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October 20, 2010

Local knowledge: San Francisco 49ers

   1020Maiocco     Who better to break down the opponent than the beat writer who covers them every day?

     ComcastSportsNet Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco (left) was good enough to answer five questions about the 49ers, in between watching his beloved Giants (who are actually succeeding on the field):

    1. What's the 49ers record in the East Coast early start games these days, and why (beyond the obvious early wake-up call) does it seem to be such a problem?

1020sigh     Since 1999, the 49ers are 13-54 (.194 win percentage) in games that start at 1 p.m. (ET). They’re 13-13 (.500) in other road games. Since 2003, they are 7-38 (.156) in those early road starts (with four of those wins at St. Louis), and 6-10 (.375) in other road games. The main reason the 49ers have struggled on the road is because they have not been a very good football team. (Go figure.) The 49ers have not had a winning season since 2002. The 49ers won the NFC West that season and advanced in the playoffs with a victory over the New York Giants. Coach Steve Mariucci’s reward was an abrupt firing, as owner John York cited “philosophical differences.”  

   Of course, those games start at 10 a.m. (PT), and the 49ers have seemingly always gotten off to slow starts. Coach Mike Singletary has altered the practice schedule this week. The 49ers are beginning their workouts earlier. In fact, Friday’s final practice will be at 10 a.m. The club will depart Friday afternoon for Charlotte, which is typical when the 49ers play at least two time zones away.

    2. Are Alex Smith's weekly sideline shouting matches (with Mike Singletary, below, and Joe Staley) a sign of concern, or a sign he's on the verge of finally becoming the QB they hoped for when they drafted him?


    It’s a concern because if there is shouting going on between offensive possessions it means things generally are not going well. Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker with the Bears, does not have a deft touch for handling quarterbacks. There was a commotion on the sideline two weeks ago when the 49ers played a Sunday night game against the Eagles. Singletary informed Smith of his benching. But Smith talked his way back into the game before backup QB David Carr could settled in the huddle. The offense went out and played its best of the game. On Sunday against the Raiders, Smith went up to the offensive line in an attempt to get them to settle down. Staley, the left tackle, barked back at Smith. Then, the 49ers scored touchdowns on two of their next three possessions to win the game.

    I don’t think Smith will ever live up to the expectations that come with being the No. 1 overall pick. Right now, his only goal is to avoid bad mistakes stand in the way of the 49ers winning games.

    3. Ownership's optimism aside, is there reason to believe the 49ers can still insert themselves into the division title chase?

    Not from what we’ve seen thus far. Even in the 49ers’ 17-9 victory over the Raiders, the offense did not look very good for most of the game. The defense kept the 49ers in the game, and they were able to stick with the run game and eventually wear down the opposition. The 49ers have not shown any consistency, so it’s difficult to imagine them getting on a roll in which they string together a win streak.

    The biggest reason there was optimism surrounding the 49ers was because everybody assumed it might take eight wins to capture the NFC West. But Arizona (3-2), Seattle (3-2) and St. Louis (3-3) all have better records at this point than anyone could’ve imagined.

    4. Eric Davis: Better cornerback, or better television analyst?

1020ericdavis     My colleague at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area is making a nice transition to a new career. Of course, he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection, first-team All-Pro as a cornerback in 1995, and a Super Bowl champion with the 49ers. Then, he played for the Panthers for five seasons.

    The thing that sets him back as a TV analyst is he looks so darned uncomfortable when he gets his makeup applied before going on the air.

    5. What are you looking forward to more: A weekend in Charlotte, or the week in London that follows?

1020bigben      I’m a little bit anxious about this trip. I know it’s a common language and all, but I just hope there are no misunderstandings or awkward moments because of my unfamiliarity with the accent. But, then, we’ll go on to London, and everything should be just fine. (Rimshot, please.)

    Seriously, folks, I always enjoy the trips to Charlotte. I like the walk from the downtown hotels to the stadium. I usually arrive on a Friday, but I’m flying in Saturday afternoon for this game. Then, I leave Monday for London.  

   So, of course, the only reason I would answer “London” to your question is because I’ll be there for a full week leading up to the 49ers’ international game at Wembley Stadium against the Denver Broncos.

-- Darin  Gantt

Posted by Observer Sports on October 20, 2010 at 10:00 AM | Permalink


I wonder if any of these west coast teams bother to adjust there routines, such as, I don't know, Practice at 10:00 am west coast time when they know they are playing that time equivalent the following Sunday (my guess is they go about their 'routine' and therefore get routinely beat) I know Arizona stayed on the east coast a whole week in the last few seasons, however, I believe they did not adjust the rest of their schedule to prepare their body clocks for the "10 am PST" start.

Posted by: Isaiah | Oct 20, 2010 11:50:31 AM

Isaiah - you must not have read the whole post. The 49er guy said their Friday practice is at 10 AM.

The accent comment - good one!

Posted by: J | Oct 20, 2010 12:20:00 PM


Posted by: Isaiah | Oct 20, 2010 3:16:42 PM

I am the biggest baseball nut of the Giants so i really loved reading your article.I was glad i got my San Francisco Giants Tickets for the up coming baseball game for Giants Stadium.

Posted by: San Francisco Giants Tickets | Oct 22, 2010 1:50:10 PM

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