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


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.

Trump to anthem protesters: 'Get that son of a b---- off the field'


Trump to anthem protesters: 'Get that son of a b---- off the field'

On Thursday prior to the 49ers' game against the Rams, Eric Reid continued his protest during the national anthem by taking a knee.

On Friday, President Donald Trump had an idea as to what should happen to players like Reid. 

Speaking in Huntsville, AL, Trump told a group of his supporters during a campaign rally, "wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say, 'get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired."

The statement was welcomed by cheers from the crowd. 

Reid joined Colin Kaepernick in protest last season. Kaepernick isn't on an NFL roster. Reid sat out Thursday's game with an injury. 

Said Reid of his (non) stance earlier in the year:  “When we started last year, if you recall, we said our goal was to raise awareness and shed light on the issues that were happening in our country. I think we accomplished that goal. What I was upset about was the narrative, the false narrative, that were being told about us, people saying that we’re un-American, that we’re against police entirely and the military. That just wasn’t true. At first I thought that was a small sacrifice to pay to get the word out and raise awareness. I settled with thinking raising that awareness was victory.

“Then fast forward to Charlottesville and the country sees what an un- American protest really looks like. That’s when I had my change of heart. Because what Colin, Eli and I did was a peaceful protest fueled by faith in God to help make our country a better place. I feel I needed to regain control of that narrative and not let people say that what we’re doing is un-American, because it’s not. It’s completely American. We’re doing it because we want equality for everybody. We want our country to be a better place. So that’s why I decided to resume the protest.”

To date, at least 14 players have protested during the national anthem -- that number rises to close to 60 if you include the NFL preseason.

Trump added: “You know, some owner is gonna do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in this country.

“But do you know what’s hurting the game more than that [referees]? When people like yourselves turn on the television and you see those players taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway.”

Shanahan: Carradine could be heading to IR


Shanahan: Carradine could be heading to IR

Defensive lineman Tank Carradine will miss an extended period of time with a high ankle sprain sustained in the fourth quarter of the 49ers’ 41-39 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Friday the team was awaiting the results of an MRI examination. The 49ers could decide to place Carradine on injured reserve, which would make him eligible to return to action later in the season.

“We’re going to have to get that and really decide whether IR or not,” Shanahan said. “Because any time you have a high ankle sprain it’s going to be a while. We’re not exactly sure how long that’s going to be, but we’ll have to decide that probably Monday.”

The 49ers expect to be without the services of linebacker Reuben Foster and safety Eric Reid, too.

Also, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, safety Jaquiski Tartt and linebacker Brock Coyle are in the concussion protocol after sustaining head injuries on Thursday.

Although the 49ers’ medical staff no longer requires Foster to wear an orthopedic boot for his high ankle sprain, Shanahan said he would be shocked if the rookie is able to return to action Oct. 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.

“I’d be shocked if he came back this week,” Shanahan said. “I’d be surprised. We’re taking it week to week. I’m not really expecting him this week but You never know with some of these athletes. He might be there, but I’m not expecting it right now.”

Reid’s rehab is behind Foster’s, according to Shanahan. Reid sustained a left knee injury Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks and is expected to miss multiple games.

Speaking at his day-after-game press conference, Shanahan said he was disappointed that the 49ers’ pass rush did not apply more pressure to Rams quarterback Jared Goff.

“We didn’t affect the quarterback enough,” Shanahan said. “I thought we did a very good job against Seattle and we took a step back on that last night.”

When asked what he saw on the critical late-fourth-quarter play on which rookie receiver Trent Taylor was called for pass interference, Shanahan said, “I saw a very good route.“