49ers Blog and Q&A

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

February 16, 2008
Q&A: AB positive or AB negative?

Question: Bee-Rows: What's the status of good 'ol Antonio Bryant these days? IMO the 9ers should take a look at signing him again. He has the potential to be an elite WR if he could just get his act together. #1 he could be had for CHEAP, #2 he's JUST the type of WR we need, #3 his contract could be laden with all kinds of out clauses in case he goes awry again. What say you? I say bring AB BACK!
Flacksaw, Ojai

Answer: Dude – didn’t you read yesterday’s blog? (Kidding: Flacksaw wrote his Q on Thursday.) The real question here is whether a leopard can change his spots. Bryant’s agent insisted yesterday that Bryant’s year off from football was a valuable learning experience and that his client has changed his ways. I don’t think Bryant will be a choirboy in 2008, but he turns 27 in March and you’d hope that he’s reached the point where he realizes one more big screw up could end his football career and that the millions of dollars that come with it would go up in a puff, ahem, of smoke. I like Bryant. I thought he was a genuine, hard-working guy whose Achilles heel is that he’s very, very high strung. I think if the 49ers re-acquired him there would be bumpy periods, but at the end of the season the relationship would be mostly positive. (See below) But my guess is that he’ll end up elsewhere. He lives in Texas and the Cowboys seem like a good fit.
- Matt

Question: Hey Matt, Do you think Chris Foerster was hired to be the OC of the future? I see he has experience as the OC for the Dolphins and the Vikings. Maybe this is an insurance policy in case Martz has a good year and leaves to become a HC.
Teddy, Kenner, La.

Answer: Good point. At the very least, the 49ers now have two veteran coaches – Foerster and Ted Tollner – who have been OCs in the past. They certainly won’t be in a Jim Hostler-like situation should Martz bolt next offseason.
- Matt

Question: Carl Nicks as the #1? He was rated the 61st best player in your post Feb 14! What's your basis for such high regard?
Pedro, Plano, Texas

Carl Nicks.jpg

Answer: He’s a huge guy with nice athleticism who played very well at left and right tackle at the Senior Bowl. It’s certainly a shot in the dark at this point, but when you factor in: A.) The team’s love of Senior Bowl players, B.) It’s lack of depth along the line, C.) Nolan and co.’s preference for o-linemen and D.) Nolan’s enmity for Jonas Jennings, it doesn’t seem so farfetched.
- Matt

Question: Matt, I hope your picks come to be. The Niners need help on both lines for next year and beyond. How about a little scoop on these two you have here?
Jeremiah, Sacramento

Answer: Well, I just wrote about Nicks. Here’s my argument for Laws: A.) The guy was a champion wrestler in high school. Have you ever known a wrestler? Those guys never stop, and Laws was an Energizer Bunny all week at the Senior Bowl. B.) Size-wise, he compares to former Niner Anthony Adams. But Laws is thicker and stronger. If he put on 10 more pounds, he would be the exact dimensions of Baltimore NT Kelly Gregg, and we all know how Nolan feels about Gregg. C.) Laws is smart. He’d be able to play any position along the line, although I concede that his best fit would be as a 4-3 DT.
- Matt

Question: Matt, Just read your blog and I am somewhat shocked that you seem to think the 49ers will draft an OT and a DT in the first/second round. Receiver, receiver, receiver! When in the hell is this team going to go out and get a blue chip prospect at the receiver position? Is Frank Gore the guy that Nolan and company want leading the team in receptions every year? I thought they passed up some WR talent in last year’s draft. What's the scoop for the WR position?
Rick, Sacramento

Answer: They certainly could draft a WR with their first pick. Limas Sweed, James Hardy, Mario Manningham and Early Doucet all could be there at pick No. 29. But aside from QB, WR is the toughest position to draft. Will any of the guys mentioned above be that much more productive than, say, Lavelle Hawkins, Andre Caldwell, Donnie Avery or Harry Douglas -- players the 49ers could grab in the third round? … And by the way, there’s a very good chance that Gore will indeed be the leading receiver for years to come. Marshall Faulk?
- Matt

Question: Matt--I got kind of geeky on this one, sorry. But of the top 13 WR's in the league (Pro Bowl this year or recently), I found out less than half were drafted in the first round. And among those that were, they were all towards the top of the round. I know the draft is guessing at every position, but it seems to me that WR has more busts than just about any other position. So I'd rather see them use free agency money on WR and then draft for other needs (OL,DL,LB). Do you think that's a good idea?
Eric, Springville, Utah

Answer: Nice assist, Eric! You’re geekiness is excused. I agree. That’s why I’ve been pushing for Bernard Berrian for the last three months.
- Matt

Question: The real mystery to me for next season is the offensive line. I've heard for the last two years Snyder's true position was guard now I'm hearing it may be right tackle, another question is just how little value do they think Smiley has, and our there any free agents that figure in Nolan's calculation. I hope somebody is paying some positive attention here.
Tom, Sacramento

Answer: Well, the draft is deep at offensive tackle but fairly shallow at guard and center. So if the 49ers brought in a free agent, I’d imagine it would be on the interior of the line. They showed no interest in Mike Wahl, who was let go by the Panthers this week, and I don’t think they’ll be in the running for Alan Faneca come Feb. 29. My guess for how the line will look in Week 1 this year: LT Staley, LG Snyder, C Heitmann, RG Baas, RT Jennings. They have Tony Wragge as a backup at guard and center but probably need one other backup there. They have Damane Duckett as a backup at tackle but probably need one other body there as well.
- Matt

Question: Matt, in a scale of 0 to 100% how would you grade our chances of signing: A) Jared Allen; B) Albert Haynesworth; C) Lance Briggs; D) Terrell Suggs; E) Bernard Berrian; F) Jordan Gross? Please consider the franchise tag possibilities and also our salary cap restrictions. Thanks so much and keep up with the good work! Congratulations for your great blog!
Rodrigo, Rio de Janeiro

Answer: Ok, considering that there’s no guarantee these guys will make it to FA and considering that the 49ers are competing with 31 other teams, these percentages will be low.

A.) Jared Allen. 5 percent. Best pass rusher on the market, but will the Chiefs let him walk? Doesn’t really fit the 49ers’ 3-4 scheme. (If the 49ers switched to a 4-3, grabbed Allen and drafted Laws, then they’d be in business!)
B.) Albert Haynesworth. 5 percent. Don’t see the Titans letting Haynesworth go.
C.) Lance Briggs. 10 percent. Briggs would love to play closer to his hometown of Elk Grove, but the 49ers aren’t going to break the piggy bank on an inside linebacker.
D.) Terrell Suggs. 10 percent. The Ravens have said they will franchise Suggs. If they don’t, we all know how much Mike Nolan loves ex Ravens
E.) Bernard Berrian. 18 percent. This one seems to fit. Berrian is from Cali, the 49ers need a WR and he seems perfect for Mike Martz’s offense.
F.) Jordan Gross. 2 percent. A report earlier this week said the Panthers would retain Gross with the franchise tag.
- Matt

Question: Hi Matt, thanks for all the hard work and good info. My question is what are the chances of Ryan Fitzpatrick ending up with the Niners? I think Martz might be looking for a good, young QB to run his offense in S.F. I believe Martz, when he was with the Lions, tried to get him from the Rams before he was traded to the Bengals. Keep up the great work!
Joe, Rohnert Park

Answer; Another possibility considering that Martz drafted Fitzpatrick when he was with the Rams. But I still think J.T. O’Sullivan will be the guy. Fitzpatrick is a restricted free agent; O’Sullivan is unrestricted.
- Matt

Question: Recent blogs indicate we might let Douglas & Sopoaga walk via free agency. That would be 3 out of 4 top D-linemen gone. Who would replace them?
Jason, Sacramento

Answer: Without Sopoaga and Douglas, and with no upgrades on the d-line, the starting unit would look like this: LDE Ronald Fields, NT Aubrayo Franklin, RDE Ray McDonald. But the 49ers likely will make the d-line priority No. 1 this offseason. And look for them to make one final push for Sopoaga on the eve of free agency.
- Matt

Question: The 49ers initially seemed very high on the full draft class of 2007, and Patrick Willis & Joe Staley played full time. But 5 of the most touted rookies -- Jason Hill, Ray McDonald, Jay Moore (IR), Dashon Goldson & Tarell Brown -- played hardly at all. Can you give us your best guess what the coaching staff thinks about these guys, and whether any will get substantial playing time in 2008?
Cody, Lafayette

Answer: In order of playing time, my guess is that it will go something like this: 1. McDonald, 2. Goldson, 3. Hill, 4. Brown, 5. Moore.
- Matt

Question: Matt- What are the odds that ocho-cinco will come to the cuatro-nueve-ers?
Auston, Yreka

Answer: Muy mal.
- Matteo


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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