Harbaugh: Relationship with Smith is 'strong, as always'


Harbaugh: Relationship with Smith is 'strong, as always'

SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday evening that his rapport with quarterback Alex Smith is as strong as ever."It's been good -- strong relationship, as always," Harbaugh said as he left the 49ers' facility. "It's a very strong relationship."Smith's return to the 49ers appears imminent after an NFL Network report that the sides have agreed to a new contract to guarantee Smith returns to the 49ers for an eighth season.Harbaugh, however, declined to confirm the deal has been completed.
"I always have a good policy, based on experience, that it's never wise, never benefits anybody concerned to discuss negotiations and contracts in the media," Harbaugh said."We're in a negotiating time. We're in a free-agent period. We're in a contract talk. All these questions are about negotiations."Harbaugh said repeatedly this offseason -- prior to the start of free agency -- that Smith is "our guy." When asked if that's still the case, Harbaugh answered, "Nothing's changed."The 49ers pursued free-agent Peyton Manning, who on Monday chose with the Denver Broncos. Harbaugh declined to confirm that he had a meeting with Smith on Monday. CEO Jed York said the 49ers' offer remained on the table and it was up to Smith to agree to the deal.The return of Smith is a move that most expected would happen before now, but it was a big part of the 49ers' offseason plan.
Through the first week of free agency, the 49ers' biggest acquisitions have been wide receivers Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. The team also extended cornerback Carlos Rogers with a four-year, 29.3 million contract.When asked if Harbaugh feels good with the 49ers' free-agent, he answered, "I do. I feel good about the way things are progressing. Excited to be back working. I felt that way for the last two months, get back get working and continue to build our team."And our players are. It's been great watching them come into the facility and see those guys working. i can't imagine there are very many facilities around the NFL with this many guys pumping iron and out there running and doing what our guys are doing. So I think they feel the same as well."

Cosell: It's fascinating that Kelly clearly didn't want Kaepernick to throw

Cosell: It's fascinating that Kelly clearly didn't want Kaepernick to throw

Colin Kaepernick was benched after three quarters on Sunday.

He completed 1-of-5 passes for four yards.

"To me, what's most fascinating about that is what Chip's approach was," Greg Cosell said on KNBR 680 on Monday evening. "Chip (Kelly) clearly did not want him to throw the ball ... it was clear to me that Kaepernick does not throw a wet or a cold ball very well...

"He has small hands so I'm wondering if he just couldn't really throw the ball effectively in this kind of weather.

"Hey, Troy Aikman always said, 'I couldn't throw a wet ball.'"

Kaepernick was sacked five times for -25 total yards.

"Looking at the sacks, there were opportunities for tighter window, but NFL throws -- and first of all, I don't think Kaepernick is that guy under normal circumstances -- and my sense is, he didn't feel comfortable in this weather," Cosell added. "He certainly wasn't gonna cut it loose on those kinds of throws in this weather.

"Maybe Chip knew that, maybe he didn't. But to me, as I said, it's more fascinating that he didn't have him throw the ball at all."

Blaine Gabbert supplanted Kaepernick and completed 4-of-10 passes for 35 yards. He was sacked once.

After getting benched vs Bears, Colin Kaepernick to start vs Jets

After getting benched vs Bears, Colin Kaepernick to start vs Jets

Colin Kaepernick will remain as the 49ers’ starting quarterback on Sunday against the New York Jets.

Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins made the announcement on Tuesday while coach Chip Kelly was in Maine for services for his father, E. Paul Kelly, who passed away on Friday.

Kaepernick has started the past seven games for the 49ers, during which time the club has gone winless. The 49ers (1-11) are on a franchise-long 11 game-losing streak.

Kaepernick went 1 of 5 on Sunday for just four yards in the 49ers’ 26-6 loss to the Chicago Bears. Kaepernick was also sacked five times for minus-25 yards before getting benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to be sacked five times and have fewer than 5 yards passing in the same game.

"We have been playing really good football, good football on offense and the thing had been trending in the right direction," Modkins said. "Obviously, Sunday didn’t bear that and we’ve got to go to work today and figure out how to get it back going in a direction we had it and obviously it has to be better than what it was on Sunday."

A week earlier against the Miami Dolphins, Kaepernick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 113 yards as the 49ers rolled up 475 yards of total offense.

Kelly said the 49ers made the switch at quarterback early in the fourth quarter on Sunday against the Bears in hopes Gabbert would provide a spark. Gabbert started the 49ers’ first five games of the season before Kaepernick replaced him.

"Kap is going to be the starter and we’ll go from there," Modkins said. "We just decided during the game to try to see if Blaine could give us a spark. Kap is back being the starter. It’s nothing other than that.”