Friday, January 30, 2015

Niners fans not very excited about Geep Chryst promotion

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: By all accounts, Geep Chryst is a smart football man, respected by players and his peers. Yet his promotion to offensive coordinator of the 49ers hasn't done anything but make most 49ers fans groan.

In one way, Derek Carr will miss Greg Olson

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Raiders QB Derek Carr says Greg Olson's ability to teach him how to define protection calls is something very important to him in 2014.

Might the MVP of Super Bowl XLIX be someone other than a star?

Tom Brady, Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson and LeGarrette Blount all are the list of players oddsmakers make as favorites to be Super Bowl MVP Sunday. But what about Stephen Gostkowski? My story for NBC's national websites.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

In Super Bowls, throwing a pick six always has been disastrous

Big mistakes in the passing game can be super costly. Teams that have scored touchdowns on interceptions are 12-0 over 48 Super Bowls. So a pick-six Sunday in XLIX will mean a loss, right? My story for NBC's national websites:

49ers hire QBs coach who has a history with active, mobile QBs

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Former East Carolina head coach Steve Logan, the new 49ers QBs coach, has long had a love for using mobile quarterbacks.

"Jelly" has been a sweet find for Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Justin "Jelly" Ellis, a fourth-round pick last year, has developed nicely as a run-stuffing lineman for Oakland.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Cornell's Jill Saulnier is adding more defense to her potent scoring skills

Cornell's Jill Saulnier was fourth in the nation in scoring last season and led the country in points per game. Now she's also putting in the effort to become a top defender, saying her goal is to never allow a goal while she's on the ice. My story on Saulnier for USA Hockey.

American Olympic downhiller Travis Ganong is finding success after devoting himself to fitness program

Travis Ganong, who finished fifth in the Olympic downhill skiing event at the Sochi Olympics, just won his first World Cup race and is skiing better than ever thanks to a conditioning program that is allowing him to ski harder longer. My story for

Seahawks hope to go "big on big" to slow Gronkowski

The Seattle pass defense, the No. 1 unit in the NFL this season, will likely put All-Pro safety Kam Chancellor on Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski in hopes of limiting his success in Super Bowl XLIX. My story for NBC's national websites:

Kaepernick soaking up information in work with Warner

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: QB Colin Kaepernick is reportedly learning a lot in work with Kurt Warner this offseason.

Louisville defensive coordinator will talk to Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is interviewing for the same job with the Raiders.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

So what the heck is the 49ers' offensive plan?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Lane Kiffin is staying at Alabama. Rob Chudzinski is staying with the Colts. What is the 49ers' plan for bringing in a dynamic offensive coordinator?

Retaining Woodson a smart move by Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Charles Woodson will turn 39 during the 2015 season, but signing him up for another year in Oakland will pay off in multiple ways for the Raiders.

Some under-the-radar players and factors that could play key roles in determining outcome of Super Bowl XLIX

Justin Britt is a rookie offensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks, a player most fans know nothing about. Yet his play could determine the outcome of Super Bowl XLIX. A preview story for NBC's national websites:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Autobiography of Rangers sniper Nicholas Irving, "The Reaper," is a gripping story of what it's like to be in a war zone with no defined fronts or enemy

Just hours after he landed in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Ranger Nicholas Irving was thrown into a high-pressure situation as a sniper, covering an American operation in a remote village. During the summer of 2009, Irving became the most-credited sniper in Rangers history. He tells his story in "The Reaper." My book review for U-T San Diego's books section:

49ers' Baalke now deep into scouting season

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Wonder who caught the eye of 49ers' GM Trent Baalke at the Senior Bowl?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Seahawks' read-option a deceptive, dangerous weapon vs. Patriots

If the Patriots focus too much on stopping Marshawn Lynch, they could be carved up by the slicing runs of QB Russell Wilson in the read-option offense. My story for national NBC websites leading up to the Super Bowl:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Will Tony Sparano be able to get Vernon Davis back into the offense?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website. Former Raiders coach Tony Sparano has joined the 49ers as tight ends coach, where he's had experience with three NFL teams over the years.

Addition of Tice ( and maybe Smith) gives Del Rio's staff some heft

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Jack Del Rio is building a sold staff in Oakland.

LeGarrette Blount an unlikely star for Patriots

In November, LeGarrette Blount was out of a job, having just been released by the Steelers. Two months later, he's a possible star of Super Bowl XLIX vs. Seattle on Feb. 1st. My story for NBC's national websites.

Historic trip to Cuba for USA Triathlon athletes for Havana races may open doors to more U.S.-Cuba competition

USA Triathlon is sending a team of 29 to Havana this week for the first International Triathlon Union event ever held in Cuba. Athletes who never envisioned visiting the island nation are excited for the opportunity and the chance to visit with young Cuban athletes and donate used equipment. My story for's Endurance Sports section:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What kind of defensive coordinator would "Mangenious" be for 49ers?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Eric Mangini has been dubbed "Mangenious" for his football mind, but would he be a good fit as defensive coordinator with the 49ers?

Musgrave says he'll be flexible with Raiders offense

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave says he will build the Raiders offense around the talents he has on the field.

Five story lines leading into Super Bowl XLIX

Will the Patriots finally get their elusive fourth Super Bowl victory in the Bill Belichick era? Or will the Seahawks establish themselves as a "dynasty" with back-to-back championships? Those are two of the story lines heading into this 49th Super Bowl. My story for NBC's national websites.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

As a senior, Chelsea Laden of Quinnipiac has become NCAA hockey's best goaltender

Chelsea Laden leads the nation in shutouts, victories and goals-against average. She started the season with four straight shutouts and hasn't slowed down a bit. Now the senior from Quinnipiac is a contender for the Patty Kazmaier Award, given annually to the best player in women's college hockey. My story for USA Hockey:

Borland, Lynch give 49ers some options on defense

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Rookie linebackers Chris Borland and Aaron Lynch opened eyes to their potential in 2014.

Raiders add former 49ers special teams coach Brad Seely

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Brad Seely, who's been acclaimed during his long career for special teams work, has joined Jack Del Rio's Raiders staff.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Former Navy SEAL's advice on getting and staying fit: "Just start moving." My story on JP Bolwahnn for UT San Diego

Former Navy SEAL JP Bolwahnn has been an active, fit person most of his life. Now 37, he's a CrossFit trainer (for other trainers). His advice for others is to find activities they like and "just start moving," then tackle nutrition. My story for the Active San Diego series in the U-T San Diego Health section:

Del Rio gives keys to Raiders offense to Musgrave

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Former QB and longtime assistant coach Bill Musgrave will be the Raiders offensive coordinator under Jack Del Rio ... the same guy who fired him 10 years ago in Jacksonville.

Chudzinski-Newton connection makes him attractive to 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Rob Chudzinski's experience in getting the most out of dual-threat QB Cam Newton makes him attractive to 49ers as offensive coordinator.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Niners face huge decisions with multiple free agents

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Frank Gore? Michael Crabtree? Mike Iupati? Perrish Cox? Those are just a few of the key free agents on the 49ers roster. The team faces some big decisions this offseason.

Winners and losers (besides the Seahawks and Patriots) from AFC and NFC Championship Game weekend

Bill Belichick and Russell Wilson are feeling pretty good right now. Brandon Bostick? Not so much. The winners and losers from the AFC and NFC Championship Games, for NBC national websites:

Friday, January 16, 2015

American women's Under-18 hockey team accomplishes its mission, bringing gold back to U.S. after a three-year drought

The overtime victory over Canada breaks Canadians' three-year reign and seals the mission of head coach Joel Johnson's team. My story for USA Hockey:

Tomsula's the coach, but it's clear Baalke is The Man

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: At the press conference to introduce Jim Tomsula as head coach, it was clear to many that GM Trent Baalke will have plenty of control over Jim Harbaugh's successor.

Del Rio should be able to build a strong staff

Daily blog for NBC Bay Area website: One of the pluses for Jack Del Rio is his tenure in the NFL, as a player, assistant and head coach, which should help him assemble a strong, experienced staff.

NFC and AFC championship games preview: The key players to watch on all four teams

Conference championship games preview for national NBC websites: The key players for each of the four teams playing Sunday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Surprise! Niners decide on Jim Tomsula as head coach

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: After a nationwide search and a reported interest in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, the 49ers promote defensive line coach Jim Tomsula to head coach ... causing some consternation among Niners fans.

Mark Davis gets the coach he wants, Jack Del Rio

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Jack Del Rio's hiring as head coach has owner Mark Davis' fingerprints all over it.

Gase's offensive mind is among the best in the NFL

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Adam Gase has been praised by those who work with him for his innovative offensive mind.

Del Rio hiring may bring out the best in Mack and Moore

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Former Pro Bowl linebacker Jack Del Rio has been praised in the past for his work with linebackers. Might his hiring provide a boost for young standouts such as Khalil Mack and Sio Moore?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What kind of coach would the Raiders get with Del Rio?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Jack Del Rio was an NFL head coach for nine years. By all reports he has some very big pluses ... and a few minuses.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Paralympic snowboarder and Afghanistan veteran Tyler Burdick is looking forward, not back, after undergoing second leg amputation

Tyler Burdick's legs were severely damaged in a roadside explosion while serving in Afghanistan as a Navy corpsman. But after rehabilitation and special braces, he was able to become a Paralympic snowboarder. Now that he's recovering from the amputation of both lower legs, he's optimistic and eager to start testing his prostheses on the slopes ... and looking forward to earning back his place on the U.S. team. My story for

Raiders' fuzzy coaching picture may soon clear

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: If the Raiders don't go for Tony Sparano or Jack Del Rio this week, then what?

NFL Divisional Round: the Winners & Losers ... including the NFL rulebook for the no-catch ruling on Cowboys' Dez Bryant

The Packers, Seahawks, Patriots and Colts are the clear winners of the NFL divisional round, advancing to the conference championship games. But who were the other winners ... and losers? My story for NBC national:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Key players (and units) to watch in the NFL playoffs divisional round

Preview of divisional round of NFL playoffs for NBC national websites: the key players or units who could make the biggest impacts.

U.S. Paralympians delighted about U.S. hosting major events in 2015

Snowboarder Mike Shea and cross-country skier Tatyana McFadden are among the U.S. athletes excited about the fact several international Paralympic events will be held in the USA early this year. My story for

Is Raiders' front office too dysfunctional for some coaching candidates?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Raiders owner Mark Davis disputes one report that says some head-coaching candidates are put off by the way front office functions.

The Shanahans' zone-blocking schemes may not fit 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Mike and Kyle Shanahan have run successful NFL offensive schemes, but the candidates for 49ers' positions rely on zone-blocking schemes that may not fit current personnel.

Thursday, January 8, 2015