Jim Tomsula said it would be “an absolute concern” if unflattering leaks about quarterback Colin Kaepernick were coming from inside 49ers headquarters. But he doesn’t see how that can be the case.
“I don’t know where they come from,” the coach said. “There’s stuff that comes from all over the place that I don’t, I mean, I don’t know where people are getting it. I don’t believe it’s coming from here. I mean, I don’t believe that.”
In the past week and a half, two national reports, both citing unnamed sources, have portrayed Kaepernick as being aloof and “on an island” in the 49ers’ locker room. Tomsula and a number of his players on Wednesday stressed that’s not the case – “Kap isn’t on a damn island,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said dismissively – and that there’s plenty of interaction among the players.
But who might be supplying these leaks? Asked if he thought it could be 49ers management, Tomsula recoiled.
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“Oh gosh, no. I don’t think that,” he said. “I don’t believe that, I don’t believe in that stuff. Any of that stuff’s counterproductive.”
The leaks and subsequent reports appear similar to ones directed at coach Jim Harbaugh last season. Various reports about Harbaugh losing support among the players and the team’s locker room atmosphere being “toxic” emerged during the season; the players invariably denied that was the case when asked about it.
The 49ers, of course, parted ways with Harbaugh at the end of the 2014 season. Kaepernick was asked if he sensed he was similarly being made a scapegoat this year by someone in the organization.
“I really hope not,” he said. “For me, I give everything I can to the organization; I give everything I can to my teammates to try to help us win and try to help us be better moving forward.”
Later, he clarified by saying he can’t be worried if he’s being made a fall guy.
“I would say that I don’t think about that,” he said. “What I think about is what I can do to help this team win and what I can do to help make this team better.”
Kaepernick’s teammates, meanwhile, sloughed off reports that the quarterback is isolated.
“This whole team sees Kap on a day-to-day basis, we see him 16 hours a day in meetings,” backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert said. “So unless those stories are coming from in (the locker room) they’re false and they don’t have any reason to be spread.”
Said Smith: “It frustrates me as an individual because I see how hard Kap’s working. It’s not all coming together on Sundays the way it should.”
“We’re fine,” Smith said of the receivers’ relationship with Kaepernick. “We can talk to him about anything. Our relationship’s cool on and off the field. We just haven’t been playing good football. There’s really no secret to it.”
Tomsula said that when a team is 2-5 it has to expect to deal with outside criticism. The quarterback seems to bear the brunt of that.
“It’s always something,” he said. “I guess that’s what goes on when you’re the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. I was here with Alex (Smith). And I saw the same things going on there. There were all kinds of reports. You heard that stuff all the time.”