49ers

49ers focused on sustained success

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49ers focused on sustained success

If the early portion of this NFL offseason has proven anything to 49ers fans, it's that the organization is in it for the long haul.General manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh do not view the 2012 season as the team's one chance to win a Super Bowl.That's why the 49ers signed veteran receiver Randy Moss to a contract that, essentially, is a six-month tryout before the start of the regular season. If the 49ers decide any time between now and the final cuts that Moss does not fit with the team, they can move on without ever paying him a penny.
And it also explains the reasonable contracts to retain cornerback Carlos Rogers and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, as well as why the 49ers allowed Joshua Morgan to sign with the Washington Redskins and why they didn't pay big money to lure a receiver through the first three days of free agency.After all, Laurent Robinson secured a reported five-year, 32.5 million deal with 13.6 million guaranteed from the Jacksonville Jaguars, who will be his fourth NFL team in six seasons. That's the kind of market that the 49ers refused to enter when teams eagerly paid big money to fill holes.
"I think it's going to be: Who fits us? What are we looking for? What do we need?" CEO Jed York said this week of the 49ers' approach to free agency. "I have full confidence in Jim and Trent to go out and get that done."We want to build through the draft and supplement through free agency."Although the short-term satisfaction might be low, the fans ultimately benefit from this approach. On Thursday, the 49ers announced that all available 2012 season tickets have been sold.A release announcing the news stated: "Team officials say fans have seized the opportunity to buy tickets following a successful 2011 season, and those fans have apparently recognized a new benefit to holding ticket packages at Candlestick: They will be one of the first-in-line for seats at the new stadium in Santa Clara."The 49ers expect to play the 2014 season in the new stadium, and the 49ers want to make sure that the organization is in good shape when the 49ers move to the South Bay, as well as into the future.The organization is not mortgaging the future in hopes of breaking through in 2012. Thus far, the 49ers' approach to free agency has not been flashy -- though the addition of Moss was national news before the opening of full-fledged free agency.When the season ended, it seemed unrealistic that the 49ers would be able to retain Dashon Goldson, Brooks and Rogers to essentially keep their dominant defense of 2011 intact for another season. But chief negotiator Paraag Marathe made the pieces of the puzzle fit.
Through the first few days of free agency a year ago, fans and media seemed to get restless, waiting for high-profile additions to the roster. Eventually, the 49ers acquired such players as Donte Whitner, Carlos Rogers and Jonathan Goodwin while welcoming back Goldson.
With fewer holes to fill this season, the 49ers are maintaining the same approach. And it worked pretty well a year ago.

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

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49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

Veteran 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is expected to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl.

Staley, originally chosen as an alternate, is expected to be named to his sixth Pro Bowl to take the place of Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson.

The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, Jan. 28, in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Super Bowl participant Eagles and New England Patriots will not play in the All-Star game. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The other Pro Bowl offensive tackles representing the NFC are Dallas’ Tyron Smith and Los Angeles’ Andrew Whitworth, who replaced Washington’s Trent Williams.

Staley got off to a rough start last season as the 49ers opened on a nine-game losing streak. The idea of his career coming to an end began to creep into his mind, he said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

But Staley said he had a talk with coach Kyle Shanahan that got him refocused for the remainder of the season. The 49ers finished with a five-game win streak to finish with a 6-10 record, and Staley played well down the stretch.

“I’m so far gone from where I was in that moment early in the year that I’m just focused on next year and, hopefully, years after that,” said Staley, 33, an 11-year NFL veteran. “I feel like I can still play.

“I think this last half of the season I played some of the best football of my career. I feel very confident in what we’re doing schematically with the people surrounding us, and it shows in my own play.”

Staley would join fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was the only 49ers player named to the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced in last month.

Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII

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Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII

BOX SCORE

PHILADELPHIA -- Hey Philly, maybe it's time to forget Carson Wentz. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first Super Bowl.

Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Philly made big play after big play on both sides of the ball in a stunning 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.

Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles' first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then, AFC champion New England.

Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.

His best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.

In doing so - helped greatly by the Eagles' domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson - Foles ruined the Vikings' hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium

Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.

OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia's defense looked confused on the play.

That didn't happen again for Philly.

Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson's 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.

Inspired, Philly's D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.

Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett, and the ball bounced directly to Long.

It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.

A blown coverage - another rarity for Minnesota - on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Elliott's 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.

DANCING IN THE LINC: Fifty seconds into the final quarter, with the score 38-7, Eagles players on the sideline and waiting to kick off on the field were dancing up a storm and fans were chanting "We want Brady."

They get Tom Brady and company in two weeks.

BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.

QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott's field goal to end the half.

THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league's best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.

NEXT UP: Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.

With the entire stadium singing "Fly Eagles Fly" during the NFC trophy ceremony, Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4