49ers Mailbag II: Justin Smith as good as last season

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49ers Mailbag II: Justin Smith as good as last season

Q: Justin Smith's stats are down from a year ago, but do you believe he is being more effective in the defense than last year? (John E. Commons)
I'm not sure Justin Smith can possibly be better than he was a year ago. But there has not been any discernible decline in his play, either.Earlier this week, Aldon Smith was mentioned here as the 49ers' defensive MVP. The more I think about it, the more I believe a strong case can be made for Justin Smith. He might not have any sacks through eight games, but everything the 49ers' defense is able to accomplish is a direct result of his selfless approach.Justin Smith leads the 49ers with 45 quarterback pressures and 30 quarterback hits. And he typically has to fight through double-teams, which benefits Aldon Smith, as well as Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.Justin Smith continues to be a stalwart in the run game. He is on pace to record more tackles than a year ago. He has 68 tackles, according to the 49ers' coaches film review. Last year, he had 105 tackles. He has 5.5 tackles for loss -- exactly half the number he recorded a year ago.So I wouldn't say that Justin Smith is better, but he is every bit as good.Q: Did you give any thought to Chris Culliver being the MVP of the defense in the first half of the season? (Randy Ball)
Chris Culliver had an outstanding first half of the season as the 49ers' No. 3 cornerback. He has made the biggest single improvement on the team from a year ago.Culliver recorded two interceptions and broke up a team-leading 10 passes in the first eight games. Culliver is a big reason the 49ers' pass defense has been so good this season.But I did not give too much thought to Culliver as the team's defensive MVP because he's not an every-down player. But how long will it be before the 49ers move him into that role?Looking at the 49ers' salaries for next season, starter Carlos Rogers is scheduled make 5.85 million in base salary. At this point, I expect Rogers will be back. But if Culliver continues to play at a high level, the 49ers must at least consider moving him into a starting role in 2013.

49ers assistant GM Gamble leaving organization

49ers assistant GM Gamble leaving organization

The San Francisco 49ers Wednesday announced that Tom Gamble is leaving the organization. 

“The 49ers organization has tremendous respect and appreciation for Tom Gamble and his many years of service,” said General Manager John Lynch. “He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities. Tom is a true professional and we wish him and his family great success in the future.”
 
“I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on,” said Gamble. “This past month, I have had the pleasure of working alongside John Lynch and the talented staff he has assembled. The team is in capable hands and I wish them nothing but the best.”

Gamble, who recently completed his 29th NFL season and 10th with the 49ers, returned to the team in January of 2015 as the senior personnel executive and was later named assistant general manager on July 25, 2016. He spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles as vice president of player personnel. Gamble originally joined the 49ers in 2005 and spanned eight seasons with San Francisco including two as the director of player personnel (2011-12). He oversaw both the college and pro personnel efforts of the 49ers. As the 49ers director of pro personnel from 2005-10, Gamble monitored every NFL roster with an emphasis on scouting talent of upcoming pro free agents, while also maintaining continuous depth of personnel on the team’s roster.

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Lynch, Shanahan hold 'positive' discussion with Kaepernick

Lynch, Shanahan hold 'positive' discussion with Kaepernick

General manager John Lynch confirmed during a radio interview that he and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan met with quarterback Colin Kaepernick at his office Wednesday morning at the team headquarters in Santa Clara.

“I would characterize it as just a really positive discussion,” Lynch said during an appearance on KNBR, confirming a CSNBayArea.com report the sides met for the first time since Lynch and Shanahan were hired in their new roles.

Lynch said he and Shanahan have committed to being completely honest with Kaepernick, who can opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent as early as next week.

Lynch did not divulge the topics of conversation. He said a commitment was also made to Kaepernick to not speak publicly about the specifics of their conversations.

“I do think that there are some things that are sacred,” Lynch said. “We did have a great discussion and I think Colin left excited and we left excited.

“And I think as Kyle and I believe, the evaluation process is still very much fluid. We’ve only been on the job a couple of weeks and I can tell you we both very much enjoyed being around Colin, and he seems like he’s in a real good place.”