Yes, there are some big-ticket items certain to be covered when the 49ers meet tomorrow for their first minicamp practice. Coach Mike Singletary will be asked the "C" word (Cutler) and whether the 49ers would contemplate a trade for the unhappy Denver quarterback. He'll be asked whether he's spoken with Isaac Bruce and whether he thinks the veteran receiver will return for his 16th season. He'll probably be asked why he doesn't just name Shaun Hill the quarterback starter heading into the season.
But there also will be plenty of interesting minutia - oxymoron? - to look at over the next few days. And if blogs are good for anything, they're good for minutia. For example:
- What's the deal at safety? We know that Dashon Goldson and Michael Lewis are penciled in as the starters. But who's behind them? Will newcomer Jimmy Williams be the No. 2 guy at both positions? Will erstwhile CBs Marcus Hudson or Reggie Smith get a look at safety?
- Who starts at right tackle, Barry Sims or Adam Snyder? Both started in place of Jonas Jennings last season, but neither is a long-term answer at the position. Do the 49ers consider Snyder a guard or a tackle? He seemed to play better at tackle last season.
- Where will Ahmad Brooks play? Both Scot McCloughan and Mike Singletary feel the linebacker is teeming with potential. Do they make him a Will OLB who rushes the passer, or do they put him behind Patrick Willis at "Mike"? My guess - with TBC and Roderick Green gone, Brooks gets a chance to rush the passer. Does Jay Moore, who has struggled to convert from defensive end, go back to outside linebacker?
- Who are the top three receivers? Injuries to Arnaz Battle last season allowed Jason Hill to get time at slot receiver, and he made the most of the opportunity. Battle is still dealing with a foot injury from last year. Josh Morgan and Brandon Jones appear to be the top targets at flanker and split end.
- What will be Michael Robinson's role? The 49ers are expected to draft a big running back in the upcoming draft who would platoon with Frank Gore. Does this limit Robinson to special teams? Does he become a Wildcat specialist? By the way, I asked about the potential of moving Robinson to strong safety. The answer was "no." And, yes, I felt stupid for asking. Thanks, you guys ruined my credibility ...
- Does Isaac Sopoaga slide over to nose tackle? Is Demetric Evans the starter at left defensive end? With Ray McDonald recovering from knee surgery, who plays behind Justin Smith at right defensive end?
- Who's going to wear the radio receiver for the defense? Mark Roman mostly wore it last year, but he's staying away from minicamp while he tries to orchestrate a trade. Willis didn't like wearing it. Do you give it to Goldson, who already has plenty on his plate as a first-time starter?
- Who backs up Takeo Spikes at Ted? Jeff Ulbrich certainly can do the job, but he is not a long-term solution. How seriously do the 49ers look at Mark Washington?
S Lewis Baker
DE Demetric Evans
QB Damon Huard
WR Brandon Jones
FB Moran Norris
LB Justin Roland
WR Michael Spurlock
LB Mark Washington
S Jimmy Williams
TE Billy Bajema*
LB Tully Banta-Cain
NT Ronald Fields
RB DeShaun Foster
LB-DE Roderick Green
WR Bryant Johnson
S Keith Lewis
QB Jamie Martin
QB J.T. O'Sullivan
TE Sean Ryan
CB Donald Strickland*
* Still could return to 49ers
The 49ers are still mulling over Marvel Smith. If anything changes, I'll post it pronto ...
**UPDATE** Just checked in re: Marvel Smith. Negotiations have yet to begin. Apparently, there has been a delay in getting the results of the physical back from Stanford ...
-- Matt Barrows