After first win, 49ers' focus shifts to 'The Plan That Isn’t' during bye week

After first win, 49ers' focus shifts to 'The Plan That Isn’t' during bye week

The San Francisco 49ers’ first victory of the calendar year, a 31-21 out-of-context hammering of the New York Doing-Something-Barely-Recognizable-As-Football Giants, resulted in a quarterback controversy that isn’t.

Namely, whether C.J. Beathard earned another start, in two weeks, in Seattle. And more specifically, whether there is a plan already installed by Kyle Shanahan to cover that possibility.

Shanahan says there is no plan, so we'll call it The Plan That Isn’t is sacrosanct, and The Plan That Isn’t is all about Jimmy Garoppolo, whose main contribution to Sunday’s victory was keeping his legs warm, limber and fresh just in case.

Just as Shanahan wrote it up, while saying that he didn’t.

“It isn’t the plan,” he said of the much-assumed Jimmy Does Seattle scenario, “because it never was the plan.

The 49ers coach has never said, and he didn’t say Sunday, but the assumption is as it has been along, that Garoppolo, the quarterback of the future, would begin that future two weeks from Sunday against the Seahawks.

So it was that he left Beathard be for one more week, and it resulted in his best day as a fully salaried professional – starting with the fact that he was almost never hit (a week after being pounded like a filthy rug a week ago), threw one harmless (as in the Giants did nothing with it) interception, threw two long touchdowns and ran for a third, left the team in only one punting situation well after the result was in, and in sum looked like he might be able to do this again if called upon.

Which, if The Plan That Isn’t becomes The Plan, won’t happen any time soon.

Oh, there were impatient souls who wanted Garoppolo to play today – the big Christmas present that nobody can open until all the relatives show up. They are the same folks disappointed by Minnesota’s 38-30 victory over Washington because Case Keenum looked good enough to postpone Teddy Bridgewater’s return for at least another week.

But that’s just their curiosity demanding to be fed. In San Francisco, Garoppolo is being afforded the maximum amount of prep time behind a line that only Sunday looked like a cohesive and implacable unit. Garoppolo is a future that is still sufficiently far off that hurrying him to satisfy the customers makes no tangible sense.

And in fairness (another thing that doesn’t actually exist), Beathard deserved this game as a reward for enduring last week’s game. On bad teams such as this San Francisco group, the reward for taking a beating is another beating the next time out, but the 49ers presented themselves as a fully representative NFL team at a time when they needed to know that they could. They have now held the lead in a hair more than 10 percent of their 600 minutes and 1,352 plays of play, and all but 10 of those have been in two games. So you take the good times for what they are, knowing that there is always a kicker right around the bend.

In this case, it is the news that Beathard had his throwing-hand thumb X-rayed after the game after he struck it on his touchdown run. The injury could be properly debilitating, it could be nothing, or it could offer the 49ers an easy way out of their explaining how The Plan That Isn’t Became The Plan.

Of course, we can only know that without doubt if Beathard starts against the Seahawks, and our attitude toward his veracity probably isn’t that resonant an issue for him.

In other words, if he’s fibbing, we’re the only ones who will kvetch. If there actually is The Plan, it will happen without outside input – which I suppose could be considered output.

But the Jimmy Watch will continue, because the season demands it. Sunday’s win gives the team something to build on and bask in, but the future comes hard and fast, especially when it has already begun. Because there is a thing called The Plan. There really is. The only thing we don’t know is when Shanahan will choose to implement it, and we have 13 days before Seattle to gnaw it into gristle

After all, what better reason is there for a bye week in a season that has already left?

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

Eric Reid presents Colin Kaepernick Ambassador of Conscience Award

AMSTERDAM — Amnesty International gave former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday for his kneeling protest of racial injustice that launched a sports movement and might have cost him his job.

Onetime San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid presented Kaepernick with the award during a ceremony in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.

In his acceptance speech, the award-winner described police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the United States as lawful lynchings.

"Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation — the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex," Kaepernick said.

Kaepernick first took a knee during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem when he was with the 49ers in 2016 to protest police brutality.

"How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, 'freedom and justice for all,' that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?" he said at Saturday's award ceremony.

Other players joined his protest in the 2016 season, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump, who called for team owners to fire such players.

In response to the player demonstrations, the NFL agreed to commit $90 million over the next seven years to social justice causes in a plan.

Kaepernick wasn't signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco.

Reid, a safety who is now a free agent, continued Kaepernick's protests by kneeling during the anthem last season. Reid has said he will take a different approach in 2018.

Kaepernick paid tribute to his friend for his own role in the protest movement.

"Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy," Kaepernick said. "But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of black and brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career."

Amnesty hands its award each year to a person or organization, "dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others."

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kaepernick "an athlete who is now widely recognized for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination."

Previous recipients of the award include anti-Apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girls' right to education even after surviving being shot by Taliban militants.

"In truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force," Kaepernick said.

Five NFL Draft options if 49ers make first-round trade

Five NFL Draft options if 49ers make first-round trade

The 49ers have their starting and backup quarterbacks on the roster for at least the next three seasons. That luxury opens up their draft options to concentrate on other areas.

Quarterbacks Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen could be selected within the first eight picks of the draft. If those four quarterbacks are chosen, it means the 49ers will get – at worst – the fifth-ranked player on their draft board.

And if there is still one of those quarterbacks available when the 49ers go on the clock at No. 9 overall, it invites the possibility of a trade-back option.

The 49ers could trade back and still get one of the five players – Tremaine Edmunds, Roquan Smith, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport – highlighted as first-round draft options.

But if the 49ers move further back or acquire an additional pick in the first round, here are some of their options...

OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
The 49ers must start thinking about a time when two new offensive tackles are going to be required. McGlinchey (6-8, 312) began his career at right tackle before shifting to the left side. That versatility could come in handy for the 49ers, as right tackle Trent Brown enters the final year of his contract and might not be back in 2019. Moreover, six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley is 34 years old, and it is uncertain how much longer he can play at a high level. McGlinchey has the athleticism that Shanahan covets. He began high school as a tight end and also played on the basketball team.

OT Kolton Miller, UCLA
Miller is an exceptional athlete who should get better and better. He ran the third-fastest time among offensive linemen at the combine and placed near the top of all the other agility drills. Miller started off his college career on the right side before shifting over to protect the blind side of quarterback Josh Rosen. With any offensive lineman the 49ers select, the club could consider having him begin his career at guard before moving him to tackle whenever the need arises.

CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
Jackson was among the 49ers’ final pre-draft visits to Santa Clara. The team needs another cornerback to join presumptive starters Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. At 6-0 3/8, Jackson is not as tall as initially advertised, but his style of play and long arms would fit well within the 49ers’ scheme. He has great instincts, as shown by his nation-leading eight interceptions and 26 pass breakups.

WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
The consensus best wide receiver in the draft could provide Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan with another option in the passing game to join starters Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin. Garçon is the possession receiver and Goodwin is the deep threat. Ridley is versatile and polished, which makes him a nice chess piece to utilize early in his career for specific matchups.

WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
It should be noted that the 49ers like their receiver corps, a group that also includes Trent Taylor, Aldrick Robinson and Kendrick Bourne. But Sutton (6-3, 219) would give the 49ers more size to exploit matchups. He gets high marks off the field. There is no rush to get him out there before he is ready. The 49ers can take their time to develop him, as they would have him under their control contractually for five seasons. He has spent time learning from Anquan Boldin.