Colin Kaepernick

Kyle McLorg ruthlessly ruffles Falcons’ feathers, Jim Tomsula denies calling Atlanta’s defense “weak”

jim tomsula fart

I’m feeling pretty proud these days. Kyle McLorg, who approached me several years ago with hopes of becoming the site’s San Jose Sharks correspondent and grew to become our most dependable and popular writer/editor, isn’t just breaking 49ers stories by the truckload. He’s pissing off entire NFL teams with his reporting.

Upsetting NFL public relations people and executives isn’t all that difficult. I’ve done it numerous times, and I’m just a fanblogger! But a majority of the players? And not with slanderous comments or absurd hot takes (guys like Stephen A. Smith come to mind with the latter), but with good old fashioned reporting? That’s not just funny, it’s impressive.

Notice how many retweets Kyle’s first tweet had, compared to the second. Welcome to Twitter, a social outrage media tool for those who can’t stomach their extended family members’ political views on Facebook. The Falcons seized on one of Kyle’s tweets. I wonder which one it was …

By the way, the Falcons are 11th in yards allowed per game, 24th in passing yards allowed, 9th in passing yards allowed per attempt, third in rushing defense, 13th in points allowed, and 31st in total sacks. The Rams and Seahawks (the 49ers’ opponent after the bye) have top-five defenses, and the Falcons aren’t quite there.

The Falcons are still mad, though.

Veteran receiver Roddy White, not one to bite his tongue, spoke up in favor of his defense after learning about the report.

“The defense is playing really well, so good luck to Gabbert on Sunday,” White told ESPN.com. “We should get a couple turnovers.”

The story was picked up by several other outlets, including the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The tweet was just an aside, an addendum. The main news was that the 49ers benched quarterback Colin Kaepernick in favor of Blaine Gabbert to start against the Falcons on Sunday.

However, the tweet included the phrase “weak Falcons defense,” so naturally it reverberated in Flowery Branch, where Falcons coach Dan Quinn took note.

“I heard it,” Quinn said Wednesday. “What I can say is that we don’t (need) anybody else to help get us ready. We’ll be ready to rock.”

The report was by Kyle McLorg, a blogger who goes by the moniker Bay Area Sports Guy. He cited an anonymous 49ers source as saying that the team was going to start Gabbert at the Rams last week, but decided it’s better for him to do so against a “weak Falcons defense at home.”

Kyle’s so big-time that he’s replaced me as BASG. And that’s totally fine — the name is kind of a burden, anyway. Everyone thought I was copying Bill Simmons back when the blog started in 2008. When I met Greg Papa in the CSN studio, he told me that he’s the true Bay Area Sports Guy. I didn’t have a comeback because, well, it’s true. And now Kyle gets to be the one to fend off all of those hilariously poor “Sports Guy” insults from Jay Mariotti.

But enough about washed-up ol’ me. Here’s more from the AJC, which published this week’s Atlanta media Q&A with Jim Tomsula. This is gold.

Q: Did you all save Gabbert to play against the “weak Atlanta defense?”

A: That’s absolutely false. That reporter, you sure he doesn’t work down there in Atlanta and is trying to get something started (laughter). Sounds like somebody is trying to get some bulletin board material up. That is absolutely false. I’ve got nothing by respect for Dan Quinn and that football team. What’s your record? (6-2). Ok, I don’t see anything weak about the Atlanta Falcons.

Q: Did you know that was out there on social media?

A: Actually, the PR guy threw that out. He came in laughing and told me that this morning.

Q: There was never a discussion in your building about that circumstance?

A: No. Zero. Absolutely false.

The source who helped Kyle break the news that Colin Kaepernick was getting benched this week was the same source who filled Kyle in on the 49ers’ thoughts behind the timing of their quarterback switch. So the 49ers can deny it and laugh all they want, but their opinion of Atlanta’s defense (and the game’s location — the 49ers are WAY better at home this year, because they’re a bad team) was why they didn’t start Blaine Gabbert a week after Kaepernick looked completely lost against Seattle.

And, just FYI, Kyle lives in San Rafael, not Atlanta. I wish he worked for BASG as often as he did before, but he’s on his way to law school in a few months. The 49ers probably hope his workload keeps him from breaking more stories.

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