49ers, Raiders succeeding at not entertaining, failing at everything else


49ers, Raiders succeeding at not entertaining, failing at everything else

A lot of fun/weird things happened in the National Football League on Sunday, which is why the sport, for its many flaws, still owns the sports business in this country.

But none of those things happened to the Oakland Raiders or San Francisco 49ers, and they certainly didn’t happen for them.

On a day when NFL Red Zone got whiplash, when Odell Beckham and Graham Gano and Greg Joseph and Linval Joseph and Isaiah Crowell and Pat Shurmur and Sean McVay and Jason Garrett and Trent Dilfer and Blake Bortles and Patrick Mahomes all grabbed your brains and faces for different reasons, the Raiders and 49ers did remarkably little to leave an imprint anywhere except at the bottom of their separate corners of the standings block.

They lost comfortably to flawed teams before acres of empty seats, and here were the highlights:

-- Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw an interception on first-and-goal from the Los Angeles Chargers' 1-yard line, advancing his rep as the best thing that ever happened to the defensive secondary. He's on a pace to be the first quarterback to average two picks per game since Vinny Testaverde did it in 1988 for a 5-11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers team.

-- Cardinals rookie Josh Rosen threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to a scandalously uncovered Christian Kirk on Arizona’s first -- and only -- offensive play.

The rest of both games were turgid slogs in the sun that served only to remind the winners that they can’t be bad all the time and the losers that bottom has not yet been reached, even though they can see it from where they are.

Raiders fans suspected this would be their future the day Jon Gruden traded edge rusher Khalil Mack, but doubled down on the feeling when he decided as Pete Carroll did on a much larger stage that Marshawn Lynch cannot be trusted to get one tough yard when all he’s ever done his entire career is get tough yards, most recently a week ago.

And 49ers fans suspected this would be their future when the idealized version of Jimmy Garoppolo stepped wrong in Kansas City. Oh, they tried to take the cheerful road about C.J. Beathard and his toughness and how the team could thrive with him as quarterback when in fact Beathard’s insistence on defying the pressures of the pocket and his essential role as a backup quarterback on a rebuilding team leads to games like Sunday’s.

Either way, neither team was competitive in seemingly winnable games, and they certainly weren’t memorable or even conversation-worthy.

And while losing is the worst thing, losing and not covering only makes it worse, and not being interesting in defeat is the condiment that ruins the entire meal. 

Sunday was, in short, a thoroughly wasted day in what is looking more and more like a wasted year for the NFL’s designated representatives in our area. Neither team escaped the orbit of tedium, and both head on the road for what we can only imagine will be more of the same. The 49ers face a doubly angry Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, while the Raiders go to London to play Seattle and plan to maximize jet lag by staying in the Bay Area through Thursday.

In other words, our part of the NFL diaspora is an indistinct and spreading gray smear through four weeks, and it isn’t likely to get much better in the near term. Failure to succeed happens every year to 20 teams, 31 if you’re the win-or-die type, but failure to entertain is a lot harder to endure. Whatever else can be said about the 49ers and Raiders after five weeks, at least they haven’t been captivating.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan provides injury updates on six key players

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan provides injury updates on six key players

After two seasons of an inordinate amount of injuries, the 49ers could be peaking health wise at the right time, but let’s not jinx anything. 

Coach Kyle Shanahan gave an injury update via conference call Sunday following the team’s third preseason game, and the news was positive. Several players will be returning to practice, and some will even be cleared to play in Thursday’s game facing the Chargers. 

The only player who sustained an injury facing the Chiefs was Kyle Juszczyk. X-rays on his hand came back negative after it collided with a helmet. The team had not planned to have him play on Thursday regardless. 

Most of the players who were injured prior to the game remained in Santa Clara instead of traveling to Kansas City so they could work with the training staff during the short week. 

Here’s the list of players and what Shanahan had to say about their status for the week: 

DB K’Waun Williams (knee) 

“I think we’ll up his stuff a little bit this week. I don’t know if we’ll be able to have a practice to involve him. We’ll see here over these next two days. We plan to get him back on the field in individual and stuff, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready for practice.” 

Williams has been solid as the slot cornerback for the 49ers. While his job isn’t in jeopardy if he can’t immediately return to the field, it does have an impact on the other defensive backs. If he needs more time to recover from arthroscopic surgery on his knee, Jimmie Ward might need to assume that role, which would open up a spot for Tarvarius Moore at safety. 

S Adrian Colbert (hamstring) 

“We expect him to come back and be able to play this week.” 

Colbert had an impactful end to his rookie season, but has yet been able to live up to the expectations of the coaching staff, partially due to injury. What he really needed was to make the most out of every snap in the preseason to earn a spot.

He has one more shot left during the preseason after missing the game in Kansas City. 

OG Joshua Garnett (finger) 

“Should be able to practice and play.” 

The depth on the offensive line is thin after losing swing tackle Shon Colman for the season. Garnett has needed to prove his worth of being a former first-round draft pick, but there is a little likelihood that he will be cut without better options on the roster. 

C Weston Richburg (knee) 

“Hoping to activate Richburg this week so they can get him into practice this week. It depends on how it went, when we left him behind. I was told over the phone that it went well. 

“We’ll see tomorrow when we bring him out onto the field. If he’s good enough to go with some people, then we’ll get him off of that so at least he can take some snaps with our quarterback and get a guy in front of him instead of just a bag and a trainer.”

The 49ers need Richburg healthy to protect their franchise quarterback, but they also are thinking long term. With Mike Person available to play at guard, Ben Garland had a respectable showing with the first team in Kansas City and could stand in until Richburg is completely healthy. 

RB Raheem Mostert (quad) 

"Mostert, he had that quad over the weekend so I don’t know how he is today, but hopefully he will be able to get back this week. I don’t know if he will tomorrow.”

Because of Mostert’s special teams abilities his roster spot is not in jeopardy, but it could affect how the team looks at Jeff Wilson Jr., and Austin Walters. 

RB Jerick McKinnon (knee)

“McKinnon, we are hoping to get out there a little bit this week not necessarily in the game, but practice.” 

The team will not rush McKinnon back as they have enough depth in the running backs room to be effective until he can return. Expect Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman to carry the bulk of the work. 

[RELATED: 49ers plan to keep three QBs but always listen on trades]

Other players fighting for a roster spot at positions with depth that should be able to practice and then play facing the Chargers are LB Elijah Lee (thumb), DL Jullian Taylor (back) and DL Ronald Blair (groin) 

TE George Kittle (calf), DE Dee Ford (knee) and WR Jalen Hurd (back) will all likely return to practice but are not expected to play in the game on Thursday. 

Watch ex-49er Dekoda Watson make kid’s day with impromptu blocking lesson

Watch ex-49er Dekoda Watson make kid’s day with impromptu blocking lesson

"How you gonna block me?" 

In this case, former 49ers linebacker Dekoda Watson was being sincere. He was asking someone in a Rams uniform, just much smaller and younger than he's used to. 

Watson, now with the Broncos, asked a group of a Rams youth football team who on the team plays offensive line. One lucky player stepped up to the challenge. 

"There you go!" Watson encouraged the kid while youngster attempted to block the 245-pound linebacker.

[RELATED: 49ers RB Wilson makes 53-man roster decisions ever harder]

No matter what this young tyke does with football, he'll never forget stepping on a NFL field and going toe-to-toe with a pro. 

Watson, 31, spent the past two season with the 49ers where he suited up in 18 games.