First, a disclaimer: We do not wish injuries upon anyone.
That clarified, it is undeniable that lining up opposite the 49ers defense can be hazardous to your health. While none of the resulting injuries will be celebrated, the physical, punishing, will-imposing style of Vic Fangio's defensive unit can, and should, be lauded.In the first seven games of the season, only three opposing starting backs completed their contest in good health.Felix Jones was the first victim, suffering a separated shoulder in Week 2. Fortunately, he did not miss any time.
LeGarrette Blount was taken down by DaShon Goldson and sprained his MCL in Week 5. He missed the Buccaneers' next two games.Former Cal Bear Jahvid Best might have got it the worst. He quietly left the game in the fourth quarter, and, only afterward, reports surfaced that he suffered a concussion that would end his promising sophomore season.
"We had a hard time getting the run game going," Lions coach Jim Schwartz observed after the loss.After a bye week, it was malady for the Browns' Montario Hardesty, who tore a calf muscle and missed four games.At this point in the season, going into a Week 9 matchup with the Redskins, we took the time to ask, is it a bad week to be a Washington ball carrier?Since their statement stretch to open the year, the 49ers have mellowed out, allowing all but one of the remaining regular season opposing backs good health. Steven Jackson left the Week 13 game with a injured biceps muscle.But playoffs are playoffs.In his NFC Championship press conference, safety Donte Whitner said that a big hit early in the game "sets the tone, and lets the offense know they're in for a long day." The first seven games the 49ers defense put together let every offensive player in the league know they were in for a long season. And on the opening drive of the 49ers' Divisional-round matchup with the Saints, Whitner delivered that hit, laying into Pierre Thomas with a gruesome tackle that knocked Thomas unconscious, the football falling from his locked-up arms.Thomas would not return to the game, finishing with just one rush for six yards, a fumble and a concussion.Just as the 49ers set the tone for the season in their first seven games, they set the tone for their playoff run in the first series.Offensive players "dont want a physical game," Whitner said. "They want an easy day, they want to run out of bounds, they dont want guys hitting them."With Whitner, Goldson, Ahmad Brooks, NaVorro Bowman, and Patrick Willis among the 49ers tacklers, New York's offensive players won't get that wish.
Nate Stuhlbarg is a web producer with CSNBayArea.com. Follow him on Twitter @StuhlbargCSN.
NEW YORK — A former New York City police officer, whose claims of police corruption in the 1970s were chronicled in an Al Pacino movie, joined dozens of current and former officers Saturday at a rally in support of getting quarterback Colin Kaepernick a job in the National Football League.
The former San Francisco 49ers player became a controversial figure last year after he refused to stand for the national anthem in what he called a protest against oppression of people of color.
He opted out of his contract in March and became a free agent, but so far, no NFL teams have signed him for the upcoming season.
The gathering in Brooklyn featured about 75 mostly minority officers wearing black T-shirts reading "#imwithkap."
One exception was retired officer Frank Serpico, whose exploits were featured in the 1973 film, "Serpico."
He admitted not being a football fan, but said he felt it was important to support Kaepernick for his stance.
"He's trying to hold up this government up to our founding fathers," said the now 81-year-old Serpico.
Sgt. Edwin Raymond, who said he was heading to work after the rally, spoke of the need for racial healing in the country.
"Until racism in America is no longer taboo, we own up to it, we admit it, we understand it and then we do what we have to do to solve it, unfortunately we're going to have these issues," he said.
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.