49ers.com: Nolan's Notebook, August 19

Virtually every day, the 49ers website posts a column called Nolan's Notebooks.  The notebook is basically a compilation of his answers to various questions related to the team, training camp battles and their most recent performance.  I've cited to them in the past and after some review, I've decided they're worth looking into a little more on certain occasions with my own take (and yours as well in the comments).  The day after a game would be just such an occasion.  So today, we'll take a look at Nolan's Notebook: August 19.

The biggest question was the first, in which he was asked about the potential for new starters next week.  This dealt primarily with the offensive line:

"The competition is very tight, very close. (Justin) Smiley stepped up and although he had a couple of penalties, he was very aggressive...Kwame (Harris) is competing hard, but the rookie (Joe) Staley is doing an outstanding job. That one is probably tighter than the interior, but (David) Baas is also competing...It is nice that we have depth, so that's good."

We've all said it before and I'll say it again.  While you'd like one person to emerge as a clear starter at each position, if multiple players are putting up good performances, it can only help the team.  This team has lacked depth for much of this decade and it's nice to finally have some great options all around.  The offensive line suffered some big injuries last year, but the team is reaping the benefits of those injuries now as guys like Bass and Wragge showed what they can do.

When asked if Nolan would consider starting Staley:

"Not this week, but he could play sooner, rather than the third series."

An interesting response to a question about who the third receiver is right now:

"Taylor Jacobs. He didn't play much last night because he only had a few hours of sleep because his wife had given birth. We had him sleep before the game a little bit. He took about five plays. He had bloodshot eyes, he was very tired. He wanted to play, but I felt it wasn't a good idea. Arnaz (Battle) and Darrell (Jackson) are the two starters. From a training camp standpoint, the consistency of play has been in Taylor's corner."

Usually if you read somewhere that a certain player is having a good camp, you don't give it a ton of press.  However, I've now heard from both the press and the team that Taylor Jacobs has really had a great camp.  Even my buddy at the 49ers mentioned it when I was there.

In terms of injuries, it looks like Dashon Goldson will be out for this upcoming week.  It sounds mostly like a strained ligament, as opposed to a tear or anything.  For the Darnell Bing crowd out there:

RE: Who will take Goldson's place in the second group?
"Darnell Bing and Vickiel Vaughn are the two guys working at that next spot."

We've all been worried about the performance of the defense.  In terms of the DL and LBs:

RE: Did you see a better performance from your front seven in this game?
"In the first group I did...this was probably the best game I have seen from Isaac Sopoaga...He was disciplined in what he was supposed to do and he tried to do it every time...Ray McDonald has an outstanding quality in being quick off the ball...He got called once for offside, but it is so close you can hardly tell. I don't know if they tell him the snap count or what. That's one of the reasons we drafted him because we saw that at the senior bowl as well...He still needs to work on technique and maintaining his gap and doing his job, because he is very quick...Most importantly I was excited about Isaac's play and I saw the Ray McDonald we drafted as far as his quickness. We didn't do a good job of setting the edge. There were more mental than physical errors. That was mostly the second group. Our first group did a pretty good job."

If we want to look at the glass half full we can simply point to the first quarter performance and somewhat overlook the second quarter performance.  This is one area I really forward to seeing this coming weekend at Chicago.  Can the defense put together a more consistent effort through at least a half.  I would expect this third game to really tell us where this team is at for now, as opposed to the 4th game, where you might see a lot of starters get more rest.

Frank Gore's status remains the same as his hand continues to heal.  Other than that, Coach Nolan indicated he would be waiting to announce how long the starters will go until later in the week.

Quite often, when Coach Nolan answers questions he'll throw some cliches out there and keep things close to the vest.  In these notebooks though, it seems like you can pull out the answers your looking for and get a better bead on his thought process.

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