Kathy Willens / Associated Press

The 49ers' Colin Kaepernick scores on a seven-yard run as teammate Joe Staley (74) and the New York Jets' Bart Scott (57) look on.

49ers notes: Jets wanted to draft Kaepernick

Published: Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 - 7:53 am

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Colin Kaepernick scored on a 78-yard touchdown run during the 49ers' exhibition opener Aug. 10, and New York Jets coach Rex Ryan was watching.

That week, Ryan revealed to the New York media that the Jets were interested in Kaepernick for his running ability during the 2011 draft but that the 49ers got him – with the 36th overall pick – before the Jets could pounce.

"You're seeing these guys, and it's hard to defend some of that stuff," Ryan said at the time. "When you have the ability to throw as well as run, it makes it tough."

Ryan's observation was amplified Sunday after Kaepernick made only a brief appearance but picked up 50 yards on five carries, including a seven-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. That total includes two kneel downs for minus-4 yards at the end of the game.

Kaepernick would have had two rushing scores on the afternoon, but he wisely slid at the Jets' 3-yard line on a breakaway run with less than two minutes to play.

"That's one less kickoff we have to cover, one less time we have to go out on defense," Kaepernick said of the slide. "We can end the game with no more collisions or chance of injury."

Kaepernick, the only quarterback in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 or more yards in three straight seasons, also outplayed the more celebrated Wildcat-formation quarterback in the stadium Sunday, Tim Tebow. Tebow's best highlights were two blocks on blitz pickups. Otherwise, he ran twice for zero yards and had one pass for nine yards.

"I guess if you want to put it that way," Kaepernick said of Tebow comparisons. "I want to be me. That's all I'm worried about. I want to go out there and play like myself."

Kaepernick's one pass attempt was the longest of the season for the 49ers – to Randy Moss. It traveled more than 50 yards and fell incomplete in the end zone. It was the only throw in Moss' direction in the game.

Kaepernick also lined up at wide receiver and forced the Jets to burn a timeout. They didn't have anyone covering him on the play.

Block party – Larry Grant, who blocked 12 punts at the City College of San Francisco, had another one in the fourth quarter Sunday.

Grant (Foothill High School) came through the left side of the Jets' line and smothered Robert Malone's punt attempt, and the 49ers recovered the ball on the New York 4-yard line.

Three plays later, Kendall Hunter plowed into the end zone from a yard away, the final score in the 49ers' 34-0 win. It was the 49ers' first blocked punt since Dominique Ziegler did it in a loss to the Falcons on Oct. 3, 2010.

Grant credited special-teams coach Brad Seely for the play. Grant had been blocking against his opponent throughout the game, and Seely suspected the Jet would expect that again. Instead, he told Grant to go after the ball.

"I just saw it open up and took a shot," said Grant, who also blocked three punts at Ohio State.

Et cetera – Ted Ginn returned to the lineup after missing the first three games because of a sore ankle. He handled punt returns – four for 40 yards – while Kyle Williams ran the opening kickoff back 25 yards. It was the Jets' only kickoff of the game.

• The 49ers suffered no major injuries. Cornerback Carlos Rogers had X-rays on his right middle finger, but it was only jammed, he said.

• With Isaac Sopoaga (knee, ankle) out for the game, Ricky Jean Francois started at nose tackle. His backup, Ian Williams, played for the first time this season, as did undrafted rookie tight end Garrett Celek. He was the only 49ers rookie active for the game.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Matthew Barrows



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