49ers

Going 1-on-1 with Frank Gore

605596.jpg

Going 1-on-1 with Frank Gore

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Don't miss Mindi Bach's feature on Frank Gore as part of the latest edition of 49ers Central, premiering Wednesday at 6:30 on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and showing throughout the week.

Frank Gore is not only a marvel to fans of the game, but to his own head coach.

Ive never seen anything like him to be honest with you. I cant compare him to any other player that Ive ever been around, Jim Harbaugh said in his weekly Monday press conference the day after Gore became the franchises leading rusher with 7,396 yards.

Then, when you add up the injuries hes had, some of the serious knee, shoulder, hip-type of injuries, lesser guys would have called it a career, let alone to come back and having the kind of year that Frank is having. Hes a different guy. Hes not normal. Hes not you and me. No, hes not any of us. Not the normal guy. There are super human powers there.

And Harbaugh wasnt done. Later in the press conference, he came back to Gore again.

There should be a statue to Frank. Maybe with the new stadium, Harbaugh said. There should be something somewhere. A life-size statue of him in one of those cool positions he gets in. About six inches off the ground, or a leg going on way, and the other going the other, twisting and turning. Its just so cool. Its just so cool to slow the tape down and watch what he does.

Gores 49ers teammates are in awe of his vision, acumen of the game, strength and work ethic. Not to be overlooked is Gores loyalty. Gore never experienced a winning season with the 49ers until this one. He could have cashed in on his rare talents elsewhere, yet he stayed.

I had an opportunity to speak with Gore about that, one-on-one, the morning after he topped the teams rushing list.

MB: When you woke up this morning, was it hard to believe what had transpired?

FG: Its been a long time, a long time for me. Im happy about the situation were in right now. Weve worked really hard to get where we are now. Its a blessing. Like you say man, this has been our goal since Ive been here and now we did it. We made it. We got our goal and now the next step is as a team is try and get the number 1-2 seed.

MB: Speaking to Patrick Willis, he hadnt had a winning record since his freshman year in college.

FG: Wow.

MB: That was also the best year you could say you had collegiately as well.

FG: Yeah, right.

MB: What was the toughest time? What kept you driving through all the frustration of not going to the postseason?

FG: Just, I love what I do. I knew we had the players here and I knew we had the players in the locker room. I just always thought that it was going to happen, it was going to happen, and I just kept fighting, and we just kept fighting as a team. I say now, God blessed us to get a better coaching staff and leading us the right way and were following them.

MB: Even before you knew what that coaching staff was able to do, you wanted to come back to the 49ers and extend your contract. What was it that kept you here? I think a lot of people would look for a better situation elsewhere if they hadnt had a winning season in nine years.

FG: Knowing that the guys in the locker room know how hard we worked. We got a good group of guys. You see other guys when you go other places get paid big money and stuff, they be there one or two years and you dont hear from them no more. I just wanted to be here because I knew that, like I said, that one day it was going to happen because I know what kind of guys we had in the locker room. As I said before, Coach Harbaugh and his coaching staff do a good job with us.

MB: Who taught you that? Where did you get that mentality to stick it through and stick with the people you believed in most?

FG: Id say my mom. My mom really taught me well and always be honest and always, when you start something with someone you always want to finish with them first. Id say my mom did a great job with me.

Gore lost his mom to kidney disease in 2007

MB: What do you think she would have said yesterday?

FG: She would have been very happy. She knows how much I love what I do and how hard I work in the offseason to get ready for the year, and I know she would have been, she would have loved it. Shes still watching over me and shes still smiling up there right now.

MB: To be in your seventh year here and now be the teams leading rusher, I know you have a mind for history and the players that came before you, what does that mean for you to be up there with those names?

FG: Its a blessing. Them guys, I didnt really see Joe Perry but I saw Roger, and Roger was a great player. I respect him, I respect him a whole lot and its a blessing to be mentioned with them guys. And now the next thing is hopefully I can do something like Roger did and win a Super Bowl.
MB: I was going to say Whats next for Frank Gore?, but I think you just answered it.

FG: Hopefully we get rolling, keep fighting and when the playoffs start anything happens, anything goes and hopefully me and the Niners win the Super Bowl hopefully.
MB: Yesterday, I saw more Frank Gore jerseys in the stand than Ive ever seen before. What do you want the Frank Gore story to be?

FG: Just, how much I love what I do how hard I work and what a great person I am. I respect everybody and thats about it.

Mailbag: Are 49ers trying to win or develop players?

shanahan-kyle-presser-face.jpg
AP

Mailbag: Are 49ers trying to win or develop players?

After five consecutive close losses and some reason for optimism, it all came crashing down for the 49ers on Sunday.

Rookie Trent Taylor fumbled a punt just one minute into the game. Ninety seconds later, the Dallas Cowboys scored.

And it was over.

The Cowboys steamrolled the 49ers, 40-10, providing a slap across the face to anyone who believed this rebuild of the franchise was trending consistently upward without any complications.

The team appeared to be moving along harmoniously. But on Sunday, there was an incident in which Jaquiski Tartt, Ahkello Witherspoon and Ray-Ray Armstrong were seen jawing at each other. Things got heated. The optics in a home blowout loss were not good.

There are plenty of questions, and here are some of the questions from The Day After that were submitted on our Facebook page:

What is the philosophy? Are we trying to win or develop players? Cause it seems you can't do both? (Frank Vega)
The 49ers are definitely trying to develop players. They are also trying to evaluate players. They are looking to the future, and they are not deploying a win-at-all-cost approach this season. They do not want to win an extra game or two this season at the expense of possibly making the team worse for the future.

That is why the 49ers, almost invariably, went with younger players at any position in which there was competition . . . Eli Harold over Ahmad Brooks; Trent Taylor over Jeremy Kerley; Raheem Mostert over Tim Hightower; etc.

It’s why the 49ers made the decision two weeks ago to part ways with NaVorro Bowman, who had expressed dissatisfaction over his reduced role. Bowman was still the 49ers’ best linebacker at the time. But he would not have been on the team next year, so the decision was made to release Bowman now and go with the other less-accomplished players. (The Raiders, by the way, say 'Thank you.')

Rookie C.J. Beathard is now the starting quarterback. Cole Hikutini has moved into the No. 2 role at tight end behind fellow rookie George Kittle. Ahkello Witherspoon is being weaved into the action at cornerback, splitting time with Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson.

The 49ers did not want to create a mirage. They did not want to win any games this season that would be the result of a veteran rent-a-player approach. In that respect, the 49ers have succeeded. The 49ers will be picking near the top of every round in the 2018 draft.

The risk, of course, is that the young players get beaten down so badly that they lose their confidence and their edge.

What do you make of Eric Reid’s move to LB? Is his time with Niners nearing the end? (Peter Chan)
The 49ers no longer use a “nickel” defense. They go straight from their base defense to six defensive backs whenever the opposition puts more than two wide receivers on the field. It’s not a true linebacker position Reid is playing. It’s considered more of a “big nickel," designed to give the 49ers more speed on third downs to cover and run to the ball.

Reid is no longer a starter. What it shows is that the 49ers are sold on Jaquiski Tartt being a long-term answer for the 49ers secondary. The 49ers view Tartt and Jimmie Ward as the starters for 2018. All things being equal, Reid will have a chance to go somewhere else next season and be a starter.

The 49ers are not committed to re-signing him on a deal that extends beyond this season.

Is it a coincidence that the two worst teams in the NFL have the most cap space? (Gary Staebler)
That is no coincidence at all. It is the very reason the Cleveland Browns and 49ers are the only two winless teams in the NFL.

The Browns have $61.6 million in cap space. The 49ers are currently $61 million under the cap. Next year, with carryovers of unused space, the 49ers and Browns are projected to both have more than $117 million in cap room, according to Overthecap.com.

Bad teams do not draft well.

Teams that do not draft well, do not sign their draft picks to lucrative second contracts.

Therefore, teams that do not draft well cannot spend a large portion of their cap space to retain their own players because they have no good players worth retaining.

49ers snap count: Reid no longer starter; rookies see more time on offense

reid-eric-49ers-hurt-ground.jpg
USATI

49ers snap count: Reid no longer starter; rookies see more time on offense

Veteran safety Eric Reid returned from a knee injury that kept him out three games to discover he lost his starting job.

Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt has continued to serve as an every-down player for the 49ers’ defense. On Sunday, Reid played 48 snaps (64 percent) as the 49ers employed six defensive backs against the Dallas Cowboys three-receiver sets.

The 49ers had to adjust their sub package after nickel back K’Waun Williams sustained a hip injury. Rookie Adrian Colbert entered the game at safety with Jimmie Ward taking over Williams’ role. Colbert played 29 snaps.

Newly signed defensive linemen Leger Douzable and Tony McDaniel saw a lot of action in their 49ers debuts. Douzable played the third-most of any defensive lineman (behind Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner), seeing action on 47 of the team’s 75 snaps. McDaniel played 25 snaps.

On offense, the 49ers appear to be making a point to go with younger players. Rookie Cole Hikutini played 21 snaps, taking over as the No. 2 tight end over Garrett Celek and Logan Paulsen.

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, another undrafted rookie, played a season-high 23 snaps. On fourth-and-4 from the Dallas 28 early in the third quarter, coach Kyle Shanahan decided to go for it instead of kicking a 46-yard field goal. Bourne was the intended target. But he stumbled after a spin move from the slot, and C.J. Beathard’s pass was incomplete.

“As I was throwing the ball he tripped,” Beathard said. “If he hadn’t tripped on a DB’s feet or whatever happened there, it would’ve been a big play.”

Here is a look at the 49ers’ playing time on offense, defense and special teams:

OFFENSE
(66 plays)
Quarterback – C.J. Beathard 66
Running back – Carlos Hyde 51, Matt Breida 15
Wide receiver – Pierre Garçon 46, Trent Taylor 46, Marquise Goodwin 39, Aldrick Robinson 30, Kendrick Bourne 23
Tight end – George Kittle 31, Cole Hikutini 21, Garrett Celek 18, Logan Paulsen 11
Offensive line – Joe Staley 66, Daniel Kilgore 66, Laken Tomlinson 66, Brandon Fusco 52, Trent Brown 45, Garry Gilliam 20, Zane Beadles 14

DEFENSE
(75 plays)
Defensive line – Solomon Thomas 61, DeForest Buckner 50, Leger Douzable 47, Earl Mitchell 38, Xavier Cooper 26, D.J. Jones 25, Tony McDaniel 25, Elvis Dumervil 15
Linebacker – Reuben Foster 53, Eli Harold 31, Ray-Ray Armstrong 27, Brock Coyle 22, Dekoda Watson 9
Cornerback – Dontae Johnson 63, Rashard Robinson 51, Ahkello Witherspoon 35, K’Waun Williams 20
Safety – Jaquiski Tartt 75, Jimmie Ward 75, Eric Reid 48, Adrian Colbert 29

SPECIAL TEAMS
(24 plays)
Elijah Lee 21, Coyle 21, Raheem Mostert 16, Celek 15, Colbert 16, Witherspoon 15, Breida 14, Harold 12, Hikutini 12, Armstrong 10, Tartt 10, Bradley Pinion 9, Jones 8, R.Robinson 8, Ward 8, Johnson 7, Kyle Nelson 6, Buckner 6, Thomas 6, Paulsen 6, Reid 5, Mitchell 5, Douzable 4, A.Robinson 3, Taylor 3, Robbie Gould 2, Foster 2, Staley 2, Kilgore 2, Gilliam 2, Beadles 2, Tomlinson 1, Fusco 1, Brown 1, Dumervil 1, Watson 1, Williams 1

DID NOT PLAY
QB Brian Hoyer

INACTIVE
WR Victor Bolden
DB Dexter McCoil
FB Kyle Juszczyk (back)
LB Mark Nzeocha
LB Pita Taumoepenu
DL Aaron Lynch (calf)
OL Erik Magnuson