49ers Blog and Q&A

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

September 5, 2013
Benedict Tolzien? 49ers downplay ex-QB's impact on Sunday's game


Vic Fangio today said one of the reasons to hold off on game planning for a Week 1 opponent is because you never know if any players from your preseason roster may end up joining that Week 1 foe. "That's part of it," the 49ers defensive coordinator said today. "We don't do it quite as early as our offense does it."

Fangio said the 49ers defense didn't begin working on Green Bay until last week. But that's not because Fangio had an inkling two of the team's former quarterbacks, Scott Tolzien and Seneca Wallace, would end up with the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers released Tolzien Aug. 26. They parted ways with Wallace five days later.

"No, I had no idea that we were going to cut him and I absolutely had no idea where he would end up," Fangio said of Tolzien, who had been with the 49ers for two and a half seasons and who might provide particularly good insight about his old team.

Asked if he felt the need to change things defensively now that Tolzien is in enemy hands, however, Fangio said, "No." Offensive coordinator Greg Roman took a similar stance.

"I think it's really going to come down to the players on the field," Roman said. "I mean, I could say something clever like, 'Once they think they have all the answers, we change the questions.' And that may or may not be true. But I'm not going to say that."

Roman said the intrigue of a quarterback spilling secrets "tends to get a little overrated."

"And when you pin your hopes on stuff like that, there's a flip side to that coin, too, on what can happen," he said. "So Scott was a very good player while he was here. And I'm sure they're picking his brain. And it really is not going to have any impact on the game."

Center Jonathan Goodwin agreed. But he also said the Packers made a good choice in picking up Tolzien in advance of playing the 49ers. "If you're going to have somebody on your football team to ask questions, Scott Tolzien is a guy you would want whereas some guys wouldn't have a clue," Goodwin said.

Tolzien conceivably could point out the 49ers' offensive tendencies, reveal which players may be dealing with an unreported injury and discuss the team's protection verbiage at the line of scrimmage. But Goodwin said it's probably overblown.

"At times that stuff can help," he said. "But throughout the NFL you're going to have similar situations like that, especially coming out of training camp. At times that stuff can get a little too much credit. ... We've gotten to a point here as an offensive line where we don't have to make a lot of calls. So that also helps."

- 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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