Coach Kyle Shanahan will not be scouring the stat sheet after the 49ers’ exhibition opener in Kansas City on Friday night.
Game statistics will play no role in his player evaluations, he said, as many factors are considered, including the talent level and execution of the opposition.
“I look at how good they are,” Shanahan explained on "The 49ers Insider Podcast" for how he evaluates his 90-man roster during the exhibition season. “I can get home at night and I promise you that my wife is going to have a much better idea of how good the guy’s stats were. I look at each play for what it is.
“If a bunch of guys fall down in a hole and the running back hits that hole and gets a 60-yard gain. He’s probably going to finish that day averaging 7 yards a carry, which everyone is going to read and that’s going to look very impressive. But the 60-yard play was bad defense. What did he do on the other plays?”
Shanahan said he and general manager John Lynch have tried to exercise patience when discussing the state of the roster and who are making an impression -- good or bad -- that could impact spots on the 53-man roster.
“When you get excited about someone, it’s hard not to talk about it,” Shanahan said. “But you quickly learn, I can be very excited about someone in a practice and then three days later I’m completely the opposite. I understand that going through this for a number of years, especially in training camp. There are a lot of highs and lows.
“John and I don’t sit and talk after every single practice. At the beginning, we tried to and we quickly realized we need to chill out a little, and wait and see how this plays out.”
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.
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.