Smith blames self -- not line -- for punishment


Smith blames self -- not line -- for punishment


HOUSTON -- OK, so maybe 49ers quarterback Alex Smith isn't an expert in the offense, after all.Smith was sacked twice and took a couple other hits in his 21-play outing Saturday night. And he blamed nobody but himself for the punishment.
"Most of it was self-inflicted by me," Smith said following the 49ers' 20-6 loss to the Houston Texans. "The O-Line played good. First play was a miscommunication with me and the other 10 guys in the huddle, and that resulted in a hit."Really felt like the offensive line played great."So how did the miscommunication occur?"It's tough to explain. Stupidity," Smith said. "I got things mixed up in my head a little bit."On Thursday, coach Jim Harbaugh declared Smith had already reached exalted "expert" status in the offensive system after just one full year. Smith completed 5 of 9 passes for 49 yards on Saturday.Smith played two possessions. David Akers booted a 50-yard field goal to cap Smith's first drive. The 49ers moved the ball 53 yards on 13 plays on their next drive. Anthony Dixon was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1 to end Smith's night.
Colin Kaepernick entered after Smith and immediately led the team down the field with a no-huddle approach. On the second play, Kaepernick kept the ball for a 12-yard gain. The seven-play, 40-yard drive ended with Akers' 36-yard field goal."I feel comfortable with everything we do," Kaepernick said. "That's something they've asked me to do the last couple of weeks. It's similar to what I did in college, so obviously I'm going to be comfortable with that."Kaepernick completed 4 of 8 passes for 19 yards, and dearly wanted one of his decisions back."There's one throw I wish I'd had back," Kaepernick said. "The hitch route to the right. I wish I would've thrown away from the rotation. But I think I was going the right place with the ball. It was just making the throws."Kaepernick's pass intended for Ted Ginn was nearly intercepted by safety Quintin Demps. Randy Moss was all alone on the other side.On the next play, Kaepernick threw a nice back-shoulder ball to Moss that skidded through Moss' hands for an incompletion.Josh Johnson completed 4 of 6 passes for 64 yards, but misfired on a deep pass to a wide-open A.J. Jenkins. Scott Tolzien completed 4 of 9 attempts for 23 yards.

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

49ers announce more hires to Shanahan's staff

Kyle Shanahan put together some of the final pieces of his coaching staff on Tuesday.

The 49ers announced the hirings of seven coaches, including confirmation of John Benton as offensive line coach.

The team hired former NFL standout linebacker DeMeco Ryans as defensive quality control coach. He was a second-round selection of the Houston Texans in 2006 and spent 10 seasons in the league. He finished his career playing four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 49ers also hired Daniel Bullocks as assistant defensive backs coach, Stan Kwan as assistant special teams, Vince Oghobaase as assistant defensive line, Adam Stenavich as assistant offensive line, and Michael Clay as strength and conditioning assistant.

Benton, 53, was hired away from the Broncos after being on the job for approximately a month. Benton served as Jacksonville’s assistant offensive line coach last season. He worked the previous 13 seasons as offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Houston (2006-2013) and Miami (2014-15).

Benton and Shanahan worked together for four seasons with the Houston Texans.

Bullocks worked in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. The Jaguars' linebackers coach last season, Robert Saleh, is the 49ers' new defensive coodinator. Bullocks appeared in 31 games in three NFL seasons with the Detroit Lions in 2006 and '08.

John Lynch: 49ers will be up-front with Kaepernick

John Lynch: 49ers will be up-front with Kaepernick

The only promises new 49ers general manager John Lynch made quarterback Colin Kaepernick for this offseason are open communication and honesty.

Kaepernick has spent all six of his NFL seasons with the 49ers after being a second-round draft pick in 2011. He has started 58 of the 49ers’ past 71 regular-season games.

Kaepernick has the contractual ability to opt out of his contract in March. If he does not, it seems likely the 49ers would release him – even if they want him back – to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled $14.9 million pay for the 2017 season.

“The one thing we will do very well with Kap is we’ll communicate,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “And I think that’s very important for both sides. Like everything else, that process is well in the works. We’ll continue to do that and we’ll be very up-front with him, in terms of what we’re thinking and we’ll want to know what he’s thinking, as well.”

Lynch said he developed trust and a good rapport with Kaepernick during the time when the 49ers were among the top teams in the NFL. Lynch was a broadcaster for FOX-TV and had occasion to meet with Kaepernick multiple times during production meetings.

“Every time we talk about Kap, I think of the guy who was in the Super Bowl not too (long ago),” Lynch said. “Things happen in guys’ careers. Injuries happen. Different things happen.”

Kaepernick began last season as the backup to Blaine Gabbert. After regaining his starting role in Week 6, Kaepernick put together his best season since 2013 – his first full season as a starter.

Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. His passer rating was 90.7, and he added 468 yards rushing.

Lynch said he and coach Kyle Shanahan have been evaluating the players on the 49ers’ roster. The other three quarterbacks on the roster – Gabbert, Christian Ponder and Thad Lewis – are not under contract for next season.

“Like we said we would – and like we told Kap we would – we’re assessing everything,” Lynch said. “Both Kyle and I believe wholeheartedly that position is the most-important position in football.

“From every side of this thing, we’re evaluating. And we’re continuing to watch the film. We’ll continue to work toward that until we have made a decision.”