49ers’ Colin Kaepernick rages against fan on Twitter

This is my Friday column. Dear Colin, Even though you are 27 years old and have been a starter in the NFL for three seasons, you still lack a quarterback’s temperament. It troubles me. You actually pick fights with fans on Twitter. You picked one on Wednesday. Let’s analyze what you did. This is a teachable moment. At 3:37 Wednesday afternoon, you tweeted the workout you did that day: “1000…

February 19, 2015

2015 NFL draft quarterback comparisons

This is what I see when I watch the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. Marcus Mariota: Alex Smith. Why: Smart quarterbacks who dominated college football and don’t make many mistakes. Practically the same size – 6-4, 218 pounds. Fast runners, although Mariota is faster. Good passers, although neither has a cannon and neither has pin-point placement. Neither had to throw into tight windows, neither had to anticipate openings…

January 26, 2015

Kaepernick’s diminishing returns

This is my Wednesday column. Colin Kaepernick is in the tank. Every week he sinks a little deeper. I picture him diving into a pool like Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate,” swimming to the deep end, sitting cross-legged on the bottom, covering his ears and screaming inaudible gurgles while Simon and Garfunkel sing “The Sounds of Silence.” Let’s put the plunge in context. Kaepernick is 27 years old and declining….

December 10, 2014

Smith or Kap? Choose carefully

This is my Saturday column. Alex Smith is better than Colin Kaepernick. Face it. Jim Harbaugh picked the wrong quarterback. The 49ers never should have traded Smith, never should have benched him in the first place. Remember how it went down? Harbaugh was so eager to bench Smith, Harbaugh broke an unwritten rule, an NFL tradition – a player does not lose his starting job if he gets hurt. Alex…

October 4, 2014

Jim Harbaugh: “I think we’re real close to playing our best football.”

SANTA CLARA — This is the transcript of Jim Harbaugh’s Friday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. Generally, people will probably second-guess your decision to trade Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith if they could. I mean, they probably do anyway, especially if they come in and win. Does that add any weight or any perspective to this game for you? “We said before, playing against a team…

October 3, 2014

Vic Fangio on Alex Smith: “Sometimes too much study is paralysis by over-analysis. I watched the tape and prepared for him just like any other quarterback.”

SANTA CLARA — Here is the transcript of Vic Fangio’s Thursday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. What went into the decision to play LB Aaron Lynch so much more? And how do you use him? Is it similarly to the way you use LB Aldon Smith? Is it a little different? “Well, the decision was, he had been playing a lot in the first three games anyway….

October 2, 2014

Jim Harbaugh on Alex Smith: “Always very happy for his success, almost all the time.”

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh was interviewed by Bay Area reporters Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a transcript courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department. Is this different, just the preparation in any way, facing somebody at the quarterback position that you know so well? “To some degree it is. I think about it. When we start talking about the scouting report and it’s [Chiefs QB] Alex [Smith]. So, yeah, in some ways…

October 1, 2014

49ers’ backup plan stuck in reverse

This is my Monday column. Trent Baalke has to be swallowing hard this morning. Blaine Gabbert, the quarterback Baalke acquired to back up Colin Kaepernick, has a passer rating of 17.6 through two exhibition games. Trading for Blaine Gabbert was Baalke’s worst decision as an NFL general manager, worse than his decision to draft A.J. Jenkins or to trade for Jon Baldwin or to invest in a red-shirt draft choice…

August 18, 2014

Kap’s new deal no gamble — 49ers QB is betting on himself

This is my Thursday column on Colin Kaepernick’s contract extension. SANTA CLARA – The six-year, $126 million contract extension the 49ers gave Kaepernick seemed preposterous. Why make Kaepernick the highest-paid player in football after just 29 starts? That’s not enough data to justify paying anyone that much money. Kaepernick may turn out to be a Hall of Famer, or he may turn out to be a talented player who never…

June 5, 2014

49ers’ QB depth a puzzle for the preseason

This is my Saturday column on the 49ers’ five quarterbacks. SANTA CLARA – Five 49ers quarterbacks. Only three can make the team. Which three will it be? We know Colin Kaepernick will make the team and start unless he breaks his leg or starts missing receivers by 30 yards and sailing passes into the stands. That leaves two spots for four quarterbacks – 24-year-old former first round pick Blaine Gabbert,…

May 17, 2014

Ranking the top QBs in the NFL

Who are the best QBs in the NFL? I’m going rank them by tiers. You’re free to rank the QBs however you see fit. TIER ONE: GREAT QUARTERBACKS. QBs who can carry a team even if it lacks a good defense or key offensive personnel. 1. Peyton Manning 2. Aaron Rodgers 3. Tom Brady 4. Drew Brees TIER TWO: GOOD QUARTERBACKS. QBs who lack one or two qualities the great ones have. QBs…

March 3, 2014

2013 season grades: Kaepernick

COLIN KAEPERNICK: C+. For the second season in a row, Kaepernick could not lead the best roster in the NFL to a Super Bowl championship. You have to wonder how much farther Alex Smith could have taken this team. There are plenty of quarterbacks who could have led this 49ers’ team to an NFC Championship loss in Seattle like Kaepernick did. Kaepernick’s accuracy deteriorated in 2013. He did not improve his…

February 4, 2014

Return to the NFL winner’s circle

Here is my Sunday article on the last great moment at Candlestick Park. This article runs in the Press Democrat’s Sunday sports section. SANTA CLARA — A few days before the last game ever played at Candlestick Park, Vernon Davis walked off the practice field talking to Frank Gore after a morning walkthrough. Davis had agreed to do a one-on-one interview after the walkthrough about the last great moment at…

December 22, 2013

Wilson’s progress at QB puts him way ahead of Kaepernick

Here is my Wednesday column explaining why Russell Wilson is better than Colin Kaepernick. SANTA CLARA – You have to admit, Russell Wilson looked like a miniature combination of Joe Montana and Steve Young Monday night against the Saints – Montana’s cool demeanor and precision from the pocket, Young’s explosive ability to make plays on the run. Wilson has been that Montana-Young combo most of this season, his second in…

December 4, 2013

Kaepernick’s season of regression

Here is my Tuesday column on Kaepernick’s season of regression. The following play epitomizes how inept the 49ers’ offense has become: Eight minutes left in the second quarter against the Saints. Play No. 2 of drive No. 6 for the Niners. Colin Kaepernick lines up under center and waves his left arm to silently signal the third-string tight end, Derek Carrier, to shift to the slot. Carrier isn’t looking. Kaepernick…

November 19, 2013

How to stunt a QB’s growth

Here is my Wednesday column on how to stunt a quarterback’s growth. SANTA CLARA – Here is how you throw a quarterback under the bus: Last Sunday, the Raiders had an 18-point lead over the Steelers at halftime. In the second half, Raiders’ head coach Dennis Allen went ultra-conservative, letting his quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, pass the ball just six times. As you might expect, the Raiders scored zero points in…

October 30, 2013

Deep trouble for 49ers’ passing game starts with play-calling

Here is my Tuesday column on Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers’ 31st-ranked passing game. SANTA CLARA – You could argue Colin Kaepernick has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL this season. He definitely has been the worst starting quarterback in the Bay Area. The Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor has outperformed Kaepernick in nearly every statistical category. Kaepernick was great Week 1 against the Packers but since then Kaepernick…

October 8, 2013