49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 7, 2007
T.O. part deux?

Question: Dear Matt, I hope you will take the time to answer this question as you have ignored my last three. I am concerned about the chemistry of the team. I fear that Davis may be T.O reincarnated and now I have read that Darrell Jackson has lazy practice habits and there has been friction between he and the coaching staff. Is there a chemistry problem on this team? Is Jackson as lazy as many say he is? Is the reason you don't answer my questions because the Niners have you on the payroll (kidding)?
Rick, Redding.

Answer: Rick, the last letter I received that started that way was from my ex girlfriend. Do I have to put a restraining order on you, too? (Kidding) ... I don't think team chemistry will be an issue. Overall, the 49ers have an excellent lockerroom (a reporter's dream) that won't allow problems to fester. Vernon Davis certainly has shown some T.O. tendencies early on, but I was impressed by what he said about his success depending on the other 10 guys on offense. That's something that never registered with Owens. As for Jackson, I would not say he's lazy. He's fighting through a turf toe injury, which sounds like a wimpy ailment, but by all accounts hurts like the dickens. Nolan wants him to run his routes the "49ers way," which is to continue 30 yards downfield after a catch. Jackson didn't do that in Seattle but appears to be changing his habits.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Matt, you have recently stated that Sopoaga will be with the first-team defense at nose while Franklin is out. Who do you believe the starting ends are at this point? Douglas and Young? Fields and Young? Also, which sides will the ends play at primarily so I can tell who will be backing up who?
Jeff, Fletcher, N.C.

Answer: The starting ends are Bryant Young on the left side and Marques Douglas on the right. Rookie Ray McDonald - who is getting rave reviews, by the way - is behind Douglas while Fields is behind Young. Sam Rayburn also is seeing work of the left side.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Why did Tully's mom get mad at you for the roly poly reference? Rumor has it, Banta-Cain showed up at about 285 lbs. You can't help it if Banta-Cain is 'roly poly'. Serves him right for not staying away from In N' Out.
Justin, Palo Alto

Answer: That was sort of my point, but you don't argue (at least I don't argue) with an NFL linebacker. For the record, Banta-Cain showed up at 280 pounds but is now down to a much slimmer 265 pounds. Also for the record, he has been one of the most active and impressive guys in camp.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: I just started reading your blog... it is very interesting and keep up the good work. Just one question.... With Banta-Cain, Moore, and Haralson fighting for that OLB/PR (Pass Rusher) position, who do you see as the starter?
-- Neville, Compton

Answer: Definitely Banta-Cain. Mike Singletary wants his players to go all out every play, which means Banta-Cain's back-up, Parys Haralson, should see a lot of action this season, too. Haralson also has been impressive. He's a well-built guy who's been showing a lot of intensity in practice. Banta-Cain, however, is the best pass rusher on the team by a healthy margin.
-- Matt Barrows

Question: Do you see offensive sets that use Alex Smith in the shotgun? It would seem to be a good use of his skill set as the offensive continues to add situations to give opposing defenses something to think about.
-- Chris, San Jose

Answer: More shotgun work might come down the road, but right now the 49ers are mostly trying to wean Smith from his shotgun days at Utah.
-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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