Carmen Policy: Warriors are new 'gold standard' in sports

Carmen Policy: Warriors are new 'gold standard' in sports

Editor’s note: The 49ers Insider Podcast with special guest Carmen Policy is available here.

The Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are meeting in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year.

While that kind of two-team dominance has not occurred in a major American sporting league since the 1950s, there was something similar in the NFL in the 1990s.

The 49ers and Dallas Cowboys met in the NFC Championship games after the 1992, ’93 and ’94 seasons. The winner of those matchups produced the Super Bowl champion each season.

Former 49ers team president Carmen Policy joined the 49ers Insider Podcast and declared the Warriors are now the model by which all professional franchises should be judged.

"I think they’re the new gold standard in terms of organization, style of management, coaching, embracing the players as a family," Policy said.

Policy compared the 49ers’ 1994 signing of Deion Sanders after a second consecutive loss to the Cowboys in the playoffs to the Warriors’ addition of Kevin Durant. Sanders was voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and the 49ers went on to capture the franchise's fifth Super Bowl.

“I’ve thought about it often,” Policy said. “And I commended the Warriors and gave them a standing ovation here in my home for doing what they did, with the proviso that Kevin Durant has to fit.

“I also commended that team, because no matter how good Kevin Durant’s intentions, he’s not going to fit if the other stars on the team don’t let him. These guys were part of the recruiting process. These guys were part of the welcoming committee. They were able to look him in the eye and deal with him and follow through on their commitments and say, in effect, ‘This is about the team. This is about the Warriors. This isn’t about Steph Curry. This isn’t about Draymond Green. This isn’t about Klay Thompson. This is about the Warriors winning a championship.’”

Policy, who founded Casa Piena winery in Napa Valley, no longer has any connection to the 49ers. But he said he fully endorses the hirings of coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. He sent text messages to Shanahan and Lynch to congratulate them shortly after they were hired.

“I think, for a change, there’s some optimism about what’s happening with the Niners structure, in terms of the front office,” Policy said. “Because even when they were winning with (Jim) Harbaugh, you knew there was no harmony in that front office and you knew there was going to be conflict. You sensed that, OK, here we are at the family reunion dinner and, all right, everybody came and everybody’s sitting down, but you’re just so nervous because at any minute, somebody’s going to say something and a food fight will start.

“Kyle Shanahan is totally committed to X’s and O’s and coaching the team and doesn’t want to be the visible and verbal face of the franchise. He wants to coach football. He wants to become a championship-caliber coach with a championship-caliber team. And then you have John Lynch, who is a hard-working guy, one of these people, ‘OK, give me a goal. Once I have the goal, I’ll figure out how to get around all the obstacles.’”

Long supports Eagles teammate, wraps arm around him during anthem protest


Long supports Eagles teammate, wraps arm around him during anthem protest

Chris Long supported his teammate, Malcolm Jenkins, Thursday night by wrapping his left arm around Jenkins, who continued to raise his right fist in protest of racial injustice during the national anthem prior to the Eagles' preseason game against the Bills at Lincoln Financial Field.

Long's intention Thursday night was not immediately known. While he's been outspoken on Charlottesville, Virginia, he did not specify how he would conduct himself during the anthem.

Long and Jenkins both publicly criticized President Donald Trump's response to the racial tensions that resulted in the tragic violence and the death of Heather Heyer last weekend in Charlottesville, Long's hometown.

Last Sunday, Long touched on his comments by speaking to reporters, reiterating his disappointment in President Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville, where white nationalists held a "Unite the Right" rally in protest of the removal of a statue honoring Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

"Some people are tired of hearing me tweet because they want me to stick to football but I like to use social media like I was a regular guy because I think I am," Long said Sunday. "I don't tell people to stick to their job when they want to talk politics. And this isn't political. That's the thing. Everybody is trying to turn this political. This isn't a political issue. This is right or wrong. I believe you're on one side or the other. For me, being from Charlottesville, no one wants to see you sit idly by and watch that stuff happen and not say anything. And I wish there was more categorical denial from some very important people in this country who have had the opportunity to strike it down but didn't."


Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved


Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ passing game has ranked 29th or lower in each of the past four seasons.

If two practices against last year’s No. 1-ranked pass defense are any indication, the 49ers could be vastly improved under coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brian Hoyer.

“I think our guys were expecting to do good,” Shanahan said on Thursday after a second joint practice against the Denver Broncos in two days. “There’s a lot of stuff we can clean up. A lot of stuff we can do better. But I think our guys were happy with how they competed and, hopefully, that can continue to carry over.”

Hoyer hit more higher-percentage passes on Thursday. He teamed up with rookie Victor Bolden on his deepest completion -- down the left sideline against first-team All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris. After completing better than 80 percent of his passes against the Broncos a day earlier, Hoyer was 12 of 19 passing on Thursday.

Pierre Garçon, who figures to be Hoyer’s top target, was not as active during Thursday’s practice. But he did find himself in the middle of the action with a tussle against Harris.

Hoyer’s red-zone pass intended for slot receiver Jeremy Kerley was tipped and intercepted by safety Justin Simmons. Away from the action, Aqib Talib blocked Garçon, who retaliated by tossing him to the ground.

“That’s part of the game,” Garçon said. ‘You always expect one scuffle in joint practices. But it ended and you move on. It was nothing personal at all.”

Hoyer was especially sharp during the practices to strengthen his grasp on the team’s staring job. Meanwhile, rookie C.J. Beathard had a solid showing on Thursday. He will enter Saturday’s game after Hoyer and could play through the rest of the first half and open the third quarter.

The 49ers exited the field after their two most-significant practices feeling optimistic about where things stand.

“We did good the first day,” Garçon said. “We could’ve done better the second day. But we’re still learning each other and getting better. We still have a lot to do to get ready for the regular season, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

--Linebacker Reuben Foster wore shoulder pads and took part in all but the contact drills due to what the team described as a “mild AC joint sprain” of his right shoulder. That did not prevent Foster from getting into the middle of a skirmish that appeared to involve Broncos tackle Menelik Watson and 49ers linebacker Eli Harold.

The 49ers expect Foster to play Saturday night, Shanahan said.

--Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was pulled from practice on Thursday after experiencing soreness in his shoulder. Shanahan said Bowman's shoulder soreness is similar to what Foster experienced.

--The Broncos’ offense, which struggled to complete passes on Wednesday, made a lot more plays down the field on Thursday with Paxton Lynch at quarterback.

--Tight end Vance McDonald made an outstanding catch of a Hoyer pass at the sideline against tight coverage from safety Will Parks.

--The 49ers’ practice Thursday brought an official end to the team’s training camp. They will transition to a regular-season type of schedule next week leading up to the team’s third exhibition game, which is scheduled for Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings.

“Training camp is over, and what that means is we’re not all staying in dorms together and we’re not having night walk-throughs,” Shanahan said.