San Francisco 49ers: Andy Lee

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.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- One of the biggest training camp surprises last year was when rookie Kevin McDermott beat out Brian Jennings for long-snapping job.

Jennings was with the 49ers for 14 years and was a fan favorite.

Many were shocked McDermott, a UCLA product, beat out Jennings, who was famous for his consistency.

Yet, the rookie went out and had a flawless first NFL season. Any worry about the kid whiffing on snaps, quickly dissipated. He showed the same consistency that the venerable Jennings did.

Now that he is entering his second season, McDermott is hoping to become even better.

"There are bigger expectations now, because I've done it all once," McDermott said. "I just have to go and get better and better."

McDermott said he never worried about the pressure of replacing the longest tenured player on the team. He said he couldn't think about that. His only goal was to prove the 49ers right.

As he did last season, McDermott praised veteran kicker Phil Dawson and Andy Lee.

"They are unbelievable," McDermott said. "Without them, I could have had the success I had last year."

49ers rankings: 21-25

February, 12, 2014
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We are taking a look at the top 60 players in the San Francisco 49ers’ program and will rank them from 1-60. We are going to take a look in a 12-part series, moving upward. The ranking considerations are based on 2013 production, future projections, age, and contract status:

21. Cornerback Tarell Brown: He is a solid cornerback who has helped this team. He is a free agent who is expected to test the market, but I wouldn’t be shocked if the 49ers brought him back.

22. Punter Andy Lee: He is one of the best, most reliable punters in NFL history. A vital part of the 49ers’ defensive attack.

23. Kicker Phil Dawson: He had a brilliant first year with the 49ers. He saved many games. He is a free agent. The 49ers want him back and I expect him to return.

24. Tight end Vance McDonald: The rookie made strides as the season went on. He finished the season a fine blocker. He needs to work on his receiving game, but I expect him to be a big part of the offense moving forward.

25. Defensive lineman Tank Carradine: This is all projection. The second-round pick didn’t play because he was recovering from a torn ACL. But I expect him to get a chance to be in the rotation immediately.
The celebration of Ray Guy's election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday extended beyond Guy and the Oakland Raiders.

It’s a victory for all punters.

Lee
“It was a proud day to be a punter,” said San Francisco 49ers punter Andy Lee on Tuesday. “If it gives us an inch more of respect, it’s a great thing. It’s a great thing for our position.”

Guy, who punted for the Raiders from 1973-86, is the first player who primarily was a punter to gain election into the Hall of Fame. For Lee, who has been a star punter for the 49ers for the past 10 seasons, it’s important to see a punter get this type of recognition.

“I know some people don’t consider us football players, and I understand their points, but I think we are an important part of the game,” Lee said. “This kind of puts punters on the map.”

Guy’s election is also special for Lee because they have known each other for several years. They first met when Lee was a college freshman at Pittsburgh when he attended Guy’s punting camp. Lee later worked at the camp. He sent Guy a text to express his congratulations as soon as he heard the news Saturday.

Lee said he never talked to guy about his candidacy, but said the lack of punters in the Hall of Fame was often a topic among the specialists on the 49ers.

“He is a mentor and a friend,” Lee said. “It’s great to see him break this barrier.”
The San Francisco 49ers had eight players named to the Pro Bowl on Friday night.

Who made it: LB Ahmad Brooks, LB NaVorro Bowman, tight end Vernon Davis, RB Frank Gore, G Mike Iupati, DL Justin Smith, LT Joe Staley, LB Patrick Willis.

My thoughts: The 49ers’ eight Pro Bowl selections is tied for the league high. The name that stands out is Brooks, who is having a great year. But he may be overshadowed by Bowman and Willis. It was good to see Brooks get the recognition he deserves. Iupati’s selection is a bit surprising considering he missed four games with a knee sprain, but he has played well when on the field.

Snubbed: Receiver Anquan Boldin, guard Alex Boone, punter Andy Lee, safeties Donte Whitner and Eric Reid and special teamer CJ Spillman were selected as alternates. They all easily could have made it. I think the biggest snubs are Boone, Dawson and Whitner. All three had huge seasons.

Click here for the complete Pro Bowl roster.

49ers' Pro Bowl primer

December, 27, 2013
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The NFL will announce the Pro Bowl on Friday night. Here is a look at some of the 49ers who have a chance to be selected:

Running back Frank Gore. Why: His 1,114 yards are the seventh most in the NFL. Gore has had some huge runs this season at the age of 30.

Tight end Vernon Davis. Why: Davis has 12 touchdowns this season and the 49ers’ offense would be lost without him.

Receiver Anquan Boldin. Why: He has 76 catches for 1,030 yards. At 33, he’s having his best season since 2009.

Tackle Joe Staley. Why: Simply one of the best players at his position.

Guard Alex Boone. Why: Versatile player key in run game.

Defensive lineman Justin Smith. Why: Smith is his usual disruptive self at the age of 34.

Linebacker NaVorro Bowman. Why: He should be a shoo-in. He's a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

Linebacker Patrick Willis. Why: Fought through injuries, playing at high level.

Linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Why: Quietly having monster season.

Safety Eric Reid. Why: First-round pick plays like a polished pro.

Safety Donte Whitner. Why: Big hitter plays smart.

Kicker Phil Dawson. Why: He has made 26 straight field-goal attempts.

Punter Andy Lee. Why: Having another great season.

Special teamer C.J. Spillman. Why: Tackle machine high on fan vote.
Here is a look at the latest fan portion of the Pro Bowl vote as it pertains to the San Francisco 49ers. The fan vote makes up a third of the process along with players and coaches. The Pro Bowl teams will be announced later this month.

The following is a look at the San Francisco players who are currently in the top 10 of the fan vote.

Running back

Eighth place: Frank Gore

Fullback

Sixth place: Bruce Miller

Tight end

Third place: Vernon Davis

Center

Seventh place: Jonathan Goodwin

Guard

Eighth place: Alex Boone

Tackle

Second place: Joe Staley

10th place: Anthony Davis

Defensive tackle

Eighth place: Justin Smith

Inside linebacker

Fourth place: NaVorro Bowman

Fifth place: Patrick Willis

Strong safety

Eighth place: Donte Whitner

Free safety

Third place: Eric Reid

Punter

Third place: Andy Lee

Special teamer

First place: C.J. Spillman

49ers' Pro Bowl voting update

December, 5, 2013
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Here is a look at the latest fan portion of the Pro Bowl vote as it pertains to the San Francisco 49ers. The fan vote makes up a third of the process along with players and coaches votes. The Pro Bowl teams will be announced later this month.

The following is a look at the San Francisco players who are currently in the top 10 of the fan vote.

Running back

Eighth place: Frank Gore

Fullback

Sixth place: Bruce Miller

Tight end

Third place: Vernon Davis

Center

Seventh place: Jonathan Goodwin

Guard

Eighth place: Alex Boone

Tackle

Second place: Joe Staley

10th place: Anthony Davis

Defensive tackle

Eighth place: Justin Smith

Inside linebacker

Third place: NaVorro Bowman

Fifth place: Patrick Willis

Strong safety

Eighth place: Donte Whitner

Free safety

Third place: Eric Reid

Punter

Second place: Andy Lee

Special teamer

Second place: C.J. Spillman
Smith
In an Insider piece, Pro Football Focus Insider ranks San Francisco 49ers’ defensive lineman Justin Smith as the second best player in the NFL who is 34 or older. Smith, who turned 34 in September, is ranked only behind Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.

Smith is having another big season. His statistics may not show it, but Smith is disruptive on every play. He causes chaos for the offensive line. I think he still has a couple of seasons left as he is showing he is still a huge factor on a dominant defense.

In other 49ers’ notes:

• As he often is, 49ers punter Andy Lee was an honorable mention ESPN.com Punter of the Week. Continuing a tremendous season, Lee punted four times Sunday against St. Louis and pinned the Rams on their own 3 and own 8 in the final seven minutes of the fourth quarter. St. Louis star returner Tavon Austin was able to return just one punt.

• According to ESPN Stats & Information, tight end Vernon Davis joined former receivers Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens as the only 49ers with multiple seasons of 10-plus receiving touchdowns in the past 40 years.

• The 49ers are currently on pace to have the 26th pick in the first round of the May draft. Click here for the full 2014 draft order through Week 13.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – This is one of the few times I've typed Kevin McDermott's name in his rookie season.

That means he’s been perfect.

McDermott
NFL teams have a credo for long-snappers: Don’t get your name in print; if you do, it usually means you've messed up. As long as the long-snapper snaps well, he usually goes unnoticed. Just as teams want.

But the fact that McDermott has been so good is noteworthy. His battle with venerable and popular snapper Brian Jennings was a major storyline during camp, and it came as a shock to many when the San Francisco 49ers released Jennings in favor of the rookie from UCLA. Jennings was steady as a rock and was the team's elder statesman, having been with the 49ers for 13 years.

But McDermott’s youth, cheaper price tag and potential won out. So far, so good.

“He’s done well,” coach Jim Harbaugh said of McDermott. “That there aren’t weekly questions about Kevin McDermott and his snapping, that’s a real positive. When the snapper’s not, when you’re not talking about the snapper, then he’s doing well. And he has done well. Been a lot of pressure snaps and done a real fine job, and it’s good to point that out.”

McDermott said his battle with Jennings was “surreal” because Jennings was the longest-tenured player on the team and he knew there were a lot of eyes on him. McDermott credits veteran kicker Phil Dawson and punter Andy Lee for guiding him through his rookie season.

“It’s been great,” McDermott said. “As the snapper, you just want to go out and do your job and stay quiet, and it’s been really good so far.”

Sounds like a veteran snapper.

49ers are staying the course

November, 20, 2013
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers reconvened Wednesday as they try to shake off the sting of two straight losses (by a total of four points) and try to regain playoff momentum Monday night at the Washington Redskins.

After listening to veteran players, running back Frank Gore and cornerback Carlos Rogers, I get the sense that the team is not splintering.

Gore blamed himself for the loss 23-20 loss at New Orleans. The running back dropped a ball that would have likely been a big gain late in the game.

"I point at myself with the pass. I should have made that catch," Gore said. "We wouldn't be talking about this right now."

Rogers said the defense is not pointing fingers at the offense, which has sputtered during the short losing skid. The unit played well enough to win against both the Panthers (in a 10-9 home loss) and at New Orleans.

"When you're on the sideline, of course there's frustration," Rogers said. "You're sitting back and asking what's going on, move the ball, put some points on the board, especially if you're playing good defense. But once we get back on the field, it's, 'Man, let's get the ball back for the offense and find a way to get a turnover.' "

Perhaps it's a comfort to the team that they ripped off a five-game winning streak after dropping back-to-back games in Weeks 2 and 3.

In other 49ers notes:

49ers punter Andy Lee was an honorable-mention ESPN.com Punter of the Week. He had netted 48.7 yards on seven punts at New Orleans. The only positive yardage the Saints got on the punts was a 15-yard penalty on Kassim Osgood that setup a game-winning field goal as time expired.

The temperature is expected to be in the low 30s for Monday night's game at Washington.

Here is a look at where some 49ers stand in Pro Bowl voting.

As expected, the 49ers are allowing injured rookies Marcus Lattimore and offensive tackle Luke Marquardt to practice for the next three weeks. Both are not expected play until next season.
LONDON – San Francisco 49ers punter Andy Lee was named the NFC special teams player of the week for his precision work in a win at Tennessee on Sunday. Lee pinned Tennessee's offense inside its own 20-yard line on three of his six punts.

Lee
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he thinks the team got back to a normal routine Wednesday after arriving in London on Monday. He said the start of practice Wednesday made it feel like a normal week again.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said the team celebrated the birthdays of special-teamer Bubba Ventrone (“He’s the youngest-looking 31-year-old I think I’ve ever come across”) and running back LaMichael James this week.

Kaepernick again touted running back Frank Gore as a future Hall of Famer.

"Frank, like I’ve always said, he does everything for us," Kaepernick said. "If we ask him to do something, he’s going to do it. If we need him to adjust to something, he’s going to do it. He’s somebody that handles that very well, as well as our downhill run game. I think he’s a Hall of Fame running back not because he can just handle run schemes, but he’s probably the best pass-blocker in the league at running back. And also he’s a threat out of the backfield. So, he’s a running back that can really do it all."

Speaking of 49ers Hall of Famers, Joe Montana is in London this week for the festivities leading up to the game. Kaepernick said he has met Montana in the past and relished their time together.

“He was a very kind person, had a lot of good words for me,” Kaepernick said. “So it was something that I really took to heart when he was talking to me.”

A nod to Andy Lee

October, 1, 2013
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Information gives rare weekly kudos to an overlooked standout -- the punter.

The Week 4 honor goes to Cincinnati's Kevin Huber. However, San Francisco's outstanding Andy Lee led Simon's list of honorable mention punters for the week.

Here is what Simon had to say about Lee's performance in the 35-11 win at St. Louis:


Putting Andy Lee in a dome is almost unfair. Lee had seven punts against the Rams last Thursday, five of which he boomed more than 50 yards. His 54.7 yard gross average was the best he's had in any of the 46 regular-season games in which he's punted at least seven times.


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