49ers fans' clamor for Kaepernick unfounded, expected

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49ers fans' clamor for Kaepernick unfounded, expected

The 49ers have built over the decades a fan base that regards bitching about its starting quarterback its inherent right, maybe even a constitutional one.

Thus it is delectably stupid that after one of Alex Smiths best games that the matter of Colin Kaepernick getting no snaps is suddenly an issue again.

RELATED: Smith 'gobbles' up play time, Kaepernick sidelined

Well, not really an issue, though Jim Harbaughs State Of The Barnyard Address did draw some fire away from the real nonsense.

Of course, Kaepernicks Tuesday tweet, Bout to get this workout in because yall ain't goin keep me on this sideline forever, created much to-do about the level of his irritation over being involved in zero snaps against the Arizona Cardinals. His 48 snaps this year represent 10 percent of all offensive 49ers plays, 6.4 percent of all 49ers yardage and 6.3 percent of all 49ers points.

Bout to get this workout in because yall ain't goin keep me on this sideline forever! Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) October 30, 2012
And thats the big deal for today. Colin Kaepernick wasnt used in a game the 49ers won, 24-3, and dominated from start to finish. Hopeless.

RECAP: 49ers 24, Cardinals 3

And yet entirely predictable. Other than those few happy years when Joe Montana was free of the shadow of Steve Young (1980-1986), the backup quarterback has always been the most exalted position in the teams history. And during the years when Smith was surrounded by poor performances, poor coaches, poor teammates and rich veins of inexperience, the backup quarterback was particularly beloved.

And here is whom the fan base spent its very temporary love on: Tim Rattay. Ken Dorsey. Cody Pickett. Trent Dilfer. Shaun Hill. Chris Weinke. J.T. OSullivan. Troy Smith. David Carr. Of that group, Dilfer has had the best ersatz post-49er quarterbacking career, as he plays regular downs on the studio field.

But lets stay with Kaepernick for a moment, and ask the musical question: While we get why he wants to play, we are utterly gobsmacked as to why theres such a mad demand from others for his increased appearances, for the following compelling reasons:

1. Smith is 20-6 in his last 26 games.
2. Smith runs the offense given him by Harbaugh, and if it gobbles, it gobbles quite efficiently.
3. A quarterback does not operate in a vacuum. The players around him matter, too.
4. Harbaugh, whom most 49er fans will agree has done quite well when he wasnt actually saying words or dealing with non-49er employees, has had choices to make and opportunities to make them, and he has chosen Smith.
5. If fantasy league performances define quarterbacks, then you should demand that the 49ers take Denvers 4-3 record instead of their 6-2, or better yet, Washingtons 3-5.
6. And finally, teams adjust all the time, and they clearly have adjusted to Kaepernick for the moment.

Against all this, there is the counter-argument.

1. Alex Smith is Alex Smith, and he always will be.
2. Hey, this is San Francisco. If you wanted people to like you, you shouldnt have won the job to begin with.

This, of course, is utterly daft. It is also a law of physics in this mad-as-a-brush town. This is who they are. This is what they do. And no amount of counseling will change that. They will always and forever say, Sure the local team won 24-3, and it has the third-best record in football, and it almost got to the Super Bowl last year after years of stinking out the stadium, the town, the state and the entire galactic quadrant, but what if it had Drew Brees?

Well, you dont. This is who you have, and hes done very well by all of you for the last year and a half.

So yes, the fans should worry about the backups involvement, and yes, they should agitate for regime change, and yes, they should always maintain that the quarterback acts alone. Its in your DNA (even though it isnt), or its been passed down to you from your father (even though he was wrong about 70 other things), or its tradition (and so was the theories about the flat earth or the ozone layer being as sturdy as ever).

It is their right. Even when its so preposterously wrong.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

SANTA CLARA – Despite recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons and being named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Eric Reid said he believes he is now in a role that best fits his skillset.

Whereas in the past, the 49ers’ safety positions were considered interchangeable, there is a clear delineation this season under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“Even dating back to college, this is the first time there’s a distinct strong (safety) and a distinct free (safety),” Reid said. “I’ve been used to the interchangeability type of role.

“(In) some situations, certain calls where there’s a motion, we might flip. There are a couple situations where I might be in the post in the free-safety role, but it’s not nearly as much as it has been in the past.”

Reid, who is listed at 6 foot 1, 213 pounds, said he is excited to be stationed closer to the line of scrimmage for run support while free safety Jimmie Ward patrols the deep middle of the field.

The 49ers offseason program concluded Wednesday, and Reid found himself in the middle of the action with an interception on a short Brian Hoyer pass over the middle. While he will still be counted upon for coverage, his biggest impact could come to assist a run defense that last season ranked among the worst in NFL history.

“I love it, being around the ball more,” Reid said. “I anticipate making more tackles, hopefully making more plays. I feel like I was made for this position with my body type, being a bigger safety. I’m excited about this year.

“I feel like I’m using what God has blessed me with, more, which is my size and being in the box in the run game. In the past, I felt like I could do more. And being in the post, I can’t use my size as much when it comes to the run game.”

After producing seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid recorded just one interception in 26 games over the past two seasons.

As a first-round pick in 2013, the 49ers picked up the fifth-year option this season for $5.676 million. He is scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of the season. Reid said the 49ers have not spoken to his representation about a long-term extension. That will come, he believes, if he lives up to his end of the bargain in his new, streamlined role.

“I look at it from a business standpoint,” Reid said. “I majored in business. They have me under contract. They don’t have any reason to talk to right now. I imagine if I play well in the first half of the season, they’ll reach out to me. Maybe they’ll reach out to me before training camp, I don’t know. It’s whatever route they decide to take. It’s a business. I’ll treat it as a business. I have a job to do, so I’ll do it.”

 

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan always wanted to coach football with his father. But, first, he knew he had to prove himself without any boost from his well-known dad.

Once the son established himself as one of the NFL’s respected offensive minds, the Shanahans teamed up for four up-but-mostly-down seasons with Washington.

Mike, the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, hired his son to serve as his top offensive assistant in 2010.

“I thought we saw football similar, but we quickly realized after a few weeks that we saw it differently,” Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area in February. “We grew together. He gave me a lot of leeway while I was there. It was fun to try a bunch of different things, having to even incorporate the zone read when we got Robert (Griffin).

“We did our deal in Washington, and I wouldn’t take that back for the world, but that was pretty much the end of it.”

Kyle Shanahan broke into the coaching ranks under Karl Dorrell at UCLA. He moved onto the NFL to work with Jon Gruden on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans. But nothing prepared him for the scrutiny he would face as offensive coordinator under his father.

Kyle Shanahan adjusted the Washington offense to take advantage of Griffin’s skills as a dual-threat quarterback as a rookie 2012. The club qualified for the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

But things blew up the following season as the Mike Shanahan-Griffin relationship soured. Shanahan and eight assistant coaches, including Kyle, were fired the morning after Washington’s 3-13 season concluded.

Mike Shanahan has remained out of coaching, though he was a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching job after the 2015 season. The 49ers hired Chip Kelly.

Kyle Shanahan rebuilt his career with one season as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and two successful seasons with the Atlanta Falcons to enable him to become CEO Jed York’s choice to replace Kelly.

There is no official role for Mike Shanahan, 64, on his son’s staff with the 49ers. But the father has attended several of the team’s practices this offseason, including both days of the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp this week. Mike has been issued his own iPad that gives him access to the 49ers playbook and coach's film. He will likely visit for an extended stay during training camp. But Kyle said he believes his dad will mostly remain home -- only a phone call away -- during the regular season.

“He’s enjoying life right now,” said Kyle, 37. “He’s got a pretty good deal in Denver, where he lives. He can help me out in other ways anyways without having to be here every day.”

Mike Shanahan does not need to be in the building every day to counsel and have influence on his son as he tries to navigate his first season as the head coach while also maintaining the responsibilities of running the team’s offense.

“You’re going 1,000 miles an hour,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Sometimes to see everything you’ve got to really slow things down and take your time to look at stuff and you don’t always have that time as a head coach.

“It’s nice when someone you know who thinks similar to you has a similar background and he just sits in a room all day and watches stuff. He doesn’t have any other responsibilities. He can see some things that I’m not always seeing and just to bring things to light that maybe I missed or other people have missed.”

Mike Shanahan was a successful NFL offensive coordinator for seven seasons. He won a Super Bowl on George Seifert’s staff with the 49ers in January 1995. His dad believes his time around the 49ers has a lasting impact.

“When I was with San Francisco, Kyle was at the 49ers training camps in Rocklin,” Mike Shanahan told Fangirl Sports Network. “He stayed with me at camp and we talked about football every night.

“He had the opportunity to experience an organization that had won four Super Bowls in nine years. He also had the opportunity to be around some great people and leaders. He still tells stories and talks about people like Steve Young, Joe Montana, Harris Barton, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Deion Sanders, and many others. What a great experience to see how these men handled themselves on and off the field.”

The Denver Broncos hired him to become head coach shortly after the 49ers’ 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Shanahan went on to win two Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the Broncos.

Kyle Shanahan was a wide receiver at Duke before finishing college at Texas, where he caught 14 passes for 127 yards in two seasons. He figured he would have a career in football and it would not be as a player.

“I’ve wanted to coach my whole life,” Kyle Shanahan said. “This is all I’ve known, just growing up around football. It’s almost all I’ve been into, too. Since I was little, it’s distracted me from everything I’ve done, especially school. I always tried to tell my mom, ‘Just be patient, it’ll play out for us in the long run.’ Fortunately, it did.

“Once I realized my genes were a little bit better as a coach than as a player, I pretty much locked into that – and that was about halfway through college. I haven’t looked back.”

During his short time with the 49ers, players on both sides of the ball have expressed amazement at how knowledgeable Kyle Shanahan is about the game of football. His dad told Fangirl Sports Network to succeed as a head coach he must always be dedicated to stuyding, learning and teaching the sport.

“He loves the game and knows it inside and out,” Mike Shanahan said. “My advice to him is to never lose the drive to study the game as he’s done over the last 13 years. To stay in the NFL as a head coach and have success for any length of time, you must never lose your drive to teach and stay abreast of what the top teams are doing every year: offense, defense, special teams. You must be able to coach all positions to really understand the whole game.”

Former 49ers president Carmen Policy said he remembers young Kyle serving as a ball boy during 49ers training camp in the early 1990s. Policy, who remains close to Mike Shanahan, has followed Kyle’s rise in the coaching ranks while playfully questioning the sanity of the family business.

Said Policy: “I used to tease Mike, ‘What kind of father are you to let your kid go into coaching?’ I said, ‘You should be charged with dereliction of parental duty.’ And he’d laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I tried talking to him and then my wife tried talking to him, but that’s his passion, and that’s what he wants to do, so I’m not going to dissuade him from it.’

“And, then, look at what happened. Here he is. He’s the head coach of the 49ers, and that’s just incredible.”