San Francisco 49ers: Marcus Martin

Earlier in the day, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said he was “hopeful” that center Marcus Martin’s knee injury would not keep him from playing Sunday at Seattle.

Turns out Martin’s status was the only update in the Niners’ injury report as the rookie went from not participating on Wednesday to being limited on Thursday.

“He’s very engaged in his preparation, as always,” Roman said of Martin, “and we’ve just got to work with our medical staff on that and make the appropriate decision.”

If Martin cannot go, Joe Looney is likely to start at center, or Dillon Farrell.

And if Martin is out, that would mean the Niners would be starting a third center this year as Martin replaced Daniel Kilgore, who broke his leg at Denver on Oct. 19.

Martin, though, has a fan in Roman.

“I think Marcus, gosh, I don’t want to make this statement and I don’t want to jinx him either, not that I’m superstitious or anything,” Roman said, “but I don’t know if he’s had a mental error.”

Following is the 49ers’ injury report for Thursday:

Did not participate: LB NaVorro Bowman (knee), WR Stevie Johnson (knee), DE Justin Smith (back), S Raymond Vetrone (groin)

Limited participation: CB Tramaine Brock (hamstring), CB Chris Culliver (knee), RT Anthony Davis (concussion), DT Glenn Dorsey (forearm), LG Mike Iupati (elbow), C Marcus Martin (knee), DE Ray McDonald (finger)

Prediction: Saints will beat 49ers

November, 7, 2014
The San Francisco 49ers are at a crossroads and, riding a two-game losing streak, trending downward. The New Orleans Saints, like the 49ers, are 4-4 but riding a two-game winning streak and have won 11 straight games at home.

The Niners are probably without two more linebackers in Patrick Willis, who has missed the past two games with an injured big toe on his left foot, and Dan Skuta, who has been starting in place of the suspended Aldon Smith but sprained an ankle last week. The Saints, meanwhile, will be playing with 10 day’s rest.

Sounds like it has all the makings of a blowout, right? Well ...

The Niners do have pride, though that might not account for much in the Big Easy. Not when rookie center Marcus Martin told reporters this week he has never played inside a dome and the offensive line has surrendered 14 sacks of Colin Kaepernick over the past two games, including a career-high eight to the St. Louis Rams in the friendly confines of Levi’s Stadium last weekend.

So with the Saints’ sack-happy duo of Junior Galette (six sacks) and Cameron Jordan (four) hoping to wreak havoc on a unit that is giving up sacks on 8.6 percent of its dropbacks, it could be another long day for Kaepernick.

Unless, of course, Kaepernick is able to break off some long runs and keep the Saints, who have 12 sacks in their last 13 quarters, honest, as Cam Newton did last week.

“Playing in the Dome,” Kapernick said, “is always harder.”


Saints 31, 49ers 27
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Playing center is more than just hiking the ball to the quarterback and trying to ward off nose tackles with angry intentions. Sure, that’s the public part of the gig, but there’s much more to it.

And for San Francisco 49ers rookie Marcus Martin, who will be making his NFL regular-season debut Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, a big part of that is getting in sync with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“Just understanding the things that he likes to do, the things that he will do in order to make a play go,” Martin said. “Just having an overall comprehension of his scheme and his system and what he feels is best in that play.

“I just sit back and take notes and put in my own twist on things as far as making it relateable to me because I’m trying to fill on for someone who is a tremendous center.”

Daniel Kilgore went down for the season with a broken left ankle at Denver on Oct. 19, which ushered in the Martin era, even as Martin suffered what he called an “acute” dislocation of his left knee in the Niners’ third exhibition game.

Kaepernick said he expects Martin to “perform well” against the Rams.

“He’s someone that we’ve worked with, we’ve had work with and he’s been on top of things in meetings,” Kaepernick said. “So, looking forward to seeing what he does.

“We tell him we’re changing the protection and he changes it.”

Martin said he has spent his time on the sidelines taking every mental rep possible, identifying fronts on the field to get him as ready as he can be when his name is called.

“Playing center is all about being able to direct traffic,” he said, “and understanding things that are being thrown at you.”
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Rookie Marcus Martin last played a snap for the San Francisco 49ers in the team’s third exhibition game, on Aug. 24.

That’s when the third-round draft pick out of USC suffered a left knee injury against the San Diego Chargers that has kept home sidelined.

Until now.

With starting center Daniel Kilgore's season ending in the Niners’ 42-17 loss at the Denver Broncos on Oct. 19 with a broken left ankle, Martin is now healthy enough to assume the gig.

Martin took to Twitter in the wake of that blowout loss to vent, and it seemed as though he could have been talking about himself, as well as for the team.

Yes, he will get first crack at claiming the job, again, even though he has not faced a member of another team in more than two months.

Still, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is intrigued to see what Martin can bring to an offensive line that has been in constant flux all season. After all, the projected starting offensive line of LT Joe Staley, LG Mike Iupati, C Kilgore, RG Alex Boone and RT Anthony Davis has played all of one-plus quarter together this season.

“I think he's a very bright guy," Harbaugh said of Martin. "He's very mature. He's champing at the bit to play and he's shown that through the anxiousness to get back on the field and (with his) study habits. So, it's been good.

"I'm excited for him to compete.”

Martin, who does not turn 21 until Nov. 29, will have a crash course this week before the Niners play host to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

"He was impressive," in Monday's practice, Harbaugh said. "Feel good about what he's done leading up to now, the position he's put himself in. As we've talked about before, he's been very good in the classroom and he's able to carry that onto the field. Good. Look forward to more practices."
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers released their first injury report of the 2014 season on Wednesday and receiver Michael Crabtree, who missed more than two weeks of training camp with a hamstring issue, was the big name on it with a calf injury.

Rookie backup center Marcus Martin (knee) and right tackle Anthony Davis (hamstring) also sat out practice.

Martin suffered his injury in the 49ers’ third exhibition game, against the San Diego Chargers, and is expected to be out at least six weeks. Davis, meanwhile, is still rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery -- he did not play in an exhibition game -- but the hamstring is a new development.

Examining the San Francisco 49ers' roster:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


This group is set and it's excellent.
Now that the offseason portion of the year is over, let's take a look where each of the San Francisco 49ers' 12 draft picks stand heading into training camp, which starts July 24.

First round

Jimmie Ward: The nickel cornerback has been recovering from a foot injury. But he is expected to be fine once camp starts. He has been doing classroom work and the team is excited about him helping right away.

Second round

Carlos Hyde: The running back has shined out of the backfield as a runner and as receiver. The Ohio State product is likely to get a chance at playing time right away. He was considered a steal at No. 57 on draft night and is still looking like one.

Third round

Marcus Martin: The center from USC has been getting praise. Daniel Kilgore still has the edge to win the starting job, but I wouldn't be shocked if Martin takes it.

Chris Borland: The inside linebacker from Wisconsin was a tackling machine in college. The early 49ers' reviews are strong. He could get some playing time early with NaVorro Bowman recovering from a torn ACL.

Brandon Thomas: The guard from Clemson is expected to be out for the year as he recovers from an offseason knee injury.

Fourth round

Bruce Ellington: The speedy receiver from South Carolina was a star of the offseason. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick called his minicamp play “amazing.” The 49ers will likely find a role for him as a receiver and as a punt returner early.

Dontae Johnson: The cornerback from NC State will likely make the roster as depth. He is still a project.

Fifth round

Aaron Lynch: He earned the praise last week of coach Jim Harbaugh. He's a project, but the 49ers like him. He should make a stacked linebacking unit.

Keith Reaser: The cornerback is likely out for the year as he recovers from a 2013 torn ACL.

Sixth round

Ken Acker: The cornerback will have to have a strong camp to make the team.

Seventh round

Kaleb Ramsey: The defensive lineman from Boston College had a terrific minicamp. The defensive line is stacked, but if he plays well, he could sneak on the 53-man roster.

Trey Millard: The fullback is likely out for the year as he recovers from a torn ACL.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Prior to the San Francisco 49ers' first mandatory minicamp practice, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said he was looking for sharp workouts.

The 49ers didn't exactly deliver.

There were plenty of drops in a mostly mundane workout. However, I wouldn't exactly say it's cause for alarm. It's June and a lot of players were held out or limited. This is not high-intensity times.

It's a time to continue to work on rhythm before the team takes a month break before starting training camp.

The 49ers worked a lot of red zone offense Tuesday. They often stalled in the red zone last season, settling for field goals.

Roman said Tuesday he hopes to see an evolved offense in 2014. With a more experienced Colin Kaepernick, deeper receiving core and rookie running back Carlos Hyde, Roman likes the potential changes.

"I think it's fair to make the statement that it's a different offense, 2014. Because we've got some new guys in," Roman said. "I think it's definitely evolved from (from when he arrived to San Francisco with coach Jim Harbaugh in 2011) and it'll probably change a little bit this year."

In other camp notes:
  • Hyde and rookie receiver Bruce Ellington each had their moments Tuesday. Roman praised Hyde for his football knowledge. "Carlos, since he got here from the draft, really impressed me as a guy that football just makes sense to him," Roman said. "If you could just tell him what to do, and you don't have to tell him too much. And that's a beautiful thing in a running back because they have a lot of adjustments to make and protection, etc."
  • Several veterans such as running back Frank Gore and Justin Smith sat out practices as they did in the voluntary practices. It's just saving older players wear-and-tear. Receivers Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson didn't work in team drills as the team is being cautious.
  • Receiver Brandon Lloyd continued to make some nice catches as he continues to make a push to make the 53-man roster.
  • Roman was complimentary of young tight ends Vance McDonald and Derek Carrier as they get time with Vernon Davis holding out. McDonald is set to get the most time if Davis stays away. The 2013 second-round pick had some drops Tuesday, which was a problem in his rookie season.
  • Fifth-round pick Aaron Lynch, who will be a pass-rusher, didn't practice because of a hamstring injury. Seventh-round pick Kaleb Ramsey at defensive tackle looked solid. He will be interesting to watch in training camp and in the preseason.
  • Harbaugh maintained that he thinks Gore can play three more years. He is 31 and entering the final year of his contract.
  • Blaine Gabbert has the edge to be to Kaepernick's backup. Harbaugh heaped praise on him. "Very impressed with Blaine mentally, physically -- all attributes that you'd like to see in a quarterback. He's been very good, very solid. (He's) picked up everything very quickly. It's going well. Everything is progressing well. I think you'll watch it when you have a chance to see it today and look at it for yourself. In my eye, it looks very good."
  • Harbaugh said he is optimistic right tackle Anthony Davis will be ready for the start of training camp. He had shoulder surgery in April.
  • Running back Marcus Lattimore looked good and he is working full-go. He missed all of last season as he recovered from a torn ACL he suffered at South Carolina in 2012.
  • In a hint third-round pick Marcus Martin could push Daniel Kilgore for the starting center job, Roman heaped high praise on the rookie. "I think Marcus has done a really good job coming in as a rookie. The center position, there's so much that a center has to do in this league week-to-week," Roman said. "There's just so many different adjustments and whatnot. He's done a really good job so far against our defense, not only physically, but mentally as well."
  • Roman said he is happy with the play of Joe Looney at right guard. He is working with the starters with Alex Boone holding out.
The San Francisco 49ers will have their mandatory minicamp from Tuesday-Thursday. Here’s some things to watch for:

Will Davis and Boone show? Both tight end Vernon Davis and guard Alex Boone have stayed away from the voluntary portion of the offseason. That’s over. Starting Tuesday, everything the 49ers do as a team is mandatory and each player can be fined if they aren’t present. Davis said he expects to be at the minicamp. Boone has not said a word publicly about his plans. However, I’ve gotten the sense Boone is prepared not to show up until he gets a new deal. If neither player is at practice Tuesday, they will be holdouts and the stakes will change with their absences.

The cornerbacks: This is the biggest position of change. Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown are gone. Chris Culliver will start, but he is still working back from a torn ACL that kept him out all of last season. He should be fine for camp, but don’t expect him to go full-go in this camp. First-round pick Jimmie Ward is set to be the nickelback, but he is coming off a foot injury. He should be ready for training camp. A player of note in the minicamp is free-agent pickup Chris Cook. He will be in the rotation. Cook, who signed from Minnesota, has ideal size. He has looked good in the OTA sessions.

Offensive line: This unit, the pride and joy of the 49ers, should be fine in the long run, but it’s a little rough right now. Boone has been absent. Right tackle Anthony Davis is recovering from a shoulder injury and won’t be there until camp. Daniel Kilgore is taking over from Jonathan Goodwin and trying to hold off rookie Marcus Martin at center. Again, things will settle down, but don’t expect a well-oiled unit this week.

Passing game: Most of the receivers have been out during the voluntary sessions, mostly as precautions or for minor injuries. The passing game was rough in the OTA session that was open to the media last Tuesday. I’d expect to see more receivers during this camp, which is vital to help rhythm with quarterback Colin Kaepernick heading into training camp.

Inside linebackers: NaVorro Bowman is expected to be out until midseason as he recovers from a torn ACL. Michael Wilhoite has the inside shot to start for Bowman, but he will have to hold off Nick Moody and third-round pick Chris Borland.

Pass-rushers: Aldon Smith may face an NFL suspension. The 49ers need some extra pass-rush help. Keys to watch in camp is defensive lineman Tank Carradine, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and second-year player Corey Lemonier, who looks like he’s added several pounds of muscle. The 49ers would love to see these two young players show a burst in this camp.

Marcus Lattimore: The 49ers are slowly bringing along the 2013 fourth-round draft pick. He has done some things in the OTA session, including showing nice hands out of the backfield. I wouldn’t expect Lattimore to go full-go in this camp, but the 49ers want to see continued comfort, speed and confidence from Lattimore, whom they hope can help this season.
The San Francisco 49ers no longer have any remaining free agents.

ESPN NFL Nation reporter Mike Triplett reported that the New Orleans Saints have agreed to terms with center Jonathan Goodwin. Goodwin was the last of the 49ers' free agents. The 49ers had no interest in bringing back Goodwin, who started every game for the 49ers the past three years.

The team signed backup Daniel Kilgore to a three-year extension this offseason and drafted USC’s Marcus Martin in the third round. They will compete for the starting job in training camp with Kilgore getting the first crack and Martin considered the long-term favorite.

Goodwin, 35, played for the Saints from 2006-10 before spending three seasons with the 49ers. Goodwin was steady on the field and popular in the locker room. But the 49ers felt like his play was starting to slip in his advanced age.

Marcus Martin signs with 49ers

May, 29, 2014
Third-round pick, center Marcus Martin, signed a four-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers Thursday.

Martin (6-foot-3, 321 pounds) could get time at center or guard. He is the last of the 12 49ers draft picks to sign.

Martin played 38 games, starting 33, for USC.
We are looking at best-case scenarios for mid-round draft picks of the San Francisco 49ers.

Player: Marcus Martin

Position: C

Round: 3

Earliest he could have big role: Week 1.

Why is there an opportunity? Jonathan Goodwin, who started the past three years, was not brought back in free agency.

Who is in his way? Daniel Kilgore. The 49ers like him. They gave him an extension this offseason and think he is capable of starting.

Current thoughts: The edge goes to Kilgore. But if Martin can quickly adjust to the NFL and he has a strong preseason, and Kilgore struggles, I can see the 49ers going to Martin early. I expect him to become the full-time center at some point barring a big struggle.
Weekend mail call:

Yosh from Cypress, California, wants to know if I think the San Francisco 49ers’ brass regrets not moving up and taking Colin Kaepernick in the 2011 draft so they could give him a 2015 option.

Bill Williamson: Certainly, right now, the 49ers would rather they took Kaepernick in the first round. But I think it is unrealistic to think that way in the draft. You are looking for value at the moment. The 49ers took Kaepernick with the No. 36 overall pick. It was the fourth pick of the second round. It was a great value then. I think that’s still how you have to look at it.

Mikey from San Jose wants to know if I think Chris Culliver will start at cornerback.

BW: It appears that way. The 49ers really like him on the field. Yes, there are off-field concerns, but the 49ers are looking at him as a starter. If he plays well and he stays clean off the field, he could get a contract extension before next season.

Derek from San Francisco wants to know if I think third-round pick Marcus Martin could start right away.

BW: I think he has a shot. It might not be right away, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Martin overtook Daniel Kilgore at some point during the season. Kilgore is a nice player, but he is not proven as a starter. Martin has big skills. If he looks good in camp, I could see him getting a chance early. There is no doubt he is the long-term answer.
The top of the San Francisco 49ers' draft class has caught the imagination of fans.

In our poll this week, we asked readers to vote on which recently drafted 49er they were most looking forward to seeing play. Predictably, the winner was first-round pick Jimmie Ward who will play nickel cornerback. As of 1:15 p.m. ET Thursday, he received 38 percent of the vote. Trailing right behind him at 37 percent was running back Carlos Hyde. The Ohio State product was taken in the second round.

Receiver Bruce Ellington, a fourth-rounder, received 19 percent of the vote. Inside linebacker Chris Borland received four percent and center Marcus Martin received two percent.

I would have voted for Hyde. He can have a big role on a team that relies on the ground game. All of these players have a chance to make an impact right away, but Hyde could really boost the 49ers’ offense.

Thanks to everyone who voted.

Which of these 49ers draft choices are you most looking forward to seeing in 2014?


Discuss (Total votes: 4,204)

With the NFL draft in the books, which San Francisco 49ers' pick are you most excited about seeing in 2014?

Please register your vote in the poll. We will review the results Thursday.