Five 49ers to watch: 1. Josh Johnson

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Five 49ers to watch: 1. Josh Johnson

(This is the final part in a series that spotlights five 49ers players to watch in the team's exhibition game Saturday, 5 p.m., at the Houston Texans.)

Part 1: Mike Person
Part 2: Trenton Robinson
Part 3: A.J. Jenkins
Part 4: Chris Owusu
When the 49ers signed quarterback Josh Johnson to a two-year contract in the offseason with a 350,000 signing bonus, it was a popular thought that he could give Alex Smith a run for his money.Johnson, a four-year veteran, was Josh Freeman's backup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was coming to the 49ers to play for the man, Jim Harbaugh, who helped transform him into a record-breaking passer at the University of San Diego.But Johnson was never in the mix to challenge Smith for the starting job. And second-year player Colin Kaepernick has emerged as the front-runner to retain his role as the 49ers' No. 2 quarterback, Harbaugh said this week.
Suddenly, it's no sure thing that Johnson is even the third-best quarterback on the roster. Scott Tolzien, who played well in the first exhibition game, appears to be even with Johnson for the No. 3 job.Johnson is scheduled to be the third quarterback to enter Saturday's game against the Houston Texans. After an inconsistent week of practice, Johnson needs a good performance to keep from losing ground in the race for a roster spot.Either way, the 49ers will have a difficult decision to make when it comes to sorting out the backup quarterback situation."We'll do what's best for our football team, what we feel like helps be a better team and win games," Harbaugh said. "This is one of those things that was foreseen that we have four very good quarterbacks. These are four quarterbacks who'll play a very long time in this league. We knew it would be very competitive."There are things that are taking shape, but these games are very important, as we knew they would be. Thought that it would come down to some of these games and how they'd play in practice and the games as being equally as important."

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan will retain the role he held the past nine seasons in his first year as head coach of the 49ers.

Shanahan eschewed the formality of naming an offensive coordinator because he will keep those duties for himself. Still, Shanahan made it clear that he alone will not be able to fix the 49ers’ offense.

Shanahan has assembled a supporting cast that he said makes him comfortable to delegate responsibilities whenever his attention has to be focused on something other than the team’s offense.

“I mix it up,” said Shanahan, who previously held offensive coordinator roles with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. “Different guys have different attributes.”

Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan after time together on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive staff. McDaniel is the run-game specialist, while LaFleur, the wide receivers coach, is the pass-game specialist.

Tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly the head coach at Colorado, is Shanahan’s assistant head coach. Shanahan said Embree has a vocal role on his staff.

Moreover, long-time NFL running backs coach Bobby Turner is a trusted assistant after spending 14 seasons in Denver and four more in Washington with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. Turner coached under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons with the Falcons.

”Bobby Turner’s been an assistant head coach for our teams we’ve had in the past and anytime that I need him to take over, he does,” Shanahan said. “So it depends what period it is, depends what we’re talking about.”

The 49ers opened organized team activities last week. It was the first time the 49ers’ rookies and veterans were together on the field for offense vs. defense practices. Shanahan said it takes some adjustment for him to figure out how to best budget his time during the workouts.

“I’m used to knowing exactly where to go and what to do and I always did that from an offensive coordinator standpoint which I still do a lot of those responsibilities,” Shanahan said. “So, at times, I feel most comfortable when I go to do that because that’s something to do. But, when I pass it over to some other guys and let them do it, I find myself walking around a lot and I’m not used to that.

“It feels awkward, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think I should walk around and watch everyone and see it. I always see it on the tape, but that’s later at night. You want players to know you’re there and paying attention to everything and I usually try to cover that in meetings the next day also.”

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.