San Francisco 49ers: Is Patrick Willis' Greatness Really Flying Under the Radar?

San Francisco 49ers - TeamReport





Despite the losing pedigree, Willis infused a sense of proficiency, greatness and a downright winning mentality in the San Francisco air. Anyone following the 49ers could intuit the special qualities of this linebacker from Bruceton, Tenn. It certainly didnt take long for those bestowing pro football honors to take notice. Willis defied the odds that plague most rookies by earning Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors in his first go-around in the NFL. He led the league with an astonishing 174 tackles and introduced opposing quarterbacks to the gridiron floor four different times. Something called the 2007 NFL AP Defensive Rookie of the Year found its way on Willis desk as well. The man who dons No. 52 then proceeded to rack up Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro accolades for four of the next five seasons. (This just in: Panelists overslept on All-Pro voting day in 2009.) The only problem with being the unrivaled best at ones position for six years running? When greatness is so consistently achieved, people blithely accept it without any working appreciation of whats really happening before them. Even Patrick Willis expresses some heartfelt feelings from time to time.







49ers running back Frank Gore sees no reason for slowing down now that hes 30





Tweeted! A tweet has been posted to your Twitter account. Sent! A link has been sent to your friend's email address. 49ers work out WR Austin Collie Mike Garafolo, USA TODAY Sports 1:15 a.m. EDT June 14, 2013 Austin Collie caught 173 passes in four seasons with the Colts. (Photo: Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports) Story Highlights San Francisco considering alternate options with Michael Crabtree, others recovering from leg injuries Collie, who's coming back from knee and head injuries, already worked out for the Patriots this week With Michael Crabtree sidelined indefinitely after tearing his right Achilles last month, and newly signed Brandon Carswell tearing his ACL in his first practice with the team on Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers kicked the tires on a potential replacement. Free agent wideout Austin Collie auditioned for the team Thursday, a person informed of the workout told USA TODAY Sports. The person was not authorized to speak publicly because the 49ers, at the time, had not acknowledged the workout. Collie's 2012 season with the Indianapolis Colts ended in Week 3 when he ruptured his right patellar tendon.









on Wednesday, June 12, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) season's games. After beating the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints in his first two starts, Kaepernick sustained his first defeat, a loss recognized more for an option-pitch that Ted Ginn Jr. failed to corral and one in which the Rams recovered for a comeback-sparking touchdown. Three weeks earlier, the 49ers and Rams played to a 24-24 draw, and Kaepernick was pressed into action once Alex Smith sustained a first-half concussion. Kaepernick and the 49ers lost only once more -- Dec. 23 at Seattle, 42-13 -- before ultimately falling in the Super Bowl 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens. Improving their red-zone efficiency was just one aspect the 49ers focused on throughout the offseason program, which concluded Thursday with the end of a three-day minicamp.





Is Craig Dahl right about 49ers tipping their plays?





In discussing Mangini's role, Harbaugh said, "I feel like we added a really talented, knowledgeable coach. You look at how defenses are going to prepare for us, and where we can attack defenses. That's what his role will be, helping game planning and overall offensive scheme." Meanwhile, sweetening even more rivalry between the Rams and 49ers, Rams cornerback Corland Finnegan responded to Dahl's claim on Twitter by writing, "Craig Dahl is lame and weak for that glad he with another squad we know how he play thanks for the tips we know who 2 go at." In a later tweet, Finnegan said, "Craig Dahl we know how you play thanks for the tips we know who to attack early and often." 49ers Kaepernick impressed by Jenkins' improvement --With their top returning wide receiver, Michael Crabtree, out indefinitely with a torn Achilles tendon, it was good news Thursday for the 49ers when quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he was thrilled with the development of his remaining receivers. He said he was impressed with the development of A. J. Jenkins, last year's first-round draft pick who was active in only three games during the 2012 season. "Leaps and bounds ahead of where he was last year," said Kaepernick of Jenkins' improvement. But this isn't surprising to Kaepernick, who spent two months during the offseason working out with Jenkins and getting to know each other. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman definitely noticed Jenkins' improvement.





49ers' Kaepernick dismisses what Rams may have known





It sure seems like it, based on what the game tape shows Shotgun formation: 15 occurrences, 14 passes, 1 designed QB draw Whenever Kaepernick dropped into a traditional shotgun look (about six yards deep, with a running back at his side), the 49ers took to the air. This was the case no matter the personnel on the field San Francisco usually either went with three receivers, one TE and a running back or two receivers, two tight ends and a back when Kaepernick lined up in such a way. On 14 of the 49ers 15 shotgun snaps, Kaepernick dropped to throw. He wound up scrambling on a couple of occasions, but the only designed run from this set was a QB draw up the middle, which resulted in a 1-yard gain. This also does not take into account the 49ers use of the pistol. They implemented that look a couple of times, once with Gore lined up being Kaepernick; at least twice out of their diamond set with three backs. 1-WR, 2-TE set:19 occurrences, 13 runs 2-WR sets:26 occurrences, 19 passes, one designed QB run The shot above is of the two-tight end, two-back (22 personnel grouping) that San Francisco utilized rather frequently during this game. On almost 70 percent of the snaps with that setup, the 49ers ran the football. (And this is as good a time as any to remind everyone that the 49ers did manage to score 37 points in two games against St.





49ers work out WR Austin Collie





I love it, Gore said Thursday outside of the 49ers locker room. I feel like every year its something with me. I have to overcome everything, every year. Now that Im 30 I just have to keep working and training hard. Not that Gore has ever needed extra incentive. Whether it was being bypassed in the 2005 draft when he was the sixth running back selected or the string of injuries hes endured and overcome since then, Gore has always felt the need to prove people wrong. The 49ers clearly know Gores value and have limited his participation in the offseason workouts, including this weeks three-day minicamp. San Francisco hopes the time off will help keep Gore fresher for the regular season. Hes topped 1,000 yards in six of the past seven years, but hes also had a tendency to wear down late in the season. Since the end of the 2009 season, Gore has failed to record a 100-yard game in the months of November and December.