On Sunday, writer Al Sacco joined Victor and Brandon on 95.7 The Game to discuss the San Francisco 49ers. Of course, the conversation kicked off with some discussion about quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his controversial protest of the National Anthem. This has been a hot topic all weekend following the discovery that the 49ers quarterback has decided to refuse to stand during the pre-game tradition.
"People don't realize what's really going on in this country," said Kaepernick on Sunday when addressing the media. "There are a lot things that are going on that are unjust. People aren't being held accountable for and that's something that needs to change."
So what does Sacco think about this distraction? "Well, I think any time a player takes a stand such as this one, it's going to bring about opinions and strong feelings on both sides," said Sacco. "There's a lot of anger here and that's kind of an unfortunate thing to have to deal with. And I think for the football side of it, when you have all of these feelings involved, it's going to inevitably be a distraction. Whether you want it to be or not, it's going to be a distraction for the team and already, the players are being asked questions about it. The coaching staff is being asked questions about it. If Kaepernick is still on the team come week one when that National Anthem plays on ESPN on Monday Night Football, the cameras are going to be on him. It's going to be a distraction."
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Sacco goes on to state that he hopes the story dies down so everyone can get back to talking about actual football, but you have to wonder if it will continue to be a distraction as long as Kaepernick is on the roster.
Other topics that Sacco touched on include the signing of quarterback Christian Ponder, which he believes says something more about the position than had the team simply signed another "camp arm."
Sacco also discussed the team's offensive line, saying that it would be much improved. "It's going to be a solid offensive line. If they can win in the trenches, they can run the ball," said Sacco. "They can stay on the field. All you need is Blaine Gabbert to kind of be an Alex Smith, which I think is what he is. He's going to throw to the tight ends. He's going to throw to the running backs. He's going to play safe football."
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However, he is hesitant to believe that the 49ers will make that jump to a playoff caliber team. "I don't see where their explosive plays are going to come from," said Sacco. "The receiver position is a worry for me. There's a lot unproven there other than Torrey Smith. I think Torrey Smith is a guy that can use a compliment to maybe move the chains on the other side of him and I don't know if they have that right now."
Sacco believes that running back Carlos Hyde can be a star if he can stay healthy. However, he would like to see Hyde adjust his running style a little bit and not run toward contact. That is something that Ted Robinson, the voice of the 49ers, touched on last week.
Sacco also discusses the trade for receiver help in Jeremy Kerley, Trent Brown along the offensive line, Tank Carradine getting pressure on quarterbacks, the improvement of Mike Davis at running back, and the duo of Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner along the defensive line.
You can listen to the entire interview on 95.7 The Game.