49ers feel good about their three QBs


49ers feel good about their three QBs

INDIANAPOLIS -- Coach Jim Harbaugh admits to some sleepless nights as his starting quarterback remains unsigned less than three weeks before the beginning of NFL's free-agent signing period."Yeah, Alex (Smith) is our guy," Harbaugh said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine. "He had a tremendous season. Definitely, as a coach you worry about a lot of things. And when a quarterback is not signed and he is a free agent that leads to some lost sleep."When -- not if -- the 49ers sign Smith to an extension, the organization will feel good about their quarterback depth chart, general manager Trent Baalke said. Behind Smith last season were rookies Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien.Baalke said he does not consider it a priority to strengthen the team's quarterback position this offseason."Is it a focus of need right now? No," Baalke said. "We're very comfortable with the younger guys and it remains to be seen what we'll be able to get done with Alex, but we feel very comfortable there as well."It's not something that Jim and I or anybody else in the organization are real stressed out about."A year ago, Harbaugh watched Kaepernick and Tolzien at the scouting combine. The 49ers traded up to select Kaepernick in the second round. He saw extended play time during the exhibition season. The 49ers added Tolzien, who went undrafted, off the waiver wire after the San Diego Chargers released him at the end of training camp.
Once the regular season began, Kaepernick attempted just five passes and Tolzien never suited up for a game. Harbaugh said he was pleased with the progress of the rookie quarterbacks behind the scenes."Both of those youngsters did as good a job or better as I've ever seen young quarterbacks approach the game," Harbaugh said. "Both of them were just sponges, in terms of picking up as much as they possibly can. That was the most impressive thing."(I) also liked the way they competed in practice, before practice, after practice and the way they physically played. They belong. And an offseason is going to benefit both of those youngsters very much."I've always felt that the most improvement you can make is from Year 1 to Year 2."When asked specifically about Kaepernick's progress, Baalke said the second-round pick was "wired" the right way. He said Kaepernick came to work early every day and stayed late. Kaepernick took snaps out of the "pistol" formation at Nevada, so learning how to work under center was an adjustment."It's important to him," Baalke said. "He really started to grasp being under center and taking snaps under center, the footwork that goes along with it, (and) the eye progression that goes along with the offense, which is much different than the offense that he came out of."

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely


Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead will be out indefinitely with a broken hand, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday.

“He’s going to need surgery, so it’s going to be some time,” Shanahan said of Armstead, the 49ers' first-round pick in the 2015 draft.

The 49ers will discuss placing Armstead of injured reserve, which would rule him out for at least eight weeks. The 49ers will also be without defensive end Aaron Lynch this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Lynch is week-to-week with a calf strain.

“The more guys you lose, the less you like that depth,” Shanahan said. “Losing Arik, which could be some time. We’ll have to discuss IR. We have to do that over the next couple of days. We know we’re going to have Lynch out, too, for at least a week or most likely more. That takes away two guys who were helping.”

The 49ers might make a roster move to add a defensive lineman to their 53-man roster. The 49ers also expect outside linebacker/defensive end Dekoda Watson to return to action this week after missing two weeks with a groin strain.