Here's another Saturday delivery of the 49ers Mailbag . . . Q: Who can we expected to be re-signed before the season is over? (@JReff22)
My response: I'm not sure there will be any other signings before the end of the season. We're getting to the point now where there is less to gain for players to sign extensions.Perhaps a player such as special-teamer Blake Costanzo could sign an extension. CSNBayArea.com reported this week that the 49ers have approached Ahmad Brooks, Adam Snyder, Larry Grant and C.J. Spillman, among others, about new contracts.But the only person with whom they were able to work out a deal was backup tackle Alex Boone. The reason those sides were able to reach an extension is because Boone, a scheduled exclusive-rights free agent, would not have had any outside negotiating power until after the 2012 season. So it was advantageous for him to get something done now. Boone is set to earn 7 million on his four-year extension through 2015.
It'll be interesting to see if the 49ers offer the same five-year, 25 million deal they extended to safety Dashon Goldson last year. Goldson and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, turned down that proposal, only to sign a one-year deal to return to the 49ers. Goldson is having a solid season, so he'll have a chance to get a nice payday as a free agent.
A source said cornerback Carlos Rogers and the 49ers are far apart on a multi-year extension. And quarterback Alex Smith's contract will not be touched until the end of the season.Q: who will step up as the defensive leader in Willis' absence? (@benl302)
My response: Leadership on the 49ers' defense should not a problem. Patrick Willis has always been a lead-by-example type of player. But this season he has been the one delivering the on-field pep talk to his teammates before the games.Who gravitates to that role Sunday before the game against the Arizona Cardinals? Willis might remain in his speaking role despite not suiting up with a hamstring strain.
What's more important is that the 49ers compensate on the field. Inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman will lead the team in tackles against the Cardinals. Larry Grant, who will play in place of Willis, will show his "high level of contact courage," as coach Jim Harbaugh calls it.Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Isaac Sopoaga will do their usual jobs of tying up the Cardinals linemen to allow Bowman and Grant to do their jobs.
Q: Why don't the 49ers integrate Kyle Williams into the offense MORE? (@FranchizeWocky)
My response: They have been playing Williams a lot more in recent weeks. Through the first nine games, Williams averaged fewer than 10 snaps a game. In the past three games, Williams has averaged 25 snaps.Coach Jim Harbaugh said he is very happy with the way the receivers are playing. When asked if Williams might work into a starting role, Harbaugh said, "Just look at Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn, Kyle Williams, all three of them did a fantastic job in this last game. Very pleased with the way those receivers played. They're all contributing in a big way."
Q: What percent of the 49er play book do u think we have seen? Saving for playoffs? (@jeeves28)
Q: Ask coach how come they have not had any trick plays lately? (@edlover49)My response: What you see is what you get. The 49ers have added some plays on a weekly basis, but their base offense has been established for a long time.As you've seen, they've run a lot of different plays with different personnel groups and formations. As far as trick plays, they have shown reverses and the "fly sweep," which they've executed three times this season for 49 yards.Last week, quarterback Alex Smith left the field and Kendall Hunter ran, taking the direct snap from the shotgun formation. The 49ers have also used the "Pistol" offense on several occasions recently. They'll routinely use seven offensive lineman and a nose tackle at fullback.