49ers Blog and Q&A

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

August 17, 2008
No decision yet on QB ... the wait continues

Just got off a conference call with Mike Nolan. The first question, of course, was whether in looking over the game film from Saturday, Nolan and his assistants were ready to name a QB starter for the season. Nolan: "As soon as I do, I'll offer it. Now I don't."

Nolan said he though J.T. O'Sullivan made progress from last week when he was forcing too many plays, especially on third down. This week, O'Sullivan made one third-down blunder on the interception by Charles Woodson. But Nolan said he was happy with how O'Sullivan handled other third-down situations. "I thought his decision-making was very good," Nolan said.

Asked whether he was seeing enough of Alex Smith and Shaun Hill to properly evaluate them, Nolan said: "I feel good about what we're doing from a repetition standpoint." That seems to be an indication that O'Sullivan will start Thursday's game in Chicago, but Nolan would not commit to that, either.

More from Nolan:

* He heaped more praise onto Josh Morgan (5 catches, 114 yards) but said it was too early to name him as a starter. "There's still a lot of time left to make that assessment. Nothing to report on that." Morgan was left in the game in the third quarter so that Smith could throw to him. Smith missed Morgan on a deep pattern that likely would have been a touchdown. However, the two hooked up on a 27-yard pass play in which Smith released the ball before Morgan's final move. Nolan was pleased in the trust the two players had in one another.

* Nolan also is happy with Tony Wragge, who has played well enough to be considered for A.) the starting job when David Baas returns from his pectoral muscle injury or B.) To perhaps push Adam Snyder, who struggled early in camp, at left guard. Nolan (of course) would only say that he felt he had three starting-caliber players at guard. He did say, however, that Baas appears to be ahead of schedule as far as his return.

* It turns out the 49ers had one injury. Jonas Jennings injured the knuckle on one of his hands. We'll have a diagnosis tomorrow. Asked how Jennings played against Aaron Kampman, Nolan said, "Ok ... Just Ok."

Observations after re-watching Saturday's game:


  • I paid close attention to Marcus Hudson and Keith Lewis, who are competing for one roster spot. I thought Lewis had a particularly good game on special teams after whiffing on Johnnie Lee Higgins' punt return for a TD last week. In fact, Lewis was in the midst of tackling the Packers return man Will Blackmon when Blackmon flipped the ball backward to Atari Bigby at the last second. No matter: Lewis got up, and along with Shawntae Spencer, tackled Bigby farther downfield.
  • Hudson, meanwhile, was credited with one special teams tackle. On a 3rd and 19 play deep in their own territory, the packers threw a screen to Vernon Morency. Hudson did a nice job of avoiding the pulling guard on the play, but he whiffed on the tackle. Lewis finally tackled Morency after he had gained 20 yards.
  • Deep in 49ers territory, Ray McDonald absolutely bowled over the left guard on his way to sacking Aaron Rodgers. McDonald had used his quickness early in the game to slide past the guard, who was obviously off balance. McDonald's performance is an encouraging sign for the 49ers' pass rush, especially considering that he will be paired with Justin Smith throughout the season.
  • Joe Staley had some problems with Cullen Jenkins early on but later settled down and handled him well. The offensive line played well as a whole and the left side of the line in particular improved since last week. Right guard Tony Wragge got into the second level several times to deliver blocks.
  • Somewhere Joe Gibbs is wondering why the 49ers weren't penalized for calling two timeouts in a row.
  • After being questioned for not going for it on fourth down last week in Oakland, Mike Nolan went for it twice on fourth down deep in packers territory. The results: A touchdown and a first and goal.

*********************
So how insanely fast was Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt's 9.69-second finish in Saturday's 100-meter dash? Kings beatwriter Sam Amick helped me put it in football terms. If 100 meters were broken down into 40-yard segments - what players run at the combine and at days - Bolt's time translates to 3.54 seconds. Put another way: Vernon Davis' 40 time in 2006 was 4.38 seconds. Over 100 meters, that translates to 11.98 seconds.

vd td.jpg bolt.jpg

Of course, you have to keep in mind that the first half of the 100 meters is slower than the last half. And you have to also keep in mind that Davis is better at sealing off the defensive end than Bolt. I see Bolt as a kick returner, and of course, I see him in a Chargers uniform ...

-- 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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