Can ex-49ers Carr, Baas assist Giants defense?

Can ex-49ers Carr, Baas assist Giants defense?
November 12, 2011, 7:23 pm
Share This Post

SAN FRANCISCO -- Center David Baas took a cross-country flight on June 10 to examine the 49ers' playbook for the first time.
"It was just one day, but it was good to be around the guys and get my brain working again," Baas said during his one day of attendance at "Camp Alex," the offensive seminar that quarterback Alex Smith held during the lockout at San Jose State.Less than two months later when the lockout lifted, Baas signed a five-year, 27.5 million contract with the New York Giants. Now, Baas' new team faces his former team in a game with NFC playoff implications. The 49ers (7-1) have the second-best record in the NFL, while the Giants lead the NFC East with a 6-2 mark.
So are there any secrets Baas can relay to his defensive teammates from his one day of studying the 49ers playbook?"David won't be in the huddle prior to the snap," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "I think they have what they have on tape and that's the bulk of what they'll go off of. . . There are eight games on tape that I'm sure they have a good idea of what we do offensively."The other David on the Giants roster would probably be more of a concern, anyway. Backup quarterback David Carr attended all of the Camp Alex sessions. Shortly after the 49ers released Carr, he re-signed with the Giants.But, again, the 49ers have played eight games. With the 49ers' variation of formations and shifts, there is nothing additional that Baas or Carr can do to alert the Giants defense about what to expect.Eye on Tuck: The 49ers took the high road, but you can be sure that everybody on the team is aware of the comments Giants defensive lineman (and captain) Justin Tuck made about Smith.The 49ers' line took offense at comments that Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh made several days before the team's met in October. "If you're not going to protect me from your quarterback, I'm going to continue to hit him," Suh said.And the 49ers mocked the TV commercials featuring Washington Redskins pass-rusher Brian Orakpo after last week's game. Leading up to that game, Orakpo said, "The two most important things I would have to say: No. 1 is Frank Gore, and No. 2 is Frank Gore. That's all we have to -- not all we have to do -- but their main thing is run, run, run the ball."It's difficult to figure out Tuck's motivation for saying less-than flattering things about Smith. Maybe he wants to get inside Smith's head. Maybe he wants to challenge Smith to take more chances in the passing game.More than Gore: The Giants are determined to end Frank Gore's streak at five consecutive 100-yard rushing games. As Tuck suggested, the Giants believe Smith will not be able to beat them. So New York's goal is to shut down Gore and force Smith to win the game with his arm.Smith is averaging 183.4 yards passing a game. He has done everything asked of him during the 49ers' 7-1 start. The 49ers believe they can win games in a lot of different ways. Smith threw for a season-high 291 yards in the 49ers' 24-23 come-from-behind victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.The Giants want to force him to prove it again.
In the spotlight: Jonathan Goodwin and Brett Swain have Super Bowl rings. Goodwin is the 49ers starting center. Swain, a wide receiver, will likely be one of the 49ers inactive players. Other than Goodwin and Swain, the 49ers are comprised of a bunch of players who have never played in big NFL games.So how will the 49ers respond to being in the national spotlight for the first time . . . in a long time?
"I think our team realizes this is a bigger stage than we've been playing on and I think they're looking forward to embracing that, and they have embraced it," Harbaugh said. "They understand you want to do well on that stage and continue onto even bigger stages. I think that's our team's mindset." What's the storyline that interests you the most?