San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (21) walks on the sideline during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. Marcio Jose Sanchez AP
San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore (21) walks on the sideline during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

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49ers Q&A: What are the chances Frank Gore wears red & gold again?

By Matt Barrows

mbarrows@sacbee.com

December 29, 2017 09:12 AM

D.B.‏ @db8552 What are the chances Frank Gore plays one last season with the niners? (I know it’s slim to none but I felt nostalgic after that SI article).

ANSW: I have not asked anyone about this, but my sense is that the 49ers are so youth-centric as they continue their rebuild that Gore – he turns 35 in May – does not fit their blueprint despite the fact that he’s still more productive than players 10 years his junior. (He also isn’t exactly the plant-foot-in-ground, take-off style of runner Kyle Shanahan prefers). Would the 49ers sign Gore as a symbolic gesture when he’s ready to retire? The answer to that, I think, is yes, absolutely. But Gore does not seem ready to do so in 2018.

Lopez‏ @bumper209 Which running back will finish with more rushing yards for the season? Hyde or Gore?

ANSW: Gore (861 yards) faces a Houston team that appears to have given up some time in November. Hyde (850) faces a Rams team that will be full of backups. Both are free agents who want to put one, final great game on tape and who would *love* to hit 1,000 yards.

Verdict: Gore. By a nose. (That’s not a knock on Hyde as much as it is Houston).

Alex Faulkner‏ @dfaulk95 Since the Rams are resting their starters, and the Niners have lifted their elevation of play for their recent opponents (especially since Jags), do you see them playing down to the Ram’s bench players?

ANSW: Bench players often play well in these one-game scenarios. They’re well-rested, lightly scouted and eager to prove themselves. I think the 49ers will have to play well to win this one.

Donald Burkett‏ @Buckadero Who do you see as the top red zone target option in FA that actually fits or makes sense for us?

ANSW: Well, Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham would seem to fit. I read somewhere that he’s tall. (And has 16 TDs the last two seasons). That would create a practice scenario in which Jimmy throws to Jimmy who is covered by Jimmie.

Josh Abbott‏ @pigeon_spurs When are the team awards announced and who do you think are the favourite for each?

ANSW: Each coach handles them differently as far as when the voting is done and when they’re announced. Last year it came right after Week 17. I can’t predict any of them, but the Len Eshmont Award, which Colin Kaepernick won last year, will be interesting. It’s the team’s top honor and is voted on by the players. I’d say Marquise Goodwin, Jimmy Garoppolo and Eric Reid are in the running.

Joe Brown‏ @jb49ers80 Think Armstead sticks at LEO next year? Seems like moving him around - subbing him at DT and RDE would better suit him. Essentially back up Thomas and Buckner.

ANSW: It’s going to depend on what happens in free agency and the draft, of course. With Tank Carradine a free agent, I can see a scenario in which Armstead is the “big end,” which in some similar schemes is a major play-making role. (See: Bennett, Michael in Seattle; Campbell, Calais in Jacksonville).

Joe Brown‏ @jb49ers80 considering all the likely coaching turnover, chances niners will be coaching the senior bowl? Is it always one AFC and one NFC team?

ANSW: The more the 49ers win, of course, the weaker their chances. The 49ers are hoping two of the teams below them don’t fire their coaches, which would make those teams exempt. No, it doesn’t have to be one AFC team, one NFC team.

SpikerIsAwesome‏ @SpikerIsAwesome are any CBs on the team other than Witherspoon in the team’s plans next season?

ANSW: Well, yes, K’Waun Williams. But he’s a nickel cornerback. If Greg Mabin is over his calf injury, my guess is that the 49ers will want to take a long look at him Sunday.

Aaron‏ @Tnniner The Peter King draft thing was based off the irony of the 49ers starting over with a young owner, new gm and coach, and getting their future qb. Just realized after going 2-14 in ‘79, their record in ‘80....6-10. Illuminati confirmed?

ANSW: Weird. I thought I saw an albino monk sneak out of the media room the other day. (Turns out it was Cam Inman).

Aaron‏ @Tnniner Hard Knocks in Santa Clara is definitely happening, right? Feels like they could be the first to even volunteer for it.

ANSW: My guess is that the 49ers would be anti-Hard Knocks and might horse trade – we’ll play a foreign-soil game instead! – to keep from being on the show. To me, the show is too formulaic. You have your undrafted rookie fighting to make the team, the comfortable vet who’s just going through the motions, the swearing, drill-instructor coach, etc., etc. They squeeze people into those tidy storylines. There’s no nuance and too many people come away from it looking like crap.

Fox Sports rules analysts Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino discuss the San Francisco 49ers recent upswing and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

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Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.