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Niner Talk Bonus: Is There a Madden Cover Curse?

Posted May 20, 2014

This week's bonus round of "Niner Talk" touches on the Madden curse phenomenon, plus more 49ers questions that didn't quite make the show.


Good morning, good afternoon, good evening (depending on when you're reading this).

Every other week of the offseason I ask for your Twitter questions on the San Francisco 49ers and the team's Faithful fans never disappoint.

As always, the most unique, thought-provoking questions, and the ones we have footage to match the topic, can be found in this week's bonus round of "Niner Talk." And yes, I did break the fourth wall there for a minute.

Let's not waste another moment. It's time to tackle the hot topics.

 

It's hard to say. I've been getting a lot of questions like this and the honest truth is let them practice for a few weeks before we start crafting depth charts in May. The rookies have just arrived in the Bay Area and their heads are surely swimming with notes from their new playbooks.

Once they get a grasp of what they're doing, plus a few minicamps under their belts, we'll all know where the newcomers stand in their respective competitions with San Francsico's veterans.

As for your question David, the best 53 players will always make the team. Last year, the 49ers wanted to keep seventh-round draft pick Marcus Cooper, but they valued 53 other players. Cooper was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs and had a solid rookie campaign. Cooper wasn't guaranteed a roster spot just because he was drafted. Undrafted players can also shock the world and make the team.

Will there be a youth movement, as you said? The rookies will have to earn jobs from veterans.


It's realistic.

Jim Harbaugh said at the NFL Scouting Combine that NaVorro Bowman, the All-Pro inside linebacker, could return to action in the middle-to-late stages of the 2014 regular season. Bowman has been doing upper-body workouts with his 49ers teammates and has rehabbed his knee this offseason. He's been upbeat about the recovery process, too.


No sir.

Sure, there are plenty examples of a "curse." You could look at Michael Vick breaking his leg hours after he made the cover in 2003, or Peyton Hillis' production dropping in 2011. There are more examples. But let me say this, the same people who talk about curses with video game covers and sports magazines are the same people who wear their lucky socks on gameday and eat the same cereal on every third Friday morning or something like that.

Some people are superstitious. Some people are not. I'll let you guess where I stand.

Colin Kaepernick is up for the Madden NFL 15 cover and I think he should be on it.

(VOTE HERE)

The 49ers have never truly had a player on the Madden cover, unless you count Garrison Hearst being on a version of the game distributed outside of North America in 1999.


Solid effort.


Again, this goes back to needing to see the players on the field. We'll get a taste of that when the rookie minicamp begins this weekend and OTAs and minicamps take place in the coming weeks.

The good news is that San Francisco has several options in LaMichael James, Marcus Lattimore, Jewel Hampton and Carlos Hyde. I'm curious to see how Lattimore looks during on-field practices with his veteran teammates. How will he look when cutting against the grain? Lattimore told me that he's experiencing no soreness in his knee this offseason, so that's a good indication that he's close to being his productive self.



CEO Jed York announced that "several" training camp practices will be coming to Levi's® Stadium.


As Harbaugh would say, Shayne Skov has the license and ability. He has knowledge of San Francisco's defense from his time playing for Vic Fangio in college, but that's not the only reason Skov signed as an undrafted rookie free agent.

The former Cardinal captain thought this was his best shot of making a 53-man roster. With Bowman out of action to start the year and a likely candidate to be on the Physically Unable to Perform List, Skov is in competition to take that roster spot along with third-round rookie Chris Borland out of Wisconsin.


Only in playoff games vs. Green Bay.

Kaepernick gave a 42-minute interview with Grantland.com in February and had some interesting things to say about running with the ball.

"Scrambles are some of the biggest plays in football," the 49ers signal-caller began, "a defense can’t scheme for that. It doesn’t matter what coverage they have on, when you start scrambling, windows open up.

"I’ve never been one to go out and play conscious of my body. If I’m running down the field and there’s a linebacker coming at me, I’m going to do what I can to get down and get out of the way."

San Francisco essentially saved Kaepernick's courageous running ability for postseason play when it was a win-or-go-home scenario. I would expect a similar approach in 2014, especially when you consider the deep wide receiver group the team has put around its young quarterback.