Lost Another Legend . . .

Right tackle Keith Fahnhorst, part of the dominant line of the 80s, passed away at 66. He died of complications stemming from multiple sclerosis and kidney issues. This comes eight days after the passing of Dwight Clark. Sad days indeed.  He was part of an offensive line that was built by 3 different GMs and coalesced under Bill Walsh and Bobb McKittrick’s tutelage. His 14 year career spanned the dark days of the early 70s (he was drafted 1974 out of Minnesota), and ended with a neck injury suffered during the 1987 season.

He won 2 Super Bowls, and went to one pro bowl in 1984. Super Bowl XIX. That line of Fahnhorst, RG Randy Cross C Fred Quillan LG John Ayers and LT Dan Audick did a great job of protecting Joe Montana, and the unit was one of the best in the league for many years.

Condolences to Keith’s family and friends.

kf

Fahnhorst clearing a path for Roger Craig

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Meanwhile, Back on the Sunny Side of the Rock . . .

Shit, I don’t know. OTA’s have gone along swimmingly according to the interwebs. No serious injuries or problems yet. According to the scribes that get paid for this shit, Joshua Garnett has gotten himself into shape, and lost 25 lb to better play the zone blocking scheme the Niners are now running, and coach Shanny has nothing but praise for him.  Great. We need all the line help we can get, and having our 1st round pick from 2016 be a contributor would be good, and it would be Baalke’s last hurrah. His last draft has netted 3 guys. Garnett Buckner, and Ronald Blair. Yet another underwhelming draft for him, but I digress as I digest. A few of the OTA standouts include:

  • Richard Sherman, the Draymond Green of football, is providing to be a useful guy even if he isn’t participating in OTA’s. He’s coaching up the young secondary, and is providing his vast knowledge of the game, and the system he came up in (Selah’s), to his charges. Apparently he’s on schedule to play, but that is a long way away from being a reality. And he’s getting as jump on his coaching career.
  • Fred Warner is proving to be a solid addition as he has already taken 1st team snaps at the Mike (Middle linebacker position, making all the defensive calls, and doing it right.  Unlike Flounder, smart, fast, and athletic will get you far in life. Beyond that it looks like Foster will be suspended, so the faster they get Warner up to speed the better.
  • Another guy looking good is Jerick McKinnon. Shanny has stated that he is what they hoped for, and more. based on the practices, they are lining up McKinnon everywhere, including WR plan to get the ball to him any and every way they can.

Hey, it’s early.  These are the doldrums of the football season. Speaking of doldrums, check out Skeebers’ bog. It’ll get you in the mood for the noose. Hyuk!

Hey, the Dubs are poised on winning their 3rd championship in 4 years, the Giants are playing exciting baseball even as their line up is getting waylaid by injuries, and it looks to be a return to meaningful football in the Bay Area. These are good times.

Huzzah!

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RIP, Dwight Clark

In very sad news today, Dwight Clark passed away in Montana at his ranch from ALS at the age of 61. The man who brought to life one of the most iconic moments in all of sports, gone at far too young an age.  His catch literally changed the course of the 49ers, as it ushered the team to their first Super Bowl appearance, and ended an awful day for the Niners as they outgained Dallas 400 to 250 but turned the ball over 6 times.

It erased the frustration of die-hard fans who suffered through the ’70-’71, and ’72 playoff losses to the Cowboys, erased the 59-14 shellacking of the Niners by Dallas the year before. And it started the reign of the Niners as the team of the ’80s.

In his 9 year career, he set many of the 49er receiving records that were soon to be smashed by Jerry Rice.

Receptions: 506
Receiving TDs
‎: ‎48
Receiving yards‎: ‎6,750
Games started‎: ‎97

Not earthshaking numbers, but a solid career that included clutch catch after clutch catch. Saw him play many games at the Stick, including Joe’s coming out party in the greatest comeback game in 1980 where Clark had 6 catches for 155 yards, including a 71 yard TD strike.

I could go on and on re: Clark’s impact on the local and national football scene, and how genuinely nice he was when I bumped into he and Joe at the Hillsdale mall a few months after SB XVI, but he will be terribly missed by 49er fans, and football fans everywhere.

This is the last time I saw him. The Farewell Candlestick flag football game.
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In With the Old, Out With the New . . .

 

In a move that I sincerely like, the 49ers are reconnecting with their storied past. Whether it’s Jed, St. Jim, Denise, Dr. Dork himself, or Baalke’s bastards, the push for the last 10-12 years has been to disavow, if not completely erase, the accomplishments of Eddie D and the teams he developed into five-time Super Bowl champions.

One of John Lynch’s first moves was to re-establish links with the past greats. Jerry Rice has been to plenty of practices, and has even suited up. Steve Young came to camp last year, with Jerry Rice in tow, Charles Haley is a constant visitor. They’ve had numerous tributes and days for Dwight Clark, and just last weekend, Ronnie Lott stopped by to chat with Adrian Colbert and the DBs.

ronnie

All this does for me is it shows the team is starting to get it that building a championship team is a difficult task, and getting help from those that have been there can only help in the process. It hopefully gives the players a sense of the greatness that can be, while reliving the greatness that once was. These players that we all grew to love and respect provide a valuable link to the glory days of the franchise, and can impart their knowledge to these young guys. Guys like Reuben Foster, who can pretty much fall on either side of the fence regarding his immediate and long-term future.

 

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T. O. Part Deux

Word on the street is that Dez Bryant would love to catch passes from one Jimmy Garoppolo. Yeah, wouldn’t that be special? Problem is, at least for the fans, and the more astute players out there who pay attention to this organization, we saw first-hand what a disruptive force a malcontented wide receiver can be. Terrell Owens is was and will be considered one of the most dynamic WRs to play the game. He had the whole package. Size, speed, hands, quickness, toughness, he ran routes well, he blocked well, and he caught 50/50 balls.

The problem was his mouth. When he came up during the dynasty/Jerry Rice era, he was quiet, deferential to a fault, and basically was schooled by Jerry on how to do the job of a pro WR. By the time Jerry left, Owens had established himself as one of the game’s best WRs. We all know the rest. Owens spent the remainder of his career playing spectacularly, talking shit, fighting with coaches, shaking pompoms, signing footballs on the field, eating popcorn through his helmet, and pissing off his QB du jour, including most notably Jeff Garcia, and Donovan McNabb. Great talent, but knuckle-head. Sure, he was a lot of fun at times, but his gay innuendoes around Garcia, and his claim that McNabb was soft pretty much cemented him as a jerk of the highest order. If you can gleefully throw your teammates under the bus, trash your coaches, and generally act like you are the only important guy on the team, who the fuck needs you?

Thing is, at this point in Dez Bryant’s career, he needs us more than we need him. Jimmy G I’m sure would love to have a guy like Bryant on the field. But I’m also sure the front office and the coaching staff do not want a disruptive force in the locker room.  The 49ers are a young team, and are building up their roster through the draft, and smart free agent acquisitions. Adding a mercurial spectre into the mix may cause more problems that it solves. That being said, I don’t think it would be a giant mistake to take him on,  just that it doesn’t make much long-term sense.

Pass.

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Speaking of Reuben . . .

Well well. The cows have come home to roost. Or something. Reuben Foster’s legal troubles are either being pled down (illegal magazine for assault rifle) or being dismissed, as the domestic violence charge just was today. The GF Elissa Ennis said it was an extortion trip that got out of hand. She wanted to sue privately.

The testimony of the people involved with the case said Ennis did not appear distraught or angry and was very calm and ‘not panicking’ when she asked to use someone’s cell phone to call the cops. She also stole some jewelry and $8,000 in cash after she pled her case.  And please, if Reuben Foster really punched her 8-10 times, she’d likely be dead or in a coma.

Anyhow, his gun charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, this is gone. Maybe the pot charge can be pled down to vaping in public.

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Speaking of Scotty . . .

Hell of a game by the Warriors last night as James Harden and Chris Paul resumed their cool on- and off-court relationship to crap their way to 32 points on 33 shots (ouch) and get stomped by 41. But, I digest . . .

Scotty McCloughan was asked recently whether he thought the 49ers took tackle Mick McGlinchey too high in the recent draft. Scotty graded out the 6-8 tackle from Notre Dame as a 1-1 grade — which equals a Top 10 pick in his book — after watching film of his junior year.

His response was:

“I liked him a lot. I liked the size, I liked the length. I liked the toughness. … Everyone’s going to say he’s a right tackle. I think he’s a left tackle through and through. I like his intelligence, his instincts for the position. I liked the angles he would take and the fact that he wanted to finish.”

Scotty now runs his own scouting service after his stints with the Niners, Seahawks and Redskins; building all into playoff, if not Super Bowl, teams. The Browns hired him on a short-term basis this past off-season to work on the Browns draft.

Sure, this and $5.50 gets you a half-caff-sugar-free-vanilla latte, but what the hey? We got a shitload of downtime here till the season starts.

 

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