Brent Jones spoke on KNBR Tuesday afternoon. Here’s what he said.
Q: Will there be anything Scott Tolzien can tell the Packers that will make a difference?
JONES: I think generally there could be a nugget or two. You know what he can do – and maybe they’ll change this up, but when you change stuff up that has been consistent, you kind of mess up your own team – (Tolzien can tell the Packers) what’s a live color, what’s a check-with-me-at-the-line-of-scrimmage. There are certain nuanced things about the way plays are called and the way you try you attack certain types of fronts that maybe he can tell. I don’t know if it’s going to make that much of a difference, but one or two little nuggets can be helpful along the way.
I’m sure Scott has more to contribute than poor Seneca Wallace.
Q: Was he just a sacrificial lamb brought in to make Colt McCoy reduce his salary?
JONES: Absolutely. He was not happy, but that’s life. He was used. I don’t know if he thinks the Packers are going to keep him – I’d be kind of surprised, but needless to say he’s on the team right now. You’ve got to let your play do the talking. He’s frustrated, but come in and show something. But maybe he didn’t get a chance.
Q: What’s a bigger concern for you if it’s a concern at all – the 49ers’ secondary or receivers?
JONES: First and foremost, I think our front seven is the best in the league. We’re going to be able to cover while our secondary starts to mesh. I thought Dashon Goldson was a fantastic safety and I thought Chris Culliver was tremendously under rated. I thought that was a big blow. Having a rookie come in and start at safety, he obviously can do some great things. He was a first round draft choice. He’s looked very good in the preseason. But there are still things that happen over the course of the regular season. People start scheming against you and people start getting you out of position or biting on play action or what have you. It’s going to take time for those guys to mesh, but I think our front seven can handle that and cover for any issues in the secondary.
I’m a little bit more focused on where we’re going to get output offensively from our wide receiver position. I’ve been a big Anquan Boldin fan over the years. With the Cardinals, I thought he was a force. But he’s not a “Hey, let me carry the team on my back, let me be an 85-catch wide receiver,” a guy that’s going to always get open over the course of the season. He’s a guy that’s going to get the ball in traffic, he’s very physical, he runs very good routes but he’s not going to be the deep threat. You always think of your No.1 guy as a guy who’s going to stretch defenses and create room for other people. He’s not necessarily going to be that guy, which puts a lot of pressure on who’s going to be the No.2
Now, the good news is Vernon Davis can be that guy. I think the 49ers early on, while we’re figuring out who the No.2 guy is, are going to need to work Vernon not only inline but maybe in motion, maybe in the slot, maybe outside. I think they’re going to want to put him in different places on the field where you have to respect his speed and you can’t have defensive backs cheating and sitting at 10 yards. That’s the worst, for a defense to compact or compress the throwing lanes. You’re going to have to have somebody that can get down the field and defenses respect their speed getting over the top so you can’t just have everybody sit at 10 or 12 yards. That’s when you start to see tipped balls and interceptions and we don’t want to see that.
I don’t want to say I’m concerned. I am focused on what we are going to do at the wide receiver position. We have some young guys that look like they can do it, but once the season starts and people start scheming and people are disguising press coverage and you’re pressed – can you get off? Can you get open? When it’s serious, it’s a completely different animal. It will be interesting to see.
I still feel good about our chances (against the Packers). I just feel like we’ve got a lot of good players on the 49ers. We should be back in the Super Bowl, but what Vegas says doesn’t always happen, so we have to earn it. We’re going to get everybody’s best every week. It’s going to be a fun season. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been a long, long, long, long offseason. A couple of the injuries, especially the Crabtree injury, haven’t helped us at all.
Q: Who do you see stepping up at that No.2 receiver spot?
JONES: I’ve been a fan of Kyle Williams. The kid has a big heart. We all know what happened a couple of years ago with the punt situation. I admired how he handled adversity. He fought back and made himself a better player.
Quinton Patton I was really impressed with. You don’t see a young guy have that confidence. I like the way that he ran his routes, I like the way that he got off the line of scrimmage, in and out of his breaks, but it’s tough to rely on a young wide receiver. You don’t want to put so much pressure on him that he has to be the difference.
I think we have options. It will be interesting to see who rises to the top, or if we start rotating a little bit or if we start doing different things.
All is not lost. I’m not throwing up the red flag like hey, we’re in trouble. But we have to set the stage early. I don’t think we want people to have a bead on what we’re doing and it’s all Frank Gore and it’s all Colin Kaepernick on the read option and we don’t have receiving threats down the field. We’re going to have to get people off their mark, so to speak.