49ers picking up the pace on offense

This is my Saturday column.

The 49ers have a brand new offense.

The old one was the slowest in the NFL, and not just during plays when they lumbered around the grass. They were slow between plays, too.

They couldn’t even get plays off. The Niners led the league in delay-of-game penalties each of the past two seasons under head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Almost a third of the time, the players would break the huddle and rush to the line of scrimmage with fewer than 14 seconds left on the 40-second play clock. Then they’d rush through shifts and motions just to snap the ball before the ref flagged them for another delay-of-game penalty or Harbaugh called a timeout.

Merely snapping the ball was mission impossible in the old offense.

The new offense under new head coach Jim Tomsula and new offensive coordinator Geep Chryst almost never gets to the line of scrimmage with fewer than 25 seconds on the clock. Sometimes they have 30 seconds – that was clear during OTAs and minicamp.

“It seems there’s an emphasis to get to the line of scrimmage quickly this year,” I said to quarterbacks coach Steve Logan Thursday afternoon.

“Oh, yeah,” Logan said before I finished my sentence. He was sitting at a big round table in the 501 club inside Levi’s Stadium. Each coach sat at his own table and talked to reporters as they made rounds, like media day at the Super Bowl. Logan and I were alone.

“People say, ‘Are you a hurry-up offense?’” he asked rhetorically. “Well, no we’re not. But we are INTENT, and we are on a mission, from the head coach down, to get out of the huddle and get on the line of scrimmage with the time we need. Now, we may get up there and snap it quick. We may get up there and take our time and assess the defense. But it’s important to get up there,” and his next words were punctuated as if lecturing a second-grader — “With. Time. On. The. Clock.”

“What can the coaches do to speed up that process?” I asked.

“Get the call in,” Logan shot back. A no-brainer as far as he was concerned. “Coach Chryst has done a great job this spring. He’s always thinking two plays ahead. The play is over, bang – he’s got another one rolling off his tongue, I’m getting it in to Colin and here we go. And we’re in the huddle, out of the huddle, at the line of scrimmage.”

Harbaugh and Roman never understood the importance of getting the freaking call in, and their deficiency cost them the Super Bowl.

Down five points to the Ravens late in the fourth quarter, third-and-goal from the 5-yard line, the Niners’ offense jogged to the offensive line with only 10 seconds left on the play clock. Harbaugh and Roman had taken at least 20 seconds to agree on the play and radio it into Kaepernick’s helmet.

Once the offense got to the line of scrimmage, Kaepernick sent Delanie Walker in motion, reset the protection scheme and the center snapped the ball. The play was a quarterback draw. Kaepernick sprinted up the middle into the end zone with the football for the Super-Bowl winning touchdown.

Except the play didn’t count. The play clock had expired, and Harbaugh had called timeout.

What a silly way to lose the Super Bowl. Harbaugh and Roman probably would be coaching the Niners right now if they hadn’t made that mistake. Now, they’re history.

Back to the Logan and the present.

“We have been very diligent about how we are going to call each play,” Logan said. “How many words are necessary to call this play? We’re trying to shave as many of those words off and be efficient with our communication in and out of the huddle.”

“How many words are in a typical play this year?”

“Some plays could be three words,” Logan said. “We’ve got some other plays, like any other offense, when you begin to move your personnel around pre-snap, those require words. You get into some of the more complex passing schemes – that could require two to three (extra) words.

“We had a play called today, and when I read the play off I said to myself, ‘We have got to find a way to shave some words off this particular call.’ Because it’s such an emphasis from Coach Tomsula that we get in and out of the huddle, get on the line of scrimmage so the quarterback has time to do the work that is necessary, which is assess the defense.”

Peyton Manning almost always gives himself more than 25 seconds to assess the defense. He doesn’t huddle – he calls his own plays with code words at the line of scrimmage.

If Manning needs more than 25 seconds, how was Kaepernick supposed to assess the defense in fewer than 14? He didn’t have a chance.

Now he does. Hooray for common sense.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

This article has 286 Comments

  1. 49ers would have scored the go ahead touchdown in the Super Bowl loss if Harbaugh had not been forced to call a time out with 1 or 2 seconds on the play clock. I believe the play was a QB counter to the left. #7 needs all the help he can get figuring things out.

    1. How did you turn Grant’s article into a slam Kaepernick opportunity? Grant’s point was that Harbaugh/Roman constantly put their quarterbacks under time pressure.

      1. Slam Kaepernick? Did I not say he would have scored the go ahead touchdown in the Super Bowl? Oh you must be taking offense to the fact he needs more help figuring things out. Not a slam just a fact.

        1. That’s right, but I suppose my objection depends on what you mean by “help figuring things out.” In one sense it’s normal for most good quarterback, in another sense it’s John Brodie being blamed for all 49er failures when he was the starting quarterback. Just a fact, but which fact.

          1. He should not be blamed for everything that goes wrong. Just the things he personally screws up. And no doubt there is a growing list.

            Fact is he just spent a couple of months seeking the help of others outside the organization trying to figure things out.

            1. OK. I’m fine with that “fact” only I’m not sure his football list of things he needs help with is getting longer. It might be if he is around better teachers.

              1. The list is made up of the plays/situations he has screwed up. Fair or unfair the fact is he will continue to take the blame until…..

        2. Classic heel: Very appropriate moniker by the way. Why would you repeat what was stated in the article but leave out the details of the coaching staff being responsible for those delay of penalty calls. Don’t try to weasel out of the fact that your post was structured as a slam. And no you did not say Kaep would have scored the winning TD. You said the 49ers would have. You also by your wording implied that Harbaugh had to bail out Kaep by calling the time out rather than his own delay in relaying the play on time. Why would you have to repeat the article only making those specific adjustments if not to spin the intent? I have personally watched many games where the players are still adjusting on the line when time runs out. The problem was on the coaching staff.

          1. I said the 49ers would have scored the GO AHEAD TD on a QB counter to the left. Who else would I have been talking about other than Kap? If the coaches got the QB run play called sooner the 49ers would have had the lead with minimal time left on the clock. Could the Ravens have scored? I do not know.

      2. Yeah how amazing some people will say anything to discredit Kap because of their dislike of the QB,but let Harbaugh and Roman get a free pass,just amazing.

        1. Not being intercepted isn’t the same thing as trying to count “interceptable passes.” I agree with the author that the lack of criteria makes it “too flawed for my taste.”

          You may remember that Montana threw a very interceptable pass into the Bengal’s end zone one play before he threw his first touchdown pass late in the 1989 Superbowl. The pass bounced off the defensive back’s hands. IF Montana had been intercepted, his come from behind drive with three minutes an ten seconds left might not have ever happened.

          Some of Kaepernick’s passes that would be counted as “interceptable” aren’t because they are to hot for most defenders to handle. Montana’s pass was “hot enough” that the surprised defender didn’t really have more than a “might have caught it” chance.

        1. I’m happy to explain what GM is saying to you Classic Heel.

          He’s telling you that the Superbowl play was late getting to the quarterback because the coaches took too long and their called play took too much time to relay in the huddle. He is also telling you that there wasn’t enough time to get to the line of scrimmage, call the motion, and snap the ball before Harbaugh called time out.

          Also, GM is probably wondering why you didn’t understand that Grant’s article is pointing out how the new staff is working very hard to eliminate that problem from the 2015 play calling. In the 2013 off season, Harbaugh and his staff worked to improve the same problem. There fixes weren’t as effective as they should have been. I thought there was some improvement, just not enough.

          1. hewaits: I would add that it took much too long for the coaching staff to come clean and accept responsibility for those delay of game penalties. Until they did so Kaep was held over the fire not only by certain fans but also some announcers and sports writers. That fact made me question a lot of other negative aspects of his game which he was being automatically blamed for. It just seemed like he became the favorite convenient scapegoat for most of the Niners offensive issue.

            1. You’re only stating part of the truth Willtalk. The media and fans also stated that the offense should have used Gore on that final red zone series and also called into question the refs holding off blowing the whistle on the final play. Kaep did deserve the blame along with the rest of the offense for the Super Bowl defeat, and to say that the media only focused on him is inaccurate.

              It just seemed like he became the favorite convenient scapegoat for most of the Niners offensive issue.

              No, a good majority are blaming Harbaugh and Roman for keeping Kaep from reaching his potential, which is a ludicrous statement.

              1. MidWestDynasty – I’m confused. You do realize that no QB in the NFL is going to ask for the ball to be hiked when he knows the play will be for a complete loss in the final play(s) of the SB right? You have to provide him with time to read a defense. It’s comical to say “the offense” should have used Gore…. LOL… as if “the offense” doesn’t include the .. well.. OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR.

    2. For the Run Kap Run Crowd:

      49er fans does it upset you watching Brees light it up?

      Knowing that the almighty Bill Walsh told the niners to draft Drew Brees and they said thanks but no thanks. It upsets me. He also told them to draft Chad Pennington also. Imagine where we would be if we had listened to him at least one of the times.

      Update: COFFEE: They had no choice. They had too much money locked up in rivers to keep Brees. Norv Turner is the reason you guys suck. Turner should still be the niners OFF Coord. You guys should have never fired Marty.

      Update 2: TK: It’s not that I’m bitter about past mistakes it’s more of the total lack of respect for the greatest football mind ever.

      Follow

      3 answers

      Walsh also sent all Nfl teams a letter to draft Jeff Garcia…No one listened…Walsh loved QB mobility, but to be used wisely…For the younger crowd, when Walsh was hired as an immergency GM (2000) I believe, the Niners needed A QB…There was not one in the upcoming draft fitting the Niners system, so he went to Canada and signed a semi-Pro player–Jeff Garcia. Not bad…And Garcia Lit it Up!!! from the moment he stepped on the field…We spoiled 49er fans did have to wait for someone pushing 30 years old and hope for some fundamentals that may or may not be developed.!!!

    1. I don’t subscriibe, so I couldn’t read the article. Is he talking about a drop off from an 8 and 8 season? Or is he talking about a big drop off from Harbaugh’s first three seasons.

      I wouldn’t buy any analysis that left out the possibility that the team could end up at 8 and 8 or one or two games worse or better. Those would all be a drop off from the first three years under Harbaugh.

        1. I don’t think 8 and 8 with a + or – two range is a tail spin either. It all depends on the circumstances. Just look at Smith’s first year in Kansas City. Smith had a weak schedule the first 8 or 9 games where JimT and Baalke have what looks to be a killer schedule. It may not be, but then it most likely will be very tough.

        1. The article basically said that the sky isn’t necessarily falling. He compared us to the 2012 Ravens who lost a ton of players on D after winning the SB but were statistically better the following season. He also pointed out that our rushing attack, even with the loss of Gore, will likely be better. He pointed out that the offense is being tailored to fit the strengths of the players (Kap in particular). Finally, he said that after averaging 11+ wins for 3 years, our drop off already happened last season. He said basically the players we have lost this season were either on decline or had waiting replacements already on the roster.

          It was one of the only legitimately thought-through articles I have read all off season. Too bad it was on Insider, because more people should read it.

          1. “He said basically the players we have lost this season were either on decline or had waiting replacements already on the roster.”

            There’s been a few folks around here saying basically the same thing. ; )

          2. This hasn’t stopped Paul Gutierrez before from referencing the negative for-pay articles in his free rehashes. I noticed there’s no comment from him about this one.

    2. Not much to see there….. States that o/u set at 7.5 and loss of Smith and Willis didn’t factor in much…. Alluded to the personnel change Baltimore experienced and then discovered success…. Indicated mood was good amongst the players- pretty shallow for Sando

      1. One wonders about the OL with four out of five positions in some kind of flux. I think it’s too early to tell that the running will be better than the games where Davis played. I sure hope it’s better than when Davis didn’t play.

  2. Grant, I’m like a YoYo. First I’m up then I’m down. Today it’s thumbs up.

    One commonality that I’ve noticed in football is that many times a coach, who’s team has been having a bad time, will announce that they have simplified what they are doing, and it led to much better results. I don’t ever recall coaches announcing that we made our plan more complex and now we’re on a roll.

    Rice had trouble catching the ball during his first nine games because he was thinking about which options to take depending on what the defense was doing. Walsh overcame his complexity by repetitive practice and by continuing to play Rice during those first nine games. Until Walsh retired, he continually nagged at Montana any time he failed to get the ball to receivers on the numbers and one foot out front — practice or game.

  3. There were several spots during the Super Bowl that helped cost the 49ers a sixth Lombardi well before that mistake by Harbaugh. Basing your argument on just that mistake is a weak take.
    I also don’t think it would’ve mattered whether Harbaugh won the Super Bowl or not because the relationship would still have been toxic.

    1. I agree. No close game is lost by one play because there are almost always many other turning point throughout a game that can make a difference. On a superficial level, the Superbowl was lost before the blackout.

    2. Even so, Mid, the article speaks to a chronic problem with the offense during JH’s run; one that HAD to be addressed. Grant sometimes reaches for the big example, but really he cites one of the missed opportunities to win that game. Its not one play that wins or loses usually, but the string of missed opportunities and of course turn-overs. The pressure and the failures in the red zone of the SB and the next NFCCG were exacerbated by poor management of both the play clock and game clock.
      One comment above makes a snarky mention at part of what probably was in Harbaugh’s philosophy; that quick plays lead to quick punts and more minutes on the field for the D. Perhaps JH feels it was a way to keep the opposing D on the field more; but it requires sustaining drives to be effective. That’s all I’ve got as a guess as to why the problem persisted. Harbaugh’s dedication to his style is not unlike Chip Kelly’s belief in himself, his strategy and tactics.
      I’ll be interested to see if Buffalo’s offense is as plodding under Roman (w/o JH) as SF was.
      Notably, the next coaching regime moved immediately to correct something that has been vexing most Niner fans for a while. Count me in the group of vexed. It seems likes the answers Grant got were basically saying: “Well Duh, yeah we’re working on that.” To me it’s a Captain Obvious moment, which is not a shot at Grant or the coaches.

      1. I agree that it was clear that Harbaugh wanted the offense to burn time as much as possible. He won a lot of games that way, but it bit him too. There were also times when he seemed frustrated with how long it was taking to get to the line of scrimmage.

        1. I kinda thought that JH reviewing/editing the play calls from the booth was just a step that slowed the whole process down. Instead of just instantly repeating what he heard, even a tiny pause to consider before going on the helmet comm adds up.
          I also thought that Roman game planning runs and Morton passes independently, both with input from Harbaugh, seemed like too many cooks spoiling the broth. Then in game GRo was calling pass plays he hadn’t designed, and supposedly in a cogent rhythm to surprise the D and keep them on their heels….it seemed so…..inorganic.

  4. Really appreciate your work on the OTA’s Grant.

    Quick question, do you happen to have data showing how often Kaepernick was rolled out last year compared to the two previous seasons?

    1. Do you also have any data on Kaepernicks efficiency in hurry up situations opposed to Harbaughs get to the line with 10 seconds left on the play clock?

      1. If it was baseball they would probably keep data to support that kind of analysis. A team might hire an intern to analyze a season of coaching film to get that answer. Maybe that’s what JimT did, but “common sense” makes such a strong argument why not analyze other aspects of the available data.

  5. Just reiterates how the change at the top, Tomsula/Chryst, can lead to basic and fundamental improvements….. I am taking the over on the 7.5

        1. I just believe that with offense shifting to be being built to suit Kaep’s strengths by opening things up and with the addition of speed on the outside and the novel idea of actually installing swing passes/check downs/screens that the offense will be much improved and the front 7 should be pretty solid on D…… the back end is good, and I think we have enough depth at corner for guys to play pretty solid………. I, personally, like our chances.

          I am pulling for Tartt and Reaser to make an impact.

  6. There’s a good chance that the offense will be a whole lot more intelligent this year. Harbaugh and Roman were pathetic, in my opinion. Whether the 49ers will have good enough players to compete remains to be seen.

          1. The last time I was that drunk was in Bangkok late in 1969. Even though I was writing software at the time, the Internet, WWW, and blogs weren’t even of fantasy of mine. We were still punching cards.

              1. W didn’t visit Bangkok, we lived there. That may not be relevant, but I’m not sure what your Orient Express reference means. We have visited Japan and Hong Kong.

    1. Agreed, Brodie. I watched about five or so soon after Logan was hired. I learned a lot. Haven’t had time lately, but hope to get back to it soon.

  7. Grant,

    I know the detail doesn’t change the point of your article, but the play was a QB sweep to the left, not a QB draw.

    I believe in a recent article you said that CK might be the best of all time throwing on the run. I like positive articles about the 49ers as much as the next guy, but the best of all time? Come on, Grant.

    1. I would give a caveat that Kaepernick could be the best on the run right handed quarterback when throwing to his left….

      1. Razor: Yes! Kaeps arm strength allows him to make throws on the run that a QB with lesser strength just doesn’t have the ability to make. Heck he even makes some throws on the run that some QB’s couldn’t even make with their feet planted. Montana’s arm wasn’t that strong. He would make good throws on the run, but he would never even attempt some of the throws that Kaep has completed.

        1. Yea, kinda messed up the last part of my sentence. Should have been from the left side. Suffice it to say, he’s probably the best at throwing across his body while on the run….

          1. Razor…

            That’s a little more like it….but you did get agreementfrom both statements….Happy Saturday

  8. Finally !!! A sports writer the gets it. Harbaugh is no longer the 49ers head coach because he had 4 years to fix this issue and I don’t think he even understood the problem. Kap isn’t the best touch passer but give him a few seconds to read the D and he may improve his reads and pick better targets, targets that fit his strengths.

    1. The fact is Harbaugh is no longer the head coach because he made an terrible mistake in 2012.
      .
      .

      Just kidding guys. But seriously Harbaugh had many years to improve other things as well. Improving His relationship with management and ownership could have helped just a bit. Another is the further development of Kap. Harbaugh should have better helped him with his throwing motion, footwork and reading D pre/post snap instead of saying everything was great with a capital G. That was completely unfair to Kap.

  9. This sounds great IF Colin’s struggles stemmed from a lack of pre-snap read time. If they don’t then how much is going to change other then the lack of penalties?

    1. Does Colin not set his feet in the pocket because he didn’t get a pre-snap read? Does he miss deep receivers because of it or throw the ball at their feet from lack of time before snapping the ball?

      Maybe, just maybe it means he’ll feel he has enough time to read the defense so he doesn’t have to pick which receiver he’s going to throw the ball to while still in the huddle.

  10. All it takes is one lineman missing a stunt and a series can end. Do it too often and the QB is ineffective or injured. John Madden knows.

  11. Is it possible Colin’s lack of time at the line to read the defense has impeded the development of his skill to do so? I never thought of that before but it seems reasonable to me.

    1. It’s all possible and reasonable George. Please don’t take my jabs at Colin too seriously. I mostly do it for fun, when the season starts I’ll give im a full wipe. Fresh start. But until that point I got to get my last few jabs in just in.

      1. No worries, CFC. Colin did some strange things on the field last year. Part of it was the line. Part may have been the apparent complexity of the system. Part of it him. But the part that was him may have been his frustration with one and two and his overcompensating for them.

        Hopefully the new offense and the new set of weapons he has will result in longer lasting drives and more points.

  12. For those interested in the Sando article, while I can’t post it verbatim due to Copyright conflicts, I will summarize each point and post actual quotes from the article in Italics..

    He starts out by quoting a GM and Personnel Director from other teams as saying they’ve never seen anything like the mass exodus the Niners have endured. Sando then lists 5 reasons why a big drop off shouldn’t await the Niners in 2015.

    1) The Drop off has already happened

    He references a metric to in this quote:

    Using my favorite metrics of expected points added (explained here), the 49ers’ 2014 offense ranked 158th out of 288 offenses since 2006 (the 45th percentile). Their defense ranked 167th out of 288 defenses over the same period (42nd percentile).

    He then points out oddsmakers haven’t projected much of change in win total from 2014 by setting the line at 7.5. He finishes by pointing out Willis and Davis not playing much of a role last year and an upgrade from Crabtree to Smith at WR. He’s essentially saying they shouldn’t fall below their win total of a year ago which was 8.

    2) There is precedent for overcoming big defensive losses

    This is where he references Baltimore after their SB win 2012. They suffered many losses to their defense but actually improved statistically with the changes. He also mentions it is reasonable to expect more from the young players and Aldon Smith, who only played limited roles last year.

    He finishes this point with the following quote:

    We cannot know whether the 49ers’ young replacements will play well enough for the defense to improve upon its No. 14 ranking in defensive EPA. We do know the Ravens overcame similar challenges not long ago, and there’s a lot of young talent on that side of the ball for the Niners.

    3) Kaepernick could be in a better situation

    He mentions Kap’s drop in fundamentals last season.and how he tried to improve on that this offseason. He thinks Kap may have forgotten what made him a rising star after getting the big contract. Harbaugh also may have enabled him with his unwavering support. He points out how much Kap struggled when the Niners fell behind:

    Indeed, Kaepernick ranked 14th out of 16 qualifying quarterbacks in Total QBR (42.8) when trailing by more than one score. Only rookies Derek Carr and Blake Bortles ranked lower in those situations.

    He doesn’t say how Kap will improve other than the offseason work he did, but getting out of the huddle quicker and having more time at the LOS will be a big help imo.

    4) There’s a good plan in place at running back

    He mentions how another personnel director believes Gore is the player they will miss most as he was the heart and engine of the team, but Sando then points out the obvious negative regarding Gore, which is age. He has defied the RB aging pattern so far but it has to catch up to him sooner or later. He then goes on to point out the talented stable of RB’s the Niners have and the fact Hyde especially, is well respected around the league by personnel evaluators.

    5) Organizational dysfunction should not be an issue

    An obvious problem last year were the weekly rumors of unrest in the locker room and Harbaugh’s future as HC. Sando points out that will not be a factor this year:

    “Last year was such a dysfunctional year for the whole organization,” an opposing coordinator said. “But Kaepernick has taken them to the Super Bowl. Eric Mangini has done a good job with defenses in the past. Hyde is a good back. They have a chance to still be really hard to beat.”

    Sando then wrote about the upbeat atmosphere he saw at OTA’s and finished with this:

    I came away from my visit to San Francisco thinking the mood was a little lighter without the hard-charging Harbaugh in full theater mode. But as an executive from another team put it, “Don’t mistake everyone being happy in a new atmosphere for success.”

    So there you go. Feel free to interpret it as you like, but he’s essentially making a case that they shouldn’t fall into the realms of a bottom feeder. Not exactly a great endorsement, but at least he feels they are capable of being as good as they were a year ago.

    1. Sandos’ bullet points are exactly what have had me optimistic about this team prior to the draft. He was ESPN’s best team reporter, and I was quite disappointed when he was reassigned. I’d like to add my appreciation as well Rocket for briefing all us cheap skates….

    2. Thanks for that rocket.

      Just on point five, I think Sando’s comment about the lighter atmosphere is actually an important one. He makes a good point that a more upbeat atmosphere won’t necessarily translate to more wins, but this goes back to the point I’ve made a few times that I think Harbaugh’s attitude to practices and as Vernon put it in the past, “knowing how to make it suck”, was beginning to take its toll on some players.

      So long as Tomsula doesn’t take it too far the other way and make it all about keeping everyone happy to the point of not putting the hard work in (and so far it doesn’t sound like that is the case from what I have read about the off-season work), I think the lighter atmosphere will be a benefit to this team.

      I’m staying away from predictions on what the 49ers record might be this year. Its simply too hard to guess at this point. But I do think there are some good reasons for optimism about the team being quite competitive this upcoming season (though I acknowledge there are equally a number of good reasons for pessimism).

  13. Just playing a mindgame, I looked at our record last year and added 10 points to our score for each game. That resulted in a record of 12-2-1.

    However, to do this we had to have scored 436 points, making us the 8th highest scoring offense in the league, between Pittsburgh and Baltimore:
    http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?seasonType=REG&offensiveStatisticCategory=SCORING&d-447263-n=1&d-447263-o=2&d-447263-p=1&d-447263-s=TOTAL_POINTS_GAME_AVG&tabSeq=2&season=2014&role=TM&Submit=Go&archive=false&conference=null&defensiveStatisticCategory=null&qualified=false

    We were the 25th highest scoring offense. Seattle btw was 10th. Arizona was 24th.

    1. That’s not too unrealistic George. In Harbaugh’s first 3 years the Niners finished 11th in points scored. That’s why putting too much emphasis on last year’s offensive struggles without allowing for the underlying causes is a mistake. For all the negative things being said about Harbaugh and Roman’s offense around here, the fact is they were consistent and put a lot of points on the board before last year’s collapse.

      1. Bowman gone, Brock hurt, Ian Williams gone, PWilly on a bad wheel, Cowboy playing through pain. Vic Fangio actually did a pretty decent job with that group when all things are considered. I don’t think Baalke pushed Vic away, I think Vic didn’t want to be subordinate to someone he’d outranked previously.

        1. Might as well include Dorsey on that casualty report. Vic Fangio was the Captain that prevented the defensive ship from sinking into uncharted waters. With the return of key veterans along with the young lieutenants, I believe it will be full steam ahead back to 5th re points allowed in 2015….

        2. Agree. I remember prior to the beginning of the season, everyone include me was very worried about the secondary. They actually did a very good job with Bethea having an outstanding year. Maybe it was more Donatell thanFangio, but Fangio was still the DC.

        3. I am going to go out on the shortest and the thickest of limbs and suggest that Fangio is the biggest hit this team has taken going into this year. He knew how to patch holes and cover weaknesses in a defense. We will see the impact this year. Maybe we won’t see it until injuries take there toll, but we will see it.

          1. I really liked Vic’s work and influence here. I appreciate his service. I have not, however, been one of those who think nobody else can do the job and do it well.

            1. The only game I had a real problem with last year was against Denver. It seemed like the defense laid down. I was particularly irritated when Aaron Lynch congratulated Peyton during the game for achieving whatever milestone it was (I can’t remember now). I think that kind of congratulation should be saved for after the game but I do believe that one should offer it. Probably just a personal pet peeve and I suppose others see it differently.

              Also, Vic could be stubborn at times. The example that stands out to me from last year was the Chicago game when he left Ward on Marshall with no help. It resulted in three touchdowns that I remember. On the whole, though, he was a very good DC for the 49ers. I’m really interested in seeing what Mangini will bring.

            2. Sure hope your right and I am wrong. But it is hard for me to go there as this staff shake up looks to me as having been done for all the wrong reasons. And that type of motivation can only result in disappointment.

              To find out that one of the big disagreements between Baalke and Harbaugh (that led to the shakeup) was that Harbaugh truly did want a West Coast type of offense or at least more of a high percentage passing offense and Baalke / York on the other hand wanted more of a ground first offense, to me, speaks volumes. And I don’t like what those volumes have to say.

    1. George,

      Are you forgetting about injuries? It’s amazing they stayed in the top ten with all the changes they had to endure last season.

  14. George I am with you, 10th isn’t good enough for whatever the reasons. The reasons explain the position, but your right 10th is not good enough.

    1. Thanks for your support, but I’ve already gotten out of my fox hole and have my hands up. I think the guys were taking offense to me suggesting it might have been Fangio’s fault. They were right. He did it with one hand tied behind his back.

      1. All good Geo. Sorry I kicked off the mugging. ; >)
        But check it out, that was a relatively civil beat down. Nothing about your IQ or your parents or your political persuasion or the dreaded lack of football intelligence.
        Just some counter arguements. Contrast that with some threads we’ve had on here in the past.
        Miss Manners would be (relatively) proud
        of the commenters lately. But Prime Time of Canada reminds us that things get more tense under live fire of the season.

        1. There was really only 2 clowns on here who made it tense. They are gone now and it’s way better in here!

    1. Aldon is probably one of the most critical players for the 49ers this year. If he fires it will go a long way to making the 49ers D one of the top units in the NFL.

      1. Scooter, I’m a huge fan of Aldon Smith’s play on the field, what Niner fan isn’t? But I’m a little nervous about the often theorized notion that much of Aldon’s success was directly correlated to the play of a healthy Justin Smith. Since we have so little real game tape available, when Aldon’s been on the field and Justin hasn’t, to judge the validity of this theory on, this notion continues to kind of place an asterisk next to Aldon’s wildly successful run between 2011-2013. What are your thoughts on this theory? I think there’s little doubt Aldon benefited from the fact Justin usually occupied two o linemen, but I also think it’s ridiculous to suggest that any other above average NFL OLB or DE would have put up 43 sacks in 3 seasons just because he played alongside Justin Smith. On the other hand the few games we have seen where Aldon played without Justin or beside a one-armed Justin, Aldon’s play has been pretty run of the mill, so the asterisk remains…

        1. I think any OLB is at least partially reliant on the play of the DE he’s outside of. In a 3-4 designed to have the DE tie up blockers it is all about trying to get the OLB 1-on-1s or even get them a free path to the QB. So yes, I believe Aldon’s play was partially a product of the play of Justin Smith. I think there is reason for concern as to whether he can be as dominant as he was his first 3 seasons without Justin Smith next to him.

          However:
          – Justin Smith isn’t the only DE able to help his OLB. Other teams have found a way without Justin Smith, and the 49ers have to hope the guys they use to replace him can also do their job, and help free up Aldon a bit.
          – In the limited times we saw Aldon playing without a healthy Justin beside him, Aldon was either banged up himself (end of 2013), or coming off a lengthy suspension and out of football shape (end of 2014). I think its fair to say Aldon is a very good player in his own right (as you say, a lesser player would have been unlikely to put up the stats he did his first 3 years playing next to Justin), and a fully healthy and fit Aldon can probably get away with a solid player next to him and still be quite productive.
          – Having a consistent and dangerous pass rush coming from the other side will also help make life easier for Aldon. Both Brooks and Lynch are capable pass rushers.

          1. The only caveat I would add to your perfectly correct reply Scooter is that Justin was special. The opposing lineman always were aware of his presence and that in itself had an impact. If the lineman knows he has to deal with Justin Smith and Aldon Smith it creates both a skill/physical problem as well as a psychological one of which one do I worry about more. Will opposing offensive lineman feel that dread when it’s Carradine/Smith or Dorsey/Smith coming at them? Probably not as much.

            1. Absolutely right CfC, I find it hard to imagine the 49ers will find a combo as good as 2012 to mid-2013 Justin/Aldon again any time soon, and opposing OL will no doubt be relieved.

              Its worth keeping in mind though that teams have been putting their OT and often a RB on Aldon for some time now. One thing Justin was excellent at (among many) was forcing engagement with both the OT and OG, and that will be missed if they can’t replace it.

  15. This article adresses what could be one of the few area’s of improvement this year. With the myriad of formations and sets Roman could not help but be slow. The flow of information was slowed as it went through essentially a second offensive coordinator, Harbaugh. Then it had to get communicated out to a QB who had his own issues.
    The new offense will be simpler and I think it is safe to say that Tomsula will not be a second coordinator. Simpler will make it easier for Kapernick. Calls may not be smarter but they will be faster.

  16. The retirement of Anthony Davis threw things for a loop, but this is still my response to the national perception that the 49ers will have a huge drop-off from last year’s 8-8.

    – The massive roster and coaching turnover already happened before last season.

    Core players like Justin Smith, Frank Gore, Mike Iupati and Ray McDonald played well, but no where near the 2011 versions of themselves. Michael Crabtree was kaput.

    Aldon Smith, Vernon Davis and Ahmad Brooks were shadows of their normal selves either.

    The front office/coaching synergy was lost before the 2014 season. Moral was in the crapper.

    – Injuries. The 49ers had a whopping 12 starters on IR. They had 7 different O-line configurations.

    – And those other free agent losses? Baalke didn’t struggle to retain Cox, Culliver, Skuta for a reason. He liked the existing CB and OLBs.

    And they still went 8-8 in the hardest division on football. The depth on the 2014 49ers was outstanding.

    – Anthony Davis’ retirement harshed my 11-5 mellow. But he may have done the 49ers a favor. Had he hung on, he’d be pulling down major cap bucks while riding the pine every other game. Grant nailed it a month ago when he questioned AD’s durability.

    The loss of Willis and Borland will hurt. No question. But the 49ers will field a very talented roster. Not ass talented as the team that started week one in 2014, but at least as talented as the team that played later in the 2014 season.

    1. Gains?

      Its reasonable to expect that 2015 versions of Aldon Smith, Vernon Davis and Ahmad Brooks to be far better then the 2014 versions of those players.

      Ian Williams is back. Dorsey too. That’s huge.

      Torry Smith, Darnell Docket, Reggie Bush

      The 2015 red shirt squad

      The 2015 draft class

      Remember Jimmy Ward?

    2. If the 49ers get an average balance of good and bad from the uncontrollable factors that effect all teams they should be 8 and 8. More good than bad and they could get one or two more wins. More bad than good and they could drop to six wins. Extremes in either direction and they could get 12 wins or go right to the bottom.

      In hockey you never know exactly where the puck might wind up. In baseball that round bat can send the ball into glove after glove no matter how hard the ball is hit. In football, you have no way of knowing how many ACLs will visit in one season.

      1. The injury variable is huge. That’s why I take predictions with a truckload of salt.

        As far as the 49ers go, its all about location, location, location. Injuries at ILB, OT, QB will devastate. This is a high risk season. The 49ers need injury luck at those positions.

    3. Brodie, I forgot about “harshing my mellow”. Lol, I haven’t heard that phrase for quite awhile. It made me laugh, thanks.

    4. Nice. There is only one point I would debate with you: “Not as talented as the team that started week one in 2014, but at least as talented as the team that played later in the 2014 season.”

      I think the offense will be better.
      1. With a new throwing motion, the addition of faster WRs, another year of studying defenses, and a new offensive scheme, Kaep will be better.
      2. With the addition of TSmith and Simpson, the WRs will be better.
      3. Without denigrating Gore’s productivity, with the addition of Bush and Davis, the return of Hunter, and the conversion to a ZBS, overall the RBs will be better (and deeper).
      4. The only question in my mind is the oline, which is an important question. But with the addition of Thomas, assuming he plays LT, I “think” the left side will be better. The loss of Davis might hurt the right side, but I “think” they’ll solve that problem in TC.

        1. Davis started every game from 2010 through 2013. Then he was enjured three times in 2014. What will you be able to learn about Davis in the first game of 2015 that you don’t know now?

          1. Last year the 49ers ran much better in games Davis played.
            or
            Last year the 49ers ran much better in games Jonathan Martin didn’t play.

            My question was basically how much better than J. Martin will the next RT be?

            I’ve been an Anthony Davis fan from the start. I loved how quick his initial pass pro step was. (so quick, he got unfair false start penalties because Chilo Rachal was so slow out of his stance). I like his nasty streak too. I hope he comes back.

            Its clear we will miss AD. But by how much? How big will the drop off be?

            1. I’m anticipating a pretty significant drop off from the right side of the OL this season Scooter. Pears is closer to Snyder than he is Davis: versatile but not good at any position.

              1. Heh, we’ve disagreed so often of late that you just assume I must have written this :-P

            2. My reply was scrambled at the end, but your question is one that everyone should have.

              I think it will take longer than one game to know if the 49ers will have a better line than the one Martin played in. That’s a low bar. It will take even more games to know it the OL is better than any line Davis played in.

    1. Yawn…. OK, let’s see what he’s got. On paper I don’t find that much to like about Pears, a journeyman who the Bills didn’t try too hard to keep, or this guy, a bubble player released by the Jets (the Jets!) before TC.
      I hope I’m wrong, but I get no warm fuzzy feelings with this signing.

      1. I hope Hooey’s just a training camp body. If the 49ers really need him the LT spot is worse then I thought.

        Or not. It’s June after all. Overreaction season. A time to speculate on what’s going on with one of the most secretive organizations in sports.

        And speculation naturally leads to contradiction. I’m as guilty as anyone. What to do when its June and you happen to be a 49er addict?

        1. LT > RT?

          What to do in June? I’m heading out in the morning to spend a week with The Bard of Avon in Ashland. Go Ducks! … not.

            1. He also knew how to slant his histories to keep the Royal Family happy and his head (which ever one that was) on his sholders.

          1. Ashland seems to be moving toward more musicals. If you’ve seen the TV series from Canada “Slings and Arrows” then you know what’s happening in Ashland. We’ll be seeing two productions in the outdoor Elizabethan theater and neither one is by The Bard.

    1. Good article Grant. Did Reaser play exclusively in the slot or did he play on the outside as well during OTAs?

      1. Let’s start with the fact that Baalke in on the field giving players some pointers as something to be worried about.

          1. If what Grant wrote in his article is accurate then yes. I highly doubt Baalke was negotiating contracts in the middle of the field.

        1. I’d be curious to know exactly what he was telling the players. If he is trying to coach them then yeah, I’d be worried. If he’s just engaging with the players and pointing some stuff out as Grant’s article suggests I think its another non-issue. In some respects I’d say its a positive to have that kind of interaction going on between the GM and players as its another step to creating harmony across the organisation.

          1. What exactly could he point out that the coaching staff couldn’t? I’d understand if Baalke had an extensive playing or coaching history, but he doesn’t.

            1. Until I hear what exactly he’s been saying I’m going to hold off judgement that all of a sudden he’s decided to try and coach the team too. If all he’s doing is shouting out encouragement, reminders or letting people know where to go, does it really matter? Good on him I say, after Harbaugh’s us versus them approach to upper management I think its a good thing to have a GM the players feel is part of the group.

              If he’s out there trying to teach these guys the “proper” technique they should be using then sure, I’m worried.

              1. “reminders or letting people know where to go”

                You’re guessing but if that’s what he’s doing it’s got the feel of his smack down of JimT in the first press conference.

                “… what he’s trying to say is that we are going to run the ball …” or close to that.

              2. I don’t mind if he’s just encouraging them, but if he’s doing more than that, then he needs to stop and let the coaching staff do what it’s paid to do. As hwaits said, it just feels similar to the press conference with Baalke interjecting unnecessarily as if to show whose is in control.

              3. I think you’re both being overly negative and looking to jump to a conclusion that supports a theory of Baalke being power hungry. I haven’t heard any beat writer/ journalist make mention of how Baalke has been taking over the training sessions. Grant’s piece is the first time we’ve even heard he’s done anything at them. The fact that he isn’t standing around silently does not mean he’s trying to undermine the coaching staff. Until I hear that he is doing anything remotely of the ilk I’m not going to start feeding the conspiracy theory.

                As I’ve said, personally I think so long as he isn’t looking to take over the coaching of the players I have absolutely no problem with him making comments to the players during practice, and I think it is actually a good thing in terms of building bridges between the entire organisation, making everyone feel approachable.

              4. I agree Scooter. No need to make negative assumptions when on the surface it appears to be a positive for the reasons you touched on….

              5. I think you’re both being overly negative and looking to jump to a conclusion that supports a theory of Baalke being power hungry.

                Sorry Scooter, but both York and Baalke showed they were power hungry with how they fired Harbaugh and went about the ‘coaching search’. The following press conference was mere icing on the cake. So forgive me and hwaits if we feel like this could be another example of Baalke wanting control. But, as both of us have said, we’re more than okay if it is just Baalke encouraging the players.

                The fact that he isn’t standing around silently does not mean he’s trying to undermine the coaching staff.

                Neither hwaits nor I said anything in regards to that. I can’t speak for hwaits, but I myself don’t see Baalke undermining a head coach that he wanted. That’s be just plain idiotic.

                As I’ve said, personally I think so long as he isn’t looking to take over the coaching of the players I have absolutely no problem with him making comments to the players during practice, and I think it is actually a good thing in terms of building bridges between the entire organisation, making everyone feel approachable.

                If that is all that Baalke is doing, then I have no problem with it either. But telling the players more than that is the job of the coaching staff and not the GM. And before you make a claim that this is about Baalke, I’ll take the opportunity to explain that I have always believed that a GM has no business telling players what to do unless they are the coach, they have extensive past playing experience, or they have a past coaching history. That doesn’t mean those kind are the greatest option at GM; it’s just how I feel.

              6. It can also be a negative at times Razor because it can bring about the uncomfortable question of who’s really in charge if the team struggles.

              7. If we’re all wrong about Tomsula and he’s as bad as a lot feared when he was first hired then it really doesn’t matter what Baalke does on the practice field or in the front office for that matter but I certainly wouldn’t be worried about him giving pointers.

              8. Too much speculative worrying on this subject, IMO. Trent is in the business of evaluating talent, usually on tape. How strange is it he’d be on the practice field applying the old eyeball test? At this phase of the season there is a lot of work on fundamentals; reminders on technique doesn’t seem that intrusive to me.
                We all have been wringing our hands and worrying about the unexpected departures of Willis, Borland, and Davis. I bet Trent has the same concerns as the team transitions to the new coaching staff. I would in his place, and I’d be curious as to how these guys are looking.

              9. While I have been in the pessimistic camp this offseason, I have to agree with the “this is no big deal” side of the ledger. Baalke hanging out and offering encouragement and tips during an OTA doesn’t bother me. If we find out he’s calling down from the suite and offering play call suggestions during games, then we’ll have something to worry about.

              10. “It can also be a negative at times Razor because it can bring about the uncomfortable question of who’s really in charge if the team struggles.”

                Only if you assume he is looking to take over or impart himself in the coaching of the players (and btw, if you assume he is doing that, then you are assuming he is undermining the coaching staff like I said).

                You make comments that you are ok with it so long as it is just encouragement Mid, but everything you have written about this shows you already have leapt to a different conclusion based on what can only be described as very little.

                If he is doing as you suspect, then I’m very surprised we haven’t heard about how vocal and involved Baalke has been from the other beat writers as well.

  17. The Patriot’s Super Bowl rings looks like Capn America’s shield. Not sure they’re big enough.

  18. I have two observations on the Super Bowl play.

    1. Harbaugh panicked and called an unnecessary timeout. Kap actually got the ball snapped on time and would have scored if Harbaugh did not come racing along the sidelines to call timeout. Even if the ball was not snapped on time, it would have been better to take a five yard penalty than burn a timeout.

    2. Why did Harbaugh go away from the QB draw after the timeout? Why not run the QB draw again. Surely there was no element of surprise as far as the Ravens were concerned. For some reason Harbaugh / Roman decided to have Kap throw a low percentage pass in the right flat on the next play following the timeout, and then a couple of even lower percentage fades to Crabtree on third and fourth downs. I would have run the Kap QB draw again. The Ravens had shown no ability to stop that play the entire game.

    1. Rick, new era about to begin with Jim Tomsula and 49er football. Jim Harbaugh was a very good coach for the 49ers while at the helm, but like everything in the NFL, its win or bust. He didn’t win and it was a very necessary parting.
      I’m very excited about this new staff. It looks like they are breaking it down and building it back up from scratch. Should be a very exciting season.

      1. FDM,

        Under your criteria every HC in the league should have been fired this year except Belichick. This win or bust idea is nonsense. It’s about giving yourself a chance to win a Championship consistently and 3 out of 4 years Harbaugh did that. On field performance had nothing to do with his firing because it couldn’t. We can pick out things like the need to speed up the playcalling, but you can’t argue against 3 straight NFCCG’s and a SB appearance.

        It’s natural to knock the outgoing HC to build up the new guy, and I see a lot of that going on here since the change, but the bottom line is winning games and Harbaugh did that better than practically any other HC in the NFL during his 4 years here. It’s delusional to suggest he deserved to be fired based on performance.

    2. one thing that most people missed when discussing the last couple of plays of the Niner’s last Super Bowl were comments later by Roman and Harbaugh that indicated that Kaepernick audibled to those pass plays and that the initial plays were option runs. Remember that in their system they usually call 2 and sometimes 3 plays to which the QB can run or “kill”/change.

      My guess is that Kapernick saw a crowded line of scrimmage (maybe a cover 0 blitz) and audibled out of the run plays? He also locked in on single coverage on the outside for the low percentage fade route in the corner. Now according to Roman the last pass play didn’t have any built in extra blitz protection (or possibly blitz beater routes?) so it probably wasn’t a good pass play to call at all even if it wasn’t the primary play called.

      I think there are a couple of problems here. First Kaep did have other passing options but his level of progression reads is rather intermediate as he is primarily reading coverage and match ups (as opposed to coverage and the entire pass play). But the bigger problem (and this is tied to the pace of offense topic) is the somewhat inflexible nature of the offensive system. Plays were designed and called so that most of the thinking and decision making were supposed to be anticipated by the coaching staff. Most of Kaep’s decisions were play A or play B. then where to throw the ball was mostly predetermined if he made is reads correctly. Trying to call the perfect set of plays and trying anticipate the defense on every snap is going to slow down the in game playcalling (it probably also didn’t help that there were multiple cooks in the play design and calling kitchen). Had Kaep been able to make more adjustments at the line of scrimmage (site adjustments, hot routes, option routes with some of his receivers) then less decision making by the coaching staff per play called would have been possible which would have saved on time. They still could have milked the clock once they lined up ready to snap the ball.

      1. affnp, very insightful. Thanks. Based on what you think of Kaep’s ability to read a defense, what do you think of the changes Chryst/Logan seem to be implementing?

            1. And be a leader when things break down. Too many times last year Colin Kaepernick showed an immaturity with his head down coming off the field after consecutive 3 and outs.

            2. Reading the defense is easier if you motion to trigger a defensive response. Of course you need to get up to the line with enough time for that to be effective….

      2. affp,

        affp,

        Good analysis. You triggered something in my memory with this, which was that when Harbaugh first arrived, I remember Alex Smith saying that the reads and answers were built into the offense. Meaning that the QB could predetermine where he was going with the ball at times based simply on how the defense lined up. I started searching for something along those lines and found this about how Harbaugh got rid of sight adjustments against the Blitz:

        http://grantland.com/features/quarterbacking-made-simple/

        1. At the same time I stumbled on this interesting two part piece on Harbaugh’s passing tendencies. Very interesting on it’s own, but even more interesting is how the analyst details and provides video of Colin Kaepernick…gasp….making reads and going through progressions. Of course I have seen this on Coaches film and have made reference to it, but was too lazy to go through and provide film clips. This guy did so that everybody can see for themselves the narrative that Kap can’t read a defense or go through progressions is complete crap and hyperbole.

          http://jameslightfootball.com/2015/04/04/jim-harbaughs-passing-concepts-part-1/

              1. Rocket,

                Nice find. I also could see Kap making reads on the All-22 film. He certainly needs to operate with more consistency in doing so, and he needs to have a little bit more of a consistent pocket, but the capabilities are there.

                I wonder if with at least 10 more seconds at the line to scan the defense, and a little more schematic flexibility to make changes to protections and routes, if he might become a bit more comfortable making plays from the pocket?

              2. Awesome Rocket, thank you. It’s nice to see Kaep work through his progressions. This year will be interesting as, like many have said, Colin should have sufficient time to make his pre-snap reads, while potentially having more options against the blitz and other coverages.

                I think this will be the year we see a more laid back Kap with a system molded around him, rather than trying to mold him into your system. Its clear Colin will never be that pocket passer that many want him to be, but it doesn’t mean you can’t win with him by utilizing his unique skill sets, while also continuing to develop the weaker components of his game.

                I haven’t lost all hope for this season, although I think one more retirement should do take care of that. Either way it’ll be interesting to see the new offense and a more seasoned kaepernick.

              3. Thanks guys. I found it and thought it would be a great educational piece to link to on here for the film junkies. There is no question Kap has to be more consistent, and my hope is that not being rushed to get plays off will help him with his presnap reads, and that will lead to more composure and patience in the pocket.

              4. Rocket,

                Whatever passing concepts JH believes in, he presided over an offense that was dead last in throwing 20+ yards downfield and at, or near, the bottom in throwing to RB’s. How easy would it be to defend an offense like that? Defend the run, intermediate passing, and don’t worry too much about anything else.

                Combine this weird strategy and the lack of continuity in the O line, and it’s not that surprising that the offense wasn’t so good last year.

              5. Correction: “running game” = “inside running game”.

                The prospect of using the deep ball and throwing to the backs is one reason I’m hopeful the Chryst / Logan combo will improve the offense.

                BTW, why do you think getting to the line of scrimmage much earlier, throwing the ball deep and to the backs are stated goals for this offense? Maybe it’s because the 49ers weren’t doing any of those things nearly well enough last year (and before, but getting away with it, in general).

                New management usually talks about things they believe were wrong with the previous regime. It’s an indirect and unintentional criticism, but there it is, plain to see.

                Disclaimer: I’m not a JH hater, I just don’t think he was perfect, and some of his flaws probably had a major effect on the offense.

              6. ex,

                I have never once said Harbaugh was perfect. I’ve also been lamenting the fact the offense couldn’t get plays in on time going back to when Smith was at QB and the same issues plagued the offense. No Harbaugh was not perfect, and he is a tough personality to deal with, but the positives outweighed the negatives which led to the best run this team has had since they last won the SB in the mid 90’s.

                I’m a realist plain and simple. I call things as I see them, and replacing one of the best HC’s in the NFL with a Dline Coach who has one year of HCing experience in a league that doesn’t exist anymore, did not strike me as a good trade off. I’m sorry you disagree but that’s how I see it.

                I think we need to stop embellishing the problems with the offense as well. For 3 out of Harbaugh’s 4 years here, this team was top 5 in rushing including last year. The lowest they ever were was 8th in 2011. While the passing offense was ranked in the bottom tier in total yards, they were effective in what they did with play action the first 3 years and the two combined with the defense to win a lot of games.

                I get that some fans think it was time to move one, to each his own, but you can’t look at on field performance and say Harbaugh deserved to be fired. It’s ridiculous to suggest it, and sets an unreachable standard for a HC to meet. He was fired because for whatever reason he and Jed couldn’t find a way to coexist. That’s it, no more analysis needed. Maybe the offense will be better this year, I don’t know, but the offense was effective under Harbaugh and Roman for the style of play they wanted until injuries on the Oline and the TE position becoming a non factor, led to the inconsistency they suffered last year.

                Whatever the case Harbaugh while not perfect, was a hell of a HC for this team and didn’t deserve to be fired for on field performance.

              7. Rocket,

                As I’ve said many times (and you seem to be ignoring), I also didn’t think JH should be fired and still feel that way to a degree, although as more time goes by, the more used to the current situation I’m becoming.

                If Tomsula’s coaching staff is a failure, I’ll be back to wishing that JH hadn’t been fired, but I just don’t think that’s going to happen. I really think the offense getting to the line of scrimmage more quickly and having a better mix of plays will more than offset the loss of JH, as far as the offense goes.

                As for the defense and ST’s, I’m expecting those units to be better, or at least the same as last year.

              8. ex,

                I have read you say it, and I’m not questioning that. What I did question was anyone thinking Harbaugh was perfect. That’s a straw man argument because I don’t recall anyone ever saying that. From my point of view every HC has his positives and negatives. What you count on is the positives outweighing the negatives, and at least on the field, that was the case with Harbaugh.

                I’m hoping for the best with Tomsula, Chryst and Mangini. That’s about all I can say based on what we know.

              9. Rocket,

                Just because I’ve said JH isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean I’m saying that’s what you, or anyone else thinks. And if I ever did directly ascribe that to you, then I’m sorry about that. Having said that, I would hope you would know through our exchanges on here that I know you’re too sensible to think anyone is truly perfect, or that perfection can be a reasonable expectation.

                To put a very fine point on how I see your opinion of JH is that on one hand you say you acknowledge his shortcomings, while on the other you just gloss over them, as if they’re just quaint quirks, having no real impact on the team’s performance, and that are maybe even part of his charm.

                I hate to tell you, but his method of getting plays in to the QB, cost the 49ers the SB against the Ravens (along with a bunch of brutal coverage errors, LMJ’s fumble, and a number of blown calls by refs – e.g., Bruce Miller being tackled by two blockers on the KO for TD or LMJ was being facemasked when he fumbled, naturally, no flag). Of course, they might not have gotten to the SB without him, but if he had just not been so stubborn with how plays were communicated to the QB… Ah, what might have been.

                As I’ve been saying as far back as last year, getting to the line with time running down every time isn’t ideal and may have had a significant negative effect on CK’s development and performance, let alone the very direct effect of delay penalties and early TO’s.

                Also, the lack of half time adjustments have been very stark. The 49ers had a lead against the Seahawks in two of the last three games at half time and have lost all three games. This is a theme that played out pretty consistently in losses over JH’s tenure. Even in many of the games the 49ers won, they were outplayed in the second half.

                Finally, the lack of variety in the play calling last year must have made the 49ers much easier than they should’ve been to defend.

                These are very real problems, with no sign JH had the desire to fix.

                Again, this isn’t to say JH isn’t a very good HC, he is, but (I won’t say he’s not perfect, here) he had several flaws that I believe if remedied, will more than offset the ways in which he’ll be missed. Given this, 10 or 11 wins should be well within reach next year.

              10. ex,

                It read like you were inferring others thought Harbaugh was perfect, so if that’s not what you meant then my apologies for misunderstanding. You and I have had numerous interactions on here and I believe you to be a very intelligent and rational fan, which is why it seemed strange that you set up the strawman argument. Now that is settled, let’s move on to the rest of your statement:

                To put a very fine point on how I see your opinion of JH is that on one hand you say you acknowledge his shortcomings, while on the other you just gloss over them, as if they’re just quaint quirks, having no real impact on the team’s performance, and that are maybe even part of his charm.

                I’m not glossing over them ex. I pointed out the issues with playcalling going back to when Smith was the QB and how much it annoyed me. Let me be as straight forward as I can possibly be regarding my opinion of Harbaugh: He had his faults – the time to call plays, being too conservative at times, a tough personality to deal – but those issues were overshadowed by the fact he won a lot of games. That is the bottom line for me: Win football games. We can sit here and dissect every mistake Harbaugh has ever made and it won’t change the fact he had one of the highest winning percentages in football. I hope that explains my position clearly.

                The criticism of how the team performed in the second half last season are valid. However, in previous years the Niners were one of the best second half teams, so do we look at 3 years of data to make our conclusion or do we look at 1 where there were issues on offense across the board? Personally I view last year as an anomaly in that the Oline wasn’t settled all year, Vernon Davis for whatever reason was not himself, Kap struggled in the pocket at times and the biggest factor imo, which was that Harbaugh and Roman felt they needed to change what they were doing to a level that wasn’t necessary imo. Their biggest mistake was trying to install a multiple WR passing offense that quite frankly wasn’t their forte and one that the team couldn’t execute consistently. That would be my biggest criticism of Harbaugh’s Coaching decisions. However, I think he would have gone back to what had worked previously, with small does of the passing game changes, had he been retained.

                Again, this isn’t to say JH isn’t a very good HC, he is, but (I won’t say he’s not perfect, here) he had several flaws that I believe if remedied, will more than offset the ways in which he’ll be missed. Given this, 10 or 11 wins should be well within reach next year.

                And herein lies the problem from my vantage point. In order to believe what you say here it comes down to hope that Tomsula is a seasoned game day strategist and leader, when he hasn’t shown that previously. Even his year as a HC in Europe wasn’t overly impressive with a 6-4 record. In order to believe this team will win the number of games you believe they can, you have overlook Tomsula’s lack of HC experience, the poor history Dline Coaches have had as HC’s, the changes at the coordinator spots which resulted in holdovers being hired because they couldn’t get the guys they wanted, the unprecedented amount of roster turnover the same year as a complete Coaching turnover. I mean there is a laundry list of reasons why this is likely to fail.

                I don’t want it to fail, I want Tomsula to be successful, but the evidence doesn’t support the likelihood of that happening. I hope like hell I’m wrong and this team does pull off 11-12 wins and a playoff run, nothing would make me happier, I just don’t see it if I’m looking at things objectively is all.

              11. Rocket,

                I don’t agree that the 49ers were a good second half team in all of JH’s first three years. They were good at times, but there were games in which they had control in the first half and let the other team off the hook in the second half, or at least allowed the opponent to put the result in doubt, instead of putting the game out of reach.

                I agree that everything you’ve said about the 49ers is potentially how things will play out, but I like their plan and approach. I’m assuming you’re paying attention to what they’re doing, aren’t you impressed, even a little?

              12. Rocket,

                I don’t agree that the 49ers were consistently a good second half team over JH’s first three years. I haven’t looked, but my recollection is they were usually better in the first half of games and didn’t do as well in the second half, even in games they ultimately won.

                Of course, you could be right, but just as you say that the optimists are assuming everything will go right, it looks to me that you’re assuming mostly everything will go wrong.

                I like the approach of this staff and they’ve won me over, at least to the extent they can before the games start.

              13. ex,

                They were one of the better teams at closing out games and protecting leads in Harbaugh’s first 3 years. Last year was a disaster no doubt, especially the inability to score in the 4th quarter, but that was an exception to the norm.

                I agree that everything you’ve said about the 49ers is potentially how things will play out, but I like their plan and approach. I’m assuming you’re paying attention to what they’re doing, aren’t you impressed, even a little?

                I like some of the moves they made: Torrey Smith, Reggie Bush, and the drafting of Eli Harold and Davis stand out off the top of my head, but overall, the offseason has been a disaster, not all their fault, but a disaster none the less.

                Of course, you could be right, but just as you say that the optimists are assuming everything will go right, it looks to me that you’re assuming mostly everything will go wrong.

                No, what I’ve said is things usually balance out between good and bad, and this team needs everything to be on the good side to improve on last season.

                I like the approach of this staff and they’ve won me over, at least to the extent they can before the games start.

                And that’s fine. You are entitled to feel that way obviously. I like that they are working on picking up the tempo, but other than that it’s about what they do when the games begin. Every team has designs on winning in the off season and everything is positive…until they actually play somebody and get their asses handed to them. My opinion of the Coaching staff will ultimately be based on wins and losses

              14. Rocket,

                By “they were good at closing out games”, do you mean they got out to a lead in the first half and then hung on to win, or do you mean they generally extended their lead in the second half?

                “I like some of the moves they made: Torrey Smith, Reggie Bush, and the drafting of Eli Harold and Davis stand out off the top of my head, but overall, the offseason has been a disaster, not all their fault, but a disaster none the less.”

                If you’re going to say we need to wait until the games to know if the coaching staff is any good, don’t we need to see games to know if the off season was a disaster, as well?

                I don’t see one hole in the lineup. I’m not saying the team will be the same or better because of the retirement’s / FA losses in every case, but I don’t see disaster looming anywhere.

                Iupati = happy trails, if you can get another team to pay that kind of money.

                Justin Smith = They don’t have to replace 2011 Justin Smith, just the 2014 Justin Smith. I think they can do that with the depth they have.

                Willis = His toe apparently wasn’t responding the way he wanted, but even so, this is one loss that might hurt (I say might, because Wilhoite is no slouch – “Come on, Judge Smails. Don’t sell yourself short, you’re a tremendous slouch”).

                Crabtree = Addition by subtraction.

                The CB’s = I may be nuts, but I think they’ll be as good or better at CB this year.

                Gore = I have the an avatar honoring this man, but it was time for him to go and, again, I may be nuts, but I believe they will be better off without him.

                “No, what I’ve said is things usually balance out between good and bad, and this team needs everything to be on the good side to improve on last season.”

                My recollection is that you’ve listed actions / coach hirings / player movements that happened, and then opined that the issue at hand is going to resolve negatively. I don’t recall you saying anything like that you have the expectation that aspects of the team to be better and others worse. My take away from your comments has been that some aspects of the team will be a little worse and other will be a lot worse.

                “And that’s fine. You are entitled to feel that way obviously. I like that they are working on picking up the tempo, but other than that it’s about what they do when the games begin. Every team has designs on winning in the off season and everything is positive…until they actually play somebody and get their asses handed to them. My opinion of the Coaching staff will ultimately be based on wins and losses.”

                Of course, every team has designs on winning, but very few have a roster as good as the 49ers. I’m focusing on the changes the new coaching staff is making that, if properly implemented, should result in better results than last year. I like what they’re doing For instance, they recently got input from researchers at Stanford on how their players will best learn during meetings. It’s a little thing, that could have a big effect, especially when added to other little changes.

                So, I’m currently hopeful. Naturally, my opinion is subject to change if the season goes wrong because of coaching, which is possible, but I’ll have plenty of time to worry about that during the season (actually, I’ll take time away from other things I really should be doing then, just as I am now).

          1. Rocket & George,

            yes, I remember that article very well. it’s where I got the term blitz beater route from. like much of the offense it’s predetermined; the blitz beating route is predetermined/built and not an on the fly adjustment to a route by the QB and receiver. I’ve wondered if that and other aspects of the offense became too predictable.

            Progressions and reading defenses basically falls under 3 stages (I’ve posted this before a couple years ago based on a Chris Brown article).

            1. simple read – 1,2,3…paint by numbers

            2. reading coverages and keys. single high, cover 2 shell, press or off coverage. man, zone..etc…looking for looking general weaknesses in coverages MoFo/MoFc (middle of the field open/closed…based on 1 or 2 high safeties). see zone throw to vertical route see man coverage throw horizontal route (often each option is split on each side of the formation…again predetermined structure).

            3. full coverage reads. recognize specific defense and coverage and know how the play specifically attacks it. so little reading is needed post snap (assuming the coverage shell doesn’t change) and the QB can anticipate the receiver being open.

            But it’s not a cut and dried thing. You don’t just do it one way, then learn another and the another. It all works together in stages but it’s not a seamless transition.

            Here’s what I’ll say about Kaep and his reads. I have no doubt in my mind that Kaep is probably an A+ student of the game on the chalk board…and probably even in practice. But I liken learning this stuff to learning to drive a car. At first everything has to be thought through consciously before it becomes automatic. I learned on a stick shift. So I’ll draw the analogy that throwing motion and footwork is like learning the timing for shifting a manual transmission. At first you have to think about when to shift, when to down shift when slowing down..etc… but eventually you do it without thinking. Same with the rules of the road, getting on an on ramp, merging crossing an intersection…the first few times you do it , you these things slowly and with much thought. Then you move, change jobs and you have to learn new routes to drive so once again you pay attention to where you going, the intersections, how traffic merges..etc….it’s like learning a new play or set of plays…you’re back to learning things. So some plays and packages of plays you’re going to be much smother than others. So yeah, Kaep can make reads, especially when he’s protected. but the question is what kind of reads is he making?

            Now Kaep said during interviews about throwing to Crabtree at the end of the Super Bowl, that his reads took him there to one on one coverage and he’ll take it everytime. Now that’s not really the best way to look at it. You want to take the best route that attacks the defense for the result you want (most yards/first down/TD) and that may be an open man in the middle, backside…etc…not necessarily a one on one covered receiver running a fade route to the back corner of the endzone. So I don’t know Kaep’s reasons are because he’s reading MoFo (middle of the field closed…probably because of a single high safety) or he just really wanted to go to his best receiver in crunch time.

            As to how the new offense may address some of this? Speeding things up and especially no huddle tends to freeze defenses and make them easier to read and to find the match up advantages. defenses do not have time to disguise their coverage as much or at all.

            1. affp,

              Very well said again. I think Kap’s point about the matchup he had with Crabs is based on the fact it was a 3 step drop and he had to predetermine where to go with the ball based on that. As it turns out, he was barely able to take that 3rd step before a defender was on top of him.

              By no means am I saying Kap is a seasoned vet at reading defenses and going through progressions either. My point was simply to show evidence of Kap doing the exact things many around here seem to believe he can’t do. He has to get to a point where doing these things is second nature and not something he has to mentally breakdown in his head, and as you mentioned that takes time.

              I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, the worst thing that happened to Kap was his immediate success combined with a loss in the SB. That not only built up expectations to an unrealistic level, but it gave the expectations a negative connotation due to not winning a Championship. Here’s Kap going into only his 3rd full year as a starter, he’s been a top ten QB in his first two years, won a ton of games both during the season and in the playoffs and went to a SB, and yet we have people like Oregoniner saying he’s not a viable NFL QB. That link I posted was for those type of fans that can’t see beyond their bias and unsubstantiated views.

            2. AFFP,

              Good post.

              Who do you think was responsible for CK’s way of thinking on these things? I certainly hope that his thoughts on such matters can at least be shaped by his coaches. If these are exclusively his thoughts and he disregards coaching, then it’s a whole other level of problem.

    3. At that point, there was no reason to save time outs.

      Harbaugh couldn’t call the same play because it had been already exposed.

  19. Sam Baker. Two bum knees and a torn pectoral muscle. Trent Baalke is doing 90 on the 101 to get back to Santa Clara facility to meet with the Falcons released tackle.
    Is there really any other option in his mind? Definitely not Mathis. His knees are good.

    1. “He’s a stickler with blocking, with running routes, with releases, with everything.” Good news for the young guys like Bell and Anderson (and McDonald). I like the current crop of position coaches.

      How are the 49ers going to make room for guys like Busta Anderson?
      Ward, Dockett, Millard go IR early season? Trades?

      I think the 49ers will lead the league in players lost to other teams after cut down day. Some cut. Most off off the practice squad during 24 hr waivers.

      1. Brodie,

        I wouldn’t worry about it. We see guys we like every year and think they are going to get poached and more often than not, they don’t or are outright released by the team. Even when we lose some, they don’t wind up doing much. Do you remember how up in arms everybody was when we lost that QB who was moved to TE? Marquise Gray I think his name was. He’s on his 3rd or 4th team and has never become more than a fringe NFL player. You also have to remember that every other team has similar young players they like which is why there isn’t a lot of bodies changing teams at cut down. Clubs usually like to sign their own guys to the PS because they’ve seen them up close and know what they can do.

        1. You are right on the money. Training camp stars often fizzle. Its June after all. No pads. No hitting.

          But the roster math will still be sticky. Winston was taken off the PS. The 49ers were afraid to sneak McCray onto the PS. They signed him.

          I can see teams taking the following players during PR 24 hr waivers…
          DeAndrew White, Trenton Brown, Busta Anderson, Trey Millard. I also see

          I can see Brown and Anderson making the 53. But that means cutting veterans.

          1. Brodie,

            Anything is possible, but as I said you rarely see many players changing teams on the final cut down. Some do of course, but the majority wind up on their own teams PS or out of the league completely. What did Winston do after he was claimed? I’m pretty sure he was inactive all season for the Browns and McCray while impressive in preseason, was a relative non factor during the season. If we had lost him it certainly wouldn’t have had much of an effect on the team.

            I see White and Brown making the roster if they continue to impress the way they have in OTA’s. Anderson still isn’t completely healthy so is a candidate to wind up on IR, and Millard doesn’t fit with many offenses in the league so I don’t think there will be a lineup for his services, and if he is claimed, it’s not like we don’t have other players ahead of him to fill that role.

            We are talking bottom of the roster players here remember. These are guys who are fringe NFL talent for the most part and few wind up playing a significant role on their team.

        2. To bolster your point (I love contradicting myself) the 49ers waived my UDFA crush Darius Davis.

          I think he could fit with teams that throw underneath and rely on RAC. Maybe Green Bay’s PS.

  20. Vernon Davis is blaming his lack of production last year on game planning. What a dick.

    Rotoworld:
    Vernon Davis blamed his lack of production last season on game planning.
    “I wasn’t really ever a factor in the offense last year,” said Davis. “The first game, yeah. But the second game, the tight ends [weren’t] really involved as a whole.” After putting an emphasis on multiple wide receiver sets in 2014, the Niners are going back to ground and pound. Davis is hoping for a bounce-back year under new tight ends coach Tony Sparano.

    1. He is right. Harbaugh was bitter because Vernon missed all the offseason workouts and parts of training camp.
      Then as we all witnessed, Vernon was never fully involved in any game plan from week to week!

      1. I agree Prime. It seemed like Vernon was disengaged all of last year but he also was never targeted like he normally is. Its on both the player and coaching staff to get it right but from my view, the coaching staff limited Davis too much.

      2. Whether he was targeted or not. YOU DONT QUIT AND PLAY SOFT!!!! Period! He was my favorite 49er last season and years before until he flat out quit last season. Format matter why. You don’t go halfa$$ because you’re not getting looks. I hope he’s gone after next season too. Just like I said about Brooks.
        It’s pathetic! Boone can take a hike too.

    2. George, the quote you copied from Roto came out of the same Barrows article you just linked above. Just an fyi if you didn’t catch it. I read Davis’ quote in the Barrows article and was just about to post a WTF? when you posted the roto quote, lol.
      Seriously Vern? Game planning was why you sucked for 15 whole games last year?

    3. You may think that Vernon Davis is a “dick” but he’s speaking the truth.

      His number of targets was the lowest it’s been since 2008. Hard to make plays when the ball isn’t thrown to you.

      1. Jack, he might be speaking the truth, but my point was that you don’t make excuses or point fingers. You admit to having had an off year and say you’re busting you butt to do better. He’s the most ego-centric player on the team and he’s been a hold-out. In my eyes he’s a dick. Btw, do you buy the line that a guy whose production had been so closely correlated to the team’s W-L record was minimized in the offense on purpose?

        1. So you’d rather him just blow smoke.

          His targets were cut almost in half from the previous year. You make the call.

            1. They weren’t calling his number. Did kinda the same thing in 2012 until the playoffs. Difference was no one else could step up.

              1. We’re not inside the locker room or Vernon’s head, so we don’t really know what was up with him last year. It was a down year for him.
                Now I think of him as the Prodigal Son; fogettabout last year; go out and make some plays! New HC and position coach and OC offers fresh start opportunity. Sparano should sharpen up his blocking too.

              2. Imo, Davis’ ineffectiveness stemmed from both his own distractions off the field and the team not getting him involved enough. Missing the offseason training hurt him, and whether it was intentional or not, the offense made him less of a factor than the year before. I think Harbaugh and the other offensive Coaches felt they needed to make some changes to the passing game and went a little over board, forgetting the things that had made them effective in the first place.

      2. He doesn’t get payed to only make catches. His blocking was garbage too. He quit!
        And there is ZERO excuse for that. You’re supposed to be a coach. You let your players quit and moan because they’re not gettin looks? Especially a vital offensive position like TE who are huge in the blocking scheme. And with his speed he could have made a nice decoy over for the receivers under. But when you’re a diva going back to your old ways because “it’s not fair” I guess you can flat out say you quit and nobody will bat an eye.

    1. Whoops! There I go again: I thought Darius might be the dark horse longshot of the udfas, but he got no mentions from Grant, Cam, MattM, or MattB in OTAs.

        1. By the way George, I tried out that Red Diamond Chardonnay and enjoyed it. It compares favorably to wines that are three times the price. I usually lean towards a slightly drier and crisper style, but that’s subjective preference and not about quality. This is a well made wine with a nice finish; and a Tuesday Wine price. Thx.

            1. Another chardonnay like it that they also sell is Columbia Crest, also from Washington State. About the same price. Maybe you’d like it a little better.

    1. If he would be happy to accept a 2-year deal I’d look to sign him to a contract structured similar to what Boldin signed last year (though may need to be worth more overall), which had a decent sized signing bonus but relatively low salary in year 1, to shift the majority of the cap hit to next year.

  21. Grant, thanks for the breakdown.

    I’m liking what I hear about Reaser. Is fellow 2014 redshirt Millard participating in training camp?

    Does Kaepernick really make $19m a year? I thought he made full salary only he avoided all de-escalators.

    A 2013 Vernon (and 2011-12 Aldon) will go along way towards breaking the 7.5 win barrier.

    The good news is DeAndrew White. The tough question… who gets cut?
    Its early. Several receivers could go on IR before cut down day. Still… roster cut day will be tough.

    My UDFA crush Darius Davis got cut. I guess the 49er DBs are faster than the Div II boys DD blew past.

    1. Kap is not making 19 mill this year, he’s making 15 mill. Next year he will make 17 mill. He doesn’t get to 19 mill until 2017. The Niners got a bargain with his contract.

  22. By “they were good at closing out games”, do you mean they got out to a lead in the first half and then hung on to win, or do you mean they generally extended their lead in the second half?

    Usually they were protecting a lead, but the point was they usually closed out games with a win, no matter how they went about it. They were conservative to a fault at times, but it worked out for them.

    If you’re going to say we need to wait until the games to know if the coaching staff is any good, don’t we need to see games to know if the off season was a disaster, as well?

    No. When you do a Coaching overhaul and then lose double digit starters from the previous season along with two of the main leaders in your locker room, it’s a disaster. How well they can recover from it is the question.

    I don’t see one hole in the lineup. I’m not saying the team will be the same or better because of the retirement’s / FA losses in every case, but I don’t see disaster looming anywhere.

    So you’re good with the Oline starting Eric Pears at RT? No proven commodity at RG if Boone moves to LG? Two new starters on the Dline? Two new starters at CB?

    Iupati = happy trails, if you can get another team to pay that kind of money.

    Justin Smith = They don’t have to replace 2011 Justin Smith, just the 2014 Justin Smith. I think they can do that with the depth they have.

    Willis = His toe apparently wasn’t responding the way he wanted, but even so, this is one loss that might hurt (I say might, because Wilhoite is no slouch – “Come on, Judge Smails. Don’t sell yourself short, you’re a tremendous slouch”).

    Crabtree = Addition by subtraction.

    The CB’s = I may be nuts, but I think they’ll be as good or better at CB this year.

    Gore = I have the an avatar honoring this man, but it was time for him to go and, again, I may be nuts, but I believe they will be better off without him.

    No one can accuse you of not seeing the positive side ex. All of these players you listed were a reason why this team was a SB contender. You can knock them as much as you like, but they were proven performers who are being replaced by question marks for the most part. You are also severely underestimating the impact of not having Smith, Willis and Gore in the locker room imo.

    My recollection is that you’ve listed actions / coach hirings / player movements that happened, and then opined that the issue at hand is going to resolve negatively. I don’t recall you saying anything like that you have the expectation that aspects of the team to be better and others worse. My take away from your comments has been that some aspects of the team will be a little worse and other will be a lot worse.

    I’ve been pretty clear and consistent with my views on the team going forward ex. I see this team as a 6-9 win club depending on how the intangibles play out. Meaning if they suffer injuries like last year and have trouble adjusting to the Coaching changes, they are likely to be a 6 win team. If they stay healthy, Kap plays well and the defense holds up, I think they are capable of 9 wins. So what I’m saying is, if all goes well they could improve on last years win total. I haven’t been happy with the changes the team has undergone, but I also haven’t predicted a fall into the basement of the league either. I just don’t see much reason to believe they can win 10 or more games and make a playoff run. I hope I’m wrong as I’ve said repeatedly, but that’s how I see it right now.

    Of course, every team has designs on winning, but very few have a roster as good as the 49ers. I’m focusing on the changes the new coaching staff is making that, if properly implemented, should result in better results than last year. I like what they’re doing For instance, they recently got input from researchers at Stanford on how their players will best learn during meetings. It’s a little thing, that could have a big effect, especially when added to other little changes.

    You have a positive outlook on things and there’s nothing wrong with that. Personally I don’t think we can say this is one of the best rosters in the league right now. I won’t say it isn’t either. What I will say is we have a lot of unproven players we need to see step up and play well in order to have a chance at improving on last years win total. The other changes are all well and good, but as I said, the only results I care about are on the field.

    So, I’m currently hopeful. Naturally, my opinion is subject to change if the season goes wrong because of coaching, which is possible, but I’ll have plenty of time to worry about that during the season (actually, I’ll take time away from other things I really should be doing then, just as I am now).

    I’m hopeful too. My pessimism is based on what I see, but it doesn’t mean I’m not hoping they overcome all the obstacles and play as well as you think they will. For as long as I’ve been posting opinions on this board the one thing I’m consistent with is honesty. I will never base an opinion on anything other than what I decipher from the evidence in front of me. That goes for both good and bad. I can’t suspend reality to take a positive approach if I don’t feel it’s warranted. For better or worse you will always know what my feelings are on a subject.

    1. “Usually they were protecting a lead, but the point was they usually closed out games with a win, no matter how they went about it. They were conservative to a fault at times, but it worked out for them.”

      Yes, under JH the 49ers were conservative to a fault, but they also came up short in the half time adjustment department. They rarely came from behind in key games and lost some key games in which they had a half time lead.

      “No. When you do a Coaching overhaul and then lose double digit starters from the previous season along with two of the main leaders in your locker room, it’s a disaster. How well they can recover from it is the question.”

      If the 49ers should go 11-5 and make a deep playoff run, wouldn’t you then have to say the off season wasn’t a disaster?

      “So you’re good with the Oline starting Eric Pears at RT? No proven commodity at RG if Boone moves to LG? Two new starters on the Dline? Two new starters at CB?”

      Anthony Davis is the one player that the 49ers will probably miss next year. Having said that, yes, I like Pears at RT as well or better than last year’s RT situation. No, I don’t mind Boone at LG and I do feel that Martin or Thomas will be at least adequate at RG (it’s not like Foerster is a bozo).

      The D Line is a point of some concern, but it looks like the 49ers have a lot of depth there and players that were missing last year will return. Worst case is there will be a drop off from last year, but they could also be fine.

      I’m happy with the CB situation.

      “No one can accuse you of not seeing the positive side ex.”

      It may be that your and others’ extreme negativity has hardened my optimism.

      “All of these players you listed were a reason why this team was a SB contender. You can knock them as much as you like, but they were proven performers who are being replaced by question marks for the most part. You are also severely underestimating the impact of not having Smith, Willis and Gore in the locker room imo.”

      Yes, they WERE proven performers. We’re heading in to 2015, not 2011. Players get older, injuries get worse, players are replaced. It’s the NFL life cycle. Bill Walsh replaced players a year early, rather than a year late. You say you like Baalke. If that’s true, why don’t you have more faith in the roster that he’s assembled?

      “I’ve been pretty clear and consistent with my views on the team going forward ex. I see this team as a 6-9 win club depending on how the intangibles play out. Meaning if they suffer injuries like last year and have trouble adjusting to the Coaching changes, they are likely to be a 6 win team. If they stay healthy, Kap plays well and the defense holds up, I think they are capable of 9 wins. So what I’m saying is, if all goes well they could improve on last years win total. I haven’t been happy with the changes the team has undergone, but I also haven’t predicted a fall into the basement of the league either. I just don’t see much reason to believe they can win 10 or more games and make a playoff run. I hope I’m wrong as I’ve said repeatedly, but that’s how I see it right now.”

      Last year, just about everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Including, injuries, hold outs, a suspension, apparent team discord (remember two locker rooms?), definite organizational discord, and the players knowing they were playing for a lame duck coach. Through all of that, they still went 8-8 (really, 9-7, had the refs not ripped them off in the Ram game). I guess you think you think the roster and coaching situations are so bad, that they more than offset the off field issues, that are likely to be way better in 2015. I just don’t agree with that.

      Additionally, I think it remains to be seen how this year’s roster stacks up against last year’s; and how the coaching staff performs relative to JH and staff.

      That’s why I feel that 8-8 is the worst record the 49ers are likely to have next year.

      “You have a positive outlook on things and there’s nothing wrong with that. Personally I don’t think we can say this is one of the best rosters in the league right now. I won’t say it isn’t either. What I will say is we have a lot of unproven players we need to see step up and play well in order to have a chance at improving on last years win total. The other changes are all well and good, but as I said, the only results I care about are on the field.”

      If you can’t say the 49ers have one of the best rosters in the NFL (which I most definitely think they do), then, again, why are you a fan of Baalke? Once again, it seems you’re apparently overlooking the deleterious factors that existed last year, that almost certainly won’t exist this coming year.

      “I’m hopeful too. My pessimism is based on what I see, but it doesn’t mean I’m not hoping they overcome all the obstacles and play as well as you think they will. For as long as I’ve been posting opinions on this board the one thing I’m consistent with is honesty. I will never base an opinion on anything other than what I decipher from the evidence in front of me. That goes for both good and bad. I can’t suspend reality to take a positive approach if I don’t feel it’s warranted. For better or worse you will always know what my feelings are on a subject.”

      Might it be better to say that the way you’re interpreting what you see is leading you to be pessimistic? Otherwise, you’re tacitly saying there’s your way of seeing things and an unrealistic, pollyannic view of things. Or maybe that’s what you’re saying…

    2. ex,

      We are just going round and round now. Ultimately we see things differently and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. I’ll just say I hope you are right and I am wrong and leave it at that.

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