49ers Mailbag: Miller to remain top fullback?


49ers Mailbag: Miller to remain top fullback?

It'll be a Sunday spent mostly in front of the TV, as the 49ers enjoy their bye week. But we can still talk about the team.Let's go to the 49ers Mailbag. And if you have more questions, leave them in the comments section below and I'll try to answer a few questions there throughout the day.

Q: Should the Niners get rid of Moran Norris? (@Alpha138)
My answer: I don't necessarily think they should get rid of him after he returns from his broken fibula. He'll miss a couple more games after the bye week, and as a vested veteran his salary is guaranteed through the remainder of the season.However, I can't see Norris coming back to his former role as the 49ers' starting fullback. RookieBruce Miller got off to a rough start in Cincinnati, but he has gotten better and better. He's given the 49ers improved play.
Miller is more athletic and he's able to adjust better than Norris. He also offers more versatility to the 49ers' offense. After all, Miller already has five receptions for 40 yards. All of last season, Norris caught four passes for 20 yards.Q: If Miller stays @ 1 FB, what becomes Norris' role? Would he be willing to be primarily a special teams player? (@yougomango)
My answer: If Norris is not a starter, it seems it would be difficult to keep him on the 46-man game-day roster. He is not a main contributor on special teams, so he'd be kept on the 53-man roster as the No. 2 fullback -- as insurance.Delanie Walker, the 49ers' No. 2 tight end, gets more playing time than the fullback. That is not going to change, as Walker is definitely one of the 49ers' best 11 players. So there's no reason to have a second fullback dressed for games.
The 49ers do not have any glaring needs elsewhere. They have five receivers who should be able to practice this week, in addition to practice-squaders Joe Hastings and John Matthews. So that's not a concern.They are a little light at outside linebacker, butParys Haralsonn is expected back from a hamstring strain that knocked him out of the game against the Detroit Lions. If the 49ers needed somebody, they'd probably promote rookie Monte Simmons from the practice squad. Their final cut before the start of the regular season, Antwan Applewhite, was signed by the Carolina Panthers a couple weeks ago.Q: What are the niners focusing on improving for the bye week? (@rickdawg52)
My answer: The focus last week was on improving their health, and getting everybody's battery re-charged for the final 10 games (plus playoffs?) of the season.The new collective bargaining agreement mandates that all teams must give their players four days off during the bye week. A couple weeks ago, Jim Harbaugh told his team he'd give them an additional day off for each win they got after that point. With victories over Tampa Bay and Detroit, the 49ers earned six days off.Q: When is Braylon coming back? @giantsap
My answer: Wide receiver Braylon Edwards was scheduled to begin jogging and making cuts last week, as he returns from arthroscopic surgery he underwent on Sept. 19 to repair a torn meniscus cartilage.There's a decent chance he returns to the practice field this week -- perhaps on a limited basis. How he looks in practice will determine whether he'll be in uniform to face his first NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, next Sunday at Candlestick Park.

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’


LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

LeBron James is an avid football fan. He's now an even bigger Colin Kaepernick fan than the sport. Following the Cavaliers' practice on Sunday, James opened up on Kaepernick and his absence from the NFL. 

"I've commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him," James said to ESPN. "Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn't see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature."

James believes the masses don't truly understand what Kaepernick was doing when he first took a knee as a protest against social and racial injustices in America. For his actions, James respects Kaepernick choosing his beliefs over his sport.

"When it's something that's new and it's something that people are not educated about or don't understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you're doing is wrong," James said. "For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he's done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that."

Add James to the list of those who believe Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL for taking a knee last season. The more games he watches, the more James sees the evidence on the wall. 

"I don't represent the NFL. I don't know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that," James believes. "Just watching, he's an NFL player. He's an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he's been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that."

Kaepernick, who recently turned 30 years old, appeared in 12 games for the 49ers in the 2016-17 season. Through the air he completed 59.2 percent of his passes and ended the year with 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kaepernick also added 468 yards and two more scores on the ground. 

"The only reason I could say he's not on a team is because the way he took a knee," James said. "That's the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks -- first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks -- that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let's just be honest."

For his career, Kaepernick has thrown for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns to 30 interceptions. With his speed as a dual-threat quarterback, Kaepernick has also gained 2,300 yards rushing and 13 more touchdowns. 

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals


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.