Urban: Staying Classy in San Diego


Urban: Staying Classy in San Diego

Sept. 9, 2010

SAN DIEGO -- The early morning traffic was light, nobody was in line at curbside check-in at the Oakland airport, it took all of two minutes to get through security, and I scored a front-row aisle seat with nobody in the middle seat for the flight.And guess whose bags came off the luggage carousel first?All of a sudden I heard Sean Connerys character from Finding Forrester in my head.Youre the man now, dog!This is gonna be a cakewalk, I thought to myself, strolling confidently through the San Diego airport, bubbling in anticipation of the sunshine sure to blind me the moment I stepped outside. Ah, but the best laid plans of mice, men and overly optimistic journalists often go awry. That point gently peppered my melon shortly after I burst through the sliding glass doors that take travelers to the line of taxis.Sunny San Diego? Try soaked San Diego. Rain? Now it was the voice of John McEnroe, circa Wimbledon vs. Bjorn Borg, in my head.You can NOT be serious!!And then William Forrester returned, only with less of a regal Scottish lilt. Youre the wet dog now, man!Yet things picked up a bit from there. The cabbie actually knew where the Giants team hotel is; to my eternal fascination, thats never a lock in any big-league city, despite the high quality and downtown location of most such properties.Nobody in line at the front desk. I got to check in right away even though it wasnt quite 10 a.m.. And my room? Peep it in on my flip-vid page for this trip. Its gorgeous, big enough to host a small wedding reception, one block from Petco Park, and features a balcony that offers views of the back of the ballpark on one side and a waterway on the other.The sun even broke through by noon, so I went for a walk. Ran into Brian Wilson, who was strolling the streets solo and entertained me for a few minutes as only he can. Ran into Amy G, who walked a few blocks with me back to the hotel. There we ran into Barry Zito, headed out for breakfast.Now it was Ice Cube in my head.Today was a good day.Ah, but its not even close to over, now, is it? It still can, and probably will, get ugly at some point.Actually, it already had. As I walked out of the hotels front door, two teenage boys bum-rushed me, baseballs in hand. At 6-foot-6 and about 235 pounds, and with a job that often put me in places where professional athletes can be found, Im often mistaken for an athlete and asked for an autograph.Never mind that these people obviously have no clue that my signature would de-value their baseballs instead of the intended opposite. Its flattering in an odd way.Until, that is, I tell them Im a nobody.The mistake I make is in accepting the ball before I tell them. Youre not on the Giants? one of the boys repeated.No, I said with a laugh. But Im taller than all of them.To which the other boy snatched the ball out of my hand like Steph Curry stripping an Angolan point guard.As they stalked off, I heard one of them refer to me as a jackass.Thats when Ron Burgundy made his inevitable appearance in my head.Stay classy, San Diego!
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Shanahan expects 'everyone in our building to be pissed off' after loss to Denver

Shanahan expects 'everyone in our building to be pissed off' after loss to Denver

After a couple of practices and one exhibition game against the Denver Broncos, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan once again came to the realization things are often not as good or bad as they seem.

That was his takeaway a day after the 49ers provided the Broncos with five giveaways to go along with 11 penalties in a 33-14 loss at Levi’s Stadium.

“But when I get in and watch the tape, it wasn’t quite as bad as it felt,” Shanahan said Sunday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “When you look at each situation, especially when you talk about the ones on offense, it takes 11 guys to execute a play, and if you have one guy off a little bit, it breaks down.”

A couple of passes that could have been caught, a ball that slipped out of quarterback Brian Hoyer’s hand and some other correctable errors gives Shanahan reason to be optimistic.

When he spoke to the media on Saturday night after the game, Shanahan was clearly upset with how his 90-man team performed. He was asked a day later if it was a relief to watch the film and come to the conclusion that not everything was a total disaster.

“It’s not really relief,” Shanahan quipped. “It’s kind of my life story.

“We put a lot into it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a scrimmage, practice or preseason. I try to compose myself by the time I talk to you guys (the media) after practice. But I’m pretty pissed after practice when it doesn’t go well. We’re competitive guys and we want everything to be perfect. That’s why most of the time I’m not that happy.”

Shanahan said he expects everyone in the organization to hold themselves to the same high standard.

“Whenever you go out to a game like that, you want to win, you want to play well,” he said. “And you turn the ball over like that and you have the penalties that we did, I’m definitely going to be pissed off and I expect everyone in our building to be pissed off. If they’re not, that’s when I would be worried.”

Shanahan said he had the opposite feeling after the practice Wednesday against the Broncos that looked like a decisive win for the 49ers. Upon review, Shanahan said he felt there was still a lot of room for improvement.

“I thought things seemed real good at practice our first day versus them,” he said. “Then, I go in and watch the film and it was good but not quite as good as I felt when I was out there.”

49ers could get presumptive starting free safety back soon


49ers could get presumptive starting free safety back soon

The 49ers could get their presumptive starting free safety back on the field this week.

Jimmie Ward, who has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since sustaining a hamstring injury during a conditioning test on the eve of training camp, will go through strenuous workouts Monday and Tuesday.

Ward could be cleared to return to practice as early as Wednesday, when the club is scheduled to hold its next practice.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday in a conference call with reporters that defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley will will pace him through a football-related workout on Monday and Tuesday.

"Hopefully, we'll get him ready to go by Wednesday," Shanahan said.

The 49ers envision Ward, a first-round draft pick in 2014, as a major contributor in the team’s new 4-3 scheme, which is based on Seattle’s defense. With strong safety Eric Reid playing close to the line of scrimmage, Ward will play the deep safety – a role that Earl Thomas has played for the Seahawks.

In Ward’s absence, undrafted rookie safety Lorenzo Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games and appears to have played his way into solid position for a spot on the 53-man roster.

"Lorenzo has done a good job," Shanahan said. "I think a couple of times he's ran around and been a ballhawk for us and made some tackles. I thought they caught him a few times out of position last night on a few play-action looks because he's been so aggressive. He's going to have to learn from those, but they never made him pay for those by going outside."

--The 49ers will have days off on Monday and Tuesday as they settle into their regular-season routine.

--Shanahan said he has been formulating ideas for the game plan against Carolina in Week 1 of the regular season. So as the 49ers play the exhibition games, they are mindful of not showing too much.

"I never get too far away from that," Shanahan said. "Everything we put into a preseason game, you always try to take into account what you’re going to be doing in the regular season."

--Shanahan said he thought No. 1 quarterback Brian Hoyer "did a good job." He said the first throw intended for Vance McDonald over the middle was thrown a little late.

"Besides that, I thought he did a good job with his reads and went to the right spots," Shanahan said.

Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard also was on-point with his reads, Shanahan said.

--Eli Harold got the start Saturday night at outside linebacker position, as he competes with Ahmad Brooks for a job.

"I try to go off what I see in practice," Shanahan said. "You want to know who has more upside, things like that. Who's going to get better throughout the year if given the opportunity? But you also want to know, when it's all said and done, who is going to affect your win-loss record the most. Those are the things I look at personally."

--Former 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin announced his retirement on Sunday. Shanahan never coached him, but he was obviously a big fan.

"I've personally met Anquan or talked to him before, but he has been one of my favorites of all time," Shanahan said. "I love Anquan. I don't know him at all, but I feel like I do because I've always studied how he plays. I remember watching him in college when he came into Florida State as a quarterback and moved quickly to receiver his freshman year.

"And I remember him coming into the league and people thinking he wouldn't be as great because he didn't have a fast 40 time. And watching him play over the years. That's my definition of a football player. He's as violent of a receiver as there is, and I've always truly believed that receivers can really set the mentality of an offense. I feel lineman have no choice, they have to be tough. Running backs, if you're not tough, you're not going to make it in this league because you get hit every play. Quarterbacks got to hang in there. Receivers are the guys who can pick and choose a little bit. And when you have guys who play like Anquan, that just brings a whole different mentality to your offense that I think usually leads to teams that have chances to win Super Bowls."