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Niners Nation #Channel49 Twitter Q&A Mailbag; Week One: Packers vs 49ers, Read Option, Eddie Lacy, and more

Aaron Malone and I had our #Channel49 Twitter Q&A Friday at 2 P.M. PT. We discussed all things 49ers vs. Packers and more. From read option concerns to the chances of Green Bay having success running the ball, we've got it covered in this weeks mailbag!

It's time!
It's time!
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor Woods Answers (@Woods49ers)

Last season the Packers leading rusher at running back had 18 yards in game one (Cedric Benson), and 53 yards in the divisional round (Dujuan Harris). The Packers have a better running back this year though, rookie Eddie Lacy, who looked impressive this preseason. If you're going to have a chance running the ball against the 49ers, you have to be a power back. Three running backs that come to mind who had some success against the 49ers are Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, and Steven Jackson, all hard runners.

The 49ers will be in nickel and dime coverage for most of the game, which will give the Packers some chances to pick up yards on the ground. The 49ers defensive line will be up to the task when the rest of the defense is in pass coverage, and I don't expect Lacy to have much success running the football. Mike McCarthy promised Green Bay would have a better running game this season, and we're about to find out.

Eric Reid. Patton could end up having a great game, and ultimately have a bigger impact on the stat sheet. But Reid will have a lot to say about how Aaron Rodgers day goes. There's only one starting Free Safety, and Reid should be out there for almost all of the snaps.

It's a big test for Reid in his first career start, as I expect Rodgers to test Reid's instincts by throwing to his side of the field. Here's to hoping Reid is focused and plays mental mistake free football tomorrow, or Rodgers will take advantage of the growing pains.

I know, I know, most probably screamed, threw something, etc. when they heard that John Skelton was brought in for a work out. Things like this are common, especially at the quarterback position. Skelton was more than likely brought in so the 49ers could determine whether he is worthy to be on their emergency quarterback list.

Even if Kaepernick is healthy throughout the entire year, there's still always the chance of an injury to a backup in practice. The 49ers were just doing their due diligence and taking a look at Skelton. I wouldn't be surprised to hear of another quarterback being worked out by the 49ers at some point this season. This goes into the no harm, no foul category.

It's what the media does each and every off-season. When there's nothing to talk about, when no games are being played, things get reported that make you scratch your head and say "why?" The talk of distractions and Kaps focus did go away right when Kap started, because the concerns were that of the tabloid variety.

For the people who really paid attention to the off-season activities of Colin (us), we know he started practicing with receivers a week after the Super Bowl loss, and has bulked up in the weight room as well. Once camp rolled around and now that the media can talk about things that are happening on the gridiron, the media no longer has to focus on meaningless speculation. If anything, the talk has probably made Kaepernick more focused. Remember the writers who belittled him this off-season, because they're going to be eating crow soon enough.

We know what the Packers defensive strategy is going to be, they're going to be blitzing like crazy. Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers is not afraid to keep sending the heat, and he especially loves to against mobile quarterbacks. I expect to see some play action passes that appear to be the read option, opposed to a play action out of the pistol. A little wrinkle like that will keep the Packers defense more honest.

The Packers have probably spent too much time preparing for the read option, when the 49ers have so many plays in their playbook that aren't read option. With a great 49ers offensive line and a quarterback who gets the ball out quick under pressure, the Packers overly agressive style may do them in tomorrow.

Aaron Malone Answers (@GafflezMalone)

The two biggest concerns going into training camp were the receivers and the secondary. Not everyone was entirely certain that the questions lingering after 'The Game We Do Not Speak Of' were properly addressed. The preseason has me thinking we're going to be OK, though both position groups will be the one causing the most apprehension on their respective side of the ball.

As your question pertains specifically to Week 1, we should look at our opponent the Green Bay Packers. They have the best QB in the league in my opinion in Aaron Rodgers. He's got a stable of capable wide receivers and the Pack's pass attack is one of the most dangerous in the league. It's not the same on the other side of the ball for Green Bay. While the Packers fared well against the pass last season, they let the heart and soul of the secondary, Charles Woodson, walk in free agency. Couple that with the injuries to their secondary and they may be in trouble, in this game, if not on the year. Nickelback Casey Hayward is out and free safety Morgan Burnett is questionable.

The pressure is off of our young receivers. Anquan Boldin will do what he's going to do, but with a substandard Packers run defense up against a top 3 run attack, the last thing the Packers will be focusing on is Quinton Patton and Kyle Williams. The burden will be on our secondary. I think they'll be OK. More on that below.

I fully expect Rodgers to be under pressure early and often in this game. Aldon Smith has looked like a man possessed in the preseason and our pass rush as a whole was absolutely brutal. The Packers had trouble keeping the wolves at bay last year with Bryan Bulaga at left tackle. He was lost for the season after tearing his ACL a month ago. In his place, rookie fourth-rounder David Bakhtiari (brother of former 49er Eric Bakhtiari) will get the nod. Possibly the most difficult baptism by fire one could have.

So Aldon and Justin Smith, Ahmad Brooks and the rest of the 49ers front, perhaps mixed in with some of the secondary blitzes we saw used effectively against the Chiefs in preseason, should keep Rodgers on edge all game long. He does well avoiding pressure and will turn many sacks into hurries, but this should be enough to relieve most of the burden placed on our secondary. On a scale on 1-10, Smith Bros go to 11.

My X-Factors for the game against the Packers are Kyle Williams and Nnamdi Asomugha.

Williams did not play in the preseason, but was expected by many to be our No. 2 wide receiver at the beginning of camp. He barely had the chance to play with Colin Kaepernick last season, going down for the year in Kap's second game. But the play of the day in CK's debut was a beauty to Williams, a 57-yarder to set up a score. BASG goes over the play and Williams' possible impact in detail here. A big day and a big season from KW would carry the 49ers a long way.

On the other side of the ball, Nnamdi impressed in the preseason. I was fine with the signing in the offseason, seeing it as a non risk, but had little hope for him to contribute much. Boy was I wrong. He's been a shutdown corner, albeit in limited time against limited competition (post by staff writer Andrew Carroll). He'll get a tough test this week. He'll be up against Jordy Nelson and may play every snap against the pass happy Pack. A continuation of his preseason play would tip the scales in our favor from the start.

The hot topic of the week was hitting the quarterback when they don't have the ball on the read option. The league ruled that a defender could hit the QB if they didn't have the ball, especially if they faked having it. I basically think it's a bunch of BS and tough talk. The league will do everything they can to protect their star quarterbacks and this new generation of young running quarterbacks is all the media talked about all offseason. The league won't let anything happen to them. Might we see a few defenders give an extra shove? Sure. Might we see Kaepernick get tackled a few times without the ball over the course of the year? Sure. He gets tackled frequently. They're not going to all of a sudden be allowed to body slam him head first.

As for going after the quarterback on a read option play, that's exactly what the offense wants you to do. Look at the footage the pundits use to show defenders getting a good shove on Kaepernick after he's handed off the ball. Those are 8-yard runs to Frank Gore. By going to shove Kap, you're defensive end or outside linebacker, depending on the defensive alignment, is effectively allowing themselves to be blocked by the quarterback. They're usually charged with holding the edge on these plays. We'll take it every time.

The read option may be 'solved', but it won't be by shoving the quarterback. Maintaining discipline will beat it. Going out of your way to give Kap a shove is the exact opposite.

The offense is not going to change this season. We've got the best power running game in the league and few teams could slow it down, let alone hope to stop it. We're going to continue to do that as long as Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Jonathan Goodwin, Alex Boone and Anthony Davis are still in red & gold.

A full offseason with Kaepernick as the starting quarterback should see strides made in the passing game. We have a variety of weapons at our disposal. We have one of the most innovative coaching staffs around, and I'd expect to see us attack the defenses at all levels. But a steady dose of power running and play action will allow Vernon Davis, Marlon Moore and Kyle Williams to possibly get deep. Anquan Boldin, Vance McDonald and Quinton Patton also figure to torment defenses underneath and everywhere else. We truly have the tools to attack the defense wherever they allow us to. Kaepernick can make any throw. He was exceptional last year, and we have to expect his decision making and play-reading has improved. Add in his scrambling ability, which limits the coverage opposing teams can employ, and I think defenses must be terrified.

Everyone was intrigued and impressed by the play of B.J. Daniels during the preseason. While he's made the 53-man roster, he's not likely to suit up any time soon. Remember only 45 suit up on gameday and QB3 is rarely one of them. Until he leapfrogs Colt McCoy on the depth chart or one of the two ahead of him are hurt, we won't be seeing him in action.

As for his utility work, that was mostly during training camp. Once the 49ers saw what he could do in the preseason as a QB, and once they realized Scott Tolzien was not worth the roster spot, we haven't heard a peep about it since. The 49ers like to keep these things under wraps so they may still be working on 'wrinkles'. I think they weren't sure what they had in him at first and were working him around to see what else he could do. Once he entered the depth chart for good as a QB, I think his days lining up at various positions around the field were numbered or severely limited, at the least . I may be proven wrong.

Score Predictions:

Malone- 49ers win 27-17

Woods- 49ers win 38-24