49ers key matchup No. 1: Goldson vs. Wilson

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49ers key matchup No. 1: Goldson vs. Wilson

This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Seahawks matchups to watch Thursday, 5:20 p.m. (NFL NetworkKGO-TV, Ch. 7), at Candlestick Park.
Matchup 3 -- Patrick Willis vs. Marshawn LynchMatchup 2 -- 49ers coverage unit vs. Washington
49ers FS Dashon Goldson vs. Seahawks QB Russell WilsonTale of the tape
Goldson (38): 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, sixth season, Washington
Wilson (3): 5-foot-11, 206 pounds, rookie, WisconsinThe 49ers will be facing a rookie quarterback Thursday evening who has every reason to feel confident.Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes in the final eight minutes Sunday to pull off a 24-23 upset victory over the New England Patriots.The 49ers will try to confuse Wilson, and make the rookie look like, well, a rookie. But Wilson is certainly no typical youngster.He played three seasons at North Carolina State. Coach Tom O'Brien did not welcome him back for his senior season when Wilson decided to juggle football with baseball after signing with the Colorado Rockies as a fourth-round draft pick.Wisconsin was more than happy to accept Wilson to its program last season to replace Scott Tolzien, the 49ers' third-string quarterback the past two years.Wilson's one season with the Badgers was memorable. He broke Colt Brennan's (Hawaii, 2006) NCAA record for passing efficiency. In his career, he started 50 games and set another record with 379 consecutive pass attempts without an interception.Despite mixed NFL draft evaluations, due mostly to his under-6-foot height, Wilson decided to end his quest to become a major league second baseman after two rough seasons in the minors.Now, Wilson's sole focus is on being great on the football field. He said he studied a lot of quarterbacks through the years, including 49ers Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young, to attempt to figure out the dynamics of his position."If you look at the great quarterbacks in the National Football League and Hall of Fame quarterbacks, they have tremendous leadership and unbelievable attention to detail and the competitive nature is relentless," he said. "That's what I try to bring to Sundays and every day in practice."And in his first year, it's clear he is not in awe of his surroundings."I've been impressed with him," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "I think he'll be their quarterback for a long time and credit to them for seeing through his height and picking him."Said Tolzien, "It's funny, because everyone gave him a hard time in the draft process that he was too small. He's a confident, humble guy and a good leader."The Seahawks figured they got their starter of the future in free agency when they signed former Green Bay backup Matt Flynn to a three-year, 19.5 million contract.It ended up that they got their starter in the third round of the draft."We loved what Matt brought us and we needed to see if we could upgrade the position, and then we got to the draft and Russell was available, we saw the same thing there, too," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.The Seahawks' offense is geared around the running of Marshawn Lynch. But Wilson is adept at using play-action pass to get the ball deep. He has five touchdown passes on throws of 20 yards or more down the field.The 49ers own the No. 2 pass defense in the NFL. They did not give up a pass play for a touchdown of more than 10 yards in the first six games.Pro Bowl free safety Dashon Goldson will have tough duty Thursday. Goldson often lines up between 10 and 15 yards off the line of scrimmage. With Lynch providing a huge threat in the run game, Goldson will aggressively attack the line of scrimmage to instigate huge collisions with Lynch.But if Goldson bites too hard on run support, the 49ers' defense will be susceptible to big plays over the top. The Seahawks feature a deep receiving corps that features Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards.Goldson is known for making big plays in the secondary. Over the past 52 games, Goldson has intercepted 12 passes and forced five fumbles and recovered three fumbles.The 49ers are 4-0 in games in which they've intercepted a pass this season. They're 0-2 when they have not picked off the opposing quarterback. Wilson is completing 62.5 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and six interceptions.

Why Shanahan chose Hoyer and Barkley over Kaepernick

Why Shanahan chose Hoyer and Barkley over Kaepernick

PHOENIX – Coach Kyle Shanahan walked into a position with the 49ers in which he had no quarterbacks on the roster.

On the first two days of free agency, the 49ers added Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. He determined they were better fits for the offense he would be installing over Colin Kaepernick, who started 64 regular-season and postseason games for the 49ers over the past 4 ½ seasons.

Shanahan appeared to be looking for quarterbacks who are more proficient at going through progressions and making plays from the pocket. Kaepernick was not deemed as a good fit for Shanahan's offense.

“Colin’s had a great career, and he’s done some really good things,” Shanahan said on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think Colin has a certain skillset that you can put a specific offense to it that he can be very successful in.

“When we first looked at it, you got to look at each quarterback and what type of offense you want to put in. That wasn’t necessarily the direction I wanted to go. I wanted to put in a different type of offense.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. General manager John Lynch has confirmed the 49ers would have released Kaepernick if he had not opted out of his deal.

“The type of offense I wanted to run was somewhat different and that’s why we went that type of direction,” Shanahan said.

The 49ers’ top target in free agency was Hoyer, who enters his ninth NFL season with his sixth different team. Shanahan was offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 in Hoyer’s second and final season with the club.

Hoyer started five games with Chicago in 2016 before getting sidelined with broken left arm. Hoyer completed 67 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions in 200 attempts.

“All these questions about what I like in a quarterback, Brian is like that,” Shanahan said. “He’s obsessed with the game. He will learn your offense. He’ll be able to execute and run it. That gives other guys a chance to perform in your offense. If your quarterback can’t execute it and go through it, it doesn’t always matter what the O-line or the receivers are doing.

“With Brian, you have a very smart guy who works at it, will hang in the pocket and is fearless, will keep his eyes down the field and deliver the ball to the right spots. It gives people a chance to be successful.”

The 49ers also reached a contract agreement with Barkley, who started six games with the Bears due to injuries to Jay Cutler and Hoyer. Barkley saw the most extensive playing time of his career. He completed 59.7 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

“Just watching Matt since college, Matt’s always been a solid player, even coming out and playing at an early age at (USC),” Shanahan said. “He’s battle-tested in that way. He’s gone through the pressure of college, the pressure of the draft, being in the NFL, being with some different teams. Even watching Matt in Chicago this year, I think he played better this year than he has throughout his career. That means the guy is continuing to work at it.”

The 49ers figure to go to training camp with four quarterbacks, so the team is not finished at the quarterback position.

“We’ll look to add anyone who can really help us,” Shanahan said. “I’m very happy with the two we got. You know we’re not only going to take two to camp. So we got to see how the draft works out and then you see what else is out there.”

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

PHOENIX – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he does not believe quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being “blackballed” in his attempt to continue his career.

“I haven’t heard that from our clubs in any way that that’s an issue,” Goodell said during his press conference to conclude the NFL owners meetings.

“My experience in 35 years is that our clubs make independent evaluations of players. They work hard to try to improve their teams. But if they think a player can help improve their team, they’re going to do that.”

Kaepernick remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his 49ers contract earlier this month. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman this week was asked on ESPN’s "First Take" whether he felt Kaepernick was being blackballed.

"I'm sure he is," Sherman answered. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand."

General manager John Lynch on Tuesday said the 49ers have not had any contact with Kaepernick since he and coach Kyle Shanahan met with Kaepernick on Feb. 22 in Santa Clara. The 49ers signed free-agent quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, 29, created a controversy last season when he opted to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States. Kaepernick has decided to stand for the national anthem this season.

Earlier in the day, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was “stupid” and “intellectually lazy” to think teams have colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the league. Last week, former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, said Kaepernick is still an outstanding player and can win championships.

“I absolutely think he’s going to get signed,” John Harbaugh said. “I agree with Jim. He can win games for people.”