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Josh Johnson “didn’t pay any mind” to Harbaugh’s comments on Manning

Alex Boone, Alex Smith, Josh Johnson AP

It doesn’t matter whether anyone — or everyone — outside the 49ers organization believe coach Jim Harbaugh was telling something other than the truth when claiming earlier this week that his team didn’t flirt with and/or pursue Peyton Manning.  Harbaugh’s intended audience was his players, with the most important member of the crowd being quarterback Alex Smith.

Though Smith has yet to comment on Harbaugh’s comments, the quarterback who joined the 49ers after Manning opted to play in Denver was asked Thursday to react to Harbaugh’s position that he merely evaluated Manning.

I didn’t pay any mind to it,” Josh Johnson said, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News.  “There’s so many things you hear that supposedly happened or didn’t happen.  All you can go about is what you see.”

Johnson, who played for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, apparently didn’t elaborate on what he saw, or at least what he perceived.  The rest of us perceived a pursuit of Peyton Manning by the 49ers.  And in turn a prevarication (thanks, Tiki) by Harbaugh.

With Manning not a member of the team, Smith now is left to worry about Johnson and 2011 second-round pick Colin Kaepernick — taken one spot after the Bengals selected Andy Dalton.  And Smith surely knows that, if the 49ers struggle out of the gates in 2012 and if Smith can’t properly distribute the ball to the expanding set of weapons, which now includes Vernon Davis, Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins, Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs, and LaMichael James, Kaepernick or Johnson could get a shot to turn the thing around.

That’s why Smith slid so far out of character last week by criticizing Cam Newton, and that’s why Harbaugh is trying to undo the damage that may have been done to Smith’s confidence by whatever it is that the 49ers did with Peyton Manning.

Whether it helps likely depends on whether Smith believes him.  And Smith likely won’t be telling the truth about whether he thinks Harbaugh told the truth, if the truth is that Smith thinks Harbaugh didn’t tell the truth.

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22 Responses to “Josh Johnson “didn’t pay any mind” to Harbaugh’s comments on Manning”
  1. sprtly says: Jun 1, 2012 8:05 AM

    Though I still wonder why Peyton choose the Broncos over a team who by all accounts is a QB away from a SuperBowl – if in fact the Niners WERE persuing him.

    I’d still like to see Kaepernick get some reps this year, his arm strength is greater than Smiths and could provide a good change of pace.

    As for Johnson, does anyone think he has a shot at starting for this team? Cammon.

  2. Ghost Rat says: Jun 1, 2012 8:08 AM

    I made as similar point on my own blog… rather than Smith just looking like he has a fragile ego, Smith now looks like he has a fragile ego AND his coach looks like a liar.

    Well done, Jim. Well done.

  3. bunjy96 says: Jun 1, 2012 8:13 AM

    How about Johnson not even making the roster?

  4. sj39 says: Jun 1, 2012 8:15 AM

    “Though I still wonder why Peyton choose the Broncos over a team who by all accounts is a QB away from a SuperBowl”

    Because Peyton knows a little bit more about football than “all accounts”.

  5. 49erstim says: Jun 1, 2012 8:29 AM

    “where is the proof?!” Lol

    I don’t know if I can live in a world where head coaches fabricate the truth or are less than honest. While I’d also like full disclosure and not have to measure the precise meaning of words it just isn’t gonna happen.

  6. truthplainandsimple says: Jun 1, 2012 8:51 AM

    Johnson did a good job as a backup in Tampa and has shown some potential. I’m curious as to how better Harbaugh can make him. Alex Smith is a game manager. We know that already. I think adding those weapons put more pressure on him because if he can’t produce decent offensive numbers now, I’m sure he’s on his way out. Johnson was probably brought in to be the familiar insurance plan and the bridge to see what Kaepernick can do if Smith does prove to be what we’ve been seeing.

  7. franknunley57 says: Jun 1, 2012 9:03 AM

    Yes, I think Johnson will make the roster.

    Yes, if Alex can’t lead this offense to score tds from inside the red zone and continues to settle for fgs (44 in 2011,an nfl record) …I think Johnson will get a chance to start.

  8. realitypolice says: Jun 1, 2012 9:08 AM

    sprtly says:
    Jun 1, 2012 8:05 AM
    Though I still wonder why Peyton choose the Broncos over a team who by all accounts is a QB away from a SuperBowl
    =========

    Not all players are Lebron James, looking for the easiest path to a title.

    Some players want to be the cornerstone of a champion, not the “final piece”.

  9. stampede101 says: Jun 1, 2012 9:18 AM

    Niners are creating what is called ‘media subterfuge.’ You’re all paying attention to the inane gossipy bullcrap that has no bearing on the teams ultimate success. While you do that, the Niners are installing schemes and plans that will allow them to continue to wreck shop on the league.

    No one paid attention in 2011 as Smith installed the offense during the lockout…and no one is paying attention now. I love it.

  10. seahulk9 says: Jun 1, 2012 9:19 AM

    ghost rat and franknunley nailed it.

  11. joetoronto says: Jun 1, 2012 9:33 AM

    sprtly says:
    Jun 1, 2012 8:05 AM
    Though I still wonder why Peyton choose the Broncos over a team who by all accounts is a QB away from a SuperBowl – if in fact the Niners WERE persuing him.
    ***************************************************
    To me it’s clear that he didn’t want Harbaugh as his HC.

    It’s the only thing that makes sense, IMO.

  12. trollhammer20 says: Jun 1, 2012 9:59 AM

    Oh boy, the opinion of the third-string QB. Do we have the opinion of the water boy yet?

    God. Someone wake me up about July 25th already. This offseason is way too long.

  13. cali49er707 says: Jun 1, 2012 10:13 AM

    and @ the end of the day other then alex & jim, who really cares!!!!

  14. clevelandsteamer1 says: Jun 1, 2012 10:15 AM

    Btw, smith answered questions about those comments 2 minutes after they happened.

  15. 49erstim says: Jun 1, 2012 10:17 AM

    @seahulk…. I politely (I am capable of that…sometimes) disagree with all 3 of you. I’m not really sure why he chose to mention it at all…perhaps it is for his own ego or perhaps he wants to rile people up so they forget about the Alex/Cam thing…who knows. If you step back it is kinda funny when coaches say things like that and then you call them out and they’re all “are you sure you saw what you saw?” Mindfreak!! I bet he is laughing at us all trying to decipher this like the Da Vinci Code! :-)

    Also… Where is the proof? Gotta keep floating that out there!

  16. latopia says: Jun 1, 2012 10:27 AM

    Josh Johnson “didn’t pay any mind” to Harbaugh’s comments on Manning He shouldn’t. Because Harbaugh actually intended his ‘clarification’ for Beason et al. and any other Smith-critic contemplating The Manning Retort.

    Rod Tidwell bottom line? Sho me the money. Ask Tom Condon or Manning himself.

    If the 9ers did not tender Manning an offer or term sheet, the 9ers did not, as Harbaugh says “pursue”, nor did Manning have any decision to make re San Francisco while Smith had no real competition from Manning at QB — ever.

  17. kowboymiller says: Jun 1, 2012 10:34 AM

    I have LOST all respect for Harbaugh! How could you even be a fan knowing he is such a LAIR!
    No thanks 9ers!

  18. bucrightoff says: Jun 1, 2012 10:34 AM

    Josh is a backup, nothing more. Having seen him play in all his starts, he often looked lost out there, and while he posseses a pretty strong arm, he doesn’t make great decisions and once his first read is gone he tends to take off running. I think he’s perfectly suited as a backup because he can come in and maybe win you a game or two.

  19. ninersforlife15 says: Jun 1, 2012 11:05 AM

    Why is everyone treating this whole thing of ‘Alex Smith is hurt and confidence is shattered’ as lunchroom talk in high school? The fact of the matter is that Alex Smith is the QB of the San Francisco 49ers! Not Manning! This is the NFL, A BUSINESS, where you try to improve you team in any way you can, whether it is adding depth, adding competition, filling a void, putting fans in the seat, or whatever the case. Alex Smith is a very intelegent person and he understands that. Just cause the 49ers didn’t sign Manning and signed Smith doesn’t mean that they liked Manning better than Smith, it was just an opportunity to make you team better, or in better words a “business transaction”, for reason I stated earlier. I, the coaches, the fans, the players, the front office, and most of all Alex Smith expects the 49ers to pick up where they left off last year and contend for a Super Bowl while showing maturation and progress through Jim Harabaugh’s first FULL season as a head coach. So let’s remember that we are talking about a PROFESSIONAL business with professional players, not high schoolers that are mad cause the head coach doesn’t like “so n’ so”. Let’s use the talents of these “so called” sports writers and media to talk about something that is at least remotely important. If not, then maybe one of you lame writers should ask Smith if someone is taking his lunch money from him as well.

  20. steviep23 says: Jun 1, 2012 11:37 AM

    This really got the attention off cam newton. Good job harbaugh.

  21. ceadderman says: Jun 1, 2012 2:16 PM

    It’s not hard to figure out why Manning chose the Broncos at all.

    He was being asked to compete with Smith for the job and to run the WCO which he has absolutely no knowledge of. Essentially making it a dead heat before Camp.

    Imagine if you will Alex Smith being named the Starter over Peyton Manning. A guy who didn’t allow any Colts Backup to take any 1st team reps. A guy who has to have his fingerprints on every part of the Offense.

    And, to do all this at a less than optimal Salary?

    It wasn’t going to happen, I believe Harbs because at the end of the day there are 3 or 4 Defensive players who are lost to Free Agency and that’s before Goldson gets Franchised to a $6.2 Million tender. Harbs wasn’t lying. Anyone that doubts this knows EFF-ALL about the 9ers Cap room during the whole “Evaluation” dalliance with Manning. Hell they still had an offer on the table for Smith. Not once did they flinch in this regard. Didn’t take the offer off the table. They were even asked about it during the Manning saga.

    The only Free Agent player they signed for the Offense was Moss. They lost Morgan to the Redskins(for insanity money) so they had to get his replacement but hadn’t signed Manningham yet. Basically the Manning saga took them out of the running for the higher priced Free Agent Receivers.

    Signing Manning at the price he wanted was out of the question.

  22. discosucs2005 says: Jun 1, 2012 4:33 PM

    I think what happened was the 49ers offered Smith a contract. Smith didn’t take it right away. The 49ers went after Manning. Manning went some where else. Smith stayed. It’s fair to say I think that Smith was the 49ers first choice in a sense. They offered Smith a contract and never took it off the table. Had he signed it from the get go Manning would never have even come to SF.

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