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With Jets up next, how low can 49ers go?

Sun, 11 Dec 2016 04:19:13 UT

In the triumphant locker room, the Bears (3-9) didn’t find their first victory since Halloween worth celebrating because, well, they trounced the one-win 49ers. “Teams like that, we’re supposed to beat them,” outside linebacker Pernell McPhee said. After the loss, head coach Todd Bowles handed the keys to second-year quarterback Bryce Petty, whose only career start came in a 9-6 loss to the Rams on Nov. 13. [...] it also explains why New York wide receiver Brandon Marshall pointed to this in his search for a silver lining: It’s tough to go through a year like this and not rub some people the wrong way to the point where they never want to talk to you again. After the loss to the Colts, Bowles told reporters he’d determined before kickoff that Petty would replace starter Ryan Fitzpatrick for the final four games. [...] Bowles failed to inform Fitzpatrick about the plan to bench him, and the demoted quarterback found out via the media. On Monday, Fitzpatrick played the first half of a game in which the Jets had three turnovers, 90 penalty yards, were outgained 421 yards to 250, and trailed 41-3 one play into the fourth quarter. [...] Bowles amended his assessment after reviewing video of the game. Yes, it’s easy to poke fun at the Jets, but the 49ers have no room to giggle. [...] they just got whacked by the Bears, who were also underdogs and also starting a third-string quarterback in Matt Barkley. The 49ers hired Bill Walsh in 1979, which was the first step in establishing their dynasty of five Super Bowl victories. Wide receiver Torrey Smith, when asked how the record-breaking losing streak sat with the team, invoked the franchise’s proud history. With LT Joe Staley (hamstring) doubtful to play, the left guard is expected to play left tackle for the first time since his senior season at Utah in 2009. Beadles has played right tackle in the NFL, but not since he made the last of six starts at the position as a rookie with the Broncos in 2010. Injuries: 49ers — OLB Aaron Lynch (ankle) and DT Quinton Dial (elbow) are questionable, though Lynch is expected to play. Staley hasn’t missed a game since the 2010 regular-season finale, a 38-7 win over Arizona. The 49ers have already allowed the 10th-most rushing yards (2,032) in franchise history.

49ers sign TE McDonald to lucrative extension

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 05:27:40 UT

If there was any doubt about their faith in the No. 55 overall pick in 2013, it was erased when they signed him to a five-year contract extension Friday. “Vance has shown consistent growth throughout his four-year career and his production this season is the result of his dedication and hard work,” general manager Trent Baalke said. Baalke has never been overly active in free agency, often citing inflated price tags, and has preferred to invest in extensions in homegrown players. The 49ers, however, haven’t had many recent draft picks worthy of lucrative extensions, which explains why they have second-most salary cap space ($42.8 million) in the NFL. Defensive tackle Quinton Dial and outside linebacker Tank Carradine signed modest deals.

49ers’ pass-rushing problem needs solving soon

Sat, 10 Dec 2016 03:52:17 UT

After 49ers outside linebacker Marcus Rush was waived Sept. 3, he went unclaimed by the NFL’s 31 other teams. [...] since Rush was signed to the 49ers’ practice squad on Sept. 4, no team has exercised its right to steal him away by signing him to its 53-man roster. Have the 49ers considered promoting Rush from the practice squad and playing him? Kelly said Rush wouldn’t be promoted unless an outside linebacker was placed on injured reserve, which could prompt this question from the fan base: The 49ers’ 3-4 defense relies heavily on its outside linebackers to produce pass-rush pressure, but the quartet of Ahmad Brooks (five sacks), Eli Harold (one), Aaron Lynch (one) and Tank Carradine (zero) is part of a defense that has produced the second-fewest sacks (20) in the NFL. [...] the 49ers are on pace for 27 sacks, which would be their fewest in a non-strike season since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Given their paucity of pressure — and 1-11 record — why not test out the summer sensation who had six preseason sacks? General manager Trent Baalke has consistently addressed the outside linebacker corps in recent drafts, but his whiffs at the spot help explain why his job is in jeopardy. Harold, a 2015 third-round pick, has one career sack. Carradine, a 2013 second-round pick who converted last year from defensive end, has four sacks. [...] Corey Lemonier, a 2013 third-round pick, was released after collecting one sack in three seasons. [...] there are questions surrounding Lynch, a 2014 fifth-round pick who appeared to be a steal after he had 12.5 sacks in his first two seasons. In October, after he served a season-opening, four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s drug policy, Lynch revealed he lost about 30 pounds during his break. Lynch’s crash diet has been part of a disappointing one-sack, three-game season in which he’s missed five straight starts with a high ankle sprain suffered Oct. 23.

49ers’ Staley listed as doubtful; Hyde eyes 1,000

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 23:35:00 UT

Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley missed his second straight practice Friday and has been listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Jets (3-9). Staley, who was injured in practice Wednesday, has played in 92 straight regular-season games. If Staley sits, left guard Zane Beadles would presumably assume his spot, Andrew Tiller would start at left guard and rookie John Theus would serve as the backup swing tackle. Beadles, who was a three-year starter at left tackle at Utah, started six games at right tackle as a rookie with the Broncos in 2010. [...] outside linebacker Aaron Lynch (ankle), who has missed five games since he was injured Oct. 23, is slated to return Sunday. Lynch and defensive tackle Quinton Dial (elbow) are listed as questionable. In training camp, running back Carlos Hyde outlined his individual goals for the 2016 season: Hyde, who missed two games earlier this season with a shoulder injury, now hopes to play in the final four games and reach 1,000 yards for the first time in his injury plagued career. Hyde sent a congratulatory text this week to his predecessor Frank Gore, who passed Tony Dorsett and moved into eighth place on the NFL’s career rushing list Monday. [...] a cornerback doesn’t have an interception in their last 16 games, dating to Jimmie Ward’s pick-six in a 26-20 overtime win at Chicago on Dec. 6, 2015. The 49ers’ seven interceptions are tied for 21st in the NFL.

Chip Kelly on support from Yorks: ‘They were godsends’

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 06:33:18 UT

Left tackle Joe Staley did not practice because of a hamstring injury he sustained in practice Wednesday, which puts his availability for Sunday’s game in question. Staley has played in 92 straight regular-season games dating to 2011. If Staley can’t play against the Jets, left guard Zane Beadles would move to tackle and Andrew Tiller would presumably assume his spot. Beadles, a seven-year veteran, played left tackle for three seasons at Utah and started six games at right tackle for the Broncos as a rookie in 2010. [...] it’s kind of natural going back to the tackle position for me. Eric Branch is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.

49ers’ Ward looking for payback vs. Marshall

Fri, 9 Dec 2016 02:36:20 UT

Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall barely remembers it, but 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward can’t forget. Two years ago, Marshall, then with the Bears, beat Ward for three touchdown receptions in Chicago’s 28-20 prime-time win at Levi’s Stadium. [...] Ward’s memories of his second NFL game? It was my welcome-to-the-NFL game. In 2014, at the end of his rookie season, he discussed playing against some of the NFL’s best wideouts. [...] he didn’t hesitate when asked about which pass-catchers left an impression in his first NFL season. Two years ago, Marshall, 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, schooled Ward (5-11, 193) by repeatedly boxing him out en route to a five-catch, 48-yard performance that included scores of 17, 5 and 3 yards. Ward learned quickly that using finesse is folly when dealing with a hulking wideout such as Marshall, 32, a six-time Pro Bowl selection who ranks fifth among active players with 11,984 receiving yards. [...] he has only hazy memories of a game he played in a fog because he took painkillers. The medication allowed him to play with a high ankle sprain he sustained a week earlier. In the 49ers’ lost season, Ward has been a bright spot and has cemented his status as a young player who will be part of their future. Last month, after a loss in Arizona, it was clear Ward won the respect of wideout Larry Fitzgerald, who ranks third in NFL history in receptions (1,106). Just ask Ward’s close friend, 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt, his high school teammate who has an adjoining locker.

Weight a minute: Kelly says Lynch reported to camp in good shape

Thu, 8 Dec 2016 20:25:26 UT

There were questions about Aaron Lynch’s commitment and work ethic when the 49ers selected him in the fifth round in 2014, and they’ve persisted in the NFL. In October, after he served a season-opening, four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s drug policy, the 49ers outside linebacker revealed that he lost about 30 pounds during his break. Lynch said he was hovering around 300 pounds in training camp before his diet. Is Lynch, who has missed the past five games with a high ankle sprain, still learning how to be a pro? Moments after the 49ers drafted Lynch, his strength and conditioning coach at South Florida, Hans Straub, disparaged the selection: “Clearly, integrity & character are not a priority,” Straub said on Twitter before he was fired for posting the message. Two years later, Lynch didn’t appear to report to training camp in great shape, although Kelly suggested otherwise today. “For a guy that was going to sit for four games, I thought he was in -- I mean he passed our conditioning test with no problem,” Kelly said.

What the 49ers could learn from the Raiders

Thu, 8 Dec 2016 12:00:47 UT

Photo: Deanne Fitzmaurice / The Chronicle Image 1of/8 CaptionClose Image 1 of 8 7. Concentrate on acquiring a featured receiver. Whether it was Freddie Solomon, Dwight Clark, Jerry Rice or Terrell Owens, the 49ers always had a top receiver. The Raiders have the same in Cooper and with defenses devoting two and three players to stop him, other facets of the offense open up. less 7. Concentrate on acquiring a featured receiver. Whether it was Freddie Solomon, Dwight Clark, Jerry Rice or Terrell Owens, the 49ers always had a top receiver. The Raiders have the same in Cooper and with ... more Photo: Deanne Fitzmaurice / The Chronicle Image 2

49ers not considering a third starting QB

Thu, 8 Dec 2016 05:37:14 UT

On Wednesday, head coach Chip Kelly said Blaine Gabbert will remain the backup behind Colin Kaepernick for Sunday’s game against the Jets, which suggests third-stringer Christian Ponder will stay inactive. Really, it was just who was going to be the starting quarterback against the Jets, and then let’s go forward because part of game-planning evolves around who’s pulling the trigger. Kaepernick’s starting status was discussed because he completed 1 of 5 passes for 4 yards and took five sacks in a 26-6 loss in Chicago. Kaepernick struggled to grip the football in snowy and wet conditions, but Kelly said he didn’t consider asking him to wear a glove for the first time in his career. The award is given to the NFL player who best exemplifies a commitment to philanthropy and community service. Last year, then-49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin became the first player in franchise history to win the award, which was established in 1970. Defensive tackle Quinton Dial didn’t practice because of an elbow injury he suffered in Sunday’s loss in Chicago. Four players were limited in practice: defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (knee), running back Shaun Draughn (ribs) and linebackers Eli Harold (toe) and Aaron Lynch (ankle).

Private Chip Kelly opens up about his late father

Thu, 8 Dec 2016 04:21:49 UT

Chip Kelly was asked Wednesday if his dad was a longtime fan of the 49ers, or just recently adopted them after he revealed this: A day after returning from his father’s funeral in Portland, Maine, the 49ers’ first-year head coach began his news conference by freely discussing Paul Kelly, a former trial lawyer who died Friday night at 87. In Paul Kelly’s obituary, which ran in the Portland Press Herald, it included the family rules he laid out for Chip and his three brothers: Have fun! Stick together! Kelly, who is famously private, said he spoke Saturday night with players such as wide receivers Torrey Smith and Jeremy Kerley about losing family members. [...] think about the good times and gain strength from that, to be honest with you. In 2012, when he was playing with the Ravens, he scored two touchdowns in a game played less than 24 hours after his younger brother, Tevin, died in a motorcycle accident. [...] I knew exactly how he was feeling … Kelly, who has a wry sense of humor, said he was no match for his dad’s wit. [...] on the subject of loyalty, he did say he inherited that from his father. The topic was raised when Kelly was asked about Oregon hiring South Florida’s Willie Taggart on Wednesday to be its head coach. Kelly has been asked if he would consider returning to Oregon, where he was the head coach from 2009 through ’12, on several occasions during the 49ers’ 1-11 season. If you want to contact me, there is no contact, Kelly said. I have a job. [...] it’s one thing I did learn from my dad: I have a commitment. At Oregon, Kelly said he didn’t speak with NFL teams about jobs until the Ducks had played in their bowl game. “I went to a bowl game and I refused to talk to anyone until the bowl game was over,” Kelly said. [...] if that doesn’t fit your schedule, then I’m just not your guy. [...] I don’t know why a college question would ever come up with me because I would never leave my players before the season ended. … Email: Twitter: @eric_Branch

Torrey Smith certain Chip Kelly will be back with 49ers in 2017

Wed, 7 Dec 2016 22:46:44 UT

Wide receiver Torrey Smith isn’t among those wondering about Chip Kelly’s future with the 49ers. After Smith heaped praise on Kelly to a group of reporters in the locker room today, he was asked if his feelings were shared by his teammates. Would the 49ers be disappointed if Kelly wasn’t back in 2017? Smith’s reasoning for believing Kelly won’t be fired: Kelly said he spoke with Smith on Saturday, a day after his father, Paul, died at 87. After briefly leaving the team, Kelly returned for a 26-6 loss in Chicago before returning home for his dad’s funeral Tuesday. In 2012, he scored two touchdowns in a game played less than 24 hours after his younger brother, Tevin, died in a motorcycle accident. The apple doesn’t far from the tree so I’m sure (his dad) was a great man, as well.

Brandon Marshall: Pain pills explain hazy memory of 3-TD game vs. 49ers

Wed, 7 Dec 2016 21:59:00 UT

Brandon Marshall doesn’t remember much about one of the more memorable games of his 11-year career. Today, the Jets wide receiver said he only has hazy memories of his three-touchdown performance in a win against the 49ers in 2014 when he was with the Bears. In a conference call with Bay Area reporters before the Jets’ visit to Levi’s Stadium on Sunday, Marshall briefly hesitated before explaining why he doesn’t recall much from one of the two three-touchdown games in his 164-game career. “Well, I don’t really remember much about that game because I worked really hard to get back from a high ankle ... well, I don’t want to go there,” Marshall said. Marshall caught each touchdown on cornerback Jimmie Ward, who was then a rookie playing in his second NFL game.

49ers proceed as Chip Kelly attends father’s funeral

Wed, 7 Dec 2016 04:54:55 UT

Niners head coach Chip Kelly attended his father’s funeral in Portland, Maine, on Tuesday as his team began preparing for Sunday’s game against the Jets. Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins began his news conference by sending his condolences to Kelly, who will be back to conduct his weekly Wednesday news conference in Santa Clara at 10:20 a.m. [...] when something in life hits you, it’s a really good reminder for me of how to handle things. Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who has missed the past five games with a high ankle sprain, appeared to still be bothered by it while practicing on a limited basis. Despite their 1-11 record, the 49ers have been installed as 2.5-point favorites against the Jets (3-9), who are coming off a 41-10 home loss to the Colts on Monday night. New York will start quarterback Bryce Petty, a 2015 fourth-round pick who will be making his second career start. The 49ers have been favored in two of their first 12 games: the loss to the Bears on Sunday and a 34-17 loss to the Buccaneers on Oct. 23.

Colin Kaepernick still 49ers’ starter after awful performance

Wed, 7 Dec 2016 00:44:23 UT

Two days after 49ers quarterback coach Ryan Day approached Colin Kaepernick to tell him he was being benched, Day came back Tuesday with some better news: On the heels of a historically hideous performance, Kaepernick will his make his eighth straight start Sunday when the 49ers host the Jets. “We just decided during the game to try to see if Blaine could give us a spark,” offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said. After a four-week stretch of promising play, Kaepernick’s starting status suddenly became a topic based on his start in Chicago. Head coach Chip Kelly called for 33 runs and 10 passes with Kaepernick in the game, partly because of the way the slick football was fluttering out of his hand. [...] Matt Barkley, the Bears’ third-string QB who was making his second career start, made the necessary adjustments. After failing to complete his only three attempts in the first 28 minutes, Barkley, a Southern California native who attended USC, completed 11 of 15 passes for 192 yards. In the offseason, the Jets (3-9) reportedly expressed interest in trading for Kaepernick and they remain in need of quarterback help. After his team’s 41-10 loss to the Colts on Monday, head coach Todd Bowles said unproven Bryce Petty would start their final four games in place of ineffective Ryan Fitzpatrick. NFL Network reported he would opt out of his restructured two-year contract and become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Among 32 qualified quarterbacks, he ranks last in completion percentage (54.5), 26th in yards per attempt (6.8) and 24th in passer rating (85.5).

Kaepernick wants to know who leaked story to NFL network

Wed, 7 Dec 2016 00:02:21 UT

Colin Kaeperniick will wait to make a decision on his contract until after the season. (Theron W. Henderson/Getty Images).Colin Kaepernick appeared miffed and a little bemused that a story saying he would opt out at the end of the season reached the internet. Kaepernick said he has not made that decision and won’t until the end of the season. “I wish I knew who said (that he would opt out),” Kaepernick said after his weekly Tuesday meeting with the media. “I would go have a talk with him.” Kaepernick also said he was surprised by the story at NFL network saying he would opt out. “It blew me away where