Alex Smith on the bench during the third quarter against the Houston Texans. (Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE)

Inside The Villain's Venue: Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers Preseason

This week we’re talking to Eric Melendez of Niner Noise to get the inside scoop on the team that he knows better than almost anyone. Let’s find out what 49er fan reaction was to the possibility of signing Peyton Manning, how Mario Manningham, Randy Moss, and Brandon Jacobs will change this offense, and let’s get a prediction for Sunday’s game.

Without further ado, let’s go Inside the Villain’s Venue with Niner Noise.

Q: Jim Harbaugh has denied having an interest in Manning beyond an “evaluation.” However, from a fan’s perspective, were you disappointed that the 49ers didn’t land him?

A: I had a mixed bag of reactions during and after the Peyton Sweepstakes.  When the news came out the 49ers had “evaluated” him, it was a surprise.  I was content with Harbaugh looking at him.  So long as they were serious in signing him because of the repercussions of Alex Smith signing with another team as the 49ers courted Peyton. Smith at the time was still unsigned, so I was worried he would sign elsewhere, we wouldn’t land Peyton and then we would be left with Colin Kaepernick who is the backup.  Kaepernick is the quarterback of the future for the 49ers, but he is not ready to be a starter.

In the end, Smith flirted with the Dolphins but decided to re-sign with the 49ers, so all was good. The reason I think Harbaugh said he only “evaluated” Peyton was because he didn’t want Smith to think he didn’t have confidence in him.  Trust me had Peyton said he wanted to be a Niner, Harbaugh would have said ‘let’s sign him.’

Q: Give us a breakdown of your big free agent signings this off season. Will Mario Manningham, Randy Moss, and Brandon Jacobs really push this team into the Super Bowl this year (assuming the defense remains dominant)?

A: The biggest weakness on offense last season and in the playoffs was a lack of a really good passing game. Other than Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, the 49ers had no other real threats in the passing game.  Brining in Manningham, Moss and drafting A.J. Jenkins will help the 49ers offense evolve from just being a rushing attack.

Brandon Jacobs gives the 49ers a true short-yardage running back that can also play the traditional role if need be.  Jacobs taking over in short-yardage situations will help keep Frank Gore healthy for a full season.  The 49ers have lacked for years a true short-yardage running back of Jacobs’ size and ability.

The defense will remain dominant because we have all 11 starters returning and with the 49ers filling in the necessary holes on offense, the team is set to make another run at the Super Bowl.

Q: Are there any young players that have really surprised so far in camp and the first two preseason games that we should be watching for?

A: A big surprise this preseason has been defensive end Demarcus Dobbs. Dobbs was signed by the 49ers in 2011 as an undrafted free agent and he made the roster last season playing in 12 games.  This preseason the 49ers have Dobbs not only lining up at defensive end, but also at tight end and on special teams.  He is player who can stop the run, rush the passer and collapse the pocket.  When it comes to offense, he has shown he can block defensive linemen and can catch passes over the middle. In the 49ers second preseason game, Dobbs was on the field for offense, defense and special teams.

Q: As silly as it may be, can you give us a prediction for Sunday’s game?

A: The third preseason game is always the most exciting because it’s the longest we will see the first-team units on the field and all of the bubble players go extra hard because of the first roster cuts being made the next day after the game.  The final score will be close: 49ers 18 Broncos 15

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