Smith 'gobbles' up play time, Kaepernick stays sidelined

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Smith 'gobbles' up play time, Kaepernick stays sidelined

The 49ers' offense got in a rhythm Monday night. In a 24-3 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers scored more points on the Cardinals than any team this season.And backup quarterback Colin Kaeperick remained on the sideline for the entire game. This came one game after Kaepernick played just one snap in a 13-6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.Before that, Kaepernick played 16 snaps against the New York Giants, 19 against the Buffalo Bills and 11 at the New York Jets.Quarterback Alex Smith's success early in Monday's game likely kept Kaepernick on the sideline. Smith completed 18 of 19 pass attempts for 232 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The 49ers converted half of their third-down opportunities (6 of 12).In his previous two games, Smith completed a combined 33 of 53 attempts for 340 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. Coach Jim Harbaugh pushed back when the characterization was made that Smith's past two games "weren't his best.""First of all, not his best? In whose opinion? Your opinion," Harbaugh said. "I feel like Alex has been doing a great job."When asked if Smith's performance served to help his confidence, Harbaugh answered, "I don't think there was ever a question there."On any speculation that Smith's confidence had weakened, Harbaugh said, "I think it's just a lot of gobble, gobble, turkey. Just gobble, gobble, turkey, funk jive, turkey, gobblers. . . That paints a pretty good picture. He's a very confident guy."Afterward, Smith was asked if it helped that he did not have to occasionally yield for Kaepernick, who typically runs spread option plays as a run-pass threat."I don't think it helps my rhythm and I don't think it (Kaepernick's entrance into the game) hurts it," Smith said. "I said this all along, when Kaep is out there, he's had a lot of success when he goes out there and I think that's fine."It's great to have for the whole offense. He goes out there and makes positive plays. It's fun to run back out there on first down. It's not fun and it's easy to look back and say, 'Oh, we shouldn't have done that,' but when you run back out there and it's third down it's a little different. It's a fine line. Certainly, there is something still there, it's just trying not to be predictable."Harbaugh weighed in on the topic of whether Kaepernick not playing had anything to do with Smith's performance."No, no," he said. "More gobble, gobble."
Here's the complete breakdown of play time (and percentage of play time) for the 49ers on offense, defense and special teams:Offense
Includes plays nullified by penalty
54 (100 percent) -- LT Joe Staley, RG Alex Boone, RT Anthony Davis, LG Mike Iupati, C Jonathan Goodwin, QB Alex Smith, TE Vernon Davis
35 (65) -- TE Delanie Walker
33 (61) -- RB Frank Gore
30 (56) -- FB Bruce Miller, WR Michael Crabtree
24 (44) -- WR Mario Manningham
20 (37) -- WR Randy Moss
19 (35) -- RB Kendall Hunter
16 (30) -- WR Kyle Williams
7 (13) -- WR Ted Ginn
2 (4) -- TE Garrett CelekDefense
Includes plays nullified by penalty
68 (100) -- FS Dashon Goldson, CB Tarell Brown, CB Carlos Rogers, SS Donte Whitner
62 (91) -- OLB Ahmad Brooks
58 (85) -- OLB Aldon Smith
57 (84) -- DT Justin Smith
55 (81) -- LB Patrick Willis
54 (79) -- DT Ray McDonald, CB Chris Culliver
53 (78)-- LB NaVorro Bowman
30 (44) -- CB Perrish Cox
20 (29) -- NT Isaac Sopoaga
15 (22) -- DT Ricky Jean Francois
13 (19) -- OLB Clark Haggans
4 (6) -- DT Will Tukuafu
1 (1) -- S C.J. SpillmanSpecial teams
22 (92) -- Demarcus Dobbs
19 (79) -- Bruce Miller
18 (75) -- C.J. Spillman, Tramaine Brock, Anthony Dixon, Tavares Gooden, Larry Grant
14 (58) -- Darcel McBath
9 (38) -- Ted Ginn, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Brian Jennings, Andy Lee, David Akers
7 (29) -- Will Tukuafu
6 (25) -- Delanie Walker, Dashon Goldson, NaVorro Bowman, Ricky Jean Francois
4 (17) -- Joe Staley, Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, Leonard Davis
2 (8) -- Tarell Brown, Ahmad Brooks, Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, Ray McDonald
1 (4) -- Randy Moss, Kendall Hunter, Garrett Celek, Daniel Kilgore

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

Bruce Allen: Kirk Cousins will play for Washington in 2017

PHOENIX – Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins will continue to be Washington’s quarterback for the 2017 season, according to team president Bruce Allen.

“That’s why we franchised him, yes,” Allen said during an interview with CSN Mid-Atlantic at the NFL owners meetings.

Cousins and Washington did not reach agreement on a multi-year contract extension before the start of the free-agent signing period. Washington tagged Cousins as the organization’s exclusive franchise player, taking him off the free-agent market for any interested clubs, such as the 49ers.

Cousins is set to earn $23.94 million in 2017, unless the sides agree to a new deal before the July 15 deadline. The price for Cousins to be franchised again in 2018 would be $34.47 million.

"We’ve had a lot of dialogue," Allen said. "He signed his tender. Obviously, we have an option for the ’18 season. Our goal from the beginning has been long term. I'm still hopeful and confident we'll do it."

The 49ers with new coach Kyle Shanahan are expected to be interested in Cousins, but there have no trade talks with any teams, Allen said. Shanahan was Washington's offensive coordinator under his father, then-head coach Mike Shanahan, for Cousins' first two NFL seasons.

"I can't keep up with the rumors," Allen said. "Kirk and I have talked almost a dozen times this offseason, and we get to laugh when we hear these different rumors. We haven't talked to anyone."

49ers keep all options open with No. 2 overall pick

49ers keep all options open with No. 2 overall pick

PHOENIX -- If the Cleveland Browns’ only reasonable decision with the top overall pick consists of Myles Garrett or Myles Garrett, the 49ers have considerably more options at No. 2 overall.

After Garrett, the Texas A&M pass-rusher, there appears to be no consensus second-best prospect in the draft. So the 49ers must be open to considering almost anything.

“You got to talk about every option because you never know what will happen,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “You got to be ready for anything somebody will call you on, whether it’s a trade or not. So you got to go through those because they can happen quickly, especially when you get closer to draft day.

“Right now, it’s not necessarily in my mind the No. 2 pick. It’s taking the time to understand the whole pool of people. Who’s going to be available at two? Who’s going to be available halfway through the first round? What are the players you can get in the second and third round? That’s not something that just gets done. You have to watch a lot of tape. You got to listen to your scouts and all the homework they’ve done with the character on these guys and soak it all in for a couple of months.”

Shanahan was on hand Thursday for Stanford’s pro day, during which defensive lineman Solomon Thomas worked out. Thomas is considered a strong candidate to be the No. 2 player off the board.

But does Thomas fit with the 49ers? Under former general manager Trent Baalke, the 49ers invested their top draft picks in Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner in back-to-back years. Would the 49ers consider spending their top pick on another defensive lineman?

“It really doesn’t concern me what we’ve done in the past or what we’re going to do in the future,” Shanahan said. “It’s what we have now. If we think that player can help us and improve us, then that’s what we’ll do. You want to get the best guy possible. There are lots of options open.”

As the 49ers transition to a four-man defensive line, the team is in need or a pass-rusher. Ahmad Brooks tied with Buckner for the team-lead last season with six sacks. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch tied for tops on the 49ers with 6.5 sacks.

Brooks, 33, enters his 12th NFL season. Shanahan said he believes Thomas (6 foot 3, 273 pounds) is versatile enough to be a pass-rush threat at defensive end in the 49ers’ new scheme.

“I believe so,” Shanahan said. “I believe he can probably line up anywhere he wants. (But I’m) still not done with my research, yet.”

Thomas won the 2017 Morris Trophy, as the Pac-12’s top defensive lineman, as voted on by the conference’s offensive linemen.