San Francisco 49ers

49ers Q&A: Beathard over Hoyer? Smelter’s chances?

49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer on working with Kyle Shanahan

Hoyer says he's learning a lot from the coach.
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Hoyer says he's learning a lot from the coach.

@Rlebel81 Any chance C.J. Beathard starts the season beating out Brian Hoyer? What do they have to loose? A top 5 shot at a franchise QB next year?

ANS: There's a scene in "Zero Dark Thirty" in which the CIA Director wants to know how certain his lieutenants are that Osama Bin Laden is living in the house in Pakistan they've been observing for months. "A hundred percent he's there," says the Jessica Chastain character. "Okay, fine -- 95 percent because I know how certainty freaks you guys out, but it's a hundred." I'm not at 100 percent -- absolute certainty freaks me out, too; after all there are always injuries -- but I'll go with 95 percent certainty that Beathard won't leapfrog both Hoyer and Matt Barkley by Sept. 10. Remember, similarly skilled Kirk Cousins didn't start his first game until Dec. 16 of his rookie year. He didn't make his second start until Dec. 15 of his second season. That's probably a more realistic timeline for Beathard.

@ElPancho49 have you had a chance to see DeAndre Smelter? Does he look like he'll stick around?

ANS: The odds are against him. Yes, he's 6-2, which makes him a monster among the 49ers' Smurf-ish receivers. And he has some similar traits to Mohamed Sanu, whom Kyle Shanahan coached last year. And he caught a touchdown pass from Barkley in the red-zone portion of the most recent practice. But the numbers make it tough. The de facto starters at receiver right now are Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and Jeremy Kerley. Trent Taylor is almost assured a roster spot. Aldrick Robinson has a leg up because he's familiar with Shanahan and the offense. If those players made the 53-man roster it would leave seven additional receivers vying for perhaps one more spot.

@AFNinerFan Talk about Tank Carradine as Leo coming out. Do you see him there or other DE?

ANS: There was talk early on that Tank Carradine could practice some as the Leo defensive end. But at least in the practices that were open to reporters he lined up exclusively at the other defensive end spot, what the 49ers call the 'big end' or 'Kardashian' position. (Ok, I made up the Kardashian part). There will be a significant change when practices resume late next month. Solomon Thomas will be in the mix and he'll presumably line up at big end. Will that lead to Carradine getting some snaps at Leo? That would be my guess.

@DonthaBrand Do you see Lorenzo Jerome making the final roster?

ANS: I'd say it's 50-50. As long as Jimmie Ward is healthy, one of the two other guys who have been lining up at free safety, Vinnie Sunseri and Don Jones, probably are more valuable because they are special teams standouts. But given his injury history, Ward is no sure thing to last 16 games. And stashing Jerome on the practice squad is risky because he'd have to pass through waivers before the 49ers could sign him to the practice squad. I thought it was a good sign for Jerome that he also was getting snaps at nickel cornerback during the recent minicamp. That means the 49ers are trying to figure out ways to increase his roster value.

@tonyuop Who is getting the most reps with the first string at TE?

ANS: Receivers and tight ends substitute in and out more than other positions because they do so much running. That is, the first-string TE is ever-changing. But I'd say that, when all the spring practices are tallied up, Logan Paulsen got the most snaps.

@kevgilday Which player do you project will improve the most given the presumed coaching upgrade?

ANS: DeForest Buckner. Dunno about a coaching upgrade, but the new scheme will have him facing fewer double teams.

@LukeyWalsh Roster cuts at TE, RB, and DL will be tough. What team is the 49ers most likely trading partner? Denver after the joint practices?

ANS: Yes, obviously there already is a familiarity between the two front offices. The Ravens also have been willing trade partners in recent years and could have an opening at tight end after losing Dennis Pitta.

@scott_lau Make a random, bold prediction. Who will lead the 49ers in sacks this season?

ANS: Elvis Dumervil? After all, Robert Saleh said that he wants the vast majority of Dumervil's snaps to come on passing downs.

@poolenium Would you draft any 49er for a fantasy team?

ANS: Sure, I would. But not in the first three or four rounds. (I'd guess that Hyde, Garcon and Hoyer will be the most valuable fantasy guys, in that order).

@CoachJall Do I have to shave my head to qualify for the Barrow's scholarship at UVA?

ANS: The first sentence of my scholarship mission statement: The Matthew W. Barrows Scholarship Fund is dedicated to helping individuals in follicle need through an endowment that includes one gently used Bee t-shirt, size XXS.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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