Oakland Raiders podcast with Joe Hawkes Beamon: Raiders have had their share of players with drama; Brown once tried to sneak in painted helmet; plus more

Photo credit: thetakeout.com

On the Raiders podcast with Joe Hawkes:

#1 The Raiders have a history of players that have had misfit issues or just wouldn’t play or couldn’t perform such as Randy Moss, JaMarcus Russell, Khalil Mack, and Aldon Smith. How would Antonio Brown match up with the best of those players?

#2 With Brown almost holding out because of his helmet issue now settled, does that still stain the team does that serve as a disruption?

#3 Brown tried to sneak his helmet into practice and had it painted silver and black it had to be a first for a counterfeit helmet.

#4 Brown’s story was a rough upbringing. When Brown was 16, his step father kicked him out of the house and Brown was a walk-on at Central Michigan and ended up getting drafted in the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

#5 The Raiders back up quarterback Mike Glennon in Thursday’s preseason game in Glendale against the Arizona Cardinals had a productive game, going 11-14 for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He’s had a couple of impressive preseason games.

Joe Hawkes does the Raiders podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Aldon Smith can’t seem to stay out of trouble, so what’s next?

Photo credit: @Newsweek

By: Ana Kieu

Remember when linebacker Aldon Smith was drafted seventh overall by the San Francisco 49ers at the 2011 NFL Draft?

In his college years at the University of Missouri, he was considered to be just a three-star recruit, but was somehow considered to be the fifth overall prospect in the state of Missouri. In his freshman year in 2009, he started 11 of 13 games, finishing the season with 60 tackles and 11 sacks. In his sophomore year in 2010, he played in nine games, recording 48 tackles and six sacks. He forwent his final two years of college eligibility.

In 2011, Smith made his NFL debut in the 49ers’ game against the Seahawks. Despite not starting a single season his rookie year, he was only a half sack shy of tying the all-time rookie sack record held by defensive end Jevon Kearse. The Pro Football Writers of America named him Defensive Rookie of the Year. As for the Associated Press‘ NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, he finished in second place, trailing just linebacker Von Miller.

It wasn’t until 2012 that Smith became a full-time starter. In Super Bowl XLVIII. he had two combined tackles as the 49ers lost to the Ravens 34-31 on February 3, 2013.

Things took a turn for the worse after Super Bowl XLVIII. Smith got involved in a single vehicle accident in San Jose, California, and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of marijuana. As a result, he voluntarily entered a rehab facility, which caused him to miss five NFL games. Despite his early public struggles, he finished the 2013 season with 34 tackles and 8.5 sacks. He was also ranked No. 33 in the NFL Top 100 Years of 2014.

The following year, Smith was reinstated in Week 11 after serving a nine-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies, but the 49ers released him following his third DUI arrest.

After that, Smith signed a one-year contract with the Oakland Raiders on September 11, 2015. He finished his first season with the Raiders with 28 tackles and 3.5 sacks in nine games and seven starts.

In 2016, Smith re-signed with the Raiders and later applied for reinstatement, but no reinstatement occurred, so he sat out during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, respectively. Following a domestic violence incident, Oakland released him on March 5, 2018, and that domestic violence incident was the first of three arrests for Smith in the past two months alone.

Smith violated a court order on March 23, 2018. He was ordered to stay away from a woman (who was later revealed to be his fiancee) he assaulted earlier that month.

Smith was also arrested on April 8, 2018. He reportedly violated the terms of a protective order from his previous domestic violence arrest. He was held on $500,000 bail.

The question isn’t “who can bond Smith out of jail?” It’s “can Smith stay out of trouble?” The 28-year-old has time to turn things around for the better, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen anytime soon. His fiancee–who has only know him for three months–is reportedly going to leave him and keep the ring that he gave her.

A short (or long) jail stint is going to protect the people, but it’s likely not going to save Smith. He has to want to stay out of trouble in order to try to make a comeback in the NFL.

Tony Renteria Sports Headlines Podcast: Manning offered up to $10 million from Fox or ESPN; Jones’ rant and Goodell protest costs him $2 million; Is Aldon Smith done?

Photo credit: @KNBR

On the Sports Headlines Podcast with Tony:

1 ESPN and Fox in a bidding war for Peyton Manning’s TV services the networks have offered as high as $10 million for Manning’s talents as an NFL analyst

2 Dallas Cowboys will have to pay the NFL $2 million for owner Jerry Jones speaking out on behalf of Ezekiel Elliott last season, who was suspended for six games last season. Because the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell would not lift or lighten the suspension and Jones went on a rant and also told the other owners not to renew Goodell’s contract which landed Jones and the Cowboys with a fine.

3 Oakland Raiders’ Aldon Smith–Will he be done or will he get another chance in football?

4 LeBron has selected four teams he is willing to considering during free agency the Cavs, Lakers, Rockets and 76ers where do you see LeBron ending up next season?

5 The Oakland A’s open their season at the Coliseum on March 29th a day game. It’s been years since the A’s played a home opener in the day time.

6 The A’s named former pitcher and Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers as special assistant to team president David Kaval.

Tony Renteria does the Sports Headlines podcast each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com



Man Convicted for Stabbing of All-Pro Linebacker

By: Phillip Torres

SAN JOSE-Steven Barba, a 28-year-old man, is being convicted for the stabbing of San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith. Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Charles Gillingham said Monday that Barba entered “No contest pleas to charges of assault with a deadly weapon and being a felon in possession of a gun during a court hearing last week.” 

The stabbing occurred in 2012 at Smith’s house party in San Jose. The party escalated and two people were shot that night, thus leading weapons charges against the pro bowl linebacker. 

The crimes that happened on November 3, 2012 occurred when Smith tried to disperse the crowd at the party. Barba stabbed Smith twice in the torso before leaving the scene. The injuries on the linebacker were not serious.

49ers looking to give the Stick a proper sendoff against Falcons

By Gabe Schapiro

This Monday at 5:40pm the San Francisco 49ers (10-4) will be taking on the Atlanta Falcons (4-10), in Candlestick Park’s swan song. The 49ers are in second place in the NFC West, two games behind the Seattle Seahawks and one game up on the Arizona Cardinals. The Atlanta Falcons are in the basement of the NFC South, tied for last place with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They have long been out of the playoff hunt.

Last weekend San Francisco throttled the Buccaneers, 33-14, winning their fourth straight. The 49ers jumped out to an early 17-0 lead. Tampa Bay put up a bit of a fight, getting within six points to open the fourth quarter, but San Francisco quickly squashed their momentum with two field goals and a touchdown. Colin Kaepernick had a strong performance, completing 19-of-29 passes for 203 yards, two touchdowns, and no turnovers. Frank Gore ran for a tough 86 yards on 22 carries, and as a team they ran for 86 yards. Vernon Davis caught his 12th touchdown of the season, and Michael Crabtree also hauled in his first score since returning from injury. Crabtree becomes just the third 49ers receiver to catch a touchdown pass. Eric Reid grabbed his fourth interception and Aldon Smith had two sacks.

This week marks the second consecutive matchup against an NFC South bottom feeder. As they did last week with the Bucs, they shouldn’t run into too much trouble with the Falcons.

Atlanta has become synonymous with playoff contender in recent years, but they have struggled mightily this season. They have dealt with major injures to many of their best skill players. They lost star receiver Julio Jones for the season, and Roddy White and Steven Jackson have also both missed time and been ineffective when trying to play through ailments.

QB Matt Ryan has been one of their few constants. He is still very talented, but hasn’t had a lot to work with, and it has shown. He’s not having a bad year, but is certainly having a down season. His favorite targets in the passing game have been Harry Douglas and veteran Tony Gonzalez. As a unit they have been very middle of the road. They are 22nd in points per game, and 16th in total yards.

Their biggest downfall, however, has been their porous defense. In nearly every facet they have been bad. They are the fourth worst in yards allowed, sixth worst in points allowed per game, fourth worst against the run, and eighth worst against the pass. They have some strong solid rushers in Osi Umenyiora and Corey Peters, but that has been one of the few bright spots.

As they have been excellent at in recent weeks, the 49ers should be able to find a nice balance to their offense against a weak defense. Gore is always reliable, and Kaepernick seems to be benefitting from the addition of Michael Crabtree to the lineup.

San Francisco got some bad news this week, when it was announced that FB Bruce Miller was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, ending his season. The fullback position is not one that many teams utilize, but Miller has gotten a heavy workload this season. He is Gore’s lead blocker, and is used often in the passing game. He is the teams third leading receiver in receptions and yards. The 49ers re-signed FB Will Tukuafu to try and soften the blow. 

49ers to be tested against the tough Carolina Panthers

By Gabe Schapiro

This Sunday at 1:05pm the San Francisco 49ers (6-2) will be taking on the Carolina Panthers (5-3) at the friendly confines of Candlestick Park. This matchup features two teams who have been on a roll over the past few weeks. The 49ers have won five straight, and are in second place in the NFC West, just one game back of the Seattle Seahawks. The Panthers had a shaky start, but have hit their stride, rattling off four wins in a row, putting themselves in second place in the NFC South, one game behind the New Orleans Saints.

San Francisco is coming off of their bye week, but two weeks ago they easily dismantled the Jacksonville Jaguars, coasting to a 42-10 victory. The 49ers quickly put the game out of reach, mounting a 28-3 lead by half time. San Francisco stuck with what has got them here, and did most of their damage on the ground, rushing for 221 yards as a team. Frank Gore ran for 71 yards and two scores on 19 carries. Colin Kaepernick had two rushing touchdowns of his own to along with 54 yards on seven carries. For good measure, Kendall Hunter also got in on the action, compiling a team-high 84 yards on the ground on just nine attempts. On the defensive side the 49ers suffocated the Jaguars offense, not letting them ever get much of anything going. The highlight was a Patrick Willis forced fumble that Dan Skuta returned for a touchdown.

The Panthers should present a much more formidable opponent. On offense they have their own electric duel threat at quarterback in Cam Newton. His primary weapons are running back DeAngelo Williams, who is having a solid but not great season, tight end Greg Olson, who is leading the team in receiving yards, and old reliable Steve Smith, who isn’t the dominant player he once was, but still poses a threat. Their defense is easily their biggest strength, however. Young linebacker Luke Kuechly has been fantastic, lead the team in tackles and tied for the team lead in interceptions. Pass rushers Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy have consistently been giving opposing quarterbacks a hard time. As a unit they have allowed the second fewest yards and second fewest points per game in the NFL.

Sunday’s contest is a classic case of strength meeting strength. The 49ers have the fourth best rushing offense in the league, and they will be going up against the league’s best rush defense. Expect San Francisco to stick to their game plan, however, and go with a ground and pound approach. Depending on their success, however, they may need Kaepernick to air it out more than he has in recent weeks. Carolina’s defense hasn’t been as strong against the pass.

Mario Manningham and Aldon Smith are both expected to be active. It remains to be seen how limited they will be initially, but they could provide a big boost in what could be a tough week.

For 49ers reinforcements coming soon

By Gabe Schapiro

Despite having a couple of shaky weeks, the San Francisco 49ers (6-2) are having another strong season. They sit in second place in the NFC West, just one game behind the Seattle Seahawks. They have some tough matchups left on their schedule, but the good news is that they have some reinforcements coming.

Before the season even started they were dealing with several major injuries to some key players on their roster, and during the season have dealt with some other odd circumstances that have kept a couple players from being active. While others have stepped up and compensated well, several of those players are on their way back and could be contributing to the stretch drive sooner rather than later.

In Week 16 last season wide receiver Mario Manningham tore his ACL and PCL. It’s been a long road back, but he has now resumed practicing with the team and is tentatively expected to make his return in Week 10 against the Carolina Panthers. While he isn’t a huge difference maker, he could bring a much-needed boost to a passing attack sorely lacking in weaponry outside of Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis. San Francisco should remain a run-first time, but adding another weapon or two for Colin Kaepernick to utilize should help keep defenses honest.

Cornerback Eric Wright was signed in early August, but has spent the last six weeks on the non-football illness list. He was recently cleared to resume practicing, however, and could be activated shortly. The 49ers secondary has been very good so far this season, and represent the third best defense against the pass in the NFL this year. With that said, however, having more depth is never a bad thing. Wright has had his fair share of off the field problems, but there is little doubt that he is still a talented player.

In terms of making a larger impact, the return of star linebacker Aldon Smith appears to be imminent. Smith last played in Week 3, but has been in rehab since. The hope is that he has dealt with some of his internal demons, and has been activated from the reserve/NFI list. The return of Smith, one of the best pass rushers in all of football, could be a huge boon for the an already strong 49ers defensive unit. Despite having only played in three games this season, he still leads the team in sacks with 4.5. It is still uncertain whether he will make his return in Week 10 or 11.

Looking a little farther down the road, Michael Crabtree remains on track to return in a few weeks. Last season he was easily the best receiver the 49ers had, and his return could be huge for the offense. He is truly a game changer, and the plan for now seems to be to ease him back into action with the hopes that he can be as close to 100% as possible come playoff time. In the span of a few short weeks a sluggish passing attack could take on an entirely new look with the additions of Crabtree and the aforementioned Manningham.

It’s impressive how the 49ers have managed to adjust to having several of their key players out for extended periods of time this season. If they can get all of these players back to full strength soon, they will once again pose a scary foe for any opponents as they make another playoff run.

49ers travel to London to take on the hapless Jaguars

By Gabe Schapiro

This Sunday at 10:00 AM the San Francisco 49ers (5-2) will be coming to you from across the pond in London, England where they will be facing off with the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7) at Wembley Stadium. The 49ers are on a roll having won four straight contests. They sit in second place in the NFC West behind the Seattle Seahawks. The Jaguars are a team still trying to find their way, and have yet to win a game this season. They are in last place in the AFC South.

Last week the San Diego Chargers beat Jacksonville with relative ease, 24-6. The Chargers grabbed a lead in the first quarter and never looked back. All the Jaguars offense could muster was two field goals. That has been Jacksonville’s season in a nutshell, as they have struggled in every facet of the game in what is clearly a rebuilding year.

San Francisco had slightly better luck with the Tennessee Titans, running away with a 31-17 victory in a game that wasn’t as close as the score makes it appear. The 49ers were pitching a 24-0 shutout heading into the fourth quarter before the Titans found the scoreboard for 17 points during garbage time. Frank Gore continued his strong production, running for 70 yards and two scores on 24 carries. In addition, Colin Kaepernick had possibly his best game since week 1, finding some success through the air and with his feet. He completed 13-of-21 passes for 199 yards, and ran for another 68 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. Most importantly he didn’t turn the ball over once. On the defensive side Justin Smith recorded two sacks and Tramaine Brock grabbed his third interception of the season.

Despite the Jaguars problems, they do have some talented players that San Francisco will have to account for. They have a good receiving corps headlined by the young duo of Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. Unfortunately for them, and fortunately for the 49ers, they haven’t had a quarterback who can reliably get the ball to them. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew isn’t the player he once was, and doesn’t have much of an offensive line to run behind, but still presents a threat. On the defensive side of the ball things don’t look much better for them, but Paul Posluszny is a very good linebacker to try and build around.

As a whole Jacksonville is the worst team that the NFL has to offer. They have scored the least amount of points in the league, and they’ve given up the most. While playing in London is a bit of an X-factor, this still isn’t a game that the 49ers should have any trouble with. Expect them to lean on the running game as they have been over their last four victories, but look for Kaepernick to find more openings to air it out as well.

On the injury front there is no bad news to report this week. Wideout Mario Manningham, who resumed practicing with the team last week, is nearing his return. Coach Jim Harbaugh has yet to rule him out for Sunday’s contest. It may take him some time to be a real contributor again, however. Michael Crabtree’s rehab is going according to plan, and is expected back in about a month.

On a similar note, Aldon Smith, who had to leave the team in Week 3 because of the much-reported on personal issues, could re-join the team within the next couple of weeks.

After Seahawks and Colts loses 49ers are now on four game win streak

by David Zizmor

SANTA CLARA–It’s funny the 49ers looked really good against the Green Bay Packers on opening day they won that first game and they looked really good. 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw for over 400 yards and then they played Seattle and Indianapolis back to back and lost both games in what you might call embarrassing fashion.

The Niners really just got outclassed in both of those games maybe after those two games something woke up with them, maybe the embarrassment was enough for them to get back on track and maybe it was that they were playing two good teams. We all knew that Seattle was going to be tough and that the 49ers had their struggles up in Seattle.

So losing in Seattle wasn’t quite a big surprise losing to he Colts was a surprise at the time but in retrospect losing to the Colts wasn’t such a big surprise. It turned out that the Colts are a really good team, they weren’t only able to beat the 49ers but they beat the Seahawks just a couple of weeks ago. Then they went out on Monday night and beat the Denver Broncos.

The Colts are a good team and their a playoff force to be reckoned with the 49ers may have lost that game but you can’t be embarrassed about losing to the Colts because their apparently quite good. Someone said their one of the top five teams in the league if not top three. So no shame to losing a team that good the 49ers have used it to their advantage.

They have taken and fixed some of the problems in their offensive scheme and moved forward and their playing a lot better football even though they’ve had several injuries they had to fight through and they lost a couple of players here and there for a couple of games Patrick Willis lost a game or two, Ray McDonald was banged up, Aldon Smith is out on indefinite leave as he deals with his problems, and the 49ers are having continuing issues at wide receiver.

The 49ers they got back to do what they did best, their running the ball and passing when the opportunity presents itself and in the last several weeks running back Frank Gore has been just fantastic this is a guy who a lot of people wanted to write him off at age 30 who they said is washed up I don’t know why they would do that in the fact a lot of running backs tend to slow down when they hit that age.

You have to look at each player individually and at age 30 Gore looks just as good as ever maybe he’s not as quick as he once was but nobody is as patient as he is and nobody blocks better than Gore. While maybe he’s not going to break off a 70 yard run he breaks off more double digit runs than anybody in the league. Gore is as dependable as they come in this league he had a great game against the Titans scoring a couple of touchdowns from inside the ten yard line this is a guy whose a leader and when he does well you know the 49ers are going to do well.

David Zizmor covers the NFL for Sportstalk Radio

Stumbling 49ers look to recover against Rams

By Gabe Schapiro

For the first time in the Jim Harbaugh era the San Francisco 49ers (1-2) are below .500, and will be looking to right the ship in a short week this Thursday against the St. Louis Rams (1-2) at the Edward Jones Dome.

Last week the 49ers suffered their second consecutive loss, another first since Harbaugh came aboard. They weren’t just beaten, they were beaten decisively, 27-7 against the Indianapolis Colts. What was expected to be a slightly easier task coming off a shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks turned into another ugly showing. In the first quarter running back Kendall Hunter punched in a 13-yard touchdown run to tie the game at seven. That would be all that San Francisco could muster, however, as the Colts would pile on 20 more unanswered points.

The 49ers enter week four with many more questions than answers. Ever since an electric opening win, they have struggled mightily, getting out-scored 57-10.

Their offense seems to be suffering from a lack of weapons more than most expected, with top wideouts Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham sidelined, and an inexperienced group playing behind Anquan Boldin on the depth chart. Tight end Vernon Davis has been limited at times thanks to a hamstring injury. Old reliable, Frank Gore, finally seemed to have something going against the Colts before inexplicably being removed from the game plan, finishing the game with just 11 carries. Finally, Colin Kaepernick’s frustration seems to be growing as he attempts to navigate his lack of options. Despite the blazing start to his career, he also may just simply not be quite as polished as everyone had hoped yet, as defenses now have much more film of him to work with and prepare.

Also concerning are the 49ers problems on the defensive side of the ball, which was expected to be their calling card as it has been over the past couple of seasons. They aren’t getting as much pressure on opposing QBs, and aren’t forcing as many turnovers as they have been famous for. To make matters worse, the defensive unit has been hit with injury and controversy. Aldon Smith’s much publicized DUI has led to him being placed on the reserve/NFI list, and it is unknown how long it will be until he is able to return to the field. In last weeks contest star linebacker Patrick Willis injured his groin, and while he is reportedly hopeful that he will be able to play Thursday, it doesn’t sound as if it is likely.

In the Rams San Francisco will be facing a team that is coming off of a similarly rough loss, 31-7, at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. It is a young and improving team, however, that does have some talent. The team is led by fourth-year starter Sam Bradford, who despite last weeks loss is having a strong season. His primary weapons are Chris Givens, rookie Tavon Austin, Austin Pettis, and Jared Cook. Through three games they have the 18th ranked offense, and the 26th ranked defense.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the 49ers need to tweak, but they need to make adjustments quickly. Unfortunately for them, being featured on Thursday night means they have a short week to do it. Another loss to an intra-division opponent would put them, at best, alone in third place. It’s a long season, and they do have time to turn things around, but for a team that entered the year with such high expectations, the trends are certainly concerning.