49ers Mailbag: What's expected from Alex Smith?

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49ers Mailbag: What's expected from Alex Smith?

Rookies are scheduled to report to 49ers training camp on Saturday, July 21. The veterans show up Thursday, July 26, with the first full-squad practice slated for the next day.As we get closer to the opening of camp, we'll dig into the 49ers Mailbag to answer some questions. Let's continue with what we started Thursday with questions about the team's rookies and Dashon Goldson . . . Q: Based on what you've seen so far, is Alex Smith ready to take the next step, stay the same as last year or regress? (@kdottorres)
I appreciate the way you phrased that question -- "based on what you've seen so far."Based on what I've seen, yes, Alex Smith is ready to take the next step. The first couple practices I watched during camp, he seemed to struggle with his accuracy. Perhaps that was a result of the slight mechanical alternations he made to his throwing motion.By the time the offseason program had come to a conclusion, Smith looked to be playing on a different level than any of the other quarterbacks of the roster.I don't see any way Smith can match or do better than throwing five interceptions in 16 games. But there are other areas in which Smith and the 49ers' passing game can make dramatic improvements.RELATED: Alex Smith 2011 game logs
With a better knowledge of the offense, Smith should be able to make better pre-snap reads. His anticipation of what will happen based on the play call along with the defense (and type of pressure) should enable Smith to be more decisive and the offense to be more productive on third downs and in the red zone.Of course, the 49ers' receivers should also be better from Day 1, and that includes tight end Vernon Davis, who became comfortable with the offense late in the season.
Let there be no mistake, Smith is the player this season under the most pressure to perform this season. The contract he signed with the 49ers made it necessary for him to play well to earn a 8.5 million payout for the 2013 season.The 49ers structured the "three-year" deal in such a way that they would face only a 1 million cap hit next year if they decided to part ways with Smith rather than pay his 2013 salary. Therefore, coming off what many called his breakout season, Smith will be under more scrutiny that ever. Q: I'm not sure the 49ers improved on their major weaknesses... 3rd down coverage and interior o-line blocking. Improved only @ WR. (@mrtapout1975)
I'd argue that third-down coverage and interior offensive-line blocking were not the 49ers' major weaknesses last season.After all, the 49ers' defense ranked 11th in the NFL in third down defense. The opposition converted on 35.2 percent of third downs. But, true, the 49ers did not add any pass-rushers. Aldon Smith is slated to be an every-down player, and that could make him less effective on third downs. Their top three or four cornerbacks from a year ago will be back in the same roles, but Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver should be improved.
As far as interior offensive line, the 49ers figure Alex Boone will be a better right guard than Adam Snyder. That's why the 49ers made no attempt to re-sign Snyder. The reason the 49ers did not try Boone at guard last year is because there was not enough time to make the transition to a new position due to the lockout.

49ers release Coffee after reinstating RB off retired list

49ers release Coffee after reinstating RB off retired list

Running back Glen Coffee, who walked away from the 49ers during training camp before his second NFL season, was reinstated Friday off the reserve-retired list.

As part of the same transaction wire released by the NFL office, the 49ers released Coffee, making him a free agent.

After seven seasons away from the game, Coffee is attempting a comeback, his agent told NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday.

“I can tell you, he’s in great shape,” agent Ray Oubre said. “The man doesn’t have a six-pack, he’s got a 12-pack. He’s been waiting for the right time to hopefully get a workout with someone and show what he can do.

“He had a calling, and right now he feels like it’s his time to show what he can do. He explained to me, ‘I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was initially with the 49ers.’ That’s the kind of shape he’s in.”

Coffee, who turns 30 on May 1, was a third-round draft pick (No. 74 overall) of the 49ers in 2009. He was the sixth running back selected in that year's draft. Coffee appeared in 14 games as a rookie and carried 83 times for 226 yards and one touchdown. He also caught 11 passes for 78 yards.

During training camp the next year as his teammates were exiting the locker room for the practice field in August 2010, Coffee cut the tape from his shoes and left the team's Santa Clara practice facility. He later informed then-coach Mike Singletary of his decision to stop playing football. Coffee said he believed God had a bigger plan for him.

Coffee was a specialist in the Sixth Battalion of the Army Rangers after enlisting in 2013. He is no longer active, Oubre said.

“He’s been training several months,” Oubre said. “The rigors of the Army Rangers, he was already in shape. He’s taking it to another level now. He’s been training for more than four months.

“He feels like he served and now the time is right. He’s in a good place. He understands, you can’t play football forever and you can’t do any one thing forever. He’s in a place right now that he wants to use his God-given ability as a football player.”

Coffee turned pro after his junior season at Alabama. In his final college season, Coffee rushed for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Coffee has been training under Johnny Jackson at JDPI Sports Performance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Oubre said he will be in contact with all 32 NFL teams to see if there’s any interest in bringing in Coffee for workouts. He might also hold an open workout for any interested teams.

Sponsored by Harbaugh, Kap named one of Top 100 most influential people

Sponsored by Harbaugh, Kap named one of Top 100 most influential people

Former 49ers quarterback and current free agent Colin Kaepernick has been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People on Thursday. 

Each person named to the list is represented by a sponsor who then writes on why they are worthy of the honor. For Kaepernick, his former coach Jim Harbaugh wrote on him. 

Harbaugh coached Kaepernick for four seasons from 2011-2014. The two reached the Super Bowl together in the 2012 season. 

Other sports figures named to the list include Conor McGregor, Theo Epstein, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Simone Biles, and Neymar.

Kaepernick made national headlines this past season for his decision to first sit and then kneel during the national anthem as a fight against social injustices. 

Below is what Harbaugh wrote on Kaepernick's influence: 

Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests last year when he boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system by refusing to stand for the national anthem. At times in our nation's history, we have been all too quick to judge and oppose our fellow Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to address things they believe unjust.

Rather than besmirch their character, we must celebrate their act. For we cannot pioneer and invent if we are fearful of deviating from the norm, damaging our public perception or—most important—harming our own personal interests.

I thank Colin for all he has contributed to the game of football as an outstanding player and trusted teammate. I also applaud Colin for the courage he has demonstrated in exercising his guaranteed right of free speech. His willingness to take a position at personal cost is now part of our American story.

How lucky for us all and for our country to have among our citizens someone as remarkable as Colin Kaepernick.