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McCloughan's Mailbag - March 6


Check out our eighth 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.

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Q: Hi, and thanks a ton for taking my question. I bleed Niners gold for life. I was wondering why we aren't making a move for help on the o-line. There is a great deal of talent out there in free agency but it seems like we aren't interested. If we could grab someone then it would free up our pick to take the best guy and not just a need. – Brent
A: We are interested and we're trying to improve our depth on the offensive line, both from a starters and backup standpoint. It just hasn't happened so far. We put a value on every player and so far that value hasn't worked out, meaning guys have signed elsewhere for more money than we were willing to pay. We are still excited about the rest of free agency and the Draft. There are a couple guys still left in free agency that we're excited about, and then in Draft, we're really excited about the tackle position."

Q: Dear Mr. McCloughan, every year there is always emphasis on teams that take risks in signing high performance players that could potentially be problematic to a franchise's future. Without naming anyone in particular, these players do tend to have immediate positive or negative impacts on a team's success or failure in the NFL. Going into this year's free agency and Draft, how important is a player's attitude when making decision on what is best for the 49ers? – Steve Booth
A: It's very important. Their talent level and the skill set that they have on the field is important, but the "other half of the package" as I call it is also important. The other half of the package is their character, passion, intelligence and work ethic. That's huge. The good players become great because of the package I'm talking about. The good players don't live up to their potential because they don't have the other half of the package. It's very important because you can't invest money in a commodity in which you're unsure of what the result is going to be. You have to look at the whole package and see whether there is a good upside or a potential to get value out of your investment.

Q: Scot, with Bryant Johnson out, Brandon Jones in and Isaac Bruce at 50-50, is there a place for WR Arnaz Battle? I think he's underrated and a great clutch player. – Kyle, San Jose
A: Oh yeah, and there always has been. The key thing with Arnaz is staying healthy. When he's been healthy, he's been productive for us and is a player we really like. We're looking forward to a really good season from him this year. He's in the mix and we're counting on him being a good player for us.

Q: Mr. McCloughan, since the team has decided to pursue a hard-nosed power running game, wouldn't it be more prudent to sign large receivers who can block as well as catch instead of smaller guys? How do you think Brandon Jones will respond in this role?
A: Apparently everybody thinks that when we talk about our offense being physical, that means being smash mouth up front and focused on the run. We'll run the ball when we need to run the ball and we'll throw the ball when we need to throw the ball. Brandon Jones was added as a receiver to catch the ball and make plays down the field. Having receivers who can block is important, but they're here first and foremost for their receiving ability. The guys up front, the fullback and tight end, will take care of the blocking. For us to be a physical team, we have to be able to run and throw.

Q: I have yet to have anyone explain to me why a great defensive coordinator should not be a great offensive coordinator. Defensive coordinators devise defenses to stop the offense, while offensive coordinators try to bring different offenses into play. It seems natural to me that a defensive coordinator would be able to devise offensive plays to use against a particular defense and vise versa. – Peter
A: That's a very good question. A defensive coordinator schemes against the offensive personnel and not so much against the offensive system. He knows who the running back is, who the tight end is, who the quarterback is and who the receiver is. He doesn't pay as much attention to what they're doing, but how they're doing it. That means the speed, quickness, physicality after the catch, etc. For a lot of the offensive coordinators, their background is offense. That's the same for the defensive coordinators who have defensive backgrounds, and they don't like to cross paths at all. It's not so much the scheme they're looking at, but it's more the personnel that concerns them.

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