Have 49ers improved? Analyzing the offense


Have 49ers improved? Analyzing the offense

Through two weeks of free agency, the 49ers' offense has seen . . . --The departure of starting right guard Adam Snyder;
--The addition of wide receivers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, along with the loss of Josh Morgan;
--The re-signing of starting quarterback Alex Smith, and the addition of former Tampa Bay backup Josh Johnson.MAIOCCO: Have 49ers improved? Analyzing defense, special teams
So, as 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh likes to say, you never stay the same, let's take a look at whether the 49ers' offense has improved, position-by-position, with their pre-draft moves:Offensive line: Expect right tackle Anthony Davis and left guard Mike Iupati to make noticeable improvements because they'll get their first full offseasons of work with the coaches. Right now, Daniel Kilgore is slated to take over at right guard for Snyder, who signed with the Arizona Cardinals. Kilgore might end up as the starter, but expect him to be challenged by a player-to-be-added-later. Bottom line: Improvement, based on four spots remaining static and an offseason of work together.Tight ends: Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker are back. Blocking specialist Nate Byham returns after missing last season with an ACL tear. Bottom line: Improvement, as Davis will have a firm grasp of the offense from the beginning of the season.Wide receivers: In the NFC championship game, the 49ers' wideouts were Michael Crabtree, Kyle Williams and Brett Swain. Right now, the 49ers have Randy Moss and Mario Manningham under contract, along with Crabtree, Ted Ginn and Williams. Moss did not play last season, and he's essentially on a six-month tryout with the team to see if he can prove he deserves a role on the team. Manningham was the clear No. 3 with the New York Giants behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. With Manningham, Crabtree and Moss, the 49ers should be able to find two starting-caliber receivers and a good No. 3 man, too. Bottom line: Improvement -- but there are still a lot of questions.Running backs: Frank Gore rushed for 1,211 yards -- the second-highest rushing total of his seven-year career. After five straight 100-plus yard games from Games 4 through 8, Gore went 10 games without rushing for 100 yards in a game. Kendall Hunter was a good change-of-pace back, and Anthony Dixon has not won the confidence of the organization. Bottom line: Slight dip, based on another year or wear and tear on Gore, who turns 29 in May and has been the team's every-down back for six seasons.
Quarterbacks: Alex Smith re-signed after the failed bid to convince Peyton Manning that the 49ers were his best option. Colin Kaepernick has been joined by free-agent pickup Josh Johnson. Last season, Kaepernick and undrafted Scott Tolzien were Smith's backups. Bottom line: Improvement, based on Smith and Kaepernick being in the same system for a second year, and the addition of Johnson to increase the competition.

Jerry Jones, Cowboys kneel before anthem, stand arm-in-arm during it


Jerry Jones, Cowboys kneel before anthem, stand arm-in-arm during it

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, so the speculation was that he would not allow his players to kneel during the national anthem.

The Cowboys and their owner did kneel, though not during the anthem.

Following a weekend of kneeling and protesting across the NFL, the Cowboys and their owner displayed their own version of unity Monday night, kneeling on the field before rising as a group prior to the playing of the national anthem.

"I hope that I'm clear and I hope that our team is clear: We want to respect the flag. Make no mistake about that," Jones said.

"Nothing that we've done, nothing that we did tonight says anything other than that. We also want to as a complete team, as players and an organization, be able to, whenever we can, demonstrate that unity is important and equality is important.

"That's what I'm so proud of these guys for, they did both and did it in a way when people really stop and think about it, makes a lot of sense."

The Cowboys sat and watched the protests across the NFL on Sunday and spent most of Monday discussing the best way to show unity without denigrating the flag.

After warmups Monday night, they went into the locker room and returned to the field for the anthem, lining up between the sideline and the yard markers on the field.

Arm-in-arm, they dropped to a knee as a giant flag was carried onto the field, with Jones and his family in the middle near the 50-yard line.

Numerous boos rang out across University of Phoenix Stadium as the Cowboys kneeled and continued as the players rose, still arm-in-arm, and stepped back to the sideline as the flag was unfurled across the field. They remained connected as Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem.

"The objectives, as much as anything else, was to somehow, some way demonstrate unity and demonstrate equality, and do so without any way involving the American flag and the national anthem," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.

The Arizona Cardinals had their own symbol of unity after a weekend of protests in the NFL, gathering along the goal line arm-in-arm during the national anthem. They were joined by owner Michael Bidwell, his family and general manager Steve Keim.

More than 200 NFL players kneeled, sat or prayed during the national anthem on Sunday after President Trump said any player who does not stand for the national anthem should be fired.

Three teams did not take the field for the national anthem and numerous NFL owners came out against Trump's statements.

49ers place Tank Carradine on injured reserve


49ers place Tank Carradine on injured reserve

The 49ers signed LB Mark Nzeocha from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad to a one-year deal, the team announced.

In order to make room on the roster, the team has placed DL Tank Carradine on the Injured Reserve List.

Nzeocha (6-3, 240) was originally drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round (236th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. Over the past two seasons (2015-16), he appeared in eight games and registered four tackles. He was waived by the Cowboys on September 3, 2017 and signed to the team’s practice squad on September 5.

A 27-year-old native of Ansbach, Bavaria in Germany, Nzeocha attended the University of Wyoming. He appeared in 39 games (26 starts) and finished his career with 207 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, seven passes defensed, three forced fumbles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception.

Nzeocha will wear number 46.

Carradine (6-4, 270) appeared in each of the team’s first three games this season (two starts), where he registered seven tackles and one sack.

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