Finding a way for 49ers' Brian Hoyer to show off his arm


Finding a way for 49ers' Brian Hoyer to show off his arm

SANTA CLARA – Through the first four days of practices, Brian Hoyer has left little doubt of his standing as the 49ers’ starter and, unquestionably best option, at quarterback.

Coach Kyle Shanahan targeted Hoyer on the first day of free agency. And after he signed a two-year contract, Hoyer has been unchallenged on top of the depth chart. Hoyer appears to give Shanahan exactly what he wants with his ability to use a play-action setup to get the ball deep down the field.

“Before I got here, I didn’t know he could throw the ball that far,” 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon said.

Hoyer let the ball fly again and again on Monday. After two run plays to open practice, Hoyer used his play-action fake and unleashed a perfect pass 50 yards down the field. Wide receiver Aldrick Robinson was wide open but dropped the easy touchdown.

Later, Hoyer sent a pass that traveled 55 yards past the line of scrimmage to speedster Marquise Goodwin, who beat the coverage of Rashard Robinson for one of their many hookups since the opening of camp.

Shanahan wants to build a dangerous running game, which is a major key for him to get what he wants from Hoyer and his sneaky-strong arm.

There is still a lot of tinkering going on with the offensive line, but that unit might have the most responsibility to provide Hoyer with the support to push the ball down the field.

The line has to provide holes in the run game for Carlos Hyde and whomever else might have a role in the ground attack. The line must also be able to sell the run on play fakes to put some hesitation into the pass rush.

Ultimately, the pass protection must hold up or the general public may never see the big-play offense that Shanahan envisioned when he brought Hoyer aboard.

--The 49ers practiced without their top three safeties. Starters Jimmie Ward (hamstring) and Eric Reid (ankle) were out with injuries. Early in practice, Jaquiski Tartt sustained an injury to his left ribs area and did not return. His status for the remainder of the week is unclear. Vinnie Sunseri and Lorenzo Jerome took over as the safeties with the first-team defense, while Don Jones and Chanceller James lined up with the second team.

--Outside linebacker Jimmie Gilbert is out for the season after sustaining a torn ACL in practice Sunday, Shanahan said. Gilbert received a $12,000 signing bonus and $62,000 in guaranteed money as an undrafted rookie from Colorado.

--Rookie tight end George Kittle (hamstring), Reid (ankle) and cornerback Keith Reaser (knee) are listed as day-to-day with injuries sustained during Sunday’s practice. Offensive lineman JP Flynn is out indefinitely. The 49ers designated wide receiver B.J. Johnson as waived/injured and claimed receiver Tim Patrick from the Baltimore Ravens. If Johnson clears waivers he will revert back to the 49ers.

--Aldrick Robinson, who dropped a deep pass at the beginning of practice, concluded the day with a long touchdown pass from Matt Barkley against the coverage of veteran cornerback Will Davis.

--Cornerback Rashard Robinson got his hands on a Hoyer pass intended for Garçon. However, instead of batting the ball down, Robinson tipped it and Garçon made the catch 25 yards down the field along the left sideline.

--Receiver DeAndre Smelter made a nice catch to get both feet inbounds on a deep out on a pass from undrafted quarterback Nick Mullens.

--Aaron Lynch intercepted a Barkley pass that was tipped by Quinton Dial at the line of scrimmage. Lynch also had a would-be sack on a play in which C.J. Beathard went ahead and completed a deep pass down the field for Goodwin.

--Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster recorded his third interception in four days. Shanahan explained why it was his favorite of Foster’s picks.

--The 49ers have their first day off from training camp on Tuesday. The squad returns to practice on Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.

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.”