Maiocco: 49ers Mailbag: Masoli as No. 3 QB?


Maiocco: 49ers Mailbag: Masoli as No. 3 QB?

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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers are four practice days away from their first exhibition game of the season, slated for Friday in New Orleans.Coach Jim Harbaugh is giving the team Sunday off, as part of the new NFL rules that dictate that players must have at least one day off during every seven-day period of training camp.
"It's a mandatory day off," Harbaugh said. "Twenty-four hours of players off from meetings, anything that's mandatory including practice."RELATED: Camp report (86): 49ers' Willis looks like Willis
There are still a lot of things unsettled with the 49ers after eight days of practice. Most starting jobs are determined. But many roster spots and playing-time roles are still being haggled over as the exhibition season approaches."So we still got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of practice," Harbaugh said. "Those are valuable practice days"Let's now open the 49ers Mailbag to answer some questions:Q: so is going to be alex and 2 rookies at QB then? (@JesusMartinez18)
My answer: Harbaugh said Saturday that Jeremiah Masoli throws the ball like a professional quarterback, and he will remain on the depth chart as a passer. The club originally signed Masoli to be a running back and "jack of all trades."I doubt Harbaugh is satisfied with a quarterback group heading into the regular season that consists of Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick and Jeremiah Masoli. That would be very risky.But Harbaugh is not enamored of any of the veteran quarterbacks on the free-agent market, either.The available quarterbacks include Brodie Croyle, Jake Delhomme, Charlie Frye, J.P. Losman, Patrick Ramsey, Brian St. Pierre, Brian Brohm and Marc Bulger, who last week announced his retirement. There's also Troy Smith, but we know he's not coming back. He was a quarterback the 49ers picked up last year after the final cuts. So the 49ers will keep an eye on the waiver wire.
I'm told if there's a quarterback who shakes free or becomes available that Harbaugh likes, the club will make an effort to get him. The No. 1 name on everybody's list is Tampa Bay backup quarterback Josh Johnson, who played for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego and greatly desires a chance to play for him again.Johnson enters the final year of his contract, and there are no long-term hopes of being a starter with Josh Freeman firmly entrenched as the Buccaneers' starter. There would be hope for Johnson if he came to the 49ers, as Smith is signed to just a one-year deal and Kaepernick is promising but very raw. Q: seemed like Alex checked down to Gore A LOT today- part of offense or no WR separation? (@liquidhavok)
My answer: How has Alex Smith looked at practice? I see no discernible difference from last year. He has thrown the ball pretty well on deep and intermediate passes. His consistency hasn't been there on throws at the sideline. And, of course, he checks down a lot.REWIND: Camp report (85) 49ers' Smith greeted warmly
Separation from the wide receivers is not the issue. One of the knocks on Smith throughout his career is that he does not "throw the receiver open." Steve Young always said that it's rare in the NFL for receivers to get open. And when they are open, those windows shut rather quickly. Great quarterbacks put the ball in spots where only the intended target can catch them. Q: out of all the rookies, who's performing good, besides aldon smith and kaepernick? (@FranchizeWockee)
My answer: Cornerback Chris Culliver has looked very good. He's got speed and good change-of-direction. He is impressive, but he still has a long way to go before he can be expected to cover polished NFL receivers.Receiver Ronald Johnson looks good, too. He is definitely in the mix to contribute, possibly as the fourth receiver. Running back Kendall Hunter has tremendous moves and can get to the corner, but it'll be tough for him to get on the field a whole lot behind Frank Gore and Anthony Dixon.Also, I'm impressed with Bruce Miller and how quickly he has adapted to his new position of fullback. The linemen -- Daniel Kilgore and Mike Person -- are both working with the second-team offense. Kilgore is lining up at left guard, behind Mike Iupati, and Person is at right tackle, behind Anthony Davis. They are raw, and getting coached-up daily on proper technique. I do not envision either of those players being active on game days.Of the undrafted guys, nose tackle Ian Williams has a chance to provide good depth along the defensive line. I like the group of young, small-college receivers the 49ers brought in. Chris Hogan, Tyler Beiler and Joe Hastings can play a little, but the numbers game does not work out to their advantage. Watching the offensive line, Donovan Edwards of Cal has held up very well in one-on-one drills. He's working at third-team left tackle.
Q: projected o line? Davis rachal Goodwin iupati and Staley? (@sportsguya)
My answer: That's the way I see it, too: Right tackle Anthony Davis, right guard Chilo Rachal, center Jonathan Goodwin, left guard Mike Iupati and left tackle Joe Staley.I asked Harbaugh on Saturday for his view on the offensive line and which starters have solidified their spots. Obviously, he did not want to name names."It'll be our five best starters will be in there, continue to have a rep chart, not a depth chart, but you know it's starting to take shape and there's still quite a few battles for who's going to be the starter, who's going to be the contributors, who's going to be the backups, who's going to make the team," he answered. "So quite a lot still going on in the offensive line."Davis looks a lot more fluid and comfortable this season in pass protection with a year under his belt. I've seen Rachal still struggle some in one-on-one drills, as well as staying low and picking up stunts on the inside. Tony Wragge is working behind Rachal at right guard, though I'd suspect at some point Adam Snyder will slide to backup guard after Goodwin replaces him as the first-team center.

Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent


Cowboys expose 49ers' biggest weakness in bashing: Talent

If there is such a thing as being “due” in sports (and there actually isn’t, so you can probably stop reading now), the San Francisco 49ers had Sunday coming to them.
After all, the anomaly of being the “best winless team in football” based on margin of defeat lasts only so long until the “winless” part trumps the “best” part, because even the Los Angeles Chargers – the previous “best bad team in football” – aren’t the Chargers all the time.
So it was that the Dallas Cowboys exposed every weakness the 49ers have with the simplest thing there is.
The Cowboys did everything they wanted, but only whenever they wanted it, in a 40-10 dope-slapping that could actually have been worse than it was. The 49er offense was properly stymied (again), gaining only 290 yards (4.5 yards per play) and the defense was thoroughly Elliotted (as in Ezekiel-ed, who averaged 8.1 yards in his 27 touches). San Francisco’s warts were rubbed until they glowed, and if not for the fact that head coach Kyle Shanahan already knew where they were, he’d have been shocked to see how visible they were.
And therein lies the takeaway from another day at Not-So-Great-America. It turns out that the 49ers weren’t very good at much of anything before Sunday except just how far away they are from what Shanahan and general manager John Lynch believe is their destiny. C.J.  Beathard remained the rookie quarterback he is, and Carlos Hyde's hard-won 68 rushing yards led to no scores. Indeed, San Francisco's only touchdown came on a four-yard improv sprint from Beathard, who is by no means a running quarterback except in abject flight.

Next week in Philadelphia figures to be no less grisly, if you’re waiting for that magic moment when “0” becomes “1.” That is, of course, unless Washington exposes the Eagles as less than what they seem, which is very often the case in the new parity-gripped NFL.

But there are subsequent get-well games at home against Arizona and then at New York against the Giants the week after, so whatever dreams you might have about them running the table backwards and getting the first overall pick in the draft are still light years from realization.
This is, however, another healthy reminder that the job to be done is at least two more years in the undoing before the doing can actually begin. Not that the players or coaches needed another lesson, mind you – they know.
But maybe you needed it, just to keep your delusions in check. Maybe the people who were “due” were all of you.
But that’s unfair, too. You didn’t undo this franchise. All you did was believe, and there’s nothing wrong with that – as long you know there will be more days like this before your team starts handing out the 40-10’s.
In the meantime, there is beer.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys


Three things you need to know from 49ers' 40-10 loss vs Cowboys

SANTA CLARA -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 7 on Sunday:

1. A major step backward
So much for the 49ers’ somewhat-impressive streak of close losses.

There was nothing encouraging about what transpired in the 49ers' worst loss at Levi’s Stadium. It was also the franchise's worst home loss since Mike Singletary's team absorbed a 45-10 thumping against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 11, 2009.

Was there anything positive to take from this game?

“No, not right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It was disappointing. I think all three phases, players and coaches, we’ve got to play better than that, a lot better to give ourselves a chance to win.”

The competitive nature of the 49ers’ past five games was one thing. But with a big home loss on such an emotional day, it is fair to say that the honeymoon is over for Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. The 49ers looked like a team devoid of any leadership, and brings more scrutiny onto the organization’s decision last week to release linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Now, the 49ers face a crossroads. With another cross-country trip ahead, the 49ers have to regroup in a hurry in order to avoid another embarrassing blowout against the Philadelphia Eagles.

2. Beathard’s first start
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard certainly was not the reason the 49ers got blown out. In his first NFL start, he showed a lot of toughness, which was to be expected. He was sacked five times. But most of those sacks could have been avoided. He has to get rid of the ball quicker, especially on three-step drops.

Beathard also showed some promise, too. He let the ball fly deep for Marquise Goodwin, who caught four passes for 80 yards. Beathard completed 22 of 38 passes for 235 yards.

Beathard accounted for the 49ers’ only touchdown with a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. There seems to be little doubt it was in the best interest of the organization to begin evaluating what it has for the future with the permanent switch from Brian Hoyer to Beathard.

3. Dwight Clark’s Day
The 49ers, of course, did nothing to evoke any memories of the great teams on which Dwight Clark played. Well, they did look a lot like Clark’s first team with the 49ers.

The 49ers of 1979 lost their first seven games of the season. This year’s team matched that start for the worst beginning to a season in franchise history.

More than 35 of Clark’s teammates off the 1981 Super Bowl team were in attendance to honor a pay tribute to Clark, who is battling ALS. Now in a wheelchair and considerably lighter, Clark delivered some poignant remarks at halftime.

Clark, 60, told his old teammate, Keena Turner, who works as vice president of football affairs, that all he wanted was to see some of his old teammates.

“And the 49ers heard that and flew all these players in, so I could see them one more time,” Clark said.