Wednesday, November 30, 2011

McGlockton was a changed man after retirement

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Former Raiders Pro Bowl defensive lineman Chester McGlockton was a changed man after he retired from football. As a player he often was described as moody and negative; later, he found he loved coaching and helping others. His death at age 42, after coaching at Stanford for two years, came as a shock to those who knew him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

She scrapped her career for ... scrapping?

Eva Smith spent more than 30 years in the financial world, wearing business suits and dealing with big-money deals and transactions. But a few years ago, she decided to get out -- before the house of cards collapsed, as she knew it would -- and do something she enjoyed. Three years ago she bought the Scrappin' Attack store in Santee with her daughter, and she's loved the transition. My profile of her for the On the Job in Santee series:

Jackson says Raiders are getting better

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Head coach Hue Jackson said improvements in the passing game and committing fewer penalties show that his Oakland team, already 7-4, is getting better as season progresses.

49ers' Edwards hopes to be ready for postseason

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Receiver Braylon Edwards has just 14 catches in 11 games this season, and knows he hasn't met expectations. Now, he says, he's focusing on getting healthy so he can contribute in the playoffs.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Will 49ers earn NFC playoffs' No. 2 seed?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: San Francisco appears to have the inside track on claiming the NFC's No. 2 playoff seed and a first-round bye. But do the 49ers have what it takes to beat the Packers, if they should meet? Some people doubt it.

Raiders' Murphy happy to contribute again

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Oakland receiver Louis Murphy, who hasn't been able to contribute much this season after an injury, is happy to make a 47-yard catch against the Bears that sets up clinching TD moments later.

Raiders use a different formula to top Bears

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Sebastian Janikowski's six field goals and the Raiders defense -- which intercepted Caleb Hanie three times -- helped Oakland to a 25-20 victory over the Bears to keep them atop the AFC West.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Niners say they'll learn from loss to Ravens

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: After eight straight wins this season, the Niners say they'll use a loss to the Ravens as a learning tool.

Will Raiders kick to Hester?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Raiders coach Hue Jackson and punter Shane Lechler say they'll play it smart when it comes to kicking to Bears return specialist Devin Hester.

Jeopardy for Nov. 25 for

Remember when Rocky sang that love song to Adrian? My Jeopardy for's Page 2:

Niners get blitzed in Baltimore

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Baltimore Ravens' blitzing defense sacks Alex Smith nine times in a 16-6 victory over the Niners in the "Harbowl," breaking San Francisco's eight-game winning streak.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Raiders limping into game vs. Bears

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Not only is standout RB Darren McFadden out, but now seemingly the entire Oakland receiving corps is possibly out for Sunday's game vs. Chicago.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

49ers prepare to face physical Ravens team

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: John Harbaugh says he has a team much like his brother's, a team built on defense, a solid ground game, special teams and takeaways. He says Thursday night's game is one no football fan should miss.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's time for the 'Harbowl' on Thanksgiving night

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Jim Harbaugh takes his 9-1 49ers across the country to face brother John Harbaugh's 7-3 Baltimore Ravens in a nationally televised game that's been called the 'Harbowl' game.

Raiders' Heyward-Bey should be OK

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who was injured in a scary collision vs. the Vikings, should be OK and able to return to play this season.

He took the offroad trail and found success

John Ehmke, who's always had the "magic hands," went from being a cabinetmaker to owning Autofab in Santee, a shop that specializes in customizing cars and trucks, particularly for offroad use. His profile for the "On the Job in Santee" series:

Monday, November 21, 2011

49ers' Alex Smith wants to be better

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: By almost any measure, Alex Smith is having his best season as an NFL quarterback. The Niners are 9-1, have eight wins in a row and Smith ranks among the NFL's best in QB rating. Yet he looks at his performance and demands even more of himself.

Jekyll and Hyde Raiders at it again

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Raiders once again piled up the points, then sat back in the second half and let an opponent get back in the game. Though the result was a win over the Vikings, Raiders coach Hue Jackson is concerned about the trend:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Niners pluck Cardinals; close to clinching division

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Just 10 weeks into the season, the Niners -- after beating Arizona 23-7 -- are on the verge of becoming the first team this season to clinch an NFL playoff berth.

Raiders build big lead vs.Vikes, then hold on

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area: Oakland scores 27 straight points -- 17 off turnovers -- en route to a 27-21 victory over the Vikings in Minnesota. The Vikes made it interesting with two fourth-quarter TDs.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Gore says he's good to go vs. Cardinals Sunday

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Frank Gore, despite a sore knee and ankle, says he'll play Sunday for the Niners against Arizona as San Francisco goes for its eighth straight victory.

Raiders, who've been shaky vs. run, must stop Peterson

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Oakland has been shredded by some running backs this season, while containing others. Now, the Raiders face perhaps the NFL's top back in Adrian Peterson. If they can contain him, they'll likely contain the Vikings.

Jeopardy for Nov. 18 on

Who was that good-looking guy at quarterback? My Jeopardy for's Page 2:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Smith is enjoying this year, not looking ahead to 2012

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Alex Smith, a candidate for the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year, says he's not worried about working out a new deal with the 49ers. He's just enjoying an 8-1 start and hoping for the playoffs. His one-year deal expires after this season.

Raiders lead the league in long plays

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The addition of Carson Palmer has just enhanced Oakland's ability to make big plays, those of 20 yards or more. Already, he has as many 20-plus-yard completions as Jason Campbell.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

He pedaled his way into a career

Tyler Rowden worked at Holland's Bicycles in Coronado for three years in the 1970s, then wound up buying it when the owner decided to sell. After 32 years running the store -- which first opened in the 1920s -- he also owns two other cycling shops, one in Coronado and one in San Diego. His profile for the "On the Job" in Coronado series:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

She wanted a farmers' market, so she created one

Andrea Hankins traveled all over San Diego County going to farmers' markets to sell the dates she and her husband grow in the Imperial Valley. But the longtime Santee resident couldn't understand why Santee didn't have a market. She tried to get the city to create one, but no luck. Finally, she took matters into her own hands. My profile of her for the "On the Job in Santee" series:

Players, coaches believing in QB Alex Smith

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Alex Smith earned a game ball for his performance against the Giants, directing the team to its seventh straight victory. Smith's teammates and coaches have faith in a player enjoying the best season of his career.

Raiders offensive line has been a consistent force

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Even when Samson Satele couldn't play against the Chargers Thursday night, the Oakland offensive line performed well, blowing open holes for Michael Bush and protecting Carson Palmer.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tuning up people's hearts, minds and bodies

Ever since she was a little girl, Raquel Robles wanted to know the inner workings of everything. So, she studied engineering and design and worked with machines and electronics. Eventually, however, she felt she wanted more out of life and opened up a personal training business. Now she helps people understand the inner workings of their body, from the movement of muscles to the importance of nutrients and vitamins and rest. My profile of Robles for the "On the Job in North County" series of the North County edition of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Bush is always there when Raiders need him

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Whenever Darren McFadden is out of the lineup, Michael Bush seems to step up to carry the load. The veteran may be the NFL's best backup back.

Akers has given the 49ers a leg up on opponents

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The signing of free-agent kicker David Akers didn't look all that meaningful in July, but as the season has advanced and the 49ers are now 8-1, his signing has proven to be huge.

49ers rally with two quick TDs to beat Giants

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: San Francisco won its seventh straight game by scoring 15 points in just over a minute of the fourth quarter in a 27-20 decision over the visiting New York Giants.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

He's calculated to help math students

Joe Hobbs, aka The Math Doctor, has been a math tutor for more than 20 years in the La Mesa area, helping students from elementary school through college. My story on him, for the "A Living in La Mesa" series.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Raiders defense shows its teeth again

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Kamerion Wimbley's four sacks key an Oakland defense that steps up in victory over Chargers in AFC West showdown.

Giants ready for Niners' old-school approach

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: New York Giants come to Candlestick Park Sunday knowing they'll face challenges stopping the run and running against Niners' defense.

Jeopardy for Nov. 11 for

Who's the Iranian-Japanese pitching sensation everybody in the big leagues is drooling over? My Jeopardy for's Page 2:

He lost his leg, but not his will to succeed

Kortney Clemons was an Army combat medic in Iraq when he lost most of his right leg to an IED explosion while helping fellow troops. Nothing has stopped him from making the most of his life, however, as he's written a book, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees and is now trying to make the 2012 London Paralympic team after just missing out on going to Beijing in 2008. My story for the U.S. Olympic website:

Raiders beat Chargers to get back on winning track

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Michael Bush and Carson Palmer team up on offense and the defensive line sacks Philip Rivers six times to lead the Raiders to a 24-17 victory over the Chargers, snapping Oakland's two-game skid.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Now in comeback mode, Cejudo says 'don't underestimate me'

At 21, Henry Cejudo in 2004 became the youngest American wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal. Now, after almost three years away from competition, the young man from the mean streets of L.A. and Phoenix is back on the mat, getting primed for the next Olympics in London. My story on Cejudo for the U.S. Olympic website.

Giants see a different, improved Alex Smith

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The 6-2 New York Giants, who are preparing to play the 7-1 49ers Sunday, say San Francisco is a solid team with a quarterback who has evolved a great deal this year.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chelsea McClammer is rolling toward London

Chelsea McClammer was just 14 when she competed at the Paralympics in Beijing in 2008, the youngest member of Team USA. Now, after 3 1/2 years of high school, recovery from surgery and preparing for college, the wheelchair racer from Washington is on the move toward the Parapan Games in Mexico and next year's London Paralympics. My story on her for the U.S. Olympic Committee website.

Raiders face Chargers without McFadden

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Top running back Darren McFadden probably won't be ready when Oakland and San Diego, both 4-4, play Thursday night in a national TV game in San Diego.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Creating beauty with beauty

Cindy Birchard started working in a florist shop when she was 14, then stuck with it through high school and college. After graduating from SDSU with a degree in business, she decided what she really wanted to do was continue to work with flowers. Now the master floral designer, 54, says the career has been creative and rewarding.

Despite ankle injury, Gore says he'll play for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Frank Gore, who injured his ankle Sunday vs. Redskins, says he'll play against the Giants Sunday.

Do Raiders need to revert to previous formula?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: ESPN analyst says Raiders need to go back to what was working with Jason Campbell at quarterback, having Carson Palmer focus on being a game manager rather than the focus of the offense.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Raiders have no time to waste in solving problems

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: With just four days between games, the Raiders have to quickly address areas of concern such as run defense and too many costly penalties.

Niners are just 'blue-collar cats' enjoying winning

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Niners win a sixth straight game and the players say they love their old-fashioned, blue-collar formula of playing basic, no-frills football.

Raiders collapse in second half, lose to Broncos

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Oakland's defense imploded in the second half, as Denver scored 31 points in a 38-24 victory over the Raiders in Oakland.

49ers win 6th straight with familiar formula

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: San Francisco used a solid ground attack, tough defense and a victory in the turnover battle to beat the Redskins.