Question: Matt, with the Colts losing last weekend that helps the 49ers draft position. By my calculation the 49ers will get the 27th pick from the Colts followed by the Cowboys and the 4 teams playing in the Championship games (except the Pats who's pick was taken away). Is this correct?
Ken, Salem, Ore.
Answer: Mmmm, no. There’s a lot of confusion about where the 49ers will pick and I, no doubt, will add to the confusion. Here are a few rules:
· The Super Bowl teams pick last no matter their record.
· For non-playoff teams that finish with the same record, the order is determined by strength of schedule.
· For playoff teams that finish with the same record, the order is determined by strength of schedule and how far a team advances in the playoffs. (Ergo, the 13-3 Packers will pick after the 13-3 Colts and 13-3 Cowboys because they advanced farther. The Colts would pick after the Cowboys because the Colts had a harder schedule.
· The 49ers have the Colts’ pick.
· The Patriots forfeited their own first-round pick because of Spygate.
With all that in mind, here are the different Super Bowl scenarios:
1. Pats vs. Giants: The Giants would pick 31st whether they win or lose the game because the Patriots have forfeited their pick because of Spygate. Therefore, the Packers would pick 30th and the 49ers (via the Colts) would pick 29th.
2. Pats vs. Packers. The Packers would pick 31st whether they win or lose the game because the Patriots have forfeited their pick. The 49ers would pick 30th.
3. Chargers vs. Packers. These teams would pick 31st and 30th. The Patriots normally would pick 30th in this scenario but they have lost their pick. The 49ers would have the 29th pick.
4. Chargers vs. Giants. This is the best scenario for the 49ers. The Chargers and Giants would pick 31st and 30th. The Patriots normally would pick 30th but have lost their pick. The Packers, because they advanced farther in the playoffs than the Colts and Cowboys, would pick 29th. The 49ers would pick 28th.
See how easy it is?
Question: Matt, Is there any chance they would consider moving Jay Moore to inside linebacker? It seems he has the size and would bring above average speed to the position.
Mike, San Rafael
Answer: No, I think he’s too tall and thin to be an inside guy. TBC and Parys Haralson would seem to be better fits, but it’s a long shot that either of them switches spots.
Question: You made a false statement about Mark Roman earlier in describing the safeties. Mark Roman had a fumble recovery against Arizona I believe where he took the ball back to the Cardinals’ 6-yard line in the shootout game. That's before the sack and the Frank Gore 11-yard touchdown draw. Not that it changes much, but give him some credit. It was a great run back.
Patrick, Washington, D.C.
Answer: You’re absolutely right. Nate Clements knocked the ball from Anquan Boldin at the beginning of the second quarter and it was picked up by Roman, who returned it 43 yards to the Arizona 6. Sorry. Don’t know why it wasn’t in Roman’s final stats.
Question: When the 49ers asked to interview Sparano last year, how was Dallas able to say no? I thought a coach had to be granted the interview if it was for a higher position. In his case, it would've been from an O-line coach to an O-coordinator.
Answer: Yeah, I asked the same thing. Apparently that rule only applies to head-coach candidates.
Question: Although free agency and the draft should help, the Niners will only contend next season if playmakers emerge from the current roster, particularly at WR, OLB/pass-rusher and QB, positions not easily filled by rookies. Late in the season, I read an interesting article on Ashley Lelie. Apparently, despite his lack of playing time, both Lelie and his position coach, Jerry Sullivan, are very upbeat about Lelie's future with the 49ers. What are your thoughts on Lelie? Do you have any insight on other current Niners who coaches or scouts feel may be on the verge of a breakout season?
Answer: I truly don’t know. Martz certainly will want a receiver who puts pressure on the defense, and Lelie can do that. But you also have to wonder whether a long strider like Lelie can get open quickly, which is essential in Martz’s offense. Another factor is Sullivan. It’s obvious that Sullivan didn’t think much of Lelie’s technique this past season. It’s also obvious that Martz holds Sullivan in high regard. Will Sullivan have the same sway under Martz that he did under Hostler?
Question: I know this is a Niner blog, but very quickly -- do you think Ray Guy ever makes the Hall? (He's missed out several times before, but Guy was the best I ever saw at the position.) If he gets shut out, isn't the Hall essentially saying the following?: "Punters not welcome."
Mike, Montclair, NJ
Answer: He’s got a punting award named after him for crying out loud! I can’t believe he’s not in already.
Question: With Martz controlling the offense, and with Hill closing in on a deal, who do you think Nolan will put as starting QB? Shaun Hill? Alex Smith? Thanks for reading this.
Answer: Dunno, Eric. That’ll be the big story line beginning with the 49ers’ first May minicamp. Don’t forget, there probably will be a third name – Joe Flacco? Colt Brennan? Josh Johnson? – thrown into the mix. By the way, Hill had his stitches removed from his index finger on Thursday. Everything seems to be going well regarding that operation …
Question: The 49ers just signed some players to future contracts. Can you explain further what this actually means?
Tyler, Rancho Cordova
Answer: I consulted the oracle (Maiocco) on this. All that means is that the new contract doesn’t kick in until the new NFL season begins on Feb. 29.
Question: Hey Matt, Regarding Martz and the open QB competition next year, do you think there is any chance that they might bring back Cody Pickett to compete? He always had a great relationship with the team/coaches. Do you think he would fit well into Martz's offensive scheme?
Max, Mill Valley
Answer: To quote Obi Wan Kenobi: That’s a name I have not heard in a long time. I think the 49ers have seen enough of Pickett and believe he’s not a long-term answer. He’s had his shot and now it’s time to see if another young quarterback can be the No. 3.
Question: Just reading the rumor mill around the league has the Bengals labeling Ocho Cinco as a "cancer" and that they should trade him. No one in the organization stepped up to defend him. Do you see the 49ers, who are in need of play-making receivers, trying to trade for Chad? Before the Bengal/Niner game this season, Chad said in a conference call that he wants Nolan to "know who I am". I realize I'm making something from nothing here but I can’t help but think of an offseason acquiring Chad, Berrian, Briggs, and Suggs. Any insight for the wishful thinking?
Answer: Well, you wrote your question before Marvin Lewis on Thursday said that the Bengals would not trade Chad Johnson. I’m not sure Nolan would want to deal with him anyway. Nolan, however, has said in the past that he is fond of Berrian. He’s tough, gets separation and would seem to be a perfect fit in a Mike Martz offense. The only problem is that Berrian will have many, many suitors when the free agency period begins. I wonder if he would give the 49ers the same California discount Briggs was willing to offer.
Question: Hello Matt, Another question. If Nolan blows up next year, what do you think the Yorks do … go after Cowher? Promote Singletary? Give Martz a promotion? Also, if Nolan is successful next year, do you see Nolan getting an extension?
Answer: Well, if things blow up next year it probably means the offense has performed poorly. If that’s the case, Martz would be out. And don’t count Singletary out of this year’s head-coaching search quite yet. Atlanta still has yet to settle on a candidate.