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#Channel49 Celebrates the End of the Preseason; Discusses Roster Cuts, Aldon Smith Suspension

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Every Friday at 2pm, Trevor Woods and I discuss all things 49ers. There was a good turnout this week as the Aldon Smith suspension was announced shortly before we got underway. The final rosters are in and real football will begin in no time.

Bob Martin-USA TODAY Sports

Fooch's Note: This was written prior to McDonald's arrest and Boone's return. It does not really affect the answers, but just a heads-up.

Putting together the follow up post to this week's Q&A session has been a bit of an odd exercise. Half of the questions were about who would be getting cut while the other half dealt with the Aldon Smith suspension and its fallout. Seeing as the cuts have already taken place, I'll leave you with this gem which encapsulates my expertise.

Yeah….So about that….um…Welcome back, Brandon Lloyd.

Is anyone else concerned that they cut a large chunk of our special teams studs? Smells like 2012, though I do understand some may be brought back before too long. We'll see who gets picked up on waivers and I know a lot of you are wringing your heads about the Darryl Morris decision. Marcus Cooper revisited.

To the tweets...

Aldon Smith Suspension

Well, our worst fears have been realized. After the debacle that was the Ray Rice situation, we all were left to wonder what would happen during the next high profile suspension and now we've seen it. Josh Gordon's situation was a negotiated process that Goodell had no influence over, but his hands were all over the Aldon Smith situation.

Considering the length of the rap sheet that Goodell was looking at, the 49ers and their fans had to be prepared for a lengthy suspension. But there was plenty of reason to hope for reprieve including his stint in rehab. But in the end, the league brought the hammer down on one of its high profile young stars. To be honest, eight games was what I was thinking from the outset, but I assumed there would be a process that would see them shave a bit off of it. I was hoping for four or five games missed. But, given the repeated reckless behavior, including that ghastly DWI that saw him smashed into a tree slumped over with the engine still running, the reason the penalty seems unjust is the Ray Rice decision.

No, I'm not sure why they wouldn't take it in to account. I do think this is setting a precedent that says the league will handle all disciplinary issues so don't even bother trying to address it internally. The commissioner could have used Aldon's case to set a new standard and encourage teams to follow the 49ers lead. But now there is no benefit for a team to take these measures. While having Smith go to rehab was the right thing to do on a human level and it didn't cost the team in the long run, I don't expect every team to act as scrupulously (I'm looking 800 miles to the north).

I think we'll see more of what we saw last year when Aldon was in rehab, which is Dan Skuta on run downs and Corey Lemonier in passing situations. Skuta is not overwhelming in any particular facet of play, but when given the opportunity last season would make plays. He even recorded the odd sack. Lemonier is who we're hanging our hopes on for the future. He's looked solid throughout camp and the preseason. There have also been reports that Ahmad Brooks is a bit out of shape (did anyone notice that?) which may provide further opportunity for both Lemonier and Aaron Lynch to get on the field. Also, Lemon-yea played as a pass rushing DE at Auburn and I wouldn't mind seeing more of him on the outside of our four man lines this season.

All that said, Aldon and Brooks are the starters and Lemonier is being groomed to compete for Brooks' job if and when his salary begins to outpace his production in a year or two.

Yeah, I think Michael's tweet sums up everyone's reaction. I just hope site decorum is off or Fooch will suspend me for that little emoji

Roster Breakdown

Coach Harbaugh has already named Blaine Gabbert as the No. 2 quarterback and that was when he was playing poorly. He looked a bit better in the 3rd and 4th preseason games but lets face it, if we have to play any more than two games with either Gabbert or Josh Johnson under center, we're probably not going to escape what is expected to be an extremely brutal NFC playoff race this season.

I'm happy for Harbaugh to have the big-armed former first rounder as his pet project for the year. If he can get anything out of Gabbert then it was worth the low draft pick.

Yes and yes. Both Dial and Carradine have shown flashes of being impact players in the preseason. We'll need them to perform when it counts and we'll be looking at them in real situations soon enough. They're among a number of young players on the defense which we expect to be the cornerstones of the next generation of the 49ers defense. And with Carradine, he's the first of these redshirt picks that Baalke has made in recent drafts who is expected to see significant playing time. If this process pays dividends we'll be a very happy fanbase for years to come.

I'll take Carlos Hyde. Our offense centers around a dominant running game and, assuming the offensive line plays like it can instead of like it did in the preseason, we can expect that to continue. Frank Gore slowed down at the end of last year and his 4.2 yards per carry were the second lowest for a thousand-yard rusher in 2013. Carlos Hyde has looked great running the ball in the preseason. Whether or not he's ready to handle all of the responsibilities a running back has, namely pass protection, is yet to be determined. As he improves at all the little things, and as Gore slows down again this year, I expect Hyde to eat into Frank's carries, eventually becoming the focal point of the ground game by the end of the year.

Outlook

No, not really Kyle. I think there was a lot of panic amongst the more reactionary segment of the fan base at the complete lack of production from the 49ers offense during the first two preseason games. But I maintain that we'll go 11-5 and be a wild card and hopefully we don't have to go through the CLink to make it to the Super Bowl.

What we've seen in the preseason is the most vanilla offense imaginable. The only thing that gives any real cause for concern would be the offensive line play. There have been some undesirable patterns developing and with injuries and holdouts, it could go from a strength to problem area. Other than that, don't panic, it's all going to be fine.

I've had that feeling for a few months now and I can't tell if its the national media beating up the Harbaugh to the Browns story and the players are tired of Harbaugh's schtick narrative in the offseason or if there's actually some gut instinct there. But he only has two years left on his contract, has not been extended and the idea of his departure has to be entertained at this point. I'm grateful and amazed with what he's done for the team and love his passion.

However, I think that just as important to the 49ers success is what Trent Baalke has done with the roster. I think there are a handful of coaches who could come in and keep the team in title contention. The team's new stadium would allow them to pay top dollar and if he were to leave, the 49ers job would be the most enticing position available and it wouldn't even be close. With such solid infrastructure in place, we should be able to land our pick of the litter.

All that said, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The status quo, which is NFCCG appearances in three straight years, is great and a change has just as high a chance of taking us backward as it does forward. And there's not much more forward we can go.

You do get the feeling that the 2014 season will play out a bit like the 2013 season. We'll get Aldon back and hopefully NaVorro Bowman and Glenn Dorsey will return around the same time. There are a lot of young and inexperienced players on the defense that we can anticipate improvement from. We can fully expect that any combination of Tank Carradine, Quentin Dial, Corey Lemonier, Ian Williams, Chris Culliver, Eric Reid and others to take a big step forward. And looking across the other side of the ball, we have the most talent at the skill positions since the glory days. That may take a little time to gel. There's every reason to believe the team will be far more dangerous when it matter most, December, January and February.

You know the routine. Join us every Friday at 2pm PST. Send in a question ahead of time if you can't participate live. Also, feel free to comment below…this is an interactive space!