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Niner Talk Bonus: Four Pro Bowl LBs in '14?

Posted Jan 30, 2014

This week's bonus round of "Niner Talk" looks at how many Pro Bowl linebackers the San Francisco 49ers could have next season.

Welcome back to another round of "Niner Talk" bonus.

The offseason is officially here. And while many think that we go into hibernation for the next few months, that is simply not the case. Watch the latest episode of "Niner Talk" and you'll know exactly what we're up to here at 49ers headquarters. I promise to answer your questions throughout the offseason as well, so don't hesitate to ask me anything. Just don't forget to use #NinerTalk in your tweets.

Let's get to the questions that didn't quite make this week's show...


The NaVorro Bowman injury was much worse than the fumble. The 49ers picked up a loose ball on the very next play so that ruling didn't hurt the team as much.

Bowman's injury, however, will be a key storyline to track this offseason. There's no rush to get Bowman back on the field. He'll need to follow the doctor's orders and do whatever is necessary to return at the right time. The 49ers took a cautious approach with many of their injured players in 2013 and it will be the same in this coming offseason. San Francisco's medical staff will have to evaluate the severity of the injury first, and then lay out a gameplan for Bowman's offseason rehabilitation work.

I know the Bowman injury was a big downer for everyone. But I would like to point you to the column I wrote last week about the All-Pro linebacker. Bowman created so many more lasting memories in 2013, ones that will truly overshadow the final play of his season. We'll always be grateful for "The Pick at The 'Stick."


Out of all the bizarre questions I've received this year, I think this one tops the list. I'm not a big mythological creature fan, so I don't really have a good answer for you. If I really had to pick something, it would be that giant bird-looking thing in the movie Avatar.


Not turn the ball over.

It's as simple as that. You could say run the football better, defend the run, or the deep passing game, or even be more complete on special teams. But when I thought long and hard on this question, turnovers will always hurt your chances of winning. San Francisco was solid with the football through the first three quarters of play and then went on to turn the ball over three times in the final quarter of the game.

Colin Kaepernick spoke candidly about how the game went down and his role in the loss. The 49ers quarterback will continue to play aggressive football, he just wishes he put more air under the last pass of the game.

"If it’s a foot farther, we’re playing this weekend and not Seattle," he said.


Yes. The 49ers will look at players in the free agent market. As for which ones? Your guess is as good as mine.  Every season there is turnover on the roster. You're generally going to have 15-20 new players on a team, both rookies and incoming free agents.

There's no way of knowing the odds of Anquan Boldin coming back. But I will say this, he appeared to enjoy his time in the Bay Area and posted on his social media account that he considered himself a 49er.

We'll have to wait and see how everything unfolds in this year's free agency period.


I definitely do.

Vic Fangio coached "The Dome Patrol" with the New Orleans Saints. It featured a group of four Pro Bowl linebackers: Rickey Jackson and Pat Swilling on the outside and then Sam Mills and Vaughn Johnson. All four linebackers went to the 1992 Pro Bowl.

Could history repeat itself in 2014? It's very possible. Aldon Smith was a Pro Bowler in his second season and has the pass-rushing and run-stopping ability to make it back next year. If Smith and Bowman are on the field for a 16-game slate, you have to imagine that they will be in line to make the Pro Bowl just like Patrick Willis and Ahmad Brooks.

The thought of a 2.0 version of "The Dome Patrol" is very real. If it happens, we'll need to come up with a better nickname for the quartet.