NFC West: Adam Snyder

Examining the San Francisco 49ers' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Because of heavy competition elsewhere, the 49ers will likely only carry two quarterbacks. They finished last season that way. The competition will be to see if undrafted rookie Kory Faulkner can take McLeod Bethel-Thompson's spot on the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS (5)

The fact that the 49ers drafted Hyde in the second round and Lattimore is healthy means some tough decisions will have to be made. Hunter is too valuable to let go. That means 2012 second-round pick LaMichael James will have difficulty making the roster.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

The 49ers are so much deeper here this year than last. That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd may look good and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it even though he is a special teams cog.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

If Davis ends his holdout, I can't see the 49ers keeping more than three tight ends because of the glut at receiver. Unless Garrett Celek has a big camp, he may be in trouble. Carrier intrigues the 49ers because of his size and speed.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

Assuming Boone ends his holdout, this is a pretty nice group of eight players. It's improved from last year. A solid veteran like Adam Snyder and a promising youngster like Ryan Seymour will have trouble making the team.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

This is another power spot. It's deep. Players like Jerod-Eddie and Dial are too valuable to cut. Ramsey has looked good and I have a hunch the 49ers may like him too much to expose him to the waiver wire. That means Demarcus Dobbs could be in trouble.

LINEBACKERS (7)

Most teams carry six linebackers but the 49ers are stacked here, especially with NaVorro Bowman out for about half the season. Because fifth-round pick Lynch is promising he should make the roster. Dan Skuta is an excellent player, but there might not be any room for him. I could see him being one of those later-summer Trent Baalke trade specials because he has value.

CORNERBACKS (5)

This unit is in flux, but I see Johnson making it. Don't be surprised if there is some in-camp jockeying as the 49ers look for the best mix.

SAFETIES (5)

Ward, the 49ers' first-round pick, will play nickel cornerback as a rookie, but projects long term as a safety. Ventrone and Spillman should stick because they are great on special teams. Craig Dahl could be in trouble.

SPECIALISTS (3):

This group is set and it's excellent.

49ers' veteran free-agent review

January, 31, 2014
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The San Francisco 49ers had good success in veteran free agency in 2013. Let's take a look back at the impact the veteran acquisitions made in alphabetical order

Nnamdi Asomugha: This one didn't work out. Asomugha had nothing left and the 49ers cut him during the season. He didn't cost much, so it was not a major issue.

Craig Dahl: A backup and a special teamer. Solid addition.

Phil Dawson: He was a difference maker. He made 32 of 36 field goal attempts and he made 27 in a row. He was clutch all season. The team wants him back after he signed a one-year deal last year.

Glenn Dorsey: Another really fine addition. Dorsey, the No. 5 overall draft pick in 2008, came alive in San Francisco. His coaches raved about him as he stood out at nose tackle after Ian Williams was lost for season in Week 2.

Colt McCoy: He was the perfect backup quarterback -- he never played when it counted. I think the 49ers would like to upgrade from him moving forward, though.

Kassim Osgood: A fine special teamer. A key part of the team.

Dan Skuta: He was a valuable role player. He played outside linebacker when Aldon Smith missed five games to seek treatment for substance abuse. Skuta was also a key special teamer.

Adam Snyder: A role player who has been in the 49ers' system in the past. He played in five games when left guard Mike Iupati was injured.

Bubba Ventrone: Just like Osgood. A big reason why the special teams improved so greatly.

Eric Wright: The 49ers had high hopes for him, but he finished the season inactive. He is a free agent. It is far from a sure thing that he returns.

49ers' Mike Iupati returns

December, 23, 2013
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Mike Iupati is back.

Iupati
The San Francisco 49ers' standout left guard is active and is set to start Monday night against Atlanta. Iupati has missed the past four games with a sprained knee. Adam Snyder has taken his place.

However, backup receiver Mario Manningham is inactive. He has played the past six games after being out since last December with a knee injury. He missed two days of practice last week with a knee issue and because of an illness. Manningham's play has dwindled in the past three games with star receiver Michael Crabtree back.

Rookie Quinton Patton will get an opportunity. He has played since he broke his foot in Week 4.

Another interesting note about tonight's 46-man roster is tight end Derek Carrier is inactive for first time in a month. Newly signed backup fullback Will Tukuafu is active. He is 293 pounds. He could be a short-yardage factor.
The San Francisco 49ers go into Week 16 -- in which they can clinch their third playoff berth in three seasons with Jim Harbaugh as coach -- with their 53-man roster in fairly good health.

Left guard Mike Iupati and receiver Mario Manningham are likely the biggest question marks.

Like last week, Iupati was limited all week. He has missed the past four games with a sprained knee. Harbaugh told reporters Saturday that Iupati had a productive week, but no decision has been made whether he will play Monday night against Atlanta. Adam Snyder would continue to play for Iupati if needed.

Manningham, the team's No. 3 receiver, missed Thursday and Saturday’s practices because of an illness and a knee injury. Mannigham has played sparingly in the past three games since Michael Crabtree returned.

Rookie receiver Quinton Patton could be active for the first time since Week 4 if Manningham is inactive.

The 49ers can clinch a playoff berth if Arizona loses at Seattle on Sunday or if the 49ers win Monday night. San Francisco can secure the No. 5 seed in the playoffs if it beats Atlanta and then wins at Arizona on Sunday. San Francisco is 10-4 and has won four straight games.

Mike Iupati out again for 49ers

December, 15, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- The San Francisco 49ers must wait another week before getting their starting 11 offensive players on the field together for first time this season.

Left guard Mike Iupati is inactive for the fourth straight game with a knee sprain. He practiced all week on a limited basis. Barring a setback, expect him to play against Atlanta on Dec. 23. Adam Snyder continues to play for Iupati. The 49ers have not played a down all season with their full starting offensive lineup.

Cornerback Tarell Brown is active for the first time since injuring his ribs Nov. 17 at New Orleans. He is expected to back up Tramaine Brock, who took his place.

Rookie tight end Vance McDonald is inactive with an ankle injury. It is not expected to be overly serious.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – It appears the San Francisco 49ers will travel to Tampa Bay at near full health.

The biggest injury question is whether left guard Mike Iupati will return from a sprained knee. He’s missed the past three games. He has practiced on a limited basis all week. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday it’s possible that Iupati can play Sunday. If he can’t, Adam Snyder will make his fourth straight start.

Receiver Michael Crabtree is probable with an ankle injury that he tweaked against Seattle last week. Crabtree suffered the injury early and he finished the game. He practiced all week.

In other notes:

49ers CEO Jed York playfully tries to budge Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson to the diamond.

In an Insider piece, Pro Football Focus ranksInsider the 49ers as the 12th-deepest roster. I disagree. This team is loaded. It’s a top-five roster, in my opinion.

Joe Staley is active for 49ers

December, 8, 2013
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- As expected, standout left tackle Joe Staley is active and slated to start for the San Francisco 49ers against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Staley
Staley sprained his right knee early against the Rams last week and he did not return. It was initially believed Staley would miss a couple of games. But Staley practiced Thursday and Friday and said Friday he would play.

Left guard Mike Iupati is out again, however. It’s the third straight game he'll miss due to a sprained knee. Adam Snyder continues to play in his place.

Rookie receiver Quinton Patton continues to be inactive. He hasn’t played since he broke his foot in Week 4. Patton is now healthy, but with the 49ers’ veteran receivers all healthy, there is no room for Patton.

Tight end Garrett Celek is healthy after missing a few games with a hamstring injury, but he remains inactive. Derek Carrier, promoted from the practice squad last month, has apparently bypassed him on the depth chart.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- There is a chance the San Francisco 49ers will have one of their standout offensive linemen back for a crucial game against visiting Seattle on Sunday.

Iupati
Niners coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday left guard Mike Iupati, who is undergoing an exam on Monday, could play in the game. Harbaugh said Iupati, who has missed the past two games with a sprained MCL, will likely be monitored throughout the week and the final determination whether he plays will likely be made closer to game day. He has been replaced by Adam Snyder.

Harbaugh did not have an update on star left tackle Joe Staley on Monday. Staley left Sunday's win against St. Louis with a knee injury. Sources said, after the game, the initial diagnosis was Staley sprained his right MCL. He could miss a couple of games. Harbaugh said Monday the team was hopeful it is not more serious.

With Staley out, right guard Alex Boone moved to left tackle and the inexperienced Joe Looney took over at right guard. Harbaugh said Monday the makeshift unit played well.

If Iupati misses Sunday's game, the 49ers will have three replacements playing. The 49ers' offense has yet to play a down this season with the starting 11 and that may not happen until Week 16.

ESPN analyst Matt Williamson said playing without so many offensive linemen at their natural spot will catch up to the 49ers if the situation lingers.

“I think Staley is one of the top three or four LTs in the NFL and is especially great in the run game and yes, he will be missed for sure,” Williamson said. “But Boone was a LT at Ohio State and came to the NFL as an OT prospect. He certainly has that body type. He might be a better 'band aid' player there for the short term than most teams have if their starting LT were to fall, but still, San Francisco is now weaker at three offensive line spots than when the starters are available."
Colin KaepernickStephen Lam/Getty ImagesColin Kaepernick had one of his better games this season with a full complement of receivers.
SAN FRANCISCO -- What's wrong with Colin Kaepernick?

It has been a common theme this year in media and fan circles.

After seeing him with a full complement of offensive weapons Sunday for the first time this season, that line of questioning may dissipate.

Kaepernick looked calm, cool, confident and efficient in the San Francisco 49ers' 23-13 victory over St. Louis Rams on Sunday as San Francisco sent the rest of the NFC an early-December message: A healthy 49ers' offense is a dangerous offense.

It's no coincidence Kaepernick looked far from being a detriment Sunday. Star receiver Michael Crabtree made his 2013 season debut after being out with a torn Achilles he suffered in May. For the first time since the Super Bowl, Kaepernick had a full cache of weapons. It was also the first time the team's top three receivers -- Crabtree, tight end Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin -- played together.

If this group (as well as fourth option Mario Manningham, who played little Sunday because the 49ers used a lot of double tight-end sets) can stay healthy, it will be extremely dangerous down the stretch for the 49ers, who are 8-4 and in control of the sixth and final NFC playoff seed heading into the final quarter of the season.

And it will probably make Kaepernick, in his first full season as the starting quarterback, look as good as he did during last year's Super Bowl run.

"Colin was dynamic," San Francisco offensive lineman Adam Snyder said after the game. "He's been good all year, but give him these weapons and he is going to get a lot done."

He did Sunday, going 19-of-28 for 275 yards. There's no doubt, Kaepernick is more comfortable with a full complement of receivers.

In Week 4 against St. Louis (playing without Crabtree and Manningham), Kaepernick went 8-of-15 for 96 yards against the Rams' standard four-man rush. According to ESPN Stats & Information, against the same pressure Sunday, Kaepernick was 15-of-20 for 233 yards and a touchdown pass.

When facing a non-blitzing situation during the first 11 games of the season, Kaepernick completed 57.9 percent of his passes, averaged 7.2 yards per attempt and threw six interceptions. Against a four-man rush Sunday, he completed 75 percent of his passes, averaged 11.7 yards per attempt and was not intercepted.

Kaepernick's success against the Rams' standard pass rush, considered one of the best in the league, will likely force opposing defensive coordinators to consider different approaches and perhaps decide to blitz more often. That could create more opportunities for this offense.

That's the beauty of Crabtree's return for Kaepernick and the 49ers' offense. He opens up schematic advantages and secondary reads for the 49ers that simply were not there earlier in the season and made Kaepernick's job more difficult.

With Crabtree back (he had two catches for 68 yards), the pressure instantly came off Boldin and Davis. Boldin had one of his best games with the 49ers, with nine catches for 98 yards, and he may be the key to this offense in the final weeks. He will no longer get the brunt of the defensive coverage, as he excels as a second or third option. He showed that Sunday.

"It's about time he gets double-teamed now," Boldin joked, speaking of Crabtree. "When you have a guy like that on the other side, it definitely relieves pressure off of you. It frees you up to just go out and play ball. It's good to have him back."

Last season, Crabtree was targeted on 34 percent of the 49ers' offensive plays. It was the second highest rate in the league. That opened up opportunities for Davis, a star in the final six games of last season. Those chances opened up Sunday as well. Davis had four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown.

Inside the 49ers' walls, the team has supported Kaepernick, feeling good about his play and his field maturation amidst the challenges. Now, after seeing Crabtree's impact on the offense and how he can help Kaepernick, there is serious excitement.

"We can only get better," San Francisco fullback Bruce Miller said. "Colin's been great all season and having all of the guys back are just going to make him better."
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The San Francisco 49ers will use a backup offensive lineman in the starting lineup Monday night for the first time since 2011.

However, Adam Snyder is not new here.

Snyder
Snyder is pegged to play for left guard Mike Iupati, who may miss a couple of weeks because of a sprained left MCL he suffered Sunday at New Orleans. It will be the first time a San Francisco starting offensive lineman has missed a game in nearly two years.

Snyder took over for Iupati at New Orleans, and he should have no problem fitting in Monday night against Washington. The 6-foot-6, 325-pound Snyder is a nine-year veteran who has started 83 games. He played his entire career in San Francisco until he going to Arizona last year. After he was cut by the Cardinals, he came back to San Francisco this season.

The 49ers like Snyder because of his versatility. He can play all five positions on the line. He said he is comfortable at left guard and doesn’t expect any issues Monday night.

“The four other [linemen] are All-Pro guys,” Snyder said. “I’m expecting to come in and not have any drop-off in production.”

There is certainly a drop-off from Iupati, considered one of the best guards in the NFL, to Snyder, but familiarity and experience should help the 49ers get by in the short term.
Looking back on three things discussed here before the San Francisco 49ers closed their 2013 preseason schedule with a 41-6 road victory over the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night:

1. Final QB impressions: Starter Colin Kaepernick, backup Colt McCoy and third quarterback B.J. Daniels combined for four touchdown passes without an interception. The group made a positive final impression overall, even though McCoy averaged just 3.7 yards per pass attempt while completing 8 of 15 attempts for 56 yards. Daniels, a seventh-round draft choice, tossed two scoring passes on only nine attempts and added a 36-yard run. He looks like a keeper. Veteran backup Seneca Wallace did not travel to San Diego and doesn't appear to have a future with the team.

2. Injury list: Backup offensive lineman Adam Snyder appeared to suffer a wrist or hand injury. Running back LaMichael James suffered a knee injury. The extent of those injuries was not immediately known.

3. The spectacular: The 49ers' receivers deserve credit for making their quarterbacks look good. Rookie Quinton Patton turned a short pass from Kaepernick into a 43-yard touchdown. Veteran Lavelle Hawkins produced a 45-yard touchdown after breaking a tackle and making defenders miss. He made the grab after the ball bounced off his body high into the air. The 49ers also got spectacular plays from outside linebacker Cam Johnson. Johnson made a strong case for a roster spot. He had two sacks and also blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown.
Retaining quarterback Alex Smith wasn't a realistic option for the San Francisco 49ers. The salary burden would have affected roster management. Smith's unhappiness as a backup could have affected team dynamics. Trading Smith allowed both sides to move forward. It felt like the right thing to do.

The team is set with Colin Kaepernick as its projected long-term starter. All goals appear to remain in reach as long as Kaepernick is healthy and available. But without Smith, there is no clear backup quarterback in San Francisco. It's a big change for a team that has won playoff games with multiple quarterbacks over the past two seasons.

Colt McCoy was the presumed favorite for the job when San Francisco acquired him from Cleveland. Neither McCoy nor Scott Tolzien has made a positive impression through two exhibition games.

Rookie seventh-round choice B.J. Daniels outperformed them against Kansas City on Friday night, completing 6 of 9 passes for 72 yards and a touchdown in his preseason debut. Coach Jim Harbaugh subsequently made it clear Daniels had fought his way into the competition.

"Yes, going into what he did the other night, it was very positive," Harbaugh told reporters Sunday. "And as far as how the reps will go, this week in practice, I plan on it being even with Colt and Scott and B.J. ... When somebody does a good job, you give them a little more."

McCoy has completed 6 of 13 passes for 76 yards and two interceptions in two preseason appearances. The numbers for Tolzien are similarly unconvincing: 18-of-34 for 188 yards, one pick and three sacks.

Harbaugh limited Kaepernick to four snaps against the Chiefs. He said he shortened Kaepernick's night based on feel and was hoping to avoid "anything freakish" happening. The 49ers did juggle their offensive line in the first half, with Adam Snyder getting reps at left tackle. The Chiefs were playing their starters extensively.

The plan is for Kaepernick to play more extensively at home against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The plan for the backups is evolving. McCoy, Tolzien and Daniels have two games to earn the No. 2 role. It's difficult to imagine the team keeping three quarterbacks on its 53-man roster, particularly based on the way each has played to this point.

Eight in the Box: Offseason regret

July, 12, 2013
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NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at the one offseason move each team in the NFC West needed to make, but didn't:

Arizona Cardinals: Pass-rushing outside linebacker is one position where the team could have upgraded more aggressively. Using a fourth-round pick for Alex Okafor addressed the position to some degree. Sam Acho, O'Brien Schofield and Lorenzo Alexander are the other players expected to factor on the outside in 3-4 looks. The Cardinals haven't been hurting for sacks. Their defensive front could generate pressure more directly if the responsibilities for ends Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett evolve as expected. But with inside linebacker and leading 2012 sacker Daryl Washington serving a four-game suspension to open the season, Arizona might need more pass-rush presence from the perimeter.

St. Louis Rams: The Rams appear set on defense except at safety, where Darian Stewart and 2013 third-round choice T.J. McDonald are the projected starters after the team parted with 2012 starters Craig Dahl (signed by San Francisco) and Quintin Mikell (released for salary reasons). Stewart played 83 percent of the defensive snaps in 2011, but his playing time fell to 7 percent last season. McDonald is just getting started. Safety is one position the team could address by adding a veteran as the summer progresses. For now, it's a question mark. We should note, however, that rookie linebacker and first-round pick Alec Ogletree adds considerable range and coverage potential to the defense. He could wind up drawing some coverage responsibilities.

San Francisco 49ers: This roster doesn't have many holes, so we'll have to reach a little. Some thought the 49ers needed to upgrade more at cornerback, but the team thought restoring its front seven would plug some of the leaks that sprung in the secondary late last season. On offense, hindsight says the team could have moved even more aggressively at wide receiver, but there was no way to know Michael Crabtree would suffer a torn Achilles tendon during routine offseason workouts. Even then, San Francisco was proactive by acquiring Anquan Boldin before Crabtree's injury. Swing tackle was one position where the 49ers arguably needed another option. Re-signing Adam Snyder provided some insurance there.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks, like the 49ers, have a roster without many holes. They addressed key needs for a nickel corner (Antoine Winfield) and pass-rush help (Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett). The offensive line is one area where the team arguably could have moved more aggressively. An injury to one of the starting tackles could force guard Paul McQuistan to play out of position while taxing depth on the interior, particularly if 2011 first-round pick James Carpenter doesn't shake significant injury concerns. The Seahawks believe in line coach Tom Cable's ability to make just about any situation work. He's their insurance policy.

Major overhauls at quarterback, running back and in the defensive secondary jump out when analyzing the Arizona Cardinals' roster heading toward the 2013 season.

The chart at right shows which players have left the roster this offseason after playing offensive or defensive snaps for the team in 2012.

Most striking: The Cardinals didn't really "lose" any of the players listed. They decided to move on from most of them for reasons relating to performance, health, salary, age, scheme fit or some combination of those factors.

Teams usually keep the players they really want to keep. That was the case with Arizona this offseason.

So, while the Cardinals' current players account for a division-low 60.9 percent of offensive and defensive snaps played last season, Arizona isn't complaining. The team lost 11 of its 12 final games and the roster had crept up in age. A few of the players logging considerable snaps in 2012 did so only through injuries to others.

The Cardinals have 10 players age 30 or older, down from 14 at this point last year. That includes specialists Jay Feely, Mike Leach and Dave Zastudil. Arizona has seven offensive or defensive players age 30 or older, matching the NFL average, according to my records.

Paris Lenon, Todd Heap, Adrian Wilson, Adam Snyder, Clark Haggans, Jeremy Bridges, D'Anthony Batiste and Vonnie Holliday no longer remain from the 30-plus group on the roster in June 2012. That group averaged about 33 years old at this time last year.

Quarterback Carson Palmer, safety Yeremiah Bell, linebacker Karlos Dansby and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander are 2013 newcomers in their 30s. They average 32.6 years old and there are only four of them. Palmer in particular represents a clear upgrade at his position. That could also be the case for Dansby, although Lenon annually outperformed expectations at inside linebacker.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw is in the news after his coach, John Harbaugh, suggested Upshaw needed to cut weight by improving his diet.

"Courtney eats too much and he doesn't eat all the right foods," Harbaugh said.

Colleague Dan Graziano and I had some fun with the subject in the video above.

Separately, I've put together a chart ranking current NFC West players by heaviest listed weights, according to the teams' websites. Listed weights aren't always accurate. Years ago, I recall seeing a 330-pound defensive tackle listed at 285 pounds in the team's media guide (the player's wishes apparently carried considerable weight -- some 45 pounds -- with the public relations staff).

St. Louis Rams undrafted rookie Terrell Brown made headlines recently for topping 400 pounds. He stands 6-foot-10 and was initially listed at 385 pounds, but coach Jeff Fisher said Brown's actual weight is 403 pounds.

Just missing the cut in the chart: Levi Brown (324), Chilo Rachal (323), Anthony Davis (323), Red Bryant (323), Michael Brockers (322) and James Carpenter (321). Fifty-seven others are listed between 300 and 320 pounds.

All of those players are linemen. Seattle Seahawks tight end Darren Fells (281) is the only non-lineman listed at heavier than 268 pounds.

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