2015 DRAFT GUIDE
49ers guard against becoming 'soft' after big win

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ - AP Sports Writer
    2012-10-03 17:27

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Jim Harbaugh had to go out of his way last season to keep his San Francisco 49ers focused following big wins, even inventing a fictional character to get the message across to players.

Now Freddie P. Soft is back.

Only this time, players are on the lookout.

Coming off a 34-0 victory at the New York Jets, the 49ers (3-1) are taking a more active approach to guard against complacency heading into Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills (2-2) at Candlestick Park. Or, as San Francisco prefers, a 4-inch character who tries to sneak into team headquarters and disrupt preparation.

Harbaugh joked Wednesday that Soft showed up a few weeks ago before practice but ``other people noticed it first.'' He said experience with winning, which is no longer a surprise for a team that went 13-3 and finished a field goal shy of the Super Bowl last year, has taught his players Soft ``might be lurking'' at all times.

``We want to prevent that,'' said safety Donte Whitner, who played for Buffalo from 2006-10. ``Even coming off a win like we did last week, we pretty much erased all that. We understand that coming forward that he'll continue to come in here.''

Maybe no more so than this week.

San Francisco starts a stretch of three straight and five of six games at home against the embarrassed Bills, who make the cross-country trip after giving up 45 second-half points in a 52-28 loss to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Buffalo. The matchup also comes after the 49ers played one of their most complete games of the Harbaugh Era, too.

The dominating defensive performance kept the Jets out of the red zone all day and re-established the 49ers as one of the NFL's elite, erasing memories of that 24-13 loss at Minnesota in Week 3 that is suddenly looking like a blip. If San Francisco wants to stay among the league's best, especially with NFC West rival Arizona winning its first four games, players understand they need to stay focused.

And with a rare warm week bringing temperatures into the mid-90s at the team's Santa Clara headquarters, an already demanding practice schedule has taken on a different tone.

``A lot of guys really don't like Wednesday practice,'' Whitner said. ``You're still sore from the previous game. There's a lot of clutter and information from the previous game we have to get cleaned up. But even on a day like today, we have to make sure we're ready.''

After all, it was last October when Harbaugh first introduced Soft to San Francisco.

Now Fredrick P. Soft, as his full name goes, has multiple handles on Twitter. Players are familiar with the nickname, and even the usually closed-off Harbaugh had a laugh about his novel nemesis, later sitting in a chair during the open locker room period eating a hot dog and talking baseball.

``There was a day, one day, I remember that there was a sighting,'' Harbaugh said of Soft. ``I just noticed like pre-practice before we got out there. He might be lurking.''

Helping the 49ers focus this week is looking at the missed opportunities in New York. And even in such a lopsided victory, there were still noticeable miscues.

Chief among them: the still stagnant passing game.

Alex Smith completed 12 of 21 passes for 143 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. But he only completed 2 of 6 attempts beyond 20 yards, and the deep-threat some thought Randy Moss could be has remained absent.

Meaning once again, Soft could be present.

``You only seem to be as happy as your last game,'' Smith said. ``As a quarterback, it's always, `I could've done better' or `What are the throws I could've made' or `What could I've done differently?'

``The bottom line is getting the win. Obviously, it was a great win. Looking to get better and move on toward the Bills.''

---

Notes: RB Brandon Jacobs could make his season debut Sunday against Buffalo. Jacobs, who has declared himself healthy enough to play, practiced Wednesday with a brace around his left knee. ... LB Patrick Willis was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week. He had 10 tackles, one interception and two passes defensed against the Jets. ``Anytime one of us gets an award, the mindset we have with this team is when we win, we all win,'' Willis said. ``When one person does good, we all do good.''

---

Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

Victor CruzJul 28 02:23p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) is supposedly faster now than he was before he tore his patellar tendon last season, according to teammate CB Prince Amukamara. Amukamara [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 11:53a

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was waived/injured Tuesday, July 28.

Josh FreemanJul 28 10:43a

Free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Dolphins) was re-signed by the Miami Dolphins Tuesday, July 28, according to his agent, Ron Freeman.

Tom BradyJul 28 10:13a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is expected to have his four-game suspension upheld, a source told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. Smith said on 'ESPN First Take' Tuesday, July [ More ]

Chris CooleyJul 27 10:42p

Free-agent TE Chris Cooley (Redskins) is still considering a comeback, although he said Monday, July 27, in a radio interview that he does not anticipate a team signing him [ More ]

Josh McCownJul 27 10:32p

Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown enters training camp as the team's starting signal caller, but head coach Mike Pettine said Monday, July 27, that McCown is not guaranteed of [ More ]

Markus WheatonJul 27 07:12p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton is believed to have performed the best among the wide receivers during offseason workouts.

Brandon LaFellJul 27 05:22p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (foot) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Jadeveon ClowneyJul 27 05:12p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 27.

Kevin BrockJul 27 05:02p

Free-agent TE Kevin Brock (Bengals) signed with the New Orleans Saints Monday, July 27.

Matthew TuckerJul 27 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Matthew Tucker (undisclosed) was waived from the Non-Football Injury list Monday, July 27.

Da'Quan BowersJul 27 04:52p

Free-agent DE Da'Quan Bowers (Buccaneers) signed an undisclosed deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, July 27.

Jonathan MartinJul 27 03:02p

Carolina Panthers OT Jonathan Martin (back) has chosen to retire. Martin will need surgery on his injured back.

Tom BradyJul 27 02:02p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension still has not been announced, and the NFL is now open to talking with the NFL Players Association [ More ]

Doug MartinJul 27 12:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin could be in line for a big, bounce-back year, in the opinion of beat writer Roy Cummings.

Casey MatthewsJul 27 09:12a

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve due to a hip injury Sunday, July 26.

Casey MatthewsJul 26 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) has been placed on injured reserve due to a hip injury that occurred during the team's offseason program.

Blair WalshJul 26 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings PK Blair Walsh signed a four-year contract extension Sunday, July 26, worth $14 million. The deal includes $5.25 million in guaranteed money.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group