins (Elk Grove High), who spent last season on the practice squad.

Snyder started 13 games for the 49ers in 2011. He played in 107 games (69 starts) for San Francisco over seven seasons. Along with good friends Joe Staley and Alex Smith, Snyder was instrumental in organizing and running the 49ers' player-led workouts during the lockout in 2011.

-- Matt Barrows

May 6, 2013
Multi-talented MarQueis Gray part of 49ers' post-draft haul

The 49ers this week will release the names of the dozen or so undrafted rookies they signed, and on Friday they will begin a three-day rookie minicamp.

One of the more interesting positions to watch will be tight end. The 49ers, of course, lost their No. 2 tight end, Delanie Walker, to the Titans in free agency, and they seemingly replaced him with Vance McDonald in the second round.

As was the case with Walker, who played wideout at Central Missouri, McDonald spent time at Rice as a wide receiver. While the 49ers' No. 1 tight end, Vernon Davis, primarily lines up at the end of the offensive line, the No. 2 tight end is used all over the formation - sometimes in the backfield as an H-back, sometimes split out as a wide receiver. That is, versatility and route running are required for the job, and McDonald already has a good start in both.

The other newcomer at the position also has a background similar to Walker's. MarQueis Gray was recruited at the University of Minnesota to play quarterback. But when he arrived there, the Golden Gophers already had a solid passer, Adam Weber, and they used Gray as a wide receiver his first two seasons. Gray caught 42 passes for 587 yards and five touchdowns in 2010.

May 6, 2013
Go Alex Smith? KC's 2013 record will affect 49ers' 2014 draft

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For 49ers fans this season, it's root, root, root for the home team ... and the team in Kansas City.

That's because the Chiefs' record will have a bearing on San Francisco's draft. As Peter King reported this morning in Sports Illustrated, the 49ers would get Kansas City's second-round pick in the 2014 draft if the Chiefs, who have one of the easiest schedules in the league this year, finish 8-8 or better. It drops to a third-round pick if the Chiefs finish below .500.

A pick in next year's draft was one of the conditions in the deal that sent quarterback Alex Smith to Kansas City earlier this year. That deal also supplied the 49ers with a second-round pick in the most recent draft, which they used in a draft-day trade with the Tennessee Titans. The 49ers eventually took Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine in the second-round and also got Tennessee's third-round pick in 2014.

The Chiefs finished 2-14 last season and wound up with the top pick in the draft, which they used on offensive tackle Eric Fisher. Of course, if they finished poorly again in 2013, their third-round pick - which would go to the 49ers - would be high in the round. If they were better than .500, the pick that goes to San Francisco would be in the middle or back end of Round 2. The best case scenario for the 49ers: The Chiefs finish 8-8.

May 3, 2013
Florida stadium bill failure good news for Bay Area Super Bowl

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The 49ers and the Bay Area took another step toward securing Super Bowl L today when Florida lawmakers could not work out a deal to provide taxpayer support for a $350 million upgrade of Sun Life Stadium. The Bay Area and South Florida are competing to host what is expected to be the marquee Super Bowl in recent years - the 50th game played - and the renovations are seen as key to South Florida winning the bid.

NFL owners will meet in Boston May 21 to award Super Bowls L and LI, which will be played in February 2016 and 2017 respectively. The Bay Area and South Florida are in the mix for Super Bowl L while the loser will take on Houston for the right to host Super Bowl LI.

The non-deal in Florida likely means that a referendum on the renovations scheduled for May 14 will be called off.

Meanwhile in the Bay Area, mayors from a number of area cities, including San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Clara, were on hand two months ago to check on the progress of the 49ers' new $1.2 billion stadium and to show that they are in lock step in trying to secure a Super Bowl.

Bid committee chairman Daniel Lurie would not put a figure on the economic impact to hosting a Super Bowl, but he noted that other cities that have held the event have reported a boost of anywhere from $250 million to more than $500 million. "We don't want to over promise," Lurie said at the time. "What we see is that every city that's had a Super Bowl wants it back."

The first Super Bowl was played in Los Angeles in 1967, and there would be a nice bit of symmetry if the 50th game were played in California as well. The state hasn't hosted a Super Bowl since the Raiders and Buccaneers squared off in San Diego in 2003. The last game in the Bay Area was in 1985.

The 49ers have long felt they will win one of the next Super Bowls to be awarded. The 50th game, of course, holds the most prestige, and that's the one the 49ers are gunning to get. Their new stadium is on track to be ready in 2014. Two full seasons must be played at a new facility before it hosts a Super Bowl.

-- Matt Barrows

May 3, 2013
Motor Car, ink.: Kaepernick the new face -- and arms -- for Jaguar

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The new spokesman for Jaguar collects sneakers, has a pet tortoise and is covered in tattoos.

Yes, the stuffy British car company is getting a facelift with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been shooting a commercial in his new, sporty Jaguar F-Type V8 S.

The shooting took at least three days and features Kaepernick in his car at various Bay Area locales - including Santa Clara, on the shoreline and in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. Why did it take three days? Because Kaepernick insisted on sticking to his normal routine of workouts and practice at the 49ers' facility in Santa Clara before shooting each afternoon.

The deal provides Kaepernick with a sleek, $92,000 burgundy convertible, which replaces the gray Chrysler sedan Rick Kaepernick bought his son almost a decade ago. Jaguar, however, might have the better end of the bargain. It gets to be hip. And it benefits from Kaepernick's crossover appeal.

"The coolest thing is that they're embracing him head to toe - his tattoos, everything," said Shawn Smith, Kaepernick's marketing agent.

In fact, Kaepernick's ink - deemed "controversial" by some when he became the 49ers' starter midway through last season - figures prominently in the commercial, which will air for the first time on ESPN on May 22. The theme is "Kaepernick's Bay Area" and the ad includes stops at the quarterback's barber shop and his favorite tattoo parlor.

Will the spot include the 49ers quarterback "Kaepernicking" - that's kissing his right biceps for the uninitiated - in front of his new car?

Said Smith: "That's probably a safe bet."

-- Matt Barrows

May 2, 2013
Monday wasn't first time a coach told Quinton Patton to go home

Monday wasn't the first time one of Quinton Patton's coaches told him to go home.

Former Louisiana Tech head coach Sonny Dykes on Thursday said those words were a refrain the last two years on the practice field in Ruston, La. where Patton often would stay late to work on his route running. "We told him that many times," said Dykes, who is now the head coach at Cal. "'We got our work done today, Quinton. Let's recharge our batteries and go back to work tomorrow.'"

Patton's new coach, Jim Harbaugh, told Patton the same thing Monday when Patton unexpectedly flew to the Bay Area to work out with the 49ers. League rules prohibit draft picks from practicing with their new team until the first rookie minicamp, which for the 49ers begins May 10. Harbaugh was impressed by the fourth-round pick's initiative but told him to fly back to Tennessee.

Dykes, meanwhile, said he knew he'd be getting an energetic an enthusiastic player when he watched film of Patton at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas where he played two seasons before arriving at Louisiana Tech. Not only did Patton line up at wide receiver at Coffeyville. He also played defensive back and was the school's punter.

May 2, 2013
Harbaugh tells rookie wideout to go home but loves his initiative

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Showing up late for your first-ever NFL minicamp? Bad. Showing up a week and a half early? It's fantastic, according to Jim Harbaugh, albeit against the rules.

That's what 49ers rookie receiver Quinton Patton discovered after paying for a flight from Tennessee to San Francisco International Airport on Monday and then renting a car. Patton was halfway down Highway 101 on Monday when he called the 49ers to tell them he was minutes away from joining their offseason program.

That wasn't exactly welcome news. Draft picks have a 24-hour window to visit their new team, according to the new collective bargaining agreement, but are not allowed to visit beyond that. Patton was the 49ers' first pick in the fourth round on Saturday, and if he had arrived in Santa Clara he might have forfeited his chance to take part in the team's rookie minicamp that begins next Friday.

"He calls us two days ago and he said he's here," Harbaugh said on KNBR radio Wednesday. "He's on his way. He'd just landed at the airport. He's in his rental car. He's coming over to the facility, and he can't wait to get started. And we had to go, 'Where? Which airport did you fly into? You're in a rental car driving here?' 'Yeah, coach, I'm 20 minutes away.'"

The instructions from the 49ers: Turn around immediately and go back home.

May 1, 2013
49ers move Joel Patten into Tom Gamble's former role

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Everyone take one step forward.

That is essentially what occurred in the 49ers' personnel department after Tom Gamble left for the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this year. Joel Patten, previously the director of college scouting, now officially is in Gamble's former spot, director of player personnel, the team announced today. The only man above him in the personnel department is general manager Trent Baalke.

Meanwhile, Matt Malaspina is the new director of college scouting and Mike Williams becomes director of pro personnel. The team also promoted former regional scout Justin Chabot to national scout, Steve Rubio to regional scout and Josh Williams to pro personnel scout. Chabot was one of the scouts who evaluated first-round draft choice Eric Reid this year.

Patten is in his fourth year with the 49ers. In his previous position, he managed the college scouting staff and the daily operations of the department. He joined the 49ers with 14 years of NFL scouting experience and more than a decade of playing experience.

A graduate of Duke, Patten played eight seasons in the NFL and three in USFL as an offensive tackle. Having originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Cleveland Browns in 1980, he played in 56 career games for the Browns (1980-82), Colts (1987-88), Chargers (1989-90) and Los Angeles Raiders (1991-92). He also played for the Washington Federals (1983-84) and the Orlando Renegades (1985) of the USFL.

-- Matt Barrows

May 1, 2013
RB D.J. Harper part of 49ers' all-ACL team

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A talented running back whose college career was marred by nasty knee injuries in back-to-back seasons? The 49ers now have three players who fit that description.

Frank Gore's and Marcus Lattimore's stories are well known. You probably haven't heard as much about Boise State running back D.J. Harper, one of the undrafted free agents the 49ers signed this week.

Harper tore his ACL in successive seasons. Unlike Gore and Lattimore, who tore ligaments in different knees, both of Harper's injuries occurred to his left knee and both occurred in the third game of the season in 2009 and 2010. He was granted a rare sixth season of eligibility at Boise State, and last season ran for 1,137 yards and scored 15 touchdowns.

GM Trent Baalke wants a stable of running backs with varied skills, and Harper (5-9, 209) fits the mold of the outside runner. He's a good receiver out of the backfield, and he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 and 4.49 seconds at Boise State's pro day in March.

Of course, ACL injuries are a theme this year for the 49ers. Three veteran players - Darius Fleming, Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams - are recovering from the injury. So are Lattimore and fellow draft pick Tank Carradine. Lattimore also tore his PCL and LCL and dislocated his kneecap.





MATTHEW BARROWS

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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