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Chat Transcript: Q&A with Matt Maiocco of The Press Democrat

Apr 20, 2009 at 7:32 PM0

The following is the transcript from the live fan chat between the fans of the two sites, and, and San Francisco 49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco of The Press Democrat. Matt Maiocco is in his 14th year covering the 49ers. He has reported for The Press Democrat since 2000. He is a three-time winner of Pro Football Writers of America awards. Maiocco has written two books, "Roger Craig's Tales from the 49ers Sideline" and "San Francisco 49ers: Where Have You Gone?" Similar questions were grouped together during this live Q&A.

[Question from Marco from Mexico]
Hello Matt! With the rumors of Frank being unhappy, is there reason for 49ers fans to worry?

MattM49: Frank Gore? Unhappy? That's news to me. He's not taking part in the offseason program. He likes to train in Miami, where he's building a house. He's not unhappy. He a couple years left on his contract.

[Question from Floydy]
when do you think Thomas Clayton will get an opportunity to play in a regular season game?

[Question from AlanLeroy]
Who will be the #2 RB? Robinson, Clayton, Draft?

MattM49: The coaches obviously want to win. When they feel comfortable putting Clayton in a regular-season game, they'll do it. But he has to earn his way on the field. He's had some moments in the exhibition season, but he's yet to prove himself -- in the eyes of the coaches. As for the No. 2 back this season, I think the 49ers will draft somebody in the second, third or fourth round. The onus will be on that person to win the job.

[Question from Tony]
Hey Matt, it's very apparent that the 49ers are looking to add another running back through the draft, but what do you think is the likelihood of the 49ers using their 10th overall pick (or a later first round pick if they end up trading back) on a running back like Knowshon Moreno or Beanie Wells? If they don't take either of those guys, who else do you think the 49ers like at the running back position? Thanks!

[Question from Oldschool niner fan]
I know the niners say that they will take the best guy on the board, but do you think that is really true? Do you think they will go for a quarterback with the 10th pick? I also think they will take a running back but not before the 3rd out of Rashad Jennings, Peerman, Greene, Ringer.......who do you like? I think the team likes andre brown but I think he will be gone.

[Question from gw2]
Hi Matt! New running mate for Gore: Knowshon in the 1st, Shonn Greene in the 2nd, or Arian Foster on Sunday?

[Question from mayo]
What 3rd round rb's are the Niners looking at?

[Question from Michael]
What round(s) would we likely pick a RB?

[Question from Ryan]
if the niners draft a RB is it a speed guy who can get to the edge or is it a big bruser? Who do you think is a good fit?

MattM49: I'm tired just reading those questions. The thing about a good inquiry about running backs is you need more than one question to really make it work. You can't survive any more with just one workhorse person asking questions. That's why the 49ers want to get somebody to complement Frank Gore. I don't think it'll be in the first round. You can't pair Frank with a first-rounder. That's almost an insult to him. And RB is a position that is very deep in the draft. Singletary and McCloughan have said the want a bigger back, so somebody like Jennings would seem ideal. But, at the same, time it would be difficult to pass up an opportunity land a burner like Sheets. The 49ers brought him in for a background check a couple weeks ago.

[Question from Michael]
Why do most of the local media think the niners would pass on Mark Sanchez if he falls to #10? Is it because they don't think he is good value? Not a good fit? Or that they think they are set at QB already? Would you take him at #10, and why?

[Question from will]
if sanchez and raji is there along with crab who do think niners should get?

[Question from will]
do you think sanchez can be a good qb for the niners??

[Question from Os from Jersey]
Matt, if you HAD to guess, who starts at QB for the 9ers this season? And just as important, who starts next season?

[Question from Joon]
Any thoughts about the idea that McCloughan won't draft a QB because that would basically be admitting that drafting Alex Smith was a mistake?

[Question from Guest]
Kevin Lynch reported that Alex Smith didnt look good at the first minicamp and maybe the 49ers brass are losing faith in him, did you hear anything about this or see it in minicamp

[Question from Roddy VanNoy]
I do not like Mark Sanchez with the number 10 pick the 49ers need someone who could help them now! do you think because of the ties of jimmy raye to steve sarkisian former USC offensive cordinator would influence the 49ers to maybe select him At 10?

[Question from Donny]
Hi Matt! Do you think now that Singletary is the Head Coach, we will start blitzing and putting more pressure on the opposing QB? Seems like we haven't blitzed much in the past with Nolan as Head Coach.

MattM49: The reason there is a question whether the 49ers would take Sanchez is because there is doubt whether he could be of any help this season. I think the 49ers would take a step backward if they were to draft a rookie QB in the first round. I'm not sure how much the decison-makers are thinking about this, but what if there's a work stoppage in 2011? That's about the first season that you could expect a QB selected this season to contribute. My best guess is that Shaun Hill will begin the season as the starter. He's done enough to win the job. As for a report that Smith didn't look good in minicamp, that -- in my opinion -- was a little off the mark. The guy was throwing his first live passes since early September. I thought the minicamp was a great success for Smith to get back on the field and start the process of knocking off the rust.

[Question from Global_Nomad]
Matt, what jumps out at you when you see the schedule? Do the Niners need to start fast to have a good chance since Mid-October to Mid-December looks rough on paper. How do you think the team will react starting @Ari after that MNF game last season?

MattM49: The thing that stands out is that three of the 49ers' first four games are against NFC West opponents. That should be a great barometer.

[Question from Jarrod]
If one of the top tackles (Andre Smith or Oher) is available and BJ Raji is also available.... Who do the Niners select at #10? And what other positions do you see being drafted in the first 4 rounds?

[Question from Os from Jersey]
Matt, long time follower on your blog and now on twitter. BJ Raji and Oher are available, who do the 9ers select?

[Question from Tony]
Hey Matt, if B.J. Raji and Michael Oher are both available at #10, who do you see the 49ers taking between those two?

MattM49: I talked to someone with an NFL team today. (Not the 49ers.) He told me that he knows of some teams that have taken Raji off their draft boards. I don't know that the 49ers have gone to that extreme, but I can see them being pretty cautious, considering the huge money that would be going his way. Personally, I think the 49ers would not be disappointed if Raji were selected in the first nine picks. I think, probably, Andre Smith would be ranked ahead of Oher.

[Question from S-A]
Matt, I want to get your thoughts on Michael Oher and Malcolm Jenkins. Both are solid players and would fit glaring needs that haven't been addressed in the Nolan and McCloughan regime. The majority of mocks I see have the 49ers picking Oher, not Jenkins. Would it not be more beneficial to pick a player that is the best overall pick among CB and S, instead of picking the 4th best OT?

MattM49: I'm not a big fan of Jenkins with the No. 10 overall pick. The 49ers just took somebody like him last year. Reggie Smith was brought in as a corner, tried out there for a year and now he's a safety. Jenkins, by all accounts, is one heck of a football player. But he's probably cover-2 corner. And I don't think you can draft a guy at No. 10 to play safety when he really has no track record as a safety. I'd be more comfortable taking Oher at that point in the draft, if the choice was between those two players.

[Question from Michael]
During the Nolan era, they drafted high character guys early in the draft. Will that continue and if so, does this preclude a BJ Raji or an Andre Smith at #10?

MattM49: I really wonder about Raji. I don't see Smith as being that much of a character risk. He was suspended for the bowl game because he had dealings with an agent. In the NFL, he can talk to agents all he wants. In fact, he's probably talked to too many agents. That's been the biggest issue with him. So, my answer is, Smith appears on the surface to be a lot less of a risk than Raji. But, also remember, these teams -- and the league -- do thorough background checks on these players. They know a lot more about these guys than any one of us.

[Question from JBD]
Why do you not think that Everett Brown should be drafted by the niners at 10?

MattM49: I think you'll see that Brown is going to fall into the 20s. Teams want guys at least 6-foot-3 in that spot. If they're not 6-3, they better have the kind of burst off the snap as a guy like Freeney. Brown doesn't have that.

[Question from Bruno]
Would you consider Maclin a good value at 10? Chances of the Niners taking him?

MattM49: A couple weeks ago, I would've answered no. But the more I consider it, and talk to others, I think the 49ers could do a lot worse than selecting Maclin. I think Crabtree is a clear-cut No. 1. I think Maclin is a clear-cut No. 2. And then there's a considerable dropoff to the rest of the WR class. There are some good WRs that can be had later in the draft, but Crabtree and Maclin are pretty darn good.

[Question from Roddy VanNoy]
Do you think the relationship between jimmy raye and steve sarkisian would influence the 49ers to select Sanchez at 10

[Question from TIM-]
Will Raye and Manusky both work in the booth this season?

MattM49: I assume Raye will be in the booth. Manusky moved down to the sideline, where he said he has a better feel for the game, after Nolan was fired. I really don't think the Raye-Sarkisian rapport will have any impact. But I would not be surprised if the 49ers believe, like a few other teams, that Sanchez will be better than Stafford in a couple years.

[Question from Guest]
Matt, do you think the Niners have any GREAT coaching minds on the staff that can out X and O the competition

MattM49: We shall see with Manusky. He's really had autonomy for half a season as a coordinator. Certainly, the 49ers have no mad-scientist kind of coach like Mike Martz. But sometimes Martz could outthink himself. I get the feeling that the 49ers will use the KISS approach to game-planning this season, instead of coming out in five wides or playing Big Sub the entire game just to throw off an opponent.

[Question from NinerFaninHollywood]
Between Josh Morgan and Jason Hill, who do you think has more potential to be a top receiver? Taking speed, height and intangibles into account...

[Question from CH3DDER]
with the signing of Terry Holt to the jags. will the Jags go another way from WR at #8?

[Question from GORO]
What is the depth Chart at Wr now that Bruce has decided to return? Is Arnaz Battle the odd man out?

[Question from CH3DDER]
Jags just signed terry Holt, you think Maclin or Crabtree can slide to the 9ers? i think the 9ers surprise and take a WR.

[Question from Jarrod]
With the Jags recent signing of Torry Holt, how does that change their draft plans, and in turn how does it affect the Niners draft?

MattM49: Josh Morgan was seen as a No.1 type receiver before all of his physical problems. Hill has always just been in a battle (no pun intended) to get on the field. . . . I have the Jags taking Orakpo, so I don't see WR as a must-get for them in Round 1 . . . Battle is entering the final year of his contract. It doesn't look as if he has a long-term future here, so he's going to have to impress in camp . . . It's possible Crabtree or Maclin could be there at No. 10, but I doubt it. . . . If Jags go with a tackle at 8, that could take somebody from the 49ers that they would've selected, sure.

[Question from NinerFaninHollywood]
Between Dashon Goldson and Reggie Smith, who do you think is a better fit at free safety? Do you think Nolan's favoritism of Mark Roman held back the development of both players?

MattM49: Goldson has been penciled in as the starter. The question with him is whether he can show consistency. I think he's clearly ahead of Smith because this will be his third camp. As for Roman, I think he gets a bit of a bad rap because of the obvious: Zero picks in more than two seasons. That said, even if the 49ers wanted to get Goldson in the lineup, they would not have been able to do it. Remember, Goldson missed seven games with a knee injury last season after Roman beat him out during training camp.

[Question from endz0ne]
In what round did the Press Democrat draft you?

MattM49: I was a street free agent.

[Question from Brad From Lincoln]
Matt, do you think that McDonald's knee injury is more serious than let on and how does this affect the Niners in the Draft?

MattM49: We're going to talk with Scot McCloughan on Wednesday, and that's one topic i want him to address. I tried to press Mike Singletary on some of the injuries during the minicamp. All I was able to get out of him was that McDonald rehab was going to take longer than the others. It sounds as if he will be limited in training camp. To what extent? I don't know. So, yes, I think the 49ers will be very open to grabbing a defensive lineman.

[Question from Oldschool niner fan]
Is Ron Brace worthy of our second pick? Or do you think they can wait on finding a NT until later in the draft. I'm assuming raji is going to be gone.

MattM49: Yes, I think Brace is an option. He's one of the few nose tackles in this draft that can fit in a 3-4 scheme.

[Question from mike"Look-at"Nolan]
Matt do you think that Denver (nolan) would inquire about one of our starting Defensive players say Lawson, or Aubreyo or others in exchange for a draft choice- figure nolan would want someone who know his system?

[Question from Tony]
In your opinion, has Aubrayo Franklin proven to the coaches that he is a mainstay at the nose tackle position in the 49ers' 3-4 defense?

MattM49: The 49ers aren't going to deal a starter at a position where they have little, if any, depth. Lawson is going to start for the 49ers in 2009. I feel very confident about that. The question is, however, whether he'll remain on the field on third downs. Depending on what the 49ers do in this draft, there is the chance Franklin becomes expendable. I think Isaac Sopoaga is going to get a good, long look at nose tackle. They have to figure out where he fits best. The comp they used when signing him to his contract last year was Dallas NT Jay Ratliff.

[Question from Kane]
Everett Brown seems to have all the moves to be a Dwight Freeney like pass rusher. Why are Orapko and Maybin ranked above him? Is there any chance the Niners draft him?

MattM49: Brown's size is a bit of a concern. If you're coming off the edge and you're not 6-3, you better have Freeney-type quickness. And I'm not sure teams are convinced Brown has that burst. Orakpo, I think, goes first among those three players. Opinions on Maybin range across the board, but all it takes is for one team that likes him to make him a high draft pick.

[Question from Jason R.]
Matt, a lot of talk for the 49ers failures to win games & get into the playoffs the last 6 seasons has been blamed on the 49ers not having a strong front office in place. With that said in your opinion do you think that the 49ers, with the promotion of Jed York to president, Mcloughion to Gm, & Singletary to HC, along with a few other under the radar FO hires, have now set in place a strong or stronger than before FO?

MattM49: When McCloughan and Nolan took over in 2005, this team was in worse shape than an expansion club. The roster was horrendous. The organization had cap problems. And the team had the first pick in a draft that was weak. I believe the roster is better now. All in all, McCloughan has done OK, but the pressure is on to see this team get into the postseason. Singletary is a neophyte coach, and nobody really knows how he's going to fare. Jed seems to be following the model his uncle put into place, as far as catering to the players and trying instill high expectations throughout the building.

[Question from david]
i think it would be ideal to trade back but worst case scenario, isn't Rey Malaluga a pretty safe pick with the #10? He could be worked into the lineup and spell willis and eventually take over for spikes. Do you agree?

MattM49: I think Maualuga is a safe pick, but I don't think it's a wise pick. To have so much money tied up among two inside linebackers makes no sense to me. In my mind, you don't need more than one star at inside linebacker. After all, they still want to work out a long-term contract with Willis in the next year.

We would like to thank Matt Maiocco for taking the time out of his busy schedule to join us for a chat. Matt's blog, ranked as the No. 2 NFL team blog in the country by, can be found at Matt can also be heard regularly on KNBR (680-AM) during the season. He was also added this past season as a regular guest on ESPN's "First Take."

If you would like to ask Matt a question, feel free to stop over at his blog and leave a comment.
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.


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