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August 15, 2011
Veteran move? 49ers OC talks Culpepper, quarterbacks

Today was a Greg Roman day for the media. The 49ers offensive coordinator talked about an array of topics from blitz pickup drills to how Braylon Edwards is looking in training camp. Here's what Roman had to say about veteran quarterback Daunte Culpepper, whom he helped work out this morning. After reading the transcript, ask yourself if Culpepper is someone the 49ers will sign right away.

On working with Daunte Culpepper today:
GR: "Daunte Culpepper's been a very successful quarterback. I've seen him up close with my own eyes. We've all seen it. Any time you get a chance to watch just why he might have been such a quarterback and what he brings to the table - it's an opportunity. And I got to meet with Daunte and very much enjoyed it. And I think the early 2000s, he was really hot. He had it rolling in Minnesota. So we got a chance to talk some football, and he's a successful player. And any successful player's worth talking to."

What can a veteran quarterback do for your offense?
GR: "I think that's a little bit hypothetical, not really sure. But if he can play at a high level and compete, he could bring that aspect to the competition. I believe that I guy like Daunte that's been around and seen everything he's seen can certainly offer the other quarterbacks a unique perspective on everything whether it be coverage, how to read a certain pass play protection and whatnot. He's got a lot of skins on his belt, so he'd be an interesting guy."

Why start considering a veteran QB now, at this stage?
GR: "Well, I think very simply we're trying to get better as a team all the time. That will never stop. So I think Trent Baalke and our scouting staff do a great job of really, with a fine-tooth comb, assessing who might be available and if they in fact can make our team stronger. I think that's an ongoing process."

Do practice repetitions have to be considered, especially with an abbreviated time to teach?
GR: "I think so. I think that's something you have to discuss on a daily basis with the coaching staff. I think that's a very good point. That's something that we would definitely discuss and we do discuss daily, how the reps get divided."

Alex Smith is getting the majority of the first-team reps. What's the rationale behind that?
GR: "Well, I think the reps are pretty even, actually. They're divvied out pretty even throughout practice. And I think they're both doing a really good job."

On what he meant by "ongoing process" in the evaluation of personnel?
GR: "Well, you have a decision to make - two quarterbacks or three? That's something we'll have to - you know, that'll change as the roster changes. So, if XY and Z has to happen, it might free up a third quarterback spot, then we'd want to be ready to strike at that point. If XYZ happen and RST happen, then we would keep two. So you have to be ready for all those different scenarios."

Would you really consider two quarterbacks considering Kaepernick's a rookie?
GR: "Colin's doing a great job. One of the things you look for in a quarterback is the ability to manage those little situations that you can't really coach, teach and define. And he's done a great job. Some guys have those instincts and he's shown to have those instincts. He's getting better every day, makes a mistake and he puts it behind him. And that's key. So it's hard to tell how that will unfold. We just have to wait and see."

********************
As was the case Sunday, the 49ers offense spent a lot of time working on picking up blitzes - including all-out blitzes - on Monday. The unit had varying degrees of success. On one play, Alex Smith bobbled a shotgun snap and rushed his throw to Braylon Ewards and was picked off by rookie Chris Culliver, who has been a mainstay in the first-team defense's nickel package recently.

On another play, Tramaine Brock jumped in front of a pass to Kyle Williams to knock down a Smith pass. Smith, however, also had some nice-looking plays, hitting Edwards and Gore to take advantage of the blitzing defense. He also connected on long balls to Joshua Morgan and Ted Ginn at the end of practice.

*********************
Brock and Tarell Brown were the first-team cornerbacks. Neither Carlos Rogers nor Shawntae Spencer (hamstring) practiced Monday. ... Joe Staley seemed to tweak his right ankle at the end of practice, although it didn't appear serious. Alex Boone filled in at left tackle with the first-team unit and looked good. ... Michael Crabtree watched his first practice without an orthopedic boot on his left foot. Crabtree was in tennis shoes and was walking without a limp. His next step will be running on the foot and trying to get back in football shape ... The team released outside linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, who had been the No. 5 OLB on the depth chart. ... NT Isaac Sopoaga practiced in full for the second straight day.

-- 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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