Barrel of fun in Buffalo area before tackling Q&A

It was an epic day to be a tourist in the Buffalo area.

Bee-Rows and Dan (wish I’d come up with that Da Vinci Code idea first) Brown rode shotgun on the adventure of a weekend.


The festivities began with a visit an understated plaque in a residential neighborhood that commemorates the sight of the assassin’s shooting that took the life of President William McKinley in 1901. Then, it was to the Anchor Bar, where Buffalo Wings were first created. We made the short drive up to majestic Niagara Falls. And once you’re in Canada, you might as well drive up to Toronto to see the Maple Leafs, right? Thanks to former Leafs player, Stew Gavin, for being generous enough to give us his tickets for under face value and buying us a cold one, too.


Now, we shift back to football. Here’s my article for Sunday’s paper, “Weather or not, 49ers heading east.” And here are my answers to some of your questions:


Q: Matt- how do you feel about sndyer. i just feel like he struggles everywhere he goes on the line… is that a product of being moved so much or his he just a backup? (ShaneO)

A: It’s probably a little of both. He’s never been put at one spot and allowed to grow. Also, it might be that he’s best-suited to be a backup.


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Q: If Singletary returns, do you think he will want to continue with Martz as OC or will he want someone else. I recall reading earlier this year a quote attributed to Singletary that people would be shocked by the offensive staff he had on his list should he become a head coach. Do you have any idea who some of the names on Singletary’s list might be? (Drew)

A: The odds are still against Singletary being named head coach. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say he does get the permanent job. I would not completely rule out Martz as offensive coordinator next season, but it just doesn’t seem like a good fit – for either side. I don’t know who’s on Singletary’s list, but it seems to me that the best bet is to get an up-and-comer. If Singletary’s the head coach, he almost has to go with a young guy who is a QBs coach now and make him a coordinator. They need somebody who would need several good seasons to get on radar screens as a head-coaching candidate.


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Q: Matt do you know if Martz allows Hill to audible and if so do you see them practicing that during the week. It seems like a smart adjustment or do most offensive coordinators hate to give up that final control of the play calling? (PenrynNiner)

A: In Martz’s offense, there are no audibles. The reason is because all the necessary adjustments are built into the system, depending on what the opponent is doing defensively. When asked on Wednesday if he wishes he had the freedom to call audibles, Shaun Hill said, “No. Although there are no audibles as people think of audibles, there are answers for things that they’re going to do against us built into those plays so I think that we have our bases covered.”


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Q: I want to know 2 things: first, do you believe our line is set? Secondly, Shaun Hill. I love the guy. Call me crazy but he embodies what I think a qb should be…a true leader. Does the team agree with me, or are they going to bench him again in place of another guy who the team simply doesn’t rally around? (Sam)

A: No, the line is not necessarily set, but I do believe that McCloughan feels if the unit stays together, it will continue to improve. I think they’ll continue to look for pieces. They’re satisfied that Staley is going to be at left tackle for a while. They just signed Heitmann to a contract extension, so he figures to be the starter for at least another couple seasons. Baas’ contract expires after next season, so we’ll see if they start the process of extending him. They spent a second-round pick on Rachal, so they certain envision him as a starter for a while. They want to put Snyder in one place and give him a chance to develop. They should bring in another tackle next season, and if Snyder wins the job then he’ll remain at right tackle.


And on Shaun Hill . . . I don’t know anyone who does not hold Hill in high regard. You’re right, he has the X-factor that QBs need. The 49ers feel good about signing Hill to that three-year, $6M extension in the offseason. That said, I don’t think the 49ers see Hill as the starter for years to come. There is a feeling in the organization that the long-term QB, and the starter in 2009, is not currently on the roster. 


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Q: Matt, Do you think the Niners will have an interest in signing Matt Cassel as a free agent this off season?  (Milt)

A: I’ve been nosing around and asking that question. The feeling I get is that the 49ers would not get in a sweepstakes for his services. I’m not sure exactly why, but my feeling is that the 49ers are not completely convinced he’s the answer as a franchise quarterback. Maybe he’ll making a convincing argument in the final five weeks of the regular season (and the playoffs).


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Q: If Snyder is playing so poorly is there any consideration being given to playing Rachal at RT and moving Wragge back into the lineup? (Houston 9er)

A: Let’s watch Snyder again against Buffalo. I think Snyder played pretty well against the Rams, but he wasn’t impressive against the Cowboys. As for Rachal, they want him to get comfortable and productive at guard before they even consider moving him.


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Q: Matt do you know if we are still getting new uniforms next year? (M.Hanks)

A: The 49ers have put their focus in other areas. The uniform issue has been put on the backburner. However, it’s still something the club plans to address in the future. It’s too late for the 49ers to have anything done for the 2009 season. The earliest the 49ers can have new uniforms is 2010.


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