49ers 17, Falcons 16: Grades


Here are the grades for the San Francisco 49ers’ 17-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

GABBERT: B-. He won the game – give him credit. He threw two interceptions, but the first wasn’t his fault. That pass bounced off of wide receiver Jerome Simpson’s shoulder. The second pick – an underthrown pass right to defensive end Vic Beasley – was ugly. But this mistake didn’t cost the Niners the lead. And when Gabbert had to make a play on third-and-four near the end of the game, he ran for five yards and slid in bounds to keep the clock running. The other 49ers’ quarterback, what’s-his-face, simply would have cruised out of bounds.

RUNNING BACKS: B. The 49ers’ starting running back was someone named Shaun Draughn, and he had 102 yards from scrimmage – exactly what we all expected from him. Sunday afternoon was classic Draughn.

WIDE RECEIVERS: C. Torrey Smith dropped two passes, but made up for those mistakes with a beautiful one-handed catch. Quinton Patton led all receivers with three catches for 70 yards. Jerome Simpson caught no passes, although he tipped one to an opposing defensive back. At least SOMEONE caught the ball.

TIGHT ENDS: B. Garrett Celek made two touchdown catches, and now leads the team with three on the season – exactly what we all expected. Classic Celek. Vance McDonald, the starter, dropped the only pass Colin Kaepernick attempted – a deep pass toward the left sideline. Classic McDonald.

OFFENSIVE LINE: B. Didn’t create much room to run, but didn’t give up any sacks, either. Amazing how much better these guys play when they’re blocking for a quarterback who doesn’t hold the ball until the end of time.

DEFENSIVE LINE: A. Held the NFL’s leading rusher, Devonta Freeman, to 12 rushing yards on 12 carries.

LINEBACKERS: A. The Niners defense hit Matt Ryan seven times, and linebackers Aaron Lynch and NaVorro Bowman each sacked Ryan once. The front-seven hasn’t played this well since Week 1. Bowman certainly had his best game of the season.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: A. The Niners broke up nine passes even though they didn’t have their top-three corners – Tramaine Brock, Kenneth Acker and Keith Reaser. All three were inactive. Their replacements – Dontae Johnson, Marcus Cromartie and Chris Davis – were terrific. Cromartie made a team-leading seven tackles, and Johnson broke up a pass intended for Jones in the end zone late in the fourth quarter.

One note on the safeties: Jaquiski Tartt already is better than Eric Reid, and it’s not even close.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C. The Niners couldn’t stop Falcons return man Eric Weems, and Bruce Ellington made at least two fair catches inside the Niners 10-yard line. But Ellington was fantastic when he actually ran, and kicker Phil Dawson was perfect.

COACHES: B. Eric Mangini did a great job getting his young, inexperienced corners ready for this game, and shutting down Freeman, the Falcons’ running back. Geep Chryst was solid, although he didn’t really change anything about the offense. He mostly called the same plays he’s called all season. The difference was the quarterback, who was confident and decisive.

    1. He really surprised me. Dont know why he was sitting on the couch for half the season with teams like the Cowboys needing RBs. Was stuffed a lot, but I kind of expected he would considering how little time with the team he had, but when he had space, he was fluid, fast, and showed good hands. O line did a nice job a few times to spring him, and it was nice to see Trenton Brown in there.

      1. News Flash:


        Damon Bruce ‏@DamonBruce · 17h17 hours ago

        Give Gabbert the bye week to keep catching up, and you’ll may be able to slip outside the top 10 draft picks. Yay! #49ers

          1. My Opinion:
            The NFL’s 2 Most Vanilla Teams–What do fans expect from Defensive Head Coaches:

            That wasn’t even Quinn’s worst decision of the fourth quarter. After Jimmie Ward stopped Justin Hardy at the 2-yard line on 3rd-and-goal with 3:42 remaining, Quinn defiantly stuck three fingers in the air. Instead of going for a 20-17 win, Quinn chose a one-point deficit and the chance to prove that his defense is soooooo ready to rock, bro. Perhaps he caught his team by surprise — and who could blame them, since Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and Jacob Tamme had combined for 24 catches and 265 receiving yards — because the Falcons took 42 seconds(!) to kick a 19-yard field goal.
            The Football Gods frown on decisions like this. Quinn believed there was a better chance that his defense could keep the 49ers from earning one first down than his offense gaining two yards, even though the Falcons had a six-minute edge in time of possession at the time.

            After it looked like Jim Tomsula’s 49ers were going to out-conservative Quinn’s Falcons with two vanilla

        1. Bryan_Admin: This week’s game is going to be darn funny. What’s it going to take to screw up a top 5 pick this year?

          Blogger from 49ers Paradise.

    1. He should sue. The city, the NFL, and the Rams organization put Bush in an unsafe situation. If you were walking into a grocery store and fell on a slick floor causing you to miss a year of work and potentially costing you your career then you would sue too.

        1. I thought Grant was a reporter? They are supposed to report and not make a judgment on QB’s etc. His bias is so obvious, that he is a disgrace to writers. Maybe Kap saw something in him that we did not?

    1. Given what he does when it’s his fault (slammed helmet), I wonder what he might do if it’s someone else fault. Grant didn’t even mention the dropped pass that preceded his helmet slam.

        1. Let’s see….Kaep screws up for 21/2 years and no screaming until Jerome Simpson drops a couple in his first game back….Boy ! ….are you guys ever predictable…

    2. We’ll see. Yesterdays drops may be an outlier. Simpson seems to have the ability to separate. He’s open a lot, and if he starts making those catches, he might become a “go to” receiver.

  1. I thought the same thing,how Gabbert slid and kept inbound and Kaep would of ran out of bounds. My guess Simpson will be cut after missing two easy catches and Boldin will be back on the active roster after bye.

  2. By the end of time you mean 2 seconds? Maybe the line blocks better with Jordan Devey warming the bench with his deterior against a team that leaves guys wide open?

  3. As I watched the game today I wondered who would take the first shot at Colin Kaepernick.

    “The other 49ers’ quarterback, what’s-his-face, simply would have cruised out of bounds.” … Grant

    In his first paragraph. Who would have thought.

      1. Seb, McDonald is an unreliable receiver and the pass was catchable but, as it often is from Kaepernick, it was thrown high. There are guys who could have caught it, but I’m not sure how many.

          1. It did hit him in both hands, but the ball wasn’t lofted. Typical Kaepernick. I guess my point is that some QBs make the players around them better, but Kaepernick is not one of them.

            1. Well, Gabbert did not make his WRs better when they dropped those other passes, too. Throwing shade on Kaep for a nice pass that T rex flailed at is just not fair, IMO.

              1. Vance should have made the catch Seb. But lets be honest, it wasn’t a great. Good QB’s don’t just throw the ball into an area and hope it’s caught. The good one throw “catchable balls”. They put the football in a place that makes for an easy reception. When your throwing to guys like Vance, you need to do better than sailing the pass high, raising the level of difficulty. Colin has simply lost his accuracy, and he was never all that accurate to begin with. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was related to his body building.

            1. I think the coaches should just tell Vance to run past the first down marker, then concentrate only on catching the ball and just fall to the ground. I think he is thinking about running after the catch and not securing the ball.

    1. I’d say “stay classy Cohns”, but it’s obvious it’s way too late. Can’t wait for Gabberts C- grade from Grant after he goes 12-32 175 yards 1td 3 ints against Seattle. Simply for just “not being named Kaepernick”.

  4. Quarterbacks – “The other 49ers’ quarterback, what’s-his-face, simply would have cruised out of bounds.” Yup.
    WRs – Patton had a nice game.
    O-Line – Notice Trenton Brown in the game. Trenton is a very large individual.
    D-Line – Agreed. Stuffed it.
    Special Teams – The 49ers missed LJ McCray’s coverage and Pinion’s kick offs. They have two weeks to clean up their act.

    Other Observations:
    – Draughn was in the right spot on blitz pick-ups and swing passes.
    – Purcells played.
    – Bowman looked fast.
    – The young DBs gave up some plays, but hit hard, made all but a few of their tackles and played with confidence.
    – TE is finally a weapon.
    – With a functioning running game, play action’s an option again.
    – BG is more athletic than I thought.
    – The interior D-line dominated.
    – Way too many dropped passes.

    1. The run blocking wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t good either. What I did notice was an improved body language from some of the O-line. No defeated slump. Marcus Martin barking signals with confidence.

  5. >Ya notice even after a win, each grading component has to finish with a “zinger” sentence?
    >So, now you think they don’t have to cut Bowman immediately? Do tell…
    >The second interception wasn’t under thrown, it was a back shoulder, but Gabbert got fooled by the LB drop; a risk of anticipation by a QB. But BG’s anticipation contributed mightily to his success throughout the game, and he didn’t get spooked by his lapse.

      1. Really liked was I saw on BG today, and we will see soon enough how he plays when there’s constant pressure in his face. Would we see the new and improved BG or the same QB that played with the Jax? Hopefully the former.

    1. The guy hates the organization he reports for. He’s nothing more than a shock jock at this point. I remember when he first came in, refreshing, new and to the point. But so was jerry springer when he first started. Eh.

      1. Grant is a beat writer covering the 49ers but what he wants be be is an opinion writer with his own column. He will probably get what he wants at some point.

  6. Quarterback grades shouldn’t just refer to Gabbert, after all Kaepernick has been in for a couple of plays, too. I actually think he did better than before, the drop by McD wasn’t on him.


    Then again, CK7 didn’t quite light it up holding the clipboard, clearly being in disgust while watching Blaine Gabbert actually make some plays a NFL QB should – you know – just make. Therefore, QB grade should be closer to a C+.

  7. Glad my reverse psychology worked. Installing a RB off the street was too risky, the team would exceed 15 penalties and the coaches would go timid. When Tomsula went for it twice, I never felt prouder to root for the Niners. They were playing Niner football.
    Atlanta just proved again that settling for field goals is a good way to lose games. Even if they did not make it, it would have put the Niners on the 2 yard line.

      1. Kaep did play. Cant catch a break with another drop. He wasted another TO, but since it gave Gabbert time to run through the protocols and get back on the field, you would probably consider that a wise use.

  8. BG played pretty much like I expected him too. I’m glad for the young man. At the same time, however, I’m not breaking out the champagne. Let’s see how the offense plays agains the ‘hags.

  9. BG deserves a B+
    He played very well, only a couple of bad throws. Played with energy and made good decisions
    the defense played well and was aggressive. Hope they keep it up.

  10. I thought the team overall played more inspired football, and Gabbert was the reason why. He played well considering the length of absence, and it’ll be interesting to see how inspiration fares against physicality….

    1. I like the tenacity I saw out of Gabbert after that big hit and they wanted to take him out of the game, he was fired up. Good to see the competitiveness.

      I was pleasantly surprised with Gabbert, but even more suprise by an injury bound defense

  11. 1. Keenan Allen, Ty Hilton, Jarvis Landry, Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, kelvin Benjamin, Travis Kelce, Jordan reeed … are all WR and TE who baalke failed to secure for us who were within our grasp.
    2. Our WR/TE stink. There is a reason other teams didnt want simpson and it is not just off field issues. Vance mac flat out sucks. We traded up for that clown.
    3. BG should be the starter for the rest of the season. Yes, the next game is in Seattle but it is not like kap has had any success there.
    4. Bowman looked good.
    5. Ward had a decent game. Commentators said he had been called up from practice squad – is that accurate?
    6. They rushed for under 20 yards.
    7. Although freeman did have a lot of underneath catches.
    8. Didn’t miss mike davis’s 1.4 yards per carry.
    9. Hyde is a good rb, but gets injured a lot.
    10. We need to make an assessment about some of the younger receivers on our roster – dres anderson , the guy from AL whose name escapes me, and busta anderson . what is status on smelter?
    11. Good to win. Baalke still needs to go however.

    1. “Keenan Allen, Ty Hilton, Jarvis Landry, Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, kelvin Benjamin, Travis Kelce, Jordan reeed … are all WR and TE who baalke failed to secure for us who were within our grasp.”

      They were also all within the grasp of every other team at least once before being picked, except Benjamin who actually was never within our grasp without a trade up. Is Bill Belichick getting grief for not drafting these guys too?

      1. Yes, KB would have required us to trade up 1 spot. That is not something which is foreign to baalke who traded up for Vance mac and Cornelius. Perhaps the other teams are getting grief, but that is not the point here. You are overlooking that our passing production has been very poor and our receivers are not exactly the greatest in the NFL. We need and have needed good receivers for some time now. The TB recognized this . That is why he drafted AJJ. We know how that story ended. Baalke obviously felt the heat from that bust and the overall 2012 draft class. That is probably why he never attempted another top tier WR. That is actually a wise move on his part. But what he should have done is bring in an outside WR expert who can assess WR talent.

        We desperately need a playmaker WR who is fast, an athlete, has great hands and can outmuscle a CB for a jump ball. We need a dez, julio, antonio , demaryius etc. Hopefully our next GM will recognize this.

        1. Not questioning that he’s done a poor a job of finding a WR in the draft. Just pointing out that Baalke isn’t the only one who failed to secure these players. I think it would also be a fair question to ask how many of those receivers you mention would look as good as they do if they’d been drafted by the 49ers?

          Hopefully what our next GM can do (or current GM if they stick with Baalke, for that matter) is find an OC and QB tandem that know how to get the ball in the hands of the receivers.

    2. “Commentators said he (Ward) had been called up from practice squad – is that accurate?”

      No. Commentators also called the 49ers “Carolina” and Armstead “Armstrong” multiple times.

      1. Yes, I like way way he called him Armstrong just as the graphic that said Armstead left the screen.

        I love feeling superior…..

        First Niner game we have had on in Thailand for a while and I actually didn’t feel ill watching it. BG played well, lets hope it can last though I have a feeling there will be a honeymoon period and we will have CK7 back before the end of the season. Is it only me or should Kaep shed the beard and have a haircut…..?

        1. Nice to see 49er broadcasts in Thailand. I lived in Phnom Penh six years ago. Couldn’t get NFL on TV. Did see rugby championships. “All Blacks”, ‘Le Blue” and so on.

    3. Martavis Bryant and Donte Moncreif were my choices for biggest Wr misses. Fleener instead of Vance in hindsight, would have been a lot better.

  12. Grant, did Kaep cut you off in traffic, or steal your woman or something? We all know you don’t like the guy, but try to be professional, huh?

  13. I’ll give credit for Niners on what they did but seems more like what Falcons did not do on the field. Lack of pass rush, not running the ball and not going on 4th and goal was their doom. I don’t expect Gabbert & Tomsula will have such luck when they face Seahawks on their turf.

    1. It was no automatic they would convert on 4th down. And the Falcons couldn’t run the ball not because of what they couldn’t or wouldn’t do, it’s because the 49ers didn’t let them. There was 4 quarters played. And they didn’t do squat in any of them. That’s defense not unproductive offense only

      1. Personally, I would have called for a jump ball in the end zone with Jones, but even if they did not make it, the Niners would have gotten the ball at the 2. Given the proclivity of allowing safeties. even if that did not happen, the Falcons would have gotten great field position if they made the Niners punt out of the end zone.

      2. The Falcons are an overrated team.There’s too many people giving this Falcons team a lot of prop, this team offense sucks. They had a horrible time moving the football against the 49ers defense with patched up secondary. Atlanta won’t even make the playoff, their Qb is overrated as well. The 49ers took away their running game and the Falcons became a one Dimensional team.

  14. Grant…. What’s your address? I’ll send you some money to maybe buy some class.
    “What’s his face” seriously? Quit being a low budget hack writer, and start being respectful again. I know you have it in you.

  15. Grant, I would give the Coaches an A. They really improved quickly and coached smart. Gabbert helped with his crisp execution of the offense, and the Defense was stout. I liked how they rolled out Gabbert a lot, and if the receivers had caught the ball, they could have scored at least 3 more times. The coaches finally got the message, and sat Devey, and the Niners won. As much as I did not like Pears and his holding call, I would be jumping for joy if he is the RG and Brown becomes the RT. I would even be happy with a Tiller Pears right side, as long as Devey plays as a backup.
    Good coaching reduced the unforced errors, and the game management was competent and logical.
    Those are some of the main points, but I would give the coaching an A just because they went bold and decisive. Going for it twice showed Cojones, and helped win the game.

    1. The way the 49ers stout defense played today even Ck at the helm would’a beaten the Falcons. The Falcons Qb and offense sucks, the 49ers took away the running game from the Falcons and their Qb Ryan struggle so bad, and the only highlight of the team is Julio Jones. But Atlanta’s defense played above average but the offense was horrible.

  16. To all those people that say, it’s not all Krappernick, this is what I say, wrong. It has been Kaepernick for the past two years. His inability to move through progressions, find open receivers and get rid of the ball has cost this team games. Gabbert may not be the answer, but the things he does well, being decisive, moving through progressions, get rid of ball, gave us a chance to win (which we did). He will probably will throw three picks against the ‘Hawks, but he won’t throw three picks on top of getting sacked seven times like Krappernick. Which basically gives you zero chance to win. It is really hard to evaluate the overall talent of this team when Krappernick is out there. Suddenly, today, I was like, wow that guys not bad. Simply Amazing.

  17. I am not a Kaepernick fan, but let’s keep it objective. The receivers are terrible. The coaching staff has always known that Kaepernick needed to get rid of the ball quickly. He did that in Minnesotta. He hasn’t done it since.
    I think Gabbert has an opportunity to extend Geep Chryst’s job beyond the bye. They have a unique relationship. Each needs the other to keep their job for the next 7 days.
    I think Kaepernick’s one throw was a great throw.
    SImpson should have caught those passes. His frustration is fine in my opinion. He wants to help his team win. I would have taken more offense if he had simply walked to the sideline as if nothing happened. He has some maturing to do, but he can be a valid weapon on this team.
    Does Draughn’s success diminish Carlos Hyde’s “value”? If a no name off the couch can make those runs, how good is Carlos Hyde really? Of course I am joking. It is always fun to watch people living their dream and leaving it all out on the field. Gabbert and Draughn did just that today.

  18. - It was fun to watch. Gabbert played well for the most part, although the second INT was a little concerning, especially considering it came immediately after the big hit. Seattle will be a huge challenge.

    – Kaep’s sideline demeanor seemed a little snarky at times. Be a cheerleader, stfu and be prepared if you get another opportunity. I could be misreading it, but if I were in his shoes I would assume the entire league is watching my sideline demeanor as a backup.

    – Stay away from Vance McDonald. Bad things happen for QB’s when they throw his way.

    – I couldn’t stop watching Erick Pears for a stretch before being interrupted by a commercial break. He rotates between getting manhandled and blocking invisible defenders. He looks like he’s on fire with ethanol in space. Invisible flames.

    *I couldn’t have been more wrong about Marcus Mariota. That kid is special and a winner. He looks like the real deal.

    1. although the second INT was a little concerning, especially considering it came immediately after the big hit.
      That’s not what happened. Gabbert came back in and scrambled and then the team punted. It wasn’t until after the team got the ball back and Millers 4th and 1 play that was reviewed that Gabbert throws the pick. Hardly immediately after.

      1. Five minutes later. He threw two passes after the hit and one of them was intercepted. It’s something to keep an eye on with Seattle next on the schedule.

  19. Give the 9ers players and coaches credit. They played inspired football today. Good for them. I like the heart they showed. You can tell they really want it.

    1. “Confidence, determination and then great leadership,” 49ers fullback Bruce Miller said of Gabbert. “You can feel it in the huddle with all of our guys.”

      This may be the best endorsement yet for Gabby. As I said earlier, the entire team seemed to be energized with Gabbert at the helm.
      Glad he did well and I believe that he will do the same against the seahags.

    1. Nice breakdown of BG and Tomsula’s comments. I’d be stunned if CK started in Seattle.

      BG had five clear receiver drops, one that became an INT. This is the real world, so we can’t simply subtract drops, so I’ll split the difference and call BG’s performance assuming a typical number of drops (two per game) and one INT.

      It was a good game vs a not very good pass defense. I’ll take it.

    1. As soon as he sent out the kicker, I felt it was a big mistake. You’re on the road, and you’ve got Jones or White to throw the damn ball to….

  20. I thought for sure we would get slaughtered today, although I did want to see Gabbert play well. The team was definitely up, maybe sensing that with him as QB they had a chance to win. Has Kaepernick been a cancer? Let’s see how Blaine and the oline play against Seattle and Arizona. I still expect losses, but hopefully Blaine’s play will be something to build on. Here’s the rest of our schedule. If they play like they did today, I can see the team beating the Bears, Browns, and Lions. If the oline improves, add the Rams.

    Sun, Nov 22 Seahawks (road)
    Sun, Nov 29 Cardinals
    Sun, Dec 6 Bears (road)
    Sun, Dec 13 Browns (road)
    Sun, Dec 20 Bengals
    Sun, Dec 27 Lions (road)
    Sun, Jan 3 Rams

    1. I think Gabbert was poised, focused and efficient. His passes were accurate. He rolled out and ran well. His execution was crisp with good tempo. He also had different O line men who gave him time to throw, and receivers who were open, but not catching the ball very well. Kaep may have done well against this defense, but Gabbert helped win this game.
      However, this is one game, and the Seahawk and Cardinal defenses will be a lot tougher.

  21. All I can do is focus on dork 1 and dork 2. Anybody watch the after show on fox when they showed john dork and Jed dork. They reminded me exactly of the sheriff and his dork son on smokey and the bandit! I am not sure how many on this blog have even seen the movie but they just remind me of extreme ineptness!

      1. My wife would disagree with you! My brother in law and his family live in Thai land, they like it and only visit the states once or twice a year. The flight would kill me!

  22. Garret Celek has improved steadily over the past two seasons. Good for him! A UDFA replacing a veteran first round TE in Vernon and outperforming a second rounder in Vance.

  23. It was my genius idea that, when activated, Simpson would be an effective 3rd receiver. As Napoleon said:

    “I’ve made so many mistakes I’m not even embarrassed anymore.”

  24. Finally got to watch the game, and have to say, sure is nice to be talking about a win!

    My thoughts:
    – Not wanting to start on a downer, but lets get the elephant in the room out of the way – the Falcons D is not good, so the positives on offense should be tempered
    – In saying that, Gabbert for the most part looked alright. Nothing spectacular, but got the ball out on time and in rhythm mostly.
    – Some of those passes were excellent plays trusting the receiver and putting it where only the receiver could make a play. That’s something Kaep has struggled with.
    – No sacks today, and that is largely on Gabbert. Kaep would likely have been sacked a few times as the OL still gave up some quick pressures.
    – If the receivers had held onto some fairly easy catches, Gabbert would have looked even better. Simpson should be embarrassed.
    – All in all, looking forward to seeing how Gabbert goes against a better D.
    – The running game wasn’t great, but given they were newbies it was impressive they got anything going.
    – The OL was pretty much the same as usual, though it was nice to see Brown get some snaps. This is still a bad unit, despite no sacks today.
    – As nice as it was to see a little spark in the offense, today was about the D. They were fantastic.
    – The run D was superb. The DL rightly gets a lot of props for today, as does Bowman who was outstanding, but this was a case of all 11 guys on the field doing a great job in run D almost all day. Very physical, flew to the ball.
    – Bowman may not be all the way back, but he showed today why he still can be a good player. Great in run D, rushed the passer well, and covered the short zones well rushing up to make plays. Ray Lewis like. Just don’t ask him to cover Julio Jones 50 yards downfield.
    – Tartt was also conspicuous with his physical play. Like Bowman, his aggressiveness led to some missed tackles, but he is quickly making Bethea expendable next season.
    – Quietly Jimmie Ward made some crucial plays on 3rd down. A couple of important stops, most notably the 3rd down on Atlanta’s last drive at the goal line.
    – Reid, Cromartie and Johnson were also very good for the most part. Add Acker, Brock and Reaser and the secondary is looking pretty solid for the forseeable future.
    – Saw Gerald Hodges make a couple of plays too. Hopefully he keeps improving and takes Wilhoite’s job.
    – Armstead is easily the 49ers best pass rushing DL. He had a few pressures today, including what would have been a sack if Lynch hadn’t just beat him to it. He’ll be an important piece on the DL in coming years.
    – Mangini has deserved some of the criticism that has come his way this year, but today he mostly called a good game. Importantly, he and the defensive coaching staff had the players flying around the field and he was able to rattle Ryan and get him off target. Great job by Tim Lewis too to get the young CBs ready.

    1. Also, Tom Rathman deserves kudos for getting those RBs ready after only a few days of practice. I still want Hayne to play, but Draughn seemed to know the playbook, had a couple good runs, blocked well and did a nice job catching the ball. Looked him up, and he has been on several teams and was waived by the Browns just before the Niners picked him up, so he was in football shape.

      1. Nah, the broadcast was showing the Carolina defense with some kid named Armstrong at DT and a guy just off the PS named Ward. :-P

    2. Were you surprised that Gabbert wasn’t flat out terrible? He didn’t look nervous or scared. He took a wicked shot and got up. That was the probably the one play where Kaep would have tried to run away and gotten sacked.
      The other big difference was the throws to the RBs out of the backfield and cross routes where they can catch and run. A few were a little off target, but it was those types of passes that Kaep threw into the ground.

      The 2nd pick was on Gabbert, not a well thrown ball.
      Do you think he’s the hot hand?

      My biggest gripe with Kaep was the inconsistent randomness and improvisation. It looked like with Gabbert they can try and execute a game-plan. On thing that Cosell said on Friday was that the team would practice plays over during the week, but because Kaep would not see the play, it would frustrate the players.

      The team looked inspired. The Falcons do have a winning record, it was a good team win overall.
      Bowman played like the Bowman of all and the DBs played well. Not sure what Bowman was covering Julio Jones but was I impressed he could even run and try to keep up.

      They have a bye coming up and we’ll see how they do against Seattle. I think it might be similar to the games with Alex as QB, a slow grounded it out 14-10 type game. The Seattle Offense is not a juggarnaut and the D-line is showing life. Lynch is always close and that’s good.

      Oh yeah what’s up with Snarky Kaep on the sidelines?

        1. He threw a pass???? WTF??? I went the bathroom!

          I think it was a nice pass and Vance should have caught it, but I do think that Kaep’s pass are a little hard to catch, and you need an all-pro receiver like to Gronk, which MacDonald is now, to catch. Alex Smith through a similar type pass in the PITT game on 3rd down and Kelce made a tough grab.

          Kaep also did a horrible job handing the ball off.

          Seb overall– what did you think of Gabbert? I was surprised. He looks competent and a lot better then Colt McCoy.

          1. If you scroll through the posts, you will see that I liked Gabbert a lot. He rolled out a lot, and those passes to Patton helped. The receivers dropped a lot of passes, but the critical factor was the O line. Devey had only 9 snaps, and the Niners won. Maybe the coaches are getting better in their assessments.

      1. I think Gabbert definitely deserves to keep the starting spot for the time being. He did look confident, stood in the pocket and made quick decisions, got the ball out. I think we need to see him go against a good D to get a better feel for if what we saw was a mirage or not.

        As for “snarky” Kaep on the sideline, I think that is a case of people desparately trying to find something to criticise him for. I saw nothing that would make anything other than a very suspicious mind think he was being snarky.

    3. Good analysis Scooter.

      I have to admit I was conflicted during the game with wanting the team to lose for the greater good and winning because I cheer for my team to win. I’m glad they won, but I think I’ll be looking at this win around draft time and thinking it might have been better to lose.

      Have to tip my hat to Gabbert. He took a big time shot to deliver a pass which is something he never did in Jax. That showed some courage and he deserves some respect for that. I don’t expect much in Seattle but then I didn’t expect much from him period so anything good is a positive at this point.

      The defense were the real stars of this game though. To be put in a situation where Marcus Cromartie and Dontae Johnson were the starting CB’s and Chris Davis playing a role, looked like a recipe for the Falcons to put 50 on them, but instead we had gritty inspired play all after noon from every level including the not ready to be case aside Navarro Bowman. What an effort from the defense against one of the best offenses in football.

      1. I understand why people feel conflicted about wins at this point. But I think of it this way – if the team had been blown out as expected, or plays pretty poorly for the rest of the season, we will be questioning every player on D at the end of the year. That goes for the offense too. The young guys the team is relying on for the future would all be big question marks, and lets face it, if they don’t play reasonably over the final seven games one has to wonder if they are actually progressing and going to be any good. That would be complete roster overhaul time, in which case we should expect another horrid season next year (and probably for a few years after that) no matter who’s in charge.

        So I want to see the team play well – in particular I want to see some of these young guys playing well. And that includes getting some wins. Lets see these players grow into good players and hopefully become the spine of a good team in the not to distant future.

        I would much rather pick at say #10 – #15 feeling good about many parts of the roster than pick #1 feeling like aside from a couple of players here and there the roster is rubbish.

        1. I may seem sentimental, but I yearn for those Glory Years, when the Niners were in the playoffs for years so their draft position was poor, yet they still won.
          In fact, I hope the Niners pick 32nd every year.

        2. I will also say I think at this point a lot of people want the young guys to fail to prove themselves right about Baalke. Have done for a while. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if a lot of these guys Baalke has been criticised for drafting end up being pretty good players…

        3. Scooter,

          Of course I want to see young players develop and do well. What I don’t want is wins over crappy teams to give the FO an excuse not to do what needs to be done. I also don’t want to finish with 6 wins simply because we beat another team that quit before we did or had nothing play for. We just went through that for 9 years and I sure as hell don’t want to go down that road again. If we are going to lose then I want ownership to be shamed for what has happened here. I don’t want any promises of false hope that things are getting better when they clearly aren’t. If young players step up and play well against good teams and we beat them that’s a completely different story, but playing good enough to beat the Browns or Lions is not.

          1. I understand where you are coming from, but:
            – First off, if young guys are playing well then you are likely going to have to accept the team will win the occasional game here or there. That’s the results you get when playing well more often than not. Even if it does come against teams like the Browns.
            – Second, I think it is very different having a bunch of young guys that are cornerstones for the future playing well, developing and winning a few games now than what we had 10+ years ago where it was a lot of veterans and not much young talent. That required a complete roster overhaul. It wasn’t until Nolan and McCloughan came in that the team started to draft better and bring in some decent young talent.
            – Third, if the young players do start coming along and playing well, is Baalke’s drafting really the problem?

            I think a lot of people want the team to suck because they are angry about what happened with Harbaugh, want to stick it to York and the FO, but are no longer looking objectively at things. York isn’t going anywhere. Even if the team went 2-14, Baalke and Marathe probably weren’t going anywhere either. At best we will likely get a new CS. If the offense continues to be somewhat pedestrian, I think we’ll get a new OC and coaching changes even if we eke out a few more wins.

            1. You’re spending a lot of energy on this Scooter but I really don’t think you’re either disagreeing or addressing my point so I’m going to just say, OK.

              “– Third, if the young players do start coming along and playing well, is Baalke’s drafting really the problem?”

              Ok, but so far his draft picks aren’t looking so hot. IF they start coming along then great but WHEN is that going to start happening?

              “I think a lot of people want the team to suck because they are angry about what happened with Harbaugh, want to stick it to York and the FO, but are no longer looking objectively at things. York isn’t going anywhere.”

              Ok, but again this really doesn’t have anything to do with what I was saying, but sure I think you’re right there are folks out there that would like to see the whole thing go up in flames to make themselves feel like they were right all along.

            2. Scooter,

              – First off, if young guys are playing well then you are likely going to have to accept the team will win the occasional game here or there. That’s the results you get when playing well more often than not. Even if it does come against teams like the Browns.

              I guess I wasn’t clear with what I said. If the team plays well and wins against good teams I’m good with that. If they play well and win against bad teams I expect that. What I don’t want to see is the team win games not playing well but still winning because the other team is terrible or has nothing to play for. It provides an excuse to do nothing and that would be the worst possible outcome imo.

              – Second, I think it is very different having a bunch of young guys that are cornerstones for the future playing well, developing and winning a few games now than what we had 10+ years ago where it was a lot of veterans and not much young talent. That required a complete roster overhaul. It wasn’t until Nolan and McCloughan came in that the team started to draft better and bring in some decent young talent.

              That’s nice in theory, but I think it’s a reach to suggest they have a bunch of young guys who are cornerstones for the future. We have had inconsistency from every position group on the team and few young players have stepped up to show they are cornerstones. That could change as the season goes along but this team is 3-6 for a reason.

              – Third, if the young players do start coming along and playing well, is Baalke’s drafting really the problem?

              No it’s not, but you wanted to move on from Baalke a few weeks ago for a reason, and that is because a lot of these young players aren’t playing well. He has done a poor job in drafting offensive players across the board from the looks of it, and while Armstead is showing potential, he’s still not what you would call a great first round pick at this point. I’m always willing to let things play out before forming a conclusion, but Baalke’s drafting is not looking good at the moment.

              I think a lot of people want the team to suck because they are angry about what happened with Harbaugh, want to stick it to York and the FO, but are no longer looking objectively at things. York isn’t going anywhere. Even if the team went 2-14, Baalke and Marathe probably weren’t going anywhere either. At best we will likely get a new CS. If the offense continues to be somewhat pedestrian, I think we’ll get a new OC and coaching changes even if we eke out a few more wins.

              Some might but I think most would have overlooked all the things Jed has done if the team was actually winning. The firing of Harbaugh was the beginning of an implosion throughout this organization. People are angry at Jed because he was the instigator of the problems that now plague this team. Wanting the team to suck is only an option if they do suck Scooter. It’s not about seeing good football and hoping your team loses; it’s about watching them play poorly and not wanting that to continue into future seasons.

              I know you don’t agree but there is a similarity between what is happening now and what happened 12 years ago. Successful HC’s fired and replaced with inferior ones, draft picks not panning out, bad FA signings and ultimately bad football. We can argue about how much young talent this team has compared to that one, but at the end of the day neither team was good enough to win consistently. I don’t want to see another era of Niners football where we get fed a line after every 6-8 win season that improvement is on the horizon when we clearly see the team is not going to get where we want it to go. You wanted Baalke out and I think you were right about that. I don’t know what it will take to get him out, but I do know nothing is going to change if this team wins 6 games this year, so I would prefer a 3 win season to force something to change. I realize that isn’t likely to happen, but that is the motivation for my view on this.

              1. Looks I wasn’t clear either. I’m not saying the young players are panning out nor that they will be the foundation for this team (and by extension I am not saying that Baalke is drafting well). What I am saying is if they play well over the final half of this season, maybe we need to rethink a few things. And I for one would be far happier heading into next season feeling like a bunch of these young guys are starting to come along.

              2. I get you now Scooter. Sure if the young guys step up and play consistently well the second half of the season it could change the outlook. I just haven’t seen much to indicate that will happen on a large enough scale to make much of a difference. Our biggest problem is a lack of impact players more than anything. There seems to be a number of contributors but not enough difference makers.

                I agree that it would be nice if there were some key players to build around going into next season.

  25. This game is somewhat reminiscent of the Green Bay game. A good defensive game which could have been won with a decent offensive showing (which this one more-or-less had).

    Posters have already pointed out some of the highlights and short comings, dropped passes, over the shoulders, quick decisions, same o line play, better d. It will be interesting to see how the team goes from here. These two weeks will be very instructive on the directive of the team going forward.

  26. The difference between Gabbert and Kap is that Gabbert throws the ball a half second before the receiver breaks open, while Kap throws it a second after the receiver is open, and the DB is closing back in. I haven’t seen YAC stats on the game but think that Gabberts timing will help in this area.

  27. What’s a bit telling is how the whole team reacted to the change at QB. Besides the fact Gabbert was calm, poised and accurate, his teammates finally had the look of confidence that they could compete (even against a 6-2 Falcons’ team). Much different team body language compared to when Kap was playing…

    Another good sign with Gabbert is he keeps his eyes down field on his reads whereas Kap is always eyeing the rushers. Yes, one game but promising for now at least. Will be interesting to see how this offense looks with Gabbert once Hyde and Boldin return.

  28. It was delightful watching the game. I haven’t had fun watching in a while. I realized that the enjoyment came from watching a team that looked competent and professional. Blaine just looked like a quarterback. He knew where he wanted to go with the ball and he was decisive and accurate with his passes. Also, it has been awhile since we have seen passes come out so quickly, he has a quick release and it was fun to watch him deliver the ball quickly and on target. His running was judicious and tactically wise, it did not look hurried and desperate as it has in the recent past.

    Blaine has never been known as an accurate long passer but he came into the league as a great athlete with a quick and accurate arm. The knock on him is that he was a flincher who could not stand in the pocket and take the hit after the beating he took in Jacksonville. It was nice to see him take the big hit and come back standing tall. Even though Atlanta’s front seven are not great, no sacks is no sacks, and his quick release and decisiveness made an impact and helped his line. We will see how he does playing against better defenses.

    BTW, his quick release and accuracy on short passes is a great way to attack Seattle as was shown by New England in the Super Bowl.

    My one great fear is that he will be better than everyone expected and his production will save Jim Tomsula and his staff their jobs. They are a staff that is sub par.

    But, I will root for niners. Always.

    1. I salute you.
      Gabbert impressed me not only with his accuracy and his mobility, he impressed me most with his leadership.

  29. The Cohn Zone should be renamed the Snark Zone. Lowell is whining about ‘grumpy” Tomsula not announcing the starter at QB in two weeks, because, you know, directing your team is all about keeping media folks happy. He wasn’t warm and fuzzy enough with the scribes who so gleefully write insulting, condescending and dismissive pieces about him personally. Then Professor Grant adds little oh-so-clever(not) assides to his grades.
    I was actually enjoying JimT at the podium in that interview. Why do the media think everything should be for their convenience? Why do LC and GC, among others, think that they are the stars? Should the tail be wagging the dog?

    1. I am hopeful. Devey only was in for 9 plays. Three 3 and outs. Tank did not play, so no 70 yard runs against the Niners. Defense was stout with all those young DBs.
      RBs actually gained yardage, and Gabbert was accurate. Coaching improved immensely.
      It sure helped when Quinn only settled for a FG and did not try to win it on the 2 yard line.

      1. Temper the hope. Remember the Falcon’s have the 31st ranked defense in sacks. The pass rush was weak, so don’t get too excited about Devey/Tiller or anyone else at this point. I don’t think the coaching changed or the quality of play by much. It was more about the quality of the opponent’s defense this week. We should hold off until we see them play against Seattle and Arizona’s defenses. It will be harder to do everything.

        1. I agree. If the Niners manage to win the next 2 games, their season can be salvaged. Huge challenge, and daunting defenses.

    2. I agree old coach. I think everybody was starved for a win, but at the same time the reality is they are likely going to be 3-8 in 3 weeks and we will be back where we were before this game as far as wondering what the future holds and hoping for changes.

        1. Scooter,

          Agreed, any sign of life is good. I don’t think this roster is nearly as bad as most. The DB’s are an emerging strength, the DL is holding its own, the LB’s are looking better with Bowman’s resurgence and Lynch’s continued development (even Harold is showing signs of improvement), Hyde will be a very good to great back (if he can stay healthy), once Kilgore is back the OL won’t look so bad (I’m convinced, now that it looks like the 49ers are moving in from Devey – finally, Martin is the weak link), Patton and Ellington are proving to be useful, and maybe Gabbert can be a bridge QB.

          Not where I’d like the 49ers to be, but nowhere close to the Donahue, Erickson, Nolan, Singletary days.

          I hate that the team is where it is. I hate the way JY conducts himself. I’m not crazy about Baalke and the coaching staff (although, I don’t think they should all be rounded up and shot, like so many on here).

          The team is rebuilding from a starting point of having a number of very good pieces, particularly on defense, rather than the level of a bad expansion team, which is what the 49ers were under Donahue.

          I know everyone hates Chryst and Logan, but you have to admit, Gabbert looks functional. I don’t think that’s a complete accident.

    3. I don’t think the Seattle game will prove anything. We’ve never won there, even at our powerhouse best. It’s nice to hope though.

    4. Oldcoach,
      Agreed. As 49ers fans we should know all too well that we should not get to overworked about a QB that has a good game.

      It wasn’t very long ago that Kaep was being hailed by some as the next great QB. Then the “R” word (regressing) started showing up.
      Many here, myself included were debating the regressing comments as a show of support for our starting QB, but finally CK’ play could longer be defended even by his most staunchest supporters.

      Seattle got caught up in the same type of hyperbole when they signed Matt Flynn not long after he threw 6 TD’ in one game as a backup QB in Green Bay.

      I liked what I saw in Gabbert yesterday. What I focused on was his mechanics and composure and he passed the test on both counts.
      But like you, I will withhold any judgment until after a few more games and especially the Seattle game.

      As a realist I still want to see us draft a QB with a high pick even if BG finds success.

    1. Has anyone asked Joan (in Payroll) or Paarage if losing out would stress out the profit margin, or if Moneyball is a successful venture in the NFL?…For reasons unknown, the press avoids this line of questioning

      1. I guess I’ll ask a buddy of mine in the press. Since he doesn’t use his regular name in public for reasons I’m sure fans comprehend, I’ll call him biscuit for this site…I have confidence that biscuit can get to the bottom of this rather crucial question.

    1. Oregon, please watch than pass again. It was easily catchable. Kaep had nice touch on the ball and delivered it right into his hands.

      1. It wasn’t perfect but very catchable. Celek would make that catch. Austin Hooper catches that sort of ball routinely from Hogan for Stanford. Niners should draft Hooper if he falls to the fourth round.

    1. Tank Carradine – 0 snaps

      Perhaps the coaching staff is figuring out that Baalke struck out on this one. It would be great if they grew the balls to stand up to him.

      1. Likely that he was one of the defensive lineman up for grabs at the deadline. I bet we would have taken almost nothing for him and he’s still on the team.

        1. I had the same thought. It’s clear that Tank has been written off as a loss, and if they can get yet another 7th rounder for him, Niners would be better off.

      2. It also might mean that Baalke hit a home run with Armstead. I see a lot of penetration with Armstead, and Tank gave up big plays. Play the first rounder, and sit the second rounder.

  30. I think Grant’s grades are spot on. The defense is looking like I expected it to look in the second half, so let’s hope they can keep it up. The offense looked good the first half and not so good the second half, although some of that was scheme.

    Like the offense as a whole, Gabbert looked better than I expected the first half. The second half was more what I expected, although I was pleasantly surprised to see him take no sacks. In his past, sacks led to Gabbert rushing throws which led to interceptions. If he can continue to get the ball out quickly and avoid sacks, he may be better than just functional. The next two games should be telling.

  31. The jester addresses the kingdom of jesters.

    The absolute stupidity in the comments section of this blog is always hilarious, and actually upstages the bitter and petulant tone of this author.

  32. Article from KNBR about Gabbert.



    The numbers can’t show it, but Gabbert brought confidence to a shaky offense. He made good decisions and was able to complete NFL-caliber throws. For the first time this season, the 49ers offense trusted that it could be successful.”

    We just had to manufacture some momentum,” Gabbert said. “It’s about taking what the defense gives you.”

    We’ve heard that last part frequently this season, but the 49ers finally had a quarterback who could actually recognize what the defense was giving him. On top of that, he could take advantage of those opportunities.

    Yup. My big beef on Kaep this whole time — laid out right there.

    Now I can move on!!!!

    1. Not so fast. This game is a game of attrition. Look at Romo, Bridgewater Big Ben and others. When confronted with those defensive fronts of the Seahawks and Cards, Gabbert may be running for his life. That Michael Bennet is a beast. This last game had Gabbert going out due to a vicious hit. Kaep may be needed. Like gabbert said, he is one hit from becoming the starter, and one hit from the bench.
      I think that Tomsula and his not committing to Gabbert is perfectly fine. He is just following a tenet from the Art of War. Keep them guessing. Now they will have to divide their attention between 2 QBs, instead of just being able to concentrate on one. Who cares what the fans and especially the pundits cares about? This move is directed at their opponent, and I hope they give Kaep praise for being such a good team mate. Kaep may see the field. There is no rule that says a coach cannot use 2 QBs. Maybe line up Kaep in the backfield, and pitch it to him so he can run, but if he sees a wide open receiver, he can pass. Of course, this assumes he will see that wide open player, but one can hope.

    2. Fan77,
      Whoa! Aren’t you getting caught up in a one game hyperbole?
      Your life’s quest for replacing CK was so intense that even TomD’ Joan the accountant would have roused your gills with anything better than CK.

      I understand your exuberance my friend, but let’s pull back the reins a little here before falling victim to all the hyperbole.
      One good game does not a career make.

      1. Hey i was quoting the article. I think Joan from payroll would say we should start the guy who we only pay 2 million over the guy we are paying 61 gajillion dollars. Who sucks.

  33. Who here thinks Kyle Shanahan called a great game for the Falcons yesterday? Who thinks that Shanahan, who many were talking up for the 49ers staff, would be an improvement over Geep? You know, the Geep who was supposed to have been fired after yesterday.

    1. Rib,

      I would take Shanahan over Geep anytime anywhere. The Niners whipped them up front yesterday and stuffed the run, but they were still in position to win it if the HC didn’t turtle with a weak decision to kick a FG from the 1 yard line.

      There’s also the fact that the Falcons are second overall in offense to consider as well.

      1. rocket, It’s not like the Niner’s run D hasn’t been exploited this year. Falcons had the league’s leading rusher, they couldn’t come up with a plan to keep him in the game? What happened to Roddy White? After 3 dud performances to league less-than-powerhouses, Atlanta media is starting to sour on the whole staff so maybe Shanahan will be available again.

        On our side, consider: New historically marginal QB. #1 WR out. #1 TE traded away. 3 “who are these guys?” running backs. Still same gawdawful OL. This has to be either: Most impressive offensive performance we’ve seen in a long, long while. Or: the fluke of flukes.

        1. rib,

          If we look at this game in a vacuum sure, but the Shanahan history tells us they run very successful offenses. Geep on the other hand is lacking in that area. If your Oline is getting it’s ass handed to them there isn’t much you can do which is why the Niners have had so many problems as well. Yesterday they faced the second worst pass rush in the league and played well, but they still weren’t a great offense or anything close. They made enough plays combined with some great defense to pull out a close win.

          We caught the Falcons in the midst of a streak of playing poorly is pretty much what it comes down to.

  34. I am wondering why the pregame and postgame narrative has been all about Atlanta’s defense being one of the worst in the league? They have had some injuries, but who hasn’t? We were missing our top 3 CB’s and still held up well against the pass.

    In terms of Atlanta’s defense, as of today they rank:

    10th in total yards allowed
    19th in passing yards allowed
    4th in rushing yards allowed
    and 13th in points per game allowed
    17 sacks (17th)
    7 INT’s (15th)

    Very confused why the media has run with this narrative. Atlanta has a respectable defense, nowhere near the bottom of the league. So let’s be clear. Blaine’s performance shouldn’t be downgraded based on the opposition this week. Therefore, Grant’s grade is, once again, not very accurate IMO. Blaine deserved a B+ at the very least, for yesterday’s performance. And that’s without taking into account that it was his first start in years, he was missing one of the leagues best possession receivers, and had at least 4 easy drops yesterday, one of which resulted in an INT.

    My grades:

    QB) A-: All things considered, an A- sounds about right to me.
    RB) B: Draugh had one very strong run, but only averaged 3.6 per carry. His vision is limited. Both Thomas and Gaskins look like slow, plodding runningbacks.
    WR) C+: Smith had a couple drops, but made a spectacular one-handed catch. Simpson couldn’t catch a cold. Patton made a few plays, and seems to be ascending.
    TE) B-: Celek had 2 TD catches and McDonald continues to block better than he catches.
    OL) B-: Hard to imagine this group giving up zero sacks, but some of that was due to Blaine’s quick trigger. They struggled to opening up running lanes, as usual. Good to see Devey being phased out and Brown getting some snaps.

    DL) A-: Stout! Still not getting enough penetration but, wow, talk about holding the point. Very impressive against the run!
    LB) A-: Both groups played well today. Bowman is clearly returning to form, he was everywhere. Willhoite played his best game of the season, and Lynch was a beast, as usual. Bowman rebounded after a poor game VS St. Louis.
    CB) A-: Makeshift lineup played far better than anyone could have expected. Cromartie looks like he should be the starting nickel CB moving forward. Johnson made a couple stellar plays. He always impresses me and I wonder why he hasn’t gained more confidence from the coaching staff.
    S) B+: Solid all around. Tartt looks to have a very, very high ceiling.
    ST) C: Not good in kick coverage. However, Pinion punted pretty well and Dawson is a dead eye.
    Coaching) B-: Not naming Gabbert the starter coming out of the bye is laughable. Tomsula has lost some of my respect by the way he is handling this situation. Avoiding QB controversy should be a HC’s number one goal, but Tomsula seems to be adding fuel to the fire.

    1. >> Therefore, Grant’s grade is, once again, not very accurate IMO.

      Considering Grant’s “49ers-Falcons matchup could get ugly for the home team” column that not only gave the Niners no chance, but was preparing us for a 60-zip blowout, all phases of the team should get A+’s for pulling off the seemingly impossible.

    2. 49reasons

      Well said…especially on Tomsula’s part…Gabbert IS our best QB BY FAR…quit hedging your bets…he’s a winner…

  35. Interesting. On KNBR, Bob was talking about Brandon Thomas. Think he was meaning Trenton Brown. I think Brandon Thomas was inactive.

    1. Yes. I was wondering the same thing. Kind of hard to miss Brown. He’s a big, big dude. Makes Aldon Smith’s long arms seem like gater stubs.

      My hunch… he had a huge physical transformation going from 385 to 345 from the end of college to training camp. The extra weeks in the training room were needed to physically adapt to his new frame.

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