49ers-Panthers preview

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  1. Stewart and Olsen should have big days. 2001 was the last time the 49ers won in overtime at Charlotte, before Kaepernick led the team to a victory there in 2014….

    1. Yes, and remember how all the Panthers’ fans were all excited about a Bay Area writer predicting a Panthers playoff victory?

  2. The Panthers will try to put up a quick lead and force Gabbert to win the game. If they can withstand the initial surge they should be able to keep it fairly close throughout most of the game. If the Niners are forced to come from behind by more than a TD I think it will snowball quickly.

    1. He can’t be worse than Modkins who has trouble remembering who the next opponent is and what day of the week it is. Guy looks like he’s on a perpetual bender. I think he’s just there as a token to deflect the racism charges from Chip.

  3. My five questions are:

    Can Kerley do it again?
    Will the pass rush get after Newton?
    Will the three safety defense be used against the Panthers?
    Can Gabbert step it up if he needs to?
    Will the 49ers be able to establish the run?

    1. I think the Niners will pass to the outside so Kerley will be less involved. I expect Cam to be under pressure from a variety of blitzes from multiple positions. Gabbert needs to complete a deep ball early to build his confidence and keep the Niners close in the first half. The running game is a question mark for me. Big test for the O Line.

  4. Only in Rex Ryan’s head can the team score 31 points but give up 38 and it makes sense to fire the guy running the offense. I’m not defending Roman but I do know he wasn’t the reason the team is 0-2.

    1. I heard or read a speculation that Rex’s move was a preemptive strike for his own protection. If ownership wanted to fire Rex mid season they could’ve promoted Roman to finish the season as HC. They aren’t going to fire Rex and give the job to Rob.
      Who knows?

  5. The 49ers should trade Anthony Davis to the Browns for a 7th rounder. Send him to the worst team ever created and then remind him just how much he’s worth by giving him up for a 7th.

    At this point the team isn’t going to get anything from him on the field. I just hope they don’t release him and give him what he wants, he doesn’t deserve it. Ship him off to the Browns or Falcons for nothing and let him realize how good he had it.

    1. Throw in kaepernick and half his salary for Gordon and you got a deal. Heck kaepernick and Davis combined are just as much as a problem as Gordon.

  6. Gabbert should work on being more deceptive. He should work on pump fakes so he can freeze the safeties and get his pass rushers to leave their feet, so he can throw the ball while they are coming down, and not have the ball batted at the line of scrimmage.

    Gabbert should also work on not catching his own passes for 16 yard losses.

  7. – Panthers ran a successful reverse with Ginn. Reverses work vs defenses that over pursue laterally. The 49etrs defense was aggressive vs the Rams wide runs. Expect the Panthers to run at least one reverse.

    – Will O’Neil pull a fast one and keep Ward in the slot, putting the taller Robinson outside vs Carolina’s tall receivers? (Never mind if Carolina uses tall slot receivers)

    – Cam burns the blitz. I’m expecting O’Neil to rush five or more less, but remain exotic with who the four are, and how they rush. Sending four, but with zone blitzes, stunts, Bucksteads wide nine, Blair shooting gaps, blitzing Bowman but having Blair spy over the NT.

    – Seattle pooped out the Panthers with their hurry up in the playoffs. They were totally gassed chasing Wilson. If the Niners can string a few drives together early there’s a sluggers chance of a win. I’m expecting a faster pace than the Rams game.

      1. I can’t remember, but I’ll take your word for it that the Rams reverse flopped. If that’s the case the chances of a Carolina reverse are lower, but I’m still expecting one.

        Reverses tend to work well when steam establishes the wide run. The Rams couldn’t establish anything.

        1. I know, I know! The 9ers should line up and run a play; then, do it again. If they do that, it proves that Chip read my post!

          1. “And not run into the teeth of the defense,use pump fakes and my ultimate favorite, as soon as you catch the ball go down, avoid injury. Memorable quotes that Chip Kelly reads prior to installation of the game plan Wednesdays. Who knew all this time the 49ers had the source of all their problems, right here on Inside the 49ers! Wow!

            1. Prime, maybe you do not realize it, but Vance caught the ball and fell down while concentrating on securing the pass. He did exactly what I called for.

              Hyde did run out of bounds. He could have stayed in bounds and fought for more yardage, but played it smart. No one seemed to taunt him for running out of bounds.

              Draughn got stood up, gang tackled, and lost the ball. I wanted him to go down instead, and take better care of the ball.

              I am content. Now, even other folks are talking about not running into the teeth of the defense, so my posts do have traction. Unlike yours, which are trite and totally forgettable.

              1. I thought we agreed to not address each other anymore? I was talking to Cassie so please just ignore all my comments. I’m just making fun of the stupidity of your comments as others are. So when you see my posts just do everyone on the blog a favour, keeping scrolling. Got it moron?

              2. Prime, you should not mention me or quote me if you do not want me to respond to your posts.

                I remember you declaring that you would haunt my posts. I am just returning the favor.

                I also remember you declaring that you would leave this site. Sounds like you are a liar, too.

              3. Seb for the record everyone makes fun of your comments. You are the a$$ clown of the blog.
                Again, I respectively ask you to ignore all my posts, in reference to your stupidity or not. Ok?

              4. Talking about not having a clue, I never said that I would agree not to post after your posts, and I sure the heck did not say that I would let you insult me without some comment.

                Get a clue. I did ignore you, but you seem to be asking for it. Stop mentioning my name and commenting on my posts, and I will let you babble away. You bring very little to the table, but if you want me to leave you alone, start by never mentioning me or my posts. Capiche?

                I see that I have upset you enough to start hurling insults, but will not declare victory until you start using expletives.

              5. Just do it a clown! Not for me but for the blog!
                It’s real simple, just scroll past, even a grass mower like you can adhere to those simple instructions! Capisce!

              6. And the love/hate relationship you are supposed to only see in a soap opera continues between these two.

              7. MW, Prime seems a bit obtuse. I hope you have seen that I have refrained on the most part from posting after Prime, but he seems to think that he can use me as a punching bag. Wrong. I hit back, and Prime only has himself to blame.

                If Prime wants me to leave him alone, he should forget I even exist and stop reading my posts. Commenting and trying to diss me just shows that he has not learned his lesson. I have gotten under his skin, and will continue to do so until he truly leaves me alone.

                Prime is so obtuse, he respectfully asks me to please stop engaging him, then starts spewing insults.

          2. Cassie, when they did not do what I advised, I could tell they ignored my comments.

            Now we have Chip talking about the coaches not debating posts, but why would he even mention debating posts as if that may have been happening?

            This is just like during a couple years ago, when posters were debating me and said that Roman did not have the power to call plays while I excoriated him for the play calling. They FO came out to clarify that Roman called the plays, but why did they do that if they did not read the posts?

    1. The 49ers really set the edge well. Both ends really got good penetration to disrupt the blocking and both OLBs did a fantastic job keeping things inside. Which is why Gurley had a crap day.

  8. Really interested to see if Kelly can get these guys to play well in all phases on the road. The best coaches and teams do it well.

    Does anyone else remember the 49ers first road game under Harbaugh? It was brutal but they got the W.

    1. The Bengals game? Ugly grind. Fittingly ended with Andy Lee running around the end zone and taking a safety if I remember right.

      1. Correct. It was the Bengals. A rather ugly 13-8 road win. However, both teams had a full 7 days to recover and prepare.

        Harbaugh kept the team in Ohio, which gave the team a chance to bond. I think that week was the turning point for the 49ers organization. And then the 49ers came out and played one of the most inspiring games in a long while, turning in a gutsy performance and win VS Philly, to end the road trip. It was this, 8 day stretch, IMO, that set Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers off and running!

        1. I’m keeping my expectations low this week. This kind of scheduling advantage for the Panthers is hard for even the best teams in the league to overcome.

          49ers – 17
          Panthers – 23

  9. Let’s see, you crowned last year’s defense who let Siemian hang 14 points on them in the 4th quarter. Who is Siemian? This was his first start. Come on Grant.
    The 49ers offense is better than Denver’s offense. That same Denver offense threw 2 ints and Carolina still lost the game.
    Carolina is not the team it was in 2015.
    Sf will struggle offensively against Carolina about the same way that Denver struggled. If SF shows up with the same energy they had at home against LA then I do not expect Cam to run successfully. He does not do well when his play action is not working. In 2014 he struggled mightily.
    Cycling guys in on Defense is what Denver did so successfully. SF will follow suit. The energy level will be high in Carolina. This wasn’t given any credit. They are one year older. They should win this game as Carolina is already looking past SF.

    1. Matt, sometimes it’s the little things that separate a road win, form a blowout road loss. All things being equal, I think the 49ers would have a chance to upset the Panthers this week.

      However, all things aren’t equal. It’s a tall task to ask a West Coast team to travel across country on a short week and face the reigning Conference Champion who have had an extra 4 days to prepare and recover from the following week.

      It’s a far tougher challenge thanks to an insane scheduling faux pas, and probably too big of an advantage for Carolina, for the 49ers to overcome.

        1. Very true Razor, although these 2 teams last met during 2013. They played once during the regular season and once in the post season. Their regular season matchup happened week 10, at home, and the 49ers lost a brutal battle by a score of 10-9. It was an inept offensive performance for Kap and the 49ers. OC Greg Roman was outmatched by the Panthers defense.

          Luckily the 49ers rebounded for a postseason win at Carolina. The 49ers won a statistically even game, 23-10, and turnovers (49ers +2) were the difference.

          But, like I say, this week 2 scheduling faux pas is likely too much for any West Coast team to overcome. I would predict the Cardinals and the Seahawks to lose against the Panthers tomorrow, if they had to endure the same absurd scheduling.

  10. After a couple of glasses of cab, I’m feeling optimistic. Niners win 20-17.
    No one runs over Bow and the 3-safety run defense. Ward/Brock neutralizes Benjamin. O’Neill has Cam on his heels with well-timed speedy, exotic blitzes. Kelly manufactures a few good offensive sequences. Gabbert improves ever so slightly. Niners again win the TOP and TO battles and shock the world. Coaching makes all the difference. Better coaching overcomes better talent. Riverboat Ron is nonplussed and makes the wrong bets.

    1. Yeah, cab has a way of doing that. I was just drinking a nice 2012 Louis Martini Napa Valley cab and it’s lifting my spirits as well :). What were you drinking?

      1. Nothing fancy — McManis Family Vineyards 2014 Cab — from Lodi — a good deal at $9 a bottle.

        I really feel good about this season now that the Niners have a competent coaching staff. I can no visualize a 8-8 season :)

          1. When the wine goes in, the truth comes out.

            But what do I know. I haven’t had a drink in 36 years. And my home is smack dab in the middle of a major grape and pot growing region. I just always liked that saying.

            Another thing I like is how our defensive line is coming along. Even if we don’t win alot of games, I think it’s going to be fun watching QD and then Bean Stalks roll over offensive lines.

            1. Love your comment as I have not had any for 39 years either!some days I yearn for the scotch! Due to stress, work and certain crappy owners o my beloved football team!

  11. RE: Grant and our current team – can you really extrapolate anything from last year’s team. Same guys, perhaps, but completely different coaching/system.

  12. Chris Biderman mentioned how Ray and Ray and Joe Staley were high fiving and celebrating together after the former’s pick. These a very different type of personalities. Clearly the players are having fun…

  13. I would actually prefer to see Gabbert have 30 short passes, 10 intermediate and 5 long attempts versus running into the teeth of the defense……… we’ll see what happens, but as a former pitcher, I always believe in the concept of keeping them guessing, and I hope they don’t stubbornly give Hyde 20-25 attempts to see what materializes.

    * I drank a few Coronas and IPA’s, vs Cab, and remain unsettled on predicting the outcome. I do believe the 49ers cover though. Personally, I would like to see press outside and bring the heat to Cam.

  14. I expect the RB’s to have a bigger day catching than running. I’m looking for throws in the flats and some wheels. I expect Chip to use every weapon he has to keep them guessing. And some play action early. It’s going to be long drives with short throws all day long. Gabbert will run for some yards too. Two bombs and one hits!

  15. Well, I’m going to try to actually go to the game. Is it winnable? It may be. A lot of things have to go right for the 49ers and wrong for the Panthers.

    The keys:
    Gabbert – he has to play well. He cannot make the kind of passes he made last game. If he does he will give Kuechly gifts and that will spell trouble. And enliven the whole talk of a storm coming.

    CBs – they will need to respond the the threat that Newton will put the ball into the hands of very capable receivers. They need to limit this.

    DL- put pressure on and contain Cam Newton. Make him eat dirt without drawing penalties. Dorsey’s return will be welcome and hopefully will add strength to the rotation. Blair and ILB will play key roles I think.

    ST – field position will be especially important in this contest.

    I don’t think last year is any comparison. Many of the players are no longer playing and more importantly it’s a different system. If the newspaper changed its entire editorial board and shifted about 50% of the personnel would anyone expect similar columns from the year before?

    1. East – Have you been to the Knights new uptown stadium? I heard it’s nice. Spent more than a few nights at Thirsty Thursday in Ft. Mill back in the day.

      1. Live in Raleigh so don’t get out to Charolotte much and have to make a special effort, so not yet.

        Ft. Mill been there, done that, but that was for other reasons similar to yours…

  16. I hope Torrey goes 10 yards, turns around as if to get a short pass, lets Gabbert pump fake towards him, then turns upfield to catch a deep strike with the rook DB flailing in his wake.

  17. Grant,

    You said Newton has a strong arm (true), as proof, you offered that he can throw a ball throw the goal posts flat footed (huh?). Shouldn’t you have included from which part of the field he can achieve this feat? I can throw the ball through the goal posts flat footed, if close enough.

  18. Off topic just had a quick question about going to games. I am going to the Thursday cardinals game. Is it worth $55 to go to the redzone rally? Any other tips would be great. Thanks

    1. I haven’t gone, but do believe you can also find tix on the secondary market for it as well- I doubt it is worth the $55 tho……. parking can be tricky- both on and off site- VTA getting out was an utter failure last week and we elected to walk instead (we drove a friend down and gave it a shot as we parked at his friends about two miles away).

      I go to a lot of games as a season ticket holder, so if you have more ?’s, just ask me.

  19. I was dissapointed in the offense last week. I didn’t think it ran very smoothly, I see a better performance this week as the team gets more comfortable in the slow/hurry up. We all thought the defense played well last week, I believe its still maturing and better things are yet to come. The Niners will stop the running game and put pressure on Newton, maybe even a sack or two.

    Travel time, defending NFC champs, new head coach, new system both on offense and defensive, questionable QB, questionable WR’s, Panthers 10 days to prepare and heal Niners 5 days to prepare and heal, odds maker got them down 14.

    24 – 10, Niners in a upset victory that should of never happened.

    I have nothing to base this victory on other then it just has all the makings of an upset.

    1. I would qualify that. The running game was pretty decent, and parts of the OL play were good though it may have been getting the ball out early as much as anything. Kerley and the TEs played well. I thought Patton played pretty decent too except for the fumble.

      1. Thinking with my head and not my heart, it looks like a Panther blowout.

        Rams offensive weapons – Gurley, Austin
        Panthers offensive weapons – Newton, Benjamin, Funchess, Ginn, Olsen, Stewart

        Rams defense – Top level front 4
        Panthers defense – Top level front 7

        How many games in NFL history did a team playing 7:20pm Monday night fly 3,000 miles for a 10:00 game vs a team on ten days rest?

        I’m only aware of last year vs Pittsburgh. 49er first half points – 3. Steeler first half points – 29.

        The Steeler/Panther games are as close as it gets to a league assigned loss.

        But is there a sluggers chance? “Fatigue Makes Cowards of Us All”

        In last year’s playoffs the Seahawks went hurry up in the 2nd half. The Panthers defense was gassed. Seattle almost made a huge comeback. If the 49ers can start the game with a one or two sustained fast tempo drives, those big guys on the Panther’s D will melt.

          1. I’m thinking 31-13 Panthers. But I think the win/loss likelihood is less severe. Kelly’s offense can get big defenders gasping after only a few first downs. If he can start the game moving the chains with a few well designed plays cooked up since the schedule came out, the 49ers have a very good chance of sustained offense for the rest of the game.

            I’m expecting Kelly to run a faster pace vs the Panthers, even if they have a lead.

            I’m looking forward to what O’Neil trots out. I’m guessing they start with
            Dial, Dorsey, Buckner
            Brooks, Willis, Armstrong, Harold

            It would be nice to have Armstead, Buckner, Dial on the field at the same time. Dorsey offers the possibility of some killer 4-3 looks
            Armstead, Dial, Dorsey, Buckner
            Brooks (or Tartt), Bowman, Armstrong

              1. I even messed up “LOL.” 10am games are affecting fan typing execution too. And its only Saturday.

            1. I’m guessing they start with Armstead, Dial, Buckner. Seems like Kelly likes to ramp up players who come off injury, so I doubt Dorsey starts in his first game back.

              1. Could be. Dial almost played all of 2014 at NT. I think Dorsey is more suited to NT. It could boil down to readiness.

                Its been speculated on KNBR (which interview?) Blair will see less snaps because of the Panthers’ power run scheme. But he only had 7 vs the Rams. Blair’s a gap shooter, but I’ve seen him sniff out QB draws really well in college. Come people said he had a linebacker’s brain for knowing where the ball is. I think he has more than 7 snaps.

              2. Interesting note on the QB draws. The Panthers ran three of those against the Broncos and gained 26 yards. Newton scrambled zero times in that game.

              3. Grant, Newton’s QB draws are a concern. The other Panther info you tweeted sounds pretty daunting.

                I imagine Armstead’s snap count as the season roll along will be a clue as to surgery. If his snaps are even so or decrease expect surgery before the end of season. If they increase, he could play all 16 games.

      2. Grant, 35-6 is an insult (and off base), despite the unfair scheduling!

        What would your score prediction be if these teams played on a neutral field, with equal time to recover and prepare?

        1. This is not the same, disorganized defense that let Pittsburgh walk all over them week 2 last season.

          I’m not saying it can’t be a blowout. We all know how tough it is for a west coast team to travel to an east coast timezone, anytime during the season. Add on the fact that SF is having to travel cross country on a short week, while the Panthers are at home and have had 10 days to recoup and prepare. Football games can sometimes snowball on a fatigued team, with very litgtle time to prepare.

          However, this 49ers defense actually matches up well, IMO, with the Panthers and I expect the 49ers to keep the score respectable, unless turnovers begin to snowball.

          49ers – 20
          Panthers – 28

          1. “This is not the same, disorganized defense that let Pittsburgh walk all over them week 2 last season.”

            You were right. This disorganized defense gave up 529 yards Week 2. Last season’s disorganized defense gave up 453 yards Week 2.

  20. TomD’s Prediction:

    It appears Daniel Kilgore shores up the center position (he shouts down the line adjustments-presnap) the 49ers missed in last season’s 2nd game blowout. This may not seem major to most fans, however, in away games it’s major.
    An ability to run your base offense until you get a feel for the opponent’s tendencies allows you to branch out into more sophistication.
    That said, look for the 49ers to take on Carolina’s no frills defense (what you see is what you get) which will stack the box, by taking shots down field…

    Gabbert talked about taking what was given vs. the Rams…Well, Gabby, you’ll be given the outside with Carolina daring you to go deep because of what they saw you do against the Rams–an offense featuring lots of underneath routes and checkdowns.

    Stacking the box takes those routes away forcing Gabbert away from his dumpoff strengths and into longer patterns which requires holding blocks longer, feeding into Carolina’s defensive strengths–The NFL’s best front 7 (on par with Denver).

    Also, this time, to avoid the week 2 blowout we have Chip, not TomFoolya as HC. We will rely on a Chip’s West Coast cleverness to carry the day.

    Consecquently, the above additions will mean a closer game than Carolina thinks, and as you know, if a team can stick around for 4 Qtrs anything can happen.

  21. Are we a real contender or just another flash in the pan against a bad team?
    What’s nice about this season is that people are actually not ruling out that we walk away with a W against a top team.

  22. How questionable is Jonathan Stewart? Probably not very. Still, less than 100% is a break for us if it means Carolina has rely more on Cam in the ground game.

  23. I have Carolina by 17… But with that said I think it will be close until late in the 3rd. There’s just too much going against us… In truth I don’t see us getting 21 points. But I’m hopeful we can at least make it competitive for the majority of the game and it won’t look like the Pittsburgh game last year.

    1. It could happen Shoup. This is about as big of a hill to climb as any west coast team can face. I don’t want to sound like a crybaby, but the scheduling is absurd, and totally unfair.

      Give a good NFL team the type of advantage the schedule makers gave the Panthers this week, and they absolutely better beat their opponent!

      1. Reasons, don’t worry, the only one sounding like a crybaby is Ron Rivera and his whining about having to open the season in Denver.

  24. Well my opinion. This is a trap game for us, not the panther’s. According to pff our oline was actually outplayed. Now the rams front line is stout on paper, so in my opinion, even yhouthose grades were bad our oline played excellent to open up holes and not get our qb sacked. Now with blaine getting rid of the ball so quickly helped in that area. But the trick is the adjustment. If Carolina thinks we are going to get rid of it quickly, then those linebackers are gonna zone assignment to cut off the quick throw. The question is can Blaine hold on to the rock longer and make accurate throws downfield. He said he took what the rams gave him. Well i assume the panther’s will give him the long throw. Will Blaine fold? I honestly think he will fold. Hooe im wrong but my prediction is i won’t be. We lose this game, even though our D puts up a stout effort. 24-10. Garbage time touchdown. I just don’t believe in Gabbert. Hes to skiddish. Our d will help against Normal teams, but against playoff teams we will need our qb to step up. Im just skeptical of Blaine.

    1. You want to throw downfield, put in Kaepernick. Only trouble is, you need time and wide receivers that can get open. You wanna dink n dunk, leave in Gabbert, who was 2nd only to Stafford in 4th quarter quarterback rating. I would suggest that the Panthers seem to struggle with the dink n dunk, and are rather successful at defending downfield….

        1. It is no laughing matter; there were some instances last season when Smith was opened and Kaepernick did not look his way or throw anywhere near him.

          1. That’s what happens when you start to see ghosts from a line as porous as the one he stood behind early last year. Btw, did you see Smith I think tied Taylor for receptions for 70 yards or more?

            1. That’s what happens when you start to see ghosts from a line as porous as the one he stood behind early last year.

              So what ghost caused him to miss a wide open WRs in the Packers and Rams’ games last season?

              1. The ghost of Chryst-mas past, MWD. He looked like a quarterback that had no confidence in the offense, but that doesn’t absolve Kaepernick from his regression as a player. I think even he would agree, he’s ultimately responsible for that….

              1. While Geep Chryst had no business being elevated to OC, the 49ers were forced to simplify the playbook early on last season because Colin couldn’t manage the reads or get through his progressions. That’s on Kap!

              2. The team has three backup QBs on the roster, so it should be a given that fans will be talking about the backups.

              3. Chip is showing us that it was all on the coaching. Chip makes it easy for the QB to function efficiently. If Chip could make Sanchez, Foles and Gabbert decent, imagine what he will do with Kaep.

                That one read crap is getting tiresome. Kaep has demonstrated over the years that he can do multiple reads. The pistol was designed to have multiple reads, but like global warming, posters still deny reality.

        1. My gosh, this kid is something special, hah MWD? The scary thing is, he’s got poise and is already getting a feel for the pocket, and he’s got a strong, accurate arm.

          I cannot think of a running QB with his level of running skill, to compare him to. Can you imagine him running Chip’s offense?

          By the way, how about the Counter Trey? Chip’s offense is definitely evolving!

  25. Gabbert is unpredictable and inconsistent. Twice in three weeks I’ve seen him over throw wide open medium routes. Skip passes in to receivers, throw at ankles. Having said that, if he moves the chains three to four times with his feet, like he did last week, then we will be competitive.

    1. If Carolina jumps to a big lead, Kap could see action…But only if.

      Gabs needs to show improvement on the deep ball since that’s what Carolina will disrespect, anticipating a history of checkdowns and patterns underneath.

  26. The Niners could be looking ahead to Seattle. On the other hand, If Gabbert continues to take what the defense gives him he could have a breakout game. His accuracy is a concern, but his TD pass from Monday night was a good pass that was only catchable by McDonald. He started slow, was slowed by the play calling in the third, and then looked pretty good late.

      1. Seb. I hope you’re right and the D plays with the same energy as Monday night. They will need to continue to swarm and make gang tackles.

        1. I hope they get a hand up and disrupt his passing lanes, maybe even get another tip for a pick.

          Of course, the Panther game plan will be to take away Hyde and make Gabbert beat them with his arm. I hope they get creative and roll him out. Like Kaep, I think Gabbert can throw on the run.

          I will hope again that they go up 3 scores, and Kaep is allowed to play. However, I think Chip is innovative enough to line up Kaep in the backfield.

          If nothing else, it would freak out the DC, who probably has not game planned for that.

          1. Chip, if he lined Kaep up in the backfield, could use him effectively as a decoy. If Kaep is in, the Panthers will be paying close attention to him.

            He truly will be a distraction, which is what Chip wants. As a decoy, Kaep has way less chance for injury. Still, he could be used as passer for those long bombs downfield, which destroys the morale of the defense, so just his presence could help the offense.

            1. Just a thought but Chip wanted to use Drisk on punts. Would he consider using Kap in the same way? Jed and Trent would be sweating bullets.

              1. Punting is dangerous. Many flying bodies. Better to not risk injury. Remember Ellington, he was injured fielding punts.

                I hope the Niners sit Davis and elevate Harris so he can field punts. Save Kerley to just play WR.

              2. I agree that punting is dangerous, but I’m wondering what Chip will do, not me. He likes to gamble. I don’t think Kap will see any non garbage time action until he gains his weight back.

              3. 80, I would prefer to never have to punt, or if close, go for it. You may be right, Chip could pull a rabbit out of his hat with a trick play. Good risk /reward scenario.

  27. I see Kerley playing a big role in this game from the punt return position. Kerley will give the offense an advantage by flipping the field several times and perhaps running one in for six easy points.

    1. I Third that. He is a true Swiss Army knife.

      The good news is that the defensive linemen and QBs may go in the first picks, so McCaffrey may be available around the 7th pick.

        1. Kizer, Watson could start day 1… But we need to be picking in the top 7… If Gabbert shows he can continue to progress then we can draft a QB in rnd 2 and take best available offensive talent.. Most likely a Wr like a Mike Williams from Clemson or JuJu from USC.

            1. You never know when it clicks for a QB.. Alex Smith was 28 when he started to understand the position. Steve Young was 29… Gabbert is still only 26… You never know. I wasn’t his biggest supporter but he is growing on me a little. If he plays well and they win tommorow, I’m buying a seat on the Blaine Train…

              1. I’m still not sold on Gabbert but he seems to shaping into the Alex Smith scenario.
                Good coaching and play calling and a decent oline can do wonders.

              2. Gabbert is growing on me as well. A little consistency could go a long way for him. If he were to have a “You like that!” Cousins type moment he could gain the confidence to make plays with his arm. The ceiling is still high for Gabbert.

      1. The 2017 draft is looking like it could be deep at QB, but a guy like McCaffrey only comes along once in while. The 49ers would get a RB, WR, and PR if they drafted McCaffery.

          1. Myles Garrett could fall to the 49ers if there is an excellent crop of prospects in the 2017 draft.

            1. I don’t see anyway Miles Garrett falling out of the top 3… He is an ELITE talent at the outside LB position. He is Von Miller but bigger.

        1. He is a clone to Reggie Bush coming out. He is versatile but not the talent of a cook or Fournette. Plus you can find quality backs every year in the draft. Don’t get me wrong he is good but not a must for us like a QB might be. If Gabbert develops into a quality starter things change.

          1. He is a clone to Reggie Bush coming out.

            When did Bush break the record held by Barry Sanders?

            Fournette is overrated, but Cook would be a great pickup if the team was not able to get McCaffrey.

              1. Bush was faster and had better hands. McCaffrey has like 4.5 speed. Bush had like high 4-3 speed… Bush not only won the heisman but a national title. McCaffrey is really good but Bush was better. Just my opinion though.

              2. I beg to differ. Bush was faster, but McCaffrey is shiftier. He is also a way better receiver than Bush. Also, he may be a better passer than Bush, because he threw a strike to Hogan on a flea flicker.

        2. “The 49ers would get a RB, WR, and PR if they drafted McCaffery.” That is the kind of player that would flourish in Chip’ offense. A good fit for an offense that uses multiple backs.

  28. Here we are, just before the game, wondering how the Niners will do.

    I have listened to the doom and gloomers, Grant included, and have not been convinced. The Niners do have talent. The fact that teams poached 4 cut Niner players is a testament to how deep the talent is on this team.

    I will not shrink back and assume the Niners will lose. If the talent level was of those 2-14 teams, that would be another matter, but I did not express confidence, I just refrained from mentioning the negatives. I will root for this team to win, even with daunting odds against them.

    Why? Because of the coaching. It is refreshing to see crisp efficient game management and competent play. Gabbert could become more accurate, but if he does, the Niners will be competitive every game.

    In 2014, my goal for the Niners was to get a play off in time. This year, I want Gabbert or Kaep to not worry about the score, but just concentrate on scoring 7 times per game.

    I will not be pessimistic, because there is nothing to be pessimistic about. The Niners have fixed the O line, Hyde is Hyde, there are 3 competent QBs who fit into Chip Kelly’s system, Vance caught the ball and the pass rush emerged.

    I will stand tall and declare my fandom of this team, and am happy that Jed is showing some class with his sizable generous and needed donation to promote justice, peace, and respect. Even if they lose, I will still be optimistic, because Kaep is still a Niner, and Chip is the coach.

    Chip deserves praise for getting his players focused, energized and prepared. The reduction in unforced errors was very encouraging. Sounds like they are playing smart. Chip impressed me. He made in game adjustments and the play calling was not dunderingly predictable. In fact, the other team seemed befuddled at times. That was really nice to see.

    So I will root for the Niners to win, not expect them to be bludgeoned. Why? because everyone and their cousin thought the Broncos were going to thrash the Niners, and were in for a rude surprise. Granted, it was not against the first stringers for long, but the Niners did defeat the National Champions. The Broncos did subsequently beat the Panthers, so the Niners have a decent chance, and the Panthers are on a 2 game losing streak.

    Niners win, 24-23. Panthers score more times, but fail to win.

    GO NINERS !!!!!! SIX !!!!!!

    1. Jed parked (not gave) they say $1m to SVCF. It would be great to know who actually gets these donor-advised donations, and when it happens. Don’t let the smooth taste (code for press releases) fool you. Trust but Verify when it comes to Jed (and Trent). They have a history as we know. I hope he lets us know if something Real happens.

    2. Optimism appreciated! I’m optimistic too, but I’m still thinking 5-11.

      1978 49ers 2-12. GM Joe Thomas
      1979 49ers 2-12. GM/HC Bill Walsh

      Same record, a world of difference in execution and team moral.

      I’m excited about this year. Lots of your talent to watch grow.

    3. Twas hours ’til kickoff, when all through Seb’s house
      not a faucet was working, not even his mouse .
      His thoughts were all posted on Grant’s blog with great care,
      in hopes that Prime Time soon would be there.

  29. B2W, 5-11? I think the loss of Devey and Pears is worth a game improvement, and the O line is markedly better. The improved pass rush is worth a game improvement. A healthy Hyde may be worth a game improvement, and Chip himself is worth 2 wins. One for fixing the offense, and one for improving the game management, getting the team together and all pulling in the same direction.

    That translates into a 10-6 team with a chance to get into the playoffs.

    I know, I know, I was this optimistic after the Viking game, and the wheels fell off after that game, but this year, it feels different, and the main difference is Chip replacing Tomsula. Chip is the key.

    1. Seb, I wasn’t kidding when I said I was being optimistic. We are both optimistic about the 49ers this year when it comes to improved play. Only the win/loss numbers differ.

      I’d feel OK about an honest 5-11, with few (if any) blowout losses. The 49ers will be better. Heck, they’re already better than last season. We can see it in the improved execution.

      More reasons for optimism…

      – The 49ers had 8 starters on season ending IR in 2015. Well above league average. With a little health luck the 49ers should be better by leaps and bounds in December compared to December 2015.

      – Experience+Youth blend on defense. Reid, Ward, Bethea, Bowman are smart players. Film study maniacs. Armstead+Buckner are physical freaks. The defense is closer to top level play than many realize.

      – The O line is way improved, but lack depth at center and swing tackle.

      – If you think the pass rush is good, wait till Lynch returns. We could be munching quarterbacks all season.

      I’d feel better about win/loss numbers, but…

      Negative 2 games – We were lucky to win 5 games last year. Should have been 3-13.
      Negative 3 games – Sadistic schedule, criminal game dates/times.

      Which leaves 5 wins.

      To contradict my self (as usual), there are possibilities for a winning season.

      – Last years win-loss record of opponents is an indicator (but not perfect predictor) if how good they will be this season.

      – If the 49ers can go 2-2, we get Lynch back and Dorsey would have shaken the rust off by game five.

      – We missed Hyde last season, but the absence of Bethea (2014 team MVP) was a huge blow. He quietly makes an impact.

      – Better injury luck compared to 2014 (11 starters on IR) and 2015 (8 starters on IR)

      – The more I study our defensive personnel, the more I think there’s a possibility our D will shock people this season. It hinges on the corners. If they can pull it off O’Neil’s aggressive scheme will wreck havoc.

      1. Good post, and good attitude. I agree, they are already better than last year. I, too will look foreward to seeing the young talent play.

  30. Probable score Panthers 31 Niners 14. Short week, travel and talent difference.
    I would like a win, as would we all, except Grant; bad team, more to write about, but if the Panthers scored less than 24 and the Niners scored more than 17 I would say they are a much improved team from last year and would see that as a positive.

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