Tag:Frank Gore
Posted on: September 21, 2010 12:05 am
Edited on: September 21, 2010 12:10 am
 

Niners should still be optimistic after loss

Posted by Will Brinson



Unfortunately for the San Francisco 49ers, 1:14 on the clock with two timeouts and Drew Brees under center is just a little too much to leave out on the field when you score. Clearly they couldn't have purposely left any more time on the clock when Frank Gore punctuated a thrilling drive with a seven-yard rush, but expecting anything less from the defending champs would have been silly. Indeed, they finished the game off with a 37-yard Garrett Hartley kick (which may or may not have been blocked IN) amid swirling winds.

Still, for a team that's 0-2 and suffered a complete travashamockery of an embarrassment in Week 1 at Seattle, things could be worse for San Francisco.

For starters, they have talent. No one's questioning whether or not Michael CrabtreeVernon Davis and Josh Morgan are good -- the biggest issue was Alex Smith actually being able to get them the ball. He did that Monday night, and despite registering two picks, he did it well, racking up 275 yards.

Then there's Frank Gore, who looked as explosive as he ever has while piling up 112 yards on 20 carries (including a touchdown) and 56 receiving yards on seven catches (also including a touchdown). As long as he's healthy, that team will be able to stay in games.

Before we get to the most important part, mentioning Mike Singletary is key: look at the team that showed up in Candlestick Park tonight, now look back at the team that showed up in Seattle, now back to Candlestick, now back to Seattle, look, it's a horse! Whatever, the point is that they're complete opposites and judging the Niners hopes for the 2010 season based on that first game (or the first snap against the Saints ) makes about as much as a dude on a horse's body pimping men's body wash.

And the reason the two teams look different is that Singletary, for all his bonkos quotes, got his team prepared. He may have killed a rat, or shut down Yahoo!, or something, but he got his team motivated (yet again), and there's a good chance you'll see him do an increasingly good job of it as the season goes along.

As to the biggest point -- they play in the NFC West, the weakest-sauced of the weak when it comes to divisions. Arizona and Seattle are tied for first at 1-1 and those two teams just got a thankful paddling from Atlanta and Denver, respectively. Remove St. Louis from the equation and remember that at some point Matt Hasselbeck will get injured and Derek Anderson will remember he's Derek Anderson ... this is still a division that an 0-2 49ers team can take down.

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Posted on: August 16, 2010 11:14 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2010 8:40 am
 

Westbrook happy in SF

B. Westbrook said he's happy to share the RB load with F. Gore (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Brian Westbrook landed with the San Francisco 49ers today for a couple different reasons. He wants to win. He wants to get paid (I assume). And he wants somebody else to help him carry the running back load.

He told the 49ers media that he’s still an every-down back. But as he prepares for his ninth season – and his first year without the Eagles – he’s not expecting to start in place of Frank Gore. In fact, he’s OK with that. That's partially why he chose to sign with San Francisco.

“Frank’s the man,” Westbrook said during tonight’s news conference. “He’s done tremendous things in the past. I’ve respected his game from afar. I’ve studied him an awful lot. I’m going to go and push him as much as I can and help him as much as I can. Of course, he’ll be the starter, and I’ll be the guy behind him pushing him.”

The 49ers almost came out of nowhere to sign Westbrook, who actually was offered more money from the Rams. The Redskins also showed interest in securing the two-time Pro Bowler.

But ultimately he chose San Francisco.

“I add a lot of value to this football team,” Westbrook said. “Offensively, you’ve got Vernon (Davis), (Michael) Crabtree, (Ted) Ginn, Alex Smith – a young quarterback who has a lot of weapons around him. You add to that me and Frank Gore, a very talented running back, and we’re going to be a hard offense for a team to stop.”

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Posted on: August 16, 2010 11:43 am
 

Buffalo, San Fran interested in Westbrook too?

Posted by Will Brinson

Brian Westbrook's been quite cautious with his free agency this offseason, which is rather rare for an aging running back with concussion issues. Theoretically, he'd like to jump on the first team that could offer him a good contract and some playing time, before the rest of the 2002 Pro Bowlers (Larry Johnson, Willie Parker) filled those spots.

Turns out, his patience was a smart move: yesterday, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan mentioned Washington's renewed interest in the back , and now it appears that the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers would also be interested in inking the former Eagle.

That's via Chris Russell of the Reskins Radio Network , who says he talked to Westbrook's brother Byron at Redskins practice on Monday.

According to Byron, his brother has "some new possible opportunity's [sic] in SF and Buff as well as" St. Louis.

Buffalo and San Francisco adding themselves to the mix makes perfect sense: Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch could both miss extended time into the season , while San Fran just lost Glen Coffee to a very early retirement .

And of course, St. Louis would love to have Westbrook in order to compliment Steven Jackson.

So, now that it's clear that his patience has paid off, what should Westbrook do. Personally, I think the Niners provide the best possible fit for Westbrook.

They're a contending team (in a particularly weak division) with less personnel in the backfield -- Frank Gore and new-found bruiser Anthony Dixon are the only competition for carries out by the bay.

In Washington, Westbrook's talents would certainly be utilized and he would get to play with his old buddy Donovan McNabb, but as mentioned, their depth chart is pretty full with LJ, Parker, Clinton Portis, et al. That's not to say Westbrook couldn't be better than those guys or that those guys couldn't be cut, but the path to touches is much more difficult there.

St. Louis would provide touches and good money, but the odds of winning a Super Bowl there this year are roughly 200:1 (at least according to Sportsbook ... and that's being generous, really). The same thing applies for Buffalo, with the caveat that when Jackson and Lynch return, Westbrook could see his carries drop again.

Like every decision for veterans, it may come down to how much Westbrook values winning versus playing time versus money. San Francisco just seems to offer the best combination of the three.

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Posted on: July 31, 2010 11:47 pm
 

Milk and cookies for you

A late-night links round-up:

Though it’d make sense if the veterans absolutely hate the fact No. 1 pick Sam Bradford just got a $50 million guarantee without ever having played a down of NFL football, Tom Brady doesn’t seem upset about the deal. He tells a radio show, as captured by the Boston Herald that players of any sort (or experience) should be getting money.

Much has been made about Frank Gore’s party in Miami that ensnared a few collegiate players in the headlights of the NCAA and which might or might not have been paid for by an agent. Gore tells the Press Democrat that the controversy surprised him and he was the one who paid for the party.

Toby Gerhart missed the first day of training camp. Pat Williams, as mentioned in this 1500 ESPN story, didn’t appreciate it.

Unlike a certain NT in Washington, Cardinals OT Deuce Lutui, who says he weighs about 360 pounds, passed his conditioning test today. The Cardinals official site talked to him afterward.

Packers S Atari Bigby isn’t happy with his contract situation, as described by the Green Bay Press Gazette . Bigby, in all reality, should worry about retaining his starting spot over Morgan Burnett, because the ankle injury he suffered today won’t help.

Do you think former Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead wishes he stayed in school one more year? After the Buccaneers cut him today , I imagine the answer is probably, yes.

A few more first-round signings: Jason Pierre-Paul to the Giants for a ton of money . Joe Haden to the Browns for a ton of mone y. Demaryius Thomas to the Broncos for a ton of money . Kyle Wilson to the Jets for a ton of money .

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 19, 2010 7:23 pm
 

Position rankings: running backs

Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, with today’s focus on running backs.

Andy Benoit's top five
C. Johnson (US Presswire)
5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

4. Ray Rice, Ravens

3. Steven Jackson, Rams

2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

1. Chris Johnson, Titans


Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice are both undersized but super powerful runners with breakaway speed. Both are dynamic in the open field. Both are good enough receivers to snag passes in full stride. And both are mean, mean blockers. Rice in particular is special – his running style reminds me of Emmitt Smith’s only with more quickness.

Jackson would also make a Top 5 Players Screwed On A Bad Team list. I can’t believe the Rams ran him into the ground in so many meaningless games last year.

Now to the Peterson-Johnson debate. First off, I’m not much of a numbers guy, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that Johnson outrushed Peterson by 623 yards last season. 623! People think Johnson is simply a homerun threat, but the reality is, because he has unparalleled initial quickness and lateral agility, he creates space between the tackles and in short-yardage situations. Oh, also, Johnson rarely fumbles.

Josh Katzowitz's top five

5. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

4. Steven Jackson, Rams

3. Ray Rice, Ravens

2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings

1. Chris Johnson, Titans


Johnson is No. 1, end of discussion. OK, a little more discussion. I’m not saying Peterson is as good as Johnson, because he’s not. But Peterson has been one of the best backs in the league for three years; Johnson only two. (OK, this is a bit flimsy.) But take away Peterson’s fumbles, and the gap between the two shrinks. Also, if we’re talking about numbers, Peterson had 532 more rushing yards than Johnson in 2008. Plus, Johnson isn’t as good a blocker as Peterson. But yeah, no question, Johnson is No. 1 right now. If he misses part of training camp in his contract dispute, though, you have to wonder how that will affect him.

I like Rice just a little bit better than Jackson, simply because Rice is more productive in the pass game. Hell, his 78 catches last year tied for 19th among league leaders, ahead of Chad Ochocinco, Calvin Johnson and Donald Driver. You’d have to hope, at some point, that Jackson can get on a team with a chance to win something. The Rams teams for which he’s played are a combined 28-68. Yet, Jackson is about 500 yards away from breaking Eric Dickerson’s club rushing record.

Since our lists are so similar, we could do a top-eight again. Say, 6. Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams (led the league in rushing touchdowns in 2008); 7. San Francisco’s Frank Gore (a strong power runner who can break a tackle); and 8. Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles (this one is a little premature, but he could be the next great running back with his speed, his field-reading ability and the way he continues to gain yards after first contact. I like him quite a bit).

Andy’s rebuttal

I can’t put Charles top 8 just yet. He’s strictly an outside runner at this point. He racked up a lot of yards against bad run defenses late last season (143 against Buffalo, 154 against Cleveland and 259 against Denver). I don’t want this to come across as me hating on the guy – I love Charles’s acceleration and elusiveness – but I need to see a larger body of work.

My 6-8 looks like this: 6. Jonathan Stewart; 7. DeAngelo Williams; 8. Frank Gore. Stewart is a slightly more complete back than Williams. People think he’s just a between-the-tackles bruiser, but he actually has outstanding lateral agility and tempo change. Williams is as shifty as they come. Gore, who has the toughness and valor of a gladiator, plays downhill as well as anyone in the game.

I actually did a top 10 running backs list a few months ago for other websites. I had Cedric Benson at 9 and Rashard Mendenhall at 10. I love both guys’ initial burst. What surprised me is the amount of criticism I fielded for ignoring Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. I didn’t understand the criticism at first, but after reviewing the Dolphins offense closer in recent weeks, I can see where people are coming from. Williams and Brown are consummate pros when it comes to patience and operating within the confines of a system. They’re the best tandem in the game behind the Carolina guys. Agree/disagree?

Josh’s final word

Yeah, I’d have to agree. I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with a tandem that’s better than Williams and Brown – aside from Williams and Stewart, of course – and I can’t. I could see maybe Buffalo’s Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller entering that conversation after this year – you’d have to include Marshawn Lynch if he’s still around, I guess – but other than that, I’ve got nothing.



Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter  | Kicker | 4-3 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Inside Linebacker  | Defensive Tackle  | Defensive End | Offensive Tackle   | Center | Offensive Guard | Tight End | Wide Receiver)

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

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