Five 49ers to watch: 1. Josh Johnson


Five 49ers to watch: 1. Josh Johnson

(This is the final part in a series that spotlights five 49ers players to watch in the team's exhibition game Saturday, 5 p.m., at the Houston Texans.)

Part 1: Mike Person
Part 2: Trenton Robinson
Part 3: A.J. Jenkins
Part 4: Chris Owusu
When the 49ers signed quarterback Josh Johnson to a two-year contract in the offseason with a 350,000 signing bonus, it was a popular thought that he could give Alex Smith a run for his money.Johnson, a four-year veteran, was Josh Freeman's backup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was coming to the 49ers to play for the man, Jim Harbaugh, who helped transform him into a record-breaking passer at the University of San Diego.But Johnson was never in the mix to challenge Smith for the starting job. And second-year player Colin Kaepernick has emerged as the front-runner to retain his role as the 49ers' No. 2 quarterback, Harbaugh said this week.
Suddenly, it's no sure thing that Johnson is even the third-best quarterback on the roster. Scott Tolzien, who played well in the first exhibition game, appears to be even with Johnson for the No. 3 job.Johnson is scheduled to be the third quarterback to enter Saturday's game against the Houston Texans. After an inconsistent week of practice, Johnson needs a good performance to keep from losing ground in the race for a roster spot.Either way, the 49ers will have a difficult decision to make when it comes to sorting out the backup quarterback situation."We'll do what's best for our football team, what we feel like helps be a better team and win games," Harbaugh said. "This is one of those things that was foreseen that we have four very good quarterbacks. These are four quarterbacks who'll play a very long time in this league. We knew it would be very competitive."There are things that are taking shape, but these games are very important, as we knew they would be. Thought that it would come down to some of these games and how they'd play in practice and the games as being equally as important."

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'


Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem


Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”