We were fortunate enough to have The Athletic’s Matt Barrows on our latest podcast. In October, Barrows published a book titled “If These Walls Could Talk: San Francisco 49ers stories from the Niners sideline, locker room, and press box.” Unlike your typical 49ers books, this book is about the 21st century 49ers.
Joe Staley bookends the book, and in between, you’ll find from Tim Rattay to the tough guys' Scot McLoughon, to the 2019 Niners. Barrows explains how he put the parts in the book, where he had the most access.
Barrows joked how Trent Baalke wouldn’t return his calls, so you won’t find much in the book about the Jim Tomsula/Chip Kelly years. He walked us through a terrific Staley and Justin Smith story where the two were at a party.
Here’s what else we discussed:
- Alex Smith’s tenure as a 49er, and how he’s one of the most decent humans in the profession
- Justin Smith partying at Joe Staley’s house in Staley’s second year
- If Barrows could tell if a head coach is “the guy” from the get-go, and he uses a Tomsula story
- How Barrows initial read on Shanahan was slanted, and why Kyle’s been the best head coach to cover
- If there’s anyone in the organization who tells Kyle when he’s wrong (Joe Williams/Dante Pettis were used as examples)
- If Shanahan had a do-over, would he have kept Kaepernick around and why
- Barrows attempts to predict what we’ll see from the 49ers over the next decade
- Barrows expects the 49ers to revamp their QB room but that Jimmy G sticks around for another season
- Shanahan’s list of defensive coordinators and why Vic Fangio is plausible
- Is there a scenario where Trent Williams isn’t a 49er next season?
- Why 2021 may be a “gap” year for San Francisco and could be a mini-rebuild
- The odds on whether we see Garoppolo and George Kittle this season, and if the 49ers make the playoffs
- Barrows ends with a story about how Liz Smith, Alex’s wife, had to deal with fans throwing beer bottles at her.
Matt was excellent, and you should buy his book and read through some of the stories. You’re bound to learn something new about this team.