49ers Mailbag: Early morning edition

49ers Mailbag: Early morning edition
August 6, 2012, 8:28 am
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I'm up for a couple hours early this morning to watch some live Olympics basketball action. So I figured it is a perfect opportunity to do a little multi-tasking.So every 30 minutes or so before I go back to bed, I'll answer a question from the 49ers Mailbag . . . Q: I personally think @pcox16 is better then @RealTB25, do u see Cox moving up to the number 2 spot eventually? (@thirddarchie)
The best cornerback in training camp through seven practices has been Tarell Brown. Veteran Carlos Rogers has also performed well. Those two are the starters. And Chris Culliver appears to be solid as the third cornerback.So, now, we're talking about the fourth cornerback. Although Tramaine Brock is ahead of Cox on the current depth chart at cornerback, Cox is ahead of Brock at the nickel back position.Cox's versatility is his strength. He can play outside, inside and he can also return punts. Brock began last season as the third corner and he intercepted passes in the 49ers' first two games. But when Brock missed several weeks after hand surgery, Culliver took advantage of the opening to take over for the rest of the season.Rogers still has several seasons ahead of him as the starter. Brown is a solid player whose best seasons are ahead of him. Culliver figures to be a starter at some point, too.So, unless there are injuries, it's difficult to see Cox becoming a starter any time in the near future with the 49ers. UPDATED: 1:40 a.m.
Q: In your opinion, whos pulling away with the second string QB position? (@mattyb0y)
That's easy: Nobody.Colin Kaepernick entered camp as the No. 2 quarterback, and I believe he'll replace Smith at some point early in Friday's exhibition opener against the Minnesota Vikings.Up to this point, though, he is certainly not pulling away from reserves Josh Johnson or Scott Tolzien.During practices, Kaepernick has seemingly been reluctant to throw the ball. His accuracy has been inconsistent. And he has seemed much more comfortable running with the football.My feeling is that Kaepernick is one of those players who will be a lot more effective in games when he'll be able to make some big plays with his legs. He is still in position to win the backup job because neither Johnson nor Tolzien has taken control, either. UPDATED: 2:05 a.m.Q: Is TO's try out with the seahawks a sign of desperation on their part at wide receiver (@ sbpatt)
Over the weekend, the Seahawks released former 49ers player Antonio Bryant. Last week, the club signed former 49ers receiver Braylon Edwards.Their other notable receivers in camp are:Doug Baldwin
Golden Tate
Sidney Rice
Deon Butler
Kris Durham
Ben ObomanuThings certainly got a lot more interesting when the Seahawks confirmed they will bring in former 49ers receiver Terrell Owens, 38, for a workout.Like Randy Moss, he did not play last season. But, unlike Moss, who retired for a year, Owens was unable to play last season after tearing his ACL. But, unlike Moss, the last time Owens played, he was productive. He caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine TDs with the Cincinnati Bengals.Seeing Owens face the 49ers twice a year in the NFC West would be a great storyline. However, the bigger concern for the Seahawks is finding a quarterback to emerge from a three-way competition that involves Matt Flynn, Tarvaris Jackson and Russell Wilson.
UPDATED: 2:40 a.m.Q: What position are you most interested in watching in preseason games? (@chilifritos)
This is a good question to end on because I can touch on a few hot topics.
The one player I'm most curious to watch is LaMichael James. I'm very interested to see how his style translates to the NFL. I don't expect the 49ers to disclose any specialty packages for James -- that'll have to wait until the regular season. But I want to see how his quickness looks at this level.
James will be fighting for a regular role, along with every running back behind Frank Gore. Kendall Hunter will be on the team? But will he lose all his playing time to James? I think the 49ers have to find a way to get the ball into James' hands at least a half-dozen times a game.
James has also been getting a lot of work to hone his skills catching punts. Ted Ginn still has to be the team's primary return man, but James will have a chance to show if he can be a reliable option, too.Running back as a whole has good competition. Through seven practices, Brandon Jacobs looks to be in good shape for, not only a roster spot, but a significant backup role. Anthony Dixon has not gotten much action at fullback, which is not a surprise. That's not his style. He has been keeping his pad level down when he's running, and that's a good sign. But it'll be difficult for him to make this team after being a seldom-used No. 3 back last season.
Wide receiver is another position of interest.I believe Michael Crabtree is still the team's best receiver. He has yet to practice since the opening day due to a right leg injury. It remains to be seen whether Crabtree will be on the field Friday for the first time with the 49ers in the exhibition season.Veteran Randy Moss does not figure to see much action in the exhibition season. But the rest of the receiving corps should provide some interesting viewing.I expect the 49ers to keep six receivers -- Crabtree, Moss, Mario Manningham, Ginn, Kyle Williams and A.J. Jenkins -- on the 53-man roster.Nathan Palmer has been the most impressive undrafted rookie in camp -- and one of the more impressive rookies, period. It would not surprise me if the 49ers try to hide him during the exhibition games so they can bring him back to the practice squad. Chris Owusu is in a similar position. At a crowded receiver position, the undrafted rookies appear to be battling for spots on the eight-player practice squad.
OK, former Saint Mary's basketball player Patty Mills just hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lead the Aussie Boomers to an 82-80 victory over previously unbeaten Russia. And I'm going back to bed.The 49ers return to the practice field from 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday.If you have more questions, I'll answer them in the comments section below a little later.

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