49ers Blog and Q&A

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

March 22, 2008
Q&A: QB competition or QB controversy?

Question: Who has best chance to start at QB for the 49ers? Hill looked really good. Maybe two-qb team? Hopefully not! Got any info on the new qb?
Early, Clovis

Answer: You raise a good point. While it’s true that the 49ers are setting up a stiff quarterback competition this offseason, they also are setting themselves up for some controversy. Unless one guy clearly establishes himself as the superior quarterback, there inevitably will be second-guessing as the soon as the starter falters. If the 49ers get off to a slow start, the 49ers are opening themselves up for a QB carousel.
- Matt

Question: What do you think of Trevor Laws as a 3-4 NT? The obvious comparison is Kelly Gregg...do you think this is valid?
Roast, Auburn

Answer: It’s certainly a possibility. The two guys are roughly the same dimensions.
- Matt

Question: Hey Matt, great blog! I’d like to know why no one would consider drafting a corner in this years Draft to help Nate Clements even with the possibility of a top 5 Corner falling to the late 1st round in this year’s draft?
Richard, Carson
- Matt

Answer: The draft is particularly deep at two position groups – offensive tackle and cornerback. I expect the 49ers to come away with one of each. Offensive tackle is more of a need – that’s why you’ve been hearing more about that position than QB.
- Matt

Question: Matt do you foresee Goldson taking over Mark Roman's safety spot this season?
Matt, San Diego

Answer: Eventually, but not this season. Goldson’s skills seem like a perfect compliment to Michael Lewis’, but Roman is no slouch. He has the confidence of the coaching staff.
- Matt

Question: What happened with Takeo Spikes?
Dave, Tracy

Answer: Weighing his options.
- Matt

Question: So much trade talk! There has been so much talk about Chad Johnson not being happy in Cinci. What are the chances the 49ers trade for him, and if they decide to do so, what would it take?
Jonathan, Norcross, Ga.

Answer: Don’t see it happening for a number of reasons. Johnson is under contract, and the Bengals would ask for all the tea in China in exchange for him. He’d also want to play for a Super Bowl contender. (The 49ers, owners of the league’s worst offense, aren’t in that category). And I don’t think Nolan would want to deal with Johnson’s colorful personality.
- Matt

Question: Couldn't be much happier with the off-season acquisitions. Each player provides an upgrade over the man being replaced. Bruce for Gilmore, Johnson for "stonehands" Jackson (at half the cost) Smith for Douglas, Foster for Hicks..etc. I think we have done a great job in free agency. Would you agree? (personally I would have went after A.Samuel and drafted a D-end instead of paying Smith all that money) Now we are truly in a position to draft "the best player available". Do you still see O-line & D-line at picks 1 2,or could we get a surprise, as in CB, S, QB,LB?
Jason, Sacramento

Answer: I agree with your assessment – it looks as if, at the very least, the 49ers upgraded the depth chart at several positions. But by how much? That remains to be seen. Remember that everyone was gaga when Jackson was acquired last season. Unless the offense improves overall, Johnson, Foster, etc. might seem like duds, too. (By the way, as someone who grew up a few miles from Manassas, Va., I love the “Stonehands” Jackson moniker.) As for the draft, I’m sticking to my guns with O-line and D-line early. However, the wild card could be a cornerback.
- Matt

djackson.jpg st.jackson.jpg

Question: Given the horrific performance of the WR corps since the arrival of McNolan, why is it that Jerry Sullivan doesn't get more criticism? All I ever hear is what a tremendous teacher Sullivan is yet we can't get ANY production from this group. Draft picks, free agents, veterans, not a single person has been productive. Maybe there is an issue with the coach rather than the players? Interested in your thoughts.
JJ, Plano, Texas

Answer: Are you trying to get me blacklisted by the coaching staff?!?! First, I’ll offer this defense: The offense as a whole has stunk for a while. In order for the wide receivers to be productive, the quarterback has to be on target, the line has to block, etc., etc. The wideouts are the last link in that chain. … But I certainly see your point. If Sullivan is indeed the greatest position coach in the league, why can’t he turn water into wine? One issue that hasn’t helped the situation is Sullivan’s iron-clad allegiance to “his guys.” Was Bryan Gilmore really going to make a difference last season? Sullivan should have set aside his requirement for centimeter-perfect route running and played Ashley Lelie and Jason Hill sooner than he did.
- Matt

Question: By the start of next season, do you see a change at the right cornerback? With Walt Harris aging, do you think bigger, faster, younger, Spencer can take away the starting job?
Matt, San Diego

Answer: Harris seems to have found the fountain of youth and there’s still a healthy gap between him and Spencer. I think Tarell Brown is the guy you should keep an eye on in the future.
- Matt


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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