Legendary quarterbacks team up for another win


Legendary quarterbacks team up for another win

SAN FRANCISCO -- An hour before he took the stage with some of his idols, Aaron Rodgers seemed to wonder if he really belonged.Just feet away in the same small room at UCSF's Mission Bay Conference Center stood Joe Montana, Steve Young, Jim Plunkett and Tom Brady. Add Rodgers, and the five quarterbacks with Bay Area ties formed the star power in a program entitled "Salute to the Titans.""It's an honor," said Rodgers, who grew up as a 49ers fan in Chico before attending Cal. "I don't know how I fit into that group. I mean, that's a prestigious group of guys who have had great careers. I'm just happy to be here with the guys I look up to and respect."Earlier, Tom Brady Sr. surveyed the scene and appeared awestruck that his son's football career had reached the mountaintop -- being included in this Who's Who of Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks.Montana, Young, Plunkett, Brady and Rodgers took part Friday in an event spearheaded by former 49ers All-Pro lineman Harris Barton that was expected to net up to 750,000 for First Tee of San Francisco, Monterey County and Silicon Valley, as well as Champion Charities, a non-profit organization that Barton and Ronnie Lott founded.MAIOCCO: Five Super Bowl MVP QBs discuss concussions
NBC's Bob Costas moderated the fast-paced hour program that entertained approximately 300 guests. And the program was every bit as enjoyable for those on stage, too.Brady and Rodgers are two of the top names in the NFL today. Brady is a seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback who has been named Super Bowl MVP twice in the New England Patriots' three championships with him at quarterback. Rodgers is the reigning league MVP after throwing for 4,643 yards with 45 touchdowns and six interceptions with the Green Bay Packers.But they had no problem riding shotgun to retired greats around them. Brady, who grew up in San Mateo, attended many 49ers games with his dad. And Rodgers wore a Montana T-shirt under his pads during college."We were pretty high from the top of the stadium," Brady said. "We needed binoculars to see what was going on, but there was nothing more thrilling than being at the games and watching Joe and Steve. Any young kid growing up at that time wanted to be like those two guys. It's quite an honor be to sitting here with those two."Brady was in the stands at Candlestick Park in January 1982 for "The Catch" -- Montana's game-winning touchdown pass to Dwight Clark that sent the 49ers on to their first Super Bowl victory. At 4 12 years old, Brady found himself distracted for most of the game."For the entire first half of the game, I was complaining to my parents that everybody had one of those (foam) fingers but me," Brady said. "I was crying the whole time. Finally, they shut me up in the second half and got me one."Later, the subject turned to the requirement of perseverance, Montana said, "When I came to San Francisco we were 2-14. And we were getting fingers, but they weren't those big ones."Montana and Young, members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and competitive teammates, were seated next to one another on stage. Prior to the event, they spoke comfortably to one another and mingled with guests. There was no hint of the tension that existed during most of their six seasons as teammates -- each fighting desperately to win playing time from the other.Although the subject of their relationship was not broached, Montana and Young both offered glimpses of their competitive natures.
"We wanted to be perfect," Montana said. "We didn't want the ball to hit the ground. We strive for that perfection."Then, Young interjected with an example.Young said he routinely came to the 49ers' practice facility on Wednesday morning to pick up the game plan for the upcoming game and had about 15 minutes to digest as much as he could before the first meeting of the week. Young would try to memorize as much as possible before coach Bill Walsh entered and began asking questions of the quarterbacks.Young marveled at how Montana invariably already knew the answer about the game plan while Young frantically flipped through pages searching for the pertinent material."I got more and more frustrated," Young said. "How did he know that? Finally, I talked to (assistant coach) Mike Holmgren. I ask, 'How does he know that? He knows everything.'""Well, it's because he gets it faxed to him on Tuesday night," Holmgren told Young.Brady interrupted, "What's a fax machine?"They might come from different eras, but their similarities are striking. The five quarterbacks have combined for 11 Super Bowl titles and eight Super Bowl MVPs.And Friday they combined to produce another winning effort.

Who 49ers start at quarterback is the last thing on Pete Carroll's mind


Who 49ers start at quarterback is the last thing on Pete Carroll's mind

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback C.J. Beathard is expected to make his fifth consecutive start for the 49ers on Sunday, but Seattle coach Pete Carroll said his team will be prepared to face Jimmy Garoppolo, too.

“It really isn’t a factor,” Carroll said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters on Wednesday. “We’re just preparing for the 49ers. They got a style of offense. They got really good players who do what they do. And whoever’s triggering it from the quarterback spot, we’re going to go play football.

“We’ve seen Jimmy play. We’ve seen how he’s mobile and the kind of athlete and competitor he is. But other than that, we just go play football. We can’t do anything about that.”

Beathard remained on the sideline when the clubs met Sept. 17 in Seattle. The Seahawks have defeated the 49ers seven consecutive times, including a 12-9 victory in Week 2 this season. Quarterback Brian Hoyer started the 49ers’ first six games of the season and rushed for just 7 yards during that time. Beathard has 115 yards rushing on 20 attempts in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

“He’s been mobile. He’s got a rushing average, you know,” Carroll said of Beathard. “He’s averaging 5-yards a carry and stuff. They’re incorporating him in the run game some that we have to be concerned about. That’s different than other quarterbacks at times. I’d think Jimmy can do the same stuff.

“He (Beathard) is getting more settled. You can see the offense growing. You can see Kyle able to expand and do more stuff. He’s an incredible offensive coordinator and play-caller that we’ve respected for a long time. I think they’re just grown and they’re getting more proficient at what they’re doing."

49ers GM Lynch: Colbert shows characteristics of 'big-time starter'


49ers GM Lynch: Colbert shows characteristics of 'big-time starter'

SANTA CLARA -- Just hours before John Lynch was announced as a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist for the sixth time, he spoke glowingly about a young, promising safety.

Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl performer during his 15-year career. In his role as 49ers general manager, he saw a lot that he liked from seventh-round draft pick Adrian Colbert two weeks ago against the New York Giants.

Colbert, making his first career start, sustained a broken thumb early in the game. He still played every snap on defense, recorded four tackles and showed his range in the deep middle to break up two passes.

“That was a really, really good football game and he displayed some things in that game that are characteristics of a starter and a big-time starter,” Lynch said during a 45-minute session with reporters on Tuesday at Levi's Stadium.

The 49ers picked up the fifth-year option on free safety Jimmie Ward, whom they appear to view as their starter for next season. But Colbert has a chance to figure prominently in their future, too.

“If he plays like he did last week, you consider a lot of things,” Lynch said.

Here are other things you need to know from what Lynch said on Tuesday:

The 49ers invested the No. 3 overall pick on Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. He appeared in eight games, with six starts, before missing the past two games with an MCL sprain.

Thomas has not been spectacular, recording 26 tackles and two sacks. But Lynch said he is pleased with Thomas’ development.

“I think some people are saying, 'The No. 3 pick, maybe perhaps should be a little more dynamic.' But his play has been solid," Lynch said. "We knew it would be a process. He's a young kid that I think, physically, he's going to grow in stature."

Guard Joshua Garnett, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2016, did not distinguish himself during the offseason program or early in training camp. Then, he sustained a knee injury with a lengthy timetable for recovery.

His timetable would have enabled him to play this season. But the 49ers opted to take “the long-term view” and place him on season-ending injured reserve to put him in a better position to realize his potential upon his return.

But, first, that means Garnett had to change his body composition. Lynch said he challenged Garnett and the team’s strength and conditioning staff to put in the work to make Garnett stronger, more agile and in better condition to succeed in the 49ers’ zone-blocking scheme.

“We certainly hope he responds,” Lynch said.

Whether it’s Jimmy Garoppolo, Carlos Hyde, Dontae Johnson, Eric Reid, Daniel Kilgore, Aaron Lynch or others, the 49ers have been active in discussing the possibilities of contract extensions.

John Lynch declined to speak about which specific players the organization is trying to extend beyond this season – only to say there are ongoing talks.

“I will tell you there are players we’re talking to their representatives, but I’m going to get into who, when, why,” Lynch said.

The 49ers are allowed to enter into extension talks with Trent Brown after this season. Whether they are able to work out a long-term contract remains to be seen, but Lynch made no secret he hopes he can keep the tackles together into the future.

Left tackle Joe Staley, 33, appears to have at least a couple more season in him. He scored some big points with the organization with his willingness to return to action just two weeks after sustaining a broken eye socket.

“We love Joe Staley -- love the way he plays, think he’s a really good scheme fit for the offense we play,” Lynch said.

Lynch said he likes the idea of keeping Staley and Brown together for the foreseeable future.

“We feel there are a lot of places where we need to improve,” Lynch said. “And you’re always trying to improve, but those two guys are cornerstones for the next couple, few years.”

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead has not produced like a first-round draft pick. And the next time he takes the field for the 49ers, he will be entering his contract year.

Questioning Armstead’s fit for the 49ers’ defensive scheme is reasonable. But Lynch said he believes Armstead has a place with the organization.

“We’re real pleased,” Lynch said. “We think he’s a fit with what we are and who we are, going forward. We think he has a bright future with us.”

Armstead had his best game this season against Washington, a game in which he sustained a broken hand and required season-ending surgery.

“He put it all together,” Lynch said. “It was very encouraging and, at the same time, disappointing.”

The 49ers have 18 players on injured reserve with a variety of physical conditions that knocked them out of action from broken bones to torn ligaments and tendons.

“Some of those things are freak, but, yes, there has been an alarming amount,” Lynch said. “We’re going to study everything. That was part of what I was charged to do, evaluate every facet of the football part of this organization.”

There do not appear to be any obvious answers. Many teams around the league are also experiencing a rash of injuries to star players. On defense, the 49ers lost Armstread (broken hand), linebacker Malcolm Smith (torn pectoral tendon), and safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt (broken forearms) for the season.

“Some of it, broken forearms from two safeties and a broken thumb from a safety, I don’t know what the answer is there,” Lynch said.

“We’re going to take a deep dive – we already are – into why and if there are any common threads. We’re studying it hard.”