Kaepernick's playoff plan -- no changes

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Kaepernick's playoff plan -- no changes

SANTA CLARA -- Rookie quarterback Colin Kaepernick has attempted a total of five regular-season passes in a couple of 49ers blowout victories this season.But he remains on high alert in case he is needed.Each week, Kaepernick supplies offensive coordinator Greg Roman a list of the pass plays in which he feels the most confident. That play list often coincides with Alex Smith's list -- because those are the plays Kaepernick finds himself discussing with Smith.Though Kaepernick and Smith feature different styles, Kaepernick said if he were pressed into action Saturday against the New Orleans Saints, the 49ers' offense would not change a bit.
Here's a Q&A that CSN Bay Area conducted with Kaepernick:How are you developing?
Kaepernick: "Good. Just getting more comfortable every week."It's always the question of the backup quarterback -- you're just one snap away -- do you envision a scenario to get yourself mentally prepared where you're in the game?
Kaepernick: "That's something . . . you always want to be on the field, but the way things are going right now, I don't want to envision anything happening with Alex (Smith), where he's getting hurt."How about him breaking his shoe string, and you have to play?
Kaepernick: "Yeah, while he's fixing his shoestring, going in and play a little bit."How confident are you that you could go in there and do all the pre-snap stuff you have to do against the Saints and get the team down the field?
Kaepernick: "Very confident."How much time do you get in practice with the ones?
Kaepernick: "A little, here and there. But that's my responsibility in being a professional is having to know what you need to do, even if you don't get practice reps."Where do you think you've made your biggest strides since the exhibition season?
Kaepernick: "I think just being comfortable with everything: the terminology, the offense, being able to read things quicker and getting through progressions."What do you do during a game? Do you make the calls in your mind as you're watching from the sideline?
Kaepernick: "I'm watching the defense. There are times when Alex will ask me to watch certain things, just in case he's not seeing it how he wants to. But for the most part I'm watching the defense to see what they're doing."Can you help Alex?
Kaepernick: "Yeah, there are times when he asks me what they're doing on this receiver, what did they do here? That's part of my job of being a backup."It's obviously a different vantage point than being behind center, but are you able to see the field?
Kaepernick: "Yeah, you can tell what the defense is doing, for the most part. You might not be able to tell exactly how wide somebody is, but for the most part, you have a good feel."In college, how much reading of defenses did you do?
Kaepernick: "Defenses are more complex, but we still had checks and audibles, stuff like that in college."Are you more advanced in that area of it than a year ago?
Kaepernick: "Defenses are more complex in the NFL, so you have to be able to see a lot more things than you do in college to get a key."What will this week be like for you?
Kaepernick: "Same as every other week. You have to prepare the same, make sure you're ready to go."Does Greg Roman ask you to supply plays with which you're most comfortable?
Kaepernick: "Yeah, they've done that with me. It's whatever we're most comfortable with, with whatever we're doing that week. At this point, I kind of feel like I'm on the same page as Alex, as far as these are the things we feel most comfortable with -- probably because I'm always asking him about those plays."

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”