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Golden Nuggets: Click here to see the name “Alex Smith” several times

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Supposedly 49ers links for Thursday 12/8/2016, but including the name “Alex Smith” in the title will bring me sweet, sweet page hits

They say it’s necessary to wait 3 years to grade a draft class properly; this is an instance in which I agree with “they”. While the circumstances are ultimately dissimilar, perhaps “they” might agree to a 3 year moratorium on grading trades. One particular journalist, however, saw the opportunity to pounce, willingly kicking a fanbase when they’re down, and reminding us that Alex Smith has actually outplayed the man who took his job. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a lopsided comparison (Smith ended up with a suffocating defense, an effective run game, and a functioning TE), I can appreciate the man’s readiness to rip the proverbial band-aid off.

With Kaepernick named the starter for week 14 against the generally hapless (when not compared to us) Jets, I believe we have an opportunity to see Kaepernick have as much success and he can in 2016 against any defense not named the Saints. With the pitiful secondary (Revis has gone the way of 49ers-edition NAso!) but powerful run defense, the game will end up in his hands. Much better writers than I have already deemed the next 4 weeks as the audition for the rest of Kaepernick’s career, and this represents perhaps the most important - this week, Kaepernick has the opportunity to prove that he is capable of shouldering the burden and making things happen in spite of a likely-stifled run game.

In other news, the 49ers loss to the Bears did not drop them to 32 in the major power rankings. The Browns had week 13 off, meaning that a simple 1-position drop would have been utterly deafening for us. Silver linings, folks: at least it’s a mathematical certainty that we won’t “2008 Lions” it.

Tonight’s game might end up the best Thursday night game of the season, with a 10-2 Raiders and 9-3 Chiefs playing a division game that could end up dictating the difference between the first/second (depending on Lord Brady and co) seed and a wild card berth. The Chiefs won the first game 26-10, in Oakland, leading the Raiders to play a huge game at one of the least hospitable venues in the league. Also of note, the aforementioned Alex Smith will be on the opposite sideline of another 49ers defector in Michael Crabtree, adding extra intrigue for us 49er fans.

Well, I’ve rambled on and on, let’s get on to the Nuggets.

General 49ers News

Torrey Smith’s road to the Walter Payton nomination | Fann, 49ers.com

How the 49ers turned into a team looking up at the Browns | Arthur, Rolling Stone (?!)

Nuts and bolts behind the AleX/Kaep argument | Purdy, Mercury

Cosell blames “small hands” for Kaep’s performance | Jones, KNBR

Meanwhile, the 49ers have the 4th ranked run game | Barrows, Sac Bee

Kaepernick’s season ending performance to be a league-wide audition | Wagoner, ESPN

5 items that impact the 49ers’ future | Maiocco, CSN BA

49ers Injury/Roster News

Brandon Marshall dispels 2015-2017 rumors of NY Jet Kaep | Steward, Mercury

Chip Kelly reinforces loyalty to 49ers | Inman, Mercury

Dial only player that did not practice Wednesday | Wagoner, ESPN

Around the League (?)

Browns remain ranked 32 through BYE, 49ers’ shame | ESPN.com staff