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."

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--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."

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's D-line coach

Former 49ers head coach Tomsula named Washington's D-line coach

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington turned to internal candidates to fill two critical vacancies, promoting Matt Cavanaugh to offensive coordinator and Greg Manusky to defensive coordinator.

Cavanaugh was the team's quarterbacks coach and Manusky its outside linebackers coach last season. Washington announced the promotions Monday along with the hires of Kevin O'Connell as quarterbacks coach and Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.

It has been an offseason of upheaval for the coaching staff after Washington fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry and a few assistants and offensive coordinator Sean McVay left to become head coach of the Los Angeles Rams.

In its efforts to replace Barry after ranking 28th defensively in consecutive seasons, Washington interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine and former Buffalo Bills assistant Rob Ryan before opting for Manusky. The 50-year-old Manusky has been defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and 49ers and worked with Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan in San Francisco.

Known for his fiery personality and booming voice on the practice fields, Manusky had only been on coach Jay Gruden's staff for one season as outside linebackers coach. Middle linebacker Will Compton tweeted: "Congrats to Coach Manusky!" when players were informed of his promotion.

Cavanaugh was Washington's quarterbacks coach for the past two years as Kirk Cousins twice set the franchise record for passing yards in a season. Cousins' status for 2017 remains in doubt after playing last season on the franchise tag, but with McVay gone he'll have a familiar face as his offensive coordinator.

After 13 NFL seasons as a backup quarterback, the 60-year-old Cavanaugh was offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 1997-98 and Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2004. O'Connell, Washington's new quarterbacks coach, was an assistant in San Francisco under Chip Kelly last season.

Tomsula, who replaces Robb Akey as defensive line coach, also most recently worked with the 49ers as their head coach in 2015.

Falcons coach Quinn: Kyle Shanahan 'totally nailed that' vs Packers

Falcons coach Quinn: Kyle Shanahan 'totally nailed that' vs Packers

The Atlanta Falcons have provided the 49ers with a window from Friday afternoon through Saturday to meet with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a source told CSNBayArea.com.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn has structured a normal work week to begin preparations to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51, Quinn said at a press conference on Monday. The Falcons will have a day off on Saturday before the team travels to Houston on Sunday.

The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.

Shanahan is the presumptive 49ers coach -- the only candidate remaining among the six whom 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe interviewed. Shanahan's offense rolled up 493 total yards and converted 10 of 13 (77 percent) third-down opportunities en route to a 44-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game.

“I’m really proud of him,” said Quinn, who was hired by the Falcons two years ago after he served as Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator in Super Bowl 49.

“It’s not easy to do when there’s a lot of speculation and things going on outside your world to stay dialed in. I think it’s one that should be commended. Being on point and going for it, he totally nailed that.”

Shanahan is also expected to be heavily involved in the 49ers’ search for a general manager. The two remaining candidates among the nine who previously interviewed are Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough.

The 49ers have left open the possibility of adding more GM candidates to the list, according to a source.