When I first started writing for my 49ers blog, the 49ers had just completed the 2006 campaign at 7-9. In what looked to be a great 2007 season for me to cover, ended up as one of the ugliest years in recent 49ers history.
The departure of Norv Turner forced the team to rely on Jim Hostler to run the offense. With numerous three-and-outs, the 49ers defense was forced to stay on the field for the majority of the season.
In that year, I was very hopeful for 49ers linebacker Manny Lawson to continue his second season as a great pass rusher for the 49ers. With the 49ers' first round selection of linebacker Patrick Willis in the 2007 NFL Draft, Lawson had a great chance to be part of a very young, explosive linebacker group.
Since starting my blog, my hopes for Lawson's success have been derailed by injuries. Lawson would suffer a leg injury during practice two games into the 2007 season and was used sparingly in last year's revamped 3-4 defense.
The 49ers were rumored to be interested in drafting a pass rusher this past April to replace Lawson. When the 49ers opted to not draft a new linebacker, it was a sign that the team might still believe Lawson could be that pass rusher of the future. And I still believe he could be that kind of a player.
If given the chance to interview Lawson, there would be a lot of topics I would want to cover. But these are the five questions that I really want to ask the 49ers linebacker:
- You tore your ACL in 2007 and had a hamstring injury in 2008. Are there any extra precautions you are taking entering this year's training camp, to make sure you don't re-injure yourself?
- In your first year with the 49ers, you played in all 16 games and collected 57 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Last year, you were able to play in 14 games, but were left out of the team's nickel defensive schemes. What changes have been made in this year's defense to allow you more playing time at linebacker?
- The team was rumored to select a pass rusher in the NFL Draft but opted not to go that direction. This must be an indication that the team still believes in you, to be their main right side pass rusher. Are you approaching this season to show management that they made the right choice?
- In your recent blog entry, you talked about how some reporters mentioned your new weight gain. You did assure them that the weight gain would not hinder your play on the field, even though you do enjoy the occasional snacking. You said that if your performance hinders, you would try to get back into shape. Is there a certain weight that you feel would be too heavy for your body frame?
- As the OTAs approach, what do you like to do outside of football to keep yourself occupied and mentally sharp?