Maiocco: 49ers Mailbag: Masoli as No. 3 QB?


Maiocco: 49ers Mailbag: Masoli as No. 3 QB?

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SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers are four practice days away from their first exhibition game of the season, slated for Friday in New Orleans.Coach Jim Harbaugh is giving the team Sunday off, as part of the new NFL rules that dictate that players must have at least one day off during every seven-day period of training camp.
"It's a mandatory day off," Harbaugh said. "Twenty-four hours of players off from meetings, anything that's mandatory including practice."RELATED: Camp report (86): 49ers' Willis looks like Willis
There are still a lot of things unsettled with the 49ers after eight days of practice. Most starting jobs are determined. But many roster spots and playing-time roles are still being haggled over as the exhibition season approaches."So we still got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of practice," Harbaugh said. "Those are valuable practice days"Let's now open the 49ers Mailbag to answer some questions:Q: so is going to be alex and 2 rookies at QB then? (@JesusMartinez18)
My answer: Harbaugh said Saturday that Jeremiah Masoli throws the ball like a professional quarterback, and he will remain on the depth chart as a passer. The club originally signed Masoli to be a running back and "jack of all trades."I doubt Harbaugh is satisfied with a quarterback group heading into the regular season that consists of Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick and Jeremiah Masoli. That would be very risky.But Harbaugh is not enamored of any of the veteran quarterbacks on the free-agent market, either.The available quarterbacks include Brodie Croyle, Jake Delhomme, Charlie Frye, J.P. Losman, Patrick Ramsey, Brian St. Pierre, Brian Brohm and Marc Bulger, who last week announced his retirement. There's also Troy Smith, but we know he's not coming back. He was a quarterback the 49ers picked up last year after the final cuts. So the 49ers will keep an eye on the waiver wire.
I'm told if there's a quarterback who shakes free or becomes available that Harbaugh likes, the club will make an effort to get him. The No. 1 name on everybody's list is Tampa Bay backup quarterback Josh Johnson, who played for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego and greatly desires a chance to play for him again.Johnson enters the final year of his contract, and there are no long-term hopes of being a starter with Josh Freeman firmly entrenched as the Buccaneers' starter. There would be hope for Johnson if he came to the 49ers, as Smith is signed to just a one-year deal and Kaepernick is promising but very raw. Q: seemed like Alex checked down to Gore A LOT today- part of offense or no WR separation? (@liquidhavok)
My answer: How has Alex Smith looked at practice? I see no discernible difference from last year. He has thrown the ball pretty well on deep and intermediate passes. His consistency hasn't been there on throws at the sideline. And, of course, he checks down a lot.REWIND: Camp report (85) 49ers' Smith greeted warmly
Separation from the wide receivers is not the issue. One of the knocks on Smith throughout his career is that he does not "throw the receiver open." Steve Young always said that it's rare in the NFL for receivers to get open. And when they are open, those windows shut rather quickly. Great quarterbacks put the ball in spots where only the intended target can catch them. Q: out of all the rookies, who's performing good, besides aldon smith and kaepernick? (@FranchizeWockee)
My answer: Cornerback Chris Culliver has looked very good. He's got speed and good change-of-direction. He is impressive, but he still has a long way to go before he can be expected to cover polished NFL receivers.Receiver Ronald Johnson looks good, too. He is definitely in the mix to contribute, possibly as the fourth receiver. Running back Kendall Hunter has tremendous moves and can get to the corner, but it'll be tough for him to get on the field a whole lot behind Frank Gore and Anthony Dixon.Also, I'm impressed with Bruce Miller and how quickly he has adapted to his new position of fullback. The linemen -- Daniel Kilgore and Mike Person -- are both working with the second-team offense. Kilgore is lining up at left guard, behind Mike Iupati, and Person is at right tackle, behind Anthony Davis. They are raw, and getting coached-up daily on proper technique. I do not envision either of those players being active on game days.Of the undrafted guys, nose tackle Ian Williams has a chance to provide good depth along the defensive line. I like the group of young, small-college receivers the 49ers brought in. Chris Hogan, Tyler Beiler and Joe Hastings can play a little, but the numbers game does not work out to their advantage. Watching the offensive line, Donovan Edwards of Cal has held up very well in one-on-one drills. He's working at third-team left tackle.
Q: projected o line? Davis rachal Goodwin iupati and Staley? (@sportsguya)
My answer: That's the way I see it, too: Right tackle Anthony Davis, right guard Chilo Rachal, center Jonathan Goodwin, left guard Mike Iupati and left tackle Joe Staley.I asked Harbaugh on Saturday for his view on the offensive line and which starters have solidified their spots. Obviously, he did not want to name names."It'll be our five best starters will be in there, continue to have a rep chart, not a depth chart, but you know it's starting to take shape and there's still quite a few battles for who's going to be the starter, who's going to be the contributors, who's going to be the backups, who's going to make the team," he answered. "So quite a lot still going on in the offensive line."Davis looks a lot more fluid and comfortable this season in pass protection with a year under his belt. I've seen Rachal still struggle some in one-on-one drills, as well as staying low and picking up stunts on the inside. Tony Wragge is working behind Rachal at right guard, though I'd suspect at some point Adam Snyder will slide to backup guard after Goodwin replaces him as the first-team center.

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.