As Mike McCarthy prepares to return to San Francisco and take on his former team, he noted Friday that he learned some things from 49ers head coach Mike Nolan about getting started as a head coach, and he's tried to incorporate some of those in Green Bay.
"I think he has a lot of interesting ideas and viewpoints on building a program," McCarthy said of Nolan, for whom he was offensive coordinator last season. "I was able to carry that with me. It's a coaching staff I have a lot of respect for."
Nolan took over a team that went 2-14 in 2004, and the 49ers battled through a slew of injuries that led to more than 100 missed games by regular starters, started four different quarterbacks, and went 4-12 last season. It was a difficult year, but a learning experience nonetheless, and the 49ers continued to build this season, beginning the year 5-5 before losses in their last two games.
"Last year the challenge as far as having players in and out, that was the most I'd ever gone through," McCarthy said. "I hope to never experience that again.
"On top of that, we were also young. In hindsight, it was experience that you can draw from, and definitely have drawn from it some as we move through this season."
McCarthy said tight end David Martin (questionable, ribs) practiced for the second straight day and did better on Friday than Thursday. He will be a game-time decision.
Despite missing the past two games, Martin ranks fifth on the team with 21 catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns. He could provide a valuable weapon in the middle of the field, an area that also could make his ribs vulnerable, however.
"I won't be thinking about it, but once I get hit, I'll be wondering how it's going to feel when I'm getting up," Martin said. "But I try to put that out of my mind. I try to play like it isn't there."
McCarthy said he's been pleased with the work of tight end Zac Alcorn in practice and would be comfortable going with him if Martin isn't back to full strength.
Also in the injury front, McCarthy said defensive end Michael Montgomery injured his right knee in practice on Wednesday but didn't discuss the severity of the injury. He will not play on Sunday.
When asked if he thought offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski would make a good college football coach, McCarthy said he has no doubts.
Jagodzinski's name could come up in the coming weeks as Boston College searches for a new head coach. Jagodzinski was the Eagles' offensive coordinator in 1997 and 1998 before breaking into the NFL with the Packers in 1999.
McCarthy said he didn't know if Jagodzinski is interested in the Boston College job, but he said he wouldn't stand in his way and would hate to lose him if that ultimately came to pass.
"I've been blessed to work with people that have helped me along the way to put me in this position," McCarthy said. "I'm hopeful I can do that some day for other coaches."
According to Elias Sports Bureau, when Cleveland's Derek Anderson made his first NFL start at quarterback on Thursday night against Pittsburgh, he became the 200th different quarterback to start an NFL game since Brett Favre began his consecutive starts streak on Sept. 27, 1992.
The league hasn't had 32 teams throughout Favre's streak, but for argument's sake, that equates to an average of about 61/2 quarterbacks for each of the other 31 teams since Favre's streak began.