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Pre-Game Recon: Five Questions With Niners Nation

Have you been wondering what has been going on up in San Francisco this offseason? Wonder no more - we've got Niners Nation in the house to drop some knowledge.

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David Fucillo of our sister site, Niners Nation, was kind enough to drop by and answer some of our burning questions about his beloved 49ers. Take it away, Fooch.

1 - What is the confidence level in Colin Kaepernick right now? The Niners' offense seemed to struggle quite a bit in the first two preseason games of the year. Was that a product of Kaepernick, the offensive line, or something else?

Kap seems fairly confident. After the Chargers game, he said it was preseason and if they struggle Week 1, then people can start to worry. Having an incomplete offensive line is one culprit, as is the 49ers' intent on keeping things as vanilla as possible. You won't see a whole lot of much from their playbook, but rather just working on some basic concepts. There is always going to be chatter when Kap appears to be struggling, but I really think it's easiest just holding off until the regular season. If they struggle against an awful Cowboys defense in Week 1, then come back to me on this.

2 - Two of Battle Red Blog's favorite players going into this past draft were Carlos Hyde and Chris Borland. How have they looked so far?

Hyde is locked in as the No. 2 running back behind Frank Gore. He has looked good in limited reps, but he is almost being treated like a starter in terms of getting rest for the regular season. Come Week 1, I could see him getting 8-10 carries a game, give or take. As for Borland, he has improved each week of the preseason. At times he looks a little out of his element, relying on instincts that are still adjusting to the NFL. In college, he could free-lance a bit more, whereas in the NFL, he needs to know his specific role a bit better. He's a fantastic tackler, firing off like a missile at times, which likely bodes well for special teams work. He remains behind Michael Wilhoite as the temporary replacement for NaVorro Bowman.

3 - Have any other rookies or second year players stood out to you so far in camp or preseason?

First round pick Jimmie Ward has all but locked down the nickel back role. He also serves as the backup safety, which could result in a transition down the line. Defensive linemen Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial, both drafted in 2013, but effectively red-shirted last season, have looked incredibly strong. Both are very active, and have seemingly worked their way into the rotation behind Justin Smith and Ray McDonald. On offense, second year tight end Vance McDonald has seemingly improved his hands after dealing with drops last year. He has caught some bullets from Colin Kaepernick, and could be working his way into a sizable jack of all trades kind of role in the 49ers offense.

4 - What is your take on all of the complications surrounding the opening of the 49ers new stadium? Will the field be ready for the Week Two christening against Chicago?

When they put in the turf earlier this offseason, it was laid down on a soil/sand combination. One of my writers learned that there was an issue with the sand, and that resulted in the grass being unable to fully root itself. The stadium used a temporary solution similar to what the Eagles did for their game last week against Pittsburgh (which came after several concerts). The 49ers have enough time to get in a brand new surface and should be good to go.

5 - Gun to your head, what is the 49ers' record at the end of this season? Do they win the division? Do they get to the Super Bowl?

I'm going 12-4, win the division, win the Super Bowl. I'm looking at this through homer glasses, but this team is good enough to win the Super Bowl. And considering they've fallen short three straight years, the pressure is on to bring home the Lombardi Trophy this year. The key will be taking the division so as to avoid a trip to Seattle in the playoffs. I certainly can't ignore the scary thought that is the New Orleans Saints at home in the playoffs, but if the 49ers can get home field, I like their chances.

Thank you to Fooch for taking the time to answer all of our questions. For all things 49ers, head on over to Niners Nation and join the discussion.

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