Manning should heed Montana, Namath, Unitas

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Manning should heed Montana, Namath, Unitas

Whitey Gleason
Special to CSNBayArea.com

Peyton Manning is not the first elite quarterback to saddle up and head west before hanging up his guns. In fact, there are three Hall of Fame quarterbacks who won Super Bowls with one team, then finished their careers with another. The results were decidedly mixed. So Peyton, heres a little Wild West history lesson for you -- the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly story of Hall of Fame quarterbacks riding off into the sunset.

The Good: Joe Montana, KC Chiefs, 1993-94
Once the dismantling of Bill Walshs great teams began, 49er fans had to adjust to some strange sights, like Ronnie Lott in a Jets jersey, and Jerry Rice with the Raiders. But none of those moves had the visceral impact of this one. After two injury-plagued seasons, during which Steve Young cemented himself as the 49ers quarterback, 37-year-old Joe Montana was traded east to Kansas City -- but still ended up in the AFC West. Wearing No. 19 (the Chiefs had retired Len Dawson's No. 16), Montana actually had a shot at meeting his old team in the Super Bowl after the 93 season. Both the Niners and the Chiefs, however, lost their conference championship games, and the 30-13 loss to Buffalo was especially brutal for Montana, who left the game with a concussion. In two seasons with the Chiefs, Montana threw for 5,427 yards and 29 touchdowns -- two fewer touchdowns than hed thrown for San Francisco in the 1987 season alone. While he couldnt take Kansas City to the Super Bowl, as Dawson had, Montana did get the Chiefs to the playoffs both years, playing his last game in a 1994 Wild Card loss to Dan Marino and the Dolphins. After retiring, he would undergo the same neck fusion surgery that Manning had last year.

The Bad: Joe Namath, LA Rams, 1977
One of the most surprising aspects of Joe Namaths 1977 season with the Rams is that anybody wanted him in the first place. In 1976, a sore-kneed, 33-year old Namath threw four touchdowns against -- gulp! -- 16 interceptions in eight games for the Jets, who won only one of those games. (And hes criticizing the Jets for picking up Tim Tebow?) The Jets waived Broadway Joe, who signed with a Rams team that had serious Super Bowl aspirations. A 34-14 Week 3 win over Jim Plunkett, O.J. Simpson, and the 49ers put Namath and the Rams at 2-1, and Namath had thrown three touchdown passes through the first three games. But Namaths next game would be his last, a Monday Night debacle in Chicago in which an ineffective running game forced him to throw often. Namath threw four interceptions, the Rams blew a 13-0 lead, and lost 24-23. Namath would never play again, and the Rams would rally behind Pat Haden to reach the playoffs. Namaths final numbers with the Rams -- three touchdowns, five interceptions, and a passer rating of 54.5 -- are so lackluster, they make me want to get drunk and try to kiss Suzy Kolber.

The Ugly: Johnny Unitas, San Diego Chargers, 1972
Just as some Colts fans curse Jim Irsay for the way Mannings Colt career just ended, so did Colt fans in 1972 curse Irsays father Bob for the way Johnny Unitas career ended in Baltimore. The elder Irsay had actually purchased the Rams in 1972, with the intent to swap them for the Colts, which he did. Irsay wanted the Colts to get younger, which meant that Johnny Us days were numbered, since he was 39 and had played in only eight games in 72. So in January of 1973, Unitas was traded to the San Diego Chargers for unspecified future considerations. If Unitas had given any specific consideration to his future, he probably never wouldve gone to San Diego. The team was awful, ending up 2-11-1. Unitas threw for 55 yards with three picks in the opener, and was replaced early in the year by future Hall of Famer Dan Fouts. Unitas did have one shining moment in the San Diego sunshine, throwing a pair of touchdown passes in a Week 3 win over Buffalo. Throwing for two scores in one game for a team as bad as the 73 Chargers was nearly as remarkable as Unitas 47-game touchdown pass streak. But the next time you hear someone argue that a player should not change teams late in his career because it might damage his legacy, consider the case of Unitas. His brief stay with the Chargers was so out-of-character with the rest of his career, that not only did it leave his legacy intact, most people dont even know it happened. Certainly, Unitas tried to forgot about it as quickly as he could. Deactivated by San Diego for the last game of the season, Unitas went back to Baltimore to watch the Colts play.

Once enshrined in Canton, Brett Favre will no doubt join the Super Bowl-Winning, Team-Switching HOF Quarterback Club, although it wouldve been in keeping with our western theme had he come out retirement last year to join the Raiders after Jason Campbells injury. As for Peyton? Happy trails, amigo. Just be aware, the road out West for 30-something-year-old gun-slinging legends is fraught with peril, picks, and playoff disappointment.

Whitey Gleason is the host of "The Rise Guys" on 95.7 the Game.

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Barkley continues work with personal coach of Brady, Ryan

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spent last offseason working with Tom House and Adam Dedeaux on his throwing mechanics.

Ryan went on to set career-bests in completion percentage (69.9), yards passing (4,944), touchdowns (38), interceptions (7) and passer rating (117.1).

New 49ers quarterback Matt Barkley worked with House and Dedeaux for the fourth offseason in Southern California before reporting to Santa Clara for the team’s offseason program.

“Kyle (Shanhan) is on board with what House and those guys are doing – I think, really, because of the year Matt Ryan had,” Barkley said on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” on NBC Sports Bay Area.

“He’s a believer in that. He saw the benefits of what Matt did with some of his drops and the timing on routes, how he changed his feet on some things. So we’re kind of sticking with that plan. Everyone is a little different, but for the most part we’re all on the same page when it comes to what our drops are looking like, our footwork and how the ball is coming out.”

House is a former major league pitcher and pitching coach who founded the 3DQB training facility in Los Angeles. Dedeaux pitched at USC and is the grandson of USC baseball coaching legend Rod Dedeaux. Former NFL quarterback John Beck is a motion mechanics instructor.

Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer are among the NFL quarterbacks who have worked with 3DQB.

“I believe in those guys and what they’re doing,” Barkley said. “They’re at the top of their game, working with Brady and a bunch of other guys. They’ve helped me.

“He won’t change your throwing motion or really tweak how the ball comes out, but he’s going to try to maximize velocity and ground force production and torque -- a lot of sports science terms. But, really, just maximizing efficiency with your motion and making sure you’re sequencing is right.”

Barkley had never played for Shanahan before signing a two-year contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. But there are two obvious connections. Barkley’s offensive coordinator last season with the Chicago Bears was Dowell Loggains, Shanahan’s quarterbacks coach in 2014 when Shanahan was the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator. The other connection is House.

"It’s kind of funny, he worked with Atlanta’s staff all of last year, helped Matt Ryan, kind of build his base from the ground up and helped him a lot and he had an MVP year," Barkley said of House.

"There may have been talks down the pipeline, who knows. I don’t think that was the deciding factor by any means, but it never hurts.”

John Lynch hires new 49ers director of pro personnel

John Lynch hires new 49ers director of pro personnel

General manager John Lynch made his third high-profile addition to his personnel department on Friday with the announcement of Ran Carthon as director of pro personnel.

Carthon assumes the position that Mike Williams held with the 49ers through the draft. Williams worked 14 seasons in the 49ers’ scouting department, including the final four as director of pro personnel. Assistant director of pro personnel Quentus Cumby was also fired after the draft.

"We want to welcome Ran Carthon and his family to the 49ers," Lynch said in a statement. “Ran has a clear vision for how he plans to run our pro personnel department, and was excited about the opportunity to blend his approach with ours. Having previously directed his own pro department, we expect Ran to hit the ground running and help us build the strongest roster possible.”

Carthon spent the previous five seasons with the Rams organization in the same position he now holds with the 49ers. The Rams fired Carthon three weeks before the draft.

According to the 49ers, Carthon’s role will consist of managing “the coordination and day-to-day operations of the pro personnel department, including assistance with the coordination of free agency, the evaluation of the unrestricted free agent market and oversight of the evaluations of NFL players.”

He will be asked to provide input into all personnel decisions when the addition of veteran free agents is considered. He will also provide input into personnel decisions concerning the team’s acquisition of veteran talent through free agency, trades and the waiver system. Carthon will also oversee the scouting reports for upcoming opponents to help prepare the coaching staff prepare its game plan.

Lynch hired two key members of the personnel department immediately following his appointment to the position. He hired former Denver Broncos executive Adam Peters as vice president of player personnel and former Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew as senior personnel executive.

Carthon, 36, had a brief NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts as a running back. He also spent time with Green Bay,  Seattle and Detroit.

His father, Maurice Carthon, played eight seasons in the NFL as a running back with the New York Giants and Indianapolis.