Garcia: 49ers game plan for season requires two things


Garcia: 49ers game plan for season requires two things

SANTA CLARA – Balance and patience.

Former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, now an analyst on NBC Sports Bay Area’s coverage of 49ers games, believes his old team will need plenty of both qualities this season in Kyle Shanahan’s first year as head coach.

Running back Carlos Hyde gained 44 yards on seven carries against the Carolina Pathers’ stout defense in the first half of the 49ers’ season opener. But after the Panthers scored two field goals late in the first half and added a touchdown on their first possession of the second half, the 49ers were forced to abandon the run.

In the first half, 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer completed 11 of 15 attempts for 88 yards and had a well-thrown pass 40 yards down the field go through the hands of receiver Marquise Goodwin. But Hoyer and the 49ers' offense struggled in the second half as they tried to play catchup.

“The way this offense works is through balance,” Garcia said on the “49ers Insider Podcast.”

“And the way Hoyer can be successful is through balance. He is not going to be your pure drop-back, Drew Brees, 50-times-in-the-air type of guy. He’s an efficient quarterback when he’s given an opportunity to have that rhythm.

“When it’s forced upon him to be an every-down thrower, that’s not how this team's makeup is going to allow them to be successful. They don’t have those kinds of weapons.”

The 49ers’ regular-season opening roster is comprised of 30 players who are new to the organization after the club went 2-14 last season, prompting to the firings of general manager Trent Baalke and coach Chip Kelly.

The 49ers’ 23-3 loss to the Panthers to kick off the Shanahan-John Lynch era featured plenty of physical errors, mental errors and some miscalculations as the 49ers unsuccessfully went for it on fourth downs in the second quarter, leading to Carolina field goals.

But the 49ers’ less-than-inspiring opener does not necessarily mean there is no hope for the season, Garcia said.

"There has to be some patience," Garcia said. "They can walk away from this game and realize, 'There’s a half-dozen plays out there -- six plays -- that if we just execute better, if we don't make the mental error that we made, this is a different ball game.'"

49ers host two free-agent cornerbacks


49ers host two free-agent cornerbacks

The 49ers hosted two veteran cornerbacks on free-agent visits the past two days and could be signing either Jaylen Watkins or LaDarius Gunter as they wind down their activity on the free-agent market.

“We’re really pleased with what we’ve done,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Thursday. “I’ll never say never. We’ve had a couple of guys visit in the last couple of days. Perhaps we’ll do something there. But for the most part, we’re wrapped up and pleased with what we’ve been able to do.”

The 49ers do not have much depth behind presumptive starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon. The team is also likely to add to its depth in the draft.

The 49ers met with Gunter (6-foot-2, 201 pounds) on Thursday. Gunter, 25, started 15 games for the Green Bay Packers in 2016. He recorded 54 tackles and broke up 12 passes. He signed with the Packers in 2015 as an undrafted rookie from Miami.

Gunter was waived at the beginning of last season and the Carolina Panthers claimed him. He appeared in just four games with Carolina, which did not tender him as a restricted free agent.

The 49ers on Wednesday met with Watkins, 26, a versatile defensive back who appeared in 36 games with five starts in four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Watkins (5-11, 195) played three snaps on defense and 17 plays on special teams in the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. He entered the NFL in 2014 as a fourth-round draft pick from Florida.

Eric Reid discusses free-agent status, 'going to consider different ways to be active'


Eric Reid discusses free-agent status, 'going to consider different ways to be active'

STANFORD – Free-agent safety Eric Reid chatted with 49ers general manager John Lynch on the sideline, then moved into position onto the field for an up-close view of his brother’s pro day workout Thursday at Stanford University.

Younger brother, Justin, is aiming to be a first-round draft pick like Eric, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

Both football futures of the Reid brothers remain uncertain. Justin's fate will be determined on draft day. Eric Reid remains in limbo as an NFL free agent. He has not gotten any action in the first week of free agency, and the 49ers have not made him a contract offer, he said.

But Lynch said the 49ers are closely monitoring Reid’s situation. However, the organization already has three safeties they like: Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert.

“Eric played and played well for us last year,” Lynch said. “I think he’s stuck in a safety market that’s been quiet. And I would anticipate things starting to shake for him and we’ll see.

“I’d never say never. I really do think opportunities will start to come his way. We’ve been monitoring it closely and we’ll see how that shakes out.”

Reid, 26, a six-year NFL veteran, said his agent has spoken recently to “a couple of teams,” but no contracts or visits have been proposed.

Reid’s market might be impacted by his up-front role in the protests of racial inequality of the past two seasons. Reid and Colin Kaepernick were the first players to take a knee during the national anthem at the beginning of the 2016 season.

Reid said he would probably not take part in any future protests during the national anthem.

“From the beginning, Colin has been flexible,” Reid said. “He started by sitting. He changed it up. We decided to kneel. And we understand that you got to change with the times. So I’m not saying I’m going to stop being active, because I won’t. I’m just going to consider different ways to be active, different ways to bring awareness to the issues of this country to improve on.

“I don’t think it’ll be in the form of protesting during the anthem. And I said ‘during’ because it’s crazy to me that the narrative got changed to we were protesting the anthem, because that wasn’t the case. But I think we’re going to take a different approach to how to be active.”

Reid said he has no regrets. He said he is willing to deal with the consequences of how NFL teams viewed his role in the protests.

“I stand by what I’ve done,” Reid said. “I know why I’ve done it. My faith in God is the reason. I can go to sleep at night confident I did what I was called to do. I’m just gong to stay positive and keep trying to stay in shape and wait and see what happens.

“I said at the end of last season I’m OK no matter what happens.”