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Tag:Alex Smith
Posted on: September 15, 2011 3:52 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2011 3:07 pm
 

Dez Bryant misses practice, will play; Newman out

Posted by Will Brinson

The two most interesting things to come out of the Cowboys loss to the Jets this past Sunday were 1) Dez Bryant is an absolute monster and 2) the Dallas secondary isn't as bad as we thought.

We think -- Dallas' defensive backs will need to step it up again this weekend, as Terrence Newman will miss Week 2 as well, Jerry Jones said, according to our Cowboys Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman.

"He would go if we asked him to go," Jones said. "We're using experience we've had with him. In this particular case, if we hadn't had this similar injury before, we'd probably have him out there for the San Francisco game."

That "similar injury" is the hamstring injury that Newman suffered through during 2008, when he played in just 10 games. Jones also noted that "if this were the Super Bowl," Newman would be on the field. (He declined, however, to point out that "there's zero chance Alex Smith will ever play in a Super Bowl" which is kind of why Newman will sit.)

"Terence has to have it just right. It isn’t just right," Jones said. "Hopefully it will be there next week."

Additionally, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick didn't practice on Wednesday, so there's a chance Dallas' secondary is severely limited on Sunday. But, hey, there's some good news: Dez Bryant is supposed to play, despite missing Thursday's practice with a thigh bruise.

"Dez is a guy that, certainly, we want him to get everything he can get," Jones said. "But certainly he's capable of making game-winning plays for us without that rep. And so, while we want him to evolve and do the things you want him to do with experience, if he's healthy, he's valuable to us."

Extremely valuable -- Bryant showed precisely what he's capable of against the Jets on Sunday night and if he can stay healthy, he appears poised to make a leap into the elite level of wide receivers in the near future.

Given that his "injury" is really more about getting him rest and making sure he's ready to roll for the game against the 49ers, it seems safe to say he'll play, especially since Jones told Eatman that he "expects" Dez to be ready to go come game time.

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Posted on: September 1, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 4:31 pm
 

Harbaugh thinks Smith can develop into a good QB

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Fair or not, Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers will forever be linked. The first two quarterbacks drafted in 2005, Smith was taken No. 1 by the 49ers, and Rodgers, who many thought was worthy of the top pick, sat in the green room for several uncomfortable hours until the Packers took mercy on him and selected him 24th overall.

Now more than six years later, Rodgers is a Super Bowl champ and Smith is, well, still trying to establish himself as a competent NFL quarterback. It hasn't helped that Smith has had a revolving door of head coaches, offensive coordinators and new offenses to learn. But things are different in San Francisco. New coach Jim Harbaugh gives Smith something he hasn't had previously: stability and support.

Way back in June, just as the lockout was heating up, Harbaugh said Smith's decision to return to the 49ers required "a rare kind of character, it probably falls somewhere in the endangered and extinct range, so we can win with that."

Smith eventually agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal and all indications are that he will be the starters in 2011, despite the team taking Colin Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Harbaugh recently appeared on San Diego sports radio to talk about Smith's role with the team this season (via SportsRadioInterviews.com).

"Yes he can (develop into a good starting quarterback). The things that have occurred over the first seven years of Alex’s career have been good," Harbaugh said. "There has been some tough times, but all those experiences I believe lead to success. You never know what path it is going to take or what’s going to transpire to get Alex and our franchise to where we want to go, so just with continuous effort just keep plugging away and he’s done a great job of that. He’s been mentally tough guy. He’s been physically tough and a strong young man. It’s been a pleasure to work with him and hopefully we are doing everything we can to make our team better and get Alex and us where we want to go.” 


The Seattle Seahawks look to take the division once again as the Cardinals, 49ers and Rams are eager to take the top spot. Who will finish on top? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan joins Jason Horowitz to preview the NFC West this season.

Smith may not have much in the way of actual results to show for it, but he's proven through his actions that he's a tough dude. Of course, the NFL scrap heap if full of guys who could take a beating. Having a high tolerance for pain doesn't magically equate to success. But again, that could have more to do with the transient nature of the 49ers' coaching staff during Smith's career than his ability to lead a team.

We've often wondered what Rodgers' career would look like if he ended up in San Francisco. Maybe they would be coming off a championship season. More likely: they wouldn't be much different than the team we see now. Yes, franchise quarterbacks are vitally important, but having a steady presence in the front office can't be understated, either.

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 7:00 pm
 

49ers sign Josh McCown, not Daunte Culpepper

Posted by Will Brinson

The 49ers are a team that's making no bones about their quarterback situation: they brought Daunte Culpepper in for a workout on Monday and on Wednesday they signed 32-year-old Josh McCown to a one-year deal, the team announced Wednesday.

Per our 49ers Rapid Reporter Michael Erier, the deal is worth the veteran's minimum of $810,000.

McCown has 31 starts in his NFL career and has played with the Cardinals, Lions, Raiders and Panthers since he entered the league in 2002. McCown's completed 57.7 percent of his passes over that time while throwing 35 touchdowns against 40 interceptions.

So, pretty pedestrian.

Which is heavily indicative of the problems that San Francisco has with its quarterback position -- Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick were supposed to provide a bridge to the future and the future, respectively, but it's patently obvious at this point that Jim Harbaugh doesn't trust either to help the 49ers succeed immediately.

It's also let's the world know just how good Culpepper looked in his workout on Monday. Which is to say, "not very."

It's hard to blame Harbaugh for his desperation, given that Smith has struggled mightily since being drafted first overall in the 2005 NFL Draft and Kaepernick's just a rookie.

The cynic will tell you that the "good news" is the 49ers are in prime position to make a run at top prospect (and former Harbaugh protégé) Andrew Luck.

The optimist will tell you that it's a good thing Smith only signed a one-year deal this offseason.

But good luck finding an football-related optimist anywhere near the San Fran metro area.

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Posted on: August 17, 2011 4:24 pm
 

Roundtable: Which rookie QB will help the most?

C. Newton could be one of the breakout rookie QBs this year (Getty).

Posted by Eye on Football staff

Well, we're a week into the preseason and that means we know everything about everyone. Or nothing at all. Whatever, we got our first glimpses of the NFL's newest rookie quarterbacks and that leads us to the question: What rookie quarterback will help his team the most?

Will Brinson: Go ahead and cue up about 15 "Panthers homer" comments in the next few paragraphs, but I don't care: Cam Newton. The guy's a freak-a-deak athlete with a firehose attached to his right shoulder and he's going to get a chance to produce. Unfortunately, that firehose thing can also be bad if Newton can't control his accuracy. And it's possible that Jimmy Clausen -- who looked better than terrible after he threw a pick six on his second passing attempt -- could be the safer option for Carolina. But Newton gets the fanbase amped and he's already shown exponential growth since we last saw him throwing passes. Putting him in the proverbial fire's the way to go and he'll be a difference maker for Carolina in both the stands and the field.

Josh Katzowitz: Will, I couldn't agree with you more. I don't know if Newton will help his team that much more on the field than Clausen would have -- I'm willing to bet heavily on the odds that there are going to be games when Newton is ABSOLUTELY terrible and people are going to be saying, "Yeah, buddy, the NFL is a little different than the limited offense you ran at Auburn, eh?" (these people, of course, will be Canadians who care way too much about SEC football) -- but as far as starpower is concerned, Newton is the one. I don't care if he privately looks at himself as an entertainer and an icon. He's got that huge smile and he's got that charisma, and eventually, the stink of whatever NCAA rules his dad might have violated will wash away.

That said, I don't think he's going to contend for any rookie of the year honors, because as the season goes along, defenses are going to begin to figure out Newton. Actually, I think the real answer to your question about which rookie will help his team the most will end up being Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco, assuming he stays healthy behind that poor offensive line. Alex Smith will continue to be Alex Smith, and midway through the season, Jim Harbaugh will call upon Kaepernick to replace Smith and win a few games for the 49ers. And I think he'll do it, especially in the NFC West, hastening Smith's departure (which, when you think about it, might be the single biggest reason how Kaepernick impacts the team). Newton will help his franchise the most, but Kaepernick will help his team the most.

Ryan Wilson
: We talked about it (at length, I might add) and Newton was impressive. I know, it's just one preseason game, but the guy's come a long way since February, the Auburn scandal, and the silly comments about being an entertainer and an icon.

And let's be honest, he's energized fans that had every reason to lose all hope and commit their energies to supporting NASCAR full time. That can't be understated. Winning is obviously the goal, but Panthers fans will find reasons for optimism if the Panthers can win five or six games. So in terms of therapeutic value for a downtrodden fan base, Newton is this season's most valuable QB.

A. Dalton could be the starting QB in Cincinnati (Getty). But if we're talking about a QB who has a chance to play and help his team win enough games to battle for a playoff spot, I'm going with Christian Ponder. Partly because Myron Rolle thinks he's a genius, but also because Donovan McNabb has become a punchline in recent years. How long until he's yanked in favor of Ponder? Four weeks? Remember: this is the guy who not only lost his job to Rex Grossman last season, he was eventually demoted to third string behind John Beck, he of four career starts, all losses, all coming in 2007.

Brinson: Well, we're one full turn around the table and the only person we haven't talked about is the only guy who's virtually guaranteed to start Week 1: Andy Dalton.

So, um, yeaaaaaaah.

What does that say about the Bengals? (And why do I have the feeling Josh will try to defend them?) I guess it says either that "We don't respect Andy Dalton," "We forgot about Andy Dalton," or "Even if Andy Dalton was Peyton Manning, he wouldn't be saving the Bengals from certain doom in 2011."

Perhaps it's all three?

Wilson: I didn't mention Andy Dalton for the same reason I don't think about paying my mortgage every day: if I ignore it, it don't exist. It's a coping mechanism. In Dalton's case, it means I'm not constantly reminded of what the 2011 season inevitably holds for him: pain, misery, disappointment -- all words that have become synonymous with the Bengals in recent years.

(Just look what the madness did to even-keeled Carson Palmer -- it drove him right into retirement in what should be the prime of his career. Think about that for a minute. Things were so god-awful in Cincinnati that Palmer would rather sit around the house doing crosswords than get caught up in tiger-striped maelstrom for another season.)

While we shouldn't put too much stock in first-ever preseason performances, Dalton's got his introduction to big-boy football from, fittingly, Ndamukong Suh. And I feel that was just a preview of things to come in 2011 (for both Dalton and Suh). So, yeah, it's pretty easy to be down on Dalton, more because he's a victim of circumstance. Which is why I don't want to think about it.

Brinson: Thanks for the reminder on the mortgage payment, jerk. Speaking of which, if there's one thing that the Panthers, 49ers, Titans, Vikings, Jaguars and Bengals have in common it's that they mortgaged their future on the talents of the 2011 NFL Draft class. With that in mind, let's wrap up this puppy up by making a list -- how do you gents rank the rookies in terms of impact on the 2011 season? Here's mine. Don't copy it.

1. Cam Newton
2. Blaine Gabbert
3. Andy Dalton
4. Christian Ponder
5. Jake Locker
6. Colin Kaepernick
7. Ryan Mallet
8. Terrelle Pryor

PonderWilson: No matter the list -- or the topic -- one thing is assured: Brinson will put Cam Newton at the top of it. Panthers fan solidarity and whatnot.

Back on Earth...

1. Christian Ponder (He'll be starting before the end of Sept.)
2. Colin Kaepernick (See above)
3. Blaine Gabbert (He'll be starting before Halloween)
4. Cam Newton (The next Jimmy Clausen? JOKE. Clearly, he's the next Chris Weinke.)
5. Andy Dalton (Must've been a serial killer in a previous life to get stuck with this fate.)
6. Jake Locker (Should only play if Hasselbeck gets injured.)
7. Ryan Mallett (Bill Belichick is a genius. That is all.)
8. Terrelle Pryor (But he's a first-round pick!)

Katzowitz: Just in case, Will needs a reminder: Here's my takedown of Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis in that ridiculous news conference they called to announce that Lewis would return for another season, and here's what I wrote about the Bengals' lack of a practice bubble. I lived in Cincinnati for six years, but believe me when I say that I think the Bengals are an incompetent mess (though, personally, I think Mike Brown is a nice man).

My list (the correct one):

1. Colin Kaepernick (If Mike Singletary thought about replacing Alex Smith with David Carr (!) last season, Jim Harbaugh shouldn't have a problem replacing Smith with Kaepernick)
2. Christian Ponder (Because he's better than Rex Grossman, and since Grossman is better than Donovan McNabb ...)
3. Cam Newton (How disturbing would it be if Clausen actually won the starting job?)
4. Andy Dalton (He still has Cedric Benson to lean on)
5. Blaine Gabbert (I'm not sure he can beat out David Garrard, and I'm not sure Garrard will be bad enough this year to warrant starting Gabbert)
6. Jake Locker (Locker will get tons of help from Hasselbeck)
7. Ryan Mallett (He won't even beat out Brian Hoyer to be Brady's backup)
8. Terrelle Pryor (I don't know, maybe, he could be an effective NFL TE?)

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Posted on: August 14, 2011 8:42 pm
 

49ers 'kicking tires' on Daunte Culpepper

Posted by Will Brinson

Daunte Culpepper hasn't had gainful employment in the NFL since 2009 and given the current set of quarterbacks employed by a number of teams, it's a bit surprising.

But he'll have a shot at getting back in the league on Monday, when he works out for Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers.

That news, originally reported by Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, has since been confirmed by Harbaugh himself, who said, per Jaymee Sire of Comcast, that he's looking forward to "kicking tires."

Harbaugh said earlier on Sunday that should "the right person (becomes) available" the 49ers would certainly be interested in pursuing an additional roster spot.

Such news comes on the heels of Harbaugh's decision to leave the quarterback battle wide open.

"There isn’t a clear cut winner so far," he said following the Niners poor showing in New Orleans during the first week of the preseason.

And while Culpepper, who last went 0-5 with the Lions while throwing three touchdowns and six interceptions in 2009, might not be the answer, it's clear that 49ers fans are already fed up with Alex Smith. Again.

Per our 49ers Rapid Reporter Michael Erier, the fans at Candlestick Park for practice on Sunday were "absolutely letting him have it, booing loudly after every incompletion."

It's hard to imagine that Culpepper is going to suddenly make the 49ers Super Bowl favorites. But right now, it's becoming clear that Harbaugh doesn't feel comfortable with either Smith or rookie Colin Kaepernick beginning the season as the team's starter.

Which is why it certainly doesn't hurt to take a look and kick some tires.

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Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:12 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 11:54 pm
 

Michael Crabtree out 4-6 weeks; put on PUP list

CrabtreePosted by Josh Katzowitz

While the Bengals were plotting with the Patriots to trade Chad Ochocinco, the 49ers also apparently were in the hunt, and the Sacramento Bee had a good reason why.

It’s because WR Michael Crabtree’s foot is hurt worse than expected, and the paper’s sources say he’ll miss four to six weeks of training camp and the preseason. He'll be placed on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list.

The foot originally caused him to sit out a few offseason workouts with his team. From that story, the injury didn’t seem like a big deal.
Apparently, the cause of his injury is because the cleats he wore Monday were too new and he hadn’t broken them in yet, a problem compounded by the Fieldturf at San Jose State.

“Everybody's good. Crabtree's all right," WR Josh Morgan told the San Jose Mercury News. "His feelings aren't hurt. Nothing wrong with him. Just his feet were too sore to come out here. That's all it is."

In retrospect, the old “hey, it’s just his new shoes” excuse is pretty flimsy.

Either way, this continues a pretty awful offseason for Crabtree (you'll remember that he dissed QB Alex Smith at one point) -- who, so far, has had a pretty unimpressive career as a first-round pick. Perhaps one reason for that is because Crabtree is never around in the preseason.

In his rookie season, he sat out 71 days during a contract dispute, and last season, he missed all four preseason games after injuring his neck during practice.

Now, without Crabtree or Ochocinco, Morgan becomes Smith’s No. 1 target for the time being.

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Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:17 pm
 

Alex Smith returns to 49ers for $5 million deal

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For a guy who was nearly replaced in a Monday Night Football game last year by David Carr, 49ers QB Alex Smith is making out pretty well this season in what probably will be his last chance as a San Francisco starter.

ESPN, via the National Football Post, is reporting that Smith has reached an agreement for a one-year, $5 million contract with the 49ers.

The former No. 1 draft pick has been a major disappointment for San Francisco, which took Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick in the second round of the 2010 draft.

Unless Smith somehow has a breakout year, in his sixth season in the NFL, 2011 most likely will be the final opportunity for 49ers fans to gnash their teeth over him.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 11:50 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 12:09 am
 

Alex Smith's return to 49ers 'set in stone'

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL is pretty full of uncertainty these days. Unless you're Alex Smith, erstwhile starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.

Because if you're Smith, now that the lockout's over, everything else is pretty much cream cheese. Or "set in stone," if you're not a big fan of Bobby Finstock motivational quotes.

"I'm not going to wait for anything," Smith said about signing with the 49ers, per Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. "I'm excited for this to start ... waiting for that opportunity.

"I'm sure it'll be pretty quick. I'm sure it'll move fast. It's pretty well set in stone, I think."

Smith declined to discuss whether or not any (hypothetical) contract with the 49ers would have a (hypothetical) option for a second year -- surely both sides would prefer that.

Smith would get a little more safety and if Jim Harbaugh can resurrect his career that quickly, the team won't get torched by having to give him a huge contract.

Worst case? It doesn't work out for either party and we're all left wondering "Who's the quarterback?" by midseason anyway.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com