At 7pm pacific time tonight, the 49ers welcome their cross-Bay rivals, the Oakland Raiders. I'm planning on posting some pre-game analysis as an open thread a little later this afternoon. In the meantime, here are some links from the last couple of days leading up to this game. Feel free to add more as you see fit.
According to Coach Nolan, the starters will get 24 plays against the Raiders. When asked about how Joe Staley and Kwame Harris will split playing time, Nolan said:
In that notebook, Nolan was also asked about Patrick Willis and Derek Smith. It sounds like Willis will be sticking with his existing sub package of plays, which allows for plenty of work, just not with the base starting defense.
The most important question, in my opinion, came when Nolan was asked about Smith calling more of his own plays since he's a smart guy (particularly due to the rules on OCs making play calls from the box versus on the field):
While I wouldn't mind him calling some of his own plays, I like the idea of him being able to just concentrate on execution.
Nolan also announced players who will be out of tonight's game. Again, BY, Franklin, Harris, Gore and Estes will be sitting. Zak Keasey and Colby Bockwoldt got banged up last week, but will be back in the lineup.
Vernon Davis didn't get too worked up about having no passes thrown his way. Normally, I'd want a guy to at least get a little fired up about it, but considering the person, I'm glad he's not going prima donna on us.
Arnaz Battle is this week's camp spotlight. It's relatively light, but some decent insight about some of Battle's teammates.
Apparently the team will be switching things up and moving OC Hostler up to the booth and bringing DC Manusky down to the field for the game today, in reverse of last week. They say there could be a lag of 3-5 seconds because plays will be relayed through QB coach Frank Cignetti this week, which didn't happen last week. That will certainly be something to keep an eye out for, particularly if it affects Alex Smith's performance.
There have been plenty of pieces about the return of Tully Banta-Cain to his hometown region. I'm curious if that has any affect on a players performance. Does going home to play improve your performance because you're in a comfort zone, hurt your performance because you get nervous being in front of family and friends more often, or neither? I'd be curious to see a statistical study of performance by players who returned to their hometown or home state to play. I think it's something to keep an eye out for.
Interesting article yesterday in the LA Times about Alex Smith getting over a "Montana Complex."
Your obligatory puff piece about how Michael Lewis is happy to be in San Francisco and glad he left Philly. Kinda random that it's an AP story that was picked up by the Honolulu Advertiser. Also, apparently Michael Lewis is a dominant Madden player.
NFL.com is doing camp tours that basically amount to team previews. The 49ers version discusses the many changes with the team and how they are fighting for national respect again.
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