NFC West: Michael Jordan
Nah. Harbaugh is not one to get in the way of athletic freakiness.
“Did you tell Michael Jordan not to take off from the free-throw line?” Harbaugh said Monday. “I doubt Phil Jackson (Jordan’s coach in Chicago) ever had that conversation. These guys are pro football players. They do what they do. In some cases, they do only what they can do. It’s why we love watching them compete on Sundays.”
Excellent point, coach.
In other 49ers’ notes:
Harbaugh said Monday the film showed star receiver Michael Crabtree played well Sunday in his 2013 debut. He has been out since May with a torn Achilles.
“I thought he did a very good job,” Harbaugh said of Crabtree. “I think he was really into the game, wanted the ball and he got it and made some things happen. So, the big play the big conversion on third down. Did a lot of good things. Competed.”
Harbaugh jokes his father, Jack Harbaugh, gave him grief that the 49ers didn’t run the ball enough at the end of the 23-13 win over the Rams. “I get it from my dad, too,” Harbaugh said.
As AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky notes, people have generally stepped out of physical lines to go online for tickets (the man waiting outside LP Field said he had no credit card).
Going online is the easiest way, but there was some charm to the idea of die-hard fans camping outside for tickets. I can recall waiting overnight with friends outside the old Arco Arena to score an $8 auxiliary bench seat for Dave Corzine, Brad Sellers and the Chicago Bulls back in early 1987, when I was in high school. Michael Jordan also played for that Bulls team (and scored 40 that night).
It's tough to brag about scoring tickets online, but if you've camped out overnight, your credentials as a fan are tough to question.
Odeen Domingo of the Arizona Republic says Larry Fitzgerald's experience with batting practice before a Diamondbacks game made it clear Fitzgerald should stick to football. Fitzgerald: "I'm taking this thing off my list of the things that I was thinking about even trying to do if the [NFL] lockout goes up to the season. ... I struck out about seven, eight times out there. It was embarrassing. . . . This is definitely a gift I don't possess."
Mike Jurecki of XTRA910 radio in Phoenix passes along a video clip confirming Fitzgerald's evaluation as highly accurate. What a shock it must have been for someone as physically gifted as Fitzgerald to flail away helplessly against batting-practice pitches. Michael Jordan took criticism for struggling by professional standards during his baseball career, but Fitzgerald's experience makes Jordan look like a natural. As Fitzgerald noted, however, he hadn't swung a bat in several years.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch updates pre-draft visits to the Rams. Offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore was one of them.
Also from Thomas: Clemson's Jamie Harper was the latest running back to visit the Rams.
More from Thomas: a chat transcript in which he considers how Steven Jackson might react if the Rams selected a running back early in the draft. Thomas: "Jackson is a very proud man, and I think he takes great pride in being the workhorse in the backfield. I'm trying to recall now what Marshall Faulk's reaction was when Jackson was drafted, and I can't recall any strong reaction either way. But by the time Jackson was drafted, Faulk's knees had become an issue and I think Faulk realized he was on short time. I don't think Jackson feels that way at this point in his career."
More yet from Thomas: A fuller look at the Rams' potential interest in drafting a running back. Mark Ingram and Mikel Leshoure are the bigger-name backs to make pre-draft visits to Rams Park. Thomas writes: "What about the rest of the ball carriers who have made their way to Earth City this week: Alex Green of Hawaii, Jamie Harper of Clemson, Stevan Ridley of Louisiana State and Daniel Thomas of Kansas State? Interestingly, all are about the same size -- 5 feet 11 or 6-0 and all in the 225- to 235-pound range. All could be categorized as inside runners who lack breakaway speed. And all are being evaluated as possible backups to the Rams' reigning big back -- three-time Pro Bowler Steven Jackson."
Nick Wagoner of stlouisrams.com says the Rams need help at linebacker next to James Laurinaitis.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers are bringing in Marcell Dareus for a visit even though the defensive lineman isn't expected to be available when the team selects in the first round. Maiocco writes: "In his final two seasons at Alabama, Dareus recorded 20 tackles for loss and 11 sacks while starting all 25 games in which he appeared. He declared for the NFL draft following his junior season. Also, Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller is also scheduled to arrive in the Bay Area this evening and meet with the 49ers, the Sacramento Bee previously reported."
Also from Maiocco: The 49ers need to land an impact player in the first round. Maiocco writes: "If the 49ers select a defensive player -- cornerback or pass-rusher -- with the seventh overall pick, you can go ahead and write his name into the starting lineup. And that player would be expected to supply an immediate upgrade in production from a year ago. But if the 49ers take a quarterback and play him as a rookie, don't expect an improvement behind center."
Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat sends Dareus to the 49ers at No. 7 in his mock draft.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Former 49ers and Seahawks quarterback Trent Dilfer fared best among Tahoe celebrity golfers with NFC West ties.
Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt played in the same threesome with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, holding off Big Ben by a point in the final standings.
I watched long enough to see 49ers legend Jerry Rice drain a birdie putt while playing a star-studded threesome featuring Michael Jordan and Ray Allen. Allen also drained a birdie putt on the hole.
Rice improved by six points over his 2008 showing. Golfers get 10 points for a double-eagle, eight for a hole-in-one, six for an eagle, three for a birdie, one for a par, zero for a bogey and minus-2 points for a double-bogey.
Charles Barkley finished in 88th and last place at minus-97 points.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
No one is calling the Cardinals the worst playoff team in NFL history at this point. One man who did -- NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth -- remains surprised by Arizona's defensive improvement during the postseason.
Collinsworth took part in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. He thought the Cardinals' knowledge of Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers, via Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm, would help them in Super Bowl XLIII. Highlights from Collinsworth:
On the Cardinals: "It's amazing that you can have that kind of transformation in a football team once the playoffs start. I've really only seen it one time and it was the Indianapolis Colts when they won the Super Bowl."
On the Steelers' defense: "They have the opportunity to make Kurt Warner look really bad. If you play against Pittsburgh and Dick LeBeau's defense, they are that good. You can throw five interceptions against them every easily."
On Warner overall: "If you can take the MVP vote at the end of the year instead of at the end of the regular season, he may well be MVP because of what he's done with this football team."On Warner and the Hall of Fame: "I think he just got in. Making it to the Super Bowl with another team that was so totally unexpected. The force of his will carried this team over the top. I thought if he got them to the Super Bowl that would be enough."
On Todd Haley: "The biggest winner out of Arizona's run is Todd Haley. The brush-ups that were captured on TV last week showed not only can he put a game plan together, but that he can also handle himself on the sidelines during tough situations. For him to keep it together and call the plays to march the ball down the field really showed great presence. He has a great pedigree in football, taught by Bill Parcells with a minimalist approach. He's a youthful, energetic guy, and I think he'll be the coach in Kansas City and I think he'll do a good job."
On knowing the Steelers: It is the biggest advantage to come out of this. The Steelers know Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm, but Whisenhunt and Grimm know Roethlisberger and especially Dick LeBeau and his defense. He [LeBeau] creates confusion as well as anybody. He creates the illusion of pressure, even when there's not pressure. He makes guys hurry up. Kurt Warner has his whole history of fumbling, but if he can hang in there and read this defense, then he has a chance."
On Larry Fitzgerald: "He's off the charts with ability to make plays on the ball in the air. I don't know what Larry Fitzgerald's vertical leap is but he looks like Michael Jordan playing out there to me. If it's a tie, you just throw it up in the air and Larry Fitzgerald comes down with it. He just has remarkable hands.
"I can remember the first time I ever saw Jerry Rice play. It was Mississippi Valley State. I happened to be flipping on the cable and I remember watching this kid, he must have caught twenty balls in this game.
"And he just snatched the ball so casually out of the air and I was like, 'Come on it's not that easy.' I have not seen anybody, Cris Carter to some extent, who has been close to what Larry Fitzgerald has been, just so casually catching the football. It's been really fun to watch."