Friday, August 31, 2012

If McFadden goes down, who will step in?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Darren McFadden is the most important player on the Raiders offense. But what if the running back goes down again? Depth at running back right now looks ... thin.

Will Tufuaku has become 49ers' blocker extraordinaire

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Former Oregon defensive end Will Tufuaku is now seeing time at fullback for the 49ers, and making the most of the opportunity. Tufuaku, who still plays on defense, is flattening defenders in his path as a situational fullback.

Raiders' final exhibition is an ugly, lopsided defeat

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The only good thing about the Raiders' 21-3 loss to Seattle is the fact it means the exhibition season is over.

Niners win last exhibition, now face tough questions

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: With the exhibition season over on a 35-3 victory over the Chargers, the 49ers now face some tough roster decisions.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Getting back to normal is a wonderful feeling for Purdue student and Olympic diving champion David Boudia

After making the dive of his life under pressure to beat the world champion in the 10-meter platform event at the London Olympics, David Boudia's life became a "whirlwind" of travel, interviews and TV spots that made his head spin. Now, two weeks after returning from London with gold and bronze medals, the 23-year-old is happy to be a student again at Purdue and get back to a normal life ... although his new normal is a bit different. My story on Boudia for

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

49ers' James eager to get some playing time

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: LaMichael James has had little chance to show what he can do against NFL defenses, with injuries slowing him down this summer. Thursday, however, he'll play against the Chargers.

Roscoe Parrish gives Raiders insurance policy

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The signing of returner/receiver Roscoe Parrish shows the Raiders have concerns about the health and availability of Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Niners' Kyle Williams isn't apprehensive about returning punts

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Kyle Williams has no qualms about returning punts in the season opener, as needed -- despite his well-documented troubles in the NFC Championship Game.

Taiwan Jones rushes into Raiders' picture for 2012

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Taiwan Jones, after missing much of camp with a hamstring injury, flashes his speed in first exhibition appearance and probably locks up job to back up Darren McFadden.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Perrish Cox will give 49ers versatility in secondary

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Perrish Cox, out of football last season, appears to have won a job with the Niners with his versatility as a cornerback, nickelback and kick returner.

Juron Criner shows Raiders his big-play potential

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Rookie Juron Criner put up huge numbers during his career at Arizona. On Saturday against the Lions, the wide receiver flashed his potential on two, long scoring plays.

Will Dixon's efforts vs. Broncos pay off with 49ers?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: With cut-down day approaching, running back Anthony Dixon knows he's on thin ice. So it was important he play well in a 29-24 win over the Broncos.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Niners' Ginn wants to catch on as a receiver, too

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Yes, everyone knows Ted Ginn Jr. is one of the NFL's best kick and punt returners. But Ginn wants to be known as a wide receiver, too.

Raiders see Wheeler as a prime playmaker

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: With a new, aggressive defensive scheme, the Raiders believe former Colts linebacker Philip Wheeler can be an impact player.

Jockey's posterior is prime spot for advertising

Chantal Sutherland this summer at Del Mar has a giant QR code affixed to the seat of her pants (photo courtesy of It's a new venture by TVG, the online betting site, to grab attention and get folks to go to its site, as part of its summer push for more use of its mobile platform. When Sutherland was approached, she had no hesitation at all about it. Go for it, she said. For a jockey, it's just one more new revenue stream. My story for's Playbook section:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In Harbaugh, they trust; 49ers coach already among NFL's best

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website. How can a second-year head coach already be ranked among the NFL's best, with the likes of Belichick and Tomlin? Because of the way he communicates with his players, say the 49ers.

Raiders' Van Dyke still struggling in games

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: When the Raiders drafted speedy cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke in 2011, they hoped he could blossom into an impact player. In his second season, he's played much better in practice, but in exhibition games he's continued to commit costly blunders, meaning he'll again be a backup this season.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

London Paralympics offer numerous can't-miss events

More than 4,000 athletes will compete in the London Paralympics, in hundreds of events. We offer a look at the dozen most interesting matchups and athletes to watch in a preview to the Games that begin later this month. My story for

Myers likely to flourish at TE for Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: After being largely ignored in 2011, the tight end position should be a more vital piece of the Raiders offense in 2012, which makes Brandon Myers excited.

Physical 'brawler' Boone winning right guard spot for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Alex Boone is still learning and still making mistakes, but the presumptive starter at right guard for the 49ers is bringing his own special brand of football to his new position.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Matt Leinart waiting in wings if Raiders need him

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Once, Matt Leinart was going to be a star in the NFL. Now, after several injury-plagued seasons, the former USC Heisman Trophy winner is backing up former Trojans teammate Carson Palmer on the Raiders.

In limited time, 49ers' starting offense has been in sync

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Though the 49ers starting offense hasn't been on the field much in the first two exhibition games, it's been clicking ... a good sign for the regular season.

Shoezeum owner is hoping the shoes fit in Las Vegas

After building his Shoezeum in San Diego -- the largest private collection of Nikes in the world -- Jordy Geller has moved to Las Vegas. He'll open the new, larger version of his Shoezeum in the Neonopolis mall and entertainment center in one of the downtown district's busiest spots, and he's banking visitors to Vegas will be happy to spend $10 to check out all the varieties he has among his 2,500 pairs -- everything from Air Jordans to music- and pop culture-themed sneakers. My story for's Playbook section:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rio de Janeiro will spread its arms wide to welcome the world in just four short years

With the London Olympics now complete, Rio de Janeiro is on deck to host the XXXI Olympiad -- and the first ever in South America -- in 2016. Though Rio appears far behind schedule for many of its most important venues, the Brazilians say not to worry, everything will be OK. One thing is certain, however: the beaches, the blue skies and green mountains will provide a beautiful backdrop far different than the London Games. My story for

Issues about 49ers' QB protection are overblown

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Yes, Alex Smith was hit often and hard in Saturday's exhibition loss to the Texans. But concerns about the team's offensive line are overblown. This is essentially the same, solid unit that played well in 2011.

Raiders hoping Curry will return soon

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Linebacker Aaron Curry's lingering knee problems still haven't been resolved, leaving his status iffy for the regular-season opener.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Injury to Jacobs is 49ers' main concern in loss to Texans

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area. The fact the 49ers lost to the Texans in their second exhibition game is of no concern. But injuries suffered by Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James are potentially painful.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ed Temple, legendary track coach, reflects on his accomplishments after being elected to U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame

Beginning in the 1950s, little Tennessee State became a power in women's track in field as Ed Temple built a program that would produce multiple Olympians and a treasure chest of Olympic medals. He reflects on his career after being inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. My co-bylined story for, the Olympic website:

Weddings are her business after surprise career twist

Hannah Budiwarman never had any intention of following her mother into the dress-making business. But after going to college to study computers, and then trying a couple of other paths, she found herself working with her mother ... and enjoying it. Today she manages Bridals by Susanti, her mother's long-time shop in Escondido. My story for the On the Job series in U-T San Diego:

For Seattle and San Francisco, it's a tale of two cities -- joyous and downcast

Within hours on Wednesday this week, the King's Court section of Safeco Field in Seattle was ecstatic as yellow-clad fans cheered on Felix Hernandez's perfect game, while in San Francisco -- about 680 miles to the south -- the Melkmen found themselves no longer needed as their hero, Melky Cabrera, had been found to be using testosterone. My story for's Playbook section:

Demarcus Dobbs giving 49ers double benefits

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area: The defensive end, in his second NFL season, is now also playing tight end, giving the Niners some extra two-way versatility.

Allen's imprints all over Raiders' new defense

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: New coach Dennis Allen wants his defense to play a certain way, and the defensive players in silver and black are loving it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

You like bobbleheads? Miami Marlins new museum in spiffy new ballpark attracts fans of all ages

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is an art collector, which is how he made part of his fortune. This season, however, Loria's little pieces of art at the team's new ballpark are several hundred bobbleheads from ballparks all over America. It is the largest -- and only -- major league bobblehead museum, and one that could become bigger and bigger. My story for's Playbook section:

Jacoby Ford hoping for a rebound season for Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Wideout Jacoby Ford had a rough exhibition debut, which wouldn't be a big deal if he didn't have a rough 2011 season, too. Now he's eager to show what he can do.

Is 49ers' Crabtree ready to fulfill potential?

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Michael Crabtree's statistics have improved every season, yet people still believe he can be better. Are indications now pointing to a breakout season?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bakhtiari's determination may finally pay off with 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Eric Bakhtiari is a much-traveled linebacker, having been a member of practice squads and training camps all over the NFL in the past four years. Now, however, it appears he has his best chance ever of making an opening day roster, with the 49ers.

Forecast for Raiders' Pryor as an NFL QB? Cloudy

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Terrelle Pryor was certainly rusty when he made his NFL debut Monday night against the Cowboys. But his assessment of his own play -- "I played like dog crap" -- wasn't inaccurate. What's his future in the NFL? Nobody really knows.

Say it's so: Joe Jackson's great, great, great nephew is following his Shoeless footsteps

If you have a name like Joe Jackson in baseball, people will notice. If you're actually Shoeless Joe's relative, people are bound to be interested. That's the case for The Citadel's catcher, Joe Jackson, who hails from Shoeless Joe's hometown of Greenville, S.C., and is proud to carry his name and his heritage as he strives to follow his famous relative into professional baseball. My story for's Playbook section:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

U.S. goalball team eager to defend Paralympic gold from Beijing

After winning the gold medal in goalball in Beijing four years ago, several members of the U.S. team decided to stick around. Now that nucleus of veterans -- plus a couple of newcomers -- is feeling eager and excited to attempt back-to-back championships in the sport, played by athletes who have lost their sight. My story for

Scott Tolzien edging his way in QB mix for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Scott Tolzien was the fourth QB in a four-QB race going into training camp, but the former Wisconsin standout keeps turning heads.

"Hot Rod" Streater revving up for Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Rod Streater, a free agent wideout from Temple, is one of the few highlights in a dull 3-0 loss to the Cowboys in the Raiders' exhibition opener.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Running game may even be better for 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Brandon Jacobs and other newcomers give Niners an even better look in the running game in exhibition opener vs. Vikings.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Kaepernick flashes his dash in 49ers' first game

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick showed off his athleticism in Round 1 of his exhibition season duel with Josh Johnson for the backup job behind Alex Smith, running 78 yards for a TD in win over Vikings.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Raiders' McFadden looks ready to roll

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Running back Darren McFadden, coming back from a foot injury, looks healthy, fit and fast. With changes made in the team's offensive schemes, he may be set for a big season.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

49ers' Aldon Smith has goals for second season

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Aldon Smith had a sensational rookie season, followed by a shaky offseason. Now he says he has goals for 2012 to put up even better numbers than 2011 when he had 14 sacks.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Raiders avoiding temptation of signing older wideouts

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Should the Raiders sign Plaxico Burress? Probably not, if Reggie McKenzie's past actions are an indication. McKenzie passed on Terrell Owens, and appears ready to give his young wide receivers a chance to show what they can do.

49ers want Jacobs to run like a big back

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agent running back Brandon Jacobs in the offseason with one intention: have him be a difference-maker in short-yardage situations. They want the big back to run like a big back ... something Jacobs hasn't always done.

Some fans in Portsmouth, Ohio still celebrate their NFL team of the early 1930s, the once-mighty Spartans (now the Detroit Lions)

Portsmouth, Ohio is a little river town now, with a population of just a bit more than 20,000. But back in the early 1930s, it was a bustling, steel and manufacturing town that had a strong pulse and one of the strongest teams in the NFL, the Portsmouth Spartans. Not many people remember the Spartans these days, but a core group of fans in the area still tries to spread the word on the Spartans, who played in a stadium that still stands. My story for's Playbook section:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Red zone was the twilight zone for 49ers in 2011

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: San Francisco, which had trouble scoring TDs in the red zone in 2011, is working to make that a different story in 2012.

Baseball fans in England keep their eyes focused across pond

In the midst of a busy sports summer in Great Britain, where the Olympics have taken center stage, a small group of baseball fans -- members of the Bobby Thomson chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research -- are more interested in the pennant races than the medal count. My story for's Playbook section: