Preseason finale looms large for Tolzien, other 'bubble' 49ers

796506.jpg

Preseason finale looms large for Tolzien, other 'bubble' 49ers

The preseason is the NFL lifeline for players like Scott Tolzien. The quarterback has a stellar college resume that includes a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and a 72.9 completion rate from 12 regular-season starts his senior season. That completion percentage set the single season school record at Wisconsin and led the nation for 2010 as well.But when no team drafted the Illinois native, Tolzien had to build his NFL resume through any game action he could get. He signed a free agent contract with San Diego and played in three preseason games with the Chargers. His third game was a 16-23, 226 yard passing performance in a loss to the 49ers with a 69.6 completion rate despite being sacked five times. Tolzien was already on the 49ers' radar, but after that game, the team picked him up and made the rookie the third quarterback as soon as the Chargers cut him.RELATED: 49ers make cuts to 75-player limit
There was other factors in that decision, just like theres other factors in everybodys decision, head coach Jim Harbaugh said of adding Tolzien to the 53 man roster last season. Body of work thats been built up, the year before, in the offseason, in training camp, in other preseason games.Tolzien has a wisdom beyond his 24-years and made sure he passed his experience onto this years crop of rookies, especially the undrafted free agents. He told A.J. Jenkins, Nathan Palmer, Chris Owusu and some of the linemen to make every moment count Thursday night.This isnt just the last preseason game before the regular season begins, this is big for us, Tolzien said. This is our chance to get a lot of playing time and really show what weve been preparing for.RELATED: Maiocco -- The numbers game: The 49ers most impacted
What these young players need to showcase to clinch a spot on the 49ers, or any NFL teams roster, differs from player to player. Tolzien is looking to relax, get into a rhythm and more than anything look for completions. Palmer wants his body of work to highlight the progress hes made throughout his first NFL training camp.One of the big things that I was labeled as is a guy that cant get separation and a guy thats not willing to block, so thats been one thing that I focused on this whole preseason here, Palmer said. Im a big critic on myself. I definitely think I can play a lot better on film, but Ive learned a lot here and it shows on film.Palmer admitted he was a nervous wreck and didnt sleep much the night before the first cut. But he understands the chances of him remaining with the 49ers past Fridays final cut are slim. Tolzien is more at ease with his situation.Just preparing as if youre the starter, whether its football or not, Tolzien said, just looking back with no regrets at the end of the day.In the NFL, just be sure that at the end of the day its all on film.

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

PHOENIX – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he does not believe quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being “blackballed” in his attempt to continue his career.

“I haven’t heard that from our clubs in any way that that’s an issue,” Goodell said during his press conference to conclude the NFL owners meetings.

“My experience in 35 years is that our clubs make independent evaluations of players. They work hard to try to improve their teams. But if they think a player can help improve their team, they’re going to do that.”

Kaepernick remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his 49ers contract earlier this month. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman this week was asked on ESPN’s "First Take" whether he felt Kaepernick was being blackballed.

"I'm sure he is," Sherman answered. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand."

General manager John Lynch on Tuesday said the 49ers have not had any contact with Kaepernick since he and coach Kyle Shanahan met with Kaepernick on Feb. 22 in Santa Clara. The 49ers signed free-agent quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, 29, created a controversy last season when he opted to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States. Kaepernick has decided to stand for the national anthem this season.

Earlier in the day, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was “stupid” and “intellectually lazy” to think teams have colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the league. Last week, former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, said Kaepernick is still an outstanding player and can win championships.

“I absolutely think he’s going to get signed,” John Harbaugh said. “I agree with Jim. He can win games for people.”

 

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

PHOENIX – John Lynch’s draft preparation as a first-year NFL general manager prompted him to make a phone call Monday to Jim Harbaugh.

“I talked to an old 49ers coach yesterday,” Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings. “He was great. He has a lot of players who are draftable. (He) gave me a lot of great information, and it was entertaining, as it always is with Jim.

“He just said, ‘Fired up for you, man,’ then we started talking about his players. He had to go to a meeting and I had to go to a meeting, so it was quick.”

Before Lynch could quiz Harbaugh about some of the Wolverines’ draft-eligible prospects, Harbaugh had a brief chance to catch up with his brother, John, the Baltimore Ravens head coach.

“It was fun because right when we called, his brother was right there,” Lynch said.

“So John came over and before I could get on the phone, John and Jim were talking. I said, ‘Hey, you’re cutting into my time, give me the phone.’ We had a good time.”

Michigan’s top prospects are safety Jabrill Peppers, who won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most-versatile player, and edge rusher Taco Charlton.

Lynch said he does not ask “lazy questions” of any college coach about his former players. Instead, he’s looking at specifics, such as what position a player is better suited to play at the NFL level.

Harbaugh, who was let go after the 49ers' 8-8 season of 2014, enters his third season at his alma mater after two seasons with 10-3 records.