Shanahan not closing door on Kaepernick's return to 49ers

Shanahan not closing door on Kaepernick's return to 49ers

INDIANAPOLIS – The 49ers’ organization has gotten a fresh start with a new coach and a new general manager.

And the team’s decision-makers are also starting with a new set of eyes to chart the course for the team’s future at quarterback.

“I won’t close any door,” Shanahan said of the possibility of re-signing Colin Kaepernick, who is expected to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent.

“We’re going to look for who we think gives us the best chance to win and who can help us the most. Kap is one of those guys that’s available.”

Kaepernick’s decision to become an unrestricted free agent is a formality that will not force the 49ers to release him in order to avoid his scheduled $14.9 million pay for the 2017 season.

“There had to be a decision made on Kap, and mainly he made that decision,” Shanahan said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “If he wouldn’t have, we would’ve had to make a decision. But by that happening, it throws him into the boat with everyone else. It’s not that you’re deciding to part ways or not, he decided to do that. It throws him into the boat everybody else is in, which makes it easy for us.

“We don’t have an attachment to Kap. We look at him just like all the other guys that I’m looking at. It was good to get to meet him, talk to him, but besides that, we’re looking at him on film like everybody else.”

Kaepernick met last week with Shanahan and general manager John Lynch at team headquarters in Santa Clara. During that conversation, Kaepernick intimated he would opt out of his contract, Shanahan said. The 49ers told Kaepernick he would be evaluated like all the other quarterback options this offseason.

“We told him straight up, we’re throwing you into the pool with all the other guys,” Shanahan said. “We have to evaluate all the free agents, the trade possibilities and the draft, and whatever we think the best scenario is the way we’re going to go. But Kap’s in that. He’s involved in that. Just like anybody else."

Kaepernick started 11 games for the 49ers last season and posted his best statistical season since 2013. Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his pass attempts with 16 touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 90.7. He also rushed for 468 yards.

Shanahan said there are no issues with designing an offense that accentuates Kaepernick’s strengths.

“What Kap did to go to the Super Bowl, he ran similar offense to what we did in 2012,” Shanahan said, referring to the Washington offense during Robert Griffin's rookie season.  “I think that’s the kind of stuff that gives him the best chance to be successful.

“You’ll adjust to anybody. Would I do the exact same stuff I’ve done in Atlanta? That’s different than what I’ve done for other people. So it’s going to always change. But with Kap’s skillset, if he was your guy, you’d adjust to him.”

The 49ers have discussed all the quarterback options, including trades, Shanahan said. Washington’s Kirk Cousins and New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo might not be available in trades. Even if they were, the price would be exorbitant.

But if the 49ers were to wait a season, it’s possible they could be available as free agents and the 49ers would not have to surrender draft picks.

“All that comes into play,” Shanahan said. “Yes, you have targets of people you want, but you have to be smart and value your initial needs with the organizational needs in the immediate future and the long haul. You’re always thinking about how to win now, but that can never be at the expense of the future, too.”

While the 49ers feel urgency to fill their need at quarterback, Shanahan said the decision must be calculated to provide the best long-term results for the organization. Both Shanahan and general manager John Lynch are on six-year contracts, which implies there will be patience to allow them to build.

“I’m very eager,” Shanahan said. “We’re all very eager. But it’s important, coming here, we’re also going to make the right decision. We’re not going to do something just because we’re eager. Everybody wants your quarterback and you want to not have to worry about that. But you also have to make sure the guy that you want is there. A lot of bad decisions are made by people who are just eager.

“John and myself came here and we knew we could make decisions might not always be the flashiest, but we truly think it’s best for our organization. That’s how you stay out of trouble.”


49ers snap count: Matt Breida gets start, more playing time

49ers snap count: Matt Breida gets start, more playing time

Although he exited the game in the second quarter with an apparent knee injury, 49ers running back Matt Breida returned to the game.

Not only did Breida continue to rotate with veteran running back Alfred Morris, for the first time this season he saw more playing time. Breida, who made his second start of the season, played 29 snaps, while more was on the field for 23 offensive plays.

Breida had five carries for 29 yards before leaving the game late in the first half.

He came back in the third quarter and immediately produced a 21-yard run. Breida finished the game with 90 yards on 10 rushing attempts. He also caught three passes for 27 yards.

Entering the Monday night game, Breida is tied for the NFL lead with Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott with 274 rushing yards on the season. Breida has carried the ball 32 times this season, while Elliott has attempted 48 runs.

The 49ers were down 35-7 in the second quarter, but scored 17 unanswered points to tighten the margin of defeat.

“We stayed with the same plan,” Breida said. “We just have to play better in the second half is what it comes down to. We can’t make mental mistakes.”

Breida’s 8.6 yards per carry is the best in the NFL, but he’s been even more effective on runs outside the tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. He has 11 outside runs for 138 yards, a 12.5 yards average.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk has emerged as the team's third-down back. Juszczyk was the lone third-down back on six of the 49ers' eight plays of third and 3 or longer, according to PFF. Juszczyk played 53 snaps in the game.

Rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey struggled in pass protection. He allowed a sack and three hurries, according to PFF.

On defense, the 49ers had an astounding 17 missed tackles, according to PFF. The biggest culprits were Reuben Foster and Fred Warner, who missed six and four tackles, respectively. Foster missed just 10 tackles all of his rookie season.

Injuries on defense meant that 18 different players were on the field for 20 or more snaps. Among the 49ers who saw their first significant action of the season on defense were safety Antone Exum (76 snaps), linebacker Reuben Foster (75), cornerback Jimmie Ward (71), safety D.J. Reed (52) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (34),

Here are the total numbers of snaps of every 49ers player who saw action on Sunday:


Total offensive snaps: 68
Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo 67, C.J. Beathard 1
Running back – Kyle Juszczyk 53, Matt Breida 29, Alfred Morris 23, Raheem Mostert 3
Wide receiver – Pierre Garçon 52, Marquise Goodwin 42, Trent Taylor 25, Dante Pettis 25, Kendrick Bourne 15
Tight end – George Kittle 54, Garrett Celek 19
Offensive line – Joe Staley 68, Mike McGlinchey 68, Laken Tomlinson 68, Weston Richburg 68, Mike Person 61, Erik Magnuson 7


Total defensive snaps: 76
Defensive line – DeForest Buckner 55, Arik Armstead 49, Solomon Thomas 44, Cassius Marsh 40, Earl Mitchell 33, Ronald Blair 29, D.J. Jones 22, Sheldon Day 20
Linebacker – Fred Warner 76, Reuben Foster 75, Malcolm Smith 34, Elijah Lee 1
Defensive back – Antone Exum 76, Jimmie Ward 71, K’Waun Williams 54, D.J. Reed 52, Ahkello Witherspoon 40, Richard Sherman 36, Adrian Colbert 25, Tarvarius Moore 5

Special teams

Total special teams plays: 28
Mark Nzeocha 24, Lee 24, Moore 23, Exum 18, Reed 18, Mostert 17, Celek 15, Tyvis Powell 14, Cole Wick 14, Warner 14, Bradley Pinion 13, Witherspoon 12, Marsh 11, Buckner 10, Ward 9, Kyle Nelson 8, Bourne 6, Mitchell 6, Thomas 5, Robbie Gould 4, Garry Gilliam 4, Staley 4, McGlinchey 4, Tomlinson 4, Richburg 4, Juszczyk 4, Taylor 4, Colbert 4, Breida 3, Pettis 2, Armstead 1


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Some fans calling for Kaepernick’s return

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Reports: Richard Sherman out a few weeks with mild calf strain

Reports: Richard Sherman out a few weeks with mild calf strain

The 49ers won't have veteran cornerback Richard Sherman's services for a few weeks.

NFL Network and ESPN reported Monday that an MRI revealed Sherman has a mild calf strain, and he'll be out 2 to 3 weeks.

Sherman suffered the injury to his left calf late in the first half of Sunday's loss to the Chiefs. Earlier in the week, he dealt with a heel issue that kept him out of practice.

Sherman required assistance from two staff members to leave the field at halftime. He limped under his own power back onto the 49ers’ sideline at the start of the second half and back to the locker room after the game.

Sherman, who clearly was disappointed, did not speak to reporters after the game as he left the team’s locker room to depart Arrowhead Stadium for the return flight to the Bay Area.


Shanahan, 49ers confident in Beathard as QB

Niners deal with emotion of losing their leader

Some fans calling for Kaepernick’s return

Shanahan said he's happy with QBs already on the team

Ratto: “Next man up” is a hard pill to swallow