Boone always thought he’d make 49ers

Despite having to earn a spot with the 49ers in training camp, a confident Alex Boone admitted that he always saw himself making the team.

With the start of the season closing fast, Boone discusses the outlook for the 49ers, the advantages of playing right tackle as opposed to being on the left side and much more.

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49ers’ Boone earns roster spot

Alex Boone appeared to be in good position to make San Francisco’s roster heading into final cuts, but can breathe a little easier now that the 49ers have finalized their 53-man roster.

Boone, a once promising college player out of Ohio State, had to battle issues with drinking just to get a shot in the league. But the former practice squad player’s commitment to sobriety and hard work on the field turned his chance with the 49ers into a roster spot.

While the offensive tackle’s future in the NFL is no guarantee, Boone has at least made the final cuts for now.

Take a look at who did get released here.


Last chance to make an impression

We’re winding down the 2010 version of On the Fringe and tonight’s final preseason games could be very important for all, but especially two of the four players we’ve followed. (San Diego wide receiver Gary Banks has been cut and is waiting for his next opportunity). Teams have to trim rosters to 53 players Saturday so the next few days for LeGarrette Blount, Ricky Foley, Alex Boone and Cody Grimm, will be precarious.

Let’s examine where our guys stand:

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tennessee Titans: He needs to show well when the Titans play host to the Saints. He figures to get some extended playing time, maybe as soon as late in the first quarter or early in the second.

The 240-pound Blount spent most of the preseason feeling pretty comfortable that he was the perfect short-yardage back. Then he got a dose of NFL reality when the Titans signed free agent Samkon Gado, who immediately played well — and ahead of Blount — in Tennessee’s Week 2, preseason victory over Arizona. Gado’s presence (19 yards on nine preseason carries) seemed to spur Blount (16 carries, 59 yards) but the undrafted rookie from Oregon needs to prove he’s more worthy than the fifth-year veteran.

I remember asking Blount during our initial interview for this project if he understood that teams can bring in players at any time to compete with him or replace him. I wasn’t sure if he understood the seriousness of it then. I’m sure he does now.

Chance to make the final roster: Pretty good

Ricky Foley, OLB, Jets: Foley was signed Tuesday after being cut by Seattle, so his knowledge of the Jets’ defense will be minimal, especially since they play a 3-4 scheme and he was working in a 4-3 front in Seattle. That change isn’t as easy as it seems.

I’d expect Foley to only be used on special teams and in some pass-rushing situations against the Eagles. He might get some extended action late. That’s not much time for the former Canadian Football League sack specialist to impress, so he better not waste a snap. He also needs to stay disciplined because Michael Vick can make you look bad on backside bootleg runs.

The Jets are looking for depth with OLB Calvin Pace out so Foley has a chance. The Jets clearly have had their eye on him, seeing as though they claimed him off waivers shortly after being released.

Chance to make the final roster: Questionable

Alex Boone, OT, 49ers: Boone will probably get in the game early and play extended snaps against visiting San Diego. Boone seems in really good position to make the team, having spent much of the preseason working as the No. 2 left tackle. The former practice squad player can’t afford to let down, though. He’s ascended up the depth chart, but a bad outing could show the coaching staff that maybe it doesn’t mean as much to him as they thought and he could get pushed back to the practice squad if there is a numbers crunch when rosters need to be trimmed.

Chance to make the final roster: Very good

Cody Grimm, S, Tampa Bay: Grimm has really turned heads over the past few weeks and is listed as the No. 2 free safety behind emerging standout Tanard Jackson. Grimm (eight tackles, one pass defensed) should play the majority of the game at safety and on special teams vs. Houston, which will test him repeatedly in the passing game.

Chance to make the final roster: Very good

Steve Wyche


Insider takes: Cuts around corner

With teams needing to cut down to 75 players by Tuesday and down to the final 53-man roster right around the corner, it’s crunch time for’s On the Fringe guys.

We’ve already seen one casualty, as the Seahawks released Ricky Foley on Monday. Here’s how the rest stack up, according to the beat writers who have followed them daily during training camp and the preseason:

LeGarrette Blount has the bruising running style the Titans want for a change of pace to the lightning-quick Chris Johnson. Blount has the skills to be an effective runner in between the tackles, and is powerful enough to get the third-and-1 conversions. But the Titans already have a guy capable of doing those things in second-year back Javon Ringer.

Most people figured Blount entered training camp in a two-man battle with Stafon Johnson for a roster spot as the No. 3 back. When Stafon Johnson went down with a season-ending ankle injury, it opened the door for Blount even wider. Yet Blount has a lot to learn as a rookie, especially in pass protection. It’s why his chances of making this 53-man roster aren’t especially good. Blount’s best chance to stick around figures to be on the practice squad.

Jim Wyatt, The Tennessean


Everybody knew Cody Grimm had the name, but what about his game? Turns out the son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Russ Grimm has played well enough as a rookie to earn his way onto the Bucs’ roster and perhaps in the safety rotation.

“Guys’ seats are always on fire,” defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said. “There’s always somebody ready to play and replace you.”

Grimm is one of those players. He is sixth on the team with nine tackles this preseason and may see more playing time with the concussion suffered by Sabby Piscitelli Saturday against Jacksonvolle.

Grimm still has room for improvement. Against the Jags, he entered the game in the third quarter and made a touchdown-saving tackle on Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas after an 18-yard gain. He also broke up a pass in the end zone to Thomas on second-and-goal. But on special teams, Grimm had a block in the back that wound up costing the Bucs 26 yards of field position.

Two steps forward and one back, but Grimm is moving in the right direction.

Rick Stroud, St. Petersburg Times


Alex Boone remade himself as a versatile offensive tackle this past offseason, with 49ers coach Mike Singletary calling his transformation “very impressive.”

The easy part? Shedding 40 pounds after being out of shape as a practice squad rookie.

The hard part has been switching sides to right tackle. His 305-pound frame is better fit to handle all the pulling he does in the run game, and he’s playing stronger after a summer spent in the weight room. But he’s up against veteran Barry Sims as the resident swing tackle, which probably spells another year on the practice squad.

David White, San Francisco Chronicle


While Gary Banks has had a solid, productive training camp, it’s been a bit too quiet. He goes about his business in a professional, yet unspectacular manner that helps him blend in when, in fact, he needs to stand out.

Banks doesn’t get chided for mistakes, but he doesn’t get singled out either. That puts him on the chopping block, especially on a Chargers team with so few open spots.

The Chargers do like Banks and his work ethic, which means the wide receiver might get cut on Tuesday to give him the best chance of landing with another team.

Scott Bair, North County Times


Boone happy with preseason debut

San Francisco backup offensive tackle Alex Boone was pleased with his first preseason game. Not only did he play well, but he played well with the second-team after being mired with the threes for most of his rookie season last year.

He said he was far more comfortable in this year’s preseason opener than he was in 2009, but he still had so much adrenaline that he was out of breath after the first play.

Check out the entire interview below.


Breakdown of Boone’s game vs. Colts

Matt Maiocco of did a player-by-player breakdown of the 49ers’ performance against the Colts in each teams’ preseason opener on Sunday, offering up this analysis of the efforts of offensive lineman Alex Boone:

    Entered at beginning of second half at left tackle and played the rest of the way, 31 snaps. He was called for a holding penalty, but his feet looked much better than last summer. He did a very good job in the second half of handling defensive end Ervin Baldwin one-on-one.

Boone receives recognition for play

It’s hard to make a name for yourself on the offensive line. It’s even harder when you’re on the fringe, as is the case with 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone.

But Boone got some love from Sacramento Bee 49ers beat writer Matt Barrows, who listed Boone in his “other players who stood out” for the Niners against the Colts on Sunday:

Boone has been playing his college position, left tackle, lately. He looked very good against the Colts second teamers. In fact, there was no issue with the left side of either the first- or second-team offensive lines.

Boone will have to turn some more heads the rest of the way to make the final 53. But this seems to be a good start.

Boone cracks sled, how about roster?

Even if offensive lineman Alex Boone remains in an uphill climb to make the 49ers’ 53-man roster, he’s feeling pretty good about his chances after a week of training camp.

“I don’t want to speak out of turn or sound cocky or anything, but I’ve put the work in,” Boone told the San Jose Mercury News. “I’ve proven that I know my plays and that I can get out there and bang with these guys.”

A guy with confidence after putting in a bunch of hard work. That’s fair enough.

One thing Boone has had going for him is his show of strength. You want proof? How about this: The guy broke a tackling sled on Friday.

According to the 6-foot-7, 328-pounder, he hit the sled so hard that he snapped a metal beam.

Alex Boone takes on a blocking sled like a player who is in a fight for a roster spot. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)


Boone practicing well, helping chances

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Alex Boone‘s relentless offseason work is translating onto the field. His improved strength and conditioning have allowed him to work exclusively at left tackle and hold his own against a highly aggressive front — particularly DE Justin Smith.

Boone is rotating between the second and third units behind starter Joe Staley and 12-year vet Barry Sims. Sims is being allowed to take some practices off and that’s opened up a window for Boone.

The coaching staff, especially head coach Mike Singletary, is very high on Boone and he could end up pushing Sims off the roster. Boone said that he is still reacclimating to playing on the left side (as he did in college at Ohio State) after spending most of last season at right tackle on the practice squad.

Boone seems headed in the right direction, but nothing is certain.

Steve Wyche


Boone pumped for 49ers camp

Alex Boone explains why he was so excited for the opening of training camp and the challenge to make the San Francisco 49ers’ 53-man regular-season roster.