49ers OTA notes: Bad day for Bowman, Hyde and Hoyer

San Francisco 49ers’ NaVorro Bowman runs during the team’s organized team activity at its NFL football training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SANTA CLARA

Usually, I start these practice reports with positive observations. Today, I’m starting with the negatives. Forgive me.

THE NOT SO GOOD

1. LB NaVorro Bowman. I made a point to keep an eye on Bowman the entire practice – I wanted to see how he moves less than one year removed from surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon. He moved well today during linebacker drills – chopping his feet and changing directions and sprinting short distances. Rehearsed movements he has practiced and perfected. But, he did not move well when he had to react to someone else’s movements during team drills. Once, Bowman had to cover tight end Garrett Celek who lined up in the slot. Celek isn’t the toughest player to cover – he’s not particularly quick or fast. He’s a plodder. Probably won’t even make the team. On this play, he ran a double move – out toward the sideline, then back up the field. Bowman stuck with Celek on the first move, but couldn’t change directions quickly enough to follow Celek’s second move up the field. So, Bowman grabbed Celek’s jersey and held him. Had Bowman not committed this penalty, Celek would have been wide open for an easy touchdown. I don’t see how the 49ers can play Bowman on passing downs next season, because opponents will isolate him in man-to-man coverage and attack him with choice routes and option routes he can’t defend.

2. RB Carlos Hyde. Hyde is the slowest and most indecisive running back on the team. I’m not saying he’s bad – he does have quick feet between the tackles, he can bounce inside runs to the outside and he plows through defenders. But he doesn’t seem to have the vision to succeed in Kyle Shanahan’s outside-zone running scheme. Tuesday, he was the only running back who never found a hole to run through. On one stretch play, he missed a cutback lane, tried to bounce around the outside even though the linebacker had set the edge and lost three yards. The Niners should trade him to a team that runs the zone read.

3. QB Brian Hoyer. Hoyer played well last week, but today he was out of sync with the offense all practice. Maybe he was rusty from the three-day weekend. I don’t know. He missed high, he missed low. He threw to receivers who weren’t there. The ball even squirted out of his hand once. But his worst play by far was a deep pass to Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin was open – he had beaten his defender and was wide open sprinting toward the end zone. Hoyer set his feet, wound up and threw a pass that landed about 20 yards to Goodwin’s left. Hard to fathom that one. Hoyer completed only 10 of 20 passes all afternoon. He did make one nice pass over the middle to Jeremy Kerley, but his deep throws and sideline throws were terrible.

4. WR Pierre Garcon. Garcon continues to do very little. Today, he made just one catch – a short one on a pop pass over the middle. He had an opportunity to make a deep catch, but the ball flew through his hands. He also struggled getting open every time he faced Rashard Robinson. Garcon looks old. Maybe he’ll turn it on later this offseason.

5. CB Dontae Johnson. Johnson split time with Keith Reaser on the No. 1 defense – those two are competing for one job. And Johnson is losing. Today, he gave up a long catch over the middle to DeAndre Carter, a longshot to make the final roster. Johnson has everything the 49ers are looking for in a cornerback – he’s tall and he’s fast. He just isn’t good.

6. TE George Kittle. The rookie fifth-round pick caught zero passes and dropped an easy one over the middle. The other rookie tight end, Cole Hikutini, was much better than Kittle. More on Hikutini below.

THE GOOD

1. CB Rashard Robinson. Robinson is the 49ers’ best cornerback – I haven’t seen him give up a catch. Today, he broke up a short pass intended for Garcon, as I mentioned above. Robinson owned Garcon. But, Robinson did get burned deep once by Goodwin during that play when Hoyer missed Goodwin by a mile. Robinson may have trouble with fast receivers. Something to keep an eye on.

2. CB Keith Reaser. Reaser made the best play of the afternoon when he broke up a long pass to DeAndre Smelter who was running a deep comeback route along the sideline. Reaser has improved from last season – he’s much more confident and aggressive.

3. RB Joe Williams. The rookie fourth-round pick found a cutback lane on a stretch run to the right and burst through the hole for a six-yard gain. A few plays later, Williams took a handoff from the shotgun and squeezed through a hole between the tackles for a 10-yard gain. Williams is a natural.

4. RB Matt Breida. This undrafted rookie runs hard. Today, he beat the defense to the sideline and turned the corner for a long gain on a toss play. Later, he sprinted to the sideline and quickly cut back for a long gain. Breida could make the team if the 49ers trade Carlos Hyde as they should.

5. LB Malcolm Smith. The 49ers’ big free-agent signing on defense stripped running back Tim Hightower after Hightower caught a short pass over the middle. There’s no question Smith is better in coverage than Bowman.

6. TE Logan Paulsen. Paulsen was the starting tight end and Brian Hoyer’s favorite target. Whenever Hoyer didn’t see an open receiver downfield, he dumped the ball to Paulsen. I expect Paulsen will be a key player – both as a blocker and a receiver – on first and second down.

7. TE Cole Hikutini. Hikutini could be a key player on third down. Today, he made two catches, including a deep catch between two defenders. Hikutini didn’t bobble the ball or double-catch it, either. He caught it in stride. Easy.

8. QB Matt Barkley. The 49ers’ second-string quarterback completed 9-of-12 passes, including a couple difficult ones downfield. You can see Barkley making quicker decisions and playing with more confidence as he learns the offense.

9. QB C.J. Beathard. The 49ers’ rookie third-round quarterback completed every pass he threw. He was 9 for 9. These passes were short, though. Beathard didn’t complete anything deep, and his sideline passes floated in the air. Still, he was perfect. Impressive for a rookie. Beathard has a quick release and he gets rid of the ball faster than the other quarterbacks.

This article has 225 Comments

  1. Bowman being bad in coverage was something to be rationally expected. Since he came back from the knee injury, he has given up over 90% completion rate on receivers. That’s unfathomably bad.

    Real shame too, as he was easily on the HOF track. Now… It’s a sad thing.

    1. It’s been less than a year for bow he will improve as the year goes on. I think he only started running in January

      1. He came back from the knee injury in 2015 and he was terrible in pass coverage. And, while he was somewhat better in 2016 (ie not a complete liability), he wasn’t much better than the scrubs who replaced him. So that’s a season-and-a-quarter of serious mediocrity. And it’s not like I’m the only one who has seen it:

        The 49er was actually still very good against the run in 2015; he led all linebackers in both tackles and stops by a significant margin, but his play fell away in coverage, where he allowed 90.3 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught and a passer rating of 110.9 when targeted.

        That’s a big drop from 2013 where he defensed 9 passes and intercepted 2 more while limiting the opponents completion rate to a far, far lower percentage and was one of the NFL’s Top-10 pass defending linebackers (regardless of LB position).

        The bottom-line is that there’s wishful thinking and reality. And while the wishful thinking ‘hopeful fan’ part of me hopes he’ll come back. The reality is that he has yet to become even ‘average’ pass-coverage since he destroyed his knee . What Grant wrote was to be expected.

        1. Moses,

          NB didn’t destroy his knee (probably not really what you intende to say), he had his knee destroyed for him, after which classless members of Seattle’s “12’s” pelted him with food as he was being taken to the locker room on a cart.

    2. This is what I have been most afraid of with 2 severe injuries. The inability to change direction quickly. Hopefully Bowman will be able to get the leg going again but Malcolm Smith may have been a very fortuitous signing.
      I knew Carlos Hyde would be a poor scheme fit, hopefully he will improve.
      Keith Reaser showed flashes last season but was inconsistent.
      Curious about Trent Taylor.

    1. Smelter is slow. Couldn’t get Reaser to turn his hips on the deep comeback route. Lynch still looks big and hasn’t played with the starters yet. Tank looks much better. He got some reps at Leo today.

      1. Helter Smelter ran his 40 yard dash in 4.58 seconds. Receivers with similar body types, and 40 times include Keenan Allen, Jordy Nelson, Eric Decker, and Brandon Lafell. Smelter has a height adjusted speed score, ((((Weight*200)*((Height/73.5)^2))-Height)/(40 time^4)), a metric that attempts to measure how well a receivers 40 time is based on his height and weight, of 106. To compare, Allen received a 96, Nelson a 109, Decker a 106, Robinson a 104, and Lafell a 98. Next, Smelter received a Freak Score, (a metric that attempts to portray a receiver’s combination of size and speed calculated using the following: (239.74+(Height*2.14)+(Weight*0.63)-(40 time*104.52)), of 63. His best comparables, Nelson and Decker, received scores of 65 and 62 respectively….

      2. Smelter holds a special place in my heart as being one of the very rare players that I mocked to the 49ers that actually ended up on the team.(Mike Davis was another so it’s not the best track record) However I can’t imagine he’s got too many more chances, at least with this team. He’s able to keep earning a spot so the coaches must think something is there but it’s yet to show up on the field.

        1. He’s extremely athletic and very smart, plus he has something the others don’t. Size and physicality. For those reasons, I think he’s got a fair shot at making the team. You’re right though, he’ll need to show something this year….

          1. Yes but at the same time he’s been all those things and although there have been injuries there has also been time when he’s been healthy and those traits weren’t really exposing themselves. I’m not writing him off but I would have liked to have seen more from him by now and it’s hard to imagine him getting many more opportunities to show it.

  2. When is the next practice the media can attend?

    Great job love your practice write ups. I read all the other beat writers and to put it nicely….. they are terrible.

    1. The media gets to see one OTA per week, and we don’t know which day that will be until the week of.

  3. Brian Hoyer is not a good QB. I watched him for a year in Houston culminating in the absolute worst performance of any QB I have ever seen in a playoff game. It wasn’t that Hoyer was off. Hoyer was literally scared to get hit so he just threw the ball up in the air even if there wasn’t a receiver within 10 yards. I hate to say this about an NFL player but I just don’t think Hoyer has any heart whatsoever.

        1. Prior to JH’s arrival, Smith’s career stats of

          55% comp avg
          67 QB rating
          51/53 TD/Int

          didn’t indicate he could play very well.

      1. CJ Bethard will start some this year no question. Hoyer starts about 5-6 games then gets replaced. Barkley might get two games if he can hold off CJ.

      1. Kap is no better than Hoyer when it comes to reading a defense or making good decisions when the pass rush gets turned up.

      2. You obviously don’t like Hoyer but over the past two seasons he has proven to be at least adequate with 25 TDs and only 7 Ints. When you say he can’t play you blow your credibility

        1. Brian Hoyer can’t play. He’s absolutely awful. The problem with Hoyer is he has stretches where he looks competent but ultimately he always falls apart. Hoyer is a coach killer. They see just enough to think he can compete if coached up only to find out he is simply a bad QB. From PFF after the worst qb performance in NFL history in the playoffs…

          “…Hoyer in particular was given more than enough opportunities, only to play his worst when the Texans needed him the most. That now marks consecutive seasons in which Hoyer has played well for brief stretches, only to implode in spectacular fashion late on in the year.”

          https://www.profootballfocus.com/pro-brian-hoyers-game-versus-chiefs-was-one-of-worst-weve-seen-in-playoffs/

          1. Unless there is a near unprecedented one year turnaround, no one is expecting this guy to be a star playoff performer for the Niners. By the time the team is a serious playoff contender, he will have been long gone.

            1. Totally agree. He’s not a long term starter for the 49ers. The team went from 0 QB’s to 3 QB’s in the offseason. I’m not hung up on him at all but if someone represents Hoyer as an adequate starter I’m going to offer a rebuttal. He’s terrible IMHO. The only reason he’s here is that he has experience in Shanny’s offense. That’s his best quality so I get why they signed the guy.

    1. Agreed that playoff performance was the worst thing I have ever witnessed. When SF signed him I was baffled.

  4. Thank you Grant, really enjoy reading your articles. How did the offensive line look today, any changes from last week. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks. The OL gave up gap penetration in the run game and struggled picking up blitzes. The coaches used different combinations on the line.

      1. One of the other reports indicated Buckner and Chris Jones were the main penetrators. Was that your view as well?

        1. Jones is my Underdog. He hustles. I’ve heard good reports from scribes on the few practices witnessed. Bubble guy, I know, but gritty. Foxhole guy.
          I’d hire him to drive truck if he got cut; he’s that guy.

  5. On the late signings front, don’t forget the June 1st Rule. Players cut after 6/1 count differently against the Cap. Cuts by some teams will free up space to do some signings.
    It’s usually interesting. I don’t think it will effect the Niners roster much.

  6. Aah, the Days of Wine and OTAs when spring is in the air, the Santa Clara sunshine is wonderful, the birds are chirping, and the scrimmages are devoid of contact, and the fandom is swept by an optimistic glow. Rehabbing all-Pros look lethargic, and UDFAs look like world beaters. But I’m not gonna complain — Grant’s reports are a life line :) Keep up the good work, Grant — just go easy on any sweeping conclusions !

  7. Great insight as usual, thanks for the update Grant.

    I don’t expect Garcon (or Smelter) to show much during non-padded practices. Same with Dontae Johnson. These practices are almost always a showcase for the smaller, quicker players, not the bigger more physical players.

    Bowman hasn’t been a good player in coverage for a few years, since his knee injury. He is a two down thumper these days. But he is still very good as a run defender, so has a role to play.

    I know it is hard to get a great read on how the RBs are doing in non-padded practice, but not being able to correctly identify holes is a big issue for this scheme. If Hyde consistently has issues with this then I agree, they should trade him.

      1. Why? He has shown to be pretty productive when healthy. I think he should be pretty easy to move, so long as the 49ers are realistic about what they should expect in return due to being on the last year of his contract (late round pick, possibly increasing a little depending on how Hyde goes for the new team).

        1. For one, there aren’t too many teams that run the zone read. For another, he’s a mediocre running back that has been hampered by injuries, plus as you point out, he’ll be a free agent next year. I think he starts for the 49ers, and they ride his dick into the dirt….

          1. Actually Shanahan seems the type that if you can’t get the job done, its “I’m sorry but we’re moving in another direction, and we feel that you’re not going to be able to excel in what we like to do” Williams was in as soon as Kyle lobbied for him during the draft. Nobody even seen Brieda coming. If the current trend continues Carlos will be turned into a 6th or 7th round pick. If there are 2 guys that better stay on their toes its Carlos, and Vance. No way better talents are going to get cut this year. Baalkeism is done in San Francisco

            1. Hope you are right. Keeping guys around for potential instead of performance has been a key factor in our lack of success. (Note-this was not intended to start a conversation about you know who)

  8. BTW, for anyone that is interested, ex-49er Jarryd Hayne made his return to the big stage of rugby league last night – State of Origin (basically the Pro Bowl of rugby league, except it is highly competitive and considered the pinnacle of the sport). He went well, as did his team, scoring a try (a TD) in a 28 – 4 victory for the NSW Blues. :-)

  9. GOOD STUFF GRANT!

    – Rashard is an absolute beast. He’s also a dynamic fit in this defense. Happy to hear about Reader’s development. He’s not as long as 3 of our other to CB’s bit he’s very athletic.

    – I am not surprised about NaVorro, and I am concerned about his pass coverage, but I also recognize he’s still less than 7 months into what is really a 9-10 month recovery time table. It takes time to work a little flexibility back into the tendon.

    – The last thing we need is for Garcon to get hurt pushing himself in May. He knows this offense well, no need to prove himself in OTA’s.

    – Joe Williams will be even more impressive once the pads go on, & Breida is an intriguing RB in this system, but I’m not ready to ditch Hyde just yet.

      1. Correction: Bow is just about 8 months into his recovery. However, an achilies tendon becomes quite rigid at 6-8 months post surgery. It will take a couple months to stretch and work some flexibility into the tendon. At that point Bow’s change of direction should improve. Fingers crossed!

        1. Yeah, but it’s the knee that’s been causing him problems in coverage for the past two years. Not the Achilles. He was terrible in 2015 (pre-Achilles) and mediocre in 2016 (pre-Achilles).

          1. Maybe a dumb question but were both injuries to the same leg? If they were this can be another factor in healing properly because of the need for the ankle and knee to work together for proper mobility.

    1. I’ve been banned in Barrow’s blog. I do not recall making any snide comment about his hair. They must not be fans of the Duke….

      1. Mood!
        I find this astounding! You’ve always been a thoughtful, decorous personality here. I would suppose I would be way higher on anyone’s target list than yo’self.
        The Universe is unfair.
        Buddha was right; there will be suffering!
        Seriously though……weird.
        Houston mentioned he got banned by Florio on PFT, but he’s a cantankerous old codger like yours truly, so I get that more.
        So use the line: “I’ve been thrown outta betta joints dan dis here!”

        1. Brotha
          The reason, I believe, is (as Moses points out below) is their blog filtering software. I think it only accepts what it thinks are real names, not handles. SacBee allows one to register using handles but not post using it.

      2. Mood,

        That’s hard to imagine…

        Are you sure you didn’t get banned for correctly criticizing the writer’s work and questioning the avenue by which said writer his got his job?

        Oh, wait, that’s a different blog I’m thinking of, never mind…

    2. Their nanny-filter is really strong. And the longer the post, the greater the chance of being moderated. Not as bad as Morocco’s blog at CSN where words like ‘assumption’ get you moderated.

  10. Eh… Most of the players are learning new schemes, terminology, etc. I think I’ll reserve judgement for now.

  11. “QB Brian Hoyer. Hoyer played well last week, but today he was out of sync with the offense all practice. ”

    You’re simply describing why he’s been for the most part a journeyman backup throughout his career. He’s a very inconsistent player.

  12. “TE Cole Hikutini. Hikutini could be a key player on third down.”

    Who? I had to go look him up.

      1. Thx CW but I was joking for the sake of pointing out his obscurity to the fact that he’s now a key third down player.

        I’m not down on the kid I just laugh at un-drafted free agents being annointed third down weapons in May.

  13. ” ….He had an opportunity to make a deep catch,
    but the ball flew threw his hands…

    Correct me if I’m wrong.. Grant … but
    isn’t ..“threw” … the past tense of
    “throw” …. ?

    1. ‘Through’ was the word he was looking for. You’d figure someone smart enough to get into UCLA with its 17% acceptance rate and a degree in English wouldn’t make those mistakes. But we’re all human. Even Grant.

  14. Thanks for the report Grant. I am not at all worried about Garcon. He literally knows everything about this offense. He’s a vet and will be ready to go in September.

    I hope Bow will be ready, even if he is only a two down LB. I read that Hyde dropped a pass today. I still think Hyde will start most of the season. I don’t put much stock in a RBs performance in OTAs.

    Hoyer missed deep. No surprise there, he won’t be asked to do that much. Struggling to complete sideline passes is more of a concern. I’m disappointed in Kittle, but I have low expectations for Johnson.

    1. Huh. Stay tuned on Bow, it ain’t necessarily over. Grant wanted him released last year; just cut. Grant said Gore’s legs were gone 4-5 years ago. Grant is Grant.
      Bow’s coverage abilities certainly probably have slipped. How good were Ray Lewis’ coverage skills his last (SB) year?
      Mood hinted at it earlier.

      1. Yeah, if there’s anyone you shouldn’t bet against it’s Bow. Up until today, all of the Bowman news has been positive.

    2. Disappointed in Kittle? You do realize these are OTA’s and he’s a rookie, right? Isn’t it a little more fair to give Kittle until the middle of the season before being disappointed in him?

      1. “Disappointed in Kittle? You do realize these are OTA’s and he’s a rookie, right? Isn’t it a little more fair to give Kittle until the middle of the season before being disappointed in him?”

        Did he not have a bad day? Yes he did and I expect him to be our TE of the future this season or next, hence the disappointment. Did I suggest that he will be a bust based on that one bad day? No I didn’t.

  15. Not worried about Bow………yet. Let him get a year removed from the achilles injury geez! Robinson won’t have trouble with any WR. The guy is a shut down CB in the making. Baalke’s last draft will end up being his only decent one.

  16. Thank you for giving us your perspective of the Niners, warts and all.
    .
    interesting to hear about tank. maybe he will thrive in this new system.

    1. Obvious fake fan. GS in 4. (Actually, I just hope last year doesn’t happen. I had JBCSD* flash-backs with that…)

      *Joe Barry Carroll Stress Disorder.

      1. If Klay shooting touch returns (big if, at this point) and all else is equal, W’s in four or five. If Klay’s shooting stays in hiatus, 6 or 7.

        The above predictions assume that the NBA will allow the Cavs to mug the W’s off the ball, as they have the last two finals.

        If they even call a fraction of the off the ball fouls committed by the Cavs, the W’s win in 4 or 5, irrespective of Kaly’s shooting.

        1. Agree, Ex. Klay is the key. I’m a bit surprised that he is in such a protracted slump. He is such a pure shooter and has such good form. To me it looks like he is allowing himself to lean just a bit to either side and that is throwing his 3 point shots off a bit.

      2. No, he is realistic.
        .
        The NBA will want to milk it for every drop they can get. It will make them more money if it goes to 7.
        .
        And considering last season, the refs can affect the outcome of games.
        .
        However, I will disagree with him, and say Draymond Green is the MVP.

        1. >>The NBA will want to milk it for every drop they can get.

          Oh, so that’s why the finalists have a combined single playoff loss so far? Fun fact: it makes them more money of all rounds go to 7.

          1. Yep, but the talent of the Cavs and Warriors were so dominant, they steamrolled their opponents. It takes 2 to tango, so now they have the dream matchup.

            1. If the series goes a full seven games it will be because of the close matchup of these two dominant teams, not from some directive from the League.

              Another fun (and currently relevant) fact. The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy is named after the guy whose office was broken into during the Watergate burglary :D

              1. Actually, I think it will go only 5, so the premise is moot. Warriors are on a mission, and everyone is healthy.
                .
                Still, I will watch how many free throws each team gets. Steph just cant catch a break.

              2. We all know about the Dubs epic collapse from 3-1 last year. But that took a superhuman James effort – the block in game 7, he and Irving each having to score 41 in game 6 – Steph’s bum ankle and knee, Draymond’s suspension, a Warriors team that ran out of gas following the effort to notch up 73 wins and, most importantly, KD watching the proceedings from (I’m guessing) somewhere in OKC. That’s not going to happen this year. If not an outright sweep, then I agree with your 5 games.

      3. “Obvious fake fan”

        I’ve stated multiple times that I’m a Bulls fan. I grew up in an area that didn’t have any nearby pro teams.

        You are an obvious idiot that has said that Ed Debartolo wasn’t a great owner. Hmm, one could say you’re an ‘obvious fake fan’.

        1. Hey guys. Just so Moses can’t deny dissing Debartolo, here is what he said.

          http://49ers.pressdemocrat.com/49ers-vs-seahawks-live-blog-2/

          “You should try “The Genius: How Bill Walsh Reinvented Football and Created an NFL Dynasty.” Beside leaning (at least for most under 50-fans) that Eddie was a complete moron and Walsh flatly refused to interview with him in 1977, Eddie did nothing. as an owner, that wasn’t a complete disaster.”

          “But Eddie.. Christ, what a streak of piss for an owner.”

          So, is Moses an obvious fake fan, a moron, or both?

  17. Today’s washout is tomorrows hero as shown in these briefs. The first cut down will start to clear the decks.

  18. Love Navarro, but let’s face it. He can’t cover anything anymore. And this was evident pre-injury. He is a huge liability on any passing down, and teams will pound him from the slot when he’s out there. He can still defend the run though. Just gotta get the big pass rush going to neutralize his coverage limitations.

  19. Hi Grant.

    If Reaser was working against Smelter, does that mean Smelter was playing with the 1st string, or was it with the 2nd string ?

            1. Garcon, Goodwin, Kerley, Taylor and ?
              Robinson, Carter, Smelter, Burbridge, Ellington and Boldin are on the bubble.
              .
              Can Breida or Bibbs return Kick Offs?

          1. Grant Cohn says:
            June 1, 2017 at 9:03 am
            I’m starting to think only five receivers will make the roster
            Grant Cohn says:
            June 1, 2017 at 10:38 am
            I’m thinking four running backs.

            I agree. This is what I went with when I picked my early 53 projection.
            Receivers:
            1. Pierre Garcon
            2. Marquise Goodwin
            3. Trent Taylor
            4. Jeremy Kerley
            5. Aldrick Robinson

            Running Back
            1. Joe Williams
            2. Carlos Hyde
            3. Kapri Bibbs
            4. Tim Hightower

              1. But what GM trades to a division rival?

                I wouldn’t think ours would, but Seattle surprised me by facilitating that trade for Foster. I just don’t see too many viable trade partners for Hyde….

              2. Grant Cohn says:
                June 1, 2017 at 5:19 pm
                unless the team trades Hyde.
                ———————
                Logistically I can only see two scenarios that this happens. The first is they’ve completely moved on from him and rather then risk him getting hurt while he’s still on the team they send him off for almost nothing to just get rid of him. At that point the best they could likely hope for is a 5th.

                The second situation would be another teams starter going down during the season. This is the best case scenario for the team trying to recoup some of the draft capital that they gave up for Williams. If they find a team needing a starter then they might even get a pair of 4’s like they gave up to draft Joe or maybe even a single third round pick. However that’s the highest I can imagine they’d get for him and only in that situation could they hope to get that much.

              3. CFC, your second scenario is predicated on said injury occurring prior to the trade deadline, but I agree with both of them. Since he’s basically a zone read back, the restrictions on fit still seem extremely limited….

              4. “on said injury occurring prior to the trade deadline, ”

                obviously. :)

              5. Scheme wont be as much of a hindrance for Hyde. He’s either going to be cheap enough or the team will be desperate enough to be willing to force the square into a round hole.

              6. Yea it’s obvious, but it is a piece of the puzzle that goes into the prohibitive nature of such a trade transpiring….

              1. OK
                Breida may push Bibbs for the job unless they believe they can sneak Breida through waivers. Dicey, even for a 2-14 team.
                Juice likely augments the TEs retained.

  20. I’m wondering if it’s a trust thing with his foot/leg. It’s hard to trust your body so soon from an injury like that. I’m speaking on bowman BTW

    1. Just a young guy expressing irrational exuberance at finding (what he thinks) his own (cor)niche in the rococo architecture of the Gothic Cathedral that is Shanny offense, IMO.

    2. WRs have big egos because they get the glory scoring TDs. Sounds confident, and if he does get open, it is not hubris. I just hope he stays healthy.

  21. Grant Cohn above regarding NaVorro Bowman: “But, he did not move well when he had to react to someone else’s movements during team drills. ”

    And from Niners Wire: “NaVorro Bowman’s comeback from Achilles repair is going so well that linebackers coach Johnny Holland said: “He looks slimmer. He’s moving better to me than he did the first three games I saw him play last year.” Two divergent views.. This is going to be a tough situation for Shanahan… Bowman is a legend but if he cannot cover receivers or is significantly limited in range on run plays is he worth suiting up for a few shot yardage plays per game? I hope he can still move well enough to be a factor. He’s still a great tackler…

  22. We’ll have to wait on Bowman. I hope for the best. But, that said, I am confident he won’t be on the field if there is a more competitive alternative. I’m betting those days are gone. We need production, not potential.

  23. Just curious, do most of the run plays come from 11 on 11, and most of the pass plays come from the 7 on 7 drills? Or is it a mix of both?
    .
    And how many drills are occurring simultaneously? Can one person see them all?
    .
    I hope Bow stays, they really need his savvy veteran leadership. The Niner run defense imploded once he was injured. and he has a nose for the ball.

    1. The run plays come from 11 on 11. The pass plays come from both. These drills occur one after the other, not simultaneously.

  24. Thank you for actual news Grant! Yesterday’s thread was a journey through the looking glass. A bit hilarious and sad at the same time. Glad we have actual 49er football news to talk about.

    Question for those who may know Bow had flexibility issues coming back last year prior to his injury, then suffered another. In anyone’s experience, does this aggravate the flexibility issue,or does it reset the rehab timetable?

    Reaser’s development is a good thing and hopefully will help the defensive backfield.

    Something that someone else pointed out earlier, the veterans don’t exactly exert themselves too much in OTAs as they don’t want to get hurt. They know when to turn it on and generally have less to prove.

    Hoyer had a bad day. Happens. No one should panic or rejoice. The pads will come on soon and we will see who is who.

    1. I’m not an MD, but I’ve been around orthopedic matters. It’s entirely possible that the Achilles event–and what followed immediately after with surgery and extended rehab–impacted the rate of flexibility improvement in the knee. Knee recovery can take 2-2.5 years to achieve max healing/performance, and that’s without introducing another major injury involving the same extremity.

      Bowman should have decent luck with his leg well after his career is done–that’s the good news. I’m concerned about him being able to perform at an extremely high level this year…will there be a next year? Sad, but hoping for the best.

      1. Thanks but that is what I’m expecting too as it’s two major injuries in short order. Perhaps with patience and a lot of work he can get a decent range but I feel for a fantastic player who doesn’t deserve a sad ending.

  25. Folks,
    Rasputin has been holding court — and he’s pleased with Shanalynch’s off-season maneuvers:
    http://www.ninersnation.com/2017/6/1/15724226/paraag-marathe-49ers-free-agency-value-kyle-shanahan-john-lynch
    However, he appears none too pleased with the previous Prime Minister (Stolypin?):
    “Because the last couple years, folks just, agents and players they were just unsure of the plan. They just didn’t know what direction we were going. And so it was a little bit harder. This year, obviously money talks, but money’s not the only thing. “

  26. Guess Wormtongue is distancing himself from Saruman, but I want to hear less from him than I do from Jed, and I want Jed to go incognito.

  27. Levis Stadium renovations. I see the renovations are largely limited to improved signage (some of which is intended to remind fans of how cool the 9ers are) and better recognition of past achievements and great players.

      1. That would be my guess. I don’t see him as a 3 down player at his age and coming off an injury. I don’t think he can set the edge against the run, so playing SAM is unlikely.

        1. I don’t think there is much to worry about Dumervil needing to be a three down player. Saleh is implementing a system that includes keeping the defense fresh.

  28. This explains Seb’s infatuation with Barkley ..
    (who .. learned his trade .. from
    none other than the butt-fumbler)

    thanks #80

    1. Good one MWNiner

      I liked Scooter’s prediction yesterday and how it played out in real time. Real fun psychological case study.

    2. No, it is just making my case for improving the overall QB position. Both Hoyer and Barkley have flaws, and CJB is a green rookie.
      .
      However, I also read that Barkley studied with House, a QB coach, and improved his delivery, so as long as he is accurate, and the O line effectively counters the pass rush so he has time, he will at least be competent.
      Grant even mentioned him connecting on a couple downfield throws. And he was 9 for 12, not bad.
      .
      Of course, the pass rush is ahead of the offensive linemen, and there is no hitting, so I am not too worried, In fact, I am heartened to hear that the pass rush is getting inside pressure.

      1. Something you were loath to do when ol’ Wind-Up with the Scattershot Accuracy was QB. Me thinks thou doest protest too much.

  29. You don’t have to be a math to count to 3—as in the # of QB’s the 49ers keep.

    Hoyer had a good week, last week–and one off day due to the holliday; CJ Beathard (9-9) by all accounts, keeps having good practices, and then there’s Barkley.

    Tick-Tock….What’s that sound……Oh, that’s the clock ticking on the day’s Kaep’s missed learning anyones playbook !….Montreal Allouettes, anyone ?

    1. I don’t know. Considering the way Post-Modernism has infected and, essentially, destroyed liberal arts and shoved critical thinking into the rubbish bin, I think you may have to…

  30. Grant I hope you are wrong in your assessment of Bowman, I fear tho you are correct. As far as Hyde goes sometimes he is excellent while other times I find him disgusting. Hoyer is better then Kaep in this particular system maybe better then Kaep in all systems – he probably is a place card holder, his performance is really no big deal.

    Razor – the liberty bell sent shivers down my spine it was awesome, the east coast delivered as promised, absolutely beautiful. I was prepared to hate NY but up state was great. I did not go into the City, it was just too much for this country boy. I went to Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the highest wind ever recorded in the world took place there. On the trip so far I have been the furthest west, east and north in the continental US. I am approaching 10,000 miles with 16 states left. It has been a great journey and one I wish all could do. Ninety percent of the trip has been back roads, very little interstate travel. I have slept in rest areas, national forest, even a parking lot once, have yet to spend one dime on motels. The van broke down shortly after I saw you, voltage regulator, 18 bucks and a half hour to install and back on the road again.

    1. UNDERCENTER, thanks for the update. I am enjoying them very much. Agiocochook(Mount Washington) is the highest peak in the NE at 6200 feet. Your visit seems timely given Trump’s pullout of the Paris Climate Agreement, and the mountains institution that studies weather/climate. Really impressed with your command of the back roads via your atlas maps. Will you be paying a visit to Fort Sumter? Keep the reports coming, stay safe and I hope Little Joe is having as much fun as you seem to be….

  31. I like Barkley with Shannys system. He could surprise. He has not had a coach to fit his skills until now. Also I thought he played better & showed more durability with the Bears than Hoyer did last year. The Skins game was his only stinker, but the other 3-4 games he played in he was impressive. Beating us was not a big deal last year, but he was even more impressive in nearly beating the Packers last year & throwing for about 360 yards. Not bad with defensive minded Fox as HC.

    If he’s getting comfortable in the league now I think I’d rather see Barkley for a year with potential for a diamond in the rough than Hoyer.

  32. I’m surprised so many people seem to prefer Barkley over Hoyer. Some are even saying they were more impressed with Barkley than Hoyer last year. I don’t get this… their stat lines are not even close.

    Last year in 6 games Hoyer averaged 240 yds per game completed 67% of his passes averaging 7.2 yds per attempt threw 6 td’s and had no ints.

    Barkley on the other hand averaged 213 yds per game completed 59% of his passes averaging 7.5 yds per attempt but threw 8 tds to 14 ints

    Maybe people like that he had two 300 yard games in the final 3 weeks but in that time he threw 10 ints.
    What is it people like about Barkley?

    1. I just think he is more accurate than Hoyer, but that is all relatively speaking. I just refer to Hoyer’s playoff game when he threw like the DBs were the intended receivers for 4 picks, and had 5 turnovers.
      .
      Both have flaws and there is a superior alternative, and I am not talking about a rookie who is floating his passes.

      1. Based on what?
        His completion percentage is much lower and his INT to TD ratio is much higher.
        Hoyer had 1 terrible game in the playoffs but for the season he thew 19 tds to 7 ints. You could argue the moment was to big for him and he choked but the reality is this team is no where near ready for the playoffs and everyone knows he is not their long term answer.
        However, he is a very good stopgap/mentor type as he is limited athletically but knows the offense and can make the proper reads. This will allow the rest of the team to develop in the offense while the team looks for their qbotf.
        This is not the case with Barkley as he completes far fewer passes and throws way to many pics… whether this is because of inaccuracy his making incorrect reads it still limits the teams ability to evaluate the rest of the offense.

        1. Hoyer, with his 5.03 speed, is immobile. Barkley is little better.
          .
          Both are immobile pocket passers, and I will not continue beating a dead horse, but everyone knows my preference. Hoyer did not win too many games last season, but he also demonstrated the need to have a good supporting cast, and the problem when there is a weak defense.
          .
          I also think that they will pull a Gabbert, and amply demonstrate their own shortcomings. CJB would benefit from sitting, studying hard, and working out to bulk up and get stronger. Sure hope Lynch keeps looking to improve the QB position, like he said he would.

              1. No. But you’d love it if I went down that path. Rather it’s a different point. One that you clearly missed.

                Try harder. Maybe call me a bigot or a racist while you’re at since you’re going down that path now…

              2. Moses, no, I will not call you a racist bigot. You actually try to back up your statements with facts, and do not go around spewing hate filled diatribes.
                .
                I named Prime, and told him specifically what I thought of him.

              3. Cassie, Dilfer was lucky. He was fortunate to be the QB who played on a team with a defense that won the SB. Ray Lewis threatened him with evisceration if Dilfer tried to pass the ball.
                .
                Even a slow QB can hand off the ball.

          1. Seb you snivelling again about the once was?
            You are pathetic. Maybe I should come visit you.
            Talk some sense into you.

          2. What does his 5.03 speed have to do with his accuracy?

            Besides that Barkley ran a 5.02 at his pro day… this was not even at the combine but at a pro day where times are notoriously faster… additionally he took 2 more sacks in 1 more game as a starter. ( 6 to Hoyer’s 4 ). Personally I don’t care if he is Usain Bolt back there, he turned the ball over 16 times to Hoyer’s 2, I’ll take Hoyer between the two.

            As to the the supporting cast… there wasn’t a qb out there who didn’t need a supporting cast.

            1. KS has had the QBs do controlled roll outs and throw on the run. I wonder who would be the best QB suited for that style of play.
              .
              I will say it again, both QBs will expose their limitations.
              .
              Thankfully, with Lynch signing 20 FAs and hitting a grand slam in the draft, any of the Niner QBs will have a better supporting cast than last season.

      2. Hoyer is hardly the be-all and end-all of NFL QBs. However, he has good points:

        1. Can read defenses and check down which helps to maximize drive length and win the field position struggle which, if you have anything but a Mickey Mouse offense gives you a leg-up on winning.

        2. Can get the ball out timely. In short, even with bad lines (and that’s been most of his career) he’s sacked at a lower rate than Kaepernick who makes good lines look average and average lines look bad.

        3. Is generally more-accurate though he’s certainly no Drew Brees. That 4%-to5% difference means more 1st downs. More extended drives. Relatively better field position after a defensive stop. And all kinds of other benefits people don’t think about.

        4. Bad passes. Hoyer had 34 bad passes in 200 attempts – 17%. Kaepernick had 66 in 331 – 20%. 16% was NFL average last year. The best was Drew Brees at just under 9%. Even Brock Osweiler was better. In fact, everyone was better except Winston and Taylor who were every so slightly worse (though all rounded to 20% bad pass percentage).

        That may seem small. But it’s small differences in talent and execution that make the difference in the NFL. You miss a pass-defensed by 6″, it could be a touchdown and a loss. You miss a QB by 1/10th of second and it’s a TD not a sack. And so it goes… A 4% burden against the offense in 500 pass plays takes success from 325 plays to 305 plays. One blown play a game that opponent doesn’t blow…. Now you’re losing a close game…

    2. Everybody loves the back-up, during Smith’s career all these guys were routinely supported by large (if not the majority) swaths of the fan base as better than that Smith ‘scrub:’

      Tim Rattay
      Trent Dilfer
      Ken Dorsey
      Cody Pickett
      Shaun Hill
      JT O’Sullivan
      Nate Davis
      David Carr
      Troy Smith

      I’m sure I missed a few. Keeping track of the mediocre 3rd stringers people held up as ‘better than Smith’ was a herculean task.

  33. Just to beat a dead horse.
    Lynch admitted he would have cut Kaepernick. However, it must be noted that he gave Colin the choice and said that he wanted to get the message out there so that others would know that the narrative the CK didn’t care about football was false.
    Now, I dont want to go down the path of CK vs who we have but I think this shows a lot as to the character of our current management. So far they appear to be tough but fair… They cut players and demoted coaches (Rathman, who then chose to leave) but haven’t denigrated them and so far have only said good things about them.

  34. So, is it a question of Shanahan preferring a QB who knew his system to one that would need to learn a new system, whether this is a FA or a draft choice, or did Hoyer represent the best of all possibilities available and that’s why he was taken? I was as perplexed as anyone by the Hoyer signing and am still not quite comfortable with it.

    At the same time, I’m not one to clamor we should go back to what we had (which in my estimation was a backup at best). I didn’t see tremendous difference between Hoyer and what we had other than previous job experience. I also wondered somewhat about the choice of QB in the draft at the most crucial position.

    This position seems like a weak link to me. I don’t think that another recent QB will offer us the best opportunity to win. He’s had his shot and didn’t perform that well when he had the opportunity. So don’t waste your time. He’s gone. I want to know about the other scenarios.

    What am I missing here if anything? Because I look at this and say this team can only do so much (4-5 wins max in my book).

    1. I think the reason for the choice of Hoyer was because of the other available options. Their were no good qb’s available (their never are). But Hoyer knew Shanahan’s offense, is bright, and could help get it up and running faster than any of the other options. Additionally he was not a guy that is going to hold you back from going after Cousin’s or drafting a qb should you like one nor would he cause any distractions.

      1. Shoup I’d rather go this year of rebuild with Hoyer and Barks and CBJ who know the system.
        The alternative would have been to go with CK who cannot read defenses, is a run first QB and who would have been a cancer and distraction.
        No thanks. I think we’ll be just fine with what we have.

        1. Here we go again. Kaep read defenses, and progressed through his third options. Too bad the WRs were rated 30th in the league, so they were not open very often.. Also it was unfortunate to have had an O line that was rated 29th, so many times, he had to run, which also helped make the Niner run offense 4th in the league. He also used his legs to convert many third downs.
          .
          Cancers in the locker room do not get voted to be the Len Eshmont Award winner.
          .
          Certainly, a non violent silent protest for social justice did not affect the game, because it was done before the game even started. Too bad he gave haters a reason to hate even more, and the owners are showing their cowardice is blackballing him because they are afraid that some troglodyte will threaten to not attend their game because a player has the audacity to want Rogue cops from shooting unarmed civilians in the back with no repercussions.
          .
          Prime, keep hating. It just shows you up as a racist bigot.

          1. 1. It’s widely recognized by experts with far greater acumen than you that Kaepernick could not read defenses in real-time.

            2. Calling someone a racist bigot simply shows the rest of us that you’ve lost and that all you have now is hysterics.

              1. BT, remember, I am THAT guy. The guy who you want to send out on point to take the first bullet.
                .
                Well, that is how my hero died. He was a sergeant, but he led his patrol, because he was the type of guy who would not send some one else out in front. So your cavalier cowardly attitude to send some one else out because you did not want to die, just turns my stomach.
                .
                The Vietnam War brought out the best in some people, and the worst in others. In the end, America lost an unwinnable war, and scarred a generation.

            1. You all seem to accept me being called all sorts of names, but when I say the truth, You get all squirrelly.
              .
              No, I accept the opinion of coaches like Pete Carrol that blow your arguments out of the water, making you look clueless.
              .
              Of course, the hate is disguised by trying to say that he has no skills, but I am just saying what I see, and now others, way more distinguished with bona fides, stating that he is certainly a starting QB. Pete Carroll won a collegiate national championship and a Super Bowl, so he knows what he is talking about.
              .
              If you think Prime can spew hate ad infinitum and ad nauseum, and is not a hate filled troll with racist tendencies, I pity you. His hate and intolerance, his propensity to spew insults, and his potty mouth pretty much defines what a racist bigot does.
              .
              Next you will be whimpering about how much a humanitarian he is , and describe how he loves everyone. I am frankly sick of it.

      2. I think that’s really what it boils down to too Shoup. The only better choices were Cousins and Romo. Romo was old and not really available. Cousins wasn’t available or if he was not for a non-punishing price. That left Hoyer since he knew the system and was decent QB (apologies to Houston who feels otherwise).

        When you sit back and analyze it coldly it makes institutional sense even if it gives one no warm and fuzzy feeling.

        I think the same is true with Beathard. He seemed like the wrong choice and a wild reach but when you coldly analyzed it you could make the case that he would have gone next round so to pick him up may have made sense.

        It was kind of the same conundrum that was there when A. Smith was traded. It made sense even if you didn’t like it.

        1. That’s exactly how I feel. Hoyer is not the answer but he wasn’t brought in to be. So then you have to look at the why he was chosen vs what was available.
          Additionally I think we need to temper our expectations on offense. The overall talent level improved but not by much. And Shanahan runs a complex system that is not easy to learn

  35. Grant, enjoyed your column. Good stuff. I would like to know what Bowman thinks of his progress coming back. Does he recognize these issues and is it possible he can work to improve, or is his ability restricted by the lasting effects of injury/surgery?

    1. Seb calling more people racists, then talks about distributing phosphorus grenades to children at the playground, firing rounds from his assault rifle.

      I wouldn’t send a loved one near his haunted mansion at Halloween. Especially if he’s repairing his chainsaw in the driveway.

      Could turn out to be a real ‘House of Horrors’.

      House of Horrors (Full Walkthrough) Universal Studios Hollywood
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eAMpPYo1y0

      1. And this is football related how? Keep your personal attacks off the board. Smash his ideas, show his trade ideas don’t work but stick to football.
        I hate sifting through this crap on nicer message boards.

        1. Shoup,

          If someone doesn’t keep the public up to date on Seb’s cleverly embedded weapons missives, the trouble will be worse than your strained scrolling finger.

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