Here is the opening to my Tuesday column about the 49ers:

Grab a cup of coffee. Pull up a chair. And let’s talk Niners.

The Scouting Combine is over, the draft looms, and it’s time to take stock of the almost-Super Bowl champs by asking a simple question: What issues do they face?

They must decide if they want to keep free safety Dashon Goldson or let him go. He wants $8 million per year for five years, and he’s worth it. (On Monday, the 49ers declined to slap the franchise tag on him.) But eight big ones may be more than the 49ers can afford, especially when they already are paying big bucks to Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks and Carlos Rogers. The 49ers have one of the most expensive defenses in the league.

But if they let Goldson go, they have to replace him. That means finding a new quarterback for the defense, and that’s risky. And there’s something else. Goldson’s main skill is hitting. As we saw in the playoffs, the Niners’ defense needs coverage and pass rush. They certainly have an issue with Goldson.

To read the full column, click here.

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  1. Bob In Portland

    All true, but every other NFL team has even more questions than the Niners. That’s what makes the NFL a 12-month sport. The roster is large and constantly in transition. Maybe that third-string offensive lineman who’s been hanging around on the taxi squad will blossom. Maybe the DB who was a roster filler will step up. Maybe the running back who’s been dependable for the better part of a decade suddenly gets old. That promising rookie blows out a knee.

    March 5th, 2013 10:41 am

  2. Stan

    What I want to now is ..What do you think of Dennis Rodman and his new BFF?. Or for some strange reason I don’t understand real journalists are taking what he’s done seriously.
    Whats you view?

    March 5th, 2013 10:54 am

  3. Tiburon Dave

    Steve Young said that this past season may have been their best opportunity to win it all…I agree with him…

    March 5th, 2013 11:59 am

  4. Stan

    The 49ers look good for a few more years. Its just that we in the bay area are used to dynasty’s,not one hit wonders. I think Steve Young cant go wrong saying “best chance” as the 49ers were in the Super Bowl of course..but CK

    March 5th, 2013 12:38 pm

  5. Streetglide

    Reading the various rags in the Bay Area I have to say that Niners fans are hands-down the biggest whiners who follow an NFL team. Woulda, coulda, shoulda… blech…

    I enjoy watching them, win, lose or, that’s right, draw. And I spell it lose, not loose, unlike about 80 percent of the posters around here. They should offer a course at SSU titled, “Enjoying Sports Grammatically…” Oh yeah, the friggin’ quote marks go OUTSIDE the punctuation, you know, periods, question marks, etc.

    Thanks. And you kids get off my lawn!

    March 5th, 2013 12:40 pm

  6. Stan

    I know I miss letters on words 5 years old can spell..that’s typing typos for you. My last post? I thought it was eaten by the netherworld as my finger hit something in combo by accident. I still don’t know what I do that causes that..only my fingers hit the wrong keys.
    At least my main point went through.

    March 5th, 2013 1:54 pm

  7. KauaiRobert

    They have no MAJOR issues.
    They’d like to keep Goldson for the right price, but if he’s too expensive they’ll let him go and take a Safety early.
    They may just take a Safety early anyway if that kid happens to be the BPA and they don’t get a decent deal to trade down.
    With 15 picks upcoming, cap space to make some serious moves in FA, and a young team on the verge of winning it all, I’d say they’re in pretty good shape right now.
    Way to stay on topic buddy!
    If nothing else, you ARE consistant.

    March 5th, 2013 2:20 pm

  8. Mark M

    Colorful commentary today. I just can’t measure up in this area.

    But I’ll say we’d had better get better depth on the D line. My theory is that the J Smith injury not only lessened our talent on the line, but exposed us as thin at this position. We clearly wore down. And I’m hearing Sopoaga is probably gone for financial reasons. We may need a full 3 more D linemen, whom can actually play next year, in order to continue our “stout” play against the run from the last few seasons.

    Secondary is another area of concern. Rogers would be fine if he were a 3rd or 4th corner. Culliver is a starter, just a bit dumb and immature. Those traits can be dealt with and he has the talent to keep starting. Poor kid had a rough SB week….bad timing to speak his ill prepared mind.

    We don’t just need a second receiver, but one whom can actually make some plays. I’m still hoping for P Harvin from the Vikes. That could open things up nicely for the others to have a true complement to Crabs.

    I don’t think we need to worry about Harbaugh standing pat. Call Alex in KC to get an answer on that one.

    March 5th, 2013 3:00 pm

  9. Dennis

    I agree with Bob In Portland. You have to look at this in the context of the whole league, or at least the teams they will be playing. Way to early to tell who shows up and who doesn’t. 15 picks and Trent Baalke is pretty a good place to be in comparison to the rest of the league.

    March 5th, 2013 3:56 pm

  10. Dennis

    This is a great article on football economics http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/92769/nfl-econ-49ers-sustainability-rams-plan
    It features Paraaga Marathe on a panel discussing the economics of football and why the 49ers can’t pay Goldson what he wants. It really explains a lot about what is going on and why.

    March 5th, 2013 4:06 pm

  11. htwaits

    The 49ers issues seem to be agreed upon by most all of the analyst/writers.

    I remember what happened to the 49ers after they loaded up with free agents in 1994. The next year, and those that followed all went in the wrong direction.

    I agree that minor tweaks are not a good strategy with as many issues as the 49ers have. They tried that at least once in the glory years, and it didn’t work then either.

    I disagree that a budget busting chase after “star” free agents will be better. It’s likely that it could be worse in the short run (Eagles), and ever worse in the long run. Check Denver’s current issues. Then there is the Oakland quarterback situation, or the Atlanta issues going forward.

    Looking for the guy that screwed up in the couching staff or the personnel staff is pointless. Either they, as a team, will get better drafting in the tail end of each round, or decline will set in.

    I’ve never understood why the 49ers are supposed to have the most talent in the NFL. Just look at their issues.

    “Let it roll.”
    “Let it roll.”

    P.S.; Lowell, do you have the power to do something about the automatic refreshes that the PD is using in it’s blogs?

    March 5th, 2013 4:26 pm

  12. mike

    Niners also have to find out why Aldon Smith disappeared as a pass rusher once Justin Smith went down? Cannot have AS’s whole pass rush game depend on JS setting him up with the DT-DE twist stunt in nickel situations.

    March 5th, 2013 6:19 pm

  13. Stan

    Enjoy Rob,because I’ve had a dickens of a time getting on the net. Its amazing how many “open” blogs don’t allow my posts.
    The feedback is…”We have to work with these people”..Not, you lie! or you write blue or such..nope,too much truth. I sort of figured eventually that would happen. I might try my own blog..although,I also figure it will sound a lot like I’m talking to myself until I get the hang of it.
    If I do ? It will the most ferocious blog known to mankind.

    March 6th, 2013 8:45 am

  14. Tommy CostaRica

    Dennis excellent article! Thank you! And the 9er’s figured that out just a step ahead the rest of the league! So sorry for the Rams :-(

    March 6th, 2013 9:57 am

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