49ers Mailbag: Kaepernick slated as long-term insurance


49ers Mailbag: Kaepernick slated as long-term insurance

The 49ers' practice Thursday is scheduled for 2:30 to 5:10 p.m. With a little time to kill, let's dig into the 49ers Mailbag . . .

Q: What's Kaepernick's status. Is he still seen as the heir apparent? (Tim Gould)Colin Kaepernick is signed for three more seasons. Of course, Alex Smith signed a three-year contract to return to the 49ers in the off-season.Things can change quickly. After all, Smith's deal is really structured in a way that makes it a series of one-year contracts. But Kaepernick will never get a chance to play for the 49ers if Smith plays well and remains healthy.Through the first five practices of training camp, Smith has shown to be clearly better than the other three quarterbacks who are scrambling for their roles this season.
So is Kaepernick seen as the heir apparent? No, he's seen as the 49ers' backup quarterback and insurance policy for the next three seasons.And he'll even have to earn the right to hold onto that spot over Josh Johnson, the former Tampa Bay No. 2 who will get a chance to unseat Kaepernick during camp this summer.Q: With Tony Jerod-Eddie looking good and almost a PS squad lock and with Demarcus Dobbs looking good as a D-Lineman and showing versatility as a tight end, is Ian Williams a guy who will have a tough time making the team? (Patrick Jira)Whoa, there. While I appreciate your enthusiasm as it pertains to Tony Jerod-Eddie, the undrafted defensive tackle from Texas A&M is certainly not a "lock" for the practice squad. He certainly has a good opportunity to stick around this season, but he also has lot of work to do to get to that point.Demarcus Dobbs is looking good at tight end, so there is a legitimate chance that the 49ers keep two true tight ends on the roster (Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker) in addition to Dobbs. Then, the team would also keep a tight end for the practice squad.The 49ers kept seven defensive linemen on their 53-man roster at the start of last season because they thought they had some talent and did not want to give up on Will Tukuafu, Dobbs or Williams.I expect the 49ers to keep six defensive linemen this season. They can only have one true nose tackle on the roster. That's Isaac Sopoaga. All the backups must be able to play every spot.Williams has practice-squad eligibility because he suited up for only one regular-season game last year. As everything stands right now, I anticipate they'll try to bring him back to the practice squad.Q: Who do you predict being the RG starter come week 1? (Danny Esparza)Alex Boone.Leonard Davis would have to be clearly better than Boone to win this job. After all, Boone is 25 years old, he's on the up-swing, and he is signed through the 2015 season. Boone has gotten off to a good start, and he is definitely fired up to get this opportunity to be a starter for the first time in his career.Q: Why is Mario Manningham being so overlooked this off-season? Wasn't he a sneaky good pick up? (Alex Sawyer)Whenever I write or talk about the 49ers' receivers, I mention Mario Manningham, along with Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss, as the team's top three receivers.Yes, Manningham was a very good pickup for the investment. He signed a two-year contract, and he is a starter-quality receiver. I'd expect Manningham to hold down the job as the No. 3 wideout, while also rotating into games as one of the top two guys on occasion.It's because of Manningham that I don't see how rookie A.J. Jenkins can make much of an impact as a rookie. Jenkins has neither been outstanding or bad. And, as expected, he does not appear ready to challenge Manningham, Crabtree or Moss for a spot within the team's top three.

Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions


Shanahan: Beathard's play will have 'a ton' of influence on future decisions

SANTA CLARA – While rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard is taking a micro view of his promotion, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is not shy about admitting he is looking at the big picture.

Shanahan said how Beathard performs after replacing Brian Hoyer as starting quarterback will have “a ton” of influence on how the 49ers proceed during the offseason.

After all, the 49ers know every position will come under tremendous scrutiny as the organization looks to add the pieces that will make the club competitive.

“That’s for every position. That’s for every player on our team. That’s for every coach on our team,” Shanahan said. “We’re 0-6, and that’s extremely tough. But I’m extremely excited about this place and excited about where we’re at and where we’re going. There’s not a moment that I don’t waste thinking about that stuff.”

Beathard will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium.

Hoyer failed in his bid to earn consideration as the 49ers’ quarterback for the remainder of this season and beyond during his six starts. Hoyer completed just 58 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 74.1.

Now, Beathard gets his chance. But he said he is not thinking about the big picture and what it might mean for the future.

“I’m really just trying to take it one day, one week at a time,” Beathard said. “I’m not looking that far ahead. Right now, my focus is on today’s practice and geared towards beating the Cowboys and doing the best we can to get better and improve.”

Beathard was pressed into action last week when Hoyer’s struggles continued at Washngton. Beathard stepped in and completed 19 of 36 passes for 245 yards with a touchdown and an interception. For the first time, Beathard is getting the first-team practice snaps with a game plan that is designed specifically for him.

Said Beathard, “Getting those extra reps, reps with guys that you don’t usually throw to, in the huddle with the guys that are out there, I think it’ll help a lot.”

Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates


Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates

More than 35 players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl champion will be in attendance on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium to show support for Dwight Clark, who revealed in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Clark, 60, will have ample opportunity to reconnect with some of his old friends on Saturday evening and again on Sunday. At halftime, Joe Montana, surrounded by most of the 49ers' 1981 team, will introduce Clark before a video tribute.

Clark is also expected to make some remarks while situated in a suite for the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Montana and his wife, Jennifer, have remained in close contact with Clark and his wife, Kelly. The Clarks recently watched the Blue Angels in San Francisco with the Montanas during Fleet Week.

“He’s getting pretty inundated with everyone staying in touch with him at this point,” Montana said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“It’s fun for him. At one point, he was telling his wife, Kelly, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is what I want and what I miss, seeing the guys.’ So any of the guys reaching out to him, he surely appreciates it.”

Montana said Clark has not lost his positive outlook or his sense of humor, as evidenced by some not-fit-for-print words he recently had about his wheelchair. Montana said there are always some good laughs and stories any time Clark gets together with his friends.

“That’s the fun part," Montana said. “You just try to get him to forget what’s there, and that you’re there for him whenever. I think the support is the biggest thing right now. In that stage of ALS, it's got to be getting tough, where all of a sudden, things are becoming more and more difficult.”