Same weekly approach for Kaepernick as he preps for Patriots

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Same weekly approach for Kaepernick as he preps for Patriots

SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has not spent any more time preparing for the New England Patriots' defense, he said Wednesday.

Kaepernick said he has maintained the same preparation schedule since the beginning of the season, beginning when he was Alex Smith's backup.

Kaepernick faces his biggest challenge Sunday night in his fifth NFL start, as he goes against a Patriots defense that figures to come up with a few new wrinkles in hopes of confusing the second-year player.

"They give you a lot of different looks on defense," Kaepernick said. "You just have to be prepared for it. You have to be ready for their disguises and different coverages, different fronts they're going to give you."

"It'll be a great challenge. It's a great opportunity to show what we're capable of."

The 49ers have averaged 25.8 points in Kaepernick's four starts, including two touchdowns from the defense. New England features the league's No. 1 offense and averages 36.3 points per game. The 49ers might have to unleash a more prolific offensive attack in order to stay close.

There is plenty Kaepernick can learn from New England quarterback Tom Brady, who has thrown 29 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

"What he does mentally," Kaepernick said. "He knows exactly what he wants to do against every look a defense is going to give him."

Kaepernick struggled Sunday against the Miami Dolphins in getting the offense to the line of scrimmage and going through his pre-snap reads. The 49ers wasted four timeouts on offense.

"We just have to practice it," said Kaepernick, who said he did not know why the 49ers struggled in that aspect of the game.

He will need to break the huddle in a timely fashion to properly diagnose the Patriots' defense, he said.

"Trying to see what the defense is trying to do pre-snap," he said. "They give you a lot of different looks, a lot of different fronts. We just have to be ready for it."

* * *

--Kaepernick said Alex Smith has been a help to him as the team's backup quarterback.

"He's been great," Kaepernick said. "He's helped me with everything I've asked. Even on the sideline he's going over looks with me and making sure I'm seeing everything."

--Kaepernick has built a rapport with veteran wide receiver Randy Moss.

"He's a true professional," Kaepernick said. "He's going to do whatever it takes to make sure he's ready to play on Sunday.

"Randy is a great guy. He's a great teammate. He's someone that everybody should try to be like, as far as in the locker room and how they are as a teammate. . . Randy has always been great. He's always going to tell me what he's seeing with the defense. We have a good relationship."

--Kaepernick on why he's comfortable throwing to Michael Crabtree: "He's open. So you're going to throw the ball to the guy who's open."

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

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AP

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

Aquan Boldin is looking for a new football home.

And the former 49ers wide receiver is visiting with the Bills on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Boldin started all 16 games with the Lions last season, recording 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.

From 2013 to 2015 with the 49ers, he racked up 237 receptions, 3030 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 years old in October.

Boldin entered the NFL as the 54th overall pick in the 2003 draft.

Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

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Taking a closer look at Ryan's criticism of Shanahan

There is no shortage of blame to go around for the Atlanta Falcons’ collapse in Super Bowl 51.

The Falcons built a 28-3 lead in the middle of the third quarter and let it slip away, ultimately falling to the New England Patriots, 34-28, in overtime.

Matt Ryan voiced one previously undisclosed factor in the collapse this week in an interview with Pete Prisco of CBS Sports, pointing the finger at the new coach of the 49ers.

Kyle Shanahan has been the focus of a lot of the blame, but critique from the league MVP was a new one.

The Falcons quarterback faulted his former offensive coordinator for taking too much time to relay the play calls. Ryan said he did not have enough time to change any of the plays – presumably checking out of called pass plays to run the ball.

Here’s what Ryan told Prisco:

"Kyle's play calls -- he would take time to get stuff in. As I was getting it, you're looking at the clock and you're talking 16 seconds before it cuts out. You don't have a lot of time to say, 'There's 16 seconds, no, no, no, we're not going to do that. Hey, guys, we're going to line up and run this.' You're talking about breaking the huddle at seven seconds if you do something along the lines.

"With the way Kyle's system was set up, he took more time to call plays and we shift and motion a lot more than we did with (former coordinator) Dirk (Koetter). You couldn't get out of stuff like that. We talk about being the most aggressive team in football. And I'm all for it. But there's also winning time. You're not being aggressive not running it there."

The 49ers can point to mismanagement of the clock for their own Super Bowl heartbreak. The 49ers’ offense had the perfect play call at the perfect time against the Baltimore Ravens late in Super Bowl XLVII.

But with the play clock striking :00, coach Jim Harbaugh was forced to call a timeout from the sideline. A split-second later, the ball was snapped and it appeared the quarterback run would have easily ended up with Colin Kaepernick in the end zone.

Much like after the 49ers’ loss, the Falcons left plenty of room for second-guessing.

Two of Shanahan’s plays calls, which directly led to the collapse, will forever be scrutinized.

The first came with 8:31 remaining in regulation and the Falcons holding a 28-12 lead. On third and 1 from the Atlanta 36, Shanahan did not remain conservative with an expected run play. He swung for the fence.

Receiver Aldrick Robinson, whom the 49ers added this offseason as a free-agent pickup, was breaking free past the Patriots secondary for what could have been a touchdown. But just as Ryan was unloading, New England linebacker Dont’a Hightower hit him and forced the fumble. Running back Devonta Freeman whiffed on blitz pickup, which would have provided Ryan with enough time to target Robinson deep.

Ryan’s explanation does not appear applicable on this play, though. In watching the replay, the Falcons broke the huddle with more than 25 seconds remaining on the play clock and the snap occurred with :15 to spare.

The other questionable sequence came after the Falcons – leading by eight points -- got to the New England 22-yard line with less than five minutes to play. The Falcons lost 1 yard on a run play on first down.

On second down, Ryan was sacked for a 12-yard loss. Before that play, the Falcons broke the huddle with :19 on the play clock. The snap occurred with :04 remaining. The game clock was running, so the Falcons had reason to attempt to burn as much clock as possible.

In the fourth quarter, the Falcons never seemed rushed to get off a play. The closest they came to delay-of-game penalties were when they snapped the ball with :04 on the one play and :03 another time. The majority of their snaps occurred with :10 or more seconds to spare.

If the Falcons were guilty of anything when it came to the play clock, it was that the offense did not waste more time. After New England pulled to within 28-9 late in the third quarter, the Falcons ran only six offensive plays while the game clock was running.

On those six plays, the Falcons snapped the ball with :13, :09, :14, :20, :13 and :04 remaining on the play clock. If they’d snapped the ball with one second remaining each time, they could have shortened the game by 1 minute, 7 seconds. The Patriots scored the game-tying touchdown with :57 remaining in regulation.