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."

49ers 2017 UDFA tracker: Southern Miss QB reportedly agrees to terms

49ers 2017 UDFA tracker: Southern Miss QB reportedly agrees to terms

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are reportedly adding a fourth quarterback to their 90-man roster.

Nick Mullens a four-year starter at Southern Mississippi, agreed to terms with the 49ers after the conclusion of the Saturday’s NFL draft, he told the Hattiesburg American.

As a senior, Mullens completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 3,272 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Mullens joins a quarterback group that includes starter Brian Hoyer, backup Matt Barkley and third-round draft pick C.J. Beathard.

Other reported 49ers free-agent agreements include:

--RB Matt Breida, Georgia Southern: In three seasons at Georgia Southern, Breida rushed for 3,740 yards and 37 touchdowns while averaging 6.9 yards a carry. (Tampa Bay Times)

--OL Erik Magnuson, Michigan: Magnuson (6-6, 305) was a first-team All-Big Ten performer who started every game at right tackle. He announced on Twitter that he has agreed to terms with the 49ers.

--WR Kendrick Bourne, Eastern Washington: He caught 211 passes for 3,130 yards and 27 touchdowns in his four-year career. Bourne (6-1, 203) had his best season as a senior, with 79 receptions for 1,201 yards and seven touchdowns. Eastern Washington announced Bourne’s three-year contract.

--OT Darrell Williams Jr., Western Kentucky: Williams (6-5, 315) started 41 games. He played his final two seasons at right tackle after moving from right guard. Western Kentucky announced the contract agreement with the 49ers.

--WR KD Cannon, Baylor: Cannon caught 195 passes for 3,113 and 27 touchdowns in his three-year career. He turned pro after a junior season in which he caught 87 passes for 1,215 yards and 13 touchdowns. He announced his contract agreement with the 49ers via Twitter.

--DB Lorenzo Jerome, Saint Francis (PA): Jerome, a Senior Bowl invite, was named first-team FCS All-American. He intercepted six passes in 2016 with 59 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 11 pass break-ups. He added a touchdown on a kickoff return. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

--LB Jimmie Gilbert, Colorado (Denver Post)

--OL J.P. Flynn, Montana (NEPatriotsdraft.com)

--DE Noble Nwachukwu, West Virginia (NEPatriotsdraft.com)

--TE Cole Hikutini, Louisville (NFL Network)

--LB Donavin Newsom, Missouri (Columbia Daily Tribune)

--WR Victor Bolden, Oregon State (Bolden via Twitter)

Lynch: TE McDonald to return to 49ers after being on trade block

Lynch: TE McDonald to return to 49ers after being on trade block

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers explored trade options for veteran tight end Vance McDonald during the three-day draft, but he is scheduled be back with the team when the club reports Monday for the fourth week of the offseason program.

“I think that’s the reality of new regimes coming, new schemes,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Saturday at the conclusion the seven-round draft. “That’s not to say that he can’t fit into our scheme. Frankly, we received some interest from some other people, then we did explore some options throughout the league with Vance. Nothing ended up happening, so Vance will come back and have an opportunity to compete.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he called McDonald on Friday night to keep him updated on the team’s though process in pursuing trade options. McDonald was at his brother’s wedding, Shanahan said, so he left him a long voice message. McDonald responded Saturday morning with a text. Shanahan said the two men will speak on Monday in Santa Clara.

“We did take over a 2-14 team,” Shanahan said. “We don’t feel all the answers are here right now. We have a lot of work to do. We need to improve in any way possible. And we’re going to do that. We’re going to do that from an organizational standpoint. How can we improve the building? How can we improve the coaching staff? How can we improve the personnel department? How can we improve the players?

“Just from Vance’s text back, I think people understand that. I think it does make sense. I don’t think that’s something personal.”

Former 49ers general manager Trent Baalke signed off on a five-year contract extension for McDonald in December that consisted of a $7 million signing bonus. McDonald appeared in 11 games last season, catching 24 passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns. The 49ers acquired McDonald as a second-round draft pick 2013. In 48 career games, McDonald has 64 receptions for 866 yards and seven touchdowns.

The 49ers signed veteran tight end Logan Paulsen in the offseason. On Saturday, the 49ers selected Iowa tight end George Kittle in the fifth round of the draft. Kittle joins fellow tight ends McDonald, Garrett Celek, Paulsen, Blake Bell and Je’Ron Hamm on the 49ers’ 90-man roster.