Jared Cook no longer feels like the new kid on the block in the Packers’ offense
The eighth-year tight end has been immersed in the playbook since he signed as a free agent in March, discovering where he fits into the offense and picking up most of the signals.
The tempo will pick up with the two-time MVP quarterback running the offense, challenging everything Cook has learned over the last five months.
Cook said having Rodgers run the offense will be a good test for him this week. The story added Cook and Rodgers have developed a rapport since Cook came off the PUP list Aug. 9, a key note for Cook's fantasy potential this year. The piece added Cook has been a popular target in the middle of the field as well. Cook's been climbing our TE rankings a bit and we think he'll compare to what Richard Rodgers did last year - finishing as #11 TE. We think Cook has upside and a chance to post TE1 numbers.
Blaine Gabbert led the 49ers’ first-team offense through the entire offseason program and has continued to build a case to win the starting job at the start of the regular season.
But the 49ers will not name the starter for the 49ers’ first game, Sept. 12 against the Los Angeles Rams, until the time is right, offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said on Tuesday. That’s because Colin Kaepernick has not had a fair chance, he said.
“It’s not time,” Modkins said. “It’s a competition and Kap hasn’t had a chance to perform, yet. So, when that happens and when coach feels like it’s time, we’ll do that. But right now it’s not time. We’ve still got a ways to go before we play.”
Kaepernick returned to practice Monday after being out with arm fatigue. The team expects him to play Friday night against the Packers. This can be taken a couple of ways - the team is trying to be fair and give Kaepernick a chance, or, it hasn't been impressed with Gabbert to this point and really wants Kaepernick to seize the job.
“It feels good to be back out there competing,” the third-year pro said. “I love competing. Going against those guys, I know they love to compete, too. Everyone is getting better. Iron sharpens iron.”
The 5-foot-9, 197-pound receiver has 19 receptions for 215 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 26 career games. Ellington has an opportunity to surpass those numbers in the upcoming season. His role in Chip Kelly’s offense makes him one of the most critical play-makers to watch this season.
The story said Ellington has learned a lot from Anquan Boldin and feels he's ready to play the position when the season starts. Kelly's slot position receiver on the Eagles last year was Jordan Matthews, who was a main target (due to lack of quality on the outside) so Ellington has a chance to put up some solid fantasy numbers.
Colin Kaepernick's comeback from arm fatigue saw him return to practice Monday and stay on track for an exhibition-season debut Friday against the Green Bay Packers, a franchise he has beaten twice in the playoffs.
Kaepernick said his throwing arm felt good and was "very" happy to fully practice for the first time since Aug. 10. When a reporter noted the high-speed velocity on his passes, Kaepernick replied: "Yeah, a little something behind it."
Kaepernick stretched on the locker room floor during the informal chat with reporters an hour after practice, with no ice on his right shoulder that was too tight to throw with for nearly a week, the story reported. Wide receiver Bruce Ellington described Kaepernick's arm as still a "cannon" after the 90-minute practice. Said Ellington: "Kap, his arm is still strong. He's still throwing it in the right places. As a receiver, you like that."
Colin Kaepernick’s dead arm apparently has been revived.
“I think Kap is fine,” coach Chip Kelly told reporters on Sunday. “I saw Kap. He’s fine.”
Kelly said that Kaepernick will “throw some more” on Monday, in practice and not on the side. But it’s not clear whether Kaepernick will throw in both 7-on-7 sessions and 11-on-11 team drills.
Kaepernick has yet to play during the preseason, giving Blaine Gabbert a clear chance to win the starting job, essentially by default. Kaepernick missed the entire offseason program, and he hasn’t practiced in well over a week due to a condition that the team has taken great pains not to call an injury, even though it seemingly is, the story pointed out.
“It’s difficult playing like crap on two plays and ruining an opportunity. That’s difficult,” Sanchez said after the game.
Aside from those two fumbles, Sanchez didn’t play badly, completing 10 of 17 passes for 120 yards, with no interceptions.
As the story said, Trevor Siemian, who started at quarterback, didn’t have a great game, completing 10 of 14 passes for 75 yards, with no touchdowns and a pick-six. Siemian’s struggles may be good news for Sanchez, but it’s a bad sign for the Broncos that no one is emerging as the clear starter in Denver.
The Niners are done with the joint practices and they will transition this week to something closer to regular-season mode when they close practices to the media and prepare for Friday's third preseason game with the Green Bay Packers. For better or worse, by the end of the week, the 49ers should have a much better idea of who their starting quarterback will be for the opener against the Los Angeles Rams.
To this point, the quarterback competition that has carried the conversation for this preseason has mostly fizzled.
This battle has been defined more by Gabbert's steady if unspectacular performances and Kaepernick's sore right shoulder. Gabbert hasn't done much to win the job but he certainly hasn't done much to lose it, either. Kaepernick hasn't been healthy enough to make much of an impact one way or the other. Gabbert does seem comfortable in the system, according to the story, but Kaepernick is supposed to be back at practice this week with a chance to make a push.
49ers WR Bruce Ellington has been perhaps Blaine Gabbert's favorite target this summer, and he seems ready for big season after a series of minor injuries -- hamstring strains, ankle sprains -- slowed his development over the past two seasons.
Ellington, however, didn't practice much this week -- another ankle sprain -- and he is iffy for the Broncos game.
Ellington has risen in our rankings and is a nice late-round flier, especially in PPR formats.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016, 12:49pm
Kaepernick is supposedly in a QB battle with Blaine Gabbert, but hasn't thrown in a while. Gabbert seems to have the inside track for the job and could provide a few streamable games given the likely pace that Chip Kelly's offense will play.
Colin Kaepernick hasn’t thrown a pass in practice in six days, keeping in doubt his status for this week’s practices and exhibition at Denver.
Kaepenick, who has a tight throwing shoulder, did hand off the ball twice and ran with it himself once on a zone-read play in his only action of full-team drills during Tuesday’s hour-long practice inside Levi’s Stadium.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016, 4:47pm
Originally the 12th overall draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, Ponder (6-2, 230) has appeared in 38 games (36 starts), completing 632 passes for 6,658 yards and 38 touchdowns, and 26 rushes for 639 yards and seven touchdowns, during his time in Minnesota (2011-14). Ponder signed with the Oakland Raiders on March 13, 2015, and spent training camp with the team before being released on September 5, 2015. He later signed with the Denver Broncos on November 25, 2015, where he was inactive for two games for Denver and later released on December 8, 2015.
Coach Gary Kubiak said Hillman would see plenty of action in Saturday’s exhibition against the San Francisco 49ers as part of the ongoing evaluation process.
“Ronnie is in a battle, a helluva battle with Kapri and Book right now,” Kubiak said. “There’s no way around that. I’m just being honest with you."
Monday, August 15, 2016, 6:11pm
Smelter, a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, sat out his entire rookie season after sustaining a torn ACL in his final season at Georgia Tech. He battled a hamstring issue during the 49ers’ offseason program this spring, further setting back his development.
Smelter was held out of Sunday’s exhibition opener against the Houston Texans due to an undisclosed condition after missing the past several days of practices. And his return to the practice field appears does not appear to be imminent.
Monday, August 15, 2016, 4:31pm
Quarterback Thad Lewis’ bid to serve as a 49ers backup is over because of a knee injury, a league source confirmed Monday.
Lewis suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the third quarter of Sunday’s 24-13, exhibition-opening loss to the Houston Texans.
Lewis, one of the 49ers’ few free-agent acquisitions, figured to battle rookie Jeff Driskel for a No. 3 role this season, assuming Gabbert and Kaepernick would fill the top two slots. Driskel was 4-of-12 for 20 yards in his pro debut.
As it has from the start of this camp... or, really, from the spring, when it was clear that both 49ers management and Colin Kaepernick preferred for him to play in Denver, except no deal could be hammered out.
It's kismet, then, that the Gabbert-Kaepernick duel could end in two practices and then a game Saturday against Denver.
If Kaepernick can't participate this week, it's almost impossible to imagine he could make up that time; if Kaepernick can participate but is flat, it's just as hard to see him leaping over Gabbert as long as Gabbert is healthy and avoiding major offensive cataclysm.
It's just one opinion, but it certainly makes sense. Gabbert is simply the guy able to play right now while Kaepernick is injured. The story pointed out that Kelly said the exhibition season would be the largest determining factor so it's easy to see why this author is drawing this conclusion. Keep in mind, for a good stretch last year, Gabbert resembled an NFL-quality quarterback, playing at a 4062-yard, 20-TD pace. In the final nine weeks (eight games), he averaged 16.2 fantasy points, which is more than what Ryan Tannehill, Philip Rivers, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan and Teddy Bridgewater averaged over that span. That sort of production puts him in the QB2/streaming conversation, and we haven’t even talked about how Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense stands to help his overall numbers.
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