Niners Nation #Channel49 Twitter Q&A Mailbag, Vol. 22: Eric Reid, Preseason Week One, 49ers defense, and more.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In this edition of the mailbag we answer all training camp and preseason week one questions.

We had a highly active #Channel49 Twitter Q&A this week on Friday at at 2 P.M. PT. Special Guest Turron Davenport (@TDavenport_BSN), joined Aaron Malone (@GafflezMalone), and myself (@Woods49ers) for an hour of jam packed 49ers talk. Join us every week at the same time for the fun if you haven't already, more special guests will be popping in. In the coming weeks we will be having a #Channel49 podcast, so stay tuned! Finally, we encourage you all to comment on this post and get debates stirring, there's plenty to discuss.

Trevor Answers:

There's not much of a chance that either Harper, who fumbled in the game, or Hampton steal away Boobie's roster spot. Dixon is loved in the locker room, is versatile, and had a good game week one. Dixon had some awesome runs in the game, and a couple nice gains that got called back. But he ran with purpose and with power, Boobie looked good! Dixon can also play on special teams and knows the 49ers offense completely, Boobie isn't going anywhere.

Eric Reid looked like he belonged in the pros, as a starter. He showed flashes of exactly why the 49ers drafted him. Reid laid a couple big hits, squaring up and laying the wood. He also showed good instincts on run plays and always seemed to be right by where the ball was. As far as coverage goes, I didn't notice any mistakes really, it was a promising first game for the 49ers first round pick.

From the outside looking in, It's hard telling exactly what Baalke saw in Jenkins. On Jenkins lone reception against the Broncos, he promptly fumbled the football, fueling the criticism that is always thrown his way. While there are reports that A.J. has looked good in practice, it needs to translate into a quality game time performance, for 49ers fans and Trent Baalke to view alike. There's no doubt the Jenkins pick was a reach, but it's far too early to deem the pick a bad one just yet. There are three more preseason games to go, and hopefully A.J. steps his game up.

We have a different view here. I witnessed a rookie tight end (Vance McDonald), who flashed big play potential, solid blocking at times, and toughness. I also witnessed a group of wide receivers that have some players who could pan out for the 49ers (Marlon Moore, Ricardo Lockette, Austin Collie). It's far too early to question the picks made by the 49ers in the draft, I thought they hit some home runs.

Skuta is staying put at outside linebacker for now. It wouldn't be wise to move him back inside after he had a really good game at OLB against the Broncos, notching two sacks. Turron Davenport spoke to Vic Fangio, and Vic said he wants to keep Skuta at OLB and see how Michael Wilhoite, Nick Moody, and Nate Stupar do at inside linebacker.

Lockette's versatility may very well keep him on the roster heading into week one of the regular season. Ricardo needs to be a productive receiver first and foremost, but he displayed what he can do on special teams while also showing his athleticism. Lockette laid a big hit in the Broncos game that had me jump out of my chair in excitement. He has big time speed, and at 6'2" 211 lbs, it's rare for a guy to be that big and strong be able to run a sub 4.4 forty. If Lockette cracks the roster, expect to see him on special teams.

Aaron Answers:

The thing that initially jumped out at nearly everyone once the first team came off the field was how poorly the offensive line played. Patrick Omameh is singled out as being particularly bad. Why do I bring up the offensive line to answer a question about quarterbacks? What we saw on Thursday from both Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien was two QBs running for their lives.

It's a bit hard to evaluate either when they hardly had time to make a read, let alone set their feet and get off a decent throw. I haven't re-watched the game due to time constraints, but in my initial notes, I thought Tolzien showed decent decision making when given enough time and was admirable when improvising. They didn't get B.J. Daniels onto the field, even after the injury to McCoy, implying they really wanted a good look at Tolzien. Neither QB has wowed during camp nor in the first preseason game. I'll reserve final judgement until I can see either play with consistent protection.

At the end of last year and in the playoffs our pass defense fell off dramatically. Their average yards allowed over the course of Weeks 16 & 17 and the playoffs would have ranked us dead last in the league. What went wrong? It was noted that our pass rush completely fell off and the defensive line, with injuries and fatigue setting in, looked tired.

There was still a big debate amongst the faithful about who was to blame. Some thought our secondary needed upgrading and others thought more pass rush was answer. I thought we needed a little of both. The front office clearly saw the pass rush as the culprit and took massive strides to upgrade it. I'm expecting more rotation in '13, because the depth is ridiculous. I'm expecting fresh bodies all year long. I'm expecting our defensive line and pass rush to abuse other teams offensive lines and quarterbacks all season long. Our front seven looks beastly at this point. Aldon Smith terrorized Denver's first team offense in limited time. They will take a lot, possibly all, of the pressure off of the secondary.

I liked what I saw from Lemonier. When we drafted him I thought he might need a bit more seasoning. He played DE in college and is converting to OLB. After watching the Denver game, I've changed my outlook. There was one play where he failed to seal the edge on a run that went for ten yards or so. Other than that I thought he played great. He consistently got pressure on the quarterback and showed good awareness.

As for how much playing time he can expect to get in the regular season it's hard to say. He's projected to be a pass rushing specialist, at least early on. How often are you going to sub him in for Ahmad Brooks. Brooks is no slouch rushing the passer, though his sack numbers aren't high. Brooks comes off the field as it is on some passing downs, depending on our personnel. I want to see if the 49ers will also try to use Lemonier at defensive end on four man lines. If he can do both, it will significantly increase his opportunities to get on the field. As it stands now, Brooks played near All-Pro level last year and will take a vast majority of the snaps.

I don't understand why Marlon Moore played so little on Thursday night against the Broncos. Have a look at the snap counts from the game. Moore played 8 snaps on offense and I really don't know what to take from that. He's been one of the training camp superstars, frequently garnering praise from both Coach Harbaugh and the beat writers. He made a nice catch on his only target. Why not play more of Moore?

Perhaps Harbaalke was trying to rule out some of the options farther down the depth chart seeing as we have an overflow at the position? Or do they already know what they have in Moore and didn't need to get a better look at him? Was he suffering an unnoticeable injury that we haven't heard about? This is one of the few question marks I have from the game that has left me confused and I would welcome some ideas in the comments.

I want to see how they use him in the coming weeks. Then we'll get a better idea of his potential and chances of making the roster. Anquan Boldin, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins all make the roster. Austin Collie, if healthy, should as well. Quinton Patton is practically a lock. Until we see more, I think he's battling for WR5 and a special teams job. Where does Moore fit in, who does he bump from a spot, and why didn't he play much?

Hopefully the fans saw what they needed to see from Lawrence Okoye against Denver. He is truly a work in progress and will take time and experience to get to a level where he'll take the field during meaningful games. Fangio doesn't BS and I would assume Okoye knew what he was getting into.

"Project Okoye" was going to be a multi-year project from the start. I would hope that neither he, nor the staff, had any illusions about his impact this season. Fans on the other hand were salivating at the idea. The story is great, we'll continue to monitor it intently and wish for him to succeed, but player progress in football, a game of technique and tactic, is a slow process, especially with a talent that's so raw.

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