Tackling some of your queries

Thanks
to everyone for finding your way to my blog. I’m still trying to negotiate my
way through all this, with a big assist from Heather Irwin of the Bite Club.
(By the way, I’ve tentatively agreed to write a food review from the road one
of these days.)

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I’m
in the process of figuring out the best way to answer questions in the new blog
format. But in the meantime, I’ll touch on a couple of the most-asked questions
from the past few days:

Nolan’s status: The 49ers are 2-3.
That’s about where you’d expect them to be at this stage. However, the 49ers
were very disappointed in their last two performances.

The
team has three more games – two of which are at home – before the bye week.
They play the Eagles on Sunday, and then travel to the N.Y. Giants on Oct. 19.
Then, it’s back home Oct. 26 against the Seahawks.

If
the 49ers are anything resembling a playoff team, they should be able to win
one of these next three games. If they win two of three, they’ll be 4-4 at the
break, and in really good position to be contenders in the NFC West.

But
if the club loses its next three, the Yorks
will be faced with a difficult decision. If the 49ers are 2-6 at the halfway
point, the Yorks
certainly could not be faulted for trying to shake things up.

The
49ers need some victories – and they need them in a hurry.

Line of succession: Just a guess on a
hypothetical situation, but I’d figure defensive coordinator Greg Manusky would
get the call if the 49ers hit the skids and the Yorks deem an interim change is necessary.

Deadline trades: The general rule is,
don’t expect much to happen. The trade deadline is Tuesday, and generally this
day comes and goes without much activity. I’ve heard nothing that suggests the
49ers are interested in forking over the compensation that would be required to
acquire either T.J. Houshmandzadeh or Roy Williams.

After
all, the 49ers have a lot greater needs than wide receiver. That unit has
actually performed well. The 49ers are averaging 13.3 yards per catch this
season, ranking second in the NFL. Last season, the 49ers averaged 9.8 yards –
31st in the NFL.

Shawntae’s spot: The 49ers have not
made a roster move to account for Shawntae Spencer’s season-ending injury. This
will be the fourth game the 49ers have played since Spencer sustained his torn
ACL (but it’s the third game after an official diagnosis.)

Although
teams are allowed 53 players on the roster, only 45 suit up for games. The
other eight spots include a No. 3 quarterback and seven players who are either
injured or have not won a role in the top 45 for game days. The 49ers have not
replaced Spencer because nobody they could add to the 53-man roster would suit
up for games anyway.

So,
it appears, the 49ers will wait until an injury creates a situation where a
roster spot needs to be filled or they’re in danger of losing one of their
practice-squad players. For instance, if some team wants to sign running back
Thomas Clayton – or anyone else – to a contract, the 49ers can hold onto that
player by offering a spot on their own 53-man roster.

(For the record, each week the 49ers go without filling that roster spot saves them somewhere from $17,000 to $48,000 on the salary cap. The minimum salary for rookies is a little more than $17,000 a week, while the minimum deal for a 10-year vet is more than $48,000.)

Niners draft: I’m no draft guru, but
I have to admit that I was not at all surprised the 49ers passed on DeSean
Jackson. I thought Kentwan Balmer would go sooner in the draft, and it was no
big surprise that the 49ers took him at No. 29. The Chilo Rachal pick was not
quite as obvious. Time will tell how those turn out.

Here’s
the thing that scared me about Jackson – and folks
who follow Cal closely can agree or disagree:
When the Golden Bears hit their skid in the second half of the season it seemed
as if Jackson
was part of the problem, and not part of the solution.

The
thing I like about Balmer is that he plays hard. He does not lack for effort.
Right now, he’s raw and he has a lot to learn. But I think he’ll do what’s
necessary to become a good player. He might not be great, but I think in time
he’ll be good.

I
wrote more about Jackson for tomorrow’s Press
Democrat: “Bypassed by 49ers, Cal‘s Jackson is thriving with
Eagles.

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The
Eagles also have a 2-3 record after losing two consecutive games. In the NFC
East, that means they have an uphill battle to get back in the race.
Quarterback Donovan McNabb said he is embarrassed with the way the Eagles are
playing.

It’s not too late to turn it around
now,” McNabb writes on his blog on Yardbarker.com. “But to do so, we have to be
embarrassed enough as a team to do something about it. . . . I’m better than
this and I’ll prove it. I know my team is too. Now we have to prove it.

The Eagles
are hoping to have the services of running back Brian Westbrook, as I wrote
about in tomorrow’s Press Democrat
.

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One last thing: there are certain safeguards in places now to police the comments section. There will not be much tolerance shown for those who use salty language or abuse this section.

I truly hope everyone uses this forum constructively. After all, I enjoy the feedback, criticism, opinions and insights from those who comment as much as anyone.

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