Chat Transcript: Q&A with Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle

Mar 26, 2009 at 7:31 PM1

The following is the transcript from the live fan chat between the fans of the two sites, and, and San Francisco 49ers beat writer Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Kevin has spent 20 years covering the 49ers and the NFL. His byline has appeared in the Oakland Tribune, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, San Francisco Examiner and, for the last eight years, the Chronicle.

[Question from paul]
what happened to marvel smith?

KL49: He's still the mix from my understanding. They seemed very close yesterday and I'm not sure why it hasn't been done yet.

[Question from Jim]
other than the desire to sign a broken down ex pro-bowl steeler, does the team have any plans or goals to go after any other free agents this off-season that you are aware of? who do you think that the team will target for the upcoming draft?

KL49: I talked to a source from the team yesterday and they seem very focused on the draft now. I think it will just be low-hanging fruit in free agency from this point forward.

[Question from Agustin]
Kevin, the 49ers have been pretty passive in free agency thus far. Can you tell me, who is the best player they should take at #10?

KL49: Even if they sign Marvel Smith, I would like to see them take a OT, Michael Oher, or even Andre Smith. M. Smith is still a question mark with his back.

[Question from Derick]
If we trade down who are our most likely trading partners?

KL49: Man, that's a great question. Green Bay is always a possibility because Scot McCloughan used to work there; I'd say everybody but Chicago (remember last year's tampering charge?)

[Question from Matt]
Do you think that the impending signing of Marvel Smith makes it more likely the 49ers with an OLB with the #10 pick and address OL in the middle rounds? Also, do you expect one of the first 3 picks will be used on a CB to eventually replace Walt Harris?

KL49: Yes, it is more likely, but I think that might be a mistake. Certainly there are worth pass rushers that could drop to them at 10, and they couldn't go wrong there. They definitely need a corner, particularly with Reggie Smith moving to safety.

[Question from Ian]
Assuming that we sign Marvel Smith, and draft an OT in one of the first few rounds of the draft, do we get rid of both Jennings and Sims, or do we plan on keeping Barry Sims?

KL49: Pitt just beat Xavier for you NCAA fans. Jennings is gone; I think they are just waiting until he gets healthy. I don't know why they keep Sims, in terms of giving up sacks pressures and committing false starts, he might be the worst tackle in the league the last two years.

[Question from Will D.]
Hey Kevin, I was just wondering what you think will be the 9ers biggest priority at that #10 spot??? Will it be an offensive tackle, or a defensive end?

KL49: I think they can take their pick with those two, particularly if M. Smith signs. If he doesn't they have a gaping a hole at RT. They could go into the season with a beefed up Manny Lawson (he's 250 now) and an emerging Haralson at OLB

[Question from Derick]
Is running back a position that perhaps we as fans should not be surprised to see the team go with either at 10 or later in a trade down scenario?

KL49: I'd be very surprised if they went with RB at 10. Certainly a trade down scenario would work, which is what they should do. They could get ASU's Britton at tackle and then add picks with trading down.

[Question from KJ]
What did you mean when you stated in a recent blog that Frank Gore seemed a little 'disinterested' during the recent 49ers minicamp?

KL49: Usually, RB's run out their routes and runs until they're at least 30 yards down field. Gore stopped after 10 or 15 yards.

[Question from sahai49er]
Kevin at what point do we start looking for our new franchise QB? do we take a chance on Stafford (if he falls) or Sanchez, or wait till next season when Bradford, Tebow and McCoy will be eligible?

KL49: I think you start with this draft, but just not in the first round, as you know first-round qb's are a big risk.

[Question from Doug]
Do you have a sense for what the Niners think of Stafford and Sanchez?

KL49: I don't think Stafford is a possibility. Sanchez, maybe. But then you are basically saying A. Smith has failed, and I don't know if they're ready to do that.

[Question from 9erstorm]
What do you think of the upcoming quarterback competition? Does Alex Smith have a shot at beating Shaun Hill or do you feel that the job is pretty much Hill's?

KL49: Smith has a shot, but he's going to have to be much better than Hill in preseason and TC because Hill is such a gamer and the team believes in him so much. The 49ers, particularly McCloughan, believes in Alex. Just to add, Hill is limited. I watching tape last night of the Dallas game, and he threw a pick in the end zone from about 18 yards. He was throwing from the far hash and he really stepped into the throw.

[Question from YuNGaCE]
Okay. Let's say Alex Smith hypothetically wins the quarterback competition against Shaun Hill (which I'm hoping for). How much of an impact do you see him having with a few more weapons and experience on offense now since he last played ?

KL49: His ability to make all the throws and his height and mobility allow you to open up the offense. That's why Norv Turner liked him.

[Question from goreisabeast]
Just wondering if Damon Huard has any connection to Jimmy Raye... As we all know JT O'Sullivan won the job last year because Mke Martz had previous experience with him, and said he was the best QB he's worked with... including Warner.

KL49: There's no connection there. Huard got to KC just after Raye left

[Question from Derick]
Any chance we target qb Rhett Bomar later?

KL49: I think that would be a great idea. The 49ers should draft a Qb every year and the NFL should allow teams to protect them so they can be developed.

[Question from Derick]
Could Donald Brown rb out of UConn be the sleeper of this draft at that position? Do we have any shot at him in the 2nd round?

KL49: Absolutely he could. I really like Rashard Jenkins out of Liberty, who could also be a 2nd-rounder. He has character and size.

[Question from GORO]
We need another running back, especially if the season is extended one or two games. What round do you think the Niners will pick a rb?

KL49: If the right one is there, the second round, possibly, certainly by the third round. You can get RB's in the second day also. I would doubt seriously if they'd trade up. They have too many needs and the GM keeps saying they need to build through the draft.

[Question from Bryan-Admin]
Anyone specifically you think would be a good fit on the running back end?

KL49: As I mentioned, Jennings. He has the size they like, he had great combine numbers and he went to Liberty from Pitt to be near his ailing dad.

[Question from Zach Harvey]
Do you think that Thomas Clayton will get a shot to be the back-up to Gore?

KL49: I sure hope so. He played quite a bit during the last minicamp, and his quickness is a good changeup from Gore.

[Question from MKT]
The Niners seem to at least give lip service to drafting primarily through the BPA strategy, but I sense that certain team needs will inform actual draft picks this April. For example, I don't buy them drafting a QB at #10 regardless of who is on the board. The highest needs by consensus are ORT and pass rusher. McDonald to his credit, prioritizes building in the Trenches. But I think apart from a true nose tackle, the defensive line will be a lower priority, except when you perhaps factor in McDonald's status. Also, the Niners never seem to prioritize Safeties ... Dana Hall being the exception and exhibit one as to why that may be so. THAT LEAVES: OL, CB, LB (outside- and then in-), QB, RB, WR, as candidates for rounds 1-4 ... Where do you think, or which potentially targeted players do you think merit putting BPA secondary to team needs?

KL49: I don't think any of them do. The BPA is a failed strategy and I think has hurt the 49ers. Look at Balmer last year. Take what you need, the draft is too inexact not to.

[Question from Gus diehard ninersfan]
what do you think the niners will do with delanie walker now that mike singletary will implement a smashmouth running game on offense?

KL49: It might be a little misleading to believe they will pound the rock at every opportunity. Personally I think they are now a better passing team then they are a run team. Delanie will find his niche either way, and it would help him to learn to lead block as a FB

[Question from ron]
Do you think with Raye we will use delanie walker more? I think he more so than veron davis has been under used since he's been here.

KL49: I think so. He's TE orientated and many credit him for developing Tony Gonsalez.

[Question from Zach Harvey]
Aaron Maybin really lit it up at his Pro Day and with his 6'4'' frame he can still add weight by the time the season starts and maybe get up to 260+. If both he and Everette Brown are there at 10 and we do go pass rusher, who would you choose?

KL49: Touch choice. I think Brown is more explosive, so I'd go with him.

[Question from Big D]
Good day Kevin, why must fans expect the 49ers to tip there hands on who they are drafting? I have heard several interviews with KNBR host asking about where they are leaning.

KL49: Becuase it's a lot of fun. It's fun for me to speculate.

[Question from Jason G.]
kevin, i was wondering with the draft on it's way and walt harris getting older, is it safe and wise to say that the niners could grab a cornerback in the first round to possibly take over for harris? he could play the nickel (strickland gone) and eventually work his way as a starting cb.

KL49: That would make sense. First round CB's are very risky, so that's something to consider, but they do need help there.

[Question from 9erstorm]
Walt Harris is not getting any younger. Do the 49ers feel that they have a replacement already on the roster or do they want to find one in the draft or free agency? If through the draft or free agency, who do you see them picking up?

KL49: They had Eric Green and Karl Paymah in and didn't sign either one. All the decent corners are gone. I think they're stuck; particularly because Tarell Brown was nearly non-existent at the mini

[Question from Matt]
Do you see OLB or CB as a more important need? Assuming you go OL in round 1 then which of those 2 positions do you go with in round 2?

KL49: I think CB, and I hate to say that. But those 2 are so connected maybe you go with , ugh, the BPA.

[Question from rob_deluca]
hey ! you're the man !!!! and the guy with the best 9er blog in town !!!!!!!!!! my 2 questions are ... 1) how about moving baas to center (where he was supposed to be the best player in the next yrs. draft if he had come out a year later) and heitmann back to guard? ( he was a gaurd to start and only switched to c. because of an injury !!!!) if we did and sign marvel smith at t. our o line would be set ! ??????

KL49: Rob, great to see ya. Heitmann is so intelligent and good at making line calls, it would be hard to move him. But he's also athletic and could be a fine pulling guard. But I thk he's 2 valuable at C.

[Question from Gus diehard ninersfan]
do you think the young wide reciever dominique ziegler will left out from wide reciever rotation if bruce comes back?

KL49: unfortunately i do. unless the coaches get some cajones. I like Zeigler a lot, he's like an old WC receiver.

[Question from Tony]
Kevin, do you think Coach Singletary will be able to build his system and institute his vision with the players he has?

KL49: No, take a look at the roster but do it after taking some anti-depressants. There's just not a whole lot there.

[Question from Bryan-Admin]
When Mike Nolan joined the team everyone kept saying that things felt different at 4949. How do things feel with this change of the coaching guard, versus that one?

KL49: Better. Players really believe in Sing. But he doesn't have a lot of wisdom around him like the old days with Walsh, McVay even John Ralston. That's what the 49ers are missing.

We would like to thank Kevin Lynch for taking the time out of his busy schedule to join us for a chat. Kevin's insightful blog can be found at
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

1 Comment

  • jason
    Kevin, 2 questions. Why were we one of the more cap friendly teams this year yet we hardly did anything but sign our own players? Dont' the fans (me/ticket holder) deserve more? Yes we'll re-neg Willis and others, but we need more. #2 When was the last time this team went out traded for someone they wanted. Peppers, safety, Braylon Edwards. They are so vanilla.
    Mar 27, 2009 at 12:39 PM
    Response: Jason, you will want to contact Kevin through his blog. The link is provided at the end of the transcript.

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