49ers' woes in passing game continue with Kaepernick

49ers' woes in passing game continue with Kaepernick

SANTA CLARA – Colin Kaepernick’s first two games this season as the 49ers’ starting quarterback has been a struggle.

He ranks 39th and last in the NFL among quarterbacks with 50 or more pass attempts with a completion percentage of 46 percent and passer rating of 66.3. The 49ers have the lowest-rated passing offense in the NFL, averaging just 161.4 yards per game.

Kaepernick will get his third consecutive start on Sunday when the 49ers return to the bye week to face the New Orleans Saints at Levi’s Stadium.

“We have to win,” Kaepernick said. “The state of this team is we have to win and we have to win a lot. We put ourselves behind the eight ball and we have to bounce back from that.”

Kaepernick’s production has been on a steady decline since he became the 49ers’ full-time starter in the middle of the 2012 season. Each season his passer rating has dropped. Kaepernick’s rating in his seven starts of 2012 was 98.3.

“There’s a lot of different factors that can play into that,” Kaepernick said. “Whether it’s injuries, coaching changes, there’s a lot of different things that can effect that and it’s something that we have to be able to build upon as a team to make sure that we’re going out, we’re performing well and doing everything we can to get wins.”

In 2013, in Kaepernick's first full season as the starter, he threw 21 touchdowns with eight interceptions. His passer rating was 91.6. After the season, the 49ers signed him to a $115 million contract extension.

But before Kaepernick made his first start of this season, he signed a new deal in which he could void the final four years of his contract after the conclusion of this season.

“It was something that we thought was mutually beneficial while doing the contract," Kaepernick said. "That’s a long ways out. Where my focus is right now is the New Orleans Saints.”

The 49ers have lost six consecutive games. Coach Chip Kelly benched Blaine Gabbert as the 49ers lost four games in a row. Gabbert ranked just a couple spots better than Kaepernick with a 69.6 passer rating and a 58.0 completion percentage.

“There’s a lot involved with the passing game,” 49ers offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said. “It’s not just Colin. It’s protections. It’s backs. It’s being in the right places, timing.

“Colin knows and Colin will probably tell you this same thing, he needs to be, there are some throws that he probably wishes he had been a little bit more accurate on. There were some things he was accurate on that we dropped it or there’s a lot of things involved. But Colin is fine. He’s been up and down a little bit, but he’s fine and he’ll continue to get better. I don’t have an issue with where he’s at.”

Wide receiver Torrey Smith said the team has been practicing well, but they’ve been unable to carry over any of the crispness from their training sessions in games.

”We all got to be more consistent from top to bottom,” Smith said. “We had a good start to the week. We always have great practices. We just got to play better on game day, which is all that really matters.”

From Eli to Jimmy G, 49ers' new center ready to protect Garoppolo


From Eli to Jimmy G, 49ers' new center ready to protect Garoppolo

New 49ers center Weston Richburg will be joining what he has heard is a good group of offensive linemen, led by six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, the longest-tenured 49ers player.

Richburg, 26, said he is also looking forward to working closely with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, 26. The 49ers expect the players to be on the field a lot together over the coming seasons. Garoppolo and Richburg both signed five-year contracts through the 2022 season this offseason.

When asked on The 49ers Insider Podcast if the organization’s long-term commitment to Garoppolo had any influence on his decision to come to the Bay Area after four seasons with the New York Giants, Richburg answered, “Doesn’t hurt.”

“You look at of the teams that have a lot of success -- the team he just came from, what I just came from -- there are two quarterbacks on those teams that have been there who have had success who work extremely hard at their craft,” Richburg said. “So I think see that in Jimmy. I’m excited to be a little part of what he does.”

Richburg played out of position at left guard in his rookie season. Over the next two years, he started 31 of 32 games at center, in front of two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning. Garoppolo came to the 49ers in an October trade from New England after spending most of his 3 1/2 NFL seasons behind Tom Brady.

Richburg said he expects to develop a good rapport with his quarterback – a must for an offense to function at a high level.

“If it’s bad, I think it can hurt you,” Richburg said of the center-quarterback dynamic. “But if it’s good, it can help.

“I think we’re going to have a good relationship. We’re around the same age. I think we’ll be able to pick each other’s brains, feed off each other, work together. That’s part of the position of center that I like the most is kind of the cerebral part of it and working with a quarterback, getting everything situated, getting everything running.”

Richburg started just four games last season and finished the season on injured reserve with a concussion. He said it was the first concussion he has experienced and is feeling good.

“It was new territory,” Richburg said, “but I’m feeling very good right now. I’m excited. I think I got a little more itch to go play football right now since it’s been a little longer for me.”

49ers sign former first-round pick guard


49ers sign former first-round pick guard

The 49ers added some talent in the trenches on Tuesday.

Guard Jonathan Cooper inked a one-year deal, the team announced.

Cooper was originally drafted No. 7 overall by the Cardinals in 2013. After two seasons in Arizona, he spent time with the Patriots, Browns and Cowboys.

Last season, he appeared in 13 games for Dallas.

“Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line. We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team,” GM John Lynch said in a statement.