49ers

Difficult to imagine Smith elsewhere next year

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Difficult to imagine Smith elsewhere next year

SANTA CLARA -- Alex Smith might not have a contract with the 49ers for the 2012 season, but it appears once again he has something seemingly as binding.It's unsigned. It's probably even been unspoken. But at this stage in the season, it seems unfathomable that Smith will be anywhere else in 2012 because of the mutual trust and loyalty that both sides have exhibited.
Remember, Smith was unsigned during the lockout when coach Jim Harbaugh handed him the playbook. Smith studied it for a month. Then, he organized two weeks of get-togethers to teach the system to the 49ers' offensive players.RELATED: Alex Smith 2011 game logs
Harbaugh trusted Smith to do his work. And Smith trusted Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke that a return to the 49ers -- against what Smith had planned in the aftermath of the 2010 season -- would not backfire. And both sides have been rewarded.Smith has started every game and taken every significant snap as the 49ers have clinched the NFC West with a 10-2 record. His passer rating is a career-best 94.9.Let's remember, Smith, a seven-year NFL veteran, is only 27 years old.And while the 49ers rank 29th in the NFL in passing yards per game, Smith's confidence and comfort are growing. Theoretically, he should continue to get better.RELATED: NFL Stats leaders
After all, Harbaugh said any quarterback will continue to get better the longer he is within the system."When you're in a system for six months, you know it better than you did the first month," Harbaugh said. "And when you're in it 12 months, you know it better than you did at six months, particularly this system. I've seen evidence of that."And I think by two years in it, you're an expert and they're able to coach guys on it because they know it so well."Where Smith had a head start is that he learned the system well enough in May during the lockout to teach it to the 49ers' offensive players in June."I felt the same thing back then, what a fabulous thing that was -- not only for Alex but for our team," Harbaugh said. "Those motivated players were getting together in the summer and holding workouts, and team workouts and really player-led practices. I pretty much knew back then that that was a very good sign."The 49ers will want Smith back. And Smith will want to return. And it seems implausible that another organization will try to lure him away by out-bidding the 49ers.Any team in need of a quarterback will be well-versed in Smith's history as a player who has not been provided any stability in his career.The 49ers will not have make Smith among the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. Early speculation around the league is that the 49ers could re-sign Smith to a two- or three-year contract for 8 million to 11 million annually. It's possible that Harbaugh and his staff had no idea that Smith would be as efficient this season as he has turned out. But working with him every day, there is a belief that Smith can get better and the passing game can continue to improve.The 49ers will expect the quarterback position, as a whole, to be better next season. There's no doubt about that.
And that can be accomplished without making a change to their depth chart. After all, Smith and rookies Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien were good enough to comprise the 49ers' depth chart in 2011.And each of those players should be improved next season.

Jerry Jones, Cowboys kneel before anthem, stand arm-in-arm during it

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AP

Jerry Jones, Cowboys kneel before anthem, stand arm-in-arm during it

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump, so the speculation was that he would not allow his players to kneel during the national anthem.

The Cowboys and their owner did kneel, though not during the anthem.

Following a weekend of kneeling and protesting across the NFL, the Cowboys and their owner displayed their own version of unity Monday night, kneeling on the field before rising as a group prior to the playing of the national anthem.

"I hope that I'm clear and I hope that our team is clear: We want to respect the flag. Make no mistake about that," Jones said.

"Nothing that we've done, nothing that we did tonight says anything other than that. We also want to as a complete team, as players and an organization, be able to, whenever we can, demonstrate that unity is important and equality is important.

"That's what I'm so proud of these guys for, they did both and did it in a way when people really stop and think about it, makes a lot of sense."

The Cowboys sat and watched the protests across the NFL on Sunday and spent most of Monday discussing the best way to show unity without denigrating the flag.

After warmups Monday night, they went into the locker room and returned to the field for the anthem, lining up between the sideline and the yard markers on the field.

Arm-in-arm, they dropped to a knee as a giant flag was carried onto the field, with Jones and his family in the middle near the 50-yard line.

Numerous boos rang out across University of Phoenix Stadium as the Cowboys kneeled and continued as the players rose, still arm-in-arm, and stepped back to the sideline as the flag was unfurled across the field. They remained connected as Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem.

"The objectives, as much as anything else, was to somehow, some way demonstrate unity and demonstrate equality, and do so without any way involving the American flag and the national anthem," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.

The Arizona Cardinals had their own symbol of unity after a weekend of protests in the NFL, gathering along the goal line arm-in-arm during the national anthem. They were joined by owner Michael Bidwell, his family and general manager Steve Keim.

More than 200 NFL players kneeled, sat or prayed during the national anthem on Sunday after President Trump said any player who does not stand for the national anthem should be fired.

Three teams did not take the field for the national anthem and numerous NFL owners came out against Trump's statements.

49ers place Tank Carradine on injured reserve

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AP

49ers place Tank Carradine on injured reserve

The 49ers signed LB Mark Nzeocha from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad to a one-year deal, the team announced.

In order to make room on the roster, the team has placed DL Tank Carradine on the Injured Reserve List.

Nzeocha (6-3, 240) was originally drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round (236th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. Over the past two seasons (2015-16), he appeared in eight games and registered four tackles. He was waived by the Cowboys on September 3, 2017 and signed to the team’s practice squad on September 5.

A 27-year-old native of Ansbach, Bavaria in Germany, Nzeocha attended the University of Wyoming. He appeared in 39 games (26 starts) and finished his career with 207 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, seven passes defensed, three forced fumbles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception.

Nzeocha will wear number 46.

Carradine (6-4, 270) appeared in each of the team’s first three games this season (two starts), where he registered seven tackles and one sack.

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