GREEN BAY, Wisc. – As the 49ers prepare to play in one of the coldest games in NFL history on Sunday, we’ll try to keep you warm with an NFC wild-card weekend edition of 49ers Mailbag. . .
Do Rogers or Wright play and contribute? (@Brianbono)
Cornerback Carlos Rogers is not expected to play. After all, he did not practice all week. And in speaking with him late in the week, it was obvious he was not confident in his right hamstring holding up. He did not test it with any speed work while the team was in the warm weather of California. So there’s simply no way the 49ers would throw him out there with the temperature hovering around zero.
Veteran Eric Wright in the next person in line to enter in nickel situations to play the slot receiver. Wright’s hamstring is not bad at all, but I do not believe the 49ers are 100-percent sold on Wright’s ability to step in and do the job.
Expect the 49ers to give plenty of playing time to Perrish Cox in that nickel role, too. Do not be surprised to see Wright and Cox share the duties.
Any chance the Niners employ more screens this game? Get Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James in space. (@PhilipGensner)
The 49ers are not a good screen team. It does not play to the strengths of the team’s offensive line.
Now, the 49ers have used wide receiver screens with success in recent games. They found something that works with tight ends Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald getting outside to throw blocks for Anquan Boldin. Expect the 49ers to utilize this kind of screen pass.
Is it crazy to believe Harbaugh has held back part of play book for playoffs? (@Pardeezy)
Let’s take you back one year ago. The 49ers played the Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman had the bye week to prepare, and he put together a masterful plan.
"If you've noticed, we're definitely the kind of people to hold our ace card, our best card, slip it under our leg and wait for the right time to pull it out," Roman said after the 49ers’ 45-31 victory.
Last year, Roman used more of the read-option in the playoffs. It’s something the 49ers showed throughout the season, but they featured it in the second half of that game against Green Bay.
There are bound to be new wrinkles in this game, but I do not think you’ll see any dramatic changes. A lot of what Roman has planned for the offense might be contingent on the conditions and footing at Lambeau Field.
Any concerns from team about the safety of the players in such cold temps? Or is cold weather narrative out of hand? (@Turnesaurus)
There is no question the weather is a concern. The National Weather Service forecasts a temperatures around zero degrees with wind chill between negative-15 and negative-20 during the game.
Both teams will be particularly focused on making sure the players’ muscles are warmed-up properly. And, depending on how cold it is, the teams will wary of any respiratory or vision issues.
And we’ll conclude with these words from 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh about the weather, just prior to the team’s flight to Appleton, Wisc., on Friday afternoon:
“We’re aware of it and we’ll pack all our shoe options. And the guys will put clothes on that they’ll be able to move around in and then start playing. The heart rate ramps up, the hot blood races to the arteries, to the vessels, to the capillaries, and there distributed to the fingers and the toes. In an athlete, the age and the health of these guys, that hot blood will be racing around.”