Kaepernick: 'It's a great chance to lead this team'


Kaepernick: 'It's a great chance to lead this team'

SANTA CLARA -- At the conclusion of the 49ers' Wednesday morning walk-through, coach Jim Harbaugh gathered the team together for the great unveil.Colin Kaepernick is the 49ers' starting quarterback.Kaepernick takes over for Alex Smith, who was sidelined with a concussion Nov. 11 against the St. Louis Rams. And when the 49ers play the Rams on Sunday, a healthy Smith will be on the sideline.The 49ers and Rams played to a 24-24 tie when the teams met earlier this month at Candlestick Park."I'm very eager to get back out there," Kaepernick said. "I want to get a win this time."Kaepernick now takes over as quarterback of a playoff-bound team that's 8-2-1 and owns a 2 12-game lead in the NFC West."It's a great chance to lead this team and show we're a great team and can go into the playoffs and win games," Kaepernick said.Here is how some of the other 49ers players reacted to the news:Running back Frank Gore
"I just feel like we have two good quarterbacks who can help us win. That's a plus for this team."He (Kaepernick) can run. He's got a strong arm. I tell him when he throws it at me to ease up on it. He knows how to throw it to me."Alex has been through a lot of tough things. I think he'll be fine. I know the guy loves the games. Alex loves to play football. That's tough. But coach made the decision and we know that's what we got to go with."We got two quarterbacks, and looking around the league a lot of teams can't say that. Alex won a lot of games. Kap has won the last two games. Went down to New Orleans and won in a tough environment. You just going to be behind whoever coach says is the starting quarterback."Receiver Michael Crabtree
"Let's go play some ball. It's two games with Kap, right? Let's go play some ball."In his league, I'm not surprised by nothing. I just go out there and play my position. Whoever the quarterback is, I'm just trying to go out there and make plays."With Colin Kaepernick, you have to keep your eye on the ball. Last game, I dropped a pass that I could've dropped for a first down. It was kind of low, but the guy can throw the ball real fast. It's hard, too. So you got to concentrate."I'd say sometimes guys don't look too good at practice, but they're just gamers. It's like that sometimes. I think that's how Kaepernick is at quarterback. He knows one speed, and it's 'Go.' "Tight end Delanie Walker
(Walker said Tuesday that he would be surprised if Smith was not named the starter.)"Alex is healthy now and that's what I was talking about. He didn't do anything wrong, not to start. That's basically what I was saying."I'm a little surprised, but I'm confident in Jim Harbaugh, and whatever he decided I'm happy with it. I'm confident in Jim Harbaugh making that decision."Tackle Anthony Davis
"It's a tough spot for Coach to be in. I'm just stating the obvious. It's got to be tough on a coach to make a decision like that when you have two guys who can play that good on the same team at the same position. But it's a good problem to have."Guard Alex Boone
"I think for us, it doesn't matter who's back there. As an offensive line we're the ones mostly affected by it, but whoever's back there you see leadership in both of them, you see confidence in both of them. Having both of them back there, it's not really a big difference between the two of them so you just go out there and play."Alex sits in the pocket. Kap has a tendency to roll out sometimes but he doesn't roll out unless he absolutely has to so you're not dealing with a, 'All right, I'm gonna catch it and roll right now' kinda guy. It's 'I'm gonna wait and see what happens' and so the styles are completely the same I feel, and you can see that."Fulback Bruce Miller
"It was told to team out here that Kap's the starter. So now we got to focus on getting back out there and winning another football game."My thoughts on the quarterback issue is, you know, I think more than a controversy, it's a blessing. I think we have two guys who can come in and do a great job and, obviously, win football games."We've gone through the season, and I think we've all progressed. Kap has done a great job of coming out to work every day and getting better. Now, we're 10 or 11 weeks into the season and he's shown he's ready to play."

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals


Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.

49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?


49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?

Believe it or not, the 49ers’ offense is improved from last season.

The 49ers ranked 31st in the NFL in 2016, averaging 308.1 yards per game. Although the offense is producing just a little better (325.9 yards per game), their ranking this season has shot up to 21st in the league.

The 49ers have had a different head coach and different person running the offense in each of the past four seasons, so their continuity has been severely lacking.

Next season, the 49ers should finally have carryover from one season to the next.

The direction of the offense is one of the topics addressed on this edition of 49ers Mailbag (questions were submitted via Facebook):

Now that we have Jimmy G do you see 49ers getting an offensive coordinator or will it still be Kyle calling the plays? (Julio Orozco)
I'm not sure why the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo would have any impact on the 49ers’ offensive structure, but in any event, the answer is a resounding, “No.”

Kyle Shanahan has been hailed as one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL. The reason he was hired as 49ers head coach was, in large part, because of the success he achieved while designing offenses and calling plays.

Why would he give that up? It makes no sense.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN this week identified the 32 primary play-callers. There are 18 NFL head coaches with offensive backgrounds. Twelve of those coaches call their own plays.

Shanahan has a staff of assistant coaches on whom he leans. Passing game specialist Mike LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello are closely involved in working with Shanahan on the passing game, while running game specialist Mike McDaniel, offensive line coach John Benton and running backs coach Bobby Turner spearhead the involvement in the ground game.

But, make no mistake, it is Shanahan who calls the shots. And that's the way it should be. If Shanahan stepped aside as his own offensive coordinator, he would be diminishing his biggest strength as a coach.

What do you see happing with the Hyde situation? We drafted Joe Williams and Breida seems to be a bright spot. There’s a lot of talk about Barkley from Penn State with that high 1st rounder. (Manny Hinojos)
There does not seem to be any movement toward a long-term extension for Hyde. It is getting to the point in the season where it makes a lot more sense for Hyde to play out his contract and hit the open market.

There is no question in my mind the 49ers like Hyde a lot. He has scored some major points with the organization for his performance on the field and how he has responded off the field.

GM John Lynch loved it when Hyde came to the defense of quarterback C.J. Beathard, tussled with Arizona lineman Frostee Rucker and got ejected from the game.

That said, the 49ers are not going to break the bank for Hyde. A multi-year agreement has to come at the right price. My personal feeling is that running backs are luxury pieces when the remainder of a team’s roster -- especially the offensive line -- is set.

Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, and Turner (the assistant coach who served on both of their staffs) have achieved a lot of success without investing heavily in running backs. That’s why I think the 49ers would be best-served by investing elsewhere and using another mid-round draft pick on a running back.

With Joshua Garnett coming back next season how aggressive will Lynch and Shanahan be in trying to get guards this offseason? (David Hartless)
Garnett is not a particularly good fit for this offensive scheme. The presence of Garnett can help increase the competition next offseason, but I do not believe he is being penciled in as a starter.

The 49ers will certainly be aggressive in an attempt to upgrade the guard positions. Currently, Laken Tomlinson and Brandon Fusco are the starters. Neither will be assured a starting job when the offseason begins.

The 49ers did not see enough from Garnett to determine he has a future with the organization, but he will be given the opportunity to come back healthy and prove himself.

Is Eric Reid in long-term plans? (Grant Rasmussen)
I do not believe so. I think the 49ers would like their starting safeties next season to be Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt – with Adrian Colbert as the front-runner for the No. 3 job.

The 49ers can also be expected to add a player or two in free agency, as well as the draft, to provide a competitive environment in the offseason. The 49ers seemed to telegraph their intention with Reid when they moved him to linebacker with Ward and Tartt remaining as the starting safeties.

That position change lasted about a week, as Ward’s injury prompted the team to move Reid back to safety. Reid is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. It's entirely possible there will not be a big market for him, but I do not believe the 49ers are going to be ultra-competitive in retaining him on the open market.