49ers Blog and Q&A

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

July 9, 2008
Favre, Rodgers and Wright -- oh my!

Our first question comes from an A. Lee in Santa Clara who asks. "What are the chances Brett Favre ends up with the 49ers? And if so, would he demand to wear No. 4?" Rest peacefully, Mr. Lee, the chance of Favre playing for the 49ers is slimmer than Kate Moss after 39 days on Survivor. First, Mike Martz is convinced he can win with the QBs currently on the roster. And second, Favre wants to play for a contender. The 49ers would be far, far down his list. But in an item yesterday, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio raises an interesting point. By deciding to un-retire, Favre - who, by the way, waffles more than Aunt Jemima - would put the Packers in a terrible bind. Trade him and the team alienates a fan base that worships Favre like a god. Re-sign him and the Packers anger their successor at quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who has been waiting for Favre to fade into the background since 2005. Under the latter scenario, Florio speculates that Rodgers could demand a trade and that one-time suitor San Francisco could be one of the places he winds up.

For this scenario, it's necessary to hop in the Wayback Machine and turn the dial to the winter of 2005. Back then, the 49ers claimed with straight faces that they had three players - Rodgers, Alex Smith and Braylon Edwards -- rated equally and that they could take any of them with the No. 1 overall pick. Really they were just trying to drum up a trade. What actually happened was that both Mike Nolan and Scot McCloughan concluded very early on that Smith was their guy. At least one of those two guys - can you guess which one? - is still convinced that Smith will be good, if not very good. And that guy now has final say on personnel decisions.

Speaking of quarterback comebacks, it looks as if there's little chance that Trent Dilfer will be back in uniform. (If the 49ers QBs go down like they did in 2007, who knows, Dilfer might have gotten a call) Dilfer apparently tore an Achilles tendon while playing basketball.

The injury shouldn't affect his gig as a guest analyst with the NFL Network, which he handled remarkably well last season. Looking back at his career in San Francisco, it seems as if he was always practicing for that role. Dilfer was the go-to guy for reporters who needed a colorful quote for their story. Doing a story on the nickel cornerback? Dilfer had an opinion and a damn good quote. Doing a piece on the new grass on practice field No. 3? Might as well see if Dilfer has anything to say.

Dilfer, nattily dressed in a suit and tie, provided commentary for NFLN before the 49ers' prime time game against Cincinnati on Dec. 15. I always felt this was odd considering that, you know, Dilfer was getting a generous paycheck from the 49ers at the time and that his primary role was to provide guidance for the 49ers' young QBs and that Shaun Hill was starting his first-ever game. Hill went on to win the game, 20-13, and had a 105.8 passer rating.

And speaking of quarterbacks, what should we make of this Kyle Wright-for-Drew Olson swap? Nothing. The 49ers go through No. 4 quarterbacks like you and I use a roll of paper towels. They do so hoping to find a diamond in the rough like, well, Hill. It's not that Olson did anything wrong or handled his job poorly. It's that the 49ers concluded that he had limited potential and they want to see whether Wright has more.

-- 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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