49ers adjust to offset Packers' pickup of Tolzien

Three and Out: How Scott Tolzien can help Packers beat 49ers

49ers adjust to offset Packers' pickup of Tolzien
September 5, 2013, 7:15 pm
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Jim Harbaugh, Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers must be wary of what Scott Tolzien has told his new Packers teammates. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers are not too worried about Scott Tolzien giving away precious playbook information. The Packers already have a good idea of the 49ers' offensive approach.

Tolzien spent the past two seasons as the 49ers' third-string quarterback. He was among the 49ers' first cuts of training camp less than two weeks ago. Over the weekend, Tolzien was signed to the Green Bay Packers' practice squad.

Coincidence or not, the Packers open the season against the 49ers on Sunday at Candlestick Park.

But what does concern the 49ers is what he knows about the team's verbal checks and adjustments at the line of scrimmage. The 49ers were expected to make adjustments this week to account for Tolzien's knowledge of the offense.

When asked Thursday how easy it is to make those changes to remain one step ahead of the Packers, 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said it would be a challenge.

"Nothing is really easy," Roman said. "To execute something it really requires everybody to be in-tune. Whether you change a play, a route, a quarterback read, a run-blocking scheme, whatever, verbiage, it requires a tremendous amount of focus.

"Fortunately our guys are very focused individuals, and I love working with them."

Roman suggested that if the Packers spend too much time in preparation based on what Tolzien has told them, they might be studying information that is outdated.

"I could say something pretty clever like, uh, 'Once they think they got all the answers, we change the questions,' and that may or may not be true," Roman said. "But I'm not going to say that."

Theoretically, Tolzien would also be able to help the Packers' offense if he knew what the 49ers planned to do on defense. The 49ers' defense began working on their plan to face the Packers last week. But Tolzien was already gone by then.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said that was by design because he does not want players who do not survive the final cuts to have too much information getting into enemy hands.

"We don't do it quite as early as our offense does it," Fangio said of game-planning for the Week 1 opponent. "We did do it early. The whole San Diego week, which was a short week, we practiced against Green Bay stuff defensively, and split up our meetings."

On Wednesday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy told Bay Area reporters, when asked about Tolzien, "It's important for any player who comes to the Packers to meet all the coaches."

McCarthy added, "I'm sure Scott and the players are having conversations in the locker room. We tend to leave that room to the players. I'm sure there's insight there."

Tolzien never appeared in a regular-season game during his two years with the 49ers. While not the most physically gifted player, Tolzien is known for his football intelligence.

That mind now belongs to the Packers.

"Scott was a very good player while he was here, and I'm sure they're picking his brain," Roman said. "(But) it won't have any impact on the game."

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