49ers

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

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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. 

49ers confidence soaring as Garoppolo takes charge

49ers confidence soaring as Garoppolo takes charge

Jimmy Garoppolo spent three games as the 49ers’ backup before starting the past two games.

But just five games into his tenure with the 49ers, he is already considered a player everyone looks up to.

“Man, Jimmy’s been everything,” 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. “He’s already a leader on this team. He runs this offense with confidence, and I think guys really believe in him. He keeps us up on the sideline.”

Garoppolo threw for 334 yards in the 49ers’ 26-16 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday after a scoreless first quarter.

“We didn’t start the game off great on offense,” Juszczyk said. “We missed some big plays and it would’ve been easy to tank, but Jimmy was right over there talking to us. It never fazed him. He was telling us to keep it up and eventually we’d punch it through.”

Juszczyk is one of several offensive players who has seemingly benefited from Garoppolo’s elevation into the starting lineup. Juszczyk had receptions of 31 and 29 yards to set up the 49ers’ first touchcdown.

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin caught six passes for 106 yards after catching 99 yards in passes against Chicago. And tight end Garrett Celek added a 61-yard reception.

“The guys have played better,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “ I think they have done better as the year has gone. They’ve done great these last two weeks. I think when you’ve got a guy like Jimmy who has been making some impressive throws, who’s been doing it on the practice field and he’s carried it to the game, I think guys always know they’ve got a chance, and they lived up to it.”

Garoppolo was sacked twice and hit nine times. He stood in the pocket and delivered passes down the field during the game. Afterward, he stood up and complimented the pass protection he received from the 49ers’ offensive line.

“Jadeveon Clowney is one of the best in the league at what he does,” Garoppolo said. “I think those guys played great, I really do. You’re going to give up some things here and there, but overall I think it was a phenomenal day for those guys.”

49ers snap count: Lynch, Carradine earn way back onto field

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USATI

49ers snap count: Lynch, Carradine earn way back onto field

HOUSTON – Before the 49ers’ defensive line competes on Sundays, a healthy battle appears to be taking place on the practice field among themselves during the week.

With 11 defensive linemen on the team’s 53-man roster, one big decision on game days for the coaching staff is to determine which eight players will suit up.

On Sunday, defensive linemen Aaron Lynch and Tank Carradine got the nod, while Ronald Blair and Leger Douzable were relegated to watching from the sideline in team-issued sweats.

Lynch and Carradine played 27 and 26 snaps, respectively, as part of the team’s defensive line rotation in the 49ers’ 26-16 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Lynch was on the cusp of getting released just two weeks earlier, according to a source. But after two strong weeks of practices, he was active for the first time in six games. Lynch responded with four tackles and a fumble recovery.

Carradine, who was a healthy scratch a week earlier against the Chicago Bears, contributed two tackles.

Douzable had been one of the bright spots after being re-signed in the middle of the season due to a rash of injuries across the defensive front. Blair was inactive for the first time since he came off injured reserve with a thumb injury sustained during the exhibition season.

Recently claimed defensive linemen Sheldon Day and Cassius Marsh continued to see significant action. Day played 34 snaps, while Marsh saw action on 33 plays. Day and Marsh contributed two tackles apiece.

The 49ers had only one player who missed the game due to injury. Coach Kyle Shanahan said offensive tackle Trent Brown informed the team Sunday morning he would be unavailable due to a shoulder injury.

"I kind of had a feeling (Saturday) night just watching walk through, but didn’t know for sure until (Sunday) when he came in and let us know," Shanahan said.

Veteran Zane Beadles filled in for Brown at right tackle despite playing out of position.

"He’s definitely much more of an inside player," Shanahan said. "Zane doesn’t hesitate. He loves the challenge. He will go out there and battle anyone. That’s why he’s a guy we love going to war with because you know you’re going to get your best and he’s someone you can count on. I know all the players believe in him.”

Here is a look at the 49ers’ playing time on offense, defense and special teams:

OFFENSE
(73 plays)
Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo 73
Running back – Carlos Hyde 41, Kyle Juszczyk 36, Matt Breida 32
Wide receiver – Marquise Goodwin 52, Trent Taylor 31, Kendrick Bourne 31, Louis Murphy 29, Aldrick Robinson 26
Tight end – Garrett Celek 61, George Kittle 20, Logan Paulsen 6
Offensive line – Joe Staley 73, Zane Beadles 73, Laken Tomlinson 73, Daniel Kilgore 73, Brandon Fusco 73

DEFENSE
(67 plays)
Defensive line – DeForest Buckner 53, Solomon Thomas 44, Sheldon Day 34, Cassius Marsh 33, Aaron Lynch 27, Elvis Dumervil 26, Tank Carradine 26, Earl Mitchell 25
Linebacker – Reuben Foster 67, Brock Coyle 48, Eli Harold 20
Cornerback – Ahkello Witherspoon 56, Dontae Johnson 52, K’Waun Williams 47, Greg Mabin 26, Leon Hall 19
Safety – Eric Reid 67, Adrian Colbert 67

SPECIAL TEAMS
(34 plays)
Marsh 25, Dekoda Watson 23, Mark Nzeocha 19, Dexter McCoil 19, Elijah Lee 19, Mabin 19, Bradley Pinion 17, Harold 16, Robinson 15, Johnson 14, Kyle Nelson 11, Victory Bolden 10, Paulsen 10, Celek 10, Hall 9, Witherspoon 9, Robbie Gould 6, Darrell Williams 6, Buckner 6, Reid 6, Thomas 6, Staley 6, Beadles 6, Tomlinson 6, Kilgore 6, Fusco 6, Breida 6, Taylor 6, Colbert 5, Juszczyk 5, Coyle 4, Mitchell 4, Foster 2, K’Waun Williams 2, Lynch 1, Dumervil 1

DID NOT PLAY
QB C.J. Beathard
OL Tim Barnes

INACTIVE
RB Jeremy McNichols
DB Antone Exum
LB Pita Taumoepenu
OT Trent Brown (shoulder)
DL Leger Douzable
DL D.J. Jones
DL Ronald Blair