49ers

49ers Mailbag: Brown gets off to rocky start

49ers Mailbag: Brown gets off to rocky start

After four practices, including two days of padded, contact work, the 49ers have their first day off of training camp on Tuesday.

Coach Kyle Shanahan will begin working on more situations when the team returns to the practice field on Wednesday, he said.

“We wanted to go two days of our base offense without pads, two days of our base offense and defense with pads, not really doing specific situations,” Shanahan said. “We’ve been walking through two-minute stuff in our walk-throughs in the afternoon. We’ll get in a lot more situational stuff in our fifth practice when we come back.”

The break in the action allows us a chance to take a step back. Here is the latest edition of the 49ers Mailbag with questions submitted through our Facebook page:

Which player is not looking so good out there on the field? (Frank Sanborn)
The starting-caliber player who has struggled the most in the two padded practices was right tackle Trent Brown. On Sunday, he surrendered upward of five sacks during 11-on-11 periods.

Brown gave credit to the 49ers’ defensive linemen and the variety of different styles he has gone up against – Arik Armstead, Elvis Dumervil and Aaron Lynch, among them.

“It’s only going to make me better,” Brown said.

Shanahan said he was not concerned with Brown’s performance because he wants his players to use camp to experiment and refine their skills in order to peak at the start of the regular season.

“I like guys to come out, try techniques, try to improve and not really worry about perception, judging them day to day,” Shanahan said. “It’s a long process. You’re right, he didn’t have a great day (Sunday), but I think he did a lot better (Monday).

“It’s a long camp. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I hope he’s at his best Week 1.”

The 49ers instructed Brown to report to camp at no more than 358 pounds. He said he lost some additional weight to give himself a better chance to succeed this season.

“I took the first step of coming in at a good weight,” said Brown, who stands 6 foot 8. “I’m healthy. I’m light. I definitely feel better out there with the movements that are required of me at the position and doing things in this scheme.”

If Jimmie Ward misses time, do you see Eric Reid sliding back into the free safety role and Tartt sliding into the box as strong safety? (Max Carlson )
Jaquiski Tartt joined Ward and Reid on the injured list on Monday. Injuries to the 49ers’ top three safeties meant that Vinnie Sunseri and Lorenzo Jerome lined up with the first team.

Ward (hamstring) is expected to be activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list in mid-August. Reid (ankle) is day to day. It is unclear how long Tartt could be out with an injury to his ribs area. He sustained the injury to his left side while breaking up a Brian Hoyer pass for tight end Cole Hikutini.

The 49ers fully expect Ward and Reid to be back long before the opening of the regular season. Ward is the free safety. Reid is the strong safety. Both players seem entrenched at those spots.

When Tartt returns, he will remain as the No. 3 safety – capable of playing the position at which he is needed. With Ward is out, Tartt is the free safety. If a replacement for Reid is required, Tartt will play strong safety.

Is Carlos Hyde being challenged or does he look like the clear starter? (Josh Gale)
It was a good first week of practices for Hyde. He looks – right now – to be in good position as the team’s starting running back. Veteran Tim Hightower is also looking very good. He appears to be the team’s second-best running back.

Hyde looks to be adapting better and better to the 49ers’ run scheme. And he has also placed a lot of emphasis on catching the ball out of the backfield.

Rookie Joe Williams, a fourth-round draft pick who was seen as a serious challenger to Hyde, has gotten off to a slow start and he is still gaining familarity with the system. He also must do a better job of securing the football.

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

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AP

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.

That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.

Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.

That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.

But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).

In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.

Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers

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AP

Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers

One week after center Jeremy Zuttah played his way off the 49ers’ roster in short order, he ended up back with the team that got rid of him to open the offseason.

The Baltimore Ravens on Friday announced the signing of Zuttah, whom the 49ers released on Aug. 9 after acquiring him from the Ravens in a March trade.

The 49ers determined center Daniel Kilgore was clearly better than Zuttah. Moreover, Zuttah he did not demonstrate any promise of being an asset at either of the guard positions.

Zuttah, 31, played the past three seasons with the Ravens after six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Zuttah was named to his first Pro Bowl after last season.

The 49ers originally acquired Zuttah in a swap of sixth-round draft picks. The Ravens received the 49ers’ pick at No. 186 and selected Virginia Tech safety Chuck Clark. The 49ers took over Baltimore’s selection at No. 198 and chose Mississippi defensive tackle D.J. Jones.

The 49ers are confident in Kilgore and offensive tackles Joe Staley and Trent Brown. However, there is concern at the guard positions.

Brandon Fusco appears to be earning the confidence of the coaching staff at right guard. But left guard remains a concern. Zane Beadles is currently the starter while Joshua Garnett rehabs from arthroscopic knee surgery to repair cartilage. The 49ers are hopeful Garnett will be available for the opening of the regular season.