In the past, as part of a game preview I've exchanged 5 questions with the SB Nation blog of the opposition. It allows us to get some good info from a person who pays close attention to their team. And of course everybody likes talking about their favorite team, so it's win-win.
This week, we're facing the Detroit Lions, who are represented by Sean Yuille over at Pride of Detroit. We exchanged questions last night, with the plan being to post answers Friday morning. While awaiting his responses (and formulating my own), I came up with an idea to mix things up a little bit. Sean sent me 5 questions that I plan on answering at some point today. While I certainly love talking about the 49ers, wouldn't Lions fans want to hear from more than one 49ers fan?
So here's the deal. I'm posting Sean's questions and I'm hoping some (if not all) of you would take a few minutes to give your own thoughts. You can answer one of the questions, you can answer all five of the questions. You can write one line one each, you can write a long thesis. It's up to you how much you want to talk about. The plan is then when Sean posts my answers, he'll also link to this thread for his readers to check out if they want. If he decides on something similar, I'll let you guys know.
So, here are the questions. Again, answer as many or as few as you'd like. Much of this is stuff we've talked about ad nauseum, but NFL fans outside the Bay Area haven't had quite the same opportunity as us.
1. Perhaps the biggest storyline surrounding this upcoming game between Detroit and San Francisco is Mike Martz. He had a messy divorce with the Lions after the 2007 season and since then both he and Lions players have traded jabs in the press. Even though we're only two games into the season, I'm curious about what your opinion of Martz is. Do you see him as someone that has immediately upgraded the 49ers' offense or someone that controls things a bit too much and is stunting the growth of the team?
2. Staying on the topic of Martz, what are your general thoughts on his play-calling so far? Just looking at the stats alone it appears he's running a much more balanced offense than he ever did in Detroit, but do you think that is because his running back is Frank Gore rather than Kevin Jones?
3. The 49ers' starting quarterback, J.T. O'Sullivan, wisely followed Martz to San Francisco after spending a year with Detroit as Jon Kitna's backup. In the time he was on the field he did look like a decent QB, but has he really become a legit NFL starter? To me it seems like Martz's system has benefited him more than his actual talent. Am I correct in that assessment?
4. Back in the 2007 draft there was talk that the Lions might trade down and draft Patrick Willis. Considering Detroit's future starting middle linebacker is Jordon Dizon, I sort of wish that would have happened, especially since Willis is so talented. What specifically makes Willis such a dominant linebacker, and should Kevin Smith be afraid for Sunday's game?
5. Looking at the NFC West, the standings certainly aren't what I expected coming into the season. Arizona is 2-0, Seattle is 0-2, and San Francisco is in between at 1-1 (and the Rams just suck). Looking at the rest of the season, do you think this trend will continue with the Cardinals at the top or is it only a matter of time until the Seahawks retake first-place? And finally, could the 49ers make a run at the NFC West title?