49ers Blog and Q&A

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

September 14, 2008
Q&A: Does front office need fixing?

Question: Hey Matt, I was wondering if you can honestly see the 49ers ever going to the Superbowl again with the ownership and the front office they have installed right now? As a long-time Niner fan, it's painful to see where the team has gone in just ten years. What is it they really need to do and will it ever get better? Thanks!
Rich, San Francisco

Answer: If I were the Yorks, I would make Mike Holmgren an offer he can't refuse, one that puts him in a position similar to the one Bill Parcells is in in Miami. I think a Holmgren-McCloughan front office would be a very strong one. If Mike Nolan doesn't produce this season, I'd replace him with an offensive-minded coach. Holmgren this week said that he and Mike Martz go "way back" and that he considers Martz a friend. If not Martz, there are other names available. Norm Chow comes to mind. Perhaps the saddest thing about the 49ers' situation is that the NFC West has been ripe for the plucking for several years. It's a weak division, the weakest in the league, and the 49ers have been unable to take advantage. What an opportunity lost ...
- Matt

Question: I'm wondering if you'll entertain a theory I have on Alex Smith's situation. Last week in McCloughan's weekly presser, he stated that Smith will not be back next season as a backup. Less than a week later, Smith comes up with a phantom shoulder injury that supposedly happened during practice. Doctors are baffled by the inexplicable nature of the injury, which just doesn't happen in the circumstance Smith claims it happened. Do you think that this injury was made up so that Smith can let his shoulder heal even further before going on the market as a FA next season?
Robert, Brea

Answer: No, It's legit. Smith likely will become a free agent next year. He won't be helped by the fact that he ended the last two seasons on IR. His best-case scenario this season would have been if J.T. O'Sullivan got hurt or was ineffective, thus allowing him to come in to salvage the season. Now that's impossible. Also, I don't think Smith is capable of fibbing. Not in his genetic makeup.
- Matt

Question: How do you compare O'Sullivan's 'potential' to Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger? Obviously Warner and Bulger are accomplished players right now, but they were considered third stringers for a while before getting their chances.
Ken, Fremont

Answer: I think O'Sullivan's story is turning out very much like Warner's and Bulger's. The difference is that when Bulger and Warner got their chances in a starring roles, they were surrounded by good talent. Warner had Isaac Bruce, for example, when Bruce was in his mid 20s. Bulger had Bruce when he was in his late 20s. O'Sullivan has Bruce in his mid 30s.
- Matt

Question: Hi Matt, I'm still curious as to why Nolan wants to replace Ulbrich with Spikes, especially after watching Spikes flounder around out there on Sunday. Okay that might a little harsh, but he just doesn't look crisp in that position. He looked a little on the slow side, and we won't mention his hands, overall ineffective. Why not place him on special teams and keep Ulbrich where he seems to do the most good?
Don, Citrus Heights

Answer: Thank God. I thought I was the only one who noticed. On several plays it seemed like Spikes didn't want to get his jersey dirty. I'll have my binocs trained on him in Seattle. But are you sure you want Spikes on special teams?
- Matt

Question: What time is the 49er game this week? My directTV schedule says 1 pm eastern but I could have sworn it was 1 pm pacific. I'd check the site but my work has a sports web filter.
Nick, West Sacramento

Answer: Sports web filter? Those bastards! If every work place had a sports web filter I'd be out of a job. ... Game's at 1:05 p.m. Pacific.
- Matt

Question: Is it too early to say that the 49er's draft was a bust?
Richard, Sacramento

Answer: You can safely say it lacked star power, but it's too early to use the "b" word. Check back in 2010.
- Matt

Question: Matt, Still loving this blog. Since you've been around the team since training camp began, I'm sure you've seen the players interact with each other. My question is who does JT O'Sullivan fraternize with? Does he get along with certain WR over others? I know they're all professionals, but Im sure players like certain players over others (just like at our jobs). Anyways, keep up the great work, and better luck to Virginia this week. Peace!
Brett, Santa Barbara

Answer: I'm not sure J.T. O'Sullivan fraternizes period. He is a very serious dude. I do see him chit chatting with the other QBs every now and then, but it's not as chummy as the Smith-Hill-Dilfer triumvirate of the last two years. Go Hoos!
- Matt

Question: Hey, Matt. Why is the team so adamant about keeping Snyder at LG? He didn't play that position last year and has been out played so far this season/preseason. He just seems better suited at tackle. Shouldn't we move him over to RT so he can back up Jennings (who will be cut after this season) and possibly take over that position next year?
Marc, Tempe

Answer: I think it's because no one else has practiced there this offseason. Remember, Tony Wragge has been practicing at David Baas' right guard spot since May. And Chilo Rachal has been Wragge's back-up. Brian de la Puente was Snyder's understudy throughout the offseason but he was claimed by Kansas City.
- Matt

Question: I just want to know if the niners QB JTO doesn't do good would the niners be willing to take a chance on Michael Vick, if none of the Niners QB's step up? It might be a dumb question but just want to know? Plus everyone deserves a second chance.
Christian, Fresno

Answer: Yeah, and maybe they can see if O.J.'s available to play running back ...
- Matt



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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