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Niner Talk Bonus: Big Game in the ‘Big Easy’

Posted Nov 13, 2013

This week's bonus round of "Niner Talk" answers more questions from the 49ers Faithful on the showdown in New Orleans.

This week's "Niner Talk" focuses on the challenge of stopping Drew Brees and the potent New Orleans Saints passing game. Aldon Smith's pass-rushing role will be key this week.

The Saints love to pass the ball from multi-receiver personnel groupings. If that's the case, Smith will have a bigger role in San Francisco's nickel defense. Smith didn't play in the base defense last week, but saw 12 snaps of action in passing situations.

Look for that to continue this week.

Let's get  to more of your Week 11 questions.

The best way to work for the 49ers is to bookmark this page and look for openings when they come up.

The good news is that Vernon Davis said he had a mild concussion. We don't know if that will keep him out of action, but for now, he's been cleared for non-contact work in practice. If Davis is unable to play, the key for the 49ers is to run Frank Gore ragged. It looks like the team is going to be featuring Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James as well in the coming weeks. So look for all three runners to be heavily involved in the game plan if No. 85 is inactive.

The 49ers have some vertical threats, but have not chosen to take deep shots for the sake of throwing the ball deep. Jon Baldwin can make vertical plays, but has not been given the opportunity to go up for a deep ball just yet. Time will tell on who steps up for the 49ers in the vertical passing game. Davis has been that guy so far; he's caught two, 60-yard touchdowns this season. It's also worth noting that rookie wideout Quinton Patton is on the mend. He showed great play-making ability prior to getting injured in Week 4. The 49ers haven't ruled out the fourth-round draft pick, he could be around to spark the receivers later in the year.

This week is a great opportunity to show the team’s true character. The 49ers have only dropped back-to-back games once under Jim Harbaugh. It was this season, but from hearing Harbaugh and the players speak this week, there's a lot of pride on the line. The team is not accepting last week's 10-9 loss to Carolina as the norm. They know there's a better brand of football to be displayed and a road matchup against a "red hot" New Orleans team - as Harbaugh put it - is the perfect challenge at this stage of the season.

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