2014 DRAFT GUIDE
After trio of near misses, 49ers chase Super Bowl

By JANIE McCAULEY - AP Sports Writer
    2014-08-27 12:23

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Three straight seasons of being so close have the 49ers yearning for a Super Bowl championship they believe is right within reach. So now, no more near misses.

Especially after watching the rival Seahawks win it all last season following San Francisco's six-point loss at Seattle in the NFC championship game that could have gone either way.

''It's a new year, this is a rebirth,'' coach Jim Harbaugh said. ''One of the things, we're reborn this year into some very high expectations. We welcome that. My young son, Jack, was born and put some very high expectations on him. Happy to report that he's exceeding them. And we'd like to do the same.''

In the inaugural season at new Levi's Stadium, San Francisco is striving to establish a home-field advantage much like it had during a memorable four-decade run at Candlestick Park.

There's no sugar-coating that this team will be satisfied with anything less than a championship ring.

''No. 1, looking back on it you're always happy to be in a situation to have a chance to compete for a Super Bowl,'' defensive lineman Justin Smith said. ''The mindset is, `We're there.' It's not talking about `Let's get in the playoffs' or `hopefully try to get to the NFC championship game or the Super Bowl.' Our goal is to get to the Super Bowl and win it. You can actually say it, like we've been saying it the last couple years, with a straight face. It's a good feeling to be in that situation.''

Here are some things to watch for with the 49ers:

LEVI'S STADIUM INAUGURAL SEASON: The 49ers certainly hope their preseason debut at Levi's is a far cry from how they will defend their home field in the first year at their sparkling new digs.

It was Denver 34, San Francisco 0, which sent fans for the exits midway through the third quarter Aug. 17. They bounced back to beat San Diego 21-7 last Sunday.

Their first chance in the regular season comes in prime time on Sept. 14 against the Bears.

The stadium is being sodded for a third time in four months in an effort to find the right grass and soil combination that will stay rooted for the long haul. The initial grass put down in April failed to hold and was re-sodded for last Sunday's game against the Chargers.

BIG-MONEY KAEPERNICK: Colin Kaepernick landed that big-money new contract he wanted during the offseason, and now it's time to back it up.

In June, the fourth-year QB received a $126 million, six-year extension through the 2020 season. The deal includes $61 million in guaranteed money.

Kaepernick insists it's not all about the money, and that he has come a long way in ''our players having confidence in me.''

SKINNY PLAYBOOK: Without offering specifics, San Francisco has simplified its typically thick offensive playbook. Whether that will contribute to more efficiency getting the play called in the huddle in time remains to be seen; it was an issue for the offense the past two seasons.

''Generally, we cleaned things up,'' Kaepernick said. ''Looks great to me. Took out a little bit of the indecision in some of things. I think everyone is excited with what we've done and the strides we've made.''

NO BO: Star linebacker NaVorro Bowman tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee during the NFC championship game loss at Seattle and underwent surgery.

''There's no question NaVorro has held down that position, been a big part of our defense being as good as it has been for the past few years,'' Willis said. ''To go without him the first half of the season, he's truly going to be missed.''

The 49ers also could be without Aldon Smith if he receives an NFL suspension for his offseason legal issues.

''We've just all got to step our game up and see what we can do, especially with Bo being out,'' Justin Smith said. ''We feel good about where we're at.''

RECEIVING DEPTH: Kaepernick's talented receiving corps is deeper than ever since he took over as the starter midway through the 2012 season. From Anquan Boldin and a healthy Michael Crabtree, to newcomer Stevie Johnson, returnee Brandon Lloyd, and tight end Vernon Davis, Kaepernick has ample options.

''It does make my job easier. You don't have to worry about matchups as much, necessarily whose running what part of the route,'' Kaepernick said. ''I want to get the ball in their hands and see what they can do with it because I know they're going to be competing just the way everyone else is.''

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jarrett BoykinOct 2 09:23a

Green Bay Packers WR Jarrett Boykin (groin) has a more severe groin injury than originally thought, and he has been ruled out for Week 5. He could also miss [ More ]

Ricky StanziOct 2 03:13a

Free-agent QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Ryan Spadola, and DTs George Uko and Zach Minter all tried out this week for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Steven MeansOct 2 03:03a

The Miami Dolphins worked out free-agent LBs Uani Unga and Paul Hazel, along with DEs Kaelin Burnett and Steven Means.

Brian LeonardOct 2 02:43a

The Tennessee Titans had free-agent FBs Brian Leonard and Chris Pressley in recently for workouts.

R.J. StanfordOct 2 02:43a

Updating a previous item, in an effort to shore up its secondary, the Houston Texans tried out several cornerbacks this week. Included in workouts were free-agent CBs Charles James, [ More ]

Corey LiugetOct 1 11:43p

San Diego Chargers LB Corey Liuget (concussion) suffered a concussion in Week 4 against the Buffalo Bills, but he was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Oct 1 11:23p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) has the confidence of his head coach Tom Coughlin, should the rookie be active in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons. [ More ]

Aaron DobsonOct 1 10:13p

New England Patriots WR Aaron Dobson was inactive for the Week 3 and 4 games because he 'mouthed off' to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, a source said Wednesday, Oct. 1.

David NelsonOct 1 10:03p

New York Jets WR David Nelson (ankle) is expected to miss the Week 5 game against the San Diego Chargers.

T.J. GrahamOct 1 10:03p

New York Jets WRs T.J. Graham, Chris Owusu or Walter Powell are jockeying for the No. 4 receiver job this week behind WRs Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and Greg [ More ]

Tramaine BrockOct 1 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe) is likely out another week. He was able to start on-field rehab work with the team's strength and conditioning staff. He has [ More ]

Vernon DavisOct 1 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (back) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. He said he is experiencing some back spasms, and is listed a 'day to day.'

Justin SmithOct 1 08:43p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), OT Anthony Davis (ankle, knee) and DE Justin Smith (non-injury related) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. FS Antoine Bethea (ankle), DE [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 1 08:23p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion), DE Robert Geathers (toe), DE Margus Hunt (shoulder), OG Mike Pollak (knee), DT Brandon Thompson (knee) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) were unable [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 1 08:23p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) has seen improvement with his foot injury, although he is still not at 100 percent. However, he is able to practice more, and [ More ]

Dave ZastudilOct 1 08:23p

Arizona Cardinals OG Paul Fanaika (knee), LB Alex Okafor (thihg), DE Frostee Rucker (calf) and P Dave Zastudil (groin) were each listed as limited participants for practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Alfonzo DennardOct 1 08:23p

New England Patriots FS Nate Ebner (finger) and OT Cameron Fleming (finger) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB Jamie Collins (thigh), CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), LB [ More ]

Kendall JamesOct 1 07:33p

The Houston Texans signed free-agent CBs Charles James (Giants) and Kendall James (Vikings) to their practice squad Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Shiloh KeoOct 1 07:23p

Chicago Bears LB Terrell Manning and WR Rashad Ross, Houston Texans S Shiloh Keo and Jacksonville Jaguars DBs Deion Belue and Winston Guy cleared waivers and became free agents Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Derek CarrOct 1 07:03p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (ankle, knee) said he expects to play against the San Diego Chargers in Week 6 following the team's bye week.

Dashon GoldsonOct 1 06:43p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Larry English (hamstring), SS Dashon Goldson (ankle), DE Michael Johnson (ankle) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. [ More ]

Carson PalmerOct 1 06:43p

Updating a previous report, Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) isn't being ruled out for Week 5 against the Denver Broncos by head coach Bruce Arians. Arians said Palmer [ More ]

Anthony SpencerOct 1 06:33p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (thigh) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DT Henry Melton (hamstring) and DE Anthony Spencer (knee) were limited, while LB Rolando McClain (groin) practiced in full.

Dez BryantOct 1 06:33p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (shoulder) had his first full practice Wednesday, Oct. 1, since injuring his shoulder in Week 2. He has caught nine passes for 133 yards [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 1 06:23p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (neck), RB Erik Lorig (ankle) and CB Corey White (foot) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. OT Terron Armstead (concussion), [ More ]

Joe ThomasOct 1 06:23p

Cleveland Browns WR Marlon Moore (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Desmond Bryant (gluteus, wrist) and OT Joe Thomas (non-injury) were limited, while LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder) [ More ]

Brandon MarshallOct 1 06:13p

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle) practiced without restrictions Wednesday, Oct. 1, for the first time in a while. 'It was good to get him (Marshall) back out there [ More ]

Roberto GarzaOct 1 06:13p

Chicago Bears LB Lance Briggs (knee), S Ahmad Dixon (hamstring), LB Shea McClellin (hand) and LB D.J. Williams (neck) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Jared Allen (illness), [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 1 06:13p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (knee), TE Virgil Green (concussion), LB Danny Trevathan (knee) and G Louis Vasquez (rib cage) were full participants in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB [ More ]

Terrell SuggsOct 1 05:53p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (illness), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and LB Terrell Suggs (thigh) all did not participate in practice Wednedsay, Oct. 1. CB [ More ]

Tamba HaliOct 1 05:53p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) and S Eric Berry (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB Tamba Hali (knee) and CB Sean Smith (groin) were limited, [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 1 05:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) said he's feeling good, but he has no timetable for when he might return. He wants to make sure he's fully healthy [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group