49ers Blog and Q&A

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

September 8, 2008
Nolan: Glass half full after loss to Arizona; QB update

Last year at this time Mike Nolan was 1-0 after a narrow win over the Cardinals. But the coach today he had a better feeling about the upcoming season this year than he did a year ago despite losing the opener to Arizona. "We're going to be a better football team than we were last year. I believe we already are,' Nolan said. " ... I'm excited about the prospects of this football team. But it is about winning. So it's difficult to get too excited when you're 0-1."

  • Nolan confirmed that former Rams QB Jamie Martin was one of the quarterbacks the 49ers were considering signing but that they had a "wall of names" of potential replacements. He said there has been no determination about the extent and duration of Alex Smith's shoulder injury. Whether Smith is out for a short period or a long one will help determine the type of player - veteran or youngster -- they bring in, he said. The 49ers are not interested in training-camp QB Kyle Wright at this time. They have spoken with Tim Rattay's agent, but their level of interest has not been determined. Rattay was in New England today and could be signed by the Patriots. *****UPDATE***** Martin is flying in tomorrow to have a physical, according to his agent.
  • The Cardinals seemed to be picking on cornerback Donald Strickland in the second half, especially when he was matched up against Anquan Boldin. Nolan, however, insisted that the 49ers were continually switching the scheme - zone to man-to-man, etc. - so that Arizona would not get comfortable on the matchup. When a team has 40 second-half plays (like the Cardinals did), they are bound to get some favorable matchups, Nolan said.
  • Nolan acknowledged that the Cardinals defense did a good job of taking away the 49ers' outside receivers, particularly Isaac Bruce, who was held without a catch. Nolan said the Cardinals left the inside receivers in single coverage. J.T. O'Sullivan is expected to move on to his next option in those cases, and for the most part he did, Nolan said.
  • The 49ers were contemplating some razzle dazzle when the Cardinals punted from deep in their own territory at the end of the first half. One of the options was for Allen Rossum to hand the ball to Nate Clements, who was back on the play. In the end, the 49ers decided on a fair catch, which Nolan said disappointed Rossum and Clements who were in favor of the more ambitious play.
  • The 49ers only had one significant injury - center Eric Heitmann's shoulder - and Heitmann returned to play most of the game. They should be healthy for Sunday's game in Seattle.
  • The 49ers had to burn a timeout before a third-down play by the Cardinals because the defensive call was not being transmitted properly from the coaches' booth. The 49ers had more technical difficulties at halftime when the elevator from the booth to the field level broke down, forcing the 49ers' assistants to climb down through the stands. I'm beginning to think it might be time for a new stadium ...
  • -- 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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