49ers

Kelly: Kaepernick 'going to throw some more' in 49ers practice

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Kelly: Kaepernick 'going to throw some more' in 49ers practice

The day after throwing more than 50 passes in a 30-minute session in pregame warmups, Colin Kaepernick reported for treatment on Sunday in good shape.

“Kap is fine,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said in a conference call with reporters. “I saw Kap. He’s fine.”

When asked what the plan is for Kaepernick during Monday’s practice, Kelly said, “He’s going to throw some more.”

Kelly said he did not know if Kaepernick would take part in 7-on-7 and team drills. 

“I don’t know that. We’ll see how it goes when he gets out there and starts throwing,”Kelly said.

Kaepernick has not practiced since Aug. 10 due to arm fatigue, which Kelly described last week as a muscle issue. The 49ers would like Kaepernick to go through a full week of practice and play Friday night against the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium.

Blaine Gabbert, who opened training in a competition with Kaepernick, has handled all of the first-team reps in practices and games since Kaepernick has been sidelined.

--Kelly said he had not yet met with the medical staff, so there was no update on the knee injuries of linebacker Nick Bellore and wide receiver Bryce Treggs. A source told CSNBayArea.com that the 49ers believed Treggs had sustained an injury to his MCL, which is considered good news. MCL injuries do not require surgery and do not generally keep players out long term.

--Right tackle Anthony Davis saw some practice time last week at right guard. Kelly said he did not know where Davis will line up this week. Trent Brown has handled all of the team’s first-team practice snaps from the opening of training camp.

--Kelly on the outside linebackers: “We got some good pass rush out of, obviously, Marcus Rush. I thought Eli (Harold) had a really good day himself. Tank (Carradine) was very productive. I think that group did really well yesterday.”

Harold got the wind knocked out of him when Carradine, rushing from the opposite side, inadvertently hit Harold with his helmet in the midsection.

--The 49ers won Saturday’s exhibition game against the Broncos. Kelly listed some of the areas that pleased him: Energy and competitiveness, the defense settled down after the first series, the Nos. 2 and 3 defense got pressure on the quarterback, the run game was good, pass protection, and quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert, Jeff Driskel and Christian Ponder were accurate (a combined 19 of 24).

--The competition continues at inside linebacker among Michael Wilhoite, Gerald Hodges and Ray-Ray Armstrong.

“They all have their plusses,” Kelly said. “(Hodges) had a fumble recovery and was very productive. Ray-Ray has done a nice job in coverage in some of our dime and sub packages. Michael is really steady in terms of how he plugs and plays, and can play both positions. They’re all doing a good job. It’s a positive situation for us.”

--Rookie quarterback Jeff Driskel bounced back from a poor passing performance in the exhibition opener to connect on six of his seven pass attempts against the Broncos.

“I think Jeff has improved every time he’s gotten an opportunity. The more he’s out there, the more comfortable he is with what he’s doing. Obviously, he was better in Week 2 than he was in Week 1. He did a nice job in our two training sessions with Denver during the week.”

--Kelly said there is not a common thread in the 49ers’ five lost fumbles in two games. Mike Davis has fumbled twice. DuJuan Harris has been involved in two fumbles, but one was officially blamed on quarterback Thad Lewis. Carlos Hyde has also coughed it up.

“That’s all taken into (account) as we put this team together,” Kelly said. “Everybody understands how important the turnover battle is in the game of football. It’s something we’ve emphasized and will continue to emphasize. “

--Running back Shaun Draughn was held out due to a ribs injury, which occurred during a practice with the Broncos. Kelly said he expects Draughn to be back in action this week.

--In addition to outside linebacker Marcus Rush, who recorded three sacks, defensive lineman Garrison Smith also came through with a big game. Smith recorded a team-high five tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss.

“I thought Garrison played an outstanding game. Between him and Marcus, if you pick two standouts, those two, from a production standpoint, really jumped out when you were flying home last night and watching the tape. The two of those guys were around the football a lot and causing disruption. Both of those guys had really, really good games.”

49ers roster analysis: Ascending linebackers should make group better in 2020

49ers roster analysis: Ascending linebackers should make group better in 2020

This is the seventh installment of a nine-part series that examines the 49ers’ roster coming out of the 2019 season, looks ahead to 2020 and outlines the offseason challenges facing general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan on a position-by-position basis.

Today, a look at the 49ers’ linebackers.

Under contract (signed through)

-Kwon Alexander (2022)
-Fred Warner (2021)
-Dre Greenlaw (2022)
-Mark Nzeocha (2021)
-Azeez Al-Shaair (2021)
-Joey Alfieri (2021)
-Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (2021)

The 49ers and Alexander agreed to a contract restructure in November that saves the team more than $8 million in cap space for the 2020 season. His salary is set to leap to $12.55 million in 2021. Three voidable years were added to his contract. He is still scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the 2022 season.

Expiring contracts

-Elijah Lee (RFA)

Lee was among the 49ers’ final cuts and was signed to the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster for the final eight games of the regular season after Alexander went on injured reserve. Lee saw action in each of the 49ers’ three postseason games as a core special-teams contributor.

What needs to happen

The 49ers’ only real decision is with Lee, who is a restricted free agent. The lowest tender of $2.144 million is probably too much, but the 49ers can look to re-sign him to a minimum level contract.

But even with some uncertainty surrounding Lee, the 49ers appear set with their starters and backups. The 49ers certainly do not need to spend free-agent money to add a player. And they do not need to use one of their top draft picks to bring in a linebacker, either.

[RELATED: 49ers roster analysis: Work needed to keep up defensive line dominance]

Expectations

This position group is comprised of players who are all ascending. The unit was good in 2019. It should be better in 2020.

Warner was one of the breakout stars for the 49ers as a second-year player. He had an interception of Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl that looked, at the time, to be one of the big plays in that game. Warner believes he can make improvements in all areas, including the production of more game-changing types of plays.

Alexander sustained a torn pectoral in the middle of the season. Then, worked hard to get back for the playoffs. Although he settled back into the 49ers’ defense as a part-time player, Alexander still served an important role on the team due to his leadership and energy.

Greenlaw became an every-down player after Alexander’s injury and made one of the most memorable plays of the season when he stopped Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister just inches short of the goal line to preserve the 49ers’ Week 17 win to clinch the NFC West and home-field advantage in the playoffs. It will be difficult to keep Greenlaw off the field.

Al-Shaair, who defied the odds to win his roster spot last season as an undrafted rookie, and Nzeocha are solid backups and core special-teams players, too.

NFL free agency: A.J. Green would fit 49ers, but health risks are real

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NFL free agency: A.J. Green would fit 49ers, but health risks are real

A.J. Green last played in an NFL game on Dec. 2, 2018. He injured his toe in that game, and underwent season-ending surgery shortly after.

Green then missed all of last season, as the Cincinnati Bengals' star receiver dealt with an ankle injury. And yet, he's one of the biggest names set to hit free agency next month.

So, should the 49ers take a run at signing the seven-time Pro Bowl pick? Talent-wise, yes. But it's not that simple.

Green, who turns 32 years old on July 31, has played in just nine games in the last two seasons. He has missed 29 games since 2016 and isn't getting any younger. But he's also one of the most talented receivers in the league when healthy.

The former No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft started his career with five straight seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards. He was well on pace to extending that streak in 2016 when he had 964 receiving yards in 10 games and then had 1,078 in 2017.

San Francisco simply doesn't have any receivers with Green's kind of pedigree. Deebo Samuel opened eyes as a rookie, and he is dangerous with the ball in his hands. The 49ers have to add talent around the young South Carolina product, though.

Green also is the kind of large target that 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan hopes to give quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Samuel is listed at 5-foot-11 and 214 pounds. Green, however, is 6-4 and 210 pounds.

One NFL executive believes Green hopes to move on from the Bengals this offseason, too. 

"I think he wants out of Cincinnati," the exec told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. 

That, however, isn't in Bengals coach Zac Taylor's plans

"He's a guy that we're excited about to have part of this team, first and foremost. That’s what matters right now," Taylor said Thursday in his interview on the '"Bengals Beat Podcast." "As we go through the offseason, we'll figure out how it best fits. But right now, we expect him to be a part of the team. We want him to be a part of the team.

"He's certainly been a valuable member for the last couple years and done some great things. I'm excited to coach him, really for the first time this next season."

Green signed a four-year, $60 million contract with the Bengals in 2015. He will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time this offseason, and the veteran still could sign another hefty contract. The same executive told ESPN that "even 'B' receivers are getting $14 million to $15 million."

The 49ers currently have just under $17.9 million available in cap space this offseason, according to Spotrac. San Francisco also has its own contracts to take care of in free agent Arik Armstead, as well as extensions for George Kittle and DeForest Buckner. 

[RELATED: Why 49ers could add Gabriel to receiver mix this offseason]

One way or another, the 49ers should look to give Jimmy G more weapons this offseason. This year's NFL draft class is loaded with receivers, and the front office could make that their priority with their first pick. There's no doubt Green could be a great option in free agency, but it all comes down to health.

"As long as the foot checks out, he's still elite," an NFC personnel evaluator said to ESPN.

That's a big if, though. Green is one talented question mark.