Manning vs. Smith -- a franchise statement

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Manning vs. Smith -- a franchise statement

The troubling nature of the 49ers flirtation with Peyton Manning begins and ends here, with this thought:That Alex Smith has never been Mr. Right. That he is simply Mr. Right Now.But that is the nature of football, and not only as Jim Harbaugh perceives it. It is the nature of football, period. Organizations marrying themselves to one player is so contra-indicated as to border on the foolish, as Mannings separation from the Indianapolis Colts reminds us.So Harbaugh turning up to kick the tires on Manning, as the saying goes, is merely one more reminder not to Smith alone but to all of us that nobody is safe in the sport built on the most primal laws of Darwinism. Break a player, get a new one. See a drill in the window that works better than your, get it.Put it this way: If Harbaugh thought there was a better linebacker than Patrick Willis, hed seek that out, too.
Harbaugh is a pragmatist with a reptiles blood temperature. He always has been. The great quarterback mastermind won at Stanford with Toby Gerhart as his centerpiece before he won with Andrew Luck. It is why he has a reputation out of size with his deeds to date because he doesnt mind tweaking his system to fit the players in his command.Manning, of course, is a different matter because he plays quarterback, which is the only position many 49er fans acknowledge at all. It is this teams great cultural flaw that it obsesses on its quarterbacks in ways that more traditional markets do not.Thus, Smith was the embodiment of evil when he was quarterbacking a bad team for more coaches than Manning has ever seen, the representative of truth and beauty when the team finally got good last year, and after not winning the NFC title game to a superior New York Giants team, he became Public Enemy No. 1 again.In fact, Smith is and has always been a serviceable quarterback who found a coach who could give his gifts voice in his seventh year. He is not Dan Marino. He is also not Charlie Whitehurst. He is, and take this any way you like, an okay quarterback with a range of results.And take this, too. He did not cost the 49ers the Giants game. The Giants took it. Period.All that said, Manning is worth a free look. The problem becomes in projecting what Harbaugh saw this week with what he would see with angry mesomorphs beating on him relentlessly in the fall and early winter, and at what cost that vision demands.As Comrade Maiocco, a troublesome brute in the best of days, has told us, Denver has more than 40 million in cap space, and the 49ers less than 20 million. Manning has apparently been offered a five-year, 90 million deal from Denver that would essentially Zito-ize the 49er payroll if Manning isnt all that.Thats your downside right there. Its no more elegant than that. The 49ers cannot afford to be wrong with Manning because of the collateral damage. Being right with Manning, of course, speaks for itself, but the question remains a dangler suspended from the front of Harbaughs omnipresent ball cap is there enough Manning for the quick strike that nets a ring?This is, then, a strategic rather than a tactical decision, one that seems financial but in fact is a football call at its most elemental. Jed York seems clearly like the sort who would do and pay anything Harbaugh requested, so hes going to follow the coachs lead, and Trent Baalkes specialty remains the draft.Harbaugh, though, has the decision that makes, breaks or just dents the franchise. The quick hit that is Manning who may or may not be the perfect stroke for the here and now, against the safer and more financially prudent choice that is Smith who, in any event, would always be auditioning for his job no matter what his contract reads.So forget loyalty. Loyalty is always a one-way street in the NFL, and always has been. Players who expect it end up being devastated by its absence. Alex Smith is nobodys yutz he knows the game; he has no right not to know it. So does Peyton Manning, who unlike the 49er fan base is looking at his decision in a far more clinical light, with no interest in or concern for Alex Smith, Tim Tebow, Matt Hasselbeck or, if it came to that, Darian Durant of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.But for a change, the down side of keeping Smith is minimal, whether you want to believe that or not. So this decision becomes the essential Harbaugh tell does he like to go all-in with ace-four unsuited (Manning), or play the percentage with jacks paired (Smith)?The answer will tell you what kind of football executive (as opposed to coach) he is pragmatist with a hint of gambler, or gambler with a hint of pragmatist. Its his call, and his franchise statement.

Bills sign two former 49ers

Bills sign two former 49ers

The Buffalo Bills have signed two 49ers free agents within the past two days.

After signing wide receiver Rod Streater on Wednesday, the Bills announced the signing of linebacker Gerald Hodges on Thursday.

The 49ers acquired Hodges in a 2015 trade with the Minnesota Vikings for center Nick Easton and a sixth-round draft pick. Hodges started 12 games last season and ranked second on the team with 92 tackles.

Hodges left the 49ers shorthanded for a late-season game against the Atlanta Falcons when he violated team rules. Then-coach Chip Kelly did not disclose the nature of Hodges infraction. Hodges offered no explanation or apology.

The 49ers entered the game against the high-powered Falcons with just two healthy inside linebackers due to Hodges’ deactivation. Starter Nick Bellore sustained an elbow injury on the third play of the game, and the 49ers were forced to use safeties Antoine Bethea and Vinnie Sunseri, and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks at various points of the game.

The 49ers showed no interest in re-signing Hodges as a free agent.

Streater, a five-year NFL veteran, saw action in all 16 games last season after being acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in September. He caught 18 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

Harbaugh takes blame for 'premature celebration' during 2011 incident

Harbaugh takes blame for 'premature celebration' during 2011 incident

It was Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach of the 49ers.

The 4-1 49ers were in Detroit and scored 10 points in the final 5:29 to beat the Lions 25-19.

An excited Harbaugh got a little too agressive during his postgame handshake with Lions coach Jim Schwartz. The two had words for each other and had to be separated.

Six years later, Harbaugh took the blame for what happened and said that he and Schwartz have patched things up.

"I went in too hard on that, too aggressive on the handshake. I've since changed that. Not doing that anymore. Can't blame him. I went in too hard. And you respect him for taking exception. We've talked, and we're good. We're back to friends. There is a protocol in a postgame handshake. I've been there as the winner. I've been there as loser. You just, 'Hey, nice game,' then go celebrate. Premature celebration there, in the wrong," Harbaugh said Tuesday on Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast.

Harbaugh sounds like he's learned his lesson from that incident with Schwartz.

"The postgame handshake isn't the place for anything. If you're bitter, than change the I to an E. Don't get bitter, get better. Nothing's really changing at the postgame handshake. Just professionally shake hands and go on your way," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh moved on from the 49ers to coach the Michigan Wolverines. Schwartz coached the Lions through the 2013 season and currently serves as the defensive coordinator for the Eagles.