Randy Moss: 'I'm having a great time'


Randy Moss: 'I'm having a great time'

SANTA CLARA -- Veteran wide receiver Randy Moss, who accumulated Hall-of-Fame credentials in his first 13 NFL seasons, has been a role player through five games with the 49ers.Moss ranks fourth on the team with nine catches for 99 yards and one touchdown while playing approximately one-third of the team's offensive snaps as the 49ers enter Sunday's game against the New York Giants.Is Moss disgruntled?Quite the contrary, he told CSNBayArea.com on Thursday.
RELATED: Randy Moss 2012 game logs
The 49ers have an offensive approach -- a balance of run and pass -- unlike anything Moss has experienced in his career. And that's the reason he said he is thoroughly enjoying the experience of playing for coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman."Coach G-Ro, Greg Roman, and his staff have shown me a different side to an offense," Moss said. "And that's the thing about being a student of the game. You think you know so much but each level or each year that you grow, you're still learning. I think if I stop learning, then I'll stop having the love and the passion to go out and play the game. So, right now, I'm having a great time."Moss participated in a 20-minute interview Thursday with CSNBayArea.com for an upcoming story about his hometown of Rand, W.V. Moss sat down for the interview wearing a West Virginia State Police hat. The state of West Virginia was jolted six weeks ago by the shooting deaths of two state troopers during a routine traffic stop.Moss remains active in his home community and home state. In the summer of 2011, during his year away from the NFL, Moss coached a middle school football team. He approached the task with such diligence that his friend, Donnie "Blue" Jones, began referring to Moss as "Black Belichick."Moss played three full seasons for the New England Patriots' Bill Belichick, including a record-setting 2007 season when he caught 23 touchdown passes."One thing I still hold to my heart before I even went to New England, I thought I knew a lot about football," Moss said. "Coach Belichick taught me a lot about football. And then when I came here to the 49ers, I'm still learning. And that's a good thing."Moss' career began with seven seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. His first four seasons were in coach Dennis Green's West Coast Offense."I learned a certain way in Minnesota," Moss said. "Then, I went to New England, and learned a different way there. And then coming here, it was just like re-energizing my thought process of how I thought that it was."I learned from coach Dennis Green and his staff. Then going to New England, and learning from Coach Belichick and his staff. Now, I'm here learning from coach (Jim) Harbaugh and his staff. It's like the three different levels I've been on. I'm still learning and still having fun."Moss explained how his understanding of the sport has grown with every good experience he has encountered during his career."For us to be able to come out and put a running package in and then throw the ball," he said. "And New England was for you to put a run package in and then spread it out. And coach Dennis Green was basically the West Coast Offense simplified for them to put whatever out there and run whatever the play's called."On Monday, Harbaugh raved about Moss' contributions on and off the field. Harbaugh said Moss regularly communicates his insights with the coaching staff."If not daily, it's weekly, most days," Harbaugh said. "Randy's got an enthusiastic suggestion for what we can do or try. The neat thing about it is, it's never a self-centered thing. It's never how to get him more balls. It's how it would help the team or help the group or the unit."Said Moss, "There are a lot of things I've learned on the field throughout my 14 years in this league. Like I said, I'm having a great time. I really am."

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals


Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.

49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?


49ers Mailbag: Should Shanahan give up play-calling?

Believe it or not, the 49ers’ offense is improved from last season.

The 49ers ranked 31st in the NFL in 2016, averaging 308.1 yards per game. Although the offense is producing just a little better (325.9 yards per game), their ranking this season has shot up to 21st in the league.

The 49ers have had a different head coach and different person running the offense in each of the past four seasons, so their continuity has been severely lacking.

Next season, the 49ers should finally have carryover from one season to the next.

The direction of the offense is one of the topics addressed on this edition of 49ers Mailbag (questions were submitted via Facebook):

Now that we have Jimmy G do you see 49ers getting an offensive coordinator or will it still be Kyle calling the plays? (Julio Orozco)
I'm not sure why the arrival of Jimmy Garoppolo would have any impact on the 49ers’ offensive structure, but in any event, the answer is a resounding, “No.”

Kyle Shanahan has been hailed as one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL. The reason he was hired as 49ers head coach was, in large part, because of the success he achieved while designing offenses and calling plays.

Why would he give that up? It makes no sense.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN this week identified the 32 primary play-callers. There are 18 NFL head coaches with offensive backgrounds. Twelve of those coaches call their own plays.

Shanahan has a staff of assistant coaches on whom he leans. Passing game specialist Mike LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello are closely involved in working with Shanahan on the passing game, while running game specialist Mike McDaniel, offensive line coach John Benton and running backs coach Bobby Turner spearhead the involvement in the ground game.

But, make no mistake, it is Shanahan who calls the shots. And that's the way it should be. If Shanahan stepped aside as his own offensive coordinator, he would be diminishing his biggest strength as a coach.

What do you see happing with the Hyde situation? We drafted Joe Williams and Breida seems to be a bright spot. There’s a lot of talk about Barkley from Penn State with that high 1st rounder. (Manny Hinojos)
There does not seem to be any movement toward a long-term extension for Hyde. It is getting to the point in the season where it makes a lot more sense for Hyde to play out his contract and hit the open market.

There is no question in my mind the 49ers like Hyde a lot. He has scored some major points with the organization for his performance on the field and how he has responded off the field.

GM John Lynch loved it when Hyde came to the defense of quarterback C.J. Beathard, tussled with Arizona lineman Frostee Rucker and got ejected from the game.

That said, the 49ers are not going to break the bank for Hyde. A multi-year agreement has to come at the right price. My personal feeling is that running backs are luxury pieces when the remainder of a team’s roster -- especially the offensive line -- is set.

Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, and Turner (the assistant coach who served on both of their staffs) have achieved a lot of success without investing heavily in running backs. That’s why I think the 49ers would be best-served by investing elsewhere and using another mid-round draft pick on a running back.

With Joshua Garnett coming back next season how aggressive will Lynch and Shanahan be in trying to get guards this offseason? (David Hartless)
Garnett is not a particularly good fit for this offensive scheme. The presence of Garnett can help increase the competition next offseason, but I do not believe he is being penciled in as a starter.

The 49ers will certainly be aggressive in an attempt to upgrade the guard positions. Currently, Laken Tomlinson and Brandon Fusco are the starters. Neither will be assured a starting job when the offseason begins.

The 49ers did not see enough from Garnett to determine he has a future with the organization, but he will be given the opportunity to come back healthy and prove himself.

Is Eric Reid in long-term plans? (Grant Rasmussen)
I do not believe so. I think the 49ers would like their starting safeties next season to be Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt – with Adrian Colbert as the front-runner for the No. 3 job.

The 49ers can also be expected to add a player or two in free agency, as well as the draft, to provide a competitive environment in the offseason. The 49ers seemed to telegraph their intention with Reid when they moved him to linebacker with Ward and Tartt remaining as the starting safeties.

That position change lasted about a week, as Ward’s injury prompted the team to move Reid back to safety. Reid is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. It's entirely possible there will not be a big market for him, but I do not believe the 49ers are going to be ultra-competitive in retaining him on the open market.