49ers notes: Better this year, Hampton's goals, mustaches etc.


49ers notes: Better this year, Hampton's goals, mustaches etc.

SANTA CLARA -- Through one-half of the regular season games last year, the 49ers proudly held a 7-1 record and a commanding lead over their lesser NFC West opponents, who authored a combined five total wins through the ninth week in 2011.

This year, things are different. The 49ers can still be proud of the 6-2 mark they posted in the clubhouse at the turn, but the rest of the division is markedly improved. San Francisco has a 1.5-game lead over the second-place Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals are not far behind.

Though their stranglehold on the division isn't as strong as a year prior, quarterback Alex Smith recently told PFT Live that he believes this year's team is "way better" than last years. Do his teammates feel the same?

Mike Iupati:
"This team is better. We're in the second year of the same playbook, you know. We have weapons. Everything is better."

Jonathan Goodwin:
"It's different every year, man. I think we're better as a team this year. I just think as far as the games we lost, we had some missed assignments so that played a part in us going 6-2. Every year is different, we just lost more games at this point than we did last year.

"I do (think this team is better). I just think everybody has gotten acclimated and used to each other. We've had a year under our belt to get used to playing under this system. So everything is clicking a lot better."

Anthony Davis:
"Different, man. Different year, different team."

Delanie Walker:
"I feel like we're the same team. We just know the playbook a little more. And we're starting to gel. Everybody probably feels a little bit better together this year, just cause we gelled and we know what we can do. This team (would win head-to-head)."

The numbers don't lie. The 49ers offense is on pace for more first downs, yards and touchdowns. Meanwhile their defense has opponents on track to fare worse than last season in those key categories, impressive considering the historic defense the 49ers played a year ago.

RELATED: 49ers stats

Dan Kilgore suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff of the 49ers' Monday night win over the Cardinals on Oct. 26.

Ten days later at practice Tuesday, Kilgore was still sporting the black no-contact jersey.

"We're just taking it slow," Kilgore said. "Not exactly sure what the rules are, but with us taking last week off, we did it just in case."

He sounded as if he was plenty ready for contact.

"I feel good. I'm ready to go."

Jewel Hampton participated in his first 49ers practice Tuesday, wearing No. 33.

RELATED: Hampton returns to practice

The undrafted rookie underwent offseason foot surgery after he suffered an injury midway through his final season with Southern Illinois. He played through the pain en route to 1,121 yards, 17 touchdowns and a three-year deal with the 49ers.

Hampton will have a tough time working his way into San Francisco's backfield that is already crowded enough to keep Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James inactive. But Hampton wasn't shy about his goals.

"I'm all about being on the active roster," Hampton said. "There's no doubt about that. I feel like I can contribute to the team."

What does he see as his strengths?

"Be physical and stay in attack mode at all time."

If the 49ers do not activate him after a three-week window, beginning Tuesday, he would finish the season on the Non-Football Injury list.

Joe Staley is sporting a mustache. But it's no ordinary mustache, it's a "Movember" mustache.

"Movember," if you didn't already know, is an American movement in which males sport mustaches in an effort to raise awareness for men's health issues.

From the official website:
"During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of mens faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo's, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men's health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives."Staley announced his participation with a picture on Nov. 1:

Hello. Mustache time. creepstreet instagr.ampRfyl9kIQWU Joe Staley (@jstaley74) November 1, 2012

He's working on recruiting a few more 49ers for the movement. Brandon Jacbos was hesitant, but Leonard Davis seems to have taken the bait:

Can't believe it,...but I'm supporting Movember. twitter.comTHELEONARDDAVI Leonard Davis (@THELEONARDDAVIS) November 2, 2012

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys


Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.