49ers minicamp report: George Kittle becomes an impact player


Here’s what stood out to me during the final day of minicamp.


1. TE George Kittle. The rookie tight end made two touchdown catches in a red-zone drill. First, he ran a seam route and caught a pass in stride when no one was covering him. A few plays later, he ran the same seam route but this time jumped to catch a pass a few feet over his head. As Kittle jumped, safety Lorenzo Jerome tried to push him out of bounds, but he still landed both feet in the end zone. This was the best catch of the afternoon. Kittle is a terrific player. Quarterbacks throw to him much more than any other non-wide receiver on the team, including fullback Kyle Juszczyk, one of the 49ers’ big signings this offseason. When OTAs began, I figured Juszczyk would catch more than 50 passes next season. But now I’m thinking Kittle will catch more than 50 passes and Jusczczyk will catch less than 20. Today, Kittle caught three passes and Jusczyk caught zero.

Before practice, a reporter asked Brian Hoyer if Kittle has impressed him “Yeah, he has,” Hoyer said. “I joked because his offensive coordinator there is [University of Iowa offensive coordinator] Brian Ferentz. He was with me in New England. I said, ‘I’m going to text him and tell him that they were using you the wrong way.’ You think of Iowa, you think of these big, blocking tight ends. He has a really good football awareness, is what I would call it. A feel for where to break, how to break, read-zones. I’ve been surprised and, obviously, it’s a good thing for us to have a guy who has that football awareness and some feel of the game to it.”

2. WR Pierre Garcon. Garcon had his best practice of the offseason. He caught four passes, including a touchdown pass from Brian Hoyer during the red-zone drill. On this play, Garcon ran a crossing route and stopped suddenly between two defenders who were playing zone coverage. Coaches call this the “soft spot” in the zone. Garcon found it and scored. He also caught a pass a defensive lineman tipped high into the air. Garcon jumped and wrestled the ball away from a defensive back, like Anquan Boldin used to do. This was the first contested catch I’ve seen Garcon make this offseason.

3. RB Joe Williams. On his second run of the day, Williams received a toss to his left, waited patiently for a hole to open as he ran toward the sideline, made one hard cut and sprinted through the entire defense for a 70-yard touchdown run. No sweat.

4. SS Eric Reid. Yesterday, Hoyer fooled Reid with a play-action fake and completed a 60-yard touchdown pass to the receiver Reid should have been covering. Today, Reid got revenge. During a two-minute drill, Reid baited Hoyer into throwing a short pass to Kittle, who ran a short curl route. As Hoyer wound up to throw, Reid broke on the pass and was standing in front of Kittle when the ball arrived. Reid made the interception and returned it for a touchdown.

5. DE Pita Taumoepenu. The rookie defensive end recorded two sacks. He beat left tackle Darrell Williams Jr. both times with speed moves around the edge. Taumoepenu probably will make the final roster along with seven other defensive linemen, including DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Earl Mitchell, Solomon Thomas, Tank Carradine, Elvis Dumervil, and D.J. Jones.

6. Former HC Mike Shanahan. The head coach’s father stood in the end zone with his arms folded across his chest and watched the entire practice by himself as if the 49ers were his team. Shanahan didn’t talk to anyone, take his eyes off the players or miss a single play. He is Kyle Shanahan’s wartime consigliere. Mike even has an office next to Kyle and apparently will watch every day of training camp. Not a bad resource for the rookie head coach.


1. DC Robert Saleh. The rookie defensive coordinator could use his own wartime consigliere, because today Saleh made a rookie mistake. After his defense intercepted Matt Barkley during a two-minute drill, Saleh got so excited he started jumping around and celebrating with the players. While he was celebrating, he forgot to line up his defense for the next play. When he finally realized the defense had only 10 players on the field, he called a timeout he didn’t have. Shanahan reminded him the team was doing a two-minute drill and the point was to work without timeouts. Saleh pointed to himself as if to say, “My bad.” Shanahan said that’s what he gets for celebrating. An experienced defensive coordinator, such as Vic Fangio, never would celebrate with players after an interception, especially during minicamp. Saleh still has the temperament of a position coach.

2. QB Brian Hoyer. I’m surprised how poorly Hoyer has played this offseason. I thought he would be an accurate passer, but today he completed only 11 of 22 throws. Not impressive. The players don’t seem impressed with him, either. Whenever you ask what stands out about Hoyer, they talk about his communication skills and leadership, not his ability to play.

3. QB Matt Barkley. Barkley has been accurate, but today he made a junior-varsity decision. Here’s what happened. He avoided pressure in the pocket and scrambled to his right. At this point, he should have thrown the ball away. But he heaved it as far as he could off his back foot and got intercepted by Will Davis.

4. CB Ahkello Witherspoon. Every time the offense needed a completion, the quarterback threw at the receiver Witherspoon was covering. The rookie corner hardly competed today. First, he let DeAndre Smelter cross his face with a slant route and catch a touchdown pass in the end zone. Big no-no. A few plays later, Witherspoon gave up a catch along the sideline to Trent Taylor, and instead of pursuing Taylor and tagging him to stop the play, Witherspoon stood and watched as Taylor sprinted upfield for a 30-yard gain.

5. FS Don Jones. Jones approached me on the sideline and asked me where I bought my sunglasses. I told him my girlfriend bought them on Amazon. He asked how much they cost. I told him I don’t know, probably 10 bucks. Then he asked if he could have them.

I said no, but I’d show him where he can find them online.

Get your own sunglasses, Don.

This article has 253 Comments

  1. Thanks for the report, Grant. I find it curious that none of the other beat writers I’ve read mentioned the 70 yard TD by Williams (one would think that that would qualify as a big play).

    I agree with your disappointment with Hoyer. I expected him to be more accurate as well. Perhaps he’s still adjusting, so we’ll see how TC and preseason go.

      1. So you’re talking letting go or trading Blair, Dial, Chris Jones, and Lynch. It’s within the realm of possibility.

    1. Sounds like just an overhyped coach letting emotion get to him.
      Let’s keep it in perspective here. He’s trying to establish an energy in his defense.

    2. Do you agree with the notion that Saleh is just a placeholder for Fangio when he becomes available next year? The negative would be switching from 4-3 back to 3-4. Countering this would seem to be the following: 1) Shanahan doesn’t really seem to think strictly in terms of 4-3 or 3-4. 2) Subpackages comprise 70% or more of the defensive alignments. 3) There likely would still be sufficient DL players on the team that would readily fit into the 3-4.

      1. Only if the D sucks. No need to replace him if the D plays well.

        I don’t believe the players required for Fangio’s D are that different to this D, so probably not that big an issue.

        1. Agreed, had this discussion ad nauseum the other day when I predicted Fangio would take over next year. I wish Saleh luck, but I don’t believe he’ll be up to the task. I could be wrong, but he’s in a prove it year for mine….

          1. Everybody agreed that Fangio could get the job if Saleh failed. What we didn’t agree with is Fangio taking over and keeping Saleh in some “wink wink” deal.

            1. You guys kill me. There is no way Fangio is coming to the 49ers. It’s nuts that you guys keep bringing it up. There isn’t anything about this staff or front office that says Fangio holdover. That ship sailed when tomsula got the job

              1. Steel I don’t often agree with you but you are on the money on this one. Pining for the past is ridiculous! Fangio was great but the organization moved on.

              2. Pining? It’s called a prediction, and btw, if I had my choice between Fangio or Saleh, you can bet your biffy I’d pine for Fangio. And, if as you say the organization has moved on, I find it curious it took a rebuff by the Bears to solidify it. With respect to keeping Saleh in some “wink wink” deal, it’s a naivete that would believe it’s out of the question. Unlikely? Sure. I look at it this way, our personnel or “scheme” will not preclude Fangio from joining us next year, nor will the Bears. The only thing preventing Fangio from returning to the 49ers as DC in 2018 is Saleh’s performance this year….

              3. Sorry Razor, on this you sound a lot like another poster I shall not mention….

                I like Fangio, respect and admire him, but to go back would be a step in the wrong direction. Saleh is the guy. Let’s see what we can do before we make him walk the plank and let’s not go back – Rathman, Tomasula, Chip, Harbaugh have all moved on – so has Fangio. We should too.

              4. I find individuals that couch an insult with an apology to be insincere. Nobody is making someone walk the plank. It’s all about performance. If he performs, he’s safe. If not, the 49ers first choice for the job will be waiting in the harbor….

              5. Steele, I would agree with you if Baalke were still the GM, but now that he is gone, the Niners would do well to upgrade their defensive coaching by hiring Fangio, who I think will become available after this season.
                Additionally, like Razor, I am not totally sold on Saleh. He was only a position coach before becoming the Niner DC, and Grant pointed out that he may lack the temperament to be a DC.
                Sure Fangio coming back would be a longshot, but we all remember his defenses, and I long for the days when the defense did not get gashed for 200 yards rushing.

              6. Razor, if you feel insulted, i apologize, not my intent. You do sound like you are pinining for the past. Meant no offense.

            2. Seb it’s nothing to do with balkee. In no way possible is this regime connected to Fangio. 0 percent connection. And as razor put it, he would chose him over Saleh, well big choice and decision, considering Saleh is in his 1st coordinator job. But Jed wanted to interview him, not Shannahan, or Lynch. These guys have moved on, or I should say these guys have their own vision, and Fangio isint apart of it.

              1. And because a guy celebrates with his guys doesn’t make him incompetent, nor does it make him a bad play caller. It’s how he’s learned. Watch video of Seahawks and jags practice and you see all the coaches up in arms. He got caught mid celebration, he learned from it. Now he will move on. Better to learn in ota’s than on 4th and goal during week 1.

              2. Seb, you know what Fangio had…. Players, good players, great players. Since he left we went from Bowman and Willis to ray Ray and Gerald. Justin Smith and a good Aldon to tank and Lynch… Fangio went to Chicago with nowhere near as much talent as the 2011-2014 team. And his team numbers were nowhere near the same. Like all DC’s, you give them players, they can scheme, but if u give them what we had the last 3 years, they will be garbage and out of a job.

              3. That’s funny. Fangio’s first choice for his OC when he was interviewing for a Head Coaching job was Shanny. Given Shanny’s youth and offensive expertise, no one in their right mind could believe he advocated for an experienced defensive coordinator, right? Makes no sense to have someone with extensive experience to captain that side of the ball for Shanny. Is that what you’re selling? If it is, I’m not a buyer….

              4. Saleh has no experience as a DC. He’s getting his chance because he was the best of the rest. He’ll need to seize his opportunity, and prove himself worthy. Remember the report by Silver that said if Fangio does not get the 49ers Head Coaching job, he wants out of San Francisco, unless the team hires Mike Shanahan?

              5. Steele, sorry to disagree, but the reason why Fangio did not become the HC after JH was solely Baalke’s fault. Imagine if Jed had fired both JH and Baalke, they would have hired Fangio to provide continuity, and we would not have had to suffer through the JT and Chip debacles.
                I think that Fangio would have been a superior choice over Saleh, but the Bears nixed it.
                KS would have liked to get an established DC, like McVay did by getting Wade Phillips, since both KS and McVay are offensive minded coaches who are rookie HCs.
                Sure, Saleh may be the next best thing to sliced bread. I have lowered expectations.

              6. Saleh, by celebrating, may have been trying to instill some camaraderie, but he was not doing his job. That speaks of a lack of focus and preparation.
                You and I both agree, it was a learning experience, and I hope he does not repeat it.

              7. I agree with Razor, I think KS and Fangio could work out well together.
                Like JH and Fangio, he could coach the defense, and KS could take the offense.

              8. Razor.. Says who? I never heard or read that. That Kyle Shannahan was his choice for OC. I read that donatel was his choice for DC but not the other

              9. “best of the rest” that’s false. Apparently he was the best of them all in Lynch’s eyes. Lunch or Kyle didn’t ask to interview Fangio, Jed did. And of all the interviews, the guy we got is the guy that was chosen by the brass. This conversation wasn’t about who is better. One has a track record, the other one doesn’t. It’s about Fangio will not return next year. Never said he would not work well with anyone. Both of u turned this into who’s better. But the whole point of my argument is he’s not coming back here. There is no wink wink, there is no back door deal. That’s how I see it, that is my prediction..

              10. Michael Silver‏Verified account
                I’m told word in coaching circles is 49ers DC Vic Fangio now wants out of SF unless he gets HC job… or Mike Shanahan does.

                There is no way in hell York tried to get Fangio without the blessing of Shanny.

                Doesn’t have to be a back door deal, or a wink wink. It will be perform or the USS Fangio will be docked in the bay come 2018….

              11. So u cite a source for him becoming head coach? And bank on a prediction because of 3 years ago. Lol. Mike Shannahan is not Kyle Shannahan. You know​who else is connected to Mike Shannahan? Tom Rathman. Where is he? I’m bank on Fangio not being here. And I’ll bet you an internet cafe card… ♨

              12. That report had nothing to do with Kyle Shannahan. It was Mike Shannahan. I said I want to see the report where he said Kyle Shannahan was his choice for oc

              13. To be fair to Saleh in a game it wouldn’t have mattered because his defense just intercepted the ball so they wouldn’t have been going back out.
                The lesson learned in practice was to always be ready… it’s a minor mistake but a good learning experience.

              14. Exactly shoup. Better he makes those mistakes now.

                I just thought it was a good inclusion by Grant to mention it. Nobody else has that I have seen. Saleh is a rookie coordinator, so nice to hear about these learning moments.

          2. Razor.. the only thing keeping Fangio away is salehs performance? I disagree. There are a number of things keeping him away.. and it starts with the main 2… Lynch, and Shannahan.

              1. Based on these guys never asked to interview him. But you know who they did ask to interview? Gus Bradley. If this whole conversation was about him then I might consider that. But with no info on Kyle or Lynch lobbying for this guy, I don’t see him here next year. Not even close. And again I’m not saying he’s not a good coordinator. But nothing about this situation says it could happen.

              2. Show me the report that states Lynch and Shanny never asked to interview Fangio. You can’t. You want to know why? Because they went after him and the Bears blocked it. York would not have acted alone….

              3. And you show me the report where they did go after him. You can’t, because York acted alone, well with the help of paaragg

              4. They wouldn’t have done it without the blessing of Shanny. At the time, Shanny was for all intents and purposes, the head coach of the 49ers….

        2. “With respect to keeping Saleh in some “wink wink” deal, it’s a naivete that would believe it’s out of the question. Unlikely? Sure.”

          Well at least you admitted it was unlikey.

          “I look at it this way, our personnel or “scheme” will not preclude Fangio from joining us next year,”

          Nobody said it would. Scheme was only brought up after your hire Saleh as DC for this season and then hire Fangio next year, with Saleh becoming an assistant in a deal that was agreed to by all parties involved before Saleh was hired.

          “The only thing preventing Fangio from returning to the 49ers as DC in 2018 is Saleh’s performance this year.”

          So let’s say Saleh has a weak performance. Why then would Fangio want to keep him on the staff?

          I didn’t want to have this debate again. But in this thread you made the previous discussion seem like it was simply a discussion of whether or not we could switch from 4-3 to a 3-4 and not about your Saleh/Fangio conspiracy theory.

          1. Aww C’mon, what else are we gonna do until training camp? I never said it was likely, but I also didn’t close the door on the idea. I don’t anticipate Saleh’s resume precluding him from a coaching position under Fangio due to scheme or personnel. Plenty of good position coaches that just aren’t cut out for coordinator jobs. Besides, this is his first shot at it, and the amount of knowledge he could glean from Fangio would be like miracle grow on a dandelion. It would only enhance his appeal if he were to apply for another DC job. It’s a Conspiracy Of The Stars, not Saleh/Fangio. Just a prediction, and having a little fun with it to help make the countdown to training camp less tedious. My bad, bro…;>)

            1. No problem, and we do need something to talk about this time of year. As the main person who was debating scheme in the previous thread, I wanted my position to be put in proper context.

  2. We need a QB. We wont win more than 3 games with Hoyer.
    It’s the most important position in all of sports and I can’t believe Lynch and Shanahan didn’t properly address it.

    1. Well, shoot. I guess we should just throw out the rest of Hoyer’s career and focus on the 11-22 in OTAs.

      Thing is he was 7-6 with a crappy Browns with Shanahan. Great QB’s don’t grow on trees and Hoyer will be about league average this year. Based on what we’ve had over the last few years that will be a tremendous upgrade.

      They’ll try and get Cousins, either just before July 15th or next year, if not draft or sign another. But at least for me Hoyer will do for a year, especially after having ineptitude at the position.

        1. So are you asking for any of our QBs from last year back? ha.

          Or which other free agent QB?

          Hoyer knows the system, will help Kyle implement it. After that upgrade, but if you look at his career, his stats are serviceable.

          1. Sounds like Purgatory:

            Oh another time, another place.
            Oh another smile on another face.
            When you see me walking up beside you,
            You get the feeling that all my love’s inside of you.

        2. His performance in the Houston playoff loss was the worst I have EVER seen.

          Everyone talks about that dismal performance. Fair enough, but we need a larger sample size IMO. I saw, in person, one of the most dominant QB-ing performance I’d ever seen – Kerry Collins in the NYG’s 41-0 dismantling of the Vikings in the 2000 season NFCCG – 4 TDs, 120.8 rating. Two weeks later the same Kerry Collins threw 4 ints (0 TDs) and a 7.1 rating vs Baltimore in SB XXXV. Now Kerry Collins isn’t anyone’s idea of a franchise QB, but it just goes to show most NFL QBs have the potential for great games in them as well as stinkers.

    2. Wow, I really didn’t see much talent on QB position during free agency and Lynch and Shanahan were trying to get Cousins. I think they are doing an outstanding job with what they are able to do. It’s not like they can just get an outstanding QB at will. I wonder how 49er fans would have reacted drafting Trubisky or any other QB with the 2nd pick? Most likely, NOT GOOD.

        1. Cassie, the word has origins in old French “defaillir ” meaning to fail. It is based on Latin “fallere” disappoint, deceive.

          Based on these definitions Kap has already won this prize as he has both failed and disappointed amply and been a great disappointment.

  3. Odd deal on the spectacles.
    Once when stopped at a light in traffic a lady in another car asked if she could have the shell lei I had hanging from my rear view mirror.
    Me: uhhhh, no
    Her: why not?
    Me: uhhhhh, because I like them
    Her: well, give them to me and I’ll like them
    Me: ummmm….get your own shells, they cost like a dollar at a craft store.
    Her: Ill give you $2 for those
    Me: seeya

  4. Thanks for the report Grant, very insightful as usual. Anything on Jimmy ward, do you think he will thrive in this defense. Cool glasses by the way.

      1. I know I’m the only one on this blog talking up Bell. Assuming he has decent hands — there’re not a lot of plays to look at, from that standpoint — he’s got the same speed as Hikutini, is taller by two inches (6’6), is heavier, and has demonstrated NFL blocking skills. It seems to me he has to be ahead of Hikutini.

          1. Odds are neither of them make the 53. Good chance Hiku will be on the practice squad.

            Unless something extraordinary happens — and assuming the Niners keep 4 TEs, instead of 3 — my gut says Kittle, Paulsen, McDonald, and Celek. Whether they go with 3 or 4 probably comes down to which receivers they want most to keep between the WRs and TEs. Because they’ve got Juszczyk and Nelson, they may shade towards keeping 6 WRs. Regardless of what anyone thinks about the overall skill level of the players, there’s lots of competition at both positions.

            1. I hope the Niners trade VM, and get something for him, instead of cutting him and getting nothing. Also, trading him away will leave a spot open for either Bell or Hikutini.

              1. Quite unlikely, given his contract, unless someone’s starting TE is lost for the season during TC. If the Niners don’t want him, they’ll have to cut him and take a HUGE salary cap hit.

              2. Thanks, BAALKE. He was a dead man walking, but screwed things up as a parting shot. The worst thing was that he signed him, and the next day VM became injured.
                I want the Bears to take Vance, because their TE Miller has had foot problems. Also, their WR just tore a ligament in his thumb, so I would hope the Niners trade away a bubble WR. Fangio might want Brooks and Dial, since they played for him.
                Niners should trade 4 players to the Bears, who have big needs. It would be like they got a second draft. It would be a win-win situation, because the Bears may get 2 or 3 starters. The Niners may get a second round pick, while creating space on the roster so they can poach a player from a playoff team.
                Bears are projected to have 30 mil in cap space, so they could absorb those salaries.

    1. He’s not big and he’s not nearly the athlete or talent of Kittle. Think Jason Witten and why he dropped in the draft (it wasn’t talent which was legit Round 1 but how he was used in college) and you’ll see why I like Kittle so much.

  5. He is Kyle Shanahan’s wartime consigliere. That was badass, Grant. Remember when I suggested they go Full Shanny, and you recommended never going Full Shanny?

      1. He may not be the GM, but he will have an impact. As consigliere, he is the right hand of the law, and his advice will carry weight….

      2. Only in the NFL would something like the double Shanny be acceptable. Can you imagine getting a big job and then having your Dad at work with you to kind of help you through the transition? I just can’t imagine how my peers would view me if I showed up to work with my Dad to help me.

        Oh Wait…

        Sorry Lowell.

              1. If he is, they should make him OC. KS can still call the plays, but MS’s input would be greatly appreciated and valued.

        1. Everything I’ve read suggests the senior Shanahan will not be a 100% dedicated 9er resource once the regular season is underway. Around for camps and preseason, but taking care of other business afterward. Will be interesting to see how all this plays out.

    1. I’d think Shanahan senior will also share his observations about the defense, considering all that HC experience he has.

  6. Barrows: “rookie safety Chanceller James — who was mentioned in yesterday’s report — intercepted fellow rookie C.J. Beathard and took off for the end zone where the rest of the 49ers defense mobbed him.”

    What is your take on James, Grant?

  7. QB Brian Hoyer. I’m surprised how poorly Hoyer has played this offseason.
    I’m surprised that you’re surprised. An undrafted free agent(from the ’09 class no less) that has been on 5 teams in 8 years is not someone you should be surprised is playing poorly. It would actually be far more surprising if he was playing well.

      1. Hoyer is a terrible QB. His only redeeming quality is that he has experience calling Shanny’s notoriously long plays. 49ers will be improved next year solely due to scheme. They won’t have all the parts in place for a couple of years.

        1. Given the expected blue chip quarterbacks expected to be available at the top of next years draft, do you agree it would behoove the 49ers to find out what Beathard is made of at some point this year by inserting him into the starting lineup?

          1. Abso Freaking Lutely!

            I don’t have hopes that Beathard is the answer. He may have all the mental makeup and ability to read defenses but I just dont see that he has the physical tools. Thats on very limited viewing of his play after the 49ers drafted him. BUT I agree, see what he has so you can craft your qb strategy once you see him in a real NFL game.

            1. You say that why? Because you listened to a bunch of draft ‘experts’ who ignore everything that doesn’t fit their hype-train model as they construct their narrative fallacies?

              He’s got a strong arm, not a weak one. His velocity at the combine was ahead all but 3 QBs (including many who are touted as ‘big arm’ QBs, like Kizer):

              Davis Webb, California, 56 (Left), 54 (Right)
              Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech, 55 (Left), 55 (Right)
              Trevor Knight, Texas A&M, 55 (Left), 53 (Right)
              CJ Beathard, Iowa, 55 (Left), 52 (Right)

              You don’t like the radar gun. Here’s real-life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqCwv-cAMc4 He launched from HIS 8 yard line. The WR caught it on the opponents 33 yard line. That’s 59 air yards. It was an 85 yard TD.

              And his accuracy? Well, while I have many issues with the way PFF interprets certain stats, they’re good at ‘merely counting:’ He was an excellent QB on a team with bad, bad WRs. Per Pro Football Focus, when drops were taken into account, Beathard’s completion percentage rose from 56.5 to 73.5. Beathard had the third-highest drop rate of any college quarterback in 2016 which greatly affected his completion percentage considering he was not asked to throw the ball often.

              We got a Pro-Style QB who was trained in the fundamentals and is reputed to have a very high Football IQ. Has all the leadership intangibles. He is, they said at Iowa, “tough as a mule.”

              So I think he at least deserves a bit of grace before people **** on him.

              I’m not saying he’s going to be the next Montana. Moving from college to the pros is like leaving some backwater, podunk High School for Harvard. But for tools. Yeah, he has them. And his problems. They’re not all of his making.

              So, until Shanahan proves otherwise, I’ll take his word for it. Especially as once I started digging into Beathard, I see what Shanahan saw in him. And it’s certainly not what the draft-industry and ‘hot take’ sports-writers/broadcasters thought they saw…

              1. Let’s say quarterbacks drafted in the 3rd round enjoy a 17% success rate at the NFL level. I’d say Shanny could improve that by 20%, giving Beathard a 37% chance that he’s franchise material. To me the odds are he turns out to be a competent backup, but I hope I’m wrong….

              2. Bravo on a rousing defense of your son Mr. Beathard. If you’ll take off your strongly tinted reading glasses I think you’ll see that I did say to give the guy a chance. Based on the tape I’ve seen I don’t think he’s an NFL starter. He takes way too many sacks and he had real issues trying to hit receivers down field. Not a good combination for an NFL QB. But I’m not paid to make NFL personnel decisions and obviously Lynch/Shanny saw something in the kid that they liked. So give him a chance in a game and lets see how he performs. If perhaps you can get past the defense of your boy, you will see I’m actually advocating for Beathard to get playing time – even as a rookie.

        2. No, he’s an average, journeyman QB with a career rating of 84.8. Which is about where the NFL average passer rating has been during his career.

            1. He’s a placeholder, plain and simple. He knew the offense and was available so he’s here. He’s not a long term solution and likely won’t be on the roster in a couple of years.

              1. I wouldn’t go that far. Likely backup? Yea, but we won’t know for sure until he’s baptised.

              2. He’s a journeyman QB who is here because he was the best option available Razor. I can’t see him being on the roster more than a couple of years because they will likely groom Beathard for the backup role and draft the future QB or sign Cousins.

              3. Its surprising that since being hired Lynch talked about how the QB position was so essential but they went out and signed 2 back ups and drafted a guy who wont be ready for a couple years.

              4. Prime, Lynch *is* right about the QB position being essential, but he and Shanahan are playing the long game and waiting until the *right* QB can be had (e.g., Cousins next year). They have six years to get it right, and because nothing except trash was available this year, waiting is both a virtue and a luxury they can afford.

  8. Grant: you always shoot your rod during OTA’s, claiming this player is better than that player, but never quite getting it right. 6 years ago you were so sure John Johnson was going to beat out Kaep so easily, how did that work out for you?

    You state you report the facts every year, but what you really report is your biased views. Someday you’ll work for the big boys (maybe), until then we’ll keep laughing at you.

    1. I meant Josh Johnson, in 2012. Also, I meant to say you shoot your wad early during OTA’s, every year like clockwork.

  9. San Francisco 49ers: C.J. Beathard should be the midseason starter

    The intriguing player in 2017 is Beathard. Beathard has no stink surrounding his name. He is a true unknown. Is it possible that head coach Kyle Shanahan plans on starting Beathard at some point in the 2017 season? If not, he should be.

    Beathard played on an Iowa team that was deprived of offensive talent. Most of its offensive revolved around the running game. Beathard was asked to make passes when needed behind a porous offensive line.

    This sounds awfully familiar to what the 49ers will be fielding this season. Beathard seems mentally and physically ready to handle the type of football the 49ers will want to play. In addition, Beathard is known for his ability to read the field, make quick decisions, get the ball out of his hands, all while staying tough in the pocket.

    Skills that Hoyer and Barkley have consistently failed to perform on regular basis.


    At least it’s a cogent argument. It might be true. It might not be. We’ll see.

    1. I absolutely agree with this article. CJ will get a chance to start this year. They don’t want to rush the kid. Let him study the game and learn from the bench like Kurt did with the Skins. If Hoyer faulters early then Barkley might get a couple games until they want to CJ play. This will give Kyle enough time to figure out if they should invest in a top QB in 2018… I have a feeling this kid could be really good over time. He is a football junky. This guy is a Kurt Cousins clone coming out of college.

        1. Lieutenant Kurt was the first casualty when the ill-fated Enterprise science party was beamed down to Sparrok 9.

  10. I am expecting Elvis to be designated on IR with the possibility to return later, so he can let his injury fully heal. That way, the Niners will have him fresh and healthy at the end where it will count more. Then Dial can gain a spot on the 53. They will put Chris Jones on the PS if he clears waivers.

  11. One of the answers I gave to Grant’s questions about who we wanted to hear about was Hyde. No mention of him from Grant, but Maiocco said he caught 7 passes over the two days of on field work. Looks like he’s going to be a big part of the passing game.

    1. rocket,

      You know the phrase ‘no news is good news’? With Grant’s coverage of Hyde, it’s ‘good news is no news’.

      1. Grant tends to stump a bit for players he’s predicted good things for and ignore/belittle the ones he hasn’t and this is an example for sure. That’s why it’s best to read all the reports including Grants and take what you can from each.

        1. Hightower caught many more passes than Hyde and didn’t drop any as Hyde did, but I didn’t mention Hightower.

          1. Not according to Maiocco:

            Kittle caught six passes in the two days of practice during the team’s minicamp, which wrapped up its on-field work Wednesday afternoon. Only Pierre Garçon (eight) and Carlos Hyde (seven) caught more passes than Kittle.

    2. “Looks like he’s going to be a big part of the passing game.”
      They gotta try and find something he can do well. ;)

  12. I wrote that the coach I wanted to hear about was KS, but now I want to see how Katie Sowers does.
    Bravo for Lynch and KS for helping female coaches get a start in this league. Bill Walsh is smiling from up high.

  13. On Rotoworld:

    “According to the Sacramento Bee, undrafted rookie RB Matt Breida “had more highlights” than fourth-round pick Joe Williams at spring practices.
    Williams’ 4.41 long speed has been evident in practices, but Breida’s speed is also “apparent,” and Breida “was especially adept at catching short passes and turning up field quickly.” Pass catching was not a part of Williams’ game at Utah. Breida is a name to keep in mind this preseason. Among all running backs eligible for the 2017 draft — drafted or not — Breida posted the highest SPARQ score with 4.39 wheels and an otherworldly 42-inch vertical at 5-foot-9, 195. “

    1. My Not-The-Farmers’-Almanac forecast is for some minor sprains and hammy tweaks just before or after the 3rd preseason game.
      What? It could happen…….

        1. Oh, I think it’s SOP around the league. When was the last time a team was jacked up by the league for questionable IR stashing?
          I can’t recall.
          No enforcement, little compliance.

          1. Agree that it is SOP, but I was always under the impression that the 49ers, under Baalke, had taken it to a new level. Just an impression from some vaguely recalled reports – no research to back it up.

    2. Utah’s offense–not exactly a world class juggernaut–didn’t place much emphasis on throwing to backs.

    3. I think it would be best to wait until the pads come on and a couple of PS games have happened before handing out “sure thing for the 53” awards. Especially for running backs and receivers.

  14. So since we’re waiting around for TC, I thought I would share some interesting quotes that were attached to the wall above the pissoirs on the cruise I took last week. This first one seems to me to be particularly apropos to this year’s crop of graduates:

    “It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating” – Oscar Wilde

  15. Here’s one that seems so applicable to politics in general:

    “Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary” – Robert Louis Stevenson

  16. A favorite Godzilla quote from the 50s…

    “Ogata, if the oxygen destroyer is used even once, politicians from around the world will see it. Of course, they’ll want to use it as a weapon. Bombs versus bombs, missiles versus missiles, and now a new superweapon to throw upon us all! As a scientist – no, as a human being – I can’t allow that to happen! Am I right?”

  17. Les Snead, how does this guy still have a job?

    Since taking over as GM of the Rams the teams record has been 31-48-1! Now he’s traded a player he picked #2 over all for a 6th round pick. Turrible.

  18. Hey Oregon I will shortly be returning to Oregon I still am game for that beer we talked about.

    Hard to get excited about OTA’s some who look good will be bad and some that looked bad will be good. I won’t be overly concerned about the QB position till training camp.

    1. I am glad you brought this up. Wasn’t Jarryd Hayne all the praise in minicamps and OTAs just to flop as the season got underway? I am not ready to crown a fifth round pick a starter in minicamps.
      Let him face an established NFL defense as his QB is facing a real pass rush and we’ll see how he grades out.

      1. I think the best example going forward will be Rush. The pre-season all pro hall of famer that still hasn’t earned a single regular season NFL stat.

  19. The creepy exchange with FS Don Jones gave me a Harbaughian shiver. Ill be interested in what happens to Jones and how soon it happens.

    1. Fitzgerald isn’t in Rosen’s league. He really needs to improve his accuracy among other things to be considered before day 3 imo.

      Allen, Darnold and Rosen are in a class by themselves right now, but it will be interesting to see if Falk, Jackson, Randolph and Francois force themselves into first and second round consideration too. This has the potential to rival the 83 draft in terms of QB’s taken in the first round.

  20. Glad that silly little distraction called the NBA season is now over and we can start getting serious about a real team sport.

  21. Was just reading a ranking of Pixar films and they put TS3 #6 with a pefect little summary of it:

    6. Toy Story 3 (2010)
    Ranking the three Toy Story films, all of which are wonderful, is nearly impossible, and there was much disagreement even among the two of us. (One of us had this as his best movie of 2010, after all.) You really can’t go wrong with any of them, but we’ve got this one third if only because the Great Escape–type plot feels more familiar than we’re used to from these movies, and because the ending resembles some sort of cruel Disney-funded Pepsi Challenge to see if grown adults can keep from sobbing in the company of their children. Also: It’s not fair, but the fact that they’re making a Toy Story 4 does, in fact, hurt a bit of the finality of this one that made it so powerful.

    The part in bold is almost verbatim to what I mentioned about it as well. It’s a good movie that owes a lot of it’s acclaim to the emotional tug at the end and that the inclusion of a 4th installment takes away from some of that.

      1. I know you do. You’re right though it wasn’t even close because it doesn’t even belong in that conversation.

      2. 2010 Movies that were better then TS3, some by a LOT:

        Winter’s Bone
        Never Let me Go – you’ll cry tens time as hard watching this movie then TS3
        The Fighter
        Black Swan
        The King’s Speech

        I mean really Grant. TS3 was a good movie but so so far from the best of what that year offered.

        Winter’s Bone was probably the best movie of 2010 but I’ll take the Pepsi challenge and say that Never Let me Go was #2. That movie sticks with you.

        1. Personal favorite addition to the 2010 list would be Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Guilty pleasure that I’ll watch every time it’s on.

            1. That’s a bit harsh but you’re entitled to see it that way. It passed the most important test which was that it was entertaining, that at least earns it a soft 3. Then it had some find acting and hot girl on girl action so that pushed it to a solid 3. I found the decent into madness story although certainly not original it was still well adapted for the setting. For me the movie is somewhere between a solid 3 and a 3.5. Not usually a movie I’d put on a best of the year list but it’s still noteworthy.

              1. See this is why I need a ghost blogger. Even with an edit button I still have typos. SOB!

              2. It’s somewhere between a solid 3.5 and a soft 4. It gets extra points for being a third sequel and still being as strong as it is, which is such a rarity but the material is starting to wear a bit thin at this point and it felt right that it was going to be the last one.(or so we thought) The extra emotional tugs also push up it’s rating to the soft 4. Other wise it’s really just a solid 3.5 which by no means is a bad thing.

                TS1 4.5 can watch over and over and not get tired of it.
                TS2 soft 4 personally I don’t love the 2nd movie but I acknowledge that for a sequel it’s pretty darn good.
                TS3 3.5-4 One maybe two viewings and I’m good. Not one I feel I need to revisit over and over.

              3. It doesn’t touch the first one but I wont put up much fight that the the story of the third was more fun to watch then the second even though it was also sadder.

              4. TS3 is an emotional movie but the story isn’t anything special. NLMG is also emotional but the story is truly complex and explores deep philosophical questions about human existence. Not comparing the two movies necessarily but trying to point out that there needs to be more then just having a heavy heart when you walk out of the theater.

              5. I don’t think what I wrote suggests that it does. I also don’t think we’re discussing whether a movie is special or not. Why does NLMG get ranked higher then TS3 is because beyond the shared pathos is a deeper more complex story that eats at you long after the credits have rolled.

              6. You said it’s a great movie because the story is so powerful and emotional. That’s because it’s adapted from a great book. If you’ve read the book, you don’t need to see the movie.

              7. Then why would anyone watch God Father or LOTR or any of the other countless movies made from great books?

                Hey have you watched one of the greatest movies ever made? Nope, I’ve read the book thanks.

              8. The Godfather book isn’t anything special. The movie made that story special. The Never Let Me Go Book was the best book of 2005. The movie added nothing to it.

              9. “The movie added nothing to it.”

                How would you know?

                It’s an amazing movie and I believe it still will be to anyone watching it with pre-knowledge of the story.

              10. I can’t admit to reading it prior to the movie but the ones I know who did have never shared equal sentiments to yours. You’re either being overly harsh to try and make your point or you didn’t really watch it.

              11. I would definitely advocate reading a great book instead of just watching the movie adaptation. I would also suggest watching the movie even if you have read the book. Often times there are meaningful plot points that are conveyed better on film.

          1. You couldn’t have seen Never Let me Go then. Other then Awakenings which I refuse to watch anymore I think Never Let me Go might be the saddest movie I’ve ever seen.

            Black Swan was good but I hesitated even putting it on there in comparison to the other’s listed.

              1. Thornton Melon: Read. Who has time? I see the movie. I’m in and out in two hours.

        2. The more I think about it the more I’d swap TS3 for BS on that initial list. I can’t say that BS was actually better then TS3.

          Here’s the top 5 of 2010

          Winter’s Bone 5/5 Powerful movie fueled by an outstanding performance from JL, not one of my favorite actresses in general but she knocked it out of the park on this one.

          Never Let Me Go 5/5 This is when you’ve mouthed off to the wrong guy and once he’s got you on the ground he wont stop kicking you in the stomach until his buddies pull him off ya. One of my personal hallmarks for a great movie is if It sticks with you and by that I mean do you think about it for hours or even days after watching it. Does the emotional response elicited linger or does it fade away when the lights come up. Even to this day I can still feel the pain from the first time I watched this movie. It’s story is so powerful and so emotional that if you can watch this movie from start to finish and not at least get a little misty then you are clearly a Cyborg and must be destroyed.

          The King’s Speech/The Fighter both 4/5: Tough to put one above the other. Both are great because of the performances of their respective actors. That’s not to suggest they would be boring or bad movies with different performers but toe to toe there are few actors that can stand with Bale and Firth(DDL maybe being the only one that can best the both of them)

          TS3 3.5/4 I think I’ve already spoken to this one enough.

  22. I’m going to call my tv/movie blog : Dream On as an homage to my secret favorite HBO series and my tv character soul twin Martin Tupper. Now I just need to find a ghost writer(blogger) :)

      1. Well, I didn’t say Dream On was their best series, just my secret personal favorite. The one I would never actually put above The Sopranos but secretly inside it is for personal sentimental reasons.

        With that said in terms of how it lands on the ear I’d agree Hey Now is a better title.

      1. It really was and it doesn’t get enough credit. Few realize that every HBO series now starts with Dream On’s static screen.

        I’ve grown into Martin Tupper. My brain is constantly filled with images of shows or movies that relate to events/moments in my life.

        1. Yeah it was HBO’s first foray into original TV programming and I get what you are saying about the images acting as a historical reference to moments in your life. Same thing happens with music for me.

            1. No doubt, it was really great. I don’t put it as high as others but I don’t usually argue with those that do.

  23. Grant
    Totally disagree, The Godfather is a good book. Quite insightful. Celebrated as a work and then made into a movie.

      1. Yep, surprised it didn’t work for you since you followed your Dad’s profession. Puzo was writing about succession, culture, father-son issues as much as Mafia issues.

        1. Even so, the novel was pretty weak imo. I agree with Grant, here. It’s one of the few times I thought the movie superior to the written work. Puzo’ work was pretty weak.

          Now in regards to the whole TS3 controversy, not sure I would go so far as to say it was as good as Grant says. Pixar has made some fine films but I would say Incredibles, Up are better for a whole host of reasons.

          1. Hey BT you ever read The Short Timers? And With the Old Breed? One is Vietnam and the other WWII but bothe excellent.

  24. Rotoworld;

    “New Redskins VP of Player Personnel Doug Williams said he wants to sign Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract “in the worst way.”
    Speaking Friday on NFL Network, Williams made no secret of his desire to lock up Cousins long-term. “Let’s face this thing, the last two years, Kirk Cousins has had tremendous years,” said Williams. “All I can do is hope and pray that Kirk looks at the big picture and looks at this football team and realizes we do have a pretty solid football team, solid offensive line, he’s got something to work with.” After slapping Cousins with the franchise tag for the second straight year, momentum is finally building toward a long-term extension. The two sides have until July 15 to hammer out a deal.”

    1. And stuff like this is why I have always said they simply cannot assume that Cousins will be available and sign with them next year. Too much can happen in 12 months. If they really wanted him they should have traded for him this year.

      1. Agree, Scooter. I’ll believe it when I see it though when it comes to Captain Kirk doing a deal with the Redskins. I still think he’d prefer to go west to play for Shanny….

        1. Your preference really doesn’t matter. Waiting for a potential free agent is a poor mistake by any franchise.
          Kinda like waiting for a coordinator to become available and stringing along another.

          I suggest a hobby Spameater. One that doesn’t involve football.

      2. Agree, 100%, Scooter. I’ve been saying the same thing. While he might eventually sign with the 49ers, it would be a big, big mistake to have that as the main option. Fortunately, I believe that Lynch and advisors are smart enough to know that.

        I think like many, though, I am curious to know what their plans are at QB. Neither Hoyer nor Barkley look promising. And this idea that the 49ers will be in a position to draft the top QB candidates in 2018 is just very wishful thinking in my opinion. One of the reasons many teams are in the top five of the draft is because they don’t have a franchise QB. So, why trade away that pick in a draft that appears to be one of the best drafts for QBs in the last 20 years. Note that I’m assuming the 49ers will finish significantly better than 2-14 or 3-13 this coming season.

        So do you think they have more eggs in the Beathard basket than initially thought?

        1. Everyone keeps talking about how smart this new regime is, well then how come they didn’t really address the most important position in all of sports?

        2. Cubus,

          Next years QB class could be one of the best in a long time both from a quality and quantity perspective so I think the Niners will have a chance to get their possible QB of the future regardless of whether they finish in the bottom 5 or bottom 10. They also could sign or trade for a different vet like Garoppolo or Brees. There are options that will be available. If Beathard shows the ability to start eventually that’s gravy.

      3. I don’t think anyone assumes anything. It’s a direction they can go if he’s available, but it’s not the only one. As for trading for him, we don’t know if Washington was willing to trade him and for what. As of now the situation remains the same.

          1. Some much can happen in 12 months. If Cousins becomes available there going to grossly overpay him. While he is a soild QB he is far from great. Would I take Cousins over Hoyer of course. I would rather have CJ develop or invest in a strong class next year. Just my opinion.

  25. Thank you to the GOAT @JerryRice for coming and delivering a powerful message to our team today. pic.twitter.com/gGdOWHpynn
    — John Lynch (@JohnLynch49ers)

    It didn’t take long for general manager John Lynch to whip up something big, as it was just a few short months ago that he made it a priority to welcome 49ers alumni.

    “That was one thing maybe I had heard, that guys didn’t feel welcome,” Lynch said after the press conference introduced him and new head coach Kyle Shanahan.

  26. TomD’s Take: Brian Hoyer, A Born Leader:

    Plans in the works for 49ers’ Camp Hoyer
    By Matt Maiocco June 16, 2017 6:45 AM

    “We haven’t determined the location, yet. It’s still in the works, but we have a good commitment on the amount of guys that are going to be able to make it.”

    The 49ers were free to go their separate ways following activities Thursday to conclude the mandatory minicamp.
    He’s incredibly knowledgeable of the system,” 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said of Hoyer. “You kind of expect that, being with him (Shanahan) before. He’s taken control of the huddle from Day 1. . . He’s done a really good job of communicating.”

    The workouts will be designed for the quarterbacks and receivers to work on chemistry, remain sharp and stay on top of the details the coaching staff will stress once the team reconvenes for high-intensity padded practices in training camp.


  27. San Francisco’s Joe Staley remembers when football used to be a rollicking good time for the 49ers.

    The veteran tackle is one of the last remaining players left over from the Jim Harbaugh-led group that came within a completed pass of winning the Super Bowl.

    It’s all been downhill from there — until now.

    “This might sound kind of bad but I’m enjoying football again. Excited to come to work every single day. The last couple years there were days where I couldn’t honestly say that. So that’s awesome to have that feeling back. I’m really, really excited about the new staff. Kyle is by far one of the most intelligent coaches that I’ve worked with.”


  28. Are the 49ers a potential overachiever in the making?

    NFL.com’s Marc Sessler put together a list of teams he thinks will underachieve and overachieve in 2017.
    His list of potential overachievers includes the Chargers, Browns, and our 49ers.

    “It’s easy — and fair — to dismiss Brian Hoyer, but remember that the journeyman quarterback has worked well with Shanahan before. The duo helped the Browns to a surprising 7-4 start in 2014 before the wheels fell off, with the coach making the most of Hoyer in a play-action-heavy attack that leaned hard on a young backfield.”

    The 49ers drafted Joe Williams, who Kyle Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner were extremely high on. The rookie, along with UDFA Matt Breida come into a situation where they could make a lot of noise early.


        1. Does mine indicate the reason why I think LOTRROTK* is the best trilogy?

          *Your input is valuable to us. Thank you for your participation;>)

    1. I had mocked FM several times due to his play in the E/W shrine game.
      However, he has a propensity to become injured, so maybe the Niners were smart to avoid him. Wonder if he can stay healthy in the pros.

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