49ers

Roger Goodell addresses unemployment of former 49ers safety Eric Reid

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AP

Roger Goodell addresses unemployment of former 49ers safety Eric Reid

ORLANDO, Fla – Eric Reid remains on the open market a fortnight into NFL’s free-agent signing period. He’s a quality defensive back, someone surely deserving of an NFL job.

The safety doesn’t have one yet, which has raised eyebrows and questions about whether his decision to kneel for the national anthem in protest of social injustice toward minorities plays a role in his unemployment.

Reid, who played his first five seasons with the 49ers, joined quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling for the national anthem in the 2016 preseason, which started a movement across the league.

Many believe Kaepernick remains unemployed – he was unsigned last year – because he has been outspoken about a push for social change.

Reid has taken a similar stance. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Reid’s case Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings and the message it could send to players who stand with Kaepernick.

“I’ve said this repeatedly to you. The 32 teams make individual decisions on the players who are going to best help their franchises,” Goodell said. “Those are decisions they have to make. They do that every day in the best interest of winning. Teams make those decisions. I’m not directly involved with that.”

Reid said last week a few teams had contacted his agent but no visits were set up. He also said he would no longer kneel during the anthem, a vow Kaepernick made last year but didn’t change his employment status. He also said he doesn’t regret his decision to protest and speak out on social issues.

“I stand by what I’ve done,” Reid said. “I know why I’ve done it. My faith in God is the reason. I can go to sleep at night confident I did what I was called to do. I’m just gong to stay positive and keep trying to stay in shape and wait and see what happens.

"I said at the end of last season I’m OK no matter what happens.”

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was asked about Kaepernick’s inability to find a job on Tuesday, and said he was surprised the quarterback was not in the NFL.

"I think there's a lot of intrigue there," Gruden said Tuesday at the coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings. "His performance on the field wasn't very good, on tape. I think, Robert Griffin, a Rookie of the Year, [I'm] surprised he's out there. Tim Tebow takes a team to the playoffs, there's some surprise that he never came back. You know, Johnny Manziel, he's out there."

"Back to Kaepernick, he got beat out by [Blaine] Gabbert to start the [2016] season. I think that says something. [But] I am surprised he's not in camp with somebody. He probably will be soon."

Andy Reid praises Alex Smith's willingness to help Patrick Mahomes

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AP

Andy Reid praises Alex Smith's willingness to help Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City coach Andy Reid felt no rush to get quarterback Patrick Mahomes onto the field because of the learning that was taking place daily during his rookie season.

Some young quarterbacks learn more from playing and experiencing through game action. But Reid determined the right path for Mahomes’ future was to observe and learn behind veteran starter Alex Smith.

“He was able to sit in that room and see how Alex goes about his business as a pro, and a successful pro,” Reid said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “Patrick wants to be good. But that example to have that is important. It’s invaluable. He’s very lucky to have that.”

Mahomes, 23, is in his second NFL season and his first as a starter. He has gotten off to a hot start and appears to be one of the game’s bright young stars. On Sunday, he will make his first home start, taking on the 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium.

And Reid gives a lot of the credit to Mahomes’ early success to Smith, who began his career as the No. 1 overall pick of the 49ers in 2005 before he was traded to Kansas City in favor another young, promising quarterback.

“Not everybody does it like Alex, that’s the thing,” Reid said. “I’ve been doing this a couple of years, not everybody goes about their job as thorough as Alex does. And Alex is a very intelligent guy, on top of all of that. You combine those two things, that’s why he’s been successful.

“And for Patrick to see that, Patrick is also very intelligent and he wants to be good and he’s humble, and he wasn’t afraid to learn from Alex. As a coach, we can tell you to do this and that, but to have a guy like that come in and be able to follow somebody that does it perfect in preparation, that’s a special.”

The Chiefs were 50-26 in the five seasons Smith started. Last season, he achieved a career-high passer rating of 104.7. But in the offseason, Kansas City moved on from Smith, trading him to Washington, to clear the way for Mahomes.

It is not difficult to believe that Smith was just about the perfect teammate for Mahomes, whom Kansas City selected after trading up to No. 10 overall pick in 2017.

Smith was in the same situation with the 49ers when the 49ers moved up for Colin Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft. Smith was the quarterback for the 49ers during a run to the NFC Championship game while Kaepernick remained on the sideline as a rookie.

But in 2012, in the midst of a career year, Smith left the lineup due to a concussion in the middle of the season. When Smith was cleared to play, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh decided to stick with Kaepernick. The 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl, losing to the Baltimore Ravens.

Then, Smith was shipped off to Kansas City for two second-round draft picks in the offseason.

Mahomes and his father, Pat, a former major-league pitcher, in an interview with Peter King for Football Morning in Americacredited Smith for being so willing to share his knowledge and mentor the gifted young quarterback.

“How to prepare, mostly,” the Chiefs quarterback told King. “He taught me how to make sure I was ready for any situation that presented itself in a game. I owe him a lot.”

The elder Mahomes said not all veteran professional athletes are as helpful as Smith was to his son. He remembered being a young player in the Minnesota Twins organization and approaching future Hall of Famer Jack Morris.

“That’s what’s so admirable about what Alex did all season for him,” Pat Mahomes said. “I know how it was when I came up. I remember one time that year asking Jack Morris how he threw his split-finger fastball. He said, ‘Get away from me, you little MF. You’ll be trying to take my job next year.’ ”

Reid said his focus has been on continuing to get Mahomes prepared weekly to face another opponent and not to get caught up in the publicity his incredible start has generated.

Through two games, Mahomes has completed 69.1 percent of his pass attempts, averaging 291.0 yards with 10 touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating is 143.3. Reid said he believes Mahomes has the right approach because his dad was a professional athlete and he has been around locker rooms his entire life.

“He doesn’t get caught up in that,” Reid said. “I’m sure he has a lot of examples of people who did and it didn’t turn out so well.”

NFL QB Power Rankings Week 3: Derek Carr passes Jimmy Garoppolo

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AP

NFL QB Power Rankings Week 3: Derek Carr passes Jimmy Garoppolo

Victories and inspired performances (and, in one case, a stunning fashion statement) in the first two weeks of the regular season have Ryan Fitzpatrick, Patrick Mahomes and Ryan Tannehill shooting up the charts in this week’s NFL QB Power Rankings. Here are this week's rankings, and if you don’t like them, just wait a week . . .

1. Drew Brees, New Orleans: He takes his turn atop the list with his gaudy 81.3 completion percentage. (Last week -- 3)

2. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay: The very rule that was enacted to legislate against a repeat of Rodgers’ injury of last season ends up costing the Packers a victory. (1)

3. Tom Brady, New England: He was out-dueled by Jaguars QB Blake Bortles, but at least he can figure on having recently-acquired Josh Gordon as his No. 1 wideout for 11 of the Patriots’ next 66 games. (2)

4. Philip Rivers, L.A. Chargers: Despite the apathy in the stands when the two L.A. teams meet, it should be plenty entertaining on the field. (4)

5. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota: The Buffalo Bills are coming to town, which means it’s time to pad those statistics. (6)

6. Jared Goff, L.A. Rams: There’s no reason for him to apologize for being surrounded by so much talent because he’s playing as well as anyone. (11)

7. Alex Smith, Washington: A trip to Green Bay means more stories about the order the quarterbacks went off the board in the 2005 draft. (7)

8. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati: Unbeaten, in charge of the NFC North, and steamrolling toward a first-round playoff loss. (14)

9. Russell Wilson, Seattle: He’s as good as ever, but he has no chance with an utterly pathetic group of players around him. (5)

10. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh: He’s even having difficulty keeping wide receiver Antonio Brown happy with too many passes and yards going to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. (8)

11. Matthew Stafford, Detroit: He would’ve had about 100 yards more against the 49ers if the ball hadn’t slipped out of his hands due to excessive drool while looking at wide receiver Marvin Jones running alone down the field. (9)

12. Cam Newton, Carolina: If he keeps feeding the ball to running back Christian McCaffrey, there’ll be a third member of the NFL’s 1,000-1,000 club with Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk. (10)

13. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay: Through two games, he is the best QB in league history and the most interesting man alive. (17)

14. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City: His film study to face the 49ers will undoubtedly point him in the direction opposite of cornerback Richard Sherman. (23)

15. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia: Upon his return from a devastating knee injury, he has to work his way up from a ranking in the middle of the pack. (Nick Foles, 22)

16. Ryan Tannehill, Miami: He’s gotten off to a good start, but he has not had to face a pass-rushing disturbance like Khalil Mack before this week. Wait! What? Mack no longer plays for the Raiders? (24)

17. Deshaun Watson, Houston: Not bad, just not nearly as good as the beginning of his rookie season. (12)

18. DEREK CARR, RAIDERS: OK, we can all agree after Carr completed a remarkable 29 of 32 pass attempts that he is not the problem. (21)

19. Matt Ryan, Atlanta: Vast research has uncovered there appears to be a difference in his production with Kyle Shanahan and Steve Sarkisian as his offensive coordinators. (13)

20. Joe Flacco, Baltimore: He can’t even pretend to not be disgusted when rookie Lamar Jackson enters the game to run trick plays at QB. (15)

21. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville: He rolled up 377 yards and four TDs against the Patriots. That is all. (26)

22. Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants: They like Saquon Barkley, but the only who was truly happy the Giants didn’t draft a QB is Manning . . . and the Jets. (16)

23. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis: Underrated or overrated? Let’s give him another week or 14 to decide. (18)

24. Dak Prescott, Dallas: The bad news – only one TD pass in two games. The good news – no interceptions. (19)

25. JIMMY GAROPPOLO, 49ERS: For a guy coming off a 118.4 passer rating, there’s still a lot to clean up. (20)

26. Sam Darnold, N.Y. Jets: He’s still on the rise, entering a riveting Thursday night matchup against the Browns. (27)

27. Case Keenum, Denver: The Broncos might be one of just seven 2-0 teams, but this QB is least responsible for the wins among all the guys who are unbeaten. (25)

28. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago: His average of 5.4 yards per attempt means head coach Matt Nagy is certainly not putting too much on his plate. (29)

29. Marcus Mariota/Blaine Gabbert, Tennessee: Gabbert got the start last week and will probably start again. History has shown, the more he plays, the worse it gets. (30)

30. Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland: No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, you can start warming up. (31)

31. Sam Bradford, Arizona: Rookie Josh Rosen, you can start warming up now, too. (28)

32. Josh Allen, Buffalo: Hey, give the kid some credit. He could have easily decided to retire at halftime. (32)