49ers

Dilfer: Kaepernick's protest 'has caused friction' with 49ers

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Dilfer: Kaepernick's protest 'has caused friction' with 49ers

ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer was critical of Colin Kaepernick on Sunday, saying the 49ers’ backup quarterback has put himself above his teammates with his controversial protest of racial inequality in the United States.

“And the big thing that hit me through all of this was this is a backup quarterback whose job is to be quiet and sit in the shadows and get the starter ready to play Week 1,” Dilfer said on Sunday NFL Countdown. “Yet, he chose a time when he became the center of attention.

“And it has disrupted that organization. It has caused friction and torn the fabric of the team. Although I respect what he’s doing and I respect the passion and burden he has for this issue, a massive issue, I do not respect the fact that he put himself and his stance above the team because he’s not the only one who’s passionate about big social issues.”

Dilfer, who spent the final two years of his 14-year career with the 49ers and is a close friend of 49ers general manager Trent Baalke, lives in the Bay Area. He said he has read at least 30 articles on the subject.

Safety Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick in taking a knee for the 49ers’ exhibition finale, said he believes the issue has brought the 49ers’ locker room closer together.

“Since this has started, I’ve had conversations with him (Kaepernick) on a deeper level than I’ve ever had,” Reid said. “He’s told me he’s had that same feeling with a number of guys.”

Said Kaepernick, “There's been a lot of open conversations, a lot more conversations going on in general. And I think ultimately this team and this locker room have gotten a lot closer because of the gaining of understanding of individuals.”

After seeing Dilfer's criticism of Kaepernick, 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold took to Twitter, saying "Trent Dilfer you are an idiot. You really just pissed me off."

Chris Simms wouldn't be shocked if 49ers faced Patriots in Super Bowl

Chris Simms wouldn't be shocked if 49ers faced Patriots in Super Bowl

If you're looking for someone to slow down the 49ers' hype train, sorry, NBC Sports' Chris Simms isn't here to help.

Actually, it's quite the opposite.

Simms wants you to know San Francisco's 5-0 record doesn't lack substance, and he expects the 49ers to continue progressing to the highest levels this season.

Are they legitimate Super Bowl contenders?

"Yes they are," Simms told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday. "They're not going anywhere."

"They are arguably the best team in football," Simms continued. "OK, yeah, I'll give the Patriots the advantage right now because they're the Patriots and we've seen them do it, but when I look at the San Francisco 49ers, I look at -- it's a first-round bye. Is it a one-seed, or is it going to be a two-seed? That's how good the San Francisco 49ers are."

Simms has been impressed by San Francisco's depth and balance, particularly within the offensive and defensive lines.

"It starts up front," Simms explained, "and the 49ers -- yes, Mike McGlinchey's out ... and I know Joe Staley's out, and that hurts, and we might not see him the rest of the year -- but when McGlinchey is back in the fold, this is still one of the best offensive lines in football. Let alone, [Kyle] Shanahan is one of the best game-plan designers in football with the run game, the play-action. And the defense ain't going anywhere.

[RELATED: Staley, Witherspoon closest to return among injured 49ers]

"They might be battling it out with the Patriots for the best defense in the sport," Simms elaborated. "It's the best front four in the sport I think right now, as far as size, physicality, ferociousness, their speed at the linebacker positions. I like Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt at safety. The corners are good -- they're coached well."

Put it all together, and Simms believes the 49ers have the potential to play into February.

"The 49ers are for real, and I would not be shocked if we were down in Miami watching New England and San Francisco in the Super Bowl," he said.

Hype train, full speed ahead.

Jalen Ramsey-Aaron Donald best NFL duo? Marcell Harris says this isn't NBA

Jalen Ramsey-Aaron Donald best NFL duo? Marcell Harris says this isn't NBA

The 49ers' much-improved defense has plenty of star power, but so do their rivals in Los Angeles after a blockbuster trade Tuesday. 

The Rams traded three draft picks -- two first-rounders and one fourth-rounder -- to the Jacksonville Jaguars for star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, giving LA two of the NFL's best players at their respective positions when you remember that defensive tackle defensive lineman force of nature Aaron Donald also plies his trade in Tinseltown. 

It'd be difficult to find two players on the same defense better than Ramsey and Donald, so ESPN's "SportsCenter" account asked on Twitter if there is a better duo of defensive cornerstones around the NFL. The problem, according to 49ers safety Marcell Harris? There are nine other players on a defense.

Harris has a point. Star power only can get you so far in the NFL -- even at historically important positions like quarterback or edge rusher -- because of the league's commitment to parity above all else. When it comes to the NBA, a team with the two best players on the court wins in the regular season and playoffs more often than not. 

[RELATED: Shanahan busts out jokes leading into 49ers vs. Washington]

While this is not necessarily Harris' gripe, the 49ers have a strong case to have a duo under consideration. Whether pairing defensive lineman DeForest Buckner and edge rusher Nick Bosa or swapping out one for one of linebackers Kwon Alexander and Fred Warner, San Francisco has a few cornerstones in its front seven. It's that group that made the Ramsey trade a head-scratcher to NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco, who argued that the Rams' offensive line should have been a bigger concern than their secondary, considering the 49ers' success in Week 6.

Still, Ramsey and Donald are as good as what they do as just about anyone else in the NFL. The 49ers will get their first look at them in the same defense in Week 16 at Levi's Stadium, and they'll see firsthand whether the duo's dominance lifts the rest of the Rams' defense.