49ers travel heavy, prepare for New England elements


49ers travel heavy, prepare for New England elements

SANTA CLARA -- Steve Urbaniak, the 49ers' equipment manager, has been checking the weather reports every day.

Ultimately, Urbaniak's job is to make sure the 49ers are ready for all the elements they could face Sunday night against the New England Patriots in Foxboro, Mass.

Currently, the Weather.com forecast -- the only Urbaniak relies upon -- calls for 37 degrees and a 60-percent chance of rain.

"That's the worst forecast ever," Urbaniak said. "It's right in the mix between rain and snow. A wet (cold) rain is horrible. A cold snow is better. Snow is a lot easier to deal with than the rain."

The 49ers, who are scheduled to depart the Bay Area after their Friday afternoon practice, will be packing 3,000 extra pounds of equipment to help players, coaches and staff deal with the conditions. Typically, the team travels with 18,000 pounds of equipment.

They packed an assortment of thermal tops and bottoms, thermal socks, boots for the coaches and staff on the sideline, winter caps, ski gloves, ski pants for the kickers, extra jackets and sideline capes, Urbaniak said.

Urbaniak and his staff will head to Gillette Stadium on Sunday and unpack everything well in advance of the 8:30 p.m. (ET) kickoff.

"We'll have it lined up and ready to go so if somebody wants something," Urbaniak said. "If somebody wants sacks or a thermal, it'll all be right there."

Assistant equipment managers Doc Dressler and Scott Rotier have their own personal responsibilities. Dressler is in charge of all the gloves and shoes for anything the weather has to offer. Rotier is taking care of the coaches and staff to make sure everyone has rain gear, cold gear and the proper socks and boots.

"Hopefully, we're doing a lot of work for nothing," Urbaniak said. "That's what we're hoping for. And then we turn around and do it all again next week for Seattle."

The 49ers have experienced very few "weather" games through the years. Urbaniak is in his 10th season in charge of the 49ers' equipment room. He said his worst experiences have been in Seattle, especially a windy and rainy Thursday night in 2006.

"That was the worst one," he said. "The field flooded, and they delayed the game. It was wet and cold and we blew every circuit in the locker room because we had guys come in from pregame and we had an hour delay. So we were taking guys' jerseys off and putting hair dryers on them."

"We have to make sure we're ready for everything."

New York Giants release kicker Josh Brown

New York Giants release kicker Josh Brown

The New York Giants released placekicker Josh Brown, the team announced on Tuesday.

The NFL suspended Brown for the season opener in Dallas for violating the League’s Personal Conduct Policy.  That suspension was based on his May 22, 2015 arrest on domestic violence charges, which were dismissed approximately five days after the arrest.

Brown served his suspension, returned to the Giants on September 12, and subsequently participated in five games. 

Last Wednesday, approximately 24 hours before the Giants were to depart for London, new information was released by authorities in Washington State.  The new materials disclosed a history of alleged domestic violence by Brown.  On Thursday, the Giants announced Brown would not accompany the team to London, where they played the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. 

Last Friday, the NFL, at the Giants request and citing the documents released two days earlier, placed Brown on the Commissioner Exempt List. 

Today, the Giants released Brown.

“We believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh,” said team president John Mara. “Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided.  We accept that responsibility.

“We hope that Josh will continue to dedicate himself to rehabilitation, and to becoming a better person and father.  We will continue to support him in his efforts to continue counseling, and we hope that Josh and his family can find peace and a positive resolution.

“We have great respect and feel strongly about our support for the good people who work tirelessly and unconditionally to aid the victims of domestic violence and who bring awareness to the issue. We have been partners with My Sisters’ Place (a domestic violence shelter and advocate based in Westchester, New York) for nearly 20 years. The leadership of that organization has provided invaluable insight as we have considered our decisions in this matter.  We value and respect their opinion, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”

Statement from Josh Brown:
"The road to rehabilitation is a journey and a constant modification of a way of life.  My journey will continue forever as a person determined to leave a positive legacy and I embrace the opportunities to show and speak about what has helped me to be that man.  I am sorry that my past has called into question the character or integrity of The New York Giants, Mr. Mara or any of those who have supported me along the way.  In the coming days and weeks I plan on telling more of the pain I had caused and the measures taken to get help so I may be the voice of change and not a statistic.  In the interim I am cooperating with the Giants and the NFL. Thank you to everyone that has supported me, I will not let you down."

New York Giants media services

49ers players get week break, while coaches search for answers

49ers players get week break, while coaches search for answers

SANTA CLARA -- In the early afternoon Monday after the 49ers’ day-after-game meetings concluded, the players were excused for the next seven days.

Coach Chip Kelly opted to give the 49ers a week break, rather than going through a couple days of practices before providing the players with a mandatory four consecutive days off during the bye week.

The 49ers on Sunday dropped to 1-6 on the season with a 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But there will be no extra practices to attempt to sharpen their performance.

“They’ve been at it since July 31st,” Kelly said. “They haven’t had more than one day off in a row. So I think at this point in time that’s what our whole MO has always been.

“They’ll meet with our strength and conditioning coaches. They have their lifting programs in terms of what they can do and what they have to do. And I think at this point in time we need to heal up. I think it’s a good break for them to do what they need to do and that’s the way I’ve always done it and our teams have been fresh coming out of the bye week.”

While the players will be off for a week, Kelly said the coaching staff will continue to work through Friday in an attempt to identify areas in which they can improve and snap out of their six-game losing streak on Nov. 6 against the New Orleans Saints at Levi’s Stadium.

“We’ve got a lot of self-scout that we have set aside,” Kelly said. “We’ll be in here all week kind of looking at what we’ve done in the first seven games, what have our opponents done to us in the first seven games relative to what we thought going into the game based on the break downs. Did they change?

“If they were 60-percent pressure going into our game and they were only 30-percent pressure in our game, trying to delve into how people are defending us. How are people attacking us from an offensive standpoint in terms of attacking our defense and what their tendencies were going into the game and then what actually transpired in the game. So we’ve got a lot of film work and a lot of studying to do here during this week.”

Kelly reiterated on Monday that he is not looking at leaving the 49ers after this season. He said he has not heard from any schools with coaching openings or potential openings. Kelly said he has tried to remain focused on his job through the longest losing streak he has ever experienced as a coach.

“No one’s happy, so I don’t know if the word’s anguish, but I mean obviously you try to keep it consistent in terms of your approach to everything that you do,” Kelly said. “I don’t think being consistent and being even-keeled means that it doesn’t bother you or that you’re not frustrated in terms of what’s gone on.”

Kelly said the 49ers have the talent to win games. When asked why the coaches have not been able to extract more victories, Kelly placed the blame for the team’s poor play on himself and his staff.

“That’s on us,” Kelly said. “I agree 100-percent in terms of what you’re saying. But our job is to put our players in position to make plays and we’re not doing a good enough job of that right now.”