49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

January 10, 2009
Q&A: Harvin thumbs up; Tebow thumbs down

Question: Who is your favorite for the 49ers offensive coordinator position?
- Michael, Sacramento

Answer: So far, Linehan. Seems like a Norv Turner clone. The other two guys seem more pass-oriented, although I have to admit that I know little about either. Like I've written before, the chemistry between Singletary and the candidates will be key. Singletary relies on his instincts quite a bit, and to be frank, those instincts have been pretty spot-on since October.
- Matt

Question: Oh hell Matt after watching the Gators how can you not pull for the 9ers to get Tebow if he declares for the draft? I was the most critical of him but, wow, he just wins.
Adrian, Oviedo, Fla.

Answer: I know this won't win over any readers in the Sunshine State, but if I hear another word about what a great guy Tim Tebow is, I'm going to hurl my body out of a third-story window. I've never heard two grown men gush over another man like announcers Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis did Thursday night. To paraphrase Brennaman: To spend just 15 minutes with Tebow is to improve your life. What?!!? Are you freakin' schoolgirls? It sounded like those two had joined a Tim Tebow cult, and by the end of the broadcast I was urging them to drink the Kool-aid. Oklahoma fans must have tuned in and thought they were getting the Gainesville, Fla. broadcast. They hardly said anything about the Sooners quarterback, who, you know, actually won the Heismann this year. The icing on the cake came in the end when, after hours of listening to The Amazing Tales of Tebow, the golden boy was slapped with a taunting penalty. Doh!
- Matt

Question: Hi Matt, love your blog. What are the chances that the 49ers draft USC's Rey Maualuga, a very physical, very intense ILB (& prolly the most Singletary-type player in the draft), and move Takeo Spikes to OLB, where he has played most of his career? Would Spikes at OLB improve the pass rush?
JJ, Lafayette

Answer: Chances are good to very good, especially considering the 49ers have zero young prospects at "Ted" linebacker. But even if they do draft Rey, I still think Spikes at least starts the season at "Ted." It's a tough position to pick up, and Spikes would be an ideal mentor. He won't play OLB; It's not his strength ...
- Matt

Question: Do you know if Chargers QB coach John Ramsdell is on the niners OC short list?
Mark, London, ON

Answer: A lot of you are asking about assistants from other teams, and I have to tell you, I have no clue on most of these. First, the 49ers are being mum about their list of candidates. The way around that is to talk to the coaches' agents - except a lot of these assistants don't have agents. I have been able to talk to a few. Matt Cavanaugh's name, for example, came up the other day. I reached him at his office at Pitt and the former QB said he had not been contacted about the job.
- Matt

Question: What about Bill Musgrave for OC?
Larry, Lincoln

Answer: See above, but I personally think he'd be an excellent fit. I admire what he did at UVA with a quarterback, Matt Schaub, who - let's face it - has limited physical skills.
- Matt

Question: Hey Matt, I love the blog. You mentioned in your Jan 1 blog that you thought that Chilo Rachal was one of the successes of the season. Could you explain why? Living out of the Bay Area I have not been able to watch the niners on t.v. and I have read very little about his play or about what you feel his chances are for becoming a force on the O-line next year. What little I have read seems to be positive. Your thoughts?
Greg, Darlington, S.C.

Answer: First I thought it was significant that Singletary trusted Rachal, a rookie who came out early, something the previous regime had been hesitant to do. It was a signal - one of many, it turns out - that Singletary was willing to give ownership of the team to the players. I believe that was key to Singletary's success. ... And when Rachal got in, he was effective. He's a big guy with athleticism. He can hit a moving target and was very effective at pulling. He's a guy that needed some seasoning and made the most of it. He should hit the ground running when minicamps begin.
- Matt

Question: I've heard a lot about the 9ers either drafting or signing a QB, but what about WRs? With the emergence of Josh Morgan and Jason Hill, I doubt the 9ers will draft one in the early or mid rounds. So that leaves us with the free agents. Who are the FA receivers out there? And who do you think would be a good fit? (I know it's kind of a tough question considering the 9ers don't even have an OC yet).
Chris, El Cerrito

Answer: Well, one potential free agent who seems custom-made for the 49ers is T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Big, physical receiver with good hands who would be an asset in the running game. Some other potential free agents include Antonio Bryant (although the Bucs could franchise him) and the Saints' Lance Moore, who proved to be an excellent possession receiver this year. He killed the 49ers in New Orleans.
- Matt

Question: How about our receiving corps for next season? We have Bruce, Jason Hill, Battle and Morgan under contract plus Bryant Johnson as FA. Do you see us chasing TJ Houshmandzadeh in the offseason or going after guys like Hakeem Nicks or Juaquin Iglesias in later draft rounds? I guess Michael Crabtree and Percy Harvin will be picked in early 1st round and the 49ers won't spend its first pick in a receiver.
Rodrigo, Rio de Janeiro

Answer: Maybe this will win back the Florida fans I lost in a previous answer: I've already expressed my admiration for Percy Harvin. It seems to me that he would be a great fit on the 49ers because he would A.) give them a home-run hitter at running back. B.) be able to stretch the field at receiver, which also would help the running game. C.) he already has experience taking the snap in the Wildcat D.) He would be a dangerous kick- and punt-returner a la Devin Hester. Harvin is fast, but he's not a waif like DeShaun Jackson. He's built more like Eddie Royal or Steve Smith. It seems that type of guy - small but muscular - typically excels in the NFL. ... I will admit that Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin are better pure receivers and it would hard to argue against either. Crabtree likely will be long gone before the 49ers pick.
- Matt

Question: Read the article about dipping into the draft for a compliment back and though, "what about Clayton?" Then I realized the only thing I know about him is that he always seems to look good in the preseason. ALWAYS. I found his college stats largely underwhelming, though he had some dominant games. He was the 3rd leading rusher on K-State! What am I seeing in him that neither his college nor pro coaches apparently are? Or am I just wrong?
Mark, Sacramento

Answer: I don't know. Clayton certainly was not close to being a starting-caliber running back when he first arrived here. He went to ground all too easily and ran too upright. But to his credit, he's changed his style and has done everything the coaches have asked him to do. He now runs like Frank Gore - low to the ground, always leaning forward. During the season some other teams considered plucking Clayton off the 49ers' practice squad, but none made the move. I wonder if he's been typecast as a practice squadder just as Shaun Hill had been as a third-string quarterback. It seems like Clayton just needs a lucky break ...
-- Matt

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MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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