Can ex-49ers Carr, Baas assist Giants defense?

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Can ex-49ers Carr, Baas assist Giants defense?

SAN FRANCISCO -- Center David Baas took a cross-country flight on June 10 to examine the 49ers' playbook for the first time.
"It was just one day, but it was good to be around the guys and get my brain working again," Baas said during his one day of attendance at "Camp Alex," the offensive seminar that quarterback Alex Smith held during the lockout at San Jose State.Less than two months later when the lockout lifted, Baas signed a five-year, 27.5 million contract with the New York Giants. Now, Baas' new team faces his former team in a game with NFC playoff implications. The 49ers (7-1) have the second-best record in the NFL, while the Giants lead the NFC East with a 6-2 mark.
So are there any secrets Baas can relay to his defensive teammates from his one day of studying the 49ers playbook?"David won't be in the huddle prior to the snap," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "I think they have what they have on tape and that's the bulk of what they'll go off of. . . There are eight games on tape that I'm sure they have a good idea of what we do offensively."The other David on the Giants roster would probably be more of a concern, anyway. Backup quarterback David Carr attended all of the Camp Alex sessions. Shortly after the 49ers released Carr, he re-signed with the Giants.But, again, the 49ers have played eight games. With the 49ers' variation of formations and shifts, there is nothing additional that Baas or Carr can do to alert the Giants defense about what to expect.Eye on Tuck: The 49ers took the high road, but you can be sure that everybody on the team is aware of the comments Giants defensive lineman (and captain) Justin Tuck made about Smith.The 49ers' line took offense at comments that Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh made several days before the team's met in October. "If you're not going to protect me from your quarterback, I'm going to continue to hit him," Suh said.And the 49ers mocked the TV commercials featuring Washington Redskins pass-rusher Brian Orakpo after last week's game. Leading up to that game, Orakpo said, "The two most important things I would have to say: No. 1 is Frank Gore, and No. 2 is Frank Gore. That's all we have to -- not all we have to do -- but their main thing is run, run, run the ball."It's difficult to figure out Tuck's motivation for saying less-than flattering things about Smith. Maybe he wants to get inside Smith's head. Maybe he wants to challenge Smith to take more chances in the passing game.More than Gore: The Giants are determined to end Frank Gore's streak at five consecutive 100-yard rushing games. As Tuck suggested, the Giants believe Smith will not be able to beat them. So New York's goal is to shut down Gore and force Smith to win the game with his arm.Smith is averaging 183.4 yards passing a game. He has done everything asked of him during the 49ers' 7-1 start. The 49ers believe they can win games in a lot of different ways. Smith threw for a season-high 291 yards in the 49ers' 24-23 come-from-behind victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.The Giants want to force him to prove it again.
In the spotlight: Jonathan Goodwin and Brett Swain have Super Bowl rings. Goodwin is the 49ers starting center. Swain, a wide receiver, will likely be one of the 49ers inactive players. Other than Goodwin and Swain, the 49ers are comprised of a bunch of players who have never played in big NFL games.So how will the 49ers respond to being in the national spotlight for the first time . . . in a long time?
"I think our team realizes this is a bigger stage than we've been playing on and I think they're looking forward to embracing that, and they have embraced it," Harbaugh said. "They understand you want to do well on that stage and continue onto even bigger stages. I think that's our team's mindset." What's the storyline that interests you the most?

Why Shanahan chose Hoyer and Barkley over Kaepernick

Why Shanahan chose Hoyer and Barkley over Kaepernick

PHOENIX – Coach Kyle Shanahan walked into a position with the 49ers in which he had no quarterbacks on the roster.

On the first two days of free agency, the 49ers added Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. He determined they were better fits for the offense he would be installing over Colin Kaepernick, who started 64 regular-season and postseason games for the 49ers over the past 4 ½ seasons.

Shanahan appeared to be looking for quarterbacks who are more proficient at going through progressions and making plays from the pocket. Kaepernick was not deemed as a good fit for Shanahan's offense.

“Colin’s had a great career, and he’s done some really good things,” Shanahan said on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think Colin has a certain skillset that you can put a specific offense to it that he can be very successful in.

“When we first looked at it, you got to look at each quarterback and what type of offense you want to put in. That wasn’t necessarily the direction I wanted to go. I wanted to put in a different type of offense.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. General manager John Lynch has confirmed the 49ers would have released Kaepernick if he had not opted out of his deal.

“The type of offense I wanted to run was somewhat different and that’s why we went that type of direction,” Shanahan said.

The 49ers’ top target in free agency was Hoyer, who enters his ninth NFL season with his sixth different team. Shanahan was offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 in Hoyer’s second and final season with the club.

Hoyer started five games with Chicago in 2016 before getting sidelined with broken left arm. Hoyer completed 67 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions in 200 attempts.

“All these questions about what I like in a quarterback, Brian is like that,” Shanahan said. “He’s obsessed with the game. He will learn your offense. He’ll be able to execute and run it. That gives other guys a chance to perform in your offense. If your quarterback can’t execute it and go through it, it doesn’t always matter what the O-line or the receivers are doing.

“With Brian, you have a very smart guy who works at it, will hang in the pocket and is fearless, will keep his eyes down the field and deliver the ball to the right spots. It gives people a chance to be successful.”

The 49ers also reached a contract agreement with Barkley, who started six games with the Bears due to injuries to Jay Cutler and Hoyer. Barkley saw the most extensive playing time of his career. He completed 59.7 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

“Just watching Matt since college, Matt’s always been a solid player, even coming out and playing at an early age at (USC),” Shanahan said. “He’s battle-tested in that way. He’s gone through the pressure of college, the pressure of the draft, being in the NFL, being with some different teams. Even watching Matt in Chicago this year, I think he played better this year than he has throughout his career. That means the guy is continuing to work at it.”

The 49ers figure to go to training camp with four quarterbacks, so the team is not finished at the quarterback position.

“We’ll look to add anyone who can really help us,” Shanahan said. “I’m very happy with the two we got. You know we’re not only going to take two to camp. So we got to see how the draft works out and then you see what else is out there.”

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

PHOENIX – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he does not believe quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being “blackballed” in his attempt to continue his career.

“I haven’t heard that from our clubs in any way that that’s an issue,” Goodell said during his press conference to conclude the NFL owners meetings.

“My experience in 35 years is that our clubs make independent evaluations of players. They work hard to try to improve their teams. But if they think a player can help improve their team, they’re going to do that.”

Kaepernick remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his 49ers contract earlier this month. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman this week was asked on ESPN’s "First Take" whether he felt Kaepernick was being blackballed.

"I'm sure he is," Sherman answered. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand."

General manager John Lynch on Tuesday said the 49ers have not had any contact with Kaepernick since he and coach Kyle Shanahan met with Kaepernick on Feb. 22 in Santa Clara. The 49ers signed free-agent quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, 29, created a controversy last season when he opted to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States. Kaepernick has decided to stand for the national anthem this season.

Earlier in the day, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was “stupid” and “intellectually lazy” to think teams have colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the league. Last week, former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, said Kaepernick is still an outstanding player and can win championships.

“I absolutely think he’s going to get signed,” John Harbaugh said. “I agree with Jim. He can win games for people.”