49ers

Kaepernick rebounds with strong minicamp finale

793446.jpg

Kaepernick rebounds with strong minicamp finale

SANTA CLARA -- The competition for the No. 2 job behind starting quarterback Alex Smith will be a race worth watching when 49ers training camp opens in late-July.Through the first two days of the 49ers' mandatory minicamp this week, second-stringer Colin Kaepernick struggled with his accuracy more than any of the team's quarterbacks.But the second-round draft pick of a year ago rebounded Thursday with a strong closing day. Kaepernick had several outstanding throws, including a 30-yard pass to undrafted rookie Brian Tyms that he fit between two defenders."Colin had a near-perfect day," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said, adding that he charted Kaepernick with one incompletion and two dropped passes.Kaepernick figured to be up against strong competition for the backup job from Josh Johnson, whom the 49ers signed as a free agent. But Scott Tolzien might have been the most consistent of the team's three backup quarterbacks during the 49ers' mandatory minicamp.Smith, meanwhile, has left no doubt where he ranks on the depth chart."Alex definitely separated himself further than what he was, which was a lot coming out of the season," Harbaugh said. "He's the solid starter. I don't think anybody questions that."Harbaugh reiterated that he believes all four quarterbacks on the 49ers' 90-man roster will play a long time in the NFL.The 49ers also feel blessed with significant depth at wide receiver -- unlike a year ago.

When asked if Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss separated themselves as the starters, Harbaugh took the opportunity to mention every receiver who has practiced during the offseason. Harbaugh did not mention Ted Ginn, who did not participate in the offseason practices as he returns to full strength while rehabbing a right knee injury."Both of those guys worked extremely hard and are outstanding teammates," Harbaugh said of Moss and Crabtree. "Everybody loves being around them. If you ask anybody around them, A-plus-plus, the way they worked."But Harbaugh did not stop there, saying:
--Mario Manningham "really surged on in this camp as he's gotten to know system."
--Kyle Williams continues to elevate his game and his play spiked during the minicamp.--Brett Swain and Joe Hastings continue to improve their play from a year ago.--First-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins, as well as undrafted rookies Nathan Palmer, Tyms and Chris Owusu comprise an outstanding crop of young receivers."The young guys showed really good flashes," Harbaugh said. "Even more sure now than when we had the first rookie minicamp, this is the best group of rookie receivers ever been around. Now we're sure of that."

49ers claim former Jaguars defensive lineman off waivers

sheldon_day.jpg
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’

lebron-kap-us-ap.jpg
USATSI/AP

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.