49ers

Kaepernick responds to criticism from Bills' cornerback

Kaepernick responds to criticism from Bills' cornerback

SANTA CLARA – After the Buffalo Bills’ blowout victory over the 49ers on Sunday, cornerback Stephon Gilmore did not hold back in his critique of Colin Kaepernick.

“We wanted to do everything we could to make him throw the ball," Gilmore told Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report. "I mean, he's an athlete. You can't take that from him. But when it comes to passing the ball, he can't really throw.

“We took advantage of that. . . We wanted to make him beat us with his arm, and he couldn't do that."

Kaepernick, making his first start in nearly a year, completed 13 of 29 passes for 187 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. There was a 22-mph wind at kickoff, and the gusts seemed to only increase as the game continued.

On Tuesday, Kaepernick responded to Gilmore’s comments.

“You’re always going to look at the opponent and that’s what you are,” Kaepernick said. “You’re critical of what they do, so you can take that and use it as an advantage. Ultimately, that’s what game-planning is.

“That’s an opinion. Everybody’s entitled to it. We move forward. We focus on what we can do to get this win this week versus the Bucs.”

Kaepernick admitted that his performance – and the performance of the 49ers’ offense -- was a mixed bag on Sunday. The 49ers scored 13 points after their first four offensive series. The 49ers scored three points in eight second-half possessions.

“We had good moments. We had some that we need to correct,” Kaepernick said. “Personally, there were throws that I should’ve made and I want to make. I need to correct those this week. But we have opportunities out there, and we have to take advantage of those when they present themselves to us. That’ll allow us to put a lot more points on the board, keep drives alive, things of that nature, that will help us win football games.”

Kaepernick said he felt sharp mentally after replacing Blaine Gabbert as the 49ers’ starting quarterback. He served as the backup quarterback and received approximately 25 percent of the practice snaps until last week. Kaepernick will continue to take the bulk of the practice snaps this week, as the 49ers prepare to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium.

“This offense, the way we scheme, the way we present this to our quarterbacks, our players, it gives you a lot of clarity when you step onto the field,” Kaepernick said. “I think that’s something for me, I felt a lot more confident in this scheme and the clarity of where we want to go with the football against certain coverages.”

Kwon Alexander will fill Reuben Foster's void, John Lynch believes

Kwon Alexander will fill Reuben Foster's void, John Lynch believes

49ers general manager John Lynch acknowledged that he signed Kwon Alexander to fill the void left by former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, who was released last season. 

In an interview with 49ers.com, Lynch spoke about how he and his staff brought back several familiar faces to the linebackers room. He was also very frank about what the team lost in Foster as a player. 

“Let’s be honest,” Lynch said. “We had a void that we thought we had filled with Reuben Foster. Things transpired there. We had a void there and that stinks but you can’t just sit there and pout, you gotta say ‘OK, let’s do something.'

“We needed a dynamic football player at that position. It’s a very critical position in our scheme and this became the guy. Kwon became the guy that we wanted to be that guy.” 

Alexander has many of the same on-field characteristics as Foster. He’s known as a hard hitter who flies around the field, making players think twice about going across the middle. He may make some mistakes in the game, but his passion and heart are recognized by his teammates. 

“I think what stood out to us with Kwon,” Lynch said, “he’s a dynamic football player. He’s a tone setter. You need tone-setters on your defense. 

“I think he’s a guy that when you watch him, when you talk to people who played against him, people who played with him, he’s exactly that. His type of play running all over the field, hitting people, getting the ball, it’s contagious. We need that.” 

The 49ers' admiration for Alexander grew as they did more research on him. They understand it may take some time before he returns to 100 percent health.

[RELATED: Kwon Alexander overcame tragedy, adversity]

“The more we watched him the more we liked,” Lynch said. “We knew he was coming off an ACL injury but we got comfortable with the medical part and also got comfortable with 'Hey, we are going to wait as long as it takes.' This is a long-term investment. He’s doing very well in his rehab.” 

The staff ideally would like to see Alexander lined up next to Fred Warner, who had a stand-out rookie season. They also brought back Elijah Lee, special teams contributor Mark Nzeocha, and signed ex-Panther David Mayo to a two-year contract to fill out the linebackers room.

Top NFL draft prospect Josh Allen thinks he's best player available

Top NFL draft prospect Josh Allen thinks he's best player available

Josh Allen does not lack confidence.

The edge rusher out of Kentucky, who is linked to both the 49ers with the No. 2 pick and Raiders at No. 4 in next month's NFL draft, spoke highly of his abilities during his pro day Friday.

"You can just watch the film, watch the games," Allen told ESPN on Friday. "If you're talking about stats, I mean, I finished second in the nation in sacks, playing in the SEC, which doesn't throw the ball as much as other conferences.

"I'm physical. I played the whole season. I played every game. I'm healthy. I just think I'm the best edge rusher, the best pass rusher, the best overall player in this draft."

OK then.

Allen put up tremendous numbers in his senior season at Kentucky, totaling 17 sacks and 88 tackles, including 56 solo. The 49ers and Raiders both desperately need someone who can rush the quarterback, so Allen fits the mold for both teams.

Allen told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that he has scheduled pre-draft meetings with both the 49ers and the Raiders.

The latest speculation is that the 49ers will draft Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick, as the Cardinals -- who own the No. 1 pick -- have been heavily linked to Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. If both Bosa and Allen are available to the 49ers, GM John Lynch will have his pick of the two edge rushers.

[RELATED: Draft prospect Quinnen Williams dined with 49ers at IHOP]

The Raiders, meanwhile, have to wait until No. 4 to see if Allen is still available. If both the Cardinals and 49ers pass on the Kentucky standout, only the Jets at No. 3 would stand in their way of getting -- as Allen puts it -- "the best overall player in the draft."

Time will tell whether Allen lives up to his bold proclamation. But it seems as if the 49ers or Raiders would be lucky to find out.