49ers

Smith 'gobbles' up play time, Kaepernick stays sidelined

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Smith 'gobbles' up play time, Kaepernick stays sidelined

The 49ers' offense got in a rhythm Monday night. In a 24-3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers scored more points on the Cardinals than any team this season.And backup quarterback Colin Kaeperick remained on the sideline for the entire game. This came one game after Kaepernick played just one snap in a 13-6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.Before that, Kaepernick played 16 snaps against the New York Giants, 19 against the Buffalo Bills and 11 at the New York Jets.Quarterback Alex Smith's success early in Monday's game likely kept Kaepernick on the sideline. Smith completed 18 of 19 pass attempts for 232 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The 49ers converted half of their third-down opportunities (6 of 12).In his previous two games, Smith completed a combined 33 of 53 attempts for 340 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Coach Jim Harbaugh pushed back when the characterization was made that Smith's past two games "weren't his best.""First of all, not his best? In whose opinion? Your opinion," Harbaugh said. "I feel like Alex has been doing a great job."When asked if Smith's performance served to help his confidence, Harbaugh answered, "I don't think there was ever a question there."On any speculation that Smith's confidence had weakened, Harbaugh said, "I think it's just a lot of gobble, gobble, turkey. Just gobble, gobble, turkey, funk jive, turkey, gobblers. . . That paints a pretty good picture. He's a very confident guy."Afterward, Smith was asked if it helped that he did not have to occasionally yield for Kaepernick, who typically runs spread option plays as a run-pass threat."I don't think it helps my rhythm and I don't think it (Kaepernick's entrance into the game) hurts it," Smith said. "I said this all along, when Kaep is out there, he's had a lot of success when he goes out there and I think that's fine."It's great to have for the whole offense. He goes out there and makes positive plays. It's fun to run back out there on first down. It's not fun and it's easy to look back and say, 'Oh, we shouldn't have done that,' but when you run back out there and it's third down it's a little different. It's a fine line. Certainly, there is something still there, it's just trying not to be predictable."Harbaugh weighed in on the topic of whether Kaepernick not playing had anything to do with Smith's performance."No, no," he said. "More gobble, gobble."
Here's the complete breakdown of play time (and percentage of play time) for the 49ers on offense, defense and special teams:Offense
Includes plays nullified by penalty
54 (100 percent) -- LT Joe Staley, RG Alex Boone, RT Anthony Davis, LG Mike Iupati, C Jonathan Goodwin, QB Alex Smith, TE Vernon Davis
35 (65) -- TE Delanie Walker
33 (61) -- RB Frank Gore
30 (56) -- FB Bruce Miller, WR Michael Crabtree
24 (44) -- WR Mario Manningham
20 (37) -- WR Randy Moss
19 (35) -- RB Kendall Hunter
16 (30) -- WR Kyle Williams
7 (13) -- WR Ted Ginn
2 (4) -- TE Garrett CelekDefense
Includes plays nullified by penalty
68 (100) -- FS Dashon Goldson, CB Tarell Brown, CB Carlos Rogers, SS Donte Whitner
62 (91) -- OLB Ahmad Brooks
58 (85) -- OLB Aldon Smith
57 (84) -- DT Justin Smith
55 (81) -- LB Patrick Willis
54 (79) -- DT Ray McDonald, CB Chris Culliver
53 (78)-- LB NaVorro Bowman
30 (44) -- CB Perrish Cox
20 (29) -- NT Isaac Sopoaga
15 (22) -- DT Ricky Jean Francois
13 (19) -- OLB Clark Haggans
4 (6) -- DT Will Tukuafu
1 (1) -- S C.J. SpillmanSpecial teams
22 (92) -- Demarcus Dobbs
19 (79) -- Bruce Miller
18 (75) -- C.J. Spillman, Tramaine Brock, Anthony Dixon, Tavares Gooden, Larry Grant
14 (58) -- Darcel McBath
9 (38) -- Ted Ginn, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Brian Jennings, Andy Lee, David Akers
7 (29) -- Will Tukuafu
6 (25) -- Delanie Walker, Dashon Goldson, NaVorro Bowman, Ricky Jean Francois
4 (17) -- Joe Staley, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Leonard Davis
2 (8) -- Tarell Brown, Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, Ray McDonald
1 (4) -- Randy Moss, Kendall Hunter, Garrett Celek, Daniel Kilgore

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

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USATSI/AP

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

LeBron James is an avid football fan. He's now an even bigger Colin Kaepernick fan than the sport. Following the Cavaliers' practice on Sunday, James opened up on Kaepernick and his absence from the NFL. 

"I've commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him," James said to ESPN. "Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn't see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature."

James believes the masses don't truly understand what Kaepernick was doing when he first took a knee as a protest against social and racial injustices in America. For his actions, James respects Kaepernick choosing his beliefs over his sport.

"When it's something that's new and it's something that people are not educated about or don't understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you're doing is wrong," James said. "For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he's done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that."

Add James to the list of those who believe Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL for taking a knee last season. The more games he watches, the more James sees the evidence on the wall. 

"I don't represent the NFL. I don't know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that," James believes. "Just watching, he's an NFL player. He's an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he's been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that."

Kaepernick, who recently turned 30 years old, appeared in 12 games for the 49ers in the 2016-17 season. Through the air he completed 59.2 percent of his passes and ended the year with 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kaepernick also added 468 yards and two more scores on the ground. 

"The only reason I could say he's not on a team is because the way he took a knee," James said. "That's the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks -- first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks -- that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let's just be honest."

For his career, Kaepernick has thrown for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns to 30 interceptions. With his speed as a dual-threat quarterback, Kaepernick has also gained 2,300 yards rushing and 13 more touchdowns. 

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

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AP

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.