49ers

Instant Analysis: Shanahan era starts ugly for 49ers in loss to Panthers

Instant Analysis: Shanahan era starts ugly for 49ers in loss to Panthers

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SANTA CLARA – The area of quarterback Brian Hoyer’s game that provided the 49ers with their most-pleasant surprise during training camp was his ability to throw the deep ball.

And it did not take long for everyone to see him loft a well-thrown deep down the field. On the 49ers’ first possession, speedster Marquise Goodwin ran under the pass for what looked the kind of big play that is a function of Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

But Goodwin dropped the ball. It was just the first of many glaring mistakes and miscalculations for the 49ers in Shanahan’s regular-season debut – a 23-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

Shanahan brings a proven offensive system with him to the 49ers after fielding top-10 units in six of his nine years as an NFL offensive coordinator. But in his first game as coach, it was apparent just how much work is in front of Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.

The 49ers opened the season with 30 newcomers on their 53-man roster. But during Week 1, there was no erasing the memory of last year’s 2-14 team in Chip Kelly’s one-and-only season with the club.

Goodwin dropped the deep ball. And one play after dynamic rookie linebacker Reuben Foster was sidelined with a right ankle injury, free safety Jaquiski Tartt gave up a deep pass, then failed to make the tackle on Russell Shepard en route to a 40-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton.

Hoyer was sacked four times in the first half, including a sack-strip that left guard Zane Beadles surrendered that led to the Panthers’ first touchdown of the game. Hoyer gave the Panthers a gift early in the third quarter with an interception to Luke Kuechly. Carolina turned that into a touchdown for a 20-0 lead.

The 49ers were penalized 10 times for 74 yards in the first half, including two illegal-formation flags. There were dropped passes, missed tackles and no semblance of a pass rush from defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s unit.

Shanahan miscalculated twice in the second quarter, twice turning the ball over on downs near midfield. The Panthers capitalized on both situations with field goals, including Graham Gano’s 36-yarder on the final play of the first half.

Hoyer completed 24 of 35 passes for 193 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in his 49ers debut. Hoyer has played for seven teams throughout his nine-year career.

FOSTER SIDELINED
Foster went down in the first half with a right ankle injury while tackling rookie running back Christian McCaffrey. Foster was taken off the field in a cart for further observation in the 49ers’ locker room. While Foster did not return to action, he did return to the 49ers under his own power to spend the rest of the first half on the team’s sideline. He watched the second half on the sideline without cleats or pads.

THIS ‘N’ THAT
--Tartt made the start at free safety in place of Jimmie Ward, who has yet to make it through a full practice after sustaining a hamstring injury during the team’s conditioning test on the eve of training camp.

Tartt had a rough game but did supply a highlight reel play with a one-handed interception of a deep Newton pass in the first half. After giving up the long touchdown pass to Shepard, Tartt was also called for unnecessary roughness penalty against tight end Greg Olsen after a pass Newton badly overthrew.

--Rookie George Kittle started at tight end and caught five passes for 27 yards.

--Slot receiver Trent Taylor caught one pass for 8 yards and handled the punt return chores in his NFL debut. He had one return for 9 yards and a fair catch.

--Cornerback Rashard Robinson forced and recovered a fumble against Christian McCaffrey in the fourth quarter but the 49ers were unable to capitalize. The offense ended up turning it over on downs for the third time in the game.

--Running back Carlos Hyde gained 45 yards on nine rushing attempts. He also caught six passes for 32 yards.

--The 49ers honored former fullback and assistant coach Tom Rathman at halftime. Rathman was officially inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame during a ceremony Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium.

49ers claim former Jaguars defensive lineman off waivers

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USATSI

49ers claim former Jaguars defensive lineman off waivers

The San Francisco 49ers' defensive line will have a new member coming off of the bye week.

The 49ers claimed defensive lineman Sheldon Day of waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday. The Jaguars waived Day on Saturday in order to make room for the return of rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook off of injured reserve. 

Day, a 2016 fourth round pick, posted 11 tackles and two tackles in 22 games over the last two seasons with Jacksonville. He played fewer than 30 snaps in all seven games with the Jaguars this season. 

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead, defensive tackle Tank Carradine, and defensive tackle Chris Jones are all on injured reserve, while defensive lineman Aaron Lynch missed the 49ers' last game in Week 10.

San Francisco ranks 22nd in the league in sacks, 23rd in pass defense, and 31st in rush defense. 

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

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LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

LeBron James is an avid football fan. He's now an even bigger Colin Kaepernick fan than the sport. Following the Cavaliers' practice on Sunday, James opened up on Kaepernick and his absence from the NFL. 

"I've commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him," James said to ESPN. "Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn't see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature."

James believes the masses don't truly understand what Kaepernick was doing when he first took a knee as a protest against social and racial injustices in America. For his actions, James respects Kaepernick choosing his beliefs over his sport.

"When it's something that's new and it's something that people are not educated about or don't understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you're doing is wrong," James said. "For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he's done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that."

Add James to the list of those who believe Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL for taking a knee last season. The more games he watches, the more James sees the evidence on the wall. 

"I don't represent the NFL. I don't know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that," James believes. "Just watching, he's an NFL player. He's an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he's been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that."

Kaepernick, who recently turned 30 years old, appeared in 12 games for the 49ers in the 2016-17 season. Through the air he completed 59.2 percent of his passes and ended the year with 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kaepernick also added 468 yards and two more scores on the ground. 

"The only reason I could say he's not on a team is because the way he took a knee," James said. "That's the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks -- first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks -- that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let's just be honest."

For his career, Kaepernick has thrown for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns to 30 interceptions. With his speed as a dual-threat quarterback, Kaepernick has also gained 2,300 yards rushing and 13 more touchdowns.