Should 49ers fear the practice-squader?

September, 5, 2013
9/05/13
8:00
AM ET
Welcome to the NFL, where players who have never played a down or who are not even currently on an active roster are part of the storylines of the week.

They also may have a hand in the game plan.

Tolzien
The Green Bay Packers added some intrigue to a match-up that didn’t need much more when they signed quarterback Scott Tolzien to their practice squad. Tolzien was was cut last week by Packers' Week 1 opponent, the San Francisco 49ers.

Tolzien was with the 49ers the past two years and was fully versed in their game plan and their read-option offense. Indeed, it's been said that Tolzien’s greatest asset is his football knowledge.

The Packers surely are picking Tolzien’s brain, perhaps even as you read this. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy danced around what kind of role Tolzien will have this week, but I could see Tolzien spending more time with the defensive coaches than his offensive coaches this week.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh acknowledged that Tolzien could let the Packers in on some 49ers knowledge.

“There’s things he knows,” Harbaugh said, “so we’ll see how that plays out.”

Does that mean Tolzien’s presence on Lombardi Avenue is causing Harbaugh to lose sleep?

“Our plan remains the same,” the coach said.

49ers left tackle Joe Staley downplayed the significance of Tolzien being in Green Bay. He said that terminology and plans are always evolving, and he offered this Midwestern spin on it: “The hay is never all in the barn until the door is closed.”

Do I think the Tolzien Factor will be an issue come game day? No, not really. He might help with some preparation, but once the game starts, Tolzien will just be another out-of-uniform practice-squader.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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