The 49ers are nine practice days into training camp and we're entering the home stretch leading to the first preseason game. Before getting into Mike Nolan's post practice Q&A, I wanted to briefly discuss the Hall of Fame game. I flipped on NBC yesterday afternoon to catch the beginning of the game. Before I get to the negatives I will say it was a nice feeling to have football back in my life. As the game kicked off I checked out Stampede Blue and Hogs Haven, our Colts and Redskins blogs. They had their open threads and that drove home the point of how close we are to football again. This Friday at 7pm pacific we'll have the first open thread of the season for the 49ers and the Raiders.
So, during the game last night, when they flipped it down to sideline reporter Adam Schefter, I expected some discussion about the game itself, or either team. Instead, I get bludgeoned over the head with more Brett Favre reports. Then, later in the game, we get live footage of Brett Favre's private plane landing in Green Bay with Packers fans waiting and cheering. Finally we got some footage of Aaron Rodgers struggling a little bit in the Packers scrimmage game. Add it all up and what do you get? Well, I realize Brett Favre is a once in a lifetime talent and he's done great things in the NFL. I wouldn't wish ill-will upon Favre, but I most definitely am rooting for Aaron Rodgers in this "QB competition."
Anyways, that's my little Packers rant. The entire free world (minus me) will be descending upon Green Bay today for Favre's first practice and I can only imagine the circus it will cause. Out here, while we may have a QB competition, it's just a straight football contest and not some bizarre public spectacle (well at least not yet). Onto the quotes as we are a mere five days away from some real football!
Who won't be going to Napa for the joint practice?
“Michael Robinson, Mark Roman, David Baas, [Jerard] Rabb the wide receiver, [Lewis] Baker the defensive back, and Parys Haralson. Parys’ shoulder is a little banged up, so I want to keep him down [here] to get some treatment on that.”
What will the QB rotation be the rest of the way?
“You know guys, we’ve got about 15 training camp days left, and we’ve scripted those things out. It should be five, five and five. One of these might count as one of the 15 left. But rather than who’s first, who’s second the rest of the way we kind of scripted out from first, second and third-team. I only say that because I’d have to go and look at my notes to see who’s winning where and what. But like I said, the objective is to get them all with the different groups and that’s what our next 15 look like.”
Are joint practices beneficial?
“Yeah, I thought that they were very beneficial. The objective for both teams is to work against some other people, and we’ve got to keep it on that level. That’s why I say it’s not a scrimmage. It will be a practice as we’ve had thus far. So, there will be no live to the ground type of drills, I think that sometimes is where it gets a little heated. At the same time they’ll be competing. It’s important to them. I know all the guys will take pride in what they’re doing and if someone feels that they’ve gone too far, somebody might try to get an understanding. But I hope that both teams have a good understanding. I believe they will, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it."
Will special teams compete against each other?
“Yeah, they’ll go in the early part of practice. There’s a quick stretch and then about a 10-minute segment where the two special teams will work against each other. I believe right now its punt return. We’ll probably keep it like that for the morning and the evening. Kickoff and kickoff coverage type of things are hard to get in. Prior to team [drills] there’s a possibility of us doing a little field goal stuff. But again, the punt and punt return will happen for sure, the other things we’ll wait and see. Those other things are dangerous plays. Kickoff [and] kickoff return is a dangerous play and so is a field goal to some degree.”
The way this whole QB competition is playing out, I just pray to the heavens that Alex Smith is the guy who can take control once the games begin. Why Smith? It's safe to say that naming Smith the starter would create the least amount of controversy (assuming he appeared to deserve it with his performance on the field). It would just be really nice to see the team start the regular season with no burning controversy. In that regard, really it just comes down to ANYBODY clearly winning the job.
The team has their joint practice with the Raiders (somebody wake up Al Davis!) leading up to this Friday's showdown at McAfee Coliseum. Going into last season I was excited about the possibilities due to the 49ers strong finish to 2006. This year I'd have to describe myself as anxious for the start of the season. I'm really excited to see how things play out, but really it's because we will finally get some kind of answer at QB. As I've said before, the downside to that is that the answer could be that we just have to blow the position up and start all over.
Even though we still have several days left, the Colts-Redskins game has me officially amped up for the 2008 NFL season. Speaking of which, did anybody catch Colt Brennan lighting up the Colts 3rd string defense? I smell a Redskins bandwagon brewing!