49ers key matchup No. 2: Crabtree vs. Finnegan


49ers key matchup No. 2: Crabtree vs. Finnegan

This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Rams matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m. (FOX), at the Edward Jones Dome.49ers WR Michael Crabtree vs. Rams CB Cortland Finnegan
Tale of the tape
Crabtree (15): 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, fourth season, Texas Tech
Finnegan (31): 5-foot-10, 188 pounds, seventh season, SamfordMichael Crabtree has known for a little more than four years that Colin Kaepernick was a "gamer."He saw it when Texas Tech played Nevada in an early season game in 2008. Nevada featured a quarterback who threw for 264 yards and rushed for 92 yards in a game Texas Tech won handily.
"We played against Nevada, and the guy was putting up points and running and doing the same thing he's doing now," Crabtree said.What Kaepernick is doing now is trying to use his arm more than his legs as the 49ers' freshly anointed starting quarterback. And one of Kaepernick's main goals is to get the ball into Crabtree's trusted hands.Crabtree has caught a touchdown pass in each of the past five games against the Rams. In those games he has 27 receptions for 435 yards and six touchdowns. Crabtree might be sneaking up on the rest of the NFL, but the Rams are not taking him lightly."Crabtree is a special guy," said Cortland Finnegan, the Rams' top cornerback. "He can run all the kind of routes. To me, he's underrated. He makes all the plays that all the big-time guys make."Finnegan, one of the more physical defensive backs in the game, figures to be matched against Crabtree throughout the game. Finnegan has three interceptions and eight passes broken up on the year.
Crabtree is the 49ers' top receiver. He leads the 49ers with 50 receptions for 567 yards and five touchdowns. He has been particularly impressive with his yards after the catch. Finnegan is a sure-tackler, ranking third on the Rams with 83 tackles.
"I'm trying to do it all," Crabtree said. "I wouldn't just pick that out. If I can go deep, I'll go deep. If I can get YAC yards, I'll get YAC yards."Crabtree clearly has no problem with coach Jim Harbaugh's decision to insert the big-armed Kaepernick into the starting lineup. The 49ers lead the NFC West with a 8-2-1 record, and appear headed for the playoffs."I think we're capable of doing anything with the defense we have, whoever's at quarterback," Crabtree said. "I'm just loving the fact we're trying to get in the end zone, and he (Kaepernick) is just trying to make plays. He's really showing he can be a starter in this league."

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'


Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem


Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”