49ers

Taylor Mays impressing with Bengals

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Taylor Mays impressing with Bengals

Former 49ers safety Taylor Mays is making a name for himself in Cincinnati Bengals camp, according to a report on the Bengals.com.

Mays has been taking snaps with the Bengals' first-team defense throughout OTAs, and appears to be finally capitalizing on his tremendous athleticism.

Says Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com:"Everyone knows Mays is a special athlete. The 49ers knew it when they took him in the second round in 2010 and they knew it when they traded him to the Bengals on the eve of the '11 season. Their new coaches made the call that they didn't want to deal with his transition, but Mays keeps impressing here with that athleticism. Last week word was he ran stride-for-stride with (A.J.) Green on Andy Dalton's 57-yard strike."The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder out of USC apparently didn't mesh well with former coach Mike Singletary's "tough love" system. Mays played in all 16 games of his rookie season, but recorded just 38 tackles -- 11 coming in one game -- and was traded to Cincinnati just before the 2011 season.

Mays played in just 10 games last season for the Bengals and recorded 10 tackles. But now, Mays says, he understands playing safety is more about reliability than flashiness.

"Consistency is what you need at safety," Mays told Bengals.com. "You make a mistake and it can be fatal to a game.

"The first thing I'm thinking about is getting my assignments right and then playing technique sound."

Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer says while Mays is progressing, there is still more growing to be done.

"In some areas; still got a ways to go," Zimmer said. "(He needs) consistency. Doing things right. Discipline. Accountability. Whoever lines up there, that is what I want: accountability. Day in and day out."

For Mays, the ability to play "day in and day out" is making a difference to him.

"When you know what to expect and how you're supposed to play things, that makes a world of difference," Mays said. "It's the little things that add up on a daily basis."

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.