Thanks to all of our fans who sent in questions for our Ask a Player feature with defensive end Marques Douglas. Check out a sampling of those questions and his responses below.**
Q: You've had a lot of big stops this year in the run game, and we've played a few of the backs who just made the Pro Bowl. Which one do you think is the hardest to get down of the ones you've seen this year? What about throughout your career? - Sammy Bannister, Arizona
A: I definitely think Steven Jackson from St. Louis , although he didn't make the Pro Bowl, is one of the hardest backs to bring down. He runs with a great intensity and gives relentless effort. Throughout my career though, I'd say Eddie George, I played against him during the playoffs, and his high step and just the way he runs hard, he was tough. I'd say also Jerome Bettis on short yardage. He was very tough to bring down.
Q: How do you compensate for the fact that many of the offensive linemen you face every week are often much taller and heavier than you? - Cary SekoffA: With my preparation and low center of gravity, I love going against those guys because a lot of them think you can't. When I go against them, it's a chink in my armor that I have to prove no matter what size you are, if you have the heart, the will and the determination, anything is possible. I've always been a smaller guy playing a big man's position – middle school, high school and in the NFL, and I've always loved the challenge.
Q: Hey Marques, what is the difference between playing with San Fran & your former team the Ravens? Are the Ravens fans more passionate then us Niners fans at the games? - Niners21win2006A: I think definitely out here, you have a lot of people who grew up as 49ers fans and they have a love for the sport and they know the players. In Baltimore, you still have a lot of scorned fans because of the way the Colts left town. Fans didn't grow up watching the Ravens. They grew up watching the Colts and they know that history better.
Q: Who has been the toughest quarterback for you guys to face in terms of escape ability and mobility this season? – DrummondA: I definitely think Matt Hasselbeck has been the toughest. He's so efficient on third downs. He runs a tight shop and if you don't get to him, it's going to be a long day for you. I think he's the head of the NFC. We didn't face Tony Romo or Brett Favre this season, but in our division he's the elite guy. He's always going to be well prepared for you on Sunday.
Q: Marques, I believe your contract is up this off-season? Do you plan to be back with the 49ers or do you want to wait and see what else might be out there for you? What are some of the factors in your decision? – TarynA: I definitely want to be back with the 49ers. I consider this a home away from home. I like it out here, I like that the people out here really love their players. I love the scenery. I love the organization. When you work with good people, it makes it easier to go to work. You know you are supported and around people who have a genuine concern for you as a football player and a person. I definitely plan on being back here next year if they will have me.
Q: What has Bryant Young meant to you personally and how hard will it be to replace a guy like him on the team next year? Josephine MoranA: You can't replace a legend, 14 years with one team playing at such a high level. You can just hope to fill in for him. His #97 jersey should be hung in the rafters because he's played the game of football and approached his career with extraordinary professionalism. I'm always asking him questions about the game and about different formations. It's hard to think of him not being here.
Q: What do you think of the Pro Bowl voting this year? I thought you and Michael Lewis should have made it in, but it seems like it's a popularity contest. Do you think the NFL should change the process? Thomas RossA: Yeah, there are guys every year who get slighted and I do think they should change the process. Aubrayo Franklin and I were talking about it. If you want to take the politics out of the game, look at the numbers. Game film and numbers don't lie. I felt like I was slighted, but I'm not going to cry about it. There's always next year.
Q: Joe Staley wrote in his diary that there isn't as much trash talking as he expected there to be in the NFL. You've played a lot of years now, so I am just wondering what's the worst or funniest thing you've ever heard on game day? Adam, 15 years old and a HUGE fanA: The funniest thing I ever heard on game day, and I wasn't even playing, was when I was on injured reserve with the Saints. We were playing the Minnesota Vikings. I was talking some trash to Cris Carter on the sidelines and harassing him about not catching the ball. He looked at me and said 'well, you aren't even dressed, Shut Up!' At that point, I felt like the lowest guy ever, a guy not playing and still running his mouth. That was a big check. Here's a guy who will probably be in the Hall of Fame in a couple of years and he made me feel real low at that moment.
Q: I know you don't play there anymore, but how do the Ravens ALMOST beat the Patriots and then lose to the Dolphins? I mean, they had a shot to keep New England from setting history, and the same on the other spectrum with the Dolphins. WHAT HAPPENED? Jason TurnerA: I think the Ravens are a very emotional team and I think they may have played one of their best games all year against the Patriots that night. When you face an NFL team, you can't give up. Any given Sunday if you take someone easy, they are going to come out and hit you in the mouth. Maybe they thought it was vacation time down in Florida, but they got surprised with a Miami team that was ready for them. Jason Taylor and Joey Porter are some tremendous defenders and when you are going up against a defense that is energetic and behind the eight ball and in need of getting a win, you can't rest on them.
Q: I am just wondering how you would assess our offensive line this season since you work against them every day? What do you think of Joe Staley? Is he a legit lineman? – FahirA: I definitely think Joe Staley is the most legit lineman that we have. He's a first year player and he's played the whole season. I don't even think he's missed a snap. I think he should get a lot more credit for what he's done. He's one of the least penalized guys and he's blocked some of the more dominant defensive players in the NFC. He's had to block Patrick Kerney, Leonard Little, and Michael Strahan and those are some of the best. I don't think he's gotten enough credit for what he's done this year.