49ers

49ers QB Matt Barkley: 'This is what I know and do best'

49ers QB Matt Barkley: 'This is what I know and do best'

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Matt Barkley has lived a suspenseful NFL life since the conclusion of his storied USC career.

Considered a certain first-round pick a year earlier, Barkley had to wait until the fourth round to hear his name called in the 2013 NFL draft. After spending time with Philadelphia, Arizona and Chicago in his first four seasons, it could have been expected that Barkley would remain a free agent for a while this offseason.

Instead, he found a spot with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. New coach Kyle Shanahan targeted Brian Hoyer to be his quarterback. When Matt Schaub decided to remain as Atlanta’s backup, Barkley became Shanahan’s choice among all other free-agent options. Barkley signed a two-year, $4 million contract, including a $500,000 signing bonus.

“It was later in the night, so that day was still a little stressful, knowing everything that was going on,” Barkley said on the "The 49ers Insider Podcast" on NBC Sports Bay Area. “I actually texted Hoyer when he signed here, saying ‘Congrats. That’s a great fit for you. I hope you do well.’

“I didn’t even know at the time that I was a consideration because I thought Schaub was probably going to come with Kyle to be a quarterback here. So when he ended up signing back at Atlanta, things kind of opened up. And I found out later that night when Kyle and (49ers general manager) John Lynch called me. I was pretty happy about it.”

Barkley said he understands and feels comfortable in the offense he is learning with the 49ers during the offseason program. His offensive coordinator with the Bears last season was Dowell Loggains, who served as Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns. Hoyer was on the Browns that season. Last year, Hoyer and Barkley were teammates in Chicago.

“This offense is best-suited for my style of play,” Barkley said. “It’s kind of what I ran in college -- even a lot of concepts that I ran in high school (Mater Dei of Santa Ana), as well.

“This pro-style system, along with the routes that we have, the responsibility the quarterback has to read everything out and get long play calls out and just really understanding what Kyle is seeing and how sees plays and defenses, I think it’s a great fit.”

Barkley ran a pro-style offense during his four-year career at USC. Then, in a bizarre twist, he entered the NFL in Chip Kelly’s spread offense with the Eagles. Barkley might be the only quarterback who has been asked to make an NFL conversion opposite of what has become common.

“I kind of did it backwards, if you look at it that way,” Barkley laughed. “I do think playing for Chip in that offense was definitely a unique experience – to gain experience in that type of offense, running those plays, the zone read and all the different options he ran.

“At the same time, being back in an offense like I am now with Kyle, this is what I’ve grown up playing in football and this is what I know best. Whatever way you get there, the fact that I’m here, this is what I know and do best. Hopefully I’m here for a while.”

Long supports Eagles teammate, wraps arm around him during anthem protest

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USATSI

Long supports Eagles teammate, wraps arm around him during anthem protest

Chris Long supported his teammate, Malcolm Jenkins, Thursday night by wrapping his left arm around Jenkins, who continued to raise his right fist in protest of racial injustice during the national anthem prior to the Eagles' preseason game against the Bills at Lincoln Financial Field.

Long's intention Thursday night was not immediately known. While he's been outspoken on Charlottesville, Virginia, he did not specify how he would conduct himself during the anthem.

Long and Jenkins both publicly criticized President Donald Trump's response to the racial tensions that resulted in the tragic violence and the death of Heather Heyer last weekend in Charlottesville, Long's hometown.

Last Sunday, Long touched on his comments by speaking to reporters, reiterating his disappointment in President Trump's response to the violence in Charlottesville, where white nationalists held a "Unite the Right" rally in protest of the removal of a statue honoring Confederate general Robert E. Lee.

"Some people are tired of hearing me tweet because they want me to stick to football but I like to use social media like I was a regular guy because I think I am," Long said Sunday. "I don't tell people to stick to their job when they want to talk politics. And this isn't political. That's the thing. Everybody is trying to turn this political. This isn't a political issue. This is right or wrong. I believe you're on one side or the other. For me, being from Charlottesville, no one wants to see you sit idly by and watch that stuff happen and not say anything. And I wish there was more categorical denial from some very important people in this country who have had the opportunity to strike it down but didn't."

READ MORE AT CSNPhilly.com

Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved

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AP

Practice report: 49ers passing game looks much improved

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ passing game has ranked 29th or lower in each of the past four seasons.

If two practices against last year’s No. 1-ranked pass defense are any indication, the 49ers could be vastly improved under coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brian Hoyer.

“I think our guys were expecting to do good,” Shanahan said on Thursday after a second joint practice against the Denver Broncos in two days. “There’s a lot of stuff we can clean up. A lot of stuff we can do better. But I think our guys were happy with how they competed and, hopefully, that can continue to carry over.”

Hoyer hit more higher-percentage passes on Thursday. He teamed up with rookie Victor Bolden on his deepest completion -- down the left sideline against first-team All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris. After completing better than 80 percent of his passes against the Broncos a day earlier, Hoyer was 12 of 19 passing on Thursday.

Pierre Garçon, who figures to be Hoyer’s top target, was not as active during Thursday’s practice. But he did find himself in the middle of the action with a tussle against Harris.

Hoyer’s red-zone pass intended for slot receiver Jeremy Kerley was tipped and intercepted by safety Justin Simmons. Away from the action, Aqib Talib blocked Garçon, who retaliated by tossing him to the ground.

“That’s part of the game,” Garçon said. ‘You always expect one scuffle in joint practices. But it ended and you move on. It was nothing personal at all.”

Hoyer was especially sharp during the practices to strengthen his grasp on the team’s staring job. Meanwhile, rookie C.J. Beathard had a solid showing on Thursday. He will enter Saturday’s game after Hoyer and could play through the rest of the first half and open the third quarter.

The 49ers exited the field after their two most-significant practices feeling optimistic about where things stand.

“We did good the first day,” Garçon said. “We could’ve done better the second day. But we’re still learning each other and getting better. We still have a lot to do to get ready for the regular season, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

QUICK SLANTS
--Linebacker Reuben Foster wore shoulder pads and took part in all but the contact drills due to what the team described as a “mild AC joint sprain” of his right shoulder. That did not prevent Foster from getting into the middle of a skirmish that appeared to involve Broncos tackle Menelik Watson and 49ers linebacker Eli Harold.

The 49ers expect Foster to play Saturday night, Shanahan said.

--Linebacker NaVorro Bowman was pulled from practice on Thursday after experiencing soreness in his shoulder. Shanahan said Bowman's shoulder soreness is similar to what Foster experienced.

--The Broncos’ offense, which struggled to complete passes on Wednesday, made a lot more plays down the field on Thursday with Paxton Lynch at quarterback.

--Tight end Vance McDonald made an outstanding catch of a Hoyer pass at the sideline against tight coverage from safety Will Parks.

--The 49ers’ practice Thursday brought an official end to the team’s training camp. They will transition to a regular-season type of schedule next week leading up to the team’s third exhibition game, which is scheduled for Sunday at the Minnesota Vikings.

“Training camp is over, and what that means is we’re not all staying in dorms together and we’re not having night walk-throughs,” Shanahan said.