49ers

Smith to Crabtree: Offense beats defense

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Smith to Crabtree: Offense beats defense

SANTA CLARA -- Near the end of the 49ers' 2 12-hour practice Wednesday, the starters on offense and defense lined up against each other for a last-play-of-the-game scenario.Quarterback Alex Smith last season hit tight end Delanie Walker and Vernon Davis on game-winning touchdowns in the closing seconds of victories against Detroit and New Orleans.MAIOCCO: Davis predicts Super Bowl, or does he?
This time, Smith's strike to Michael Crabtree was on the mark for a 10-yard touchdown between the coverage of cornerback Chris Culliver and safety Donte Whitner.This round went to the offense.The second-team offense was not as successful, as quarterback Colin Kaepernick's attempt to a well-covered Joe Hastings sailed out the back of the end zone.Here are some notes from Wednesday:--Linebackers Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman were excused from practice. Willis returned home Tuesday on a personal matter, the team said. Bowman, an expectant father of twins, is with his girlfriend in the Washington area.
--Others who did not practice due to injuries: Receiver Ted Ginn, guard Joe Looney, and linebackers Joe Holland, Darius Fleming and Cam Johnson.MAIOCCO: Will full-time role impact Aldon Smith's stats?
--Safety Dashon Goldson remains unsigned as the 49ers' franchise player. And running back LaMichael James is finishing school at Oregon.--Cornerback Tramaine Brock had a solid day with a couple of interceptions, including a pick of a Kaepernick pass that sailed over Randy Moss' head at the left sideline. He also had an interception of Josh Johnson in a one-on-one drill.
--Undrafted rookie cornerback Anthony Mosley intercepted a Johnson pass intended for rookie receiver A.J. Jenkins.--Receiver Mario Manningham had an active day with at least three receptions during the 11-on-11 session.--Kyle Williams, Kendall Hunter, Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox got work as the deep men on kickoff returns. Brandon Jacobs and Will Tukuafu were among the players who were working as blockers on the return team.
--Undrafted rookie Nathan Palmer made a nice catch at the sideline of a low Johnson pass during a 7-on-7 red-zone drill. He also made a one-handed catch of a Johnson pass against the coverage of Whitner.--Quarterback Scott Tolzien got a lot of action for the second day in a row and threw the ball with accuracy while also appearing to show improved arm strength.--The 49ers' final practice of their mandatory three-day minicamp is Thursday.

What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017

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Twitter/@49ers

What they're saying: Happy Thanksgiving 2017

Bay Area sports teams and your favorite players have plenty to be thankful for this year. 

Check out how the teams and players are celebrating Thanksgiving in 2017.

Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season

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USATSI

Shanahan: Garoppolo's best football will come next season

SANTA CLARA – The two quarterbacks who finish this season with the 49ers are probably going to be the same two quarterbacks the organization carry on their 2018 roster.

So every decision coach Kyle Shanahan makes with C.J. Beathard and Jimmy Garoppolo is being made to consider what is best for those two players.

Shanahan made the expected announcement this week that Beathard will make his fifth consecutive start on Sunday when the 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

Beathard is coming off his best game as a pro. He was a major contributor to the 49ers’ first victory of the season, throwing for 288 yards, throwing two touchdowns and rushing for a score in a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. His performance seemingly did enough to earn him another start.

Meanwhile, Garoppolo pulled up to 49ers headquarters on Oct. 31 with no prior knowledge of Shanahan’s offensive system. Even as a rookie, Beathard has five more months of experience in the 49ers’ offense than Garoppolo, a four-year professional who made just two starts during his time with the New England Patriots.

“We’ve had C.J. in there for some time,” Shanahan said. “He’s getting more used to it, and I’m getting more used to him. The players are getting more used to him around him. It’s been nice to add a few things each week for him.”

General manager John Lynch reiterated this week he considers Garoppolo the 49ers’ quarterback of the future. Garoppolo is not under contract for next season. If the 49ers are unable to work out a multi-year extension, the club would be expected to designate him as their franchise player to retain him for the 2018 season.

Garoppolo is likely to get some playing time in the final six games of the season, but the 49ers have every reason to take their time in order to give him the best chance at success. On the first three days of the bye week, Garoppolo had a chance to go back to the beginning and learn the basics of the scheme in meetings with quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello and Shanahan.

Shanahan’s scheme is complex with unique verbiage and an abundance of adjustments that are required on any given play. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan took a step backward in his first season in Shanahan's scheme. The next year, Ryan was a runaway MVP winner with a career-high 38 touchdowns and a career-low seven interceptions.

It took Ryan a full season of experience with Shanahan to fully grasp his responsibilities, so it is unreasonable to believe Garoppolo would be able to do much more than just function if he gets onto the field for extended action.

“Jimmy gets more and more ready each week,” Shanahan said. “Is Jimmy going to be the best he can? To me, that’s impossible. He just hasn’t been here long enough, and I think he’ll get an opportunity to be better each week.

“I don’t think we’re going to see Jimmy’s best football, to be fair to him, until next year because that’s what guys need. But C.J. did play his best football last week, which definitely, to me, made the decision easier.”