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Ask Cris: Receiving help

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NFL analyst and former Minnesota Vikings great Cris Carter is back to answer another batch of questions from readers. This week, Cris addresses the 49ers' woes and gives his take on where Chad Johnson could end up if he's traded by the Bengals in the offseason.

If you would like Cris to respond to a question, send him an email and check next Wednesday's Q&A.

Here are Cris' questions and responses this week:

"Is this the end of the line for 'Ocho Cinco' in Cincy? If so, where do you think he has a chance of going next"

San Jose, Calif.

It wouldn't surprise me if this was Chad Johnson's last season with the Cincinnati Bengals. It's clear that quarterback Carson Palmer is their franchise player and I don't see him going anywhere anytime soon. And if there's a situation in which key players aren't on the same page – whether it's an altercation, disagreement or a failure to communicate – then it's not of the question that someone gets released or traded. In this case, it definitely would be Chad and not Carson.

In terms of teams that are in dire need of a wide receiver, the Atlanta Falcons instantly come to mind. In addition, the Tennessee Titans have the worst receiving corps in the league; and of course, the Minnesota Vikings are lacking a marquee guy at wide receiver.

"The New England Patriots are perfect, but there must be something the team really needs to improve on. What's their biggest weakness?"

Kyle Przywolski

In my eyes, their most glaring weakness is that their linebackers aren't great cover guys in man-to-man. That said, they're still very effective overall and do a pretty good job in man coverage. However, that's an area for teams to exploit … especially the next time they find themselves in a close game.

"I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan and I read a lot of blogs and everyone and their momma wonders why the 'Boys leave Roy Williams in the secondary? Are the coaches seeing what the fans are seeing? He gets exposed week in and week out … why don't they use him at linebacker since he plays the run better than anything else he does? He will be the reason we lose a game in the playoffs."

Washington, D.C.

The position he's playing right now is his most effective position. Yes, he gets victimized in the passing game – and that's not good – but he is still a solid safety all around. You have to understand, it takes a lot of qualities to play linebacker – quickness, tackling ability and sheer force – so you just can't take someone from another position and think they could all of a sudden handle that role. Williams has been playing safety for quite some time and it would be disastrous to move him to linebacker.

"Will Chester Taylor's performance on Sunday change how soon Adrian Peterson will return?"

Los Angeles

Yes. The better Taylor does, the more comfortable Minnesota feels in easing Peterson back into action. They love AD in Minnesota and know he's a major piece to the future of the franchise.

"Is it time for the San Francisco 49ers to make some crucial personnel changes? In my opinion, they are by far the worst team in the league and I think there offensive woes are to be blamed on the coaching staff and the play calling. What do you think?"

Chris Kim
Richmond, Calif.

I'm pretty sure you can question some schemes and decisions, but you can't put all of their problems on the coaching staff Every year, we sit back, watch a team make a few moves in the offseason and project that they're going to take a quantum leap. The 49ers have turned out to be the latest disappointment. They have invested high draft picks on guys who aren't quite playing up to expectations. Quarterback Alex Smith has regressed and running back Frank Gore certainly isn't having the season we expected. Even more, the offensive line isn't playing well.

"When do you think Atlanta will let Jerious Norwood be the featured back? I mean, I think it's time to move forward soon with his talent."

Robert Kilgore
Beaufort, S.C.

He's a small guy (5-foot-11, 204 pounds), so you have to wonder if he'll ever be ready to carry the ball 25 times a game. You certainly can't take that chance now given that they haven't established an effective passing game. If teams don't respect their passing game – and right now, they don't – they're just going to sit back and pound on Norwood. He needs to be put in a better position to succeed before they contemplate making him the featured back.

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