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Niners Nation #Channel49 Twitter Q&A Mailbag, Vol. 24: Quarterback Competition, Jon Baldwin's Prospects & More

This week, during our #Channel49 chat session, Seneca Wallace and QB2 took a lot of attending to. Jon Baldwin, fantasy football and the Vikings game were addressed, as well. One surprising omission was A.J. Jenkins. I think we've all moved on. Enjoy.

I really like this picture. I really liked that catch!
I really like this picture. I really liked that catch!
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports


While I do find Jaws boring at times, when he's speaking genuinely with enthusiasm it shows. In case you missed it, Ron Jaworski thinks Colin Kaepernick could be one of the best quarterbacks of all time. That's certainly high praise from Jaworski, but Jaws isn't completely blowing smoke here. He loves evaluating film, and loves what he sees in Kap. Jaws may not have intended for the story to get big, but it became highly talked about. Kap has a long way to go to validate this assessment, but when a former long time pro talks a player up to this degree, it gets fans excited. If Kap ever becomes one of the all time greats, we'll all remember Jaworski was one of the first true believers in the media.

Yahoo fantasy football doesn't watch enough 49ers games apparently. If you can grab Hunter in round 14 or lower it's a good pick. Hunter is guaranteed to get around seven carries a game and at times north of ten. Hopefully Frank Gore stays healthy the whole year, but if he goes down, Hunter is a great choice to have on your bench if you also drafted Gore. While Hunter shouldn't be deemed a starter in fantasy, if the matchup is highly favorable, I'd start him and have even more of a reason to root for him.

I really have liked what I've seen from MarQueis Gray as well. Gray played a little bit of receiver in college but was mainly a quarterback for the University of Minnesota. At 6'4" and 240 lbs, Gray has the size and frame of a tight end, and appears to be learning his new position nicely thus far. Coming into training camp, I really thought Garret Celek would make the team. Now I consider it a full blown competition between Gray and Celek for a roster spot as the third tight end. Celek's blocking has been subpar so far this preseason, and isn't a receiving threat at tight end, it appears Gray may have a higher ceiling. The game tonight is huge for both players, but bigger for Celek arguably, I believe the staff is leaning towards keeping Gray. Celek needs to have a good game and show some better blocking at the very least. I expect the 49ers to keep Gray around and see how much better he can become.

I don't expect to see a lot of no huddle from the 49ers this season. With Colin Kaepernick at the helm, the 49ers will have the ability to run a fast paced attack, just don't expect to see that much. Jim Harbaugh loves to grind games out by pounding the football and winning the time of possession battle, which entails eating the play clock away, not no huddle. I only expect to see a no huddle approach when the 49ers are down by more than a score and time is running out in the second half. I also don't expect the 49ers to be down by a lot very often this year, therefore you'll see no huddle seldomly.


Well, usually when a team opens their defense of a Super Bowl victory they get a marquee matchup to start the year off. (It's fun to dream). You have to assume that the league recognizes the effort put into making the new stadium a state-of-the-art facility and rewards the team with a great opener. However, I'm looking at what we know of the 2014 schedule and there's not a lot to chose from. We already know 14 of our opponents and locations. The only two to add will be the teams that finish in the same place as us in the NFC North and NFC South. That is to say, if we finish first, we play both first place teams. We will host the NFC North team.

Looking at the list, two games jump out as possible openers. We could play our Seattle home game or Kansas City. The league may not want to put the 49ers-Seahawks game that early in the season, but if the rivalry is as intense this season as it's been during the offseason, that could work. The Chiefs could be an intriguing matchup if Alex Smith has them looking like a potential playoff contender. It would be a great homecoming, and a nice story. There is also the Washington game, if they look like they're going to be title contenders.

With away games against the Cowboys, Giants and Broncos (all old rivals), the home games in our first year in the new stadium don't look terribly appealing.

Fooch's Note: This came before news that the 49ers were shopping McCoy

The acquisition of Seneca Wallace does nothing for my quarterback projections. I'm still having a hard time accepting the fact that he could be our primary backup this season. Here is a description of Wallace from the article on his release from the Saints. "Wallace's only preseason outing came on Friday. It included two sacks, an interception and a lost fumble in just eight drop backs." That was against the Oakland Raiders' third-string defense.

After sitting out 2012 and being cut by the Saints in favor of Luke McCown, I'm doubtful Wallace has much to offer. Factor in that he's learning the offense, has zero chemistry with any wide receivers and will be playing behind the same porous second-string offensive line as Scott Tolzien and Colt McCoy, and I'm not sure how he's supposed to impress in the next week. What has changed in my depth chart is B.J. Daniels' slot in it. I had him as a practice squad player before training camp but am now convinced he'll be our QB3, never seeing the field, developing slowly under Harbaugh's tutelage.

As for QB2, I think it's still a battle between McCoy and Tolzien. Both have been unimpressive. Some think that Tolzien's poor play is not entirely his fault. While neither option inspires much confidence, they've got the leg up on Wallace, if not in talent, then in comfort in the system and familiarity.

There's quite a bit I'm looking for in this upcoming game against the Vikings. I want to see the wide receivers who I think are making the roster get a bit more involved in the action. Two of the guys, Kyle Williams and Quinton Patton, are making their preseason debut after missing time with injury. We've then got Marlon Moore and newcomer Jon Baldwin to look at. Other than a single catch made by Moore in the opener against Denver, this group has had no impact and has spent a combined 12 total snaps on the field (all by Moore).

Aside from the receiver position, I'm looking for some clarity at cornerback. Who will be our No. 3 this year. Despite Perrish Cox's near domination in the preseason, the coaching staff continuously refers to it as being a battle between Nnamdi Asomugha and Tramaine Brock. I want to see all three. Rookie Eric Reid will be making his debut as a starter and I'd like to see him, and the entire secondary for that matter, tested in the passing game. The pass rush and front seven has been so dominant that they've yet to be tested. Finally, I'd like to see how Michael Wilhoite fares against Adrian Peterson. It's a difficult assignment. Wilhoite's looked great against average competition and, while I'm not expecting him to get the better of AP, it'll be good to watch him go against the best.

Finally, will someone please stand up and take the No. 2 QB job?

I think Jon Baldwin is a lock to make the roster. I think his audition will be from now through the first six weeks of the season, that is until Mario Manningham returns from the PUP list (sometime after Week 6). He's going to have a hard time impressing enough to earn a top-5 WR spot before final cuts, but I'm assuming he'll show enough of his physical tools and potential to merit a further look. Besides, we rarely use our last receivers. He's an intriguing prospect with his combination of size and athleticism. His purported prowess as a run blocker will help his cause. I've said it before but I think he could have been a factor this season had we acquired him before training camp. As it stands, he's got to impress before our wounded, more accomplished receivers get healthy.

This was a long series of Tweets by Isaac (4 Tweets, I think), good friend of #Channel49. I won't give them all to you. The gist of it is expressed above, but it asked about the short-term prospects of the position as well as the long-term. I have a tendency to fall somewhere between a realist and a pessimist, but I'm actually fairly optimistic about our receiving corps, both short and long-term. I like the long-term prospects more, though I think the same reasoning applies to both forecasts.

Behind Anquan Boldin, a sure thing if there ever was one, there are four guys who's potential is intriguing. Kyle Williams, Quinton Patton, Jon Baldwin and, to a lesser extent, Marlon Moore, all have the potential to be solid No. 2 WRs. They haven't yet reached it (Patton's a rookie), but none have been blessed with exceptional quarterback play. That is going to change this year and moving forward. If the offense can coax a career year out of one of these guys this season, we're going to be hard to stop, and if two of them step it up, we could be unstoppable. With Colin Kaepernick and the offense poised to take a leap forward, neither situation is out of the realm of possibility.

Over the long haul, I fully expect two of them to develop into quality contributors. Michael Crabtree's return from injury will help in 2014, but beyond that, is a mystery. Remember, the Giants, Patriots, Packers, Saints aren't winning Super Bowl titles with the Megatrons of the world, so we don't need a top-10 WR and the salary that accompanies it. We need a top-5 quarterback to throw it to a couple of solid pros and some role players. We should be fine.

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