49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 16, 2008
49ers 34, Packers 6: Post-game notes

* First, the big question. Was JTO's performance tonight -- 8 of 17 for 154 yards, one awesome touchdown, one horrendous interception -- enough to win him the starting job? Mike Nolan said it was too early to say. He and his assistants have to look at the game film before making any conclusions. He also said he doesn't feel bound to make a decision by Thursday's third preseason game in Chicago. "We don't have a timetable on it," he said. "We want to make a good decision, and we will."

Alex Smith, meanwhile, said he was under the impression that the competition was still open. "They kind of talked about us going into that third preseason game and letting us battle it out until then," he said.

* Nolan didn't show Smith much sympathy last season when the quarterback separated his shoulder. This week, however, Nolan has taken every opportunity to praise Smith, whose best friend committed suicide six days ago. Smith was home in San Diego yesterday to attend his friend's service. Said Nolan: "He showed a lot of maturity. That's difficult for some guys when they're not playing in the game. But he did a nice job. I'm proud of him."

* How do you top a four-catch, 68-yard rookie debut? With a 5-catch, 114-yard follow up that includes a 59-yard touchdown. That's what Josh Morgan, the hardest working man on the team, did Saturday night. I say hardest working because Morgan played well into the third quarter while everyone else on the team played at most a half. Morgan was searching for the ball with which he scored after the game ...

* Joe Staley had some problems with beefy Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins early, but overall the pass protection was very good Saturday. No sacks allowed. The offensive line also opened some nice holes for Frank Gore, who rushed six times and had a 4.8 yards-per-carry average.

* Who led the team in tackles? His initials are TBC. Yes, Tully Banta-Cain had five stops, including back-to-back sacks of QB Matt Flynn. Both caused Flynn to fumble, the second of them was recovered by Atiyyah Ellison. What to make of TBC? He played special teams in the first half and didn't play defense until the seond half. Meanwhile, Roderick Green actually started the game at right defensive end. Green was in the game a lot early on as a pass-rush specialist.

* The 49ers had six sacks, 1 1/2 of them by defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who was singled out by Nolan after the game. McDonald and Justin Smith are a tandem and they often run stunts together. It's looking like a promising partnership.

* Injuries? What injuries? The 49ers did not report any after the game. That could change when players report to the training room tomorrow, but so far -- knock on wood -- the 49ers have emerged from two preseason games very healthy.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW 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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