One of the great things about working at The Landry Hat, and the Fansided Sports Network, is our access to different experts. Since our network has a site for every NFL team, I’d thought I’d get an insider’s take on the upcoming Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco match-up…from the other side.
Therefore, I present ten questions with the Editor of The Niner Noise Blog, Eric Melendez:
1. TLH – One of the biggest questions looming over the 49ers for the past few years has been about Quarterback Alex Smith. Last week, he showed consistency but little else as he threw 15 of 20 passes for 124 yards and no turnovers. He was able to run in a TD. But do you think Smith really is your best option at Quarterback?
EM – Alex Smith is the best option at quarterback with the current QB’s on the roster as the second and third stringers are rookies, Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien. Until Kaepernick becomes more polished and learns how to play in the NFL, Smith is the best option. After the lockout was lifted I wished the 49ers would have brought in a veteran quarterback to compete with Smith and Kaepernick. Having only Smith and two rookies as your QB’s does not give fans confidence in the offense.
2. TLH – Coach Jim Harbaugh was hired from Stanford in the offseason to turn 49er franchise around. But his much anticipated West Coast offense debut failed to produce little more than field goals last week. Why do you think that was?
EM – Harbaugh was a great hire and he will be the coach that will finally turn the 49ers back into contenders. As much as I want to see the 49ers win now, I am realistic with the roster they have and that the 49ers might finish with a losing record. The 49ers offense has only been learning the playbook from the coaches for about a month and a half now so they are still working out the kinks and still learning. Harbaugh choose not to take the training wheels off of the offense against the Seahawks which is why Smith completed 15 passes for only 124 yards and why they failed to score a touchdown on their first three trips to the red zone. If the 49ers want any chance of beating the Cowboys on Sunday Harbaugh will have to let the offense take chances with the passing game. I doubt this will be the case as Harbaugh will keep the training wheels on the offense. Harbaugh will try to win the game against the Cowboys on defense and special teams.
3. TLH – In his first game back from a season-ending injury last year, Frank Gore rushed for 59 yards against the Seahawks. How would you gauge his running ability so far this year? Is he still a dominating force or are his abilities dwindling?
EM – Gore is still a dominating force even though he is getting older and his abilities have declined somewhat. I don’t think his 59 rushing yards against the Seahawks indicates he is not fully healthy or that he is not the same Gore in the past. You will always get 110% out of Gore so there is no questions about his commitment. The real concern is the offensive line making running lanes for Gore and defenses focusing on the run because of the 49ers weak passing game. If the O-line can open up lanes for Gore and the passing game becomes an actual threat, you will see Gore rush for over 1,000 yards this season.