49ers

Moss impressed with Kaepernick's fastball, leadership

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Moss impressed with Kaepernick's fastball, leadership

SANTA CLARA -- Hard-throwing quarterback Colin Kaepernick did something that's never before happened to wide receiver Randy Moss.

In his first NFL start, Kaepernick delivered a pass that popped one of Moss' fingers out of place.

"Man, he dislocated my finger," Moss said Wednesday after the 49ers' first practice of the week to prepare for the New England Patriots on Sunday night in Foxboro, Mass.

"Really, the play was designed for the ball to be thrown in the first hole," Moss said of the pass that he could only deflect in the 49ers' game Nov. 19 against the Chicago Bears.

"And I think I got to the second hole -- or we call them windows as a wide receiver -- and when he found me in the second hole it was kind of too late to throw it, but he threw it anyway. So he had to put one them Randy Johnson fastballs on me. When it hit my finger, I felt my finger pop -- dislocated it. So I had to come back to the sideline and the doctor had to pop it back in."

Moss, a 14-year veteran, said it was the first time he has ever experienced a dislocated finger attempting to catch a pass.

"I try to take pride in taking care of my body and finessing the balls as they come to me," Moss said. "But Kap throws hard. He's very strong and he works out every day. And I didn't really say anything to him other than, 'Keep doing what he's doing.' My finger will heal up.

"It hurt. It hurt. It really did. I tried not to show any tears. I don't know if they caught me crying or not. But it did hurt, but like I said, it's not the time of the year to be crying because it's late in the season. Everybody's hurting. Everybody's ailing. Everybody's feeling a little bit of pain. Some go home and some keep moving. And we want to be the team that keeps moving."

Moss said he has been impressed with how the 49ers have continued to move forward with Kaepernick as a leader at quarterback. And he likes that Kaepernick never seemed content to serve as Alex Smith's backup.

"I think that's most important because, no disrespect to Alex, but I think most backup quarterbacks, young as he is, are waiting in the shadows, like Aaron Rodgers was with Brett Favre," Moss said. "And I'm not comparing Alex and Brett or Aaron Rodgers and Kap. But I think most second-string quarterbacks are just waiting in the shadows and waiting to get their shot.

"I think that Kap's been able to come in and lead us as a whole unit. Any time a guy can come in and lead like that, and I don't mean verbally, I mean leading by example, it's what we as football players look for in a player, especially a quarterback. So I really just compliment his leadership and going out there and leading our offense up and down the field."

Montana, Clark scheduled to address crowd at Levi's Stadium

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AP

Montana, Clark scheduled to address crowd at Levi's Stadium

SANTA CLARA -- Dwight Clark and Joe Montana are scheduled to address the crowd Sunday at Levi’s Stadium at halftime of the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

It should be an emotional day, as 36 members from the team that defeated Dallas in the NFC Championship Game and went on to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title are expected to attend.

Montana is scheduled to be surrounded by his former teammates and speak from the field at halftime. Clark is likely to be situated in a suite, where he is expected to make some remarks. Clark, 60, announced in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Former 49ers offensive lineman Randy Cross, appearing on the 49ers Insider Podcast, said he is looking forward to seeing so many of his teammates from the squad that served as a springboard for five Super Bowl titles under the ownership of Hall of Famer Eddie DeBartolo.

“I can’t wait to see (Clark),” Cross said. “I can’t wait to see Eddie. I can’t wait to see Joe. There is a core group of guys I’ve gotten to see a few times a year since we all went our separate ways. There are guys I’ll get a chance to see, in some cases, (for the first time) since almost around the time we parted ways in the early-‘80s.”

The NFC Championship Game on Jan. 10, 1982, is best-remembered for “The Catch” – Clark’s leaping, finger-tip grab of a Montana pass for a 6-yard touchdown with 51 seconds remaining.

The 49ers defeated the Cowboys 28-27 at Candlestick Park. Coach Bill Walsh’s team went on to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21, in Super Bowl XVI.

“For those of us who played on the Niners charity basketball team with both Joe and Dwight, and knowing their hoop skills and the way they could jump, we weren’t terribly surprised at: A, how high he threw it; and, B, how high Dwight got,” said Cross, who was blocking from his right guard position near the sideline and had an unobstructed view of the play.

“If Dwight got his fingers on it, it was going to be a catch. That was the thing about D.C., you won’t find too many instances in which he had a ball on him or near him that he dropped. There wasn’t much doubt.”

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”