Next field goal will put Phil Dawson in elite company: 'Sobering'


Next field goal will put Phil Dawson in elite company: 'Sobering'

Phil Dawson is approaching Sunday’s game against the Patriots like any other game he’s played over his 18 year career, except he knows it won’t be like any other.

“In the heat of the moment I’ll be in my routine and won’t think about it much. But the build up and lead up to it, it’ll probably bounce around in my head a little bit, and I just got to resist,” Dawson said from in front of his locker after practice this week. “I got to put it on the side and focus on what I gotta do.”

What Dawson has to do is what he’s done 399 times before. One more field goal and the 41-year-old will become the tenth kicker in NFL history with 400 career field goals made and join a group that includes Morten Anderson, Adam Vinatieri and Sebastian Janikowski.

“I look at the names on the list, and they’re guys I grew up looking up to. Now to be amongst them is sobering on one hand but pretty rewarding on the other,” Dawson said. “I think I’ll enjoy it when it’s all said and done. It will be good to get this out of the way and get back into the normal routine, but it means a lot.”

With a 70 percent chance of rain forecast for the game, Dawson is already contemplating his footwear. He’ll chose one of eight cleats that will give his plant foot the best traction given the field conditions on Sunday.

“I’ll bring them all on Sunday, and sometimes you even change throughout the course of a game because you walk out there in pregame and the field looks great, and by the time these big boys get out there and start tromping around out there it gets pretty chewed up. Sometimes you may wear a different one in the second half than you do in the first quarter,” Dawson said.

The shoe on Dawson's kicking foot doesn't change. He prefers the feel of the Nike Tiempo soccer cleat, though his once plentiful supply is nearly gone.

“I’m down to my last two. Trying to make ‘em work,” Dawson said. “That’s a concern for a rain game, because once those things get wet they’re pretty much done. I may wear an older one in this game. I don’t know. We’ll just have to see."

As Dawson explains, poor footing doesn’t allow him to be as aggressive when striking the ball which results in a ball that travels slower. That means the wind will have more of an effect on the ball which in turn affects Dawson's aim. It's all part of the kicking puzzle that Dawson has solved 84.7 percent of the time throughout his career giving him the all time highest field goal percentage in NFL history for those kickers who have made at least 300 field goals.

His wife, Shannon, their three children and his parents are traveling from Texas to Levi’s Stadium with the hopes of seeing him take that honor as a member of the 400 club.

“It’s got the makings of a nice day,” Dawson said though he also has another goal in mind. “Now all we got to do is win the game.”

From Eli to Jimmy G, 49ers' new center ready to protect Garoppolo


From Eli to Jimmy G, 49ers' new center ready to protect Garoppolo

New 49ers center Weston Richburg will be joining what he has heard is a good group of offensive linemen, led by six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, the longest-tenured 49ers player.

Richburg, 26, said he is also looking forward to working closely with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, 26. The 49ers expect the players to be on the field a lot together over the coming seasons. Garoppolo and Richburg both signed five-year contracts through the 2022 season this offseason.

When asked on The 49ers Insider Podcast if the organization’s long-term commitment to Garoppolo had any influence on his decision to come to the Bay Area after four seasons with the New York Giants, Richburg answered, “Doesn’t hurt.”

“You look at of the teams that have a lot of success -- the team he just came from, what I just came from -- there are two quarterbacks on those teams that have been there who have had success who work extremely hard at their craft,” Richburg said. “So I think see that in Jimmy. I’m excited to be a little part of what he does.”

Richburg played out of position at left guard in his rookie season. Over the next two years, he started 31 of 32 games at center, in front of two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning. Garoppolo came to the 49ers in an October trade from New England after spending most of his 3 1/2 NFL seasons behind Tom Brady.

Richburg said he expects to develop a good rapport with his quarterback – a must for an offense to function at a high level.

“If it’s bad, I think it can hurt you,” Richburg said of the center-quarterback dynamic. “But if it’s good, it can help.

“I think we’re going to have a good relationship. We’re around the same age. I think we’ll be able to pick each other’s brains, feed off each other, work together. That’s part of the position of center that I like the most is kind of the cerebral part of it and working with a quarterback, getting everything situated, getting everything running.”

Richburg started just four games last season and finished the season on injured reserve with a concussion. He said it was the first concussion he has experienced and is feeling good.

“It was new territory,” Richburg said, “but I’m feeling very good right now. I’m excited. I think I got a little more itch to go play football right now since it’s been a little longer for me.”

49ers sign former first-round pick guard


49ers sign former first-round pick guard

The 49ers added some talent in the trenches on Tuesday.

Guard Jonathan Cooper inked a one-year deal, the team announced.

Cooper was originally drafted No. 7 overall by the Cardinals in 2013. After two seasons in Arizona, he spent time with the Patriots, Browns and Cowboys.

Last season, he appeared in 13 games for Dallas.

“Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line. We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team,” GM John Lynch said in a statement.