49ers quiz of the day

Here’s your quiz question of the day: Where will the 49ers make their biggest improvement from last season’s 2-14 team? Show all work and explain your answer. I will post mine later this week.

This article has 224 Comments

  1. It has to be run defense doesn’t it? I mean, they were historically bad last year, giving up around 2600 yards. They have to fix that and I think they’ve made to good moves to be more stout against the run. They added Earl Mitchell in the middle of the line. Drafted a stud middle LB in Foster. Brought in another LB (Malcom Smith) that fits the Seattle scheme well. It can’t be any worse than last year so I think they will definitely place an emphasis on stopping the run

    1. I believe the offense needs to get fixed. Pretty disappointed they did not address the QB position, as well as substantial playmakers on offense.

      This team is 2-3 years away!

        1. Last playoff game, Hoyer was horrific. He crumbled under pressure. He is not an upgrade at all.

          In fact, I think Barkley will out compete Hoyer.

          1. Seb,
            Are making a judgement based upon one game?
            Matt Barkley had a passer rating of of 68.3 had a td/int of 8/14 and comp % of 59.7% while Hoyer in his starts had passer rating of 98, td/int of 6/0 and a comp % of 67%…
            Hoyer was better in every important category for qb… so I don’t see how you can imagine Barkley will be better?

            1. Sour grapes based on the non retention of his favorite non-employed QB. He wants to make a non-point that only seems relevant to him.

      1. The team is transitioning away from utilizing primarily the college spread offense that NFL defenses know how to shutdown. Especially when you have deficient personnel running it. That in itself will boost the offensive production.

  2. Moving on from Baalke was the greatest improvement they could have made. Anything else would just be icing on the cake.

    1. Could be both offense as well as defense
      have been improved… by virtue of Jedster
      hiring two people who actually know what they’re
      doing ! ..

      Only time will tell if the new blood will work out ..
      but I’m encouraged by most of the draft picks ..

      Can’t wait to see a banner flying over Levis’ ..
      saying something like ..
      “Way to go Shanna-Lynch !”

  3. Team chemistry will be improved without politics before games, and, a secure/cooperative front office.

    If, and its a big if, everyone comes into camp healthy and fit, and can stay reasonably healthy during the season, there will be more talented players on the field for more games than last year…

    Upgrades at DL and LB…. Upgrades at WR and possibly TE/RB with top draft picks.

    I also think Hoyer will perform better than Kap or Gabbert on an offense under the direction of their new coach and staff

  4. It has to be run defense. Better depth at LB is huge. Last year, 49ers employed pure special teams LB’s as back ups. They proved to be poor injury substitutes.

    I believe the depth overall will be improved. . Also, improved scheme, play calling and coaching are improved. That’s gotta help

  5. Biggest short-term improvement will be in run defense.

    Biggest long-term improvement will be in moving away from the pre-historic Parecellosaurus offense that has been with the Niners in some form or the other since Norv Turner left to a third-generation version of WCO coached by someone with a clear vision of how available players will fit into his scheme — a welcome change. Another long-term improvement is the collaborative approach to team building between a competent coaching staff and a competent front office.

    1. Parcellosaurus offense = Priceless, Mood. Win or lose the 49ers will again be the 49ers no matter what. If they can rebuild the defense they will be the Walsh era 49ers.

      1. This is exactly what I’ve been saying. Harbaugh’s best was still boring offensively and consistently boring. We won but it wasn’t winning the 49er way. Felt like we were the Steelers or Ravens. I’ll be glad just to have a decent, competitive offense every game. At least, don’t curbstomp my hopes for an interesting seasons two weeks in.

        And I can’t be the only one who remembers the cultish -“In Balke We Trust” posts. Ugh.

  6. Run Defense #1, Mitchell and Smith are two signings that will help a great deal. Better scheme so that they’re not gassed all the time on D.
    WR #2, Did we have anyone last year other than Kerley that belonged on a NFL roster?

  7. Well, it’s probably not qb. The offensive line got deeper, but questions about how some players fit in the scheme and the same starting pair on the right side give me pause. Receivers although improved (I hope) are only as good as the qb and the line, so not too much to be expected in huge production gains. Our running game was OK last year, so not as much room to improve as other areas, although we should have better backs and scheme this year. Our passing defense could be epically bad this year as we transition to press if witherspoon isn’t a stud or if ward or Robinson get hurt. Rushing from the edge is a huge question mark right now, without an obvious solution on the roster.

    Our one true upgrade has got to be in the run defense, we got some depth at nose tackle, plenty of good dt to rotate and keep fresh, bowman is back, bellore is gone. Foster should bring some pain and we will have an extra saftey in the box. Really if we had the exact same roster as last year, but healthy, that would represent a huge improvement from where we wound up… but we upgraded the scheme and players, and I have a realistic hope our run defense at least won’t feature a 50 yard touchdown run every game this next year.

  8. Run defense.

    Last year the 49ers were tied for 31st in YPC against at 4.8 YPC. They gave up a league worst 140 first downs. They gave up a league worst 25 rushing TDs. They had a league worst 548 carries against (the only team over 500 against).

    1. The early season defensive scheme was poor against the run.

    2. The 49ers had huge injury problems on defense and were playing with mostly 2nd & 3rd stringers for long parts of the season, especially the second-half.

    3. When the scheme changed to more two-gap, the run defense got significantly better against the run last year. For example, in week 10 against the Cardinals the 49ers held running back David Johnson to 55 yards on 19 carries.

    But it wasn’t just that one game. Before the bye-week, they only held the Rams to under 100 yards. After the bye-week they held 4 teams to under 100 yards and, as discussed earlier, playing a lot of second and third string players by then.

    Other factors:

    Eli Harold, for his first two years in the NFL, had repeated toe injuries and could rarely push off. In the second half of 2016 he finally had some foot health and did a good job in helping to stabilize the run defense and had 3 sacks. I would not be surprised to see him take the SAM role and provide an upgrade from Brooks.

    Better line depth. Last year Purcell was a starting NT for the first five weeks, this year he’s already gone. We signed Mitchell. We kept Dial who has been okay as a fill-in. We drafted Thomas in Round 1 and that fireplug, DJ Jones, in Round 6. Buckner has a full year under his belt and improved all year. Armstead will be healthy. Carradine might even do well (not that I’m counting on it) finally playing at his position and weight for the first time ever.

    Better linebacker depth. Last year we had Nick Bellore and Michael Wilhoite combine for 16 starts. That’s a pair of special team quality linebackers. While I know a lot clowns like to pretend ‘next man up’ and rip coaches when the scrub can’t do it, the fact is they’re not starting for a reason… And, of course, we drafted Foster whom has tons of ability and seems to be football obsessive.

    Bethea is gone. He was terrible against the run last year. He’d miss-read backs. Defend the wrong gap. Get blocked out of plays by slot WRs. It was just a disaster on the field.

    1. I believe you mean when the run defense improved when the defensive scheme changed to a 1-gap assignment rather than a 2-gap scheme

  9. What happened to the new format? I liked it.

    Run defense is obvious with the additions of Mitchell, Thomas and Foster. All will help in that dept, but I also see the run game on the offensive side being improved as well due to the change in blocking scheme and the addition of a viable second RB to share carries with Hyde.

    1. What happened to the new format? I liked it.

      I didn’t. I liked how the style was similar to the block format when I first started posting on here, but several of my posts never showed up on the new format.

  10. Run Defense

    – Eight men in the box. Whether or not single high safety gets shredded, there will be an extra player closer to the line of scrimmage.

    – The Dorsey/Williams health waiting game is over. The 49ers now have a Mitchel and possibly a rookie backup.
    The offset alignment of the NT could make Dial a more effective backup at NT. This worked well for him in 2014.

    – Bowman will be back, along with Reuben Foster and Malcolm Smith.

    – Reports that Saleh’s scheme simplifies the assignments of linebackers and strong safeties. Takes out the guesswork. Allows players to play more aggressively, instinctively. Tartt could even find a role.

    – There’s debate about how truely versatile Solomon Thomas is as a pass rusher. Some say his pass rush from the inside is far better than his edge rush. Time will tell. But at 4-3 DE, Thomas will stuff the run. (And when he does kick inside on pass downs, look out)

    – Salah seemed pleasingly sinister at his presser when he said “we will stop the run in this defense.”

  11. Defense will show the most improvement over last year–perhaps yielding an average of 70 fewer yards per game.

    Offense will be more disciplined and adaptive, gaining an average of 50 more yards per game over last year

    1. believe that our ‘new’ offense will be important in that an improved Oline will provide holes for Hyde and Williams to exploit; either or any of our present 3 QBs are capable of handoffs or 10-15 yard passes to our improved receiving corps, and ‘Juice’ and McDonald will keep the pocket clean enough to complete mid-range passes . Defense needs to move Reid and Bowman into less and shorter shifts….change is inevitable…Keep the offensive team on the field for 50% of the time….mostly, Don’t fix what ain’t broke…

  12. I’ll go with the herd on this one: Run Defense.
    Because it has to.
    They acquired some pieces and a new scheme to achieve that. If/when they do there will be some positive ripple effects:
    Time of possession
    4Q defense
    Better run d on 1&2 will make for more 3rd&Long which should help pass rush
    Improved pass rush helps 3rd down efficiency which feeds back to TOP and helps field position
    Those give the offense and ST opportunities

    You have to stop the run

  13. King Solomon’s 12.0 run stop percentage ranked sixth among Power-5 defensive tackles, while the 49ers ranked dead last against the run. King Solomon’s pass rushing productivity rating of 8.7 ranked fifth among Power-5 defensive tackles, while the 49ers finished the season ranking 19th in sack production, averaging 2 per game. The 49ers also finished dead last in allowing 3rd down conversions by opponents. Do the math. Adding Foster and Mitchell only increases the chances they finish the season top 10 in all three categories. By moving Ward to his natural position of FS, I expect we’ll see more interceptions for big plays while the front seven does their dirty work as well. It’s all about aggression instead of reaction, and disruption is it’s own production. It leads to the opponents destruction.

    Offensively, I think we’ll see a big difference the way the offense executes with Hoyer running Shanny’s offense. Also, the play calling will be noticeably improved. Much more methodical with aggressive undertones. The ZBS ground game should be more consistent, and dangerous with Williams strong rotational carries too….

        1. What do you expect from the fool on the pill? Try more like 6 sacks, with tackles for loss in the running game. Pressures and disruption that assist his team mates in making plays. That’s what I’m expecting from King Solomon in his first NFL campaign….

              1. Prime, you really are pathetic. Posters see how hard you are trying to perpetuate this myth, but now you have relegated yourself to be the site clown.

              2. Heartbreaker, soul shaker
                I did try and tell you
                13 starts, Shanny’s smarter
                What I said turned out to be true
                Red faced whiner, lame horse rider
                Prime Time sings the blues
                Now you’re missin’ that a
                A son of a Mitch now you’re missin’ that a son of a Mitch
                Now you’re missin’ that a
                A son of a Mitch now you’re missin’ that a son of a Mitch

                Talking jiving poison ivy
                You are just a fool to me
                Big talker Sebnynah stalker
                Blind with love for Trubisky
                Red faced whiner, lame horse rider
                Prime Time sings the blues
                Now you’re missin’ that a
                A son of a Mitch now you’re missin’ that a son of a Mitch
                Now you’re missin’ that a
                A son of a Mitch now you’re missin’ that a son of a Mitch

  14. Overall defense will be vastly improved. Run defense will improve from where it was to a more respectable level (Mid Teens). I believe that they will still have some struggles with pass defense early on but will improve over the course of the year. The offense will also improve over the course of the year.

  15. 1. Time of possession and HC in general. No more gimmick offense.
    2. QB play. It can’t get any worse right?
    3. FB, good one Brodie.
    4. Run D. Thomas, Foster, healthy Bow, and a better scheme.
    5. STs, we will have the best coverage unit in the league.
    6. WRs, did we have any last year?
    7. Hyde, will dominate the outside zone.

  16. Traffic to the stadium –
    There is enough buzz around the team so far that fans will be prepared to address the early game traffic problems.

  17. I honestly believe it will be wide receiver contribution to the offense. No longer have the one trick pony in Torrey Smith even though he had better years in Baltimore. He is a great overall person though I will say that. Then no more shiny grills look at me Quinton P. Couldn’t catch a cold if Aaron Rodgers threw to him. Good Riddance. No more experiment time with Eric Rogers let’s move on from that as well. Sighs. Oh yeah, and can’t forget that other Gamecock that might be cut loose…. Mr Hamstring himself Bruce “IM not able to go coach” Ellington… Can’t go nowhere but up in this area to me!

  18. Pass rushing. The transition from college stud to the NFL stud usually takes a couple years for a D lineman. Everyone is bigger fast stronger and the transition is harder than other positions. Now the 49era have three 1St rounders at the D line position. All good interior pass rushes. Arik and Buckner should start to come around as dominant d lineman and adding Thomas will only improve the position. If these guys start to produce the way they should, opposing offenses will have to deal with four guys that can pass rush ( Brooks). I think it’ll happen this year. The D line will start to perform the way three first round draft picks should.

  19. Niners biggest improvement has already occurred before they have played a snap.

    The firing of Baalke is huge, because Lynch has changed the team in so many ways. He has been very aggressive in signing so many FAs, and his draft was masterful in its strategy and execution.

    The leaking has stopped, and everyone seems to be on the same page, unlike last season.

    Do not know how it will all play out, but I have not been this confident with the Niners in years. Lynch has given me hope, and if KS can hire an OC, I will jump for joy.

    I expect the Niners will improve in all phases of the game, but mostly, in the run defense.

  20. Time of possession on O and because of that the entire D will be better. The D wasn’t that bad in the first half of games last year then they were terrible in the second half very simply because they were exhausted.

    1. OldCoach

      Although it was very obvious, I’m glad you added your last sentence….our D was on the field tooooo long…we weren’t really all that bad…Offensive time of possesion will greatly change that….

  21. These 3 areas come to mind…:

    1) Addition by subtraction: Getting rid of Chip Kelly, Trent Baalke, Colin Kaepernick, Torrey Smith, Marcus Martin and the other slackers.

    2) Promising FO and coaching staff: FO can focus on their job instead of watching their backs with Tirader Trent. They’re cohesive and communicative, have a solid plan and are doing a good job of keeping Jed in his place while also making him feel part of it. Coaches are a big improvement and Shanahan will take advantage of his offensive personnel while putting players in positions to succeed on the field. More talent will be needed to obtain the 6th ring but no more gimmick offense is A++ and a big improvement alone.

    3) Defensive scheme: Defense has been simplified and allows players to be aggressive while not having to think and react so much. DL should be much improved this year. An unstable pocket lifts the entire D. Defense will also spend less time on the field thanks to an efficient offense. No more Jimmy O’Neil is also A++.

    All that said, 7-9 or 8-8 is my prediction leaving the Faithful feeling good about the years to come…

  22. 49ers biggest improvement was john lynch and kyle shanahan. No need to explain that one. On a side note it would be nice to see jed york publicly apologizing to jim harbaugh, anyways though. Players wise i would say defense and offense are equally improved. Both sides got better through free agency and the draft. Wide receivers, running backs, (dont forget kendall gaskins was our running back just 2 years ago), qb(thankfully no more ck), oline is still a strength, dline(pass rush and run stop d is still awaiting to see but on paper its improved) secondary is questionable.

    1. Nope. Harbaugh was part of the problem and these issues have followed him from his days as a player and as a coach. To pretend it’s all York, after Harbaugh literally emasculated him in front of the team, is just ignorance.

      1. Not as ignorant as continuing to criticize a Coach who put up one of the greatest winning percentages in NFL history his first 3 years and went to 3 straight NFCCGs. You’ve blamed Harbaugh for a lot of things while giving Baalke a pass. Now Baalke’s gone and you are still harping on Harbaugh. Get over it. The guy is one of the best HC’s in the game. Eccentric and tough to deal with at times, absolutely, but the results speak for themselves.

  23. I think the run defense will be much improved in 2017. The 49ers picked up players in Thomas and Foster who did well against the run.

    1. Scratch that because there was a bigger issue last season: accountability by the players and the coaching staff. Too often, we fans saw and heard a team that really did not appear to care about what they did on the field. This was due in part to limp noodle leadership, which thankfully appears to be gone.

  24. Run defense is the easy choice.

    I will go with play-calling though…….. we may not have the personnel to win every battle, but I believe we will be .500, minimum, simply due to the system as it allows to game plan and get guys open- I am anxious to see what the speed on the outside and Kerley/Ellington/Taylor can do underneath- along w releasing Hyde/Williams/Juszczyk out of the backfield.

    I am excited that the 49ers will once again have an NFL offense- something that has been absent a long, long time.

  25. The biggest improvement will be a team that isn’t pissing off half of its fan base with an entitled idiot kneeling during the national anthem.

  26. Field position will be better on both sides. Actually almost everything will be better except for QB rushing yards, which in our case was used mostly as Kap/Gab’s second read instead of passing.

  27. I would not be surprised if Grant says the run game will be the most improved since he is predicting Williams will be the starter after a couple weeks into season.

  28. The long snapping should be much improved, as well as Pinion’s catching radius now that Shanahan has him on an arm stretching routine.

  29. Depends on how you define most improved. If its based on % change, I say the team’s win/loss record will be most improved. Even if they only get 3 wins this year that will be a 50% improvement.

    If we are talking about which phase of the game they will be most improved, that’s a tough one. They were poor in so many areas the only way really is up. I expect most areas to show decent improvement, though I am not expecting dramatic improvement.

    The run D you think has to be better, but in terms of average yards per carry and rushing yards per game allowed I wouldn’t be surprised if they still end up fairly well entrenched in the bottom half of the NFL.

    Against the pass, I wouldn’t be surprised if that is one area they aren’t much improved. I expect some early growing pains as they adapt to a new system, and not sure of the DB group has really improved from last year, or that the pass rush will be significantly better (though I definitely expect it will be a bit better). Perhaps over the last 6 to 8 games we will see the pass D improve quite a bit, after a rocky start.

    On offense, the run game will be very different, but probably won’t generate more yards (they were top 5 last year). Unlike last year, there won’t be a lot of yards on the ground provided by the QBs, but the RBs should go alright. But then Hyde did pretty well last year anyway.

    The passing game will look completely different. I expect to something similar to how the Browns passing game looked in 2014. But produce better results as they will get more out of their backfield in the passing game, and Garcon is better than Miles Austin. A functional passing game off the back of a decent ground game, but nothing spectacular. Which really would constitute the biggest improvement in any one phase of the game.

      1. :-)

        I did at the end – the passing game will be most improved. Perhaps not statistically, but in terms of functionality for an offense to work, stay on the field and score points.

        1. Hoyer’s career 175 yards per game puts him behind even last years team cellar ranking 181.9 yards per game in passing offense. In 2013 Hoyer managed 237 ypg but had over 2500 yards receiving from Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron alone. Our current offense is not much better then what the Browns had in 2013 and even still we definitely don’t have a 1600 yard receiver or 1000 yard tight end. It’s going to be hard for this passing game to be successful with the players involved. Will it be better then last year, almost certainly but will it be the team’s biggest area of improvement? Hard to see it that way.

          1. Are you looking at his career average per game or per start? He had a lot of games earlier in nis career in particular where he barely played.

            Since 2014 in games where he has played at least the majority of the game he has thrown for an average of 250 yards per game over 29 games. So yeah, that would be an improvement methinks.

            In 2013 KS wasn’t the Browns OC and Hoyer only played in 3 games for them.

  30. We have a 5 minute edit function! Yesssss

    Can we get an ignore button now? That’s it. I won’t ask for anything else promise.

  31. Quiz of the Day II… What will be the most stunning, unforeseen disappointment this coming season? No need to show your work.

        1. To show my work, I offer up my kapologist, Mr. Seb.

          Scan any of last year’s profuse posts by Kapologist, Seb, and the work is there, but bring reading glasses, as after a few hours through his novel your eyes water.

    1. Shanahan leaves the 9ers in week 15 to become HC at Notre Dame…Brian Kelly let go. Shanahan takes ND to bowl win a week later.

  32. Offense. That’s why we hired the best WCO coach in the league, and supposed QB Guru.

    The 49ers have a new slot receiver who just had an 1800 yd season, reads coverages and finds the zone soft spots in addition to his short area explosiveness to gain separation–exactly what’s called for in a WCO quick release offense.

    Running backs are improved with the addition of Utah’s Williams and 4.38/40 RB, Matt Breida who ran for more 60 and 70+ yard touchdowns than anybody I’ve ever seen, so can be used in offensive subpackages and kickreturner (special teams).

    Coupled with the 4.51 TE, George Kittle, outside zone/inside zone/(some power) running game, I see the offense as the most improved aspect of the San Francisco 49ers.

    1. * Forgot to mention it was Kyle Shanahan in charge of Altlanta’s ‘historic record setting offense’, ranking 7th, all time along with the 2000, ‘Greatest Show on Turf’, St. Louis Rams.

      Those numbers are not a mirage, Niner fams. This coach knows exactly what his offense needs, and judging by the number of 4.3/40 athletes he’s acquired in his first few months, I can’t wait until next years draft when he gets his go to receiver.


  33. According to Football Outsiders, the 2016 O-line ranked 30th in pass protection and dead last in run blocking. I believe they’ll improve in both areas this year. They added Pro Bowler Jeremy Zuttah and I expect Joshua Garnett to play a lot better.

    1. I won’t speak to the flaws of their running game analysis. But their pass-protection analysis is entirely corrupt and, ironically, completely ignores their own data. For example, their data shows that about 22% of all pass plays where the ball is held for 3.6 or more seconds end in sacks. The best team in the NFL had a 15% sack rate at that time. The worst about 25%.

      A number of years ago they ranked the 49ers pretty low in pass protection. But when looked at the data were above average in every time split. The 49ers were, in the following splits:

      less than 2.5 seconds – 0.9% vs NFL 1.2%
      2.5 – 3.0″ 0.0% vs NFL 3.8%
      3.1 – 3.5 : 10.7% vs NFL 11.0%
      3.6+ – 21% vs NFL 22%

      Or, as you can see, they were above average, if only barely, in every time-split in protection. Yet they got fairly poor a bad ranking when they should have been mid-pack. And it was obvious as according to their own data Kaepernick took an average of 2.96 seconds as a passer to throw the ball (and over 40% of his attempts were at 3.6 seconds or longer). That average time to throw was the third-highest in the league. His average time to being sacked was 3.72 seconds, fourth-highest in the league.

      So clearly, he got at least decent protection. He wasn’t getting sacked because the line was caving. Yet the crap grade blaming the line for a QB who is simply not up to NFL speed.

      So the real problem with the line from 2014-though-2016 has been mostly because we’ve had a QB who holds the ball too long. The same happens in Seattle, btw. It’s not unique to the 49ers at all.

      Meanwhile the line for the Patriots gets great ratings because Brady rarely holds the ball with about 70%-to-80% of his passes coming out in under 2.5 seconds, where the sack rate is about 1% of drop backs. Just like with Peyton Manning at Indy and Denver.

      If Kaepernick was as fast as Brady (or Manning), the 49ers line would have a Top-10 pass-block rating. But he wasn’t. He was a sack creating machine. Same with Russell Wilson for that matter.

      So while you can ‘blame the line’ to your hearts content, the reality of it is the easy (and shallow) way to do it. It’s the QBs job to get the ball out timely or throw it away. Wilson and Kaepernick are both slow to throw QBs and make their lines look bad. Whereas QBs like Brady get it out quickly and his line looks good.

      And NONE of this factors into their ranking. It’s pure ‘how many sacks, kek!’

      There are other issues, too. Kaepernick and WIlson move around in the pocket. The line can’t see them so they set their protection to where the QB is supposed to be. When the QB moves, the defense (who can see them) can easily change their rush lanes to where he is, which, unfortunately, leaves the offensive lineman at a disadvantage because he has to protect where the QB is supposed to be and not where he went. So they, because of this, create a few more sacks every year.

      FO has some other fundamental analytical flaws as well. But of all of them, the worst is their complete ineptitude in rating pass-blocking.

  34. Is it just me, or has the “Sort by” function stopped working? When I click on newest it doesn’t reorder the posts.

  35. As Kyle Shanahan’s ‘draft crush,’ Trent Taylor out to prove he belongs

    It was a choice that didn’t come with much fanfare but certainly brought a smile to Shanahan’s face.

    “What Trent did is I thought he was as good at the slot role as anyone that we were looking at in the draft, is he really owned that spot,” Shanahan said. “He was very quick. His body’s always under him. He can make cuts. I thought what impressed me the most about him, besides the separation ability, is that when he did get the ball in his hands, he ran angry and pissed off. He got up the field. He’s not scared to get hit. He’s a very competitive, violent runner, and those are the guys to me who keep you on the field and move the chains.”


  36. Your IT guy is looking pretty professional now. My goodness, a much sharper look plus a white leather background! Plus an edit function. I take back what I said earlier. This iteration is a big upgrade, definitely. You should have mentioned it was a work in progress. If you did, I apologize for not seeing it. The “feel” of this blog has become extremely cool, for lack of a better word.
    Grant, may I suggest one thing, and this isn’t a barb. I think it’s time to switch your picture to a more current one. You’re not a rookie anymore and I recommend that you project an older image.

  37. The biggest improvement will come in the front office. All those years of a team being run ONLY in a GM’s eyes has been our greatest weakness. Players were drafted, and signed based on the bone headedness of a man that felt this team needed to be built in likeness. Even went as far as to go on the field and coach. He didn’t take input from anyone and he knew all his decisions​would be good aquisitions. Bottom line, this team got better as soon as the boss hired 2 people who would work hand in hand. And start to build this team together. Not saying it will work, but its a different vision than what we have been stuck with.

  38. The Day Seb was cleverly trapped into his multiple account ruse by Prime, and like ‘The Donald’ (Trump), diverts it to Hillary Clinton, although Mrs. Clinton has already been exhonerated by Congressional hearings:

    Razor i see 7-9 or 9-7 what do you see?

    Razoreater says:
    May 10, 2017 at 11:40 am
    7-9 would exceed my expectations by a win.

    Prime Time says:
    May 10, 2017 at 11:49 am
    10 sacks right for the King?

    sebnynah says:
    May 10, 2017 at 12:19 pm
    I said 10.

    Prime Time says:
    May 10, 2017 at 12:22 pm
    That’s what I said Sebrazor! Buwhahahahah!!!!!!!!!!

    sebnynah says:
    May 10, 2017 at 12:27 pm
    Prime, you really are pathetic. Posters see how hard you are trying to perpetuate this myth, but now you have relegated yourself to be the site clown.

      1. TrollD, you seem to think that attacking a die hard faithful Niner fan is going to make you seem intelligent or classy.

        No, it just amply demonstrates your worst traits. You are the kind of poster who goes off the deep end and starts conjuring up delusions about breaking into Aldon’s assault rifle collection, then believes in creating nightmares. You are one sick puppy.

        Your football intelligence is suspect, because you actually advocated for a trade of Kaep for Tebow, even with a million picks.

        You are a Raider troll who comes to this site pretending to be Niner fan, and I distinctly remember you cheering for the Raiders, something I find contemptible.

        You cannot conjure up an original thought so you just copy and paste ad nauseum.

        I am the one poster on this site that posted a mock on the day before the draft that predicted that the Niners would trade back, and still get the player they coveted. I advocated that they should trade up, and use a later pick to select a player they coveted. I even said that the Niners should try to get 2018 second and third round picks.

        I wanted John Lynch to put on his Trader Bill Hat, and leverage that number 2 pick into as may picks as possible. I was wrong. He put on his Trader John Hat and made me proud. He was disappointed in missing out on the record for number of trades. I said I would be happy if he accomplished more than one.

        I hope the Niners win multiple rings, and after Lynch hit a grand slam in the draft, I think they might improve from winning 6 games to not having a losing season.

  39. Everything.
    The team was 2-14. They were the second worst team in the league, so there is only one spot worst.
    I think the team will be more competitive. Better players, better coaches, better schemes, better management. Even the fans will be “better” because there will be hope.

  40. Completely off topic, but if you haven’t had a chance to listen to Maiocco’s latest podcast you need to find some time for it. Gary Lewis, Bob Waters and Matt Hazeltine played for the Niners in the 60’s and tragically all 3 were diagnosed and eventually died of ALS. It’s not a judgement piece against football, in fact Maiocco talks to a Dr. who says there is no scientific proof of a correlation between football and ALS, but it’s a really heartfelt and well told story. Ken Willard and Dave Wilcox are big contributors to it as well . Really really good listen.


  41. In terms of music’s metaphoric implications, a few posters evoke the title song of an old Jethro Tull album. The one after “Aqualung.”

      1. Prime,

        Seb is crazy. You proved that above by exposing his multiple account scheme.

        What person in his right mind posts multiple drafts by supposedly two different people then holds conversations with his two personalities over whose draft was better ?

        1. I don’t think he is crazy Tom as much as he is lonely.
          Any dialogue, good bad or indifferent is a bonus for him.

            1. Thank you Cassie, for bringing up Kaep. I was refraining from talking about him, just because other posters wanted a break from discussing Kaep, and since the draft took up a lot of attention and the rookie mini camp, I was concentrating elsewhere.

              But since you broached the subject, it sounds like you want my opinion, so i will give you an earful.

              Right now, Kaep is the best option for the Niners. I had been resigned to him leaving, and postulated on many different landing spots. I knew Kaep felt betrayed, and was stabbed in the back one too many times. I surely thought that the Texans wanted him because all they lack is a competent QB. They have the number one defense, and Osweiler was a dud.

              However, in the draft, they gave up a number one pick to move up and select Watson.
              I thought the Broncos would want Kaep because he was considered last season, but Elway said he was content with his present QBs. I knew that the Bears were out of the running when they jumped for Trubisky.

              Now, the Cards just signed Gabbert, so that option is closed. So, by default, the Niners are right now his best option.

              Who do the Niners have signed? Hoyer, Barkley and CJB. Hoyer never won a playoff game. In fact, Hoyer threw like the DBs were the intended receivers 4 times and fumbled once, so he single handedly lost that game with 5 turnovers. Barkley has never sniffed the playoffs, But I think he will beat out Hoyer. CJB has good bloodlines, but he was exposed in practice by not being able to throw a deep ball, or while rolling out. They ended up letting him complete some short passes to bolster his confidence. Even the 4th QB ran the forty over 4.8, so they are all limited as immobile pure pocket passers.

              What can Kaep do? He can throw on the run, and is fast enough to be able to elude the pass rush if the O linemen do not turn into turnstiles. He is a threat to run for a TD every time he touches the ball. I remember one game when he put his foot on the half yard line, then sprinted upfield untouched for a TD, out racing the safeties. Those talents allow Kaep to present a dual threat, which stresses the defense. Kaep with his 4-2 road playoff record and playoff records, is better than the present Niner QBs. Every poster who hates Kaep so much that he or she would rather prefer those present QBs, just amply demonstrates their utter lack of football knowledge.

              We all saw how Kaep can take the league by storm with the proper supporting cast.

              We also saw how Baalke gutted the team, and was just content to lose by not even trying.

              Now we see Lynch performing miracles in the draft and assembling a decent coaching staff. He signed a boatload of FAs to fill all the holes, and he has given the Niners plenty of talent to engage in a spirited competition.

              Prime better start sweating, because Lynch promised to do everything in his power to improve the team. Kaep is better than any present QB, and Prime even admits that because he says the Niners have no QB.

              Lynch also left the door open, and since the league has essentially blackballed Kaep, he may have no recourse but to return. While KS has tried to justify not pursuing Kaep, I still think he is competent enough to take any QB and make him better.

              Lynch just needs to really want to win, and Kaep gives them the best chance to win. Granted, Kaep should not be handed the job and should be forced to compete just like every other player.

              Another reason why I think Lynch could sign Kaep? I think Lynch is mature, and very smart.

              1. Your quote… “Lynch just needs to really want to win…” Would appear Lynch’s desire to win will not be affirmed until he brings Kaep back. Seb, is this correct? Yes or no.

              2. What can Kap not do? Get an NFL job presently because he’s a one dimensional QB as you so eloquently demonstrated in your post above. He isn’t a pocket passer. This is a passing league! If he wants to run he should be a RB.

              3. Mr.Seb
                They gave someone else his jersey number. The symbolism is inescapable. At some point you may have to acknowledge reality.

              4. Cassie, actions speak louder than words.

                Sure am glad Lynch left open the door for him to return, in a positive and exciting way.

                John Lynch is also a man of his word, and when he said he would consider every option, that is why I posted so many mocks with so many trade scenarios. I purposefully made them favor the Niners, just to let them see the possibilities, but knew that he would have to probably accept less, just like I think Kaep will have to accept less to return.

                Since he said he would consider all options, I posted a blueprint for how he should conduct his draft. It was as if he read my post, because he followed it almost to the letter. The only thing he missed was avoiding unforced errors. He should have been patient, and not moved up for CJB because the teams ahead of them did not need a QB, and they could have saved a draft pick.

                Maybe my question to you and the other so called experts is- Do you think Hoyer, Barkley and CJB are superior to Kaep? Then you will know my answer.

              5. Also said door is closing fast… then jersey was given to someone else. So,… tea leaves…some people have eyes and some are just perpetually blind to reality.

              6. Van, Barkley obtained number 7, but with 90 players and all those retired numbers, there are few extra numbers to go around. Niners will have to cut a player to sign Kaep, so why not Barkley, the player he will replace?

                Even so, maybe Kaep should get a different number. 7 seems unlucky to him. Maybe he should go with an even number, like 10, his college number. Sure, that is Ellington’s number, but he may not be on the team after the 53 cuts. Even numbers seem lucky, like 8, 12, 16.

              7. You are thick…if they wanted him they would have brought him in. The coach already said he didn’t want him.

                What don’t you get? Are you so blind?

                Seriously, I thought you moved on? You’re a sad and deluded man.

              8. TK said it best. The thresh hold to determining if Kaep is being blackballed was if Gabbert signed ahead of him. Gabbert did sign.
                I hope you will concede that Kaep is superior to Gabbert.

                Since Kaep is being blackballed by the rest of the league, he may be forced to return, and he will only do that if he is assured that the FO will not stab him in the back again. Luckily, Lynch is now in charge, and he is not a mean, petty, vindictive man like Baalke. Lynch is mature, and will not fall prey to emo eruptions. He is also smart, and can clearly see that Kaep is superior to any QB presently on the roster.

                Maybe Jed should grow up, apologize to Kaep for the classless treatment they gave him, and ask him to return. Of course, I know Jed does not mind losing as much as Lynch, but maybe Lynch can change Jed’s mindset.

              9. East, things change. I fully expected Kaep to leave, but now the draft is over and the QB situation is settled on many teams, the options are being closed.

                Even if Kaep does not sign with this team, there will be another Teddy Bridgewater situation, and some team will want another QB. This is a game of attrition, so I fully expect Kaep to play somewhere next season.

              10. East, like you pointed out, this is a passing league, and having an elusive QB who can be multi dimensional and deliver the ball on the run or in a mobile pocket, just makes him that much more dangerous and hard to defend against. Having an immobile QB is just like setting him up on a tee, getting him ready to be driven into the ground.

                Dan Marino was a pure pocket passer, and he had elite throwing skills, but the Niners lined up and rushed to a spot, and bludgeoned him in that SB. Carson Palmer is the same. Denver stopped Brady in that AFCC game because they had Von Miller.

                Wilson, who I intensely dislike, is a mobile QB who won a SB, and came within 1 yard of repeating, so I have to grudgingly give him his due. Matt Ryan, while not known to be a speedster, used his mobility to roll out and make plays.

                Sure, we would all like a pure pocket passer who is deadly accurate and can get the ball off quickly so he does not get sacked, but like KS said, those types of players are extremely rare.

                QBs who are a dual threat will become the wave of the future, because their elusiveness will allow for more extended plays which will stress the defense.

  42. Run defense seems pretty obvious. But I will go with total pass offense. The Niners were dead lassing in passing offense in 2016 with 181 yards per game. I will say they will improve at least by 75%. Better system, better players better coaching will carry the day..

  43. Getting rid of Baalke and Kaepernick were the biggest improvements for the team. The best improvement will be on defense. The previous defensive coach was a problem so the immediate improvement will be on defense. In time the offense will also flourish under Shanahan. The level of coaching is always the key to better results.

  44. In 2014, Gilliam decided to leave Penn State with a year of eligibility left because he didn’t want to go through a second coaching change after Bill O’Brien signed with the Houston Texans. He knew he was a taking a risk though because there was basically no chance that a team was going to draft a tackle who was recruited as a defensive lineman and then moved to tight end.

    As of now, Gilliam and Peters are basically on the exact same trajectory. That has little bearing on the future of Gilliam, but it makes for a great example of how ignorant it can be to assume the worst of a player’s future simply because he has a mysterious and unusual past.

    These are the reasons that Gilliam is in Seattle and why he started 16 games at right tackle in 2015,

    And for that reason, I have as much reason to believe that Gilliam will become a great NFL left tackle as I do that he will be relegated to being an average right tackle for the rest of his career. It’s not like I’m saying he’s going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer or anything, but I will say this:

  45. I just want to check out the edit command. That’s the most important feature at this point in the 2017 NFL season.

      1. Htwaits, after you make your comment you’ll have 3 minutes or so to engage the edit option that will appear with a timer counting down.

  46. Is it just literal me or has almost no one answered Grant’s question as asked? Never mind. There’s no real reason to.

  47. Did it again and now I get b, i, link, and quote commands. This is fun.

    Now I got an edit option. But no other options when doing an edit.

  48. QB pass production. For all the reasons the community has discussed over the last three years. Perhaps some other position other than FG/PAT kicker leads the team in scoring.

  49. I think the answer to the question is; “on the field.” I mean, where else can they improve, the locker room?

  50. The biggest improvement over last year is Shanny & Lynch. Even if the record ends up just slightly better, they have quickly & decidedly put their system in place and full roster turnover is in effect. If they surprise and have a good record then we could go after Cousins next off season. If we are drafting in the top three again then we can pick our franchise QB. I’ll be interested to see what happens with Adam Peters in the next couple of years too because he is a key person to turning this ship around too. Right now it’s more about establishing process than players.

    My only concern is the Yorks. I know some are feeling warm & fuzzy to the Jedster, but his making tv appearances and taking somewhat of a smug victory lap bothers me. He needs to be humble and stay behind the scenes & write the checks like Eddie did. We only saw Eddie when he was hoisting a trophy or firing Trestman. Jed has done nothing yet & should lay low until then. As for John York lurking in the draft room -he’s just a creepy dude & he worries me that he may scare our duo off before their 6 year deals are up.

  51. On my tablet the ‘window’ where the text and avatars appear is relatively small. It only takes up maybe 50-60″ of the width of the screen. The former format was one of the aspects that really set this blog apart from the competitors that use really small comment sections.

    1. Not sure this addresses your issue, but you can pull down on the comments box and expand it. Pull on the lower right-hand corner.

    2. I reread your post and see what you are saying. I have a 20″ rectangular monitor and get the same thing.

  52. Special teams will be the most improved during the first year because the offense is still a work in progress and special teams will be called in a lot.

    1. And with most of the roster changing out with new people, there will be a higher amount of comp in special teams until the team gets a better look at the players they have.

  53. Yards after catch will be improved since our QBs from last year couldn’t throw with anticipation or consistently hit people in stride.

    1. A furor over nothing. Anyone think Kaepernick is willing to take the league minimum like Gabbert just agreed to?

        1. There have been no reports of any contact with Kaepernick’s agent so there is no information about what he wants other than he has said that he wants to play football. No one outside his group has any idea what he wants until they ask.

      1. I said long ago his play lacked the passion, and that his heart was no longer in football. I thought he’d retire, and team with Nessa doing full time activism….

        1. I said long ago that Kaep really never learned how to compete with equals. He was always BMOC. High School in Turlock, college at U. Nevada Reno; given job when Alex Smith gets injured and Gabbert proves beyond a doubt he’s career backup. Some guys are born competitors (John Lynch ya think?) and some guys have to sink or swim. Kaep sunk.

    2. It has nothing to do with being black balled and everything to do with his ability to be an NFL QB.

      If teams thought he could help them win games they would sign him.

      If teams are willing to draft prospects with checkered pasts, then they would be willing to take a chance on him.
      Bottom line, he stinks!

      1. He’s blackballed himself with his salary demands. If he asks for less and non-starter position he’d have a job already.

          1. 2015 was an aberration because he was injured. In fact, he was so injured, he needed 3 surgeries.

            Last season he did OK, even with the worst ranked WRs in the league. There were moments when he threw with touch, on the money. Too bad in the second half, the coaches were incapable of making an adjustment. Even so, he had a 16-4 TD to pick ratio, and a 90.7 rating even with at least 20 drops.

            Better start sweating, Kaep may return.

            Remember, Kaep took the league by storm, and with a good supporting cast, he may do it again.

          1. Refresh did allow me to add this comment to my post.

            Only I clicked on Reply instead of Edit. A senior moment or two.

      2. Exactly… he is being blackballed but that’s because coaches see him as a below average starting qb who they would have to completely change their offense for and would constantly be looking to replace.

        That is tough for most coaches to want to deal with on its own. Coupled with the fact that he doesn’t seem to want to work on his mechanics and would be a team wide distraction. What organization wants to take that on?
        He is essentially a slightly better Tim Tebow… bad teams see no reason to have him as he isn’t going to make them better, and good teams don’t want him as he is a distraction who they would have to change their offense for if the starter went down.

  54. Time of possession on offense will be the biggest improvement. Even though Shanny likes to run fast, the TOP won’t be like it was under Chip. With improved time of possession, the 49ers defense won’t be playing every down like they are defending a beer at the end of a marathon. Improved time of possession will automatically mean better run defense which will mean a better overall defense.

    1. OK. I see that you have to refresh the page after you post in order for the edit feature to show. At least in Chrome you have to do that.

      1. Not sure if it shows on iPhone – never mind it does! Great!! – Like the new feature Grant! Thanks!

      1. Interesting. Foster was drafted to play MIKE eventually. I wouldn’t trade Bowman unless Foster is 100% at training camp. I’d still hate to see him traded.

      2. That would be a mistake. If culture change and playing the game the right way are goals, then Bowman is the most important player on the roster…

        I miss the Cowboy. He should be invited to talk to the team (maybe coach? What is he up to anyway)

        1. He owns a golf club in central Missouri and built a new house. I think he did some motivational speaking with the Missouri Tigers a year or two ago.

  55. Where will the Niners make the most improvement over the 2-14 team? The only place they probably will NOT improve is over the running game, which ranked 4th in the league.

    Since the Niners were ranked last or near the last in so many categories, all of them should show improvement.

    The most important area which will allow for that improvement, starts at the top. Jed finally has hired a competent GM, and everything will improve because of his actions. Lynch has assembled a competent coaching staff, instead of Cleveland Browns DCs and DJs.

    Lynch has been instrumental in acquiring FAs, and has shrewdly filled all the holes with decent, but not too expensive FAs. Then he put on his Trader John Hat, and hit a grand slam. Next, he had open tryouts, with a boatload of players, and set the tone by cutting KD Cannon.

    John Lynch is setting the tune, and everyone is singing in harmony. The Niners would not have accomplished half as much if Lynch had not come aboard. I truly wonder if KS might have bailed if Lynch did not convince him to come here. He spent the first 3 picks on defense, so he knows where the weaknesses are. Fixing the defense will make the Niners competitive again. If KS can improve the offense, the Niners may become relevant again.

  56. It depends on how you want to look at it?
    In terms of Team Units?
    DLine – This should be the most improved unit. Last year the niners Dline lost both of their 3-4 Anchors (NT) at the beginning of the season and the Run D improved greatly once Glenn Dorsey Returned and Chris Jones was brought in.

    Honorable Mention: Linebackers – The only reason they are not rated as the most improved group by me was because the Dline was so poor last year they were unable to keep the Oline off of them for more than a heartbeat. So it was tough to tell just how bad they were … and given that they ran the 3-4 it could be argued that Brooks was their best defender last year (sad, I know.) The other factor that keeps me from giving them Top Honors is not knowing just how good Bowman will be upon his return… if he returns to even last years form this will be the most improved unit.

    In terms of game elements?
    The Run Defense: They were all time bad in this area as both their linebacker and DLine units suffered devastating injuries… and in the case of the linebackers, just didn’t have much talent to begin with.

    Honorable Mention
    Passing Game: This year expect the niners to have a more accurate qb who will get rid of the ball quickly to receivers who are more sure handed. I expect the niners average 30 yrds or more per game passing than they did last year.

    In terms of the Team?
    The atmosphere: The coaching is much improved and the players will buy in more than last year. The front office and coaches are once again working together and so the whole team will have greater clarity of vision and purpose. Last year the Front office, coaches and players didn’t trust each other; the players were way to relaxed with losing; the front office drafted players that were not schematical fits for this coaching system; and they had protest that caused a distraction to the team.

    Honorable Mention: Coaching, last year the 49ers Run Defense was so poorly coached they couldn’t make simple adjustments to stop the opponent from running the ball down their throat. Kelly’s offense then exacerbated the problem with his hurry up offense (even though he tried to slow it down) and his inability to make half time adjustments.

  57. When you are 2-14 and both victories are against one team, improvement across the board is a must. The defense was horrible last year. Not only the run defense but the pass defense as well. They stunk on defense, no question about it. The biggest improvement will be the QB position. Reason KS. Why – the system.

    1. Yeah… It’s that time of year again… Where hope springs eternal and every UDFA signed is a veritable jewel in the rough…

      Considering the personnel and problems at TE, he might have a reasonable chance. But I’m not holding my breath.

      1. Be up to him, but you have to like his chances. Afterall, Celek is at his ceiling and we already know VMac isn’t in their long term plans. Kittle/Hickey might be a formidable duo next year….

  58. I know everyone is sunshine and daisies but remember we are in the honeymoon phase of the new team. Every new transition will generally have a grace period. That will end once the team begins to sustain what ownership and fans consider unacceptable losses.

    Not sure what that is for this team considering the bar was set so low by the last crew.

    In either case, I do remember stories of Baalke and Harbaugh getting along and jogging together at the beginning so relationships can begin well and take a turn as priorities change.

    This team will not always have a massive salary cap or lots of holes and that will mean some players will need to be cut or be squeezed. That may put the priorities of the coach and the GM at odds. .

    It’s easy to compromise when you are at rock bottom and have nowhere to go but up. A lot harder when you are up top or competing for a top spot.

    The real mettle of Lynch and Shanahan will be proven when the tough times hit.

    1. Yes. And lurking in the shadows is Jed, along with his parents. Wouldn’t take much for Jed’s cooties to launch the infection yet again.

    2. I get your drift…but inheriting a team your daughter calls “awful ” isn’t hard times enough?
      ; -)

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