49ers Blog and Q&A

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

January 4, 2009
Q&A: Average QBs can operate ground attacks

Question: Hey Matt, it seems everyone is on this power run philosophy citing most of the teams in the playoffs are power running teams. Well, last time I checked don't those teams have pretty good QB's also? I mean what happens when you get behind in games late in that magical 4th quarter? Anyways how do you see the QB situation playing out in free agency or in the draft??
Adrian, Oviedo, Fl

Answer: The way I see it, the beauty of a potent running attack is that you can be effective with an average quarterback. Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan are rookies. Gus "self-induced concussion" Frerotte, Kerry Collins and Chad Pennington are merely ok guys. And yes, there will be times that the 49ers have to play from behind. But the idea behind a ball-control philosophy is that you never fall behind by much. (See 2007 49ers for counter argument). As for the 49ers' quarterback future, I think it will depend a lot on whom they tap as OC. If it's a West Coast guy, I can see them giving Jeff Garcia and/or Donovan McNabb long looks should they become available. There are many, many variables, which is why Mike Singletary has been hesitant to say anything concrete about Shaun Hill. At the end of the day, however, my best guess for the 49ers' three QB's are: Hill, Alex Smith and unnamed rookie.
- Matt

Question: So it's all draft time for me now. Even though I am a UCLA guy, I love Taylor Mays with our first pick. Mark Roman just doesn't get the job done. Who do you see us taking with our first pick and any potential big free agents we may sign?
Tyler, Sacramento

Answer: The 49ers definitely must consider taking a safety and Mays seems like the best of the bunch. What the Ravens are showing me today is that "ball skills" (that sounds a tad perverted) are oh-so-important when it comes to the members of your secondary. And I've got to say that collectively, the 49ers are pretty poor in that regard.
- Matt

Question: How about this: the 49ers trade their #10 draft pick and Alex Smith for a higher pick? Do you think this is plausible? And would there be any takers?
Chris, El Cerrito

Answer: This is why I don't publish your last names - for your own protection. Trade? For a guy who's had two shoulder surgeries in 10 months and who is scheduled to earn more than $10 million?
- Matt

Question: Matt, your blog about Kentwan Balmer got me thinking about this years draft. How many picks do the 49ers have and do they have any compensatory picks via the departures of Kwame Harris and Justin Smiley.
Bob, Colfax

Answer: The 49ers will have the 10th pick in all seven rounds. They also believe they could get two compensatory picks due to lost free agents. ****Actually, the 49ers will alternate with the 7-9 Bills, who have the 11th pick. So, 49ers pick 10th in the first, 11th in the second, 10th in the third, etc ...*******- Matt

Question: even though the 49er defense played pretty well this season, i still see some pretty good sized holes in the lineup. including a big time pass rusher. do you think there is any way on earth we could land albert haynsworth through free agency?
David, Modesto

Answer: A defensive line of Balmer, Haynesworth and Justin Smith certainly looks good on paper, doesn't it? If Haynesworth becomes a free agent, however, you have to believe that he'd be the marquee name on the market. That is, the 49ers would have plenty of competition. Also, you'd have to wonder if an Albert Haynesworth with a big, fat long-term contract would be as effective as an Albert Haynesworth motivated by playing in his contract year. After all, the guy hasn't exactly been the picture of restraint over the years.
- Matt

Question: Matt: Will Sing continue to coach the LBs?
Teddy, Kenner, La.

Answer: Jason Tarver took on more control of the lbs when Singletary became interim head coach.
- Matt

Question: I haven't seen Tony Wragge on the list of FAs this year. Can you tell us anything about his contract? I was surprised to hear Singletary mention guard as a position where he was looking for help. Obviously, we know Baas' contract expires after next season and Rachal is locked up for 3 more years. Do you think the team is concerned about re-signing Baas and how does Wragge figure into this?
Matt, Modesto

Answer: Wragge signed a one-year extension before the season. He's signed through 2009. I see Baas' situation being similar to Smiley's last year. I think the 49ers would like to have him back, but they will not get in a bidding war over him. Wragge could certainly play there but is not a long-term soluation. Adam Snyder is also an option, although I think Snyder showed this year that he is a better tackle than a guard.
- Matt

Question: I'm wondering if there's some way of bringing in Tom Rathman with the intention of grooming him as an oc. The guy is the very definition of smashmouth football. It seems to me like his smashmouth running-back mentality, along with his knowledge of Walsh's offense seems to fit the bill perfectly (Singletary: "I want to go back to the kind of offenses Bill Walsh ran here early on"). Any chance the undead vampire across the bay will let Rathman go? How would we bring him in to learn and inherit the position without making him the guy that calls the plays?
Ian, SF

Answer: Well, there's a good chance that the Raiders hire a new coach, who would bring in an entirely new staff. In that case, Rathman would be on the street. The 49ers need a new RBs coach. Why not hire Rathman as such and allow him to apprentice under the new OC? He could be the heir apparent.
- Matt

Question: Hey Barrows! Whatever happened to Patrick Willis' nickname (Bam Bam) that you "chose" last year? I was the one who suggested "The Second Samurai" and lo and behold, Singletary is now the new coach. I think Willis' new nickname should be changed to reflect that of his coach. Plus, it will probably stick more than "Bam Bam". What about sending me that T-shirt now? Keep up the good work, dude.
Zeb, Sacramento

Answer: How 'bout we compromise and call him "Sam Sam?" Damn, maybe I should send myself a t-shirt ...
- Matt


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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