49ers

Being the 49ers quarterback is one of worst jobs in America

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Being the 49ers quarterback is one of worst jobs in America

I so wanted Alex Smith to sign somewhere else and leave the 49ers in a quarterback lurch, I really and truly did. I wanted him to enjoy what so few NFL players ever experience, the joy of firing two middle fingers at the boss and going to work for a new boss.

And why? Because I know one thing that young folks learn too late that leverage is better than sex.

The proof? How many times will the average person have sex, and how many times will the average person get to tell his boss to face-pile a dungheap?

I rest my case.

But that didnt happen. Of course it didnt happen. It had zero chance of happening. The 49ers would either get Peyton manning or keep Smith, and all the other options werent options at all.

Then it hit me. Theres another reason why I wanted Alex Smith to get a better deal somewhere else.

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Because being the 49er quarterback is one of the worst jobs in America, and he deserved a break.

A break from being constantly talked about, even when he isnt even working out. A respite from the endless speculation, guesswork and free-range idiocy. A respite from finding out that no matter how well he plays, how far he takes his team, he still sucks. Hes still awful. He still isnt Aaron Rodgers.

And now he isnt Peyton Manning, either.

See? The game is rigged. He can never win. He went 13-3. He led his team to the NFC title game. He caddied for his coach. And what did that get him?

Squat on a stick. Thats what. And wheres the fun in that?

RATTO: Harbaugh and Smith back to being BFFs

The answer is that there isnt any. He got four free months out of seven years, all because he got taken by the wrong team at the wrong time by the wrong people. And now that hes with the right people, theyre still looking at him like hes not quite the right people.

This is a lesson Colin Kaepernick should be absorbing as fast as his fevered brain can absorb it. He may become the starter at some point, and if Comrade Maiocco is correct that day could come sooner rather than later, but he wont enjoy the experience.
VIDEO: Matt and Mindi break down Alex Smith's reported deal

And why do we know that? Because Frankie Albert got grilled, and John Brodie got grilled and replaced about three times, and Steve DeBerg was thrown into the post-Brodie grinder, and Joe Montana started as a savior and then became the argumenttransitional figure to Steve Young, and Young became the impatient understudy and then the guy who couldnt hold Montanas jock for five years, and then Jeff Garcia became the replacement for Young who couldnt match his two predecessors, and now theres Smith.

All good to great quarterbacks with success in their resumes, and all who took regular rhetorical beatings for inadequacies both real and imagined in their home towns.

This means one thing, and one thing only. 49er fans hate their quarterbacks even when they profess to love them. This hatred comes out in so many insidious ways that Alex Smiths dilemmas are not unique in this town. And the media members, pandering single-minded hyenas they are, yap constantly on the subject no matter the time of year or situation, to the point where we hate ourselves.

Not enough to ever stop, of course. The 49er quarterback is our heroin, and at times like this our veins are collapsing like ice floes in spring.

And when I say media, I dont mean me. Im a hell of a guy. I know. I checked.

Point is, Alex Smith is trapped yet again doing a job few can do and that fewer still should want to do. The rewards are few, the punishments are constant, and the audience can never be pleased.

Frankly, this is the day when Colin Kaepernick should ask for a trade to anything, anywhere. The lesson of how bad his life will become when he gets this job will never be clearer than it is right now.

Reuben Foster does not wait long to show he can be special for 49ers

Reuben Foster does not wait long to show he can be special for 49ers

SANTA CLARA – There is something different about Reuben Foster.

It is similar to when Patrick Willis stepped on the practice field with the 49ers for training camp in 2007. He started out as a backup and had to earn his way onto the field.

All it took was two exhibition games. Brandon Moore was out of the starting lineup. Patrick Willis was in, and seven consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl followed.

Foster is not being handed a starting job with the 49ers. In fact, he faces a more difficult challenge to break into the starting lineup.

In front of Foster is veteran Malcolm Smith at the weakside linebacker spot. Eventually, Foster’s role in the 49ers’ defense will be the middle linebacker spot, where NaVorro Bowman is entrenched as the starter.

But it’s only a matter of time until Foster asserts himself as an every-down player.

Foster will have to earn his way into the starting lineup. He will have to earn respect with how he practices and plays. That was apparent on Thursday when Bowman was asked whether he watched Foster in college. Bowman gave a tepid review of Foster.

That’s understandable. After all, Foster had not practiced with the team until Friday. He was held out practices during the offseason program as he rehabbed from shoulder surgery. It took Bowman a full year before he won his starting job. Bowman started one game as a rookie before establishing himself as a starter and an All-Pro performer the next season.

Bowman is not going to lavish praise on a player who had never made it through an NFL practice – even someone who was the most-accomplished collegiate player on the 49ers’ roster.

Foster received medical clearance on Wednesday to take part on Day 1 of practice when the 49ers opened training camp on Friday. It took almost no time for him to stand out.

Foster intercepted a pass from fellow rookie C.J. Beathard early in Friday’s practice. Then, quite a scene followed. Foster returned it into the end zone through a maze of players -- many of whom were standing behind the line of scrimmage and not even involved in the play.

In his three seasons at Alabama, Foster never intercepted a pass. He was known for his toughness and violent sideline-to-sideline tackling ability.

“It was good to get him out there, get him on the field,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I know he’s been chomping at the bit for a while now. It was good to see him go through it full speed, deal with getting aligned right and stuff. I think he got an interception out there today, which was good for him. It was a good first day.”

Foster could quickly turn into the most-exciting player on a team that is severely lacking in star quality. The 49ers targeted him early in the draft process as a player they wanted. Then, he had to check out physically and mentally for the team to determine when he was a person they wanted, too. When he visited the 49ers before the draft, general manager John Lynch became even more intrigued.

“He’s got an excitement that’s infectious,” Lynch said. “He’s an alpha dog. He wants to lead. He’s ready, he’s eager and we are certainly excited to watch him play.”

The 49ers did not believe his shoulder was a major issue. According to national reports, some teams removed him from their draft boards over concerns about his health. The 49ers would have taken him with the No. 3 pick in the draft if Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas were selected with the top two picks.

Concerns over Foster’s health and a diluted urine sample, which immediately places him into the NFL program for substances of abuse, were the only justifications for his tumble to the end of the first round. The 49ers found a trade partner in the Seattle Seahawks and took Foster with the No. 31 overall pick.

Some teams probably really did have serious concerns about his shoulder. And perhaps those concerns were justified. But, maybe, the teams that could have drafted him feel the need to cover their own backsides for passing on a player who has the look of a special player.

49ers sign top pick Solomon Thomas during first practice

49ers sign top pick Solomon Thomas during first practice

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers completed contract negotiations with their final unsigned draft pick as the team was going through warm-ups for the first practice of training camp.

Former Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 3 overall pick, signed Friday and was expected to join his teammates later in the day.

The sides agreed to the mandatory four-year contract worth more than $28 million, including a signing bonus of approximately $18.6 million. The deal is expected to be fully guaranteed.

The 49ers also have an option for the fifth season (2021) that must be exercised months after the 2019 season.

Thomas was unable to participate in full-squad workouts during the offseason due to Stanford’s late class schedule. NFL rules prohibit a rookie from attending the offseason program until his school’s classes have concluded for the spring session.

The 49ers – and the vast majority of NFL teams – have not had a contract stalemate with a rookie since the new collective bargaining agreement went into effect in 2011.

The organization had similar timing with a first-round pick from last year. Guard Joshua Garnett, also from Stanford, signed with the 49ers on the evening before players were scheduled to report to training camp.

Around the NFL, there has been only one notable contract disagreement that prevented a draft pick from reporting to camp in a timely fashion. Defensive lineman Joey Bosa, whom the Chargers selected with the No. 3 pick last year, sat out a month of training camp due to a disagreement over how his bonus would be distributed. Bosa and Thomas are both represented by the agent firm of Creative Artists Agency.