49ers

Why the NFL doesn't need San Francisco (or Santa Clara) for the Super Bowl

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AP

Why the NFL doesn't need San Francisco (or Santa Clara) for the Super Bowl

It’s now been three years since we congratulated ourselves about hosting Super Bowl L, it’s now going to be at least six years until it comes back, and the smartest money says that it won’t be back until the 49ers build a new new stadium to replace their old new stadium.
 
This was the argument one humble typist (well, me) made at the time to must finger-wagging and shame-on-you-ing, and the obvious evidence is bearing that out.
 
The San FranClara Super Bowl was clearly a one-off eased into the momentary vacuum of suitable West Coast Super Bowl sites. And now, as we re-survey the landscape, the West Coast is lousy with Super Bowl sites. So, unless the Raiders move again, Las Vegas is a disaster, or the cost overruns in Los Angeles start to rival the space program, the NFL doesn’t need San Francisco at all. Or for that matter, particularly want it.
 
Barring massive glitches, Las Vegas will be an automatic Super Bowl rotation regular, and the same for Los Angeles. Arizona has a growing amount of history on its side as a preferred place to hold a corporate bacchanal, New Orleans is everyone’s ideal of the perfect place for said bacchanal, plus there’s Dallas, plus there’s Atlanta and/or Miami, plus there is the next new stadium game to be played in other cities.
 
And, we should mention this, Jed York is not a power broker among the owners. He is too young, not rich enough (relatively speaking, of course), and is also considered by the powerful and hardliners among the owners having been too conciliatory on the Great Kaepernick AgonyFest.
 
This last point matters because the owners have no earthly notion of what to do about social justice or what the league’s position should be on employee protest, but they are excellent at delegating blame. That’s why Kaepernick has no job, and why owners are being deposed, and why they are gathering at meetings to figure out ways to punish players without having the right to deport them. The other owners won’t say so publicly, and maybe not even to York personally, but they think to themselves that a stronger owner would have stopped the Kaepernick train before it got started.
 
This is not the main reason San Francisco won’t get the Super Bowl, though. It’s money, and there is more money to be made and fewer complications to endure in all those other venues. The Bay Area is the one thing it cannot stand being – insufficiently desirable to billionaires.
 
But that’s the landscape in the post-modern NFL – an aging and increasingly reactionary world in which the San Francisco geography, the Silicon Valley caricature, even Oakland’s dismissive rejection of the NFL’s take-it-and-leave-it offers viz. the Raiders all work against getting perks like a Super Bowl.
 
And the same almost certainly will prove to be true for the college football national championship as well. Santa Clara is getting this one, but when L.A.’s stadium is done and the NCAA comes to peace with the money fountains of Las Vegas, San Francisco will have seen the last of those as well.
 
This is not a tragedy, either, but the reality of a sporting landscape that no longer even tries to pretend that the business serves the games rather than the other way around. This is evolution, kids, and evolution wins every time . . . at least until the meteor hits and the best available Super Bowl site will be a tar pit.

49ers sign OL Laken Tomlinson to three-year extension

49ers sign OL Laken Tomlinson to three-year extension

Guard Laken Tomlinson appears to have wrapped up a starting position on the 49ers’ offensive line, as the club signed him to a three-year extension on Thursday.

Tomlinson, who started the final 15 games of last season at left guard, is now signed through the 2021 season, the 49ers announced.

“Laken is a very talented player who has improved consistently since joining the team one week before last year’s season opener,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement. “This offseason, his hard work and dedication paid off as he continued to progress and performed at a high level. We were confident we could work out a contract extension with Laken and we are fired up to get that done before training camp.”

The 49ers acquired Tomlinson in a trade from the Detroit Lions for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick shortly before the start of last season. The Lions selected Tomlinson with the No. 28 overall pick from Duke in 2015.

The 49ers did not pick up the fifth-year option on Tomlinson for the 2019 season, which would have cost $9.625 million. Instead, the 49ers and Tomlinson agreed to a three-year extension worth up to $18 million with $10 million guaranteed, reports the NFL Network.

Tomlinson, 26, started 24 of 30 games in his first two seasons with Detroit. He entered the 49ers’ starting lineup in Week 2 and every game for the remainder of the season.

The 49ers appear to have four starting positions set along the offensive line, with Tomlinson and tackle Joe Staley on the left side. Veteran center Weston Richburg is slated to start at center, while rookie Mike McGlinchey is settling in at right tackle.

Joshua Garnett, Jonathan Cooper and Mike Person will compete at right guard during training camp, which opens on July 25.

Rookie LB Fred Warner is setting the tone for 49ers, but he might be a little too loud

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AP

Rookie LB Fred Warner is setting the tone for 49ers, but he might be a little too loud

When the 49ers selected inside linebacker Fred Warner of BYU in the third round of the draft, it was easy to see how he fit into the team's plan with the degree of uncertainty surrounding Reuben Foster.

While Foster remained away from the team’s offseason program for five weeks, Warner felt a need to get up to speed quickly if he was needed to be a starter for Week 1 of the regular season. Warner said he was determined to learn as quickly as possible at whatever position he lined up.

“They want consistency over a guy who can make a play here and there,” Warner said on The 49ers insider Podcast. “Because if you’re a liability and you’re out there missing assignments, stuff like that, that’s going to get you cut. You have to be able to retain this information very quickly and be able to produce on the field and put a good product out there. That’s the biggest thing.”

The 49ers consider the middle linebacker (mike) and weakside linebacker (will) positions as nearly interchangeable. The major difference is the mike position is the player who communicates in the huddle. Malcolm Smith is lining up with the first team at mike, while Foster is at will. Warner is leading the second team at mike.

Foster joined the 49ers’ offseason for the final four weeks after a judge dismissed two felony charges of domestic violence. Warner knew all about Foster, the player, before meeting him as a teammate.

“He’s a very physical player, and something I didn’t know about him that I know now, he’s probably the smartest guy in the room,” Warner said. “This dude has the memory of an elephant. He doesn’t have to write notes down. He just retains things very quickly. And I think that’s what allowed him to play at such a high level as a rookie last year, aside from his physical talent.”

Warner has also learned a lot from Smith, who played six NFL seasons before sitting out last year with a torn pectoral.

“We’ve worked after practice on man coverage on tight ends and running backs.,” Warner said. “Even though that might not be something we touch on in practice or a meeting, he just wants to touch on that with me because he said, ‘If you can do this, you can play on any team in the NFL.’ “

One of the few critiques of the rookie during the offseason program is that Warner, who said he was a quiet kid as a youngster, has been a little too loud.

“He’s very smart and he plays like it on the field,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said during the first week of OTAs. “He doesn’t hesitate. He’s a rookie out there, but he’s calling the plays maybe even too loud because I can hear him from the offensive side. But, he doesn’t mind speaking up. He’s confident in what he’s doing.”

Warner said he wanted to win the confidence of his teammates, so that might have contributed to his increased decibel level.

“I want to make sure that when I get in that huddle and I’m talking to these guys, that they know that I know what I’m doing and I’m ready to go,” Warner said. “I’m the one who’s going to set the tone in the huddle before the play even happens.”