49ers

In five years, who will be the best NFL QBs?

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In five years, who will be the best NFL QBs?

Of all the young quarterbacks in football, who will be thebest five years from now?Its an important question. Which young QB would you want tobuild your team around? By young, Im talking incoming rookies and soon-to-besecond year players. Im talking Robert Griffin and Andrew Luck and Cam Newton,that bunch.Whos your favorite for the future, and why?Heres my top-five list.1. Cam Newton (6-5, 248 lbs., 22 years old) He is, and willcontinue to be, better than Andrew Luck. He has a stronger arm, for starters.He flicks bullets around the field like Aaron Rodgers. Hes a betterscramblerrunneroverall athlete than Luck. Hes so big and quick, hes thebest goal-line running back in the NFL. Theres never been a quarterback like Newton. Hes the LeBronJames or the Kevin Durant of the NFL -- a unique phenomenon in the history ofthe sport who will win multiple MVPs.
2. Andrew Luck (6-4, 234 lbs., 22) A rich mans Alex Smith,and heres what I mean. Smith does everything at about a B level. The way heruns, throws, reads the field, all of that -- hes B. Hes not A at anything(unless you count not turning the ball over a physical attribute), and hes notC at anything, either. Luck is the same as Smith, except hes A at everything,not B. But he doesnt have any A attributes like Cam Newton. Luck has an Aarm, not A. Hes an A athlete, not A. Hes even a bit methodical when heplays, like Smith. Dont get me wrong -- I think hell be a perennial ProBowler. But he may never be an MVP. 3. Robert Griffin III (6-2, 223 lbs., 22) He ran a 4.4140-yard dash at the Combine, the fastest time by a quarterback since MichaelVick in 2000. You could make the case that one day Griffin will be a bigger, smarter Vick, whichwould probably make him a Hall of Famer. Heres why hes third on my list. Eventhough hes bigger than Vick, hes not big. Hes Steve Youngs size. So, hesmuch smaller than the linebackers, unlike Newtonand Luck. When he tries to take advantage of his top-notch speed and scramble,hes going to get hit and hes going to get hurt. Thats what happened to Young-- he got concussed so many times he had to retire. Vick has had concussions,too. Pretty soon, the small, fast quarterbacks get hit so violently they haveto stop running, stay in the pocket, and then theyre not so special. Griffin could set theleague on fire in his rookie season -- hes that good -- but Id be nervousbuilding my team around such an injury-risk long-term.

4. Jake Locker (6-2, 234 lbs., 23) Locker is a lot like Griffin -- fast,scrambles, takes huge hits. While Griffinthrows one of the best, most accurate deep balls, Locker is one of the best atthrowing on-the-run. He can throw hard and accurately no matter how fast hesrunning. Ive never seen anything like it. He was very good the few times heplayed his rookie season for the Titans -- he even came one play away frombeating the Saints. If he can avoid injuries hell be a very good player in theNFL.5. Colin Kaepernick (6-4, 230 lbs., 24) Hes done nothingin the NFL to warrant this ranking. He was one of the worst QBs in thepreseason, recording a rating below 30. Andy Dalton, another rookie, led theBengals to the playoffs. Shouldnt he be No. 5? No. I bet Kaepernick turns outbetter than Dalton.Kaepernick is an extraordinary athlete. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at thecombine. He could be the Niners big, deep-threat wide receiver right now. ButHarbaugh wouldnt dream of that -- hes grooming Kaepernick to be hisquarterback of the future. Kaepernick can throw a football as hard as anyone,he just needs to improve his footwork and his accuracy, i.e. quarterbackskills. Hes way behind Daltonand all these other quarterbacks in that department. But hes got Harbaughteaching him -- a huge advantage.

Grant Cohn is a contributing writer for CSNBayArea.com

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

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AP

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

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AP

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

SANTA CLARA – In less than a year since a group of former 49ers players came together to form the Golden Heart Fund, the non-profit organization has provided valuable assistance.

“We’ve made some progress with the idea of knowing there are some people in need, so we’ve been able to make some grants to some of the ex-Niners,” Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“We’ve been able to respond. This is more about us being able to give guys the ability to know they can have, as (former 49ers linebacker and Golden Heart Fund board member) Ron Ferrari says, a hand up not a hand out.”

The organization is in the midst of a fund-raising drive this week in conjunction with "Dwight Clark Day" on Sunday. The 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, and Clark will be the guest of honor. More than 35 players from the 49ers' first Super Bowl championship team are expected to be in attendance.

Clark played nine seasons for the 49ers and provided the most memorable play in franchise history with “The Catch” against Dallas in the 1981 NFC Championship game, which propelled the organization to its first Super Bowl. Clark served as a front-office executive for a decade after his playing days.

In March, Clark announced he was diagnosed with ALS. He is scheduled to attend Sunday’s game and make some remarks at halftime from a suite.

“It’s unbelievable we are having an opportunity to celebrate an incredible day for this gentleman,” Lott said. “We can all say there was a moment in time in which we stood on his shoulders after making that catch. Now, we get a chance to lift him up a little bit and let him know how much we all care.”

Lott said Clark has been a champion of the Golden Heart Fund from its inception. Past and current 49ers ownership has supported the organization, which provides financial support for former 49ers players in times of physical, emotional and financial need.

“It’s the spirit of Dwight,” Lott said. “It’s more about the funds going in through his efforts. He’s paying it forward.”

--The public can made a direct contribution to the fund at GoldenHeartFund.org.

--Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle at Sunday’s game will benefit the Golden Heart Fund.

--Twenty-five percent of proceeds from the sales of Dwight Clark apparel purchased on game day will go to the fund.

--Half of all proceeds from admission to the 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium throughout the year will go to the charity.

-- On Sunday, Nov. 19, Levi’s Stadium and race grand marshal Roger Craig will host the first Golden Heart 4.9K Run with all proceeds from the event going to the Golden Heart Fund. Runners can register GoldenHeartRun.com.