49ers

Shanahan updates Buckner's status after exiting early in preseason opener

buckner-ap.jpg
AP

Shanahan updates Buckner's status after exiting early in preseason opener

Defensive end DeForest Buckner aggravated a low-ankle sprain in the 49ers’ exhibition opener Friday night and is not expected to be available for this week’s game against Denver Broncos.

Buckner originally sustained a left ankle sprain during practice on Wednesday, Aug. 2. He missed three practices. Coach Kyle Shanahan said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters on Saturday that the plan is for Buckner to be held out of practice this week and not participate in the upcoming exhibition game against the Denver Broncos.

"It won't be a long thing, but I'd be surprised this week versus Denver," Shanahan said. "He keeps doing the same thing over and over again. We're going to rest him a bit and let him get fully healthy."

--Safety Jimmie Ward will undergo some tests Sunday and could be available to be removed off the physically-unable-to-perform list this week, Shanahan said. Ward sustained a hamstring injury during the conditioning test at the beginning of training camp.

--Defensive lineman Ronald Blair (groin) is also doubtful for this week’s game, Shanahan said.

--Rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas had a positive first game while seeing action on 28 snaps.

"We wanted him to get out there, play some, get his feet wet, get used to the speed of the game," Shanahan said. "By no means was it all perfect, but I think you guys all saw, he definitely got noticed out there and caused some pressure on the quarterback. He ran to the ball and had a big hit on the sideline."

--Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster saw action at both inside linebacker positions. He played 13 snaps at weakside linebacker and 14 snaps at middle linebacker, Shanahan said.

“We have him playing both positions,” Shanahan said. “He did a good job of making the calls. He wasn’t perfect by any means with his alignments and getting in the right gaps, but he showed why we wanted him. He flies to the ball, he’s a square hitter, good tackler, and got a chance to get his hands on the ball. . . . The more he plays, the better he’s going to get.”

--Undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome started at safety played 33 snaps, and Shanahan said he did a “solid job.”

--Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard will not have to wait until the third quarter in the 49ers’ next preseason game to get on the field. Shanahan said it is likely Beathard will be the second quarterback into the team’s next game. Beathard and Matt Barkley are competing for the No. 2 job behind starter Brian Hoyer.

“We haven’t discussed it yet as a staff, but I expect to see C.J. much earlier,” Shanahan said.

--Shanahan had strong praise for defensive lineman Aaron Lynch, who recorded two sacks.

“I was real happy for Aaron,” Shanahan said. “He’s battled his weight this offseason. He came to training camp in as good of shape as I’ve seen him. He’s been doing a good job in practice and you never know if you’re going to get rewarded and how it’s going to play out in a game. But for him to be in the amount of plays he was in (15) and make the number of plays he did, I think he did a very good job.”

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

kaepernick-time-nessa.jpg
AP

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

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.

Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers

flacco-zuttah-smile.jpg
AP

Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers

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.