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Niners Nation #Channel49 Twitter Q&A Mailbag: Broncos vs 49ers and more

Every Friday at 2 PM PT Aaron Malone and I take to Twitter for our #Channel49 Q&A, fans send in questions and we ask whatever their hearts desire. Here is our mailbag which features the best questions.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Every Friday at 2 PM PT Aaron Malone and I take to Twitter for our #Channel49 Q&A where we answer any 49ers question sent our way. Our partner in crime of a guest this was was Tre9er and we had a good time answering some stellar questions.

Performances can change in the preseason week to week, but Blaine Gabbert struggled mightily week while Josh Johnson performed well. Gabbert appears to be a player who practices better than any live game, and Johnson looks more like a gamer. Johnson can do a lot of the same things Kaepernick can do (schematically) and possesses a stronger and more accurate arm than Gabbert. Johnson would be my number two quarterback. The 49ers shouldn't carry three quarterbacks this season, instead keeping the number three option on the practice squad. This extra spot could allow a special teams veteran like Kassim Osgood to make the team without as much deliberation.

Aldon is facing a suspension in the four to eight game range, so other players will have a leg up on Smith in the sack race. Regardless of the suspension, I see Aldon as the sack leader for the 49ers in 2014. By all accounts he has been playing lights out in practice and has been nearly impossible to block, this should indicate Smith is poised for a huge year upon his return.

The rookie that will have the most opportunities to become the 49ers rookie of the year will be defensive back Jimmie Ward. Right out of the gate Ward will be the 49ers Nickel cornerback, which will get him a lot of snaps on defense. Ward's performance week one showed he is a good run defender and a feisty corner who can hit hard, I like his chances of being a differencemaker on defense as a rookie just as Eric Reid was last season.

The media and pundits have been at the forefront of this talk of the 49ers defense being less than it was a season ago, I don't see it that way. Early on with Smith and Bowman sidelined it will be more of a challenge, but this is still a very good defense.The losses of Whitner in the secondary won't be a huge blow, as Antoine Bethea is a solid safety in his own right. The losses of Tarrel Brown and Carlos Rogers aren't huge ones, as Chris Culliver, Tramaine Brock, Jimmie Ward, Chris Cook, Perrish Cox, and company all have played well in camp thus far. The defense is a little younger, but I expect good play more than I expect growing pains.

This isn't something that should be read into much. The tempo in a preseason game isn't even all that fast, let alone practice. The fact of the matter is the 49ers are a time of possession oriented team and really don't care about time ticking off the play clock. Improvement was made last year in regards to getting to the line quickly, hopefully that trend continues in 2014.

The playcalls should be pretty vanilla and basic as each team won't want to give much away. What we can learn is certain tendencies and twitches from players. No matter how basic the route, a cornerback and receiver can learn something about one another that they can carry into the regular season meeting, the same goes with every other position. This game could be defined as getting a feel for your future opponent.

The biggest challenge will be winning games without Aldon Smith and Navorro Bowman. They will overcome that by the next man up mentality of the team (that happens to have good depth on defense). What also helps is the improved offense with its many weapons. A potent receiving corps from top to bottom, with a nice one two punch of Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde will help carry the defense the first half of the season.

No Aldon on the list?! I would actually put him ahead of Von Miller, as I feel he had a better rookie season and more impressive 2012. Working with this list though and based on their play the past few seasons my list is 1. Bowman 2. Willis 3. Miller 4. Ware. The Broncos and 49ers both have some awesome linebackers, that's for sure.

It's not unfounded. Lynch is a mammoth of a man and was a Notre Dame prospect until off the field issues got him into some trouble, he then landed at USF. If it wasn't for some character concerns Lynch could have been a round two selection. He has to learn more of the NFL game but Lynch has a high ceiling and could be a very versatile defensive lineman when things are said and done.

Gore will still get his short yardage and goal-line looks, but I expect Hyde to take some of those carries away. Even Anthony Dixon was used instead of Gore at times in those situations, so I see Hyde in that same type of role but getting more carries than Dixon did. Frank is still the bell-cow until proven otherwise.