San Francisco 49ers: Q&A Session with @49ersFanGirl


Niner Noise had the pleasure of sitting down with Tracy Sandler of to discuss everything happening with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015.

We covered a lot of topics ranging from quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the coaching staff and all the way to what might happen this offseason for the red and gold. Sandler gave us a unique and detailed analysis of what’s going on with the 49ers as well as what to expect moving forward.

Her assessments are top notch.

NN: Based on what you’ve seen over three games, do you think quarterback Blaine Gabbert will be named the 49ers’ starting QB in 2016? What do you think are his best/worst attributes?

"49FG: Based on what I’ve seen thus far, yes. The 49ers seem to be pretty high on Gabbert and, so far, he has been adequate. With an upgrade to the offensive line, a healthy Carlos Hyde and a good defense, Gabbert should keep the 49ers competitive. However, that’s not to say that I don’t think Colin Kaepernick could as well with those tools, because I think he can. The next five games should tell us more, but as of this moment, I can see Gabbert as the Week 1 2016 starter.Gabbert looks very comfortable in the pocket and he’s handling pressure well. He has a relatively high completion percentage when he’s under pressure, and he’s been able to avoid the sack pretty well. And he can get Vance McDonald to catch touchdown passes, so that is impressive!In terms of his worst attributes, he throws short, especially on 3rd-and-long, which makes me wonder if he’s uncomfortable throwing the long pass. Now, this may very well improve as gets more and more comfortable as a starter, but it is a concern. We saw a lot of 3rd-and-longs with short passes resulting in punts.His interceptions are also a concern. It’s not that he’s thrown that many – three – but the ones he throws are bad. He threw one with about seven minutes to go in the Falcons game that, if it weren’t for a questionable coaching decision by Dan Quinn, would have most likely cost the Niners the game."

NN: Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole stated Jim Tomsula’s job is safe as long as the 49ers remain competitive the rest of the season. Do you buy into this, and what would you like to see within the 49ers coaching staff next year?

"49FG: I buy into it, because I don’t believe the 49ers are willing to say they made a mistake after one season, and it is a little unfair to judge a new head coach after one season. But do I agree with it? No, because I’ve seen marginal, if any, improvement out of this team. If Tomsula stays, or even if he doesn’t, this team needs a solid offensive coordinator and a solid quarterbacks coach and, unfortunately, I don’t think we have that now. The play-calling is also mediocre on its best day. No matter who has played quarterback, the team is hardly lighting up the scoreboard and changes need to be made."

NN: What’s your take on the “tank for a better draft pick” argument? Would you rather have the 49ers lose more games or actually try and win each and every matchup?

"49FG: I’m not into tanking for a better draft pick, and I can’t root for my team to lose. The reality is this team is not good and will not finish with a good record. The 49ers will have a high draft pick. I’d rather see them improve, work out some of their issues and try to win rather than actively root for them to lose."

NN: The 49ers have plenty of holes to be filled this offseason. What do you consider to be the number one positional priority for San Francisco entering 2016?

"49FG: Do I have to pick just one? If I do, I’d say offensive line, but those positions take time to develop. I’d like to see the 49ers sign a solid offensive lineman in free agency and use a mid-round draft pick on another."

NN: Which player(s) have surprised you the most in 2016? Who do you think needs to be the linch pins of the team, both offensively and defensively, moving forward?

"49FG: Jaquiski Tartt has really surprised me, mainly because I didn’t know what to expect out of our second-round draft pick. He has been a real bright spot for this team. Obviously, he has a lot of work to do, but I have been so impressed with his intensity and his ability to make plays.Defensively, the linchpin will be NaVorro Bowman as long as he’s a 49er, but Aaron Lynch is progressing into quite the pass rusher and I’m excited by what I see with him.Offensively, I think the linchpin is Carlos Hyde. If Gabbert’s the starting quarterback, he’s adequate. Even if we draft a potential star, it will probably take a couple of years for him to fully develop. Hyde is the core of this offense."

NN: Give me a general assessment of the season. What was your primary letdown and what surprised you? Did you have any “told-ya-so” moments? Are the 49ers worse than you expected, or are the results in line with what you initially anticipated?

"49FG: Clearly I was naïve, but I thought the 49ers had a good chance of finishing this season at 8-8, 9-7 if things went really right. But I realize I was thinking with my heart and not my head. This team has talent, but it’s also a young team with an inexperienced coaching staff, and they all seem to be learning on the job. It’s been a disappointing season, not just because they’re 3-8, but also because they play so poorly with little to no improvement from week to week. Some weeks, I think they’re getting worse. Who was that team that beat Minnesota on Monday Night Football September 14? This team is not a competitive football team, no matter how much we try to mitigate losses.I’m disappointed in the drama and the leaks, which I’ve written about and talked about in videos and podcasts. That’s been almost as much of a disappointment as the performance on the field.But hey, 2016 is just around the corner. Go Niners!"

Sandler is echoing a lot of the sentiments seen from 49ers fans this season, especially when it comes to realizing the true status of this franchise as it stands 12 weeks into the 2015 season.

Personally, I am a huge fan of not “tanking” the season for a better draft pick. While this sort of approach may have its merits in terms of a better pick in 2016, seeing the team compete and improve upon its own shortcomings is more critical in my humble opinion.

Anyway, be sure to give Sandler a follow on Twitter @49ersfangirl and visit her website: for excellent insight, analysis and plenty of good content.

Tracy Sandler (@49ersFanGirl) graduated from the University of Michigan and was a sportswriter during her collegiate tenure. She started in 2014 and has been blogging about the 49ers ever since. The Los Angeles native never misses a 49ers home game either.

Next: Way Too Early Look at 49ers 2016 Depth Chart

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