49ers vs Jets: Matt Barrows' 5 players to watch
Colin Kaepernick, who has put his San Jose home on the market, has purchased a condominium in Manhattan and, last year at least, reportedly was interested in joining the Jets.
With that in mind, Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall was asked about the possibility of catching passes next season from Kaepernick, who can opt out of his 49ers contract in March.
“I think that’s unfair to the guys we have on this team now,” Marshall said on a conference call Wednesday. “If I was to think about that or even comment on that – I have so much respect for Bryce (Petty) and even (Ryan) Fitzpatrick, although Fitz isn’t under contract next year and he’s not even starting. I have so much respect for those guys that I don’t want to mess up my relationship with them by even speculating on next year at the quarterback position.”
Marshall’s answer, however, illustrated the issues with the Jets’ quarterback corps. Fitzpatrick was benched midway through New York’s dreadful 41-10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Monday and replaced by Petty, who will start his second NFL game Sunday against the 49ers. His first start resulted in a 9-6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this year.
Fitzpatrick, who has started 26 games in New York over the past two seasons, isn’t signed for next season. The Jets’ difficulty in re-signing him this past offseason is what led to speculation New York could acquire Kaepernick in a trade.
The Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos were interested in trading for the 49ers quarterback last year. Were the Jets ever discussed, Kaepernick was asked?
“This past offseason we had talks with different people,” he said. “But once again, that’s in the past. We’re focused on this week.”
Buckner rising – One of the two defensive linemen in the NFL with more snaps this season than 49ers rookie DeForest Buckner is Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who had surgery for a sports hernia on Wednesday and will miss at least six weeks.
The other player with more snaps than Buckner is Pierre-Paul’s teammate, Olivier Vernon. He’s played 809 defensive snaps; Buckner has played 737.
Buckner reached that number despite missing the 49ers’ Week 5 game against Arizona with a foot injury. The 49ers’ defense has played more snaps than any defensive unit in the league this season.
Hicks wins honor – Bears defensive end Akiem Hicks (Del Campo High School) was named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week for his two-sack performance against the 49ers last Sunday.
Hicks and his defensive-line mates constantly beat the 49ers’ interior offensive linemen in both the pass rush and in run defense. The Bears mostly used a five-man front, hemming Kaepernick in the pocket and betting that the 49ers’ passing game could not beat single coverage.
They were right. Kaepernick ran for a season-low 20 yards while completing one pass for four yards before being relieved by Blaine Gabbert in the fourth quarter.
Et cetera – Torrey Smith is the 49ers’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which recognizes philanthropy and community involvement. Last year, the honor, announced before the Super Bowl, went to Smith’s then-49ers teammate Anquan Boldin.
▪ Coach Chip Kelly said there’s been no discussion about having Christian Ponder in uniform on game day. He said Gabbert will be Kaepernick’s backup Sunday against the Jets.
▪ Defensive lineman Quinton Dial (elbow) did not practice Wednesday. Dial, who missed the team’s Nov. 27 game against the Dolphins, played just 13 snaps against the Bears. Running back Shaun Draughn (ribs) was in a blue, no-contact jersey and was limited in practice.