49ers

Esiason: Kaepernick 'done' as 49ers quarterback

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Esiason: Kaepernick 'done' as 49ers quarterback

The decision has been made by 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula on who the starting quarterback will be on Nov. 22 when his squad goes against NFC West-rival, the Seattle Seahawks. 

Blaine Gabbert, who started his first NFL game in over two years while replacing Colin Kaepernick Sunday, led the 49ers to a 17-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Now, he gets his second go under center as the team's starter.

For former All-Pro and current NFL analyst Boomer Esiason, Tomsula's decision was an easy one and another step in the end of Kaepernick's time with the franchise.

"It just goes to tell you how bad I think Colin Kaepernick became as a quarterback on that team, and he's done there," Esiason said on the Toucher & Rich show Monday morning. "That's over. The whole thing out there is over." 

Gabbert's control of the offense was clear Sunday. The 49ers scored 17 points in the first half -- their highest total for a half in the whole season -- and Gabbert threw two touchdowns behind 185 yards. He was also intercepted twice, but one came from a Jerome Simpson drop right off his hands. 

His toughness and leadership was applauded after the victory, one area that Esiason points to the demise of Kaepernick. 

"All reports are that Colin Kaepernick is a loner, that he does not embrace his teammates, that he does not embrace the role of an actual quarterback, which is not just to throw passes and run for first downs and all that other stuff, but it's to be the ultimate example by leading and carrying yourself with dignity and with respect and making sure that you give each player on your team the same amount of respect in return." 

In the same NFL Draft where the 49ers snagged Kaepernick in the second round, Gabbert was taken with the No. 10 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011. His path and fresh start has been compared to that of Alex Smith's, and after leading the 49ers to victory, Gabbert spoke on all the learning experiences he took from his rollercoaster career with the Jags. 

Will Kaepernick get a do-over for a new team if his time with the 49ers is really over? Esiason can see that happening, but there's a catch. 

"He'll be gone next year. Maybe another team will give him a chance." 

Again, an attitude adjustment seems to be the needed key to Kaepernick trying to continue his career. 

"If he continues with this act that he has, I'll tell ya, in two years he'll be out of this league."

Esiason sees comparisons in Kaepernick and former first-round pick Josh Freeman, another quarterback who seemed to have all the physical skills, yet his career quickly flamed out. Freeman, taken with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2009 draft, has not played in the NFL since 2013 and is now looking to revitalize his career with the Brooklyn Bolts of the Fall Experimental Football League. 

In Freeman's season debut for the Bolts, he completed 9 of 16 passes for only 32 yards and threw one touchdown while also getting intercepted once. And in that same game, he fumbled five times. 

Sunday's victory may have shocked many, but after making a quarterback change, don't count Esiason in that group of people. 

"It's no surprise to me that Colin Kaepernick is benched, and it's no surprise to me the 49ers actually won a game with Blaine Gabbert." 

The 49ers are 1-0 -- looking to go 2-0 -- with Blaine Gabbert running the offense compared to 2-6 with Kaepernick doing the same this season. The impact of a quarterback change for this team will truly be tested in two weeks vs. last season's NFC champions in Seattle.

49ers' Kendrick Bourne, NFL stars not fans of league's escrow proposal

49ers' Kendrick Bourne, NFL stars not fans of league's escrow proposal

With each passing day, the concerns over the coronavirus grow.

For the sports world, that means uncertainty. Will the games be played as scheduled? Will there be fans in the stands? What will revenue look like?

On Tuesday, the NFL reportedly made a financial proposal to the Players Association, and it didn't sit well with the latter group.

NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported, citing sources, that the NFLPA told its board of representatives that the league is proposing to put 35 percent of players' 2020 salary into an escrow account.

Pelissero relayed a response from an NFLPA executive Don Davis.

As you can imagine, the idea of not getting their full salaries didn't sit well with the players, including 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

Raiders right tackle Trent Brown weighed in.

Several other NFL stars, including newly minted $503 million-man Patrick Mahomes, shared the same reaction.

The NFL reportedly wants to cut the preseason from four games to two games, and the NFLPA later voted that no preseason games be played.

It's clear the two sides have a lot to work out before training camps open later this month.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' George Kittle voted top NFL tight end over Chiefs' Travis Kelce

49ers' George Kittle voted top NFL tight end over Chiefs' Travis Kelce

Who's the best tight end in the NFL?

While many feel strongly on the subject, there really are only two acceptable answers. You can bicker back and forth as to who is superior between 49ers tight end George Kittle and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, but they're clearly in a tier unto themselves.

If you're partial to the intricacies of route-running, Kelce might be your choice. If you like a bruiser who contributes in all aspects of the offense, Kittle surely is your guy.

If there is a separation between the two, it's by hairs. Don't take my word for it. More than 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players recently voted on the top 10 players at 11 different positions for the upcoming 2020 season, and the top two tight ends were separated by the slimmest margin of any position group.

To the delight of 49ers fans, and the ire of those of the Chiefs, Kittle came out on top. Just barely.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

After the first round of votes, ESPN's Jeremey Fowler reported Kittle and Kelce sat at a dead-even split. Additional voting and follow-up calls were required, which ultimately tilted the result in Kittle's favor.

Just like Kelce, Kittle was ranked as high as No. 1 at the position, but no lower than No. 3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski was the only other player to receive a first-place vote, but last I checked it's 2020 and not 2015.

"Consecutive 1,000-yard seasons make Kittle a top contender, but his blocking and intensity helped earn him nearly half the first-place votes," Fowler wrote. "Where Kittle beats everyone is at the line of scrimmage and with the ball in his hands, as he forced a league-high 20 missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus."

The voters were full of compliments for Kelce, but Kittle's mentality, leadership and scheme flexibility proved to be the tie-breakers.

"Be on the field, and see how he elevates the play of everyone in the offense. It's tangible," one NFC coordinator said. "He lifts everyone up."

"The passion on tape is unmatched," an AFC executive explained. "He's got that dog in him. More competitive than Kelce."

"Unreal passion, energy, toughness, blocking," said another executive.

[RELATED: Mahomes contract could put pressure on 49ers signing Kittle]

Kittle might have won the vote, but last time he and Kelce were on the same field, the Chiefs tight end got the better of him, both in the box score and in the Lombardi Trophy department. Of course, if Kittle isn't called for that questionable-at-best offensive pass interference penalty, it might be a completely different story.

In any case, there's no shame in Kelce being ranked below Kittle, nor would there be if it was the other way around. They're both extremely special players, and it's not a coincidence that their teams arguably are the two best in the NFL.