49ers

49ers key matchup No. 1: Colin Kaepernick vs. Jason Campbell

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49ers key matchup No. 1: Colin Kaepernick vs. Jason Campbell

This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Bears matchups to watch Monday, 5:30 p.m. (ESPNCBS 5), at Candlestick Park.49ers QB Colin Kaepernick vs. Bears QB Jason CampbellTale of the tape
Kaepernick (7): 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, second season, Nevada
Campbell (2): 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, eighth season, AuburnJason Campbell has 70 career starts on his resume in six previous seasons with the Washington Redskins and Raiders.Colin Kaepernick is slated to make his first NFL start.MAIOCCO: Key matchup No. 2 -- Crabtree vs. TillmanWhen the 49ers face the Chicago Bears on Monday night, it will likely be a game that comes down to the quarterbacks. It might be the quarterback who makes the most plays. Or, more likely, the difference could come down to the quarterback who simply avoids the major mistake.In what figures to be a low-scoring game, it might not take much to turn the game. The 49ers own the league's third-ranked defense, while the Bears' defense is No. 5.The 49ers' defense leads the NFL with just 14.1 points allowed per game. The Bears are generating turnovers at a rate of 30 takeaways in nine games."Obviously, they're a great defense," Kaepernick said last week when it appeared as if Alex Smith was on track to make the start after being asymptomatic and taking part in four days of practices."I think they're No. 1 in the NFL right now," Kaepernick added. "A lot of turnovers, a lot of great players on that side of the ball who have a lot of Pro Bowls, as far as (Brian) Urlacher, (Lance) Briggs, (Julius) Peppers. They have a lot of great players over there. We're going to have our work cut out for us."Campbell takes over for Jay Cutler, who was ruled out of action on Friday due to a concussion he sustained Nov. 11. Kaepernick is scheduled to start in place of Smith, who sustained a concussion in the second quarter of last week's game against the St. Louis Rams.MAIOCCO:Key matchup No. 3 -- Justin Smith vs. Chilo RachalThe 49ers announced Monday morning that Smith has been declared out for Monday's game after being evaluated by team medical director Dr. Dan Garza. Smith had been cleared to participate in practices Wednesday through Saturday.Second-year player Scott Tolzien, who has suited up for just one game in his career, will serve as the 49ers' backup quarterback.Campbell enters Monday's game with a lot of NFL experience. In 19 starts with the Raiders the past two seasons, Campbell posted an 11-7 record as a starter. He sustained a broken collarbone last October, leading the Raiders to trade for Carson Palmer. Campbell did not play again last season, and he signed with the Bears in the offseason."We felt like we needed to improve our backup quarterback position in the offseason," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "So we felt real good about being able to convince Jason to come here and be Jay's backup."This season, Campbell has completed 12 of 20 passes for 94 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He entered last week's game against the Houston Texans at halftime. Campbell led seven possessions, during which time the Bears managed only four first downs, one field goal and one missed field goal.Kaepernick has seen action in six games this season, including consecutive games against the New York Jets, Buffalo and New York Giants as a change-of-pace quarterback. He has completed 16 of 26 attempts for 206 yards. He is the 49ers' third-leading rusher with 177 yards on 21 attempts.Lovie Smith said last week that his Bears defense would prepare for both Alex Smith and Kaepernick."Colin has been playing some anyway, so we've been preparing for that anyways," Lovie Smith said. "Again, we don't change what we do an awful lot based on change in the quarterback. Both of those quarterbacks have played some for them."

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

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AP

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.

49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?

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USATSI

49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?

Believe it or not, the 49ers’ offense is improved from last season.

The 49ers ranked 31st in the NFL in 2016, averaging 308.1 yards per game. Although the offense is producing just a little better (325.9 yards per game), their ranking this season has shot up to 21st in the league.

The 49ers have had a different head coach and different person running the offense in each of the past four seasons, so their continuity has been severely lacking.

Next season, the 49ers should finally have carryover from one season to the next.

The direction of the offense is one of the topics addressed on this edition of 49ers Mailbag (questions were submitted via Facebook):

Now that we have Jimmy G do you see 49ers getting an offensive coordinator or will it still be Kyle calling the plays? (Julio Orozco)
I'm not sure why the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo would have any impact on the 49ers’ offensive structure, but in any event, the answer is a resounding, “No.”

Kyle Shanahan has been hailed as one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL. The reason he was hired as 49ers head coach was, in large part, because of the success he achieved while designing offenses and calling plays.

Why would he give that up? It makes no sense.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN this week identified the 32 primary play-callers. There are 18 NFL head coaches with offensive backgrounds. Twelve of those coaches call their own plays.

Shanahan has a staff of assistant coaches on whom he leans. Passing game specialist Mike LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello are closely involved in working with Shanahan on the passing game, while running game specialist Mike McDaniel, offensive line coach John Benton and running backs coach Bobby Turner spearhead the involvement in the ground game.

But, make no mistake, it is Shanahan who calls the shots. And that's the way it should be. If Shanahan stepped aside as his own offensive coordinator, he would be diminishing his biggest strength as a coach.

What do you see happing with the Hyde situation? We drafted Joe Williams and Breida seems to be a bright spot. There’s a lot of talk about Barkley from Penn State with that high 1st rounder. (Manny Hinojos)
There does not seem to be any movement toward a long-term extension for Hyde. It is getting to the point in the season where it makes a lot more sense for Hyde to play out his contract and hit the open market.

There is no question in my mind the 49ers like Hyde a lot. He has scored some major points with the organization for his performance on the field and how he has responded off the field.

GM John Lynch loved it when Hyde came to the defense of quarterback C.J. Beathard, tussled with Arizona lineman Frostee Rucker and got ejected from the game.

That said, the 49ers are not going to break the bank for Hyde. A multi-year agreement has to come at the right price. My personal feeling is that running backs are luxury pieces when the remainder of a team’s roster -- especially the offensive line -- is set.

Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, and Turner (the assistant coach who served on both of their staffs) have achieved a lot of success without investing heavily in running backs. That’s why I think the 49ers would be best-served by investing elsewhere and using another mid-round draft pick on a running back.

With Joshua Garnett coming back next season how aggressive will Lynch and Shanahan be in trying to get guards this offseason? (David Hartless)
Garnett is not a particularly good fit for this offensive scheme. The presence of Garnett can help increase the competition next offseason, but I do not believe he is being penciled in as a starter.

The 49ers will certainly be aggressive in an attempt to upgrade the guard positions. Currently, Laken Tomlinson and Brandon Fusco are the starters. Neither will be assured a starting job when the offseason begins.

The 49ers did not see enough from Garnett to determine he has a future with the organization, but he will be given the opportunity to come back healthy and prove himself.

Is Eric Reid in long-term plans? (Grant Rasmussen)
I do not believe so. I think the 49ers would like their starting safeties next season to be Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt – with Adrian Colbert as the front-runner for the No. 3 job.

The 49ers can also be expected to add a player or two in free agency, as well as the draft, to provide a competitive environment in the offseason. The 49ers seemed to telegraph their intention with Reid when they moved him to linebacker with Ward and Tartt remaining as the starting safeties.

That position change lasted about a week, as Ward’s injury prompted the team to move Reid back to safety. Reid is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. It's entirely possible there will not be a big market for him, but I do not believe the 49ers are going to be ultra-competitive in retaining him on the open market.