Behind Enemy Lines: San Francisco

Rookie head coach Mike Nolan is still learning what duties he needs to carry out to best serve his team on game day.

When asked after Sunday's 24-6 loss to the Giants how well quarterback Cody Pickett played, Nolan answered that he really did not watch that much of Pickett's performance.

Then what the heck was he doing?

Nolan said he might miss the first part of a series because he is talking to the team's defense after a change of possession. Or a lot of times, he might be concentrating all his effort into watching the opponent's defense.

"A lot of times when our offense is on the field, the way I can help the offense and (offensive coordinator) Mike McCarthy is to stare down the defense. Because as soon as the ball's snapped I can see what they're doing and I can say, 'Mike, this is what you're getting,' as opposed to watching our own players and seeing how they're executing the plays."

Nolan said that is the best way he can help the team's offense because of his expertise on the defensive side of the ball. Nolan was a long-time NFL defensive assistant before the 49ers hired him in January as head coach.

"The offensive coaches already know if a guy misses a block or if a guy makes a block or why a play worked and why it didn't," Nolan said. "My expertise is on the other side, so..."

So Nolan said he will offer input to the offensive coaches along the lines of, "Here's what (the defense is) doing and why they're doing this, and this is what we need to do," Nolan said.

"It's using my strengths," Nolan added. "I already have guys to do the other jobs. I try to utilize my strengths so they can be most helpful to the offense."

Not much has worked for the 49ers offense in recent weeks. The club has scored just eight offensive touchdowns in eight games. Since Tim Rattay was benched and subsequently traded, the 49ers have gained just 234 net yards passing in four games.

They have started four different quarterbacks this season and will no have no easy task of getting on track against the Bears third ranked defense in the NFL.

Personnel News

  • RB Kevan Barlow could not get anything going against the Giants, gaining just 4 yards on 10 carries. He is the team leader with 424 yards rushing on 114 carries. He also has the most receptions on the team, grabbing 23 passes for 177 yards.

  • RB Frank Gore gained 33 yards on just seven carries against the Giants to make a bid for more playing time over starter Kevan Barlow, who carried just 10 times for 4 yards. Gore has 271 yards rushing on 51 carries this season for an impressive 5.3-yard average.

  • WR Brandon Lloyd made a remarkable 31-yard reception that was called back due to a holding penalty. He caught just one other pass the entire game against the Giants. His production has fallen off since the 49ers traded quarterback Tim Rattay. Lloyd has just 22 receptions for 400 yards and three touchdowns this season, but is still the team's leading wideout.

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