San Francisco 49ers: B.J. Daniels

Weekend mail call:

Joey from Vernal, Utah, wants to know if I think the 49ers should go after a bigger receiver as opposed to a smaller speed receiver.

Bill Williamson: I have no problem with that. I don’t get too caught up in types of receivers. I like good receivers, that’s the only the requirement I’m looking for in a receiver. If he is good, he can help. In the end, it doesn’t matter what type even though the 49ers lack a true burner at the position.

Mark from Palm Harbor, Fla., wants to know if I think the 49ers could use their surplus of draft picks to pick an injured player for the future as they did with Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore last year.

BW: We addressed that subject earlier in the offseason with ESPN draft analyst Steve Muench. There doesn’t appear to be any big-league player who is hurt like Lattimore and Carradine were last season. But there are a few possibilities the 49ers could consider such as Virginia Tech cornerback Antone Exum, Florida defensive lineman Dominique Easley and even Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray.

Craig from Suisun City, Calif., wants to know if think the 49ers can draft a quarterback who is a better prospect than B.J. Daniels, who they drafted in the seventh round and later cut last year.

BW: I’d think so, yes. There are some decent quarterback prospects in the mid rounds. The 49ers cut Daniels because they didn’t feel like he had big potential. He was taken in the last round and they ended up not wanting to move on. I don’t look at it as a huge missed opportunity.
The player poaching between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks has been a well-documented part of the most heated current rivalry in the NFL.

But if the 49ers land Seattle free-agent cornerback Walter Thurmond it would change the landscape. Thurmond is set to visit with the 49ers. If the 49ers sign Thurmond, he’d be -- by far -- the best player either has landed from the other during this recent rivalry.

In the past both teams have signed the others' former players, claimed them off waivers or signed them off the practice squad. Among the names that have made the San Francisco-Seattle shuffle in recent years:

Perrish Cox, B.J. Daniels, Ricardo Lockette, Cameron Morrah, Chris Harper, Charly Martin, Ryan Seymour and Seneca Wallace.

Few of these players have made a big impact. Thurmond would be different.

The Seahawks are strong at cornerback, so they likely can handle losing Thurmond. But seeing the 49ers improve with the addition of one of their players would not go over well in Seattle.
Earlier Tuesday, we looked at potential quarterbacks the San Francisco 49ers could draft this year.

We know this -- the 49ers aren't afraid of drafting a quarterback. They have drafted five quarterbacks in the past 10 drafts. It is tied for the third most in the NFL since 2004.

The 49ers drafted two starting quarterbacks in the past 10 years. The only remaining quarterback on the roster who was drafted by the team is Colin Kaepernick. He was taken in the second round in 2011. He replaced Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in 2005. The 49ers traded him to Kansas City last year for two second-round picks.

The 49ers took fliers on third quarterbacks in the late rounds. They took Nate Davis in the fifth round in 2009 and they took B.J. Daniels (2013) and Cody Pickett (2004) in the seventh round. None of them stuck around.

The 49ers are in the market for a backup who could be taken in the mid-rounds.

Eric Wright gives 49ers boost at CB

November, 19, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Eric Wright made his San Francisco 49ers' debut Sunday and he could see increased playing time moving forward.

Starting cornerback Tarell Brown had to leave the game at New Orleans with a rib injury. He was in extreme discomfort after the game. After the 49ers activated Wright last week, he became the dime cornerback. But because of Wright’s experience, it would not be surprising if the 49ers increase his role with Brown out.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh praised Wright’s play Sunday.

“I thought he had good eyes early in the game,” Harbaugh said. “[He] made a very nice tackle. His coverage was tight. I thought he did good. I thought he did a fine job for his first time out there.”

In other 49ers notes:

Guard Mike Iupati's MCL sprain on his left knee could have been a lot worse. There was early concern that Iupati had a much more serious injury. He will likely miss a couple of games, but the 49ers can deal with it. Adam Snyder, who replaced Iupati on Sunday at New Orleans and Daniel Kilgore can hold the fort for a couple of weeks.

B.J. Daniels will not be returning to the 49ers. Daniels cleared waivers Monday after being cut by the Seahawks and he was signed to the Seahawks’ practice squad. The 49ers cut him earlier this season. They wanted to put him on the practice squad, but the Seahawks claimed him. When the Seahawks cut Daniels -- taken in the seventh round by the 49ers in April -- there was speculation the 49ers would pursue Daniels.

Harbaugh basically blew off a question Monday about backup running back Anthony Dixon expressing frustration on Twitter about a lack of his role. Dixon is a role player. If he wants a bigger role, Harbaugh wants to see him earn it.

Cornerback Perrish Cox, cut last week by the 49ers, had a workout in Seattle. The Seahawks love taking looks at former 49ers.

Derek Carrier gets his chance

November, 16, 2013
NEW ORLEANS – We will see Sunday if Derek Carrier is ready to be the San Francisco 49ers’ new Swiss Army knife.

The 49ers promoted Carrier from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Third tight end Garrett Celek is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Starter Vernon Davis hasn’t yet been cleared to play against the New Orleans Saints, although he is expected to.

Expect Carrier to play Sunday. The team wouldn’t have promoted him if it weren't planning to play him. It will be Carrier’s NFL debut. He was with Oakland in training camp in 2012 and spent last year on the Eagles’ practice squad.

Carrier was a small-school star at Beloit College. He is highly athletic and he has good hands. Last week, I wrote that the 49ers were hoping he develops into a Delanie Walker-like weapon. Now, he is getting his chance.

Meanwhile, Seattle cut quarterback B.J. Daniels. He was a seventh-round pick of the 49ers, and they cut him earlier this season. If he goes through waivers, perhaps the 49ers will try to have him take Carrier’s spot on the practice squad.
Here are some highlights from our San Francisco 49ers' chat, which was held earlier Thursday:

Chvu from San Diego: Please help me understand the signing of J. Skelton as how that strengthens the team. The man has repeatedly proven he's not an NFL player, not less QB. Even Jacksonville, Raiders, Jets didn't want him as back up. Thanks.

Bill Williamson: I just think they think they can develop him into a decent No. 2. I think it may say a lot about the team’s thoughts on Colt McCoy.

Jeff from Omaha: Do you see the 49ers trying to play more games like they did against the Rams? Heavy on the run, less on Kaepernick and the passing game?

BW: Pound it that way until it doesn't work.

TE from LA: Why would the Niners release by Daniels? They had to know that Seattle would pick him up.

BW: They think he's a long ways away. Just a thought here: Just because Seattle took him it doesn't mean he's going to be good.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – One of the reasons John Skelton is excited to be a San Francisco 49er is his desire to play for Jim Harbaugh.

“There’s no doubt about it, I wanted to play for him,” the quarterback said Wednesday. “He’s been there before. He’s played at this level. I’ve talked to guys who played for him and I’ve heard nothing but good things. … When you get to know him you see what he’s all about – it’s a passion for the game. He’d strap it on again if he could. … I want to learn from him.”

Harbaugh is just as fired up to work with Skelton.

“Good stature in the pocket. Experienced guy.” Harbaugh said of the former Arizona Cardinals starter. “He’s played, won games and been in those battles. Had an excellent workout when he was here a few weeks back. One of the better workouts I’ve seen from a quarterback in one of those type of workout environments. … Big, strong, definitely has arm talent. I’m excited to work with him, and that’s really what it amounts to.”

The 49ers signed Skelton, who was recently cut by Cincinnati, and released rookie B.J. Daniels. The 49ers had planned to re-sign Daniels to the practice squad, but he was claimed Wednesday by Seattle.

Harbaugh indicated the 49ers wanted more overall experience at quarterback. Skelton likely will push Colt McCoy for the No. 2 job behind Colin Kaepernick. Harbaugh wouldn’t talk about the backup competition, but it is clear the 49ers brought Skelton in to see if he can progress in their system. If Skelton quickly catches up, I could see a scenario where he overtakes McCoy fairly soon.

“[We have] three quarterbacks that all have played in games and been in the fire, and now we have three at our disposal,” Harbaugh said. “We have a great starter and two guys now, two guys to back up that have been in those games."
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday that the team was hoping to reconnect with preseason star quarterback B.J. Daniels. But, naturally, the Seattle Seahawks got in the way.

According to several news outlets, the Seahawks claimed the seventh-round pick off waivers, one day after the the 49ers cut Daniels to make room for veteran quarterback John Skelton.

Seattle’s claim is not a surprise. Coach Pete Carroll said last month that the team liked Daniels, and both the 49ers and the Seahawks have made it a sport to poach players from the other’s roster.

The 49ers wanted to keep Daniels in the program. Harbaugh said less than an hour before the claim was made that the team hoped to bring back Daniels to the practice squad.

They cut him in favor of Skelton because they think Skelton's experience can help the 53-man roster more at this point. I get the sense the team thinks Daniels is very much a developmental player and that he’s nowhere close to being ready to help.

I know many fans will be up in arms about losing Daniels, who dazzled in the preseason. But the truth is, he is a long way from being a factor on Sundays.
Here's a thought: The San Francisco 49ers should trade running back LaMichael James to the Philadelphia Eagles.

James would be reunited with his college coach, Chip Kelly. Kelly’s offense in Philadelphia has yet to get up to full speed. Perhaps inserting a former Duck such as James in the lineup would ignite it. Perhaps the Eagles would give the 49ers a valuable pick for James.

Right now, James isn’t giving the 49ers a lot of value. And it seems like he is frustrated. reported James posted a tweet saying he was unhappy being “insurance” and then he deleted it.

James didn’t play in the first three games because of a knee injury. He played last week in St. Louis. But he made no impact with three carries for zero yards. He is currently at the bottom of the running back rotation.

A second-round pick last year, James saw his role increase late last season. Many scouts think he can be a serious receiving weapon out of San Francisco's backfield.

But if the 49ers don’t trust James because of his blocking or other reasons, they should send him to a place that would likely pay to get him. Again, this is not a report or a rumor. I’m just suggesting an idea I think makes sense.

In other 49ers’ notes:

I know a lot of 49ers fans are unhappy that the team cut seventh-round pick B.J. Daniels. I wouldn’t be too upset. He is a total developmental player who the team clearly doesn’t think has value on the 53-man roster now. If he clears waivers later Wednesday, the 49ers likely will place him on the practice squad.

Newly signed linebacker Jermaine Cunningham has experience as a 3-4 outside linebacker with New England. He has played there on first and second down. He has some ability to set the edge. The 2010 second-round pick was cut when the Patriots set their 53-man roster in August. He was suspended late last season for using performance-enhancing drugs. He will provide depth for the 49ers.

Safety Donte Whitner expressed frustration with getting a $21,000 fine for a hit he made against the Rams. He is appealing the fine.
Here are some notes from the media session held by San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on Thursday:

A lot of NFL teams dinged Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson for being 5-foot-11. He wasn’t drafted until the third round because of his height -- despite possessing all the other high-caliber NFL quarterbacking qualities. However, Fangio doesn't think Wilson’s stature is a detriment.

“His lack of height actually helps him, I think, in that he’s less of a target to get to,” Fangio said. “He’s a tough assignment.”

Fangio said San Francisco third-stringer B.J. Daniels can help this week as a scout-team quarterback. Fangio said Daniels' quickness and size are similar to Wilson, though the rookie is not as fast as Wilson. Still, Fangio said, Daniels offers the 49ers’ defense a “good look.”

Fangio’s assessment of No. 3 cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha against Green Bay on Sunday: “He had some good plays. He had some big plays for us on a couple third downs. He also missed a tackle or two there that hurt us. So, he had some good and some bad and we need to eliminate the missed tackles.”

The 49ers had seven missed tackles, a high number.

Asked whether rookie linebacker Corey Lemonier is ready to play, Fangio said he was and could spell the starters in Seattle.

Fangio said defensive linemen Ray McDonald and Justin Smith probably rotated out more than usual against Green Bay because of a combination of the warm weather and the fact that San Francisco was playing its nickel defense extensively.

Why the interest in Brady Quinn?

September, 9, 2013
ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen reported the San Francisco 49ers had talks with quarterback Brady Quinn before he re-signed with the New York Jets on Monday.

This means two things: The 49ers are still open-minded about the position and intelligence on the Seattle Seahawks is appreciated.

The 49ers looked at former Arizona Cardinals starter John Skelton last week. Colt McCoy is the backup and preseason standout B.J. Daniels is the 49ers’ third quarterback.

Quinn was recently cut by Seattle and San Francisco plays the Seahawks on Sunday. An NFC West subplot this season: Both teams will take a look at players the other discarded.

According to Mortensen, though, Quinn was only interested in a guaranteed deal with the 49ers for the rest of the year. The need is not that great, so talks didn't go anywhere.

The 49ers will likely continue to look at quarterbacks and, of course, still be open for business when it comes to former Seahawks.
For a team that has one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL in Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers have sure been in the news a lot lately when it comes to the movement at the position.

It continued Tuesday when SportsXchange's Howard Balzer reported the team worked out former Arizona starter John Skelton. I confirmed the news. There is no clarity whether it was simply a run-of-the-mill workout or if the 49ers want to sign Skelton.

The team has Colt McCoy and rookie B.J. Daniels backing up Kaepernick. McCoy took a pay cut to keep his job. The team had a short fling with Seneca Wallace, who is now in Green Bay. The team also cut Scott Tolzien, who is now on Green Bay’s practice squad. And yes, the 49ers play the Packers on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the 49ers added tight end Derek Carrier to their practice squad. Carrier, an athletic player who has a chance to develop, spent time with Oakland and Philadelphia last year.

Any discussion of the game’s top players is going to include its share of 49ers. In an Insider piece, Herm Edwards mentions plenty of 49ers Insider as he looks at the game’s best players.
Looking back on three things discussed here before the San Francisco 49ers closed their 2013 preseason schedule with a 41-6 road victory over the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night:

1. Final QB impressions: Starter Colin Kaepernick, backup Colt McCoy and third quarterback B.J. Daniels combined for four touchdown passes without an interception. The group made a positive final impression overall, even though McCoy averaged just 3.7 yards per pass attempt while completing 8 of 15 attempts for 56 yards. Daniels, a seventh-round draft choice, tossed two scoring passes on only nine attempts and added a 36-yard run. He looks like a keeper. Veteran backup Seneca Wallace did not travel to San Diego and doesn't appear to have a future with the team.

2. Injury list: Backup offensive lineman Adam Snyder appeared to suffer a wrist or hand injury. Running back LaMichael James suffered a knee injury. The extent of those injuries was not immediately known.

3. The spectacular: The 49ers' receivers deserve credit for making their quarterbacks look good. Rookie Quinton Patton turned a short pass from Kaepernick into a 43-yard touchdown. Veteran Lavelle Hawkins produced a 45-yard touchdown after breaking a tackle and making defenders miss. He made the grab after the ball bounced off his body high into the air. The 49ers also got spectacular plays from outside linebacker Cam Johnson. Johnson made a strong case for a roster spot. He had two sacks and also blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown.

Three things: 49ers-Chargers

August, 29, 2013
Three things to watch for Thursday night in the San Francisco 49ers' final exhibition of the 2013 season, set for 10 p.m. ET against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium:

1. Final QB impressions. The 49ers already named Colt McCoy as their No. 2 quarterback behind starter Colin Kaepernick. The team also released Scott Tolzien, further paring down any competition at the position. This game should provide rookie seventh-round choice B.J. Daniels another opportunity to show he belongs in the team's plans as a developmental player. The 49ers haven't drafted and developed a late-round quarterback successfully since ... when? Daniels, Nate Davis, Cody Pickett and Ken Dorsey were the only ones San Francisco selected in the final three rounds over the past decade. Meanwhile, veteran Seneca Wallace should get a chance to leave a positive impression. The team could keep him in mind as a veteran fallback should a need arise in the future.

2. Injury list. The 49ers will surely limit or eliminate reps for some key players as the preseason wraps up. Some key depth players will be logging considerable playing time. Can the 49ers get out of this game without losing one of them to a significant injury? By my count, the 49ers lead the NFL with seven players on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) and reserve/non-football injury (NFI) lists: Marcus Lattimore, Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree, Luke Marquardt, Quinton Dial, Tank Carradine and Eric Wright. No more injuries, please.

3. The spectacular. This is the catch-all category for players who appear to significantly help or hurt their chances through big plays or big gaffes. We'll be watching for them.

Three things revisited: Vikings-49ers

August, 25, 2013

Looking back on three things discussed here before the San Francisco 49ers' third exhibition game of the 2013 preseason, a 34-14 home victory against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night:

1. Seneca's debut. Coach Jim Harbaugh had indicated that all five quarterbacks would play in this game. Plans change. Colin Kaepernick, Colt McCoy and rookie B.J. Daniels were the only quarterbacks to play meaningful snaps. Scott Tolzien reportedly had back spasms. He did not play. The newly acquired Seneca Wallace got into the game late and completed both attempts for 27 total yards. McCoy completed 11 of 15 passes for 109 yards with one sack, one interception and a 65.7 passer rating. McCoy struggled at times, but he also played for a bit with 49ers backups against Vikings starters. He was effective leading a nine-play, 91-yard touchdown drive that ended on the first play of the fourth quarter. McCoy reportedly took a pay cut to improve his chances for earning a spot on the 53-man roster. Harbaugh told reporters after the game that he was comfortable with McCoy in the No. 2 role.

2. Kaepernick's reps. Kaepernick rebounded from a slow start to complete his final six attempts during a drive that ended with his 5-yard scoring pass to rookie Quinton Patton. Kaepernick got into a rhythm during that drive, including when he completed a pass to Vernon Davis on his third read. That drive featured a 19-yard pass to Patton, 10- and 11-yarders to Davis, 15- and 8-yarders to Marlon Moore, plus the scoring pass. Kaepernick moved effectively to buy time and threw accurately. Kaepernick had attempted only six passes during the preseason before Sunday. His final numbers from this game: 7 of 13 for 72 yards, the one score, no sacks and a 95.7 rating.

3. Baldwin's impact. Recently acquired receiver Jon Baldwin had receptions for 19 and 4 yards. These were his first receptions as a 49er and first of the preseason. San Francisco acquired him from Kansas City. Baldwin beat second-year undrafted free agent Bobby Felder off the line before making a leaping catch for the 19-yard gain. Baldwin made a nice catch away from his body on a low pass, gathering the ball and falling forward for a first down on the 4-yard reception. Starting corner Josh Robinson had the coverage on that play. There was nothing spectacular about Baldwin's debut, but it was a start.