49ers' quarterback search heats up at NFL combine

49ers' quarterback search heats up at NFL combine

INDIANAPOLIS – The 49ers met Friday night with North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky as part of the organization’s quest to eventually fill their depth chart.

The 49ers also had scheduled 15-minute formal interviews this week with Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes of Texas Tech.

The opinions of the quarterbacks appear to span all ranges, according to scouts and coaches at the NFL Scouting Combine. There was some buzz gaining momentum that Trubisky could be in serious consideration for the Cleveland Browns and 49ers with the top two picks in the draft.

One of the top concerns with Trubisky is his lack of experience. He was a starter for just one season. Yet, one NFC scout told CSNBayArea.com that he showed he can make all the throws and stand fearlessly in the pocket.

When it comes to throwing the ball, Trubisky had ample opportunity to show what he can do. Trubisky started 13 games – all in his final season – and completed 386 of 572 pass attempts for 4,762 yards with 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

In comparison, Tom Brady completed 395 of 638 passes for 4,773 yards with 30 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in his four-year career at Michigan from 1996 to ’99.

“They’re not even really grilling me on that really, they’re just trying to get to know me and pick my brain and see how well that I know football, and what kind of system I ran at North Carolina,” Trubisky said. “I don’t think that’s a big concern from the teams that I’ve talked to so far. They could tell I know the game very well. They’re impressed with my tape and I’m just trying to show them what kind of person I am and just stay confident and get ready for the rest of this process.

“I've studied the game. I'm a student of the game and I've seen a lot of defenses, and I think that's going to help me. And just my abilities, I feel like I'm in a really good spot right now to take my game to the next level, and I feel really confident."

General manager John Lynch said Thursday that Kizer “blew the doors off” of his interview with the 49ers the previous night. But his final season did not go as planned, with the Fighting Irish staggering to a 4-8 record.

Kizer completed just 58.7 percent of his pass attempts with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

“I’m pretty comfortable in opening up and expressing who I am as a guy and how I plan on going about this process,” Kizer said. “They’ve had a lot of questions about last season and how a guy who has the size and has the arm strength goes and becomes 4-8. I responded in the way I thought was the honest truth. From what I understand, they (the 49ers) were pretty impressed with that.”

Watson is the most decorated of the quarterback prospects after playing on the big stage and leading Clemson to a win in the national championship game over Alabama.

Watson completed 67.4 percent of his passes throughout his three-year career. But while throwing 90 touchdown passes the past two season, Watson was also intercepted an alarming 30 times over that stretch.

“I understand that was going to come and it happens,” Watson said of interceptions. “It’s something that they obviously are going to poke holes. If I were in their shoes, I would poke holes, too.

“I take full responsibility in all of that. Sometimes you just have bad luck. Sometimes the defense makes a good play. Sometimes I make a bad throw. One, two or three, maybe it was a bad decision, but it’s a learning lesson. I’ve learned from those mistakes and I’ve corrected those and [I’m] going to move on from it.

“The biggest question that I’ve heard from different coaches was if I can change a protection, run the offense and recognize defensive coverages. Every team I went to asked me those questions. I handled it well, answered the questions and they were very impressed. They know that I’m not just some other quarterback that’s running a spread offense. That [I’m a] guy that can operate, make good decisions and recognize what the defense is doing and be successful doing it.”

After Colin Kaepernick officially opted out of his contract on Friday, the 49ers have no quarterback on the roster under contract for the upcoming season. While there's a lot of work that needs to be done, it's not completely a bad thing, Lynch said.

"That also is somewhat liberating in that you can create this thing in that position that is so critical in the way that you want it," Lynch said.

While the quarterbacks took center stage at the combine, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported of a potential three-way trade in which the 49ers could end up with Kirk Cousins. In such a scenario, Washington would acquire Tony Romo and Dallas would collect draft picks.

Pro Football Talk reported sources with direct knowledge of the situation “scoffed” at the idea, with one source describing the report as “conjecture.”

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

boldin-anquan-49ers-smoke.jpg
AP

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

Aquan Boldin is looking for a new football home.

And the former 49ers wide receiver is visiting with the Bills on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Boldin started all 16 games with the Lions last season, recording 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.

From 2013 to 2015 with the 49ers, he racked up 237 receptions, 3030 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 years old in October.

Boldin entered the NFL as the 54th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

ryan-shanahan.jpg

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.