San Francisco 49ers

49ers mailbag: Who starts at SAM? What happened to Lorenzo Jerome?

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, top, is pulled down by San Francisco 49ers' Eli Harold in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, top, is pulled down by San Francisco 49ers' Eli Harold in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. The Associated Press

Mike Rupena‏ @BayAreadude69 Who will start the season at Sam linebacker?

ANSW: I have yet to watch a practice session — that starts next week — this year, but my sense is that the strong-side linebacker or SAM will be the same as last year, Eli Harold. I think the plan is for Solomon Thomas to play the "Leo" defensive end spot on base downs and then move inside to defensive tackle on passing downs. (My guess is that Thomas, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead would rotate at the two inside pass-rushing spots in the nickel defense.) Also on nickel downs, the 49ers presumably would bring their two best pass rushers to rush from the edges. Harold, Cassius Marsh, Jeremiah Attaochu and Pita Taumoepenu would be in the mix for those two roles. One of those is the Leo, the other is the Sam, but they are both, in essence, pass-rushing defensive ends on obvious passing downs.

Brandon Herrera‏ @BrandonHerrera If the DA drops the charges against Reuben Foster, how long of a suspension would you expect from the NFL given his prior transgressions?

ANSW: A lot of readers asked this, but I don't want to give a prediction. There are too many variables, such as the pot charge in Alabama, the fact that Foster could have some but not all charges dropped in the Los Gatos case, etc. Add to that that the NFL doesn't need to see a conviction to suspend a player, and there is too much gray area to even hazard a guess.

Sean McVeigh‏ @MisterMcPet With Beadles now gone, who is the first tackle off the bench if there’s an injury?

ANSW: Garry Gilliam, then Erik Magnuson, then Darrell Williams.

christopher Q‏ @cq_heartbreak Why do players take their time signing when they are all getting a predetermined amount of money?

ANSW: Yes, the amount is predetermined, but there is some wiggle room in how/when it's doled out in terms of guarantees and offsets, etc. Agents might try to distinguish themselves by taking a hard line on one of the few things that is negotiable in a rookie contract. The 49ers currently have signed the last six players in their nine-man draft.

L.A Smythe‏ @la_smudge Did u ever solve the 2017 Lorenzo Jerome mystery? #huntforjerome#trainingcampstar#offseasonboredom

ANSW: Yes, the solution is rather mundane: Jerome isn't all that fast and was not good on special teams, something at which a backup safety must excel.

Jose Ramirez‏ @Ram7513 If the love of your life put you through the same emotional rollercoasters as the 49ers, would you stay?

ANSW: I ask myself similar questions all the time. For instance, I'm a UVA fan and a fan of the Washington Capitals. Every year I get my hopes up only to be donkey-kicked in the abdomen. At that point, I tell myself that it's not worth the time, the heartbreak and anguish and that I should take up watercolors as a hobby. But the next year I'm right back yelling at a Russian forward on my television screen to just shoot the damn puck. Your question is really about faith, about giving your mental and emotional well-being to someone or something over which you have zero control. People have been wrestling with that for, oh, thousands of years.

Mike Skidmore‏ @Skidpants A lot of the recent moves by the Niners seem to reflect a desire for position flexibility. Is this going to be the next big thing in the NFL?

ANSW: Yeah. Maybe. I don't know. There's a jack-of-all trades-master-of-none element at play in those scenarios. It seems to me that flexibility is great for a team's front office — He can play A, B and C! — but concentrating on one spot is better for a player's development. (See: Ward, Jimmie.)

JimmyGOATroppolo‏ @NinerJD How will you spend the little amount of time you have left before the madness gets underway?

ANSW: I try to get in decent shape. It takes me months and months. Then as soon as the season starts and I don't work out regularly, it's like Chutes and Ladders: I quickly slide to the bottom. It takes five months to get in shape, five days to fall out of shape

Gianni Pastore‏ @jani66x this might be the stupidest question ever, but who pays beat writers? i.e.: who is your employer?

ANSW: When I was in high school, a girl in my science class asked the teacher where the sun goes when it is cloudy outside. She wondered whether it went to a different part of the galaxy or something. I used to think that was the worst question I ever heard. Until today.

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