49ers Mailbag: Questions about QB, WRs


49ers Mailbag: Questions about QB, WRs

It's the morning after one of the most painful losses in 49ers history.Let's go to the 49ers Mailbag to see what folks are wondering after the 49ers' season-ending 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants in the NFC Championship game.Q: I like Alex but still don't have complete faith in him . . . Will Kaepernick have a chance to compete for the starting QB position next year? (Jack O'Ryan)
Not only did the 49ers draft Colin Kaepernick in the second round of the draft, but they traded up to get him. Kaepernick, officially, was the first quarterback that was added to the 49ers' roster under coach Jim Harbaugh.
Fully expect Alex Smith to return. But also expect the team to give Kaepernick a shot. It's doubtful Harbaugh will have an open quarterback competition, but the best player will play. That's something Harbaugh has said all along -- about every position on the team.
If, at some point, Harbaugh believes Kaepernick gives the 49ers their best chance to be successful, then Kaepernick will take over as the quarterback. Kaepernick will get a full offseason and training camp to convince Harbaugh.
Q: What was up with our complete inability to convert 3rd downs? (Josh Geller)
It's been an epidemic all season. While the 49ers had an efficient passing attack, it was not always effective. Part of the problem was that the 49ers weren't able to do well on first and second downs, either. It's easier to convert on third downs when the yardage is manageable. That wasn't always the case with the 49ers.Q: Any chances on releasing Kyle Williams? (Jason Mitchell)
Well, let's face it, Williams broke camp as the 49ers' No. 5 wide receiver. He was behind Michael Crabtree, Joshua Morgan, Braylon Edwards and Ted Ginn when the season began. Without question, the 49ers need to do something to address the wideout position. Williams' spot certainly is not guaranteed for next season, so he'd have to earn his way on the team. But it would be surprising if they completely gave up on him before the start of camp.The 49ers believe Williams can be an effective slot receiver. But Williams looked way too shaky in the return game in the limited time he was back there. His confidence took a huge hit, obviously. How he bounces back from this, from a mental standpoint, will determine his future with the club.Q: Do you think the 49ers will draft a wide receiver? (Samuel Garcia)
Yes. They'll look toward free agency and they'll look for a young player, too. The 49ers have the No. 30 overall pick, and there will be the opportunity throughout this draft to add some talent at the position.Q: What do you think the 49ers need to add to their roster to get to the Super Bowl? WR? CB? QB or ??? (Rick Dalderis)
Well, they nearly got to the Super Bowl with the roster they have right now. Receiver is a spot that must be addressed. Morgan and Ginn are free agents, but the 49ers need to improve this area. They also need more help at cornerback with Carlos Rogers slated for free agency, and no guarantee he'll return. Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks is slated for free agency, so the 49ers will look to re-sign him while also getting another player at that spot. The 49ers feel pretty good about their offensive line, but they'll always look to get stronger there -- especially at guard.

49ers GM John Lynch: 'Right now, we don't need him'


49ers GM John Lynch: 'Right now, we don't need him'

When the 49ers acquired their presumptive franchise quarterback in a trade last month, there were two major complications that contributed to skepticism about the future.

Jimmy Garoppolo came to the 49ers with a resume that consisted of only two starts in four NFL seasons. Moreover, Garoppolo was under contract for only half a season before he would be scheduled for unrestricted free agency.

Nothing has changed since Garoppolo arrived from New England with six suitcases packed with clothes and belongings – other than the 49ers appear to feel more resolute in their belief Garoppolo is not just a rental.

General manager John Lynch, the man who must ultimately decide the team’s decision on how to handle Garoppolo’s contract status, said he does not necessarily need coach Kyle Shanahan to quickly assign Garoppolo the starting role to determine his value to the organization.

“No, I don’t think so,” Lynch said for “49ers Game Plan,” which will air Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3). “We know what we like about Jimmy Garoppolo. And that’s only been strengthened by the time that’s he’s been here. We’re just going to let these things play out. That’s in Kyle’s hands.

“People have had all these ideas about why we got Jimmy. We got Jimmy because we think he has big-time ability at the quarterback position. And we believe so much – to get where we need to get – you have to have a franchise quarterback. We think he’s got that ability. Whether that happens, when that happens, we’ll see. But we certainly like his future with the 49ers.”

The 49ers, currently on their bye week, are coming off their first victory of the season. Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard played his best game, throwing for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 win over the New York Giants.

Garoppolo is spending his bye week in Santa Clara, meeting with coaches, to continue his cramming of the team’s playbook and offensive philosophy.

“The plan is to continue to get him ready,” Lynch said. “It’s a very different system he played under. A great system, but a different system he played under in New England. And Kyle’s system is complex for a quarterback. There’s a lot of verbiage in every play call. There are a lot of adjustments on every play call that the quarterback controls.

“We want to set Jimmy up for success and also the way C.J.’s playing is helping us sit back. And now we have a bye week. They’re going to work hard during this week to get him up to speed. But right now, we don’t need him. C.J. just played a great game and his teammates really believe in him. We think it’s nothing but a good situation.”

John Lynch envisions 49ers' final six games to set the tone for 2018


John Lynch envisions 49ers' final six games to set the tone for 2018

Left tackle Joe Staley compared the elation in the 49ers’ locker room Sunday to what he experienced after the team earned a trip to the Super Bowl five seasons ago.

Young players, veteran players, coaches and executives took part in an enthusiastic celebration at Levi’s Stadium after the 49ers recorded their first victory over the season – a 31-21 win over the New York Giants.

General manager John Lynch, who earned nine trips to the Pro Bowl and won a Super Bowl ring as a player, was a bit surprised at the genuine show of emotion that included dancing and players hoisting a bucket of water to douse coach Kyle Shanahan.

“I’ve always been an act-like-you’ve-been-there guy, so I was a little surprised I was acting like that,” Lynch said for “49ers Game Plan,” which will air Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3).

Lynch said the celebration was a spontaneous show of pride for a team that lost its first nine games of the season, including an unprecedented streak of five consecutive losses by three points or fewer.

“It’s easy to lose a team when you just haven’t won,” Lynch said. “That’s what this business is all about. When you’re not (winning), it can be miserable. I think the fact that everyone feels that positive energy and sees progress despite the fact that it wasn’t showing up on the win-loss record.

“And that’s why you saw a 46-year-old GM bouncing around with our players. It was fun. That’s what makes this league so special.”

But Lynch also sees it as the beginning, not the culmination of this season's journey. He envisions the final six games to serve as a set up for the 2018 season, as many players have chances to show coaches and management they are part of the solution.

“We want to continue to see who’s responding, who is going to be a part of this moving forward,” Lynch said. “But we also want to raise that standard. After a win like against the Giants, yeah, we were elated in the locker room.

“But that didn’t keep us and the coaches from going in there and coaching hard and saying, ‘Hey, guys, we won, but we can be so much better if we tighten up some of these details.’ We’re going to continue to develop that as part of our culture.”