McCloughan's Mailbag - Feb. 12

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Check out our fifth round of questions for General Manager Scot McCloughan. If your question wasn't selected this round, please try again. Keep in mind that due to NFL rules, McCloughan cannot answer questions about any potential free agents and will refrain from giving detailed information on any draft-eligible players.

Please submit your questions to askmccloughan@niners.nfl.com  

Q: Hey Scot, I'm a lifetime 49ers fan all the way from Vermont. Over this past season, I think Jason Hill and Josh Morgan showed they're ready to become good young wideouts with big play potential. I was wondering if you think the 49ers should go out and draft or sign a big time wide receiver to help out the quarterback or should we stay pretty much as is and develop these young wideouts? Thanks. – Brett Barrett.
A: We like our young guys. We like the development that we saw this year and we hope to see more in the future. We also need to add more, not just youth, but experience and play-making ability to the position. We would also look for a speed threat, a vertical threat down the field. It's a position where you don't have just one, two or three guys. You have to count on four or five guys because of injuries and what the offense needs in order to throw the football.

Q: Hello Scot, I really enjoyed Jimmy Raye's press conference. He mentioned that he is a disciple of the three digit offense. Can you please briefly define the three digit offense? Thank you. – Orlando in Napa.
A: The digit system is a numbering system for routes in the passing attack. It's the same system Norv Turner ran. I believe that Raye and Turner learned it all from Don Coryell. It's a numeric system for the route ran on a particular play. It's nothing different. You could call plays based on numbers. You could use regular words for the routes, but it's a similar system to what we ran under Norv Turner. It's basically play-calling verbiage.

Q: Scot, Every year we've had a new offensive coordinator with a new system. Are the systems really that different? How long does it take for the players to work seamlessly in the new offenses? Thanks. – Bob Guarino.
A: When you have change each year with the offensive philosophy, you're re-teaching what the players have learned the year before. It would be like a child having a new role model each year. These players learn to play a certain way on offense and we go through the whole offseason and season knowing that system and then we switch it. It doesn't matter if it's a similar system. You still have a different guy who is calling the plays. There's a different philosophy when Raye calls the plays and what types of plays he's going to call. From Norv Turner to Jim Hostler, we tried to keep the exact same system with the same vocabulary with the play calls. The key thing about the scheme change is who's calling the plays, who's running the meetings and who's setting up the game plan. That's what gets the system rolling for each week and each season. That's why it's so important for us to have the same guy in charge. As we've all seen with the Indianapolis Colts, when you have that continuity in place, you have normalcy. Players start reacting instead of thinking and everything becomes secondhand. Everything just plays off itself. You can also have your offensive package bigger each year, because the basics are already in from the year before.

Q: Scot, I think you've done a great job turning this team around through the draft. This past year, we had four defensive starters and seven offensive starters all from the draft. But I would like to know when we are going to pay more attention to the secondary in the draft. We haven't had a high pick for a while. Is there a reason for that? – Jay.
A: It's mainly because we've added our talent to the secondary through free agency. We feel like we've drafted a good safety in Dashon Goldson. We also feel that Tarell Brown and Reggie Smith, who we've drafted, are both going to be good players for us. Hopefully we can address the secondary this year in the draft, but that's one position where we made our team better instantly because of free agency with Nate Clements, Walt Harris, Michael Lewis and Mark Roman. We need to keep drafting young cornerbacks and young safeties like a Tarell Brown or a Dashon Goldson so we can build our own secondary. Then we can say, 'This is what our own guys look like when we mold them the way we want them to play defense for us.' We feel like we have a lot of value in who we've added in free agency in the secondary, but also, we know we have to continue to draft guys.

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