With Dolphins' new initiative, York and the 49ers have opposite problem


With Dolphins' new initiative, York and the 49ers have opposite problem

The Miami Dolphins are doing something I thought for sure the San Francisco 49ers would have seized on by now – and no, I don’t mean hiring Adam Gase as the head coach. The 49ers would never consider something as daft as that.

No, the Dolphins are creating standing-room only areas at Dolphin Stadium in which, for $40, you get a chance to lean on a rail and fiddle with your phone, like you apparently like to do at bars.

No seat. No parking. The beers are just as expensive. But you get to stand and either watch a game, or not, depending on your already unreliable attention span.

The Dolphins claim they got the idea from the Chicago Cubs, who sold standing room seats for their World Series run. But the Cubs were doing something that hadn’t been done in 108 years. The Dolphins were doing something they do every year – be bland.

And for two twenties, plus about $100 in incidentals, you can have that experience, plus sciatica, plus tingling in your extremities, plus you’ll be dripping sweat onto your phone because Miami owns the national concession on humidity.

How this escaped Jed York’s notice is . . . well, actually, it’s kind of understandable. He’s got the opposite problem. He has people standing around checking their phones, but they are people who have tickets on the east side of the stadium choosing not to broil while their team gets its collective hat blocked every week. Jed WANTS those seats filled, and he can’t get that done until the team becomes too compelling for sunstroke.

But maybe he can charge fans for buying those seats, and then charge them again for leaving them vacant and standing in the concourse, bribing the bartender to turn on Raiders-Chargers.

I think they call it the in-game experience. Or in Miami, they call it, the grabbing-the-patron-by-the-ankles-and-shaking-everything-out-of-his-or-her-pockets experience.

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.