Q: Is it reasonable to expect the defense to struggle the first several weeks bc of injuries/suspensions/rookies?
A: Yes. The 49ers likely will start the season without starters NaVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith and Glenn Dorsey and with two new(ish) cornerbacks. I think the defense could be as good as ever by the end of the season. At the beginning? Eh, the offense had better get rolling quickly.
Q: Haven't heard the names Skuta or Lemonier in camp reports...how are they looking?
A: Everyone who plays along that line has looked good this summer. I expect both of them to jump out in the preseason as they did last year. They promise to be in the spotlight early in the season giving Aldon Smith’s likely suspension. Also, it doesn't appear as if you've been a diligent camp-report reader. Here's an item – albeit a small one – on Lemonier.
Q: Will we know the news on Aldon's suspension tomorrow? That's as big as the exhibition tonight!
A: The suspension certainly will be announced this month, Pigslayer (please tell me you’re a butcher) but it's hard to say how soon after Friday's meeting between Smith and Roger Goodell it will occur. Ray Rice met Goodell in mid June. That suspension wasn't announced until late July.
Q: do you think simplifying the play book will help speed up play calling at the line? Help in Seattle?
A: I asked that question, Debbie. The answer was, no. I think the playbook overhaul story has been overblown somewhat. It was redone to make it easier for newcomers to learn. Of course, with new guys like Stevie Johnson, Brandon Lloyd, Bruce Ellington and Carlos Hyde entering the mix, an easier-to-understand playbook has considerable benefits.
Q: If the line O line struggles tonight, will the #49ers lose leverage to Boone?
A: The dirtier Kaepernick's and the other quarterbacks' jerseys, the better Alex Boone's leverage.
Q: Will we see a lot of Quinton Patton tonight? Also, who will be handling KR/PR duties?
A: Yes, Patton will get plenty of work. The top kick returner in practice has been Hyde. Punt-return duties mostly have been split between Devon Wylie and Bruce Ellington, although Perrish Cox and Patton get reps every now and then, too.
Q: Do you think the 49ers resign Crabtree? His rookie holdout indicates that he would want #1 money. Is he really a #1? #49ers
A: Crabtree can see the free-agent light at the end of the tunnel. It's hard to see him doing a deal now unless the 49ers simply sweep him off his feet. Do I think he's a No. 1 receiver? When it comes to this discussion, all that matters is that he thinks he's a No. 1 receiver. (In fact, he probably thinks he's the No. 1 receiver. In the league.) I'm not sure even M.C. Hammer can save this one.
Q: of the rookies and free agents, who will make the greatest impact in the upcoming season?
A: Obviously, injuries will have the largest bearing on how this plays out. But an educated guess:
* Antoine Bethea
* Jimmie Ward
* Stevie Johnson
* Darkhorse: Chris Borland
Q: Will there be a long term contract waiting for Harbaugh after this season? Or do you see drama up ahead?
A. Fasten your seat belts.
-- Matt Barrows