Maiocco: 49ers' Harbaugh has time on his side


Maiocco: 49ers' Harbaugh has time on his side

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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
The 49ers delivered Friday night.With the NFL lockout that wiped out an entire offseason of organized work and a mostly new coaching staff with new systems and ideas, the 49ers figured to get off to a slow start once the games began.So what happened in their exhibition opener -- a 24-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints -- should not have caught anyone by surprise.RECAP: 49ers bullied by Saints 24-3 in exhibition opener
The Saints went right after the 49ers from the opening moments. New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams turned up the heat, leaving the middle of the field open with blitzes from all angles.If the 49ers thought the first exhibition game after the lockout was going to be a "friendly," they were sorely mistaken. The Saints came to play football."They're allowed to do that," Harbaugh answered when asked about his feelings on the Saints' aggressive approach.You got the feeling that with 11 three-hour practices to prepare for this game, the 49ers were never able to get to the pages of the playbook that dealt with some of the things the Saints threw at them.MAIOCCO: 49ers unprepared for Saints' pressure
The offensive line -- and pass protection as a whole -- was clearly not ready.Quarterback Alex Smith was under constant duress. Even when he wasn't, he struggled completing the simple passes. Rookie Colin Kaepernick showed some flashes, but he also has a lot of work to do.The 49ers will get better. They can't help but get better. But it's not going to be a quick and painless process. And if people thought anything different, they were only fooling themselves.The schedule provides a silver lining for the 49ers. They have just one game against an NFC West opponent in the first nine games of the regular season. After opening at home against the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers do not meet a division foe again until Nov. 20 when the Arizona Cardinals visit Candlestick Park.RELATED: 49ers schedule
Just like a year ago when the Seahawks won the NFC West with a 7-9 record, there does not figure to be a whole lot of NFC West victories outside the division.So the 49ers can afford to get off to a slow start and remain in contention in the weakest division in football. With five of their final seven games inside the division, Harbaugh has a lot of time to get things straightened out.

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine


49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care


Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

SANTA CLARA – In less than a year since a group of former 49ers players came together to form the Golden Heart Fund, the non-profit organization has provided valuable assistance.

“We’ve made some progress with the idea of knowing there are some people in need, so we’ve been able to make some grants to some of the ex-Niners,” Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“We’ve been able to respond. This is more about us being able to give guys the ability to know they can have, as (former 49ers linebacker and Golden Heart Fund board member) Ron Ferrari says, a hand up not a hand out.”

The organization is in the midst of a fund-raising drive this week in conjunction with "Dwight Clark Day" on Sunday. The 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, and Clark will be the guest of honor. More than 35 players from the 49ers' first Super Bowl championship team are expected to be in attendance.

Clark played nine seasons for the 49ers and provided the most memorable play in franchise history with “The Catch” against Dallas in the 1981 NFC Championship game, which propelled the organization to its first Super Bowl. Clark served as a front-office executive for a decade after his playing days.

In March, Clark announced he was diagnosed with ALS. He is scheduled to attend Sunday’s game and make some remarks at halftime from a suite.

“It’s unbelievable we are having an opportunity to celebrate an incredible day for this gentleman,” Lott said. “We can all say there was a moment in time in which we stood on his shoulders after making that catch. Now, we get a chance to lift him up a little bit and let him know how much we all care.”

Lott said Clark has been a champion of the Golden Heart Fund from its inception. Past and current 49ers ownership has supported the organization, which provides financial support for former 49ers players in times of physical, emotional and financial need.

“It’s the spirit of Dwight,” Lott said. “It’s more about the funds going in through his efforts. He’s paying it forward.”

--The public can made a direct contribution to the fund at GoldenHeartFund.org.

--Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle at Sunday’s game will benefit the Golden Heart Fund.

--Twenty-five percent of proceeds from the sales of Dwight Clark apparel purchased on game day will go to the fund.

--Half of all proceeds from admission to the 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium throughout the year will go to the charity.

-- On Sunday, Nov. 19, Levi’s Stadium and race grand marshal Roger Craig will host the first Golden Heart 4.9K Run with all proceeds from the event going to the Golden Heart Fund. Runners can register GoldenHeartRun.com.