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Maiocco: Player-by-player look at 49ers offense

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Maiocco: Player-by-player look at 49ers offense

August 2, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SANTA CLARA -- We checked in earlier Tuesday with the 49ers' defense. And now we turn our attention to the offense:Quarterback (4)
Alex Smith: Signed on Friday, he can't practice until start of the new league year, expected to be Aug. 4. He attends practices and even enters the huddle from time to time to call plays. He has continued to work out at San Jose State because he is not allowed to do any physical activity on 49ers property.
Colin Kaepernick: He's been taking the first-team reps. His arm strength stands out on the field. So far, he looks pretty good. He had made some tremendous deep and intermediate throws. Some of his shorter passes have been off target and very difficult to catch because of the velocity with which he throws. All in all, a nice beginning for the rookie.
Jeremiah Masoli: Signed to be a special-teams player and, possibly, play running back, Masoli is taking second-team reps at quarterback out of necessity.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson: Camp arm is on loan from the SaberCats of the Arena League. He has gotten limited reps as the third quarterback.
Running backs (8)
Frank Gore: He ended his holdout after four days, reporting Monday to the 49ers. Gore will be eligible to step on the field Tuesday when the 49ers return to practice.
Anthony Dixon: The big, shifty back got the first-team reps during Gore's absence. He looks a lot more polished than a year ago when he was the third running back at this time behind Gore and Glen Coffee.
Kendall Hunter: Frank Gore's absence for the first three practices has enabled him to get more practice reps. His elusive running style was apparent Sunday during padded practices, as he left defenders flailing with his ability to start-and-stop and cut backside on run plays. He has also gotten work handling kickoff returns.Moran Norris: The first-string fullback is a lead blocker and, certainly, not the most graceful pass target out of the backfield. He has had a particularly difficult time adjusting to non-perfect Kaepernick short passes.
Bruce Miller: Came to the Bay Area in early-July to work out with his teammates at San Jose State. He remained here. But he is on the PUP list with a shoulder injury.
Xavier Omon: The practice-squader from a year ago is getting work as the third running back.
Seth Smith: Undrafted rookie from New Mexico State is getting the fewest number of reps.
Jack Corcoran: The fullback signed on Saturday, can't practice until start of the new league year, expected to be Aug. 4. Wide receivers (12)
Michael Crabtree: Reported to training camp with a left foot injury and is on the physically-unable-to-perform list. It's the same foot that required surgery in 2009 to repair a stress fracture. He practiced June 6 at San Jose State, but sat out the remainder of on-field work at "Camp Alex." He is attending practices while wearing an orthopedic boot. Looks as if he'll miss another exhibition season.
Josh Morgan: The top receiver on the team with Crabtree's absence, Morgan has been up and down. He dropped a perfectly thrown corner route from Kaepernick on Sunday.
Ted Ginn: He's lining up with the first-team offense as a starter. And he is also back working on kickoff returns.
Ronald Johnson: Perhaps the most-impressive looking of the wideouts in the early days of practice. He and Kaepernick have hooked up on some deep corner routes. He has also been working as the deep man on kickoff returns.
Kyle Williams: After practicing the first day, he sat out two days. Williams sustained a slight hamstring strain in June at "Camp Alex."
Kevin Jurovich: It'll be interesting to see if his game elevates when Smith becomes quarterback because of the large chunk of time they spent together working out in the offseason. He has been getting second-team reps.
Dominique Zeigler: Sustained season-ending torn ACL last season. He is still rehabbing, and was placed on PUP list to open camp.
Lance Long: He's got some experience in the league, and he has looked good in the three pracices.
Chris Hogan: He is generally running with the fourth set of receivers, as the undrafted rookie from Monmouth adjusts to this level.
Tyler Beiler: The undrafted rookie from Bridgewater is getting third-team reps.
Dontavia Bogan: The undrafted rookie from South Florida is out for the season after sustaining a torn right ACL and cracked bone in his knee from a non-contact drill early in Sunday's practice.
Joe Hastings: The undrafted rookie from Washburn is getting third-team reps.Tight ends (5)
Vernon Davis: Starting tight end has already made some big plays down the field with Kaepernick at quarterback. He is getting used to Kaepernick's velocity. After Kaepernick misfired on one quick out, Davis was seen motioning to the rookie quarterback to calm down and, perhaps, take a little off his throws.
Delanie Walker: He has definitely stood out. Opened team period Saturday with a reception on a deep pass against Reggie Smith. He appears the most at ease catching Kaepernick's underneath passes. His blocking has also looked better, as shown when he stuck with Aldon Smith in pass protection Sunday.
Nate Byham: He is out for the season after sustaining a torn ACL in his left knee during Saturday's practice.
Colin Cloherty: Has shown his pass-catching skills regularly in this expected tight-end-friendly offense. He latched onto a deep corner route pass from Kaepernick.
Konrad Reuland: Has the advantage of his experience in Stanford's tight-ends-friendly offense. A strong blocker who has regularly lined up in the backfield as a fullback, too. He provided good protection Sunday in padded work against Thaddeus Gibson.Offensive linemen (14)
Joe Staley: He has missed half of the past two seasons with injuries. He's the unquestioned starter at left tackle.
Mike Iupati: Coming off a strong rookie season, Iupati looks more polished heading into his second camp.Adam Snyder: He gets the first chance at center to replace David Baas, who left the 49ers to sign a lucrative free-agent deal with the New York Giants. The 49ers went after Jason Spitz in free-agency before he re-signed with his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars. Snyder has impressed the coaching staff, thus far, and is in line to be the Week 1 starter.
Anthony Davis: He showed up in good shape for his second camp, and is looking to put together a more consistent season.
Chilo Rachal: He did not take part in team work the first practice of camp because he was "working through something," as coach Jim Harbaugh said. But he was back working at first-team right guard Saturday and Sunday.
Alex Boone: The transformation he has made since coming to the 49ers in 2009 is shocking. He looks so much more physically fit. He is working at left tackle, and the 49ers want to give him a full evaluation before deciding whether to look into bringing back veteran Barry Sims as insurance.
Daniel Kilgore: Chosen in the fifth round of the draft, the 49ers view his versatility as a major asset. When practices started, he lined up at left guard. Now, he's working at center, where the 49ers eventually want him to play.
Tony Wragge: Signed on Friday, can't practice until start of the new league year, expected to be Aug. 4.
Mike Person: He is seeing action at right tackle behind Anthony Davis. He is clearly making the adjustment to the speed of the game, as evidenced with some difficulty in one-on-one drills against the explosion of fellow rookie Aldon Smith.
Nick Howell: When camp opened, Howell was the first-team right guard. That raised some eyebrows. But when Rachal was ready to practice, he stepped back into the role. Howell is now working with the second team.
Chase Beeler: The undrafted free agent helped the offensive line at San Jose State during the playbook study sessions. It was no surprise that the 49ers signed him when the lockout lifted. He is working with the No. 2 offense.
Donovan Edwards: The undrafted free agent from Cal is working with the 49ers' No. 2 offense at left guard.
Kenny Wiggins: The undrafted rookie from Fresno State is getting limited work as the No. 3 right tackle.
Derek Hall: Undrafted free agent from Stanford, he has seen work at right guard. But he did not have many 11-on-11 practice reps come his way Saturday or Sunday.

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

UPDATED: The 49ers announced Monday morning that Joe Staley has accepted a spot on the NFC Pro Bowl team. He will replace Dallas offensive tackle Tyron Smith.

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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 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