The 49ers didn't keep Scott Tolzien around for the last two seasons because of his arm or athletic ability. Jim Harbaugh liked Tolzien for his work ethic and for his brain.
That brain - and all the knowledge it accumulated in two and half seasons in San Francisco - is now back in Wisconsin. The Packers added Tolzien to their practice squad today, and they are likely pumping him for information - Zero Dark 3? - about their Week 1 opponent as you read this.
And if you don't think that happens when one player is picked up to another, recall that former Rams safety Craig Dahl said the 49ers immediately debriefed him about the Rams defense when he arrived in Santa Clara in March. That drew some angry words from Dahl's former Rams teammates but a shoulder shrug from Rams coach Jeff Fisher.
"First off, any time a player that's involved in the system changes addresses, there's always going to be some sort of debriefing," Fisher said. "That always happens, so that's not unusual."
Tolzien's job the last few years was to act as a second set of eyes for the starting quarterback as far as breaking down the opposing defense in the run-up to the game and to help analyze what's happening on the field during the game. Both players and coaches said that was something at which Tolzien, a noted gym rat, excelled.
Alex Smith, for example, said he leaned heavily on Tolzien when he was the starter. "Scott - I can definitely ask him to try to keep an eye on things and watch specifics that week," Smith said last season.
Tolzien, obviously, would have very good insight into the 49ers offensive and defensive personnel, their defensive tendencies and their snap count verbiage at the line of scrimmage. But in talking to players this spring and summer, there's been little, if any, game-plan preparation for the Packers thus far.
The 49ers opened the season against the Packers last year, too, and they openly said they began their Week 1 preparation as far back as the spring. The coaches undoubtedly started working on Green Bay earlier this year as well. But it hasn't been passed on to the players - perhaps in anticipation of this type of situation - and it won't until the first practice of the week on Tuesday.
Another ex 49er, receiver Ricardo Lockette, was added to the Bears practice squad.
-- Matt Barrows