San Francisco 49ers: Delanie walker

Derek Carrier gets his chance

November, 16, 2013
NEW ORLEANS – We will see Sunday if Derek Carrier is ready to be the San Francisco 49ers’ new Swiss Army knife.

The 49ers promoted Carrier from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Third tight end Garrett Celek is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Starter Vernon Davis hasn’t yet been cleared to play against the New Orleans Saints, although he is expected to.

Expect Carrier to play Sunday. The team wouldn’t have promoted him if it weren't planning to play him. It will be Carrier’s NFL debut. He was with Oakland in training camp in 2012 and spent last year on the Eagles’ practice squad.

Carrier was a small-school star at Beloit College. He is highly athletic and he has good hands. Last week, I wrote that the 49ers were hoping he develops into a Delanie Walker-like weapon. Now, he is getting his chance.

Meanwhile, Seattle cut quarterback B.J. Daniels. He was a seventh-round pick of the 49ers, and they cut him earlier this season. If he goes through waivers, perhaps the 49ers will try to have him take Carrier’s spot on the practice squad.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The San Francisco 49ers’ coaching staff loves versatile offensive weapons. The team used Delanie Walker as their “Swiss Army knife” -- the tight end could do a little bit of everything -- but he departed to Tennessee in free agency this offseason. Fullback Bruce Miller has become somewhat of a do-everything player for the 49ers. But they want more like him.

The team claimed rookie Chris Harper off waivers from Seattle with the idea of using him as a Walker-type tight end. But Harper was released last month.

By all accounts, Derek Carrier has come along well on the practice squad. Carrier entered the NFL with Oakland in 2012 as an undrafted free-agent receiver. After he was cut by the Raiders, Carrier spent time on Philadelphia’s practice squad, where the Eagles made him a tight end. Now with the 49ers, he is still a tight end. But he is also doing a lot of different things.

“This is definitely the most different roles and responsibilities I’ve had in [my] time in the NFL,” Carrier said. “The coaches have a lot of different schemes and ideas here, and it’s a lot of fun learning everything. I know this can be a great opportunity for me.”

49ers not excited to face Walker

October, 16, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The San Francisco 49ers will face one of their former offensive weapons Sunday in Tennessee.

All-purpose tight end Delanie Walker left the 49ers for the Tennessee Titans in the offseason as a free agency. He has given the Titans’ offense a similar spark as he did the 49ers. San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh has noticed is not excited about playing against him.

“I’m not happy to see him in a Titans 82 jersey,” Harbaugh said. “He’s really playing well. On a personal level, I miss Delanie. Wish him a long and successful career and have great memories of him when we were teammates. But, I know the competitor he is. I know the player he is. Our challenge, our task in defending him is high.”

In other 49ers’ notes:
  • Titans coach Mike Munchak -- a Hall of Fame offensive lineman -- lauded the recent play of the 49ers’ offensive line. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick said his appreciation for his teammates goes beyond the line of scrimmage. “I think my appreciation for them isn’t just for what they do on game day,” Kaepernick said. “They come in every day. They work their butt off. They’re in there lifting early in the morning. Practice, they’re running around making sure they’re putting in work. So, the end result that comes out on game day is because of the hard work they put in.”
  • Rookie pass-rusher Corey Lemonier has been playing extensively the past three games with Aldon Smith receiving treatment for substance abuse. Lemonier had his best game Sunday against Arizona when he had a sack for a safety and forced a fumble. He said he is not thinking as much as he was earlier in the season and it is helping his game.

Colin Kaepernick keeps us hanging

October, 16, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Colin Kaepernick has been on the injury report at different points of the season with a foot injury. He has shown no signs of discomfort and it hasn’t cost him any practice time. Coach Jim Harbaugh said it hasn’t altered the team’s plans in any way.

Yet, no one would say what the issue is exactly. The quarterback was asked about it Wednesday and he gave this answer: “hang nail.”

Going along with it, a reporter asked what toe? “Pinky,” Kaepernick shot back.

What foot? After a moment, Kaepernick, with a half smile said “both.”

There you go. All solved.

Meanwhile, Kaepernick is entering a three-game stretch against the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers. They are three of the five teams to draft a quarterback in 2011 before the 49ers took Kaepernick in the second round with the No. 36 pick. Kaepernick took a pre-draft visit to Tennessee. He said he thought it went well. The Titans took Jake Locker in the first round instead.

“I definitely haven’t forgotten it,” Kaepernick said matter of factly.

In other 49ers’notes:
  • 49ers’ tight end Vernon Davis did not win the NFC offensive player of the week award despite having eight catches for 180 yards -- tied for the third most yards by an NFL tight end in the past 20 years -- during a 32-20 win over Arizona on Sunday. The award went to Eagles’ backup quarterback Nick Foles, who threw for 296 yards and accounted for four touchdowns in a win over Tampa Bay.
  • Former 49ers’ tight end Delanie Walker, an active member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, gave his thoughts on friend Aldon Smith’s latest issue.
  • CSN Bay Area reported that 49ers guard Alex Boone was fined $7,875 for retaliating against Arizona’s Alameda Ta'amu after Boone was kicked Sunday. Boone told the website he will appeal the fine. Ta'amu was reportedly fined $10,000 for his actions.
  • 49ers’ receiver Anquan Boldin has questions about NFL’s motives for Thursday night games.

Cam Johnson and 49ers' draft planning

September, 2, 2013
The San Francisco 49ers exchanged a 2012 seventh-round pick for 2013 fourth- and 2014 seventh-round picks Monday. That sounds like a pretty good deal and it's typical of the 49ers maximizing value. No one went into the 2013 draft with more picks than the 49ers possessed, and already San Francisco could have as many as 13 selections for next year.

The most recent accounting looks like this: 49ers outside linebacker Cam Johnson, a 2012 seventh-round pick coming off an impressive preseason, goes to the Indianapolis Colts for what is reportedly a 2014 seventh-round pick. Receiver Chris Harper, drafted in the fourth round by the Seattle Seahawks this year, goes to the 49ers' 53-man roster from the Seahawks' practice squad. Trading Johnson to the Colts made room on the 49res' roster for Harper, which is why I included the Harper signing in the equation.

Johnson probably would not have factored on the 46-man roster for games. Harper might not, either. But receiver is a position where the 49ers have long-term question marks. Anquan Boldin is signed for 2013 only. Michael Crabtree remains sidelined by a torn Achilles' tendon. His longer-term contract situation remains unsettled. Mario Manningham may or may not factor longer term.

Harper is intriguing at 6-foot-1 and 234 pounds. He shares height-weight similarities with Boldin and former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker. It will be interesting to see how the 49ers use Harper if he sticks on the roster for the long term.
Parys Haralson and Delanie Walker departed the San Francisco 49ers' roster this offseason after entering the NFL has 2006 draft choices with the team.

Another member of that 49ers draft class, fullback Michael Robinson, was a valued contributor to the division-rival Seattle Seahawks when the team released him Friday with age and salary-cap considerations in mind.

The 2006 class has been good to the 49ers. The team continues to get top-shelf contributions from tight end Vernon Davis, one of the team's two first-round picks from that 2006 class.

Mike Nolan was coach and Scott McCloughan was general manager for the 49ers back then. Some of the personnel moves they made continue to sustain the team. Frank Gore, Tarell Brown, Patrick Willis, Joe Staley, Ray McDonald and Davis remain as players drafted under Nolan. All are valued contributors. Another Nolan-era pick, Adam Snyder, is back with the team as a reserve offensive lineman after spending 2012 with Arizona.

Davis is one of 10 first-round picks from 2006 playing with his original team. The list also includes A.J. Hawk, Haloti Ngata, Chad Greenway, Tamba Hali, Davin Joseph, DeAngelo Williams, Marcedes Lewis, Nick Mangold and Mathias Kiwanuka.
The San Francisco 49ers' Parys Haralson dominated against the Kansas City Chiefs' backups during a preseason game this summer. The veteran outside linebacker could presumably start for some other 3-4 teams as a contributor on early downs, but he was less important to a 49ers team featuring four 2012 Associated Press All-Pro selections, including three first-teamers.

And so the 49ers reached agreement Monday on a trade sending Haralson to the New Orleans Saints, according to reporters who saw Haralson saying goodbye to teammates before practice. The deal, not yet announced by the 49ers and for compensation that has not yet been reported, made sense for New Orleans after the team lost veteran Will Smith to a season-ending knee injury against Houston over the weekend. The Saints are implementing a base 3-4 defense under new coordinator Rob Ryan.

Trading Haralson will save the 49ers $1.3 million in cash and cap space, Brian McIntyre notes. That is more money than the 49ers wanted to pay Haralson as a backup and the same amount Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker O'Brien Schofield was set to earn when his team released him earlier this offseason).

Haralson, 29, started all 16 games in 2011 before suffering a torn triceps tendon during training camp before the 2012 season. He missed the 2012 season. Haralson started between 11 and 16 games for five consecutive seasons after playing sparingly as a rookie fifth-round choice in 2006.

Haralson joins A.J. Jenkins, Delanie Walker, Dashon Goldson, Ricky Jean-Francois, Isaac Sopoaga and Alex Smith as 49ers draft choices to leave the roster this offseason. He became expendable in the team's eyes after San Francisco used a 2013 third-round choice for outside linebacker Corey Lemonier. Aldon Smith, who collected 19.5 sacks last season, replaced Haralson on passing downs in 2011 and would have started in 2012 even if Haralson had been healthy.

Haralson set a career high with eight sacks in 2008. He had two in 2011, when he played 49 percent of the snaps and played primarily at right outside linebacker in base personnel.
A few statistical notes on recently acquired San Francisco 49ers receiver Jon Baldwin:
  • Career stats: Baldwin has 41 receptions for 579 yards (14.1-yard average) and two touchdowns in 26 games over two NFL seasons. He has run 477 pass routes. Quarterbacks have targeted him 100 times.
  • Slot or not: Baldwin has made the vast majority of his receptions lined up wide to the left. He has 28 receptions from there and eight after lining up wide to the right. He has three receptions from the left slot and two from the right slot. The 49ers' Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin have significant receptions from each of those four areas. The chart breaks down Baldwin's production by where he lined up. "WL" is wide left, "SL" is slot left, and so on.
  • Red zone: Baldwin is a big target at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, but he has only one career reception and eight targets inside the red zone. The lone reception was a 3-yarder for a touchdown. Dwayne Bowe (35), Tony Moeaki (16), Dexter McCluster (14) and Jamaal Charles (10) had more red zone targets for the Chiefs over that span. Crabtree (28), Vernon Davis (23), Frank Gore (17) and Delanie Walker (16) have led the 49ers in red zone targets over the past two seasons.
  • Catches by down: Baldwin has a similar number of receptions across first (16), second (10) and third (15) downs. He has more targets on first down (43) than on second (28) or third (27). Not much to choose from there.
  • Outlook: Trading A.J. Jenkins to Kansas City for Baldwin spared the 49ers from making a decision on Jenkins at the mandatory reduction to 53-man rosters. The move should buy a grace period for each player with his new team. Both players will need time to learn their new offenses. It's notable that Kansas City's new leadership gave up on Baldwin so quickly. The 49ers' front office and coaching staff remains largely unchanged since the team drafted Jenkins. San Francisco should have had a better feel for the player it was unloading.