Today is the "Lucky Sevens" edition of the 49ers Tweet-Bag - the feature where Twitter asks, and we try to predict what the next calamity will be. Optimism is proportional to the number of days that have passed since the last game was played...so I'd say I'm feeling cautiously optimistic about the game vs. Green Bay. Sure, on paper they look to be vastly superior (and then there's that "record" thing too)...but with a team like ours that has talent and flashes some great things...you can never tell what'll happen (though usually it's just really underwhelming).
If this is your first Tweet-Bag, let me give you the history lesson as well as the operator's manual:
Twitter is great because people can pose short, blunt questions about all things 49ers. However the 140 character limit can make effectively responding to those questions a challenge. Hence the 49ers Tweet-Bag was born.
I encourage anyone on Twitter to come up with questions, opinions, bold statements, whatever...and tag them with #49ersTweetBag so I can easily find them. Using "hashtags", that is, preceding something with the pound sign - or hash - catalogs tweets together by that hashtag. For instance you would send your tweet like this:
Where do we mail photos of Tre9er to have autographed? #49ersTweetBag
(Save your postage and pool it together for a plane ticket to San Francisco and I'll come make a guest appearance at a 49ers game...you know that's what you really want, anyways.)
If you're not on Twitter, you probably have a good reason...like playing lawn-darts or curling your mullet. But hey, you could multi-task and open up your laptop and sign up for a Twitter account - FREE, and then just submit some questions!
Ok, now that we're all up to speed on what the Tweet-Bag is and how to submit questions, let's get to know the participants in this week's piece. Join me after the jump for a quick bio on each of them.
Bay Area Sports Guy, @BASportsGuy on Twitter, started his blog back in 2008 with a goal of providing Bay Area news to those fed-up with the East Coast bias of national media. His writing is from a Bay Area fan's perspective, in terms that a true Bay Area fan really understand. Yeah, there's a lot of "Bay Area"'s in there. You can find the blog HERE and do check it out. Incidentally, "Steve" was the only part of his name I know...Now I know his last name is "Berman". That makes him the brother of...ok, not really.
Samuel Lam, @SLam49ers on Twitter, has been a member of our very own beloved Niners Nation for over two years now. He is the only beat writer who is open about being a true fan of the 49ers (I say "open about" because we all know they have a soft-spot for the 9ers...the others just wont admit it). On top of being a fan and long-time member of NN though, Sam is also the 49ers blogger at Examiner.com. Unfortunately he is also one of those heartless Oakland A's fans I mentioned above though, so temper your expectations accordingly. You can find Sam's blog HERE.
David Fucillo, @NinersNation on Twitter, is obviously our fearless leader, moderator, and creator of Niners Nation. He's also the editor for the parent site SBN Bay Area...which is a pretty big deal. "Fooch", as we like to call him, has been tirelessly blogging on NN since 2006 and between he and James, no one provides us 49ers fans with more content...period. HERE is Fooch's blog page, all of his posts here on NN.
As usual, if you click on the writer's picture you will also be taken to their blog. To the right of their picture you'll notice their Twitter handle. Clicking on this will take you to their Twitter home page where you can then follow them. On to the questions!
@rossd95355: Are the 49ers even an attractive destination for potential Head Coaching candidates?
@BASportsGuy: The 49ers are a more attractive destination than the Raiders for coaches, because at the very least the ownership group doesn't try to get away with not paying coaches the remaining money on their contracts after firing them. Other than that, both sides of the Bay present similar situations for potential head coaches: a convoluted organizational structure in which the owners end up making too many football decisions, a run-down stadium, and several years since their last playoff berth. Coaches don't care about Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, they care about money and how easy it will be to win.
The 49ers can only get a "name" coach by doing one of two things, either hiring a well-known GM-type and giving him the power to make personnel decisions unilaterally (on players, coaches and scouts) or giving some coach a boatload of money and giving HIM the power to make football decisions. The 49ers can't get away with neglecting the GM position, paying a head coach a less than competitive salary, and then choosing his assistants for him afterward.
@SLam49ers: Not really if the head coach wants more power and doesn't get it. Head coaching candidates would like to join the 49ers because of the rich history and the potential in talent. But it all depends on how much they are allowed to do. Of course, if the front office doesn't make changes itself (new general manager, maybe some more football people) then it's hard to be an attractive spot. Even though the West is an easy division to win, it all depends on the 49ers team itself to show that they are committed to winning too.
@NinersNation: I think San Francisco would be an attractive destination for potential head coaching candidates for a few reasons. The most basic is that an NFL head coaching job is still the ultimate job for people in the coaching business. Beyond that, this is a team with an interesting mix of talent on both sides of the ball. If Carolina decides to can John Fox, you can't tell me the on-field product there is more attractive to a coaching candidate than the talent in San Francisco.
The organization gets its share of critics, but the 49ers are still a name organization. If you're a coach and you can come in and turn things around, you'll certainly get a lot of respect. I generally think concerns about the organization are overblown when it comes to bringing in a coach. The owners are willing to spend money and have shown a willingness to step back from the football side of things.
Tre9er: I think it does but not for everyone. There are a lot of different organizational models out there and SF isn't the only team to not have a "true" GM, or a coach who has that power. I think most would agree that Paraag and Baalke have done a nice job with their front office roles, so yeah...you need a guy who can work with them. I don't like coaches who want to bring in 25 of their "people" anyways. Seems narrow minded to demand you get YOUR people or else it wont work. Come in, see how it goes, be the best COACH you can be with what you have and what power you're given. The team needs better on-field coaching, not a personnel department. We have talent, we just need a guy who knows when to call a timeout, when to go for it (decisively) on 4th down, and how to coach discipline to the players to limit penalties and bad technique. That's my $0.02.
@yougomango: Should fans be concerned that Troy Smith has now had two lackluster games, or was it just not a factor with the running game [vs. Arizona]?
@BASportsGuy: Can you really be concerned about a QB that nobody should have had high hopes for in the first place? The 49ers gave up nothing to get Troy Smith and he obviously wasn't in the team's plans before the season, so it's hard to get too worried about a guy who looks like he could end up being a good NFL backup for a while. Troy is a good athlete and he's fearless, but to be an upper echelon NFL team in 2010 you need a QB who can consistently complete 65% of his passes.
@SLam49ers: Not to worry too much I think. Because of the running game's success, there wasn't a real need to have Smith play a brilliant game. What he did well was manage the offense. Other than his one near fumble (that was ruled an incomplete pass), he looked OK in my opinion. He did what he needed to do with a great running game.
@NinersNation: There's reason for concern, but given that it's only two games, I don't think people need to start jumping overboard. The team found the road easy going running the ball so it made sense for the team to stick with that game plan. Defenses have shown an ability to contain Smith so it will be interesting to see how he adapts in the coming games. Folks would be blowing up on him if he was Alex Smith, but I do think he needs more time to continue his development. After all, this is still sort of a crazy scenario with the way things have gone for him over the past month. He didn't quite rebound like I would have hoped against Arizona, but he'll get a nice test in Green Bay this week.
@Tre9er: It was typical Singletary QB play. Don't care if it's pretty, just don't turn it over too much and keep feeding it to the running backs. Mix in a play here or there but only if we need it. Sure, Troy made some bad passes in the game and if called upon to throw more who knows what kind of game he'd have had. I like to think he knew he didn't have to do much because the run game was working so well. Games like St. Louis, where Troy DID have to throw a lot...he responded pretty well. So there's room for hope. Question will be how does he do in the pocket and/or can the 49ers find ways to either give him a lane OR move him outside of the pocket?
@Tre9er: Did 49ers take any steps vs. Arizona that they can build upon or was just a case of beating a bad team who gave up the game?
@BASportsGuy: The latter, for the most part. The Cardinals have lost six in a row and have clearly given up. Derek Anderson is on his way out of the NFL and helped make the Niners' defense look better than it is. The one positive from last night was Anthony Davis looks like he's starting to get it. One way this season could be considered a success for the 49ers is if Davis and Mike Iupati keep improving, finish healthy and go into next year ready to dominate.
@SLam49ers: A little bit of both. Even though Arizona is bad, the 49ers did what they needed to do against a bad team. The win at least gives them confidence that they can win games when it matters and take that momentum into Green Bay. Every win is a step forward in the NFL. The more you put together, the more step you take towards the goal.
@NinersNation: I'd go with this being a case of beating a bad team who gave up the game. The offensive game plan that failed against Tampa Bay's defense seemed to do better this week thanks in large part to a huge effort from the offensive line. It seems that as the offensive line goes, so go the 49ers. Given the David Baas concussion, this line could be incredibly patchwork this Sunday against the Packers. The Packers bring some serious heat (5th in the NFL in sacks) so this is definitely a matchup that concerns me. And now with the injury to Gore, the team is going to need to adjust on the fly, which is not exactly their strong suit.
@Tre9er: I wasn't loudly cheering Monday night...I can tell you that much. I was glad we had success but to watch another team give up the ball and be so inept on offense especially was just painful and not very fulfilling. I hope it gives them some momentum, or something...whatever good can come out of it, great. I think this is a huge game vs. Green Bay though...a team who like Tampa Bay, not great against the run but pretty good vs. the pass. Let's see if we can come up with a better game plan this week than against TB.
@yougomango: With Gore possibly out for the year, I still feel there's a good chance the offense could improve. Could that be possible?
@BASportsGuy: The one way the offense could be better is that they might be forced to get creative without Gore. Gore's a great player, but the falloff at the RB position isn't that steep. Brian Westbrook still has a pulse, and Anthony Dixon has deserved more carries all season. But after seeing the 49ers run a draw play to Westbrook on 3rd-and-8 with 12 minutes to go in the second quarter (with a 14-3 lead), it remains to be seen whether the 49ers will alter their offensive strategy or just run Westbrook up the middle at the same predictable times they would have handed the ball to Gore.
@SLam49ers: It will be a change of pace with Westbrook but the offense is still very talented. The team just has to hope they get the right gameplan for the running game and allow the passing game to develop too. There is plenty of room to improve for the offense. It just depends if the team can put together a formula that works.
@NinersNation: The offense could improve but one has to wonder if Singletary will be looking to continue his somewhat stubborn rushing philosophy just with Westbrook and Dixon combining to fill the Gore void. This offense can improve if they're willing to think outside the box a bit more. This is a scenario we all dreaded, but it does present a very unique opportunity for the 49ers. This isn't like when the team rolled out Glen Coffee for a couple weeks last year. This is a prolonged change in the running backs. It allows the backups to get a lot more comfortable in a particular role. In one sense I'm actually quite excited to see what goes down on Sunday.
@Tre9er: I don't see anything changing much. The same plays that went to Gore will go to Westbrook and Dixon. If one shows he can't run those plays very well, look for the other to get more carries. Remember, Gore was used as a receiver quite a bit...something that Westbrook made a living doing in Philly. If Dixon can stop dancing until AFTER he's hit the hole, look for him to have similar success to Gore on the inside runs as well as the "new" trap toss (the backside pitch he scored on earlier in the year and that Gore has had some success with as well). I would expect to see mostly Westbrook on third downs due to his ability to pick up pass rush and experience doing so.
BONUS: What's up with the sunglasses at night by Singletary?!?
@BASportsGuy: Maybe he visited Dr. Hyver ("v" as in vision ....woooo) and had Lasik done after the TB game so he could more easily "go look at the film" all week. Either his eyes are sensitive to the bright lights of prime time football, or Singletary worries way too much about how he looks on television. Kind of like Mike "check out my Reebok suit" Nolan.
@SLam49ers: It's a Bay Area thing, as told to us by this Bay Area rap group.
@Tre9er: Singletary said he wore them out during warm-ups and they felt good and "comm-fortable" so he rolled with it. He said it was bright in there, too. I think he was hiding the crazy eyes because they've come back out now after watching the team make stupid mistakes and realizing he is, in part, to blame for it.
Thanks so much to Steve Berman and Samuel Lam for participating in the Tweet-Bag with Fooch and I this week. Please be sure to check out the participants' blogs as well as follow them on Twitter. Again, clicking on their picture in the upper left-hand corner of any one of their responses will take you to their blog. Clicking their Twitter handle in a response will take you to their twitter page where you can follow them.