Players weigh in on quarterback discussion


Players weigh in on quarterback discussion

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers offense did not change Monday night. The play calls were the same. They just looked different with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback."Our offense isn't really going to change, no matter who is in there," Kaepernick said. "Our offense is our offense and we're going to run it."The 49ers exhibited about what is expected from them in the run-pass ratio in a 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears. Kaepernick completed 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. He was also sacked twice. The 49ers ran the ball 29 times for 123 yards.RELATED: Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 32, Bears 7
Kaepernick pushed the ball down the field more. He threw passes against tight coverage. He gave the receivers opportunities to make plays.
Coach Jim Harbaugh declined to state in the aftermath of the victory that Alex Smith was his quarterback. Smith must first gain medical clearance to return to game action after sustaining a concussion Nov. 11. His answer indicated that Harbaugh understands he has a difficult decision.
"We'll see," Harbaugh said. "I usually tend to go with the guy who's got the hot hand. And we've got two quarterbacks that have got a hot hand."Players in the 49ers locker room were careful not to pick sides in the newly minted quarterback debate."That's up to the coaches," tight end Vernon Davis said. "That's their decision. I'll let them decide and they always call the shots. So it's all up to them."Davis became part of the 49ers' offense again with Kaepernick throwing the ball around. Davis had six catches for 83 yards and said it felt as if "somebody took the handcuffs off me."Through the years, Davis has been one of Smith's biggest supporters."It's tough," Davis said. "Alex, he's a genuine guy. I've been here with him since Day One and always supported him. But, Colin, he's the same way. Very humble heart, soft spoken and he wants to be great. But I can't choose sides. I'm here to support either one of them."Here's what some other of the 49ers' offensive players had to say about the Kaepernick-Smith discussion:Michael Crabtree: "Both good quarterbacks. Like I said we just play receiver, go out there and make plays. Whoever is behind the center, we are going out there to make plays."Frank Gore: "We have two good quarterbacks. You need two good quarterbacks, when you see what happened in Pittsburgh, two guys go down who do a great job."Center Jonathan Goodwin: "He's always gotten reps in practice. He's had to learn the same game plan every week. Early in the week that's kind of what went on. He still got his normal reps in practice. There weren't any changes in the game plan made just because Colin was starting at quarterback. Hats off to him for studying and keeping up the pace the whole week and coming out and playing well."Left tackle Joe Staley: "I think right now we're in a situation where we have two great quarterbacks. We won tonight with Kaepernick and we've won a lot of games with Alex. And Alex has played great football for us. So it's not my spot to make decisions as far as that goes, who plays. I think we're in a great situation right now because we have two quarterbacks that we can play great football with." It was a great night for the 49ers' Class of 2011. Outside linebacker Aldon Smith, the 49ers' first-round pick, recorded 5.5 sacks. Kaepernick was the 49ers' second-round selection."Kaepernick played an amazing game," Aldon Smith said. "Before the game, I told him, 'Just don't worry about the cameras, go play the game,' and he put a good game together."

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL


Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.

That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.

Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.

That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.

But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).

In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.

Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers


Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers

One week after center Jeremy Zuttah played his way off the 49ers’ roster in short order, he ended up back with the team that got rid of him to open the offseason.

The Baltimore Ravens on Friday announced the signing of Zuttah, whom the 49ers released on Aug. 9 after acquiring him from the Ravens in a March trade.

The 49ers determined center Daniel Kilgore was clearly better than Zuttah. Moreover, Zuttah he did not demonstrate any promise of being an asset at either of the guard positions.

Zuttah, 31, played the past three seasons with the Ravens after six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Zuttah was named to his first Pro Bowl after last season.

The 49ers originally acquired Zuttah in a swap of sixth-round draft picks. The Ravens received the 49ers’ pick at No. 186 and selected Virginia Tech safety Chuck Clark. The 49ers took over Baltimore’s selection at No. 198 and chose Mississippi defensive tackle D.J. Jones.

The 49ers are confident in Kilgore and offensive tackles Joe Staley and Trent Brown. However, there is concern at the guard positions.

Brandon Fusco appears to be earning the confidence of the coaching staff at right guard. But left guard remains a concern. Zane Beadles is currently the starter while Joshua Garnett rehabs from arthroscopic knee surgery to repair cartilage. The 49ers are hopeful Garnett will be available for the opening of the regular season.