49ers turn to veteran guards with Garnett out a month or more


49ers turn to veteran guards with Garnett out a month or more

SANTA CLARA – Guard Joshua Garnett’s season does not appear to be in jeopardy, but it appears unlikely he will be able to compete for a starting job to open the season.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Saturday that Garnett, who sat out practice with a knee injury, could undergo a procedure that is expected to keep him sidelined for a month or more. The knee condition does not involve his ACL.

"I know there’s some stuff in his knee we’re probably going to have to clean up," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "I don’t think it’s anything long-term, but it’s going to be a little bit of time."

When the 49ers took the field for an open practice at Levi’s Stadium in front of more than 25,000 fans, the first-team offensive line might be the same until that opens the regular season on Sept. 10 against the Carolina Panthers.

With Garnett expected approximately four to six weeks, the 49ers’ offensive line appears to be coming into sharper focus. Brandon Fusco has been working with the starters at right guard since the opening of training camp. After a slow start with the 49ers’ new offensive scheme, Zane Beadles appears to be proving his way into the role at left guard.

“The game is not too big for them,” Shanahan said of Fusco and Beadles. “You want to see how they do, and they’re both doing a new scheme, and being asked to do some techniques they haven’t done before. It’s always neat with veterans who have had success in this league when they’re willing to do that.

“They’re OK being uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. (We’ve) gotten them out of their shell a little bit. When you do that, it starts off bad, but they’re both mentally strong, confident people. You can see it coming around and they’re getting better each day.”

Joe Staley and Trent Brown are the starters at the left- and right-tackle positions. And center Daniel Kilgore has seemed to tighten his hold on the starting job ahead of veteran Jeremy Zuttah.

Here are other notes from 49ers practice:

--Cornerback Rashard Robinson and running back Kapri Bibbs left practice with injuries. Robinson experienced some mild tightness in his hamstring, Shanahan said. Bibbs took the full brunt of a Tank Carradine hit on his right shoulder and did not return.

--Quarterback Brian Hoyer had another strong showing. He completed six passes to Pierre Garçon, including a 32-yard completion over the coverage of Foster. In move-the-chain periods, Hoyer threw touchdown passes to Aldrick Robinson, Logan Paulsen and Marquise Goodwin.

--Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard, who are competing for the No. 2 job, did not fare as well. Barkley could not get much going with the second-team offense. He threw the only interception of the day – though it was a Hail Mary that Eric Reid picked off on fourth down of a two-minute drill. Beathard threw up an ill-advised wobbly pass into coverage deep down the field that fell incomplete.

--Foster, who appears to be in line to take over as the starter with Malcolm Smith’s season in question, had a sack. K’Waun Williams blitzed from the slot for a sack. Dekoda Watson also had a sack.

--Prior to practice, the 49ers re-signed linebacker Jayson DiManche to a one-year deal. DiManche originally signed with the 49ers on April 7 and was released less than a month later. He takes the roster spot that opened with the club waived wide receiver Bruce Ellington. The New York Jets claimed Ellington off waivers on Friday.

--The 49ers distributed just less than 30,000 tickets for the open practice. The team announced 25,319 fans attended the practice. There were 40,000 free hot dogs that were pre-prepared for the fans. The event raised $125,000 for the 49ers Foundation, the charitable arm of the organization.

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL


Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.

That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.

Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.

That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.

But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).

In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.

Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers


Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers

One week after center Jeremy Zuttah played his way off the 49ers’ roster in short order, he ended up back with the team that got rid of him to open the offseason.

The Baltimore Ravens on Friday announced the signing of Zuttah, whom the 49ers released on Aug. 9 after acquiring him from the Ravens in a March trade.

The 49ers determined center Daniel Kilgore was clearly better than Zuttah. Moreover, Zuttah he did not demonstrate any promise of being an asset at either of the guard positions.

Zuttah, 31, played the past three seasons with the Ravens after six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Zuttah was named to his first Pro Bowl after last season.

The 49ers originally acquired Zuttah in a swap of sixth-round draft picks. The Ravens received the 49ers’ pick at No. 186 and selected Virginia Tech safety Chuck Clark. The 49ers took over Baltimore’s selection at No. 198 and chose Mississippi defensive tackle D.J. Jones.

The 49ers are confident in Kilgore and offensive tackles Joe Staley and Trent Brown. However, there is concern at the guard positions.

Brandon Fusco appears to be earning the confidence of the coaching staff at right guard. But left guard remains a concern. Zane Beadles is currently the starter while Joshua Garnett rehabs from arthroscopic knee surgery to repair cartilage. The 49ers are hopeful Garnett will be available for the opening of the regular season.