Which 49ers rookie will make the biggest impact in 2015?

Based on how the offseason is going so far, which 49ers rookie do you expect to make the biggest contribution next season and why?

My prediction: Not Arik Armstead.

Armstead might end up the best player from this draft class down the line, but I doubt he’ll play much next season. I expect Quinton Dial will beat out Armstead for the left defensive end job in the base defense, and I expect the Niners will use defensive linemen other than Armstead in the sub-packages. The Niners need pass-rushers on passing downs, and Armstead isn’t a pass-rusher, not yet at least. He’s a run-stuffer who needs development.

I predict second-round pick Jaquiski Tartt will make the biggest contribution of the Niners’ rookies next season. He’s already standing out during OTAs, according to Louis Riddick of ESPN.

Tartt should be the Niners’ No.1 gunner on special teams next season, and he probably will receive playing time as an extra safety in the Niners’ Dime defense. The Niners will find ways to use him right away.

    1. I Agree. RB Mike Davis could challenge for part-time playing time as he has the Gore-like shiftiness and quick bursts….The 49ers don’t develop interior lineman well in their first year because of the reads they must make in a 3/4 defensive scheme…(similarly on offense they get a failing grade for delving into the early rounds for a WR or QB…Here’s a few people in the profession’s analysis of 49er QB talent level:

      May 23, 2015 at 8:48 am



      May 23, 2015 at 4:04 pm



  1. I’ll go with Armstead. Maiocco refuted Riddicks’ report regarding Tartt and instead offered he would have a better chance to stand out when the pads go on due to his physical style….

  2. I’m going to say Bradley Pinion.

    Assuming he beats out Andy Lee, he will in all likelihood be the only rookie starting for the 49ers this year. And I think his ability to pin the ball inside the 20 and kick the ball dead on kick offs will be of greater importance to the team than the role played by any other rookie.

        1. Tartt isn’t going to have an impact this season. I agree with Scooter. Pinnion is probably the only rookie who will see the field. The team will cut ties with Lee simply because you do not draft a punter that early in the draft to cut him in the same season.
          Davis has the next best chance just because the position he plays is injury prone. It’s lazy journalism to cut and paste an article that has already been refuted. As was mentioned before, Matt Maiocco, who has earned a great deal of respect for his observations, has said that Tartt has yet to do anything to stand out.

      1. Assuming Pinion does beat out Lee, do you still think Tartt will have the greatest impact of any rookie?

    1. Damn! You might be right, Scooter. This might be as ineffective a draft for rookies as 2012 was, if not more so. At least in ’12 we had some plays with LaMichael James fumbling the ball, but at least getting some yards.

      My three picks for playing time are RB Davis, Tartt, and Harold. Actually, I think Tomsula will find ways to slip in a few rookies into the game whenever spare plays present themselves. He’s a team-first kind of coach.

    2. I’m also going it Pinion.
      How sad the situation must be when a 5th round punter is your most valuable rookie.

  3. Although his overall impact will be limited by playing time I expect Eli Harold to have a strong rookie season.

    1. Let me change that to play the game right. I think Harold will have a meaningful impact as a rookie, how much so will be dependent on Baalke’s plans with Aldon Smith. If Baalke has already decided to walk away from Aldon then Harold could easily be the most impactful rookie of the season. There will be motivation to give Harold plenty of snaps or even to win the starting job. If Baalke plans on trying to resign Aldon then Harold’s rookie campaign will be less so.

    2. I’m going to say Eli Harold. Only because I see Lynch have a sophomore slump and Eli being a special teams ace then working his way into dime and nickel packages. This guy is a beast and can run like the wind!

  4. Its funny, when I read the headline I immediately thought of Jaquiski Tartt. They’ll probably use him as a matchup option as a dime back/LB against bigger WRs and TEs. And like Grant said, he’ll be one of the main special teams players.

    My second choice would probably be Mike Davis. Like the d-line, I think they’ll look to rotate the RBs more this year and Davis could see his fair share of snaps.

  5. Either Tartt or Eli Harold.
    Tartt – probably get more and more reps each week as the season goes on. SF will probably use Nickel forms often, even seeing 3 safeties on the field at once.
    Harold – be used in the rotation to give starting OLBs a breather. If Brooks is somehow cut post June 1, then Harold will see the field a lot more. I think he will have 3-4 sacks but could be 6-7 sacks if Brooks is gone.

  6. How many 14 year old’s are offered a college scholarship by their defensive line coach without having played a down of varsity football?

  7. Tartt,

    I agree with those who think he’ll get on the field as a Kam Chancellor type player in the dime, in addition to playing on special teams.

    1. Heh, good point. Can’t argue with that. While we can only speculate at this point which rookies will actually get the opportunity to make an impact, it’s pretty safe to say Coach Tomsula will definitely affect the team’s success this year.

    1. I agree with this. I live in slc and have seen Anderson play. He was healthy two seasons ago and had a great year with a horrible qb. Travis Wilson is horrible. He put up great numbers. He could be the steal of the draft…..

    2. I like Anderson and hope he makes the 53, he’ll be snatched up before he makes the PS. But I think in order for him to make the 53 he’ll have to beat out Simpson. I don’t see Patton or Bruce going anywhere. I think they have high hope for Patton, as do I. The only other way is if they decide to keep 6 WRs this year. That will be an interesting battle.

      I really like Tartt and Eli. I think I envision a sub package with Ward and Tartt in the nickel, where Tartt comes in and plays a hybrid LB/S role along side Bowman.

      Eli I see in rotation with Aldon and Lynch, but I doubt he get very many snaps this year.

      I think Grants right about armstead to an extent, he’s way behind missing all OTA’s. But hopefully he comes along as the season progresses.

      1. If we’re talking 2nd year players I’m really looking forward to seeing B. Thomas, hopefully he’s a big upgrade when it comes to pass blocking, and not too much of a down grade when it comes to run blocking.

        I also would like to see Marcus Martin comes in and steal the RG spot from Boone, and I couldn’t careless what happens to Boone after that. He’d make an excellent swing tackle though, however his ego may not allow for it.

        1. There’s a good chance that Thomas will be an upgrade over Iupati.

          “The real issue, though, is Iupati, whose recent performance has not lived up to his reputation. His rate of one blown block per 37 snaps played ranked 32nd out of 37 qualifying left guards (minimum 400 snaps) and 97th out of 108 interior linemen. This wasn’t a one-year fluke, either; in 2013, he had virtually the same rate (one every 36.8 snaps). In total, we tabbed Iupati with 20 blown blocks on pass plays last season. Only one interior lineman had more: Ted Larsen, Arizona’s left guard last season who will now move over to center.”


          1. Thanks Grimey,

            That’s quite an interesting stat. I knew he was bad but not that bad. The guy is a physical specimen, but never seemed to get the mental aspect of it. Right off the bat Thomas seems like the mental aspect will not be an issue, but I doubt he can match what Iupati brought physically.

          2. Actually, Iupati is still great, a least when healthy. Last year he played with a broken foot. That is why his pass-blocking was so poor. His new season in AZ will be the 49ers nightmare.

        2. Boone used to be quite the team player, and quite the player as well. Now, he’s just a whining punk, playing regressively worse while crying out for more money. He screwed us good last year, now trying to do the same this year. Last year’s other problematic players have stepped up. Both Brooks and Vernon are in great shape, never late, and working hard. We need to bite the bullet and trade Boone to a lowly team in the AFC, perhaps Jaguars. Trade him for draft picks. Getting rid of Boon will be an addition by subtraction.

          1. I’m on board with a Boone trade, but if and only if, Martin is ready to take over at RG. That would leave us with a nice young developing interior line for year to come. But man Boone would be an excellent swing tackle, take him way over Pears.

  8. This is similar to the question I posed the other night, which went unanswered (due in part to McDonald’s arrest), but I think it would be appropriate to include 2nd year players who were red-shirted last year…….. or to simply include them, perhaps absent Lynch and Hyde.

    If we go rookies, I go Pinion, Tartt, Harold……… and hoping Tartt stands out.
    If we include 2nd year players, I go Thomas, assuming he earns the LG spot, but hope that Reaser surprises………..

  9. Pinion would be the logical choice, I am going with Blake Bell. Listed as TE I bet he will be the H back that’s been missing since Walker.

      1. “MAN”, That’s my pick also, He’s my secret weapon. have u seen his film from college, “EXPLOSIVE”, MY ROOKIE OF THE YEAR DAWG!!!:) But this years draft, I like the CB Reaser to compete for a Starting job, or atleast as the third CB to come off the bench, that’s a starter when they go three wide outs, feel me!!!

        1. Sooner fan here. Millard did anything and everything. Can’t wait to see him get a chance. Blake is a bit stiff and slow and have a hard time seeing him getting much time.

  10. Grant, You got it all right. I like your article.
    I think it should be “No one”
    our 49ers are doomed from start. Baalke is replacing every good player (Scott’s era) with tweeners with no play-makers. He just loves every player with busted Knee(s). He waste his first 3 rounds NOVA players. He is going to turn 49ers into laughing stock of NFL.

  11. 2015 was much more of a developmental draft then 2014. I’m guessing Pinion.

    With the problems covering tall guys vs the Bears and Broncos last year, Tartt could alternate with Ward on slot responsibilities depending on the height of the slot receiver. Tartt could also play the role of tight end stopping specialist.

  12. Just to complicate the speculations about who lines up where on the DL, I seem to recall that TJE got most of his work his rookie year at RDE; so he’s another candidate on that side as well. He was good against the run; if our DE’s are going to 2Gap, as has been suggested, he could help.
    If Carradine plays with smart feet (defends the edge in Base), we’ll be good.

  13. What about Blake Bell. I know he’s a little raw at his position only having played there one year in college but with Vance Mcdonald not panning out as the backup and Derek carrier not coming back from injury, I think Blake Bell could excel in our system as a blocker and especially with his height and from what people have said about the kids hands catching the football he would be a great red zone target for kaep.

  14. Does it have to be a true rookie? I like Reaser to make a strong contribution. I would not be surprised if Blake bell, Tart and Harold all had impressive rookie performances.

    I am actually warming up to this draft class. If we had taken every player one round later than we did and not drafted AA at all, I would be extremely pleased

    1. Good call. I was thinking Reaser too. Millard if the Bruce Miller vandalism charge fails to clear up. Cut down to 53’s going to hurt.

  15. I see Arik Armstead making the most impact. He may not be better than TJE yet, but half way through the season he will be. With Armstead, Williams, and Dial at their respective positions(left to right DE) it will be hard for teams to create big running lanes or any sort of running lane at all on 1st or 2nd down

  16. Grant
    I had an OTA question. I see there are some going on when I will be in the area. The week of June 1st. Are these open to the public?

  17. I have three.
    My first choice is head coach Tomsula
    Second I think Bell beats out McDonald at TE..
    Third.. RB Mike Davis… I just refuse to buy Hunter makes it through training camp without an injury.

    1. md ..

      The Bell-dozer probably wouldn’t have to try
      very hard to beat out V-Mac ..
      (or Gabbert for that matter ! )

    2. Good picks MD, especially Hunter who will be an early cut to create camp roster space for a veteran pickup at another position on defense. Just watch and see.

      1. I’m reading that Hunter looks good this spring. I certainly don’t think he’ll be an early cut, and I give him a good chance of making the 53. We’ll see.

        1. Bro, as fans we see that every year about players trying to comeback from injuries. But when you go back a few years and look at rosters, you see those same players not making the team or going to other teams that give them a shot and they ether get cut again or play one last season. Just go a to a site like Pro football-Reference and you’ll see lots of familiar 49er plyers names believe me.

  18. I’m going with the longshot; Haynes
    I see him returning 3 for a TD and some yardage for the go ahead TD

  19. Going by Grants past history, whoever Grant says will be a bust will make the PB. Whoever Grant says will be a star will probably get cut.

  20. From this years Draft, I like Reaser the cb to make an impact, also Tartt. From last year’s Draft my guess & favorite player is Trey Millard to start at Fullback, ya dig!!! From the year before that year, it’s the “TANK”, DL with some pass rush also!!! But don’t count out “PATTON”, from the two year’s ago Draft, & Branden Thomas from last year’s Draft. In all, You really wanna know who going to be the “BEST”, this year, THE “49ERS” GOT DAMMIT!!!!! SUPERBOWL FOOLS, Y’ALL GET READY BC WHERE GOING, YA DIGG!!!!!!!!

  21. These Dres Anderson predictions are a laugh. A second game pre-season cut will end his NFL career, lol. Davis, due to injuries at the RB position, is going to be the big surprise quickly passing Bush aside. Hunter is a goner, too.

    1. So you predict Dres Anderson will suffer a career ending injury in the second preseason game, and then you proceed to laugh about it? And you then also (apparently) predict an injury, or injuries, to both Carlos Hyde and Kendall Hunter which remove them from the lineup? What rock did you crawl out from under? Please crawl back under it and stay there.

      1. Bar None, no, I didn’t say that Anderson would get injured and laugh about it. Can’t you read? I did not predict an injury to Hyde, either. I was hinting that there could be an injury (not career-ending) that could allow Davis to move up the depth chart. As far as Kendall Hunter, we all know that he is trying to comeback from a serious injury after suffering an injury the season before and not many players make it back. I’m really sorry you have such poor reading comprehension or read things into statements that didn’t exist.

        1. An to clear this up since you lack the ability to comprehend, I was saying that Anderson was not going to make the team, thus being “cut.” I was laughing at how many here think he as an undrafted free agent, is going to surpass other WR’s based on his father having played in the NFL. Is that clear for you now?

  22. One thing this little exercise has done is show how little impact this class is likely to have this season. Armstead is likely to see the most snaps so I’d say him or the Punter. The rest will be STs players, find their way to IR or spend the year on the PS.

    1. Rocket,

      Does this mean that you’re finally starting to realize that the roster isn’t so depleted, after all?

      Have you read Barrow’s article covering the recovery of the players who were injured last year? The 49ers were 8-8, having one game taken away by the refs, the players occupying two locker rooms at the practice facility, knowing that Harbaugh might be on his way out, and saddled with all the injuries.

      Sure, this coaching staff may prove to be a fuster cluck (although, as time goes by, the more hopeful I’m becoming) and the 49ers might suffer another crazy rash of injuries, but it’s looking far more likely that the 49ers are primed to bounce back from a bad “perfect storm” season.

      I am one of those who was initially against both the Tomsula hiring and the Armstead draft pick. I still believe the 49ers may have been able to do better than both Tomsula and Armstead.

      However, I did some research and thinking about both and realized that the 49ers could’ve done worse with both, too. So, while I haven’t done a 180 and now feel both choices were perfect, I’m hopeful that both will work out, and that’s not from just being a fan.

      BTW, I don’t think, nor did I ever think, players drafted this year should be relied upon to spear head a rebound for the 49ers. The 49ers will rebound this year because the roster is good and last year was an extreme outlier injury wise.

      Time will tell.

      You recently alluded to “diluted” fans (deluded?) who are wild eyed optimists on the 49ers’ prospects next year. Hmm, could someone say those of you predicting 8-8 or 9-7 as the best the 49ers could do as being too negative? Again, time will tell.

      IMO, a winning record for the 49ers next year is way, way more likely than a losing record with ten or eleven wins being the most likely.

      1. ex,

        It appears I upset you with my fandom comments but that was not my intention so I apologize if I offended you. My sole purpose with that take was to point out we as fans tend to see the positives and ignore the negatives at times because that is how we want to see it play out. I included myself in that group as I’ve done it at times as well. I meant no disrespect, nor did I mean to imply anyone feeling this way was delusional. I hope that clears it up.

        Now as far as the talent on the team, it’s still a question mark to me. We have bodies on the roster no doubt about that, but we don’t know the level these guys can play at because a number of them haven’t had to play a prominent role yet.

        You are correct that injuries played a major role in the teams decline last year, but the losses in FA/retirement are almost as severe if not more. Think about it: No JS, Willis, Iupati, Crabtree, Gore, Culliver, Cox, McDonald, Borland. That is a lot of key talent and leadership that will not be coming back, and it is similar to the rash of injuries the team suffered last season only in a different context because they are offseason losses. I don’t think you can overlook the negative effect this will have on the team, and it doesn’t even take into account the injuries that could still arise. That is a major issue because this team doesn’t have a lot of proven quality depth in many areas.

        As far as Tomsula goes, I like the man, how could you not, but I don’t see how going from one of the winningest HC’s in the NFL to a Dline Coach with one year of HC experience in Europe is going to work out favorably. This is not a job you can just plug anyone into and expect success. The players like Tomsula, but he has to show he can match wits with some of the best minds in the game, and I’m not sure he’s ready for that quite frankly. The whole Coaching search left a bad taste in my mouth because it was clearly in the same vein as the dismissal of Mariucci a decade earlier. In that case, Dr. York fired a pretty good HC after an unlikely playoff win, and it led to one of the worst stretches in the teams history. I see similarities in this case with Jed firing a successful HC and not really having a plan as to how to replace him other than hiring a guy they like and get along with. When you combine that with the fact they had to settle for Coaches already on the staff at the Coordinator positions because more attractive options didn’t want the job…well that doesn’t fill me with a sense of optimism.

        I don’t want to tell you how to think ex. You are entitled to your opinion and I sincerely hope you are right and I am wrong, but my feelings won’t change until I see evidence that they should change. Right now we are in the offseason where eternal optimism can reign supreme. I want to see how the Coaching staff and young players respond when things actually matter.

        1. Thanks for putting the coaching staff in prospective. I’d like to know if John and or Eddie played any role in Jed’s convolutions about his classless mutually departed head coach. I doubt that Eddie was involved.

        2. “That is a major issue because this team doesn’t have a lot of proven quality depth in many areas.”

          Many see unproven as a negative.

      2. Rocket,

        Upset would be too strong, but it sure sounded like you weren’t leaving room for any other possibility than a person is deluded if they felt the 49ers were going to have a good season. Thanks for clearing thinks up.

        “Think about it: No JS, Willis, Iupati, Crabtree, Gore, Culliver, Cox, McDonald, Borland. That is a lot of key talent and leadership that will not be coming back, and it is similar to the rash of injuries the team suffered last season only in a different context because they are offseason losses. I don’t think you can overlook the negative effect this will have on the team, and it doesn’t even take into account the injuries that could still arise. That is a major issue because this team doesn’t have a lot of proven quality depth in many areas.”

        Willis was a shadow of his former self and missed a lot of the year, anyway. This may get me pilloried, but JS wasn’t as dominant as he had been in the past (it’s not like they’re trying to replace JS, circa 2011). Iupati is a dominant run blocker, but something of a turnstile in pass blocking. Crabtree? The only reason for his name to be included is for completeness. I think the RB situation will either be the same or better with Gore gone. Culliver, Cox and McDonald need to be replaced, but it’s quite possible that there are adequate or better replacements on the roster already. As for Borland, yes, he was a promising player, but, let me see, Borland or Bowman, Bowman or Borland? Hmmm, that’s a tough one, but I think I’ll go with Bowman.

        I’m not saying losing those players is a good thing, but I don’t think it’s nearly as bad as many think.

        I really can’t believe that you’re trying to argue that the players lost this offseason is going to be worse than the injuries / suspensions / hold outs of last year. In the words of John McEnroe, “You cannot be serious!”

        Bowman: out
        A Smith: out for nine and ineffective for the rest of the year
        Brock: out
        Cook: out
        Willis: never healthy, then out
        Ian Williams: out
        Dorsey: out
        Kilgore: looked great, then out
        A Davis: out
        J Smith: played with a bad shoulder, not nearly as effective as in the past
        Hunter: out
        Boone: hold out took a while to get going
        V Davis: bad off season seemingly led to a bad season
        Jimmy Ward: out for most of the season

        And I might be forgetting some of the missing players.

        The 49ers had the worst, or nearly the worst, lack of continuity on the offensive line last year.

        One could argue that your thoughts lingering on the past performances of players now gone from the team is the result of fandom. I think you’re vastly overvaluing the performances of Carbtree, J Smith, Iupati, Gore, and Willis. Idealizing players that have been players that have been part of the team, once gone is the right of a fan, but as you pointed out, may not be completely objective.

        It also seems that the other impediments to success the 49ers had last year have almost been completely discounted.

        The team wasn’t a happy family, as evidenced by half the team occupying one locker room and the other half in another. Not good, not at all.

        The players had to know that Harbaugh was likely out after the season. I don’t think anyone can believe that that’s a conducive to winning football.

        Of course the effects of these kinds of factors are hard to quantify, but they had to have some kind of drag on the team.

        You’re right, nothing means much until they start playing games. I just think the ledger is heavily balanced on the side of a better record for the 49ers next season.

        1. ex,

          My point about all the offseason losses is simply to point out the situation is not going to get better than last season imo. Sure we have some guys coming back, but the losses are significant, and losing two of the top leaders in the room – JS and Willis – is going to have an effect. Unlike last season where a number of these injured players played some games, this year the losses will play no games. You also state a number of possibilities but those same possibilities are just as likely to go the other direction. Maybe Bowman isn’t the same player anymore. Maybe the running game isn’t as good without Gore. Maybe there are players in the locker room who have doubts about the Coaching staff and don’t agree with how the firing of Harbaugh went down.

          You state some of the problems we had with continuity on the Oline but don’t mention the fact we could have the exact same problems this year. Kilgore hasn’t recovered yet, we will have a new LG, Davis and Boone aren’t joining the offseason practices and are missing the teaching of new blocking schemes. I don’t mean to insult you so please don’t take it that way, but this is what I mean in regards to only looking at the positive and downplaying the negative.

          Could everything work out the way you say it will? Absolutely. Could everything work out opposite to what you say it will? Absolutely. My view is simply that we shouldn’t expect everything to bounce back in our favor, and the losses in personnel and Coaching staff are detrimental to that happening. Where you see the ledger heavily balanced on the side of a better record, I see a ton of question marks that make me think this is a team that could win anywhere from 6 to 9 games. I’m not saying I’m right and you’re wrong; I’m saying this positive vibe going around is not necessarily realistic and may be more of the fan element that I explained earlier. Let’s look at it this way: if you were looking at the Seahawks and the same number of player and Coaching losses transpired, would you be saying they are as good as they were before? Personally, I believe this board would be giddy with the expectation that they were on their way down. All I’m doing is looking at the Niners from an honest point of view without incorporating my heart into the equation. When I do that, it’s not all peaches and cream.

          Don’t confuse my view with not wanting to see this team win though ex. Nothing would make me happier than coming here at the end of next season and listening to you tell me how wrong I was. I truly hope that is the case.

          1. Excellent post Rocket. You, Scooter, Razor, Jack, and MWN are the ones I love to see post on here. We may not always agree and can get into heated discussions, but it doesn’t change the how well done your posts our. Keep it up Rocket. You others as well.

          2. Rocket,

            Last year the 49ers suffered a perfect storm season. I just don’t believe a team that had 11 – 12 win talent, all of a sudden has 8 win talent, or worse. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

            I think you are looking at what many of the players who are no longer on the team were, rather than what there were last year, or what they would’ve been next year.

            Baalke has done a great job of filling holes on the roster. Why would he all of sudden lose the ability to restock the roster?

            I know how big a mistake you feel firing Harbaugh was. I felt that way at first, but less so as time goes by.

            Did you like the way plays were called (by committee, with JH holding veto power and the plays getting in with the clock winding down)? This was a big problem.

            Did you know that the 49ers threw the fewest passes of 20 yards or more last year? Combine that with the dearth of passes to RB’s and you have a passing game that is akin to the Jimmy Raye running game (I’m exaggerating, but how much?). If teams knew the 49ers weren’t likely to throw to a back or deep, how much easier were they to defend in the passing game?

            Did you like that JH allowed the team to dress for practice in either of two locker rooms?

            It seems to me that you are completely glossing over all of JH’s shortcomings, and there were many. Some important, others not as much. Could it be you’re letting your bitterness towards Jed cloud your judgment?

            You’re right, I would be giddy if the Seahawks suffered the same fate as the 49ers, but do you know why? Because the Seahawks defense would be dog sh-t if they suffered the same losses as the 49ers did last year. They certainly wouldn’t be the fifth best defense. Hell, they barely held it together when they were only missing Wagner. What would they look like if the lost Thomas and Chancellor, too?

            The Seahawks defense is great, and will continue to be so, just as long as they continue the incredible run of health they’re on. If they get hit by injuries, I don’t think they have the roster depth to work through it, like the 49ers did last year.

            One final thought: You say that you’re just being objective and we on the other side just don’t like the taste of that objectivity. Is anyone really the best judge of their own objectiveness?

            1. Go Ahead Ex-Golfer!!! Good post.
              Between you & Rocket is Platonic Reality, hehehe!
              We’ll see. There will be a lot of new moving parts that will have to gel co-ordinated to be effective. I’d like to see more game reps for principles in preseason.

              1. BT,

                Thanks, and you’re right, we won’t know much until at least preseason. Even so, I still see more reasons than not to expect a better season than last.

              2. Rocket,

                Do you think this staff is on the same level as Erickson’s?

                Also, don’t you think Baalke is just a little better than Donahue?

                Plus, there’s more talent on this team to start with.

                The only that looks the same is the firing of the coaches.

      1. I think Harold isn’t even a lock to beat out Lemonier for the 4th OLB spot. I expect Lemonier to be much improved, much hungrier this year after an embarrassing fall from grace in his second season.

        1. Scooter, I agree, but we know that on this blog how fast players who haven’t even made it through TC, can move up the depth chart ( See Dres Anderson). Folks really crack me up on this blog at times — or when they lack reading comprehension and put words in other fan’s mouths that they didn’t say.

          1. Whoknows, I went back and reread your post and I guess I deserve the blast about my reading comprehension in this case. I did misinterpret what you said and I apologize.

            1. No worries, Bar None. It just seems at times that fans are in too much of a hurry to make a negative response that they don’t seem to have really read a post that was left. I’m sure we’re all guilty of doing that at times. I think it is happening more this season because of the uncertainties of which direction our favorite team is headed this season. We all need to just accept the fact that we just going to have to wait a few more months to find out where the 49ers stand this season.

          1. If Harold shows sufficient promise and Lemons isn’t better than last year, I think Lemons goes the way of Cam Johnson.

            1. If Lemonier looks like the guy we saw in the regular season last year during pre-season this year, he’ll be a goner. But its worth keeping in mind that his pre-season play last year had people excited and expecting good things from him.

              I think Harold will have a hard time getting past Lemonier on the depth chart this year.

              1. Yep.

                Realistically, barring injury, the 4th OLB will primarily play on STs anyway. The trio of Smith, Brooks and Lynch should see the bulk of defensive snaps. I don’t expect Lemonier or Harold to see much game time this year unless there is an injury or two.

              2. I don’t expect Lemonier or Harold to see much game time this year unless there is an injury or two.
                In the first 3 games last season Lemnier had 90 snaps. He finished the season with 147. His first game he saw 39 snaps, his second 29 and finally by the his third game it was clear he wasn’t getting it and was down to 22 snaps. That’s the most he plays for the year until the San Diego game where he had 24 snaps.

                My point is that the team also believed in him and was expecting much so they started him off with a healthy dose of snaps, 39 to be exact. It’s only because he was playing poorly that his play time dropped off. If Harold is as good as I believe he will be then you should also expect the team to give him an equal look early in the season. If he plays better then Lemonier then there’s no reason to think his playing time will drop off and that he could expect at least 40 snaps or more a game if he plays well.

              3. Btw “only” 40 snaps a game would be 640 on the season which would be 119 more then Lynch saw last year.

              4. Will he get 40 snaps a game if Aldon is playing well? No probably not.

              5. “In the first 3 games last season Lemonier had 90 snaps.”

                Yes, when he was platooning with Dan Skuta as the starting OLB in place of Aldon. Skuta was the starter on base downs, Lemonier was the starter on passing downs.

                Once he got relegated to the 4th OLB role (when Lynch overtook him on the depth chart) he barely played on defense.

                Even if Harold takes the 4th OLB role, will he be taking snaps away from Aldon, Brooks or Lynch? In my opinion that’s highly doubtful, unless he looks really good in pre-season. I disagree we should expect him to be given the same kind of snaps as Lemonier was given early last year, because last year Lemonier was one of the top 3 OLBs on the team to start the season. Only if Harold beats one of Aldon, Brooks or Lynch would he be one of the top 3 OLBs this year, barring injury.

                I don’t think he’ll beat out any of Aldon, Brooks or Lynch. And I also find it doubtful that he’ll look so good in pre-season the team feels they have to get him on the field despite being the 4th OLB (assuming he even beats out Lemonier for that role).

              6. Yes, when he was platooning with Dan Skuta as the starting OLB in place of Aldon. Skuta was the starter on base downs, Lemonier was the starter on passing downs.
                Yep, I tried to alude to that when I mentioned that if Aldon is in fact a)on the team because he hasn’t screwed up and b) playing very well that it’ll be tough for Harold to get the playing time I mentioned above.

                It’s also important to keep in mind the aspect that we just don’t know where Baalke is on Aldon. It’s completely possible that if Aldon goes out and kills it that there’s no chance of Baalke offering him a top pass rusher salary and he walks. Where does that leave the team if Harold has been sitting on the bench all year.(or Lemonier if he in fact plays better)

                I don’t think he’ll beat out any of Aldon, Brooks or Lynch.
                Agreed. I’ve been maintaining that he simply wins the back up job behind Aldon. I do think he gets more playing time then you are suggesting but again, 40 snaps is unlikely.

                And I also find it doubtful that he’ll look so good in pre-season the team feels they have to get him on the field despite being the 4th OLB
                This is just where we differ in opinion on how good he is or will be. I never mocked him in the first round but I also never had him past 45. I think the 49ers got lucky. His run defense is poo and he’ll certainly need to spend time on learning technique beyond a speed rush but I love pass rushers that have quick 10 yard splits and he had a brilliant 1.56.

              7. “…If Aldon goes out and kills it…where does that leave the team if his back up has been on the bench all year.”

                I don’t want to sound like that isn’t a good problem to have or that it simply doesn’t happen all the time in the league but what I really wanted to say is that Aldon needs to be playing out of his mind for Baalke to not give his back up playing time if he(Baalke) has any intention of letting Smith walk at the end of the season.

                Love those run on sentences.

              8. I think the last point is really the key point of difference, but I do think even if he does look good he’s going to struggle to get on the field a lot if the three guys in front of him are healthy and playing well.

                I should also say though, I’m not trying to dismiss Harold or his ability. I like him, and also think he was a great pick up where the team got him. Didn’t expect him to be available there. But I just think like a lot of the guys they’ve drafted he needs development time. At the moment he really only has one pass rush move, the speed rush. That was exactly the problem the guy you think he’s going to surpass (Lemonier) had last year (who also had a good 10 yard split, around 1.6s I believe, and combined that with good upper body strength).

                I think 2015 will be too soon for Harold to make an impact given the guys the team already has in place at the position.

                But, I hope I am proven wrong and he earns playing time with excellent practice and good play, like Lynch did last year!

              9. I think one other key area we differ in opinion is on Lemonier. I think he’ll look good again in camp and pre-season this year (actually I think he’ll look even better than last year, and he apparently looked really good last year), which will make it very hard for Harold to leap frog him.

              10. After TC like most I was rooting for him so I understand what you’re saying. At this point I’m going with the unknown versus what is best described as questionable potential.

      2. CFC,

        Harold was probably my favorite pick in this draft due to the value and potential, but I don’t see him playing much of a prominent role this year unless injuries dictate otherwise. With Smith, Brooks and Lynch ahead of him and Lemonier coming back with more experience as Scooter pointed out, he’s going to be hard pressed to be active on game days, never mind playing a pivotal defensive role.

        1. Unless they trade Brooks during the preseason. Some team will need a starting OLB once their’s suffers a season-ending injury.

          1. Good point, there is always the possibility they trade Brooks if Lemonier and Harold impress in preseason. Same thing could happen with the Dline if everybody is healthy when the final cutdown looms.

          2. I don’t see Brooks being traded anymore what with the Baalke all but guaranteeing that he would be here in an interview during the Combine and the team’s hard stance on Aldon’s final contract year. I’m thinking the team sees Lynch as Aldon’s eventual replacement and Harold as Brooks’.

            1. I reckon it will be the other way around, Mid. Lynch replacing Brooks at LOLB, Harold playing ROLB. He may or may not replace Aldon – personally I think the 49ers strike an extension with Aldon midway through the season.

              1. That’s what I thought, but the events during the offseason indicate the front office could be envisioning Lynch as Aldon’s replacement.

              2. The most glaring one is where they were willing to let go of Aldon if he didn’t agree to a contract restructure. If that had happened, it would have left Brooks, Lynch, and Lemonier as the only OLBs on the roster at the time.

              3. That doesn’t mean they see Lynch as Aldon’s long term replacement. Just that they were willing to let Aldon go this year.

              4. How so? If Baalke stuck with his draft after that had happened, it would have resulted the team having Brooks, Lemonier, Lynch, and Harold. Who would have been the ROLB in that situation?

              5. If they had gotten rid of Aldon, sure, out of necessity Lynch probably would have been playing ROLB this year (unless of course they had drafted an OLB in round 1 as the talk of releasing Aldon was prior to the draft). But that does not mean they actually envision Lynch as the long term solution at ROLB.

                They have given no indication of which side they envision Lynch playing long term. In all likelihood they see him as a guy that can easily play either side. He did so in college too.

                Harold on the other hand was a right side defender in college.

              6. Keeping Brooks and being willing to let Aldon I think is an indicator of where they see Lynch playing in the near future.

                I don’t think Baalke would have drafted Harold if he didn’t think he was capable of playing both positions.

              7. Well, I disagree on the first point as I think you’ll actually see Lynch mostly play on the left this season now they have decided to keep Aldon this year. As I said, I think they see Lynch as a guy that can play either side equally well.

                With Harold, like any of the OLBs on the roster they will be expected to be capable of playing either side, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a side they are best suited to. Harold is smaller than their other OLBs and is a pure speed rusher that isn’t a very good run defender. That’s a guy that is best suited as a ROLB.

              8. Well, I disagree on the first point as I think you’ll actually see Lynch mostly play on the left this season now they have decided to keep Aldon this year. As I said, I think they see Lynch as a guy that can play either side equally well.

                That really doesn’t prove or disprove what I said. And if Mangini is indeed planning on adding more confusion to the defense, then it’s a safe bet that a pass rusher like Lynch will line up on both sides throughout the season.

                With Harold, like any of the OLBs on the roster they will be expected to be capable of playing either side, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a side they are best suited to. Harold is smaller than their other OLBs and is a pure speed rusher that isn’t a very good run defender. That’s a guy that is best suited as a ROLB.

                So does that mean that Brooks should move to ROLB since he is better defending against the pass than the run?

              9. Mid, once again, you are misinterpreting what I say. I’ve not said Lynch won’t be the ROLB (I have said I don’t think he will be), or that anything disproves a theory that the team sees that as his long term spot. I’ve just said there nothing that has happened that should lead to a conclusion they envision Lynch as a long term ROLB.

                And before you get started, yes, I realise you have once again used the word could. But you have then outlined other factors to insinuate the could is more than just a possibility, that there is evidence to suggest it is so. This is what I am refuting – that there is evidence to suggest one way or the other. There is no evidence either way, in my opinion.

                WRT to Brooks, no Mid. He is in fact a perfect example of a strong side OLB as he is actually quite good against both the run and pass. The LOLB generally needs to be more of a balanced player, as they will typically be on the strong side of the formation where teams more often run the ball. Harold atm is not a balanced player.

              10. I’ve just said there nothing that has happened that should lead to a conclusion they envision Lynch as a long term ROLB.

                Willing to let Aldon go if he didn’t restructure counts as something. Is it conclusive? No, but it’s also not something to be ignored.

                This is what I am refuting – that there is evidence to suggest one way or the other. There is no evidence either way, in my opinion.

                I don’t exactly see how guaranteeing Brooks would be with the team in 2015 and being willing to cut Aldon if he didn’t restructure as no evidence.

                The LOLB generally needs to be more of a balanced player, as they will typically be on the strong side of the formation where teams more often run the ball.

                The 49ers have wanted their OLBs to be balanced regardless of where their original position is at.

              11. Being willing to let Aldon go was about other factors than having Lynch on the team as their heir apparent. It wasn’t a case of looking to move Aldon so Lynch could take his spot. That they had a player capable of taking that role was likely a factor on why they may have been willing to let him go, but I don’t think it can be used as evidence to suggest they see Lynch as the long term solution at ROLB (and equally, it is not evidence against the notion either).

                “I don’t exactly see how guaranteeing Brooks would be with the team in 2015 and being willing to cut Aldon if he didn’t restructure as no evidence.”

                Good. That is where we disagree. Case closed.

                “The 49ers have wanted their OLBs to be balanced regardless of where their original position is at.”

                They are LBs, so yeah, they need to be able to play both run and pass. But I don’t think anyone would be confused that Aldon is a special talent as a pass rusher, and that is what makes him a great ROLB. Not his run defence. I don’t know how to say it any clearer than the LOLB will be asked to do more take on duties in run D than the ROLB, as they will typically be on the strong side of the formation. They need to be able to take on and shed blocks in the running game more so than the ROLB, which will more often be in chase mode. The LOLB has many similar responsibilities as a 4-3 SAM backer.

              12. Being willing to let Aldon go was about other factors than having Lynch on the team as their heir apparent. It wasn’t a case of looking to move Aldon so Lynch could take his spot.

                I never said it wasn’t to the former or was to the latter, but the fact of the matter is the team was content on letting Aldon go if he didn’t restructure and most likely would have inserted Lynch in at ROLB. It’s also true that that very scenario will happen next season if the 49ers choose to let Aldon walk (which is looking more and more the likely scenario).

                That they had a player capable of taking that role was likely a factor on why they may have been willing to let him go, but I don’t think it can be used as evidence to suggest they see Lynch as the long term solution at ROLB (and equally, it is not evidence against the notion either).

                And that where Brooks comes into play. This upcoming season is where the 49ers will be dealing with the most dead money from his contract. The fact that they are bringing Brooks back despite that and him being a malcontent is an indicator that they could be planning on letting him play out his contract despite the fact they have a good and cheaper replacement. And if they do that, then where does Lynch fit into the picture?

                But I don’t think anyone would be confused that Aldon is a special talent as a pass rusher, and that is what makes him a great ROLB.

                Lynch had eight sacks when getting less snaps, so I think that certifies him as a member of that category, no?

              13. They restructured Aldon’s deal but it still pays the same amount as it did previously. They are paying Aldon more this season than they are paying Brooks. They may have been willing to cut him if he didn’t restructure, but they were also willing to keep him at a higher salary cap hit than what Brooks provides. So what was all that about? It seems pretty obvious it was just the 49ers making sure they weren’t on the hook for his salary if he did something stupid again and they had to cut him. If it was about Lynch and his long term prospects you’d imagine they would have looked to reduce his salary cap hit. To me the only factor Lynch played ini this was that if Aldon wasn’t willing to play ball, they felt they had someone that could step into that starting role.

                Lynch had six sacks. He looked promising as a pass rusher, but forgive me if I’m not about to label him as an elite pass rusher just yet. And a lot of those sacks came after Aldon was back, and Lynch was playing more on the left side of the formation in relief of Brooks. Having Aldon taking a lot of the Ds attention no doubt helped Lynch, as it has helped Brooks in the past.

              14. I should also add that I am not contending whether Lynch is suited to the ROLB role. I’ve already said a number of times I believe they feel comfortable he can play either side effectively.

                The only points of disagreement I’ve made were whether the threat of cutting Aldon if he didn’t restructure signified the 49ers intentions regarding Lynch (I don’t believe it does), and whether Harold is suited to playing LOLB long term (I don’t think he is, at least not yet).

              15. Hit the wrong key on the sacks number, but that is still impressive given the limited number of snaps he was in on.
                We’ll have to disagree on Lynch because I see the some evidence that suggests otherwise and suspect that the scenario will come into play after this season, since I don’t see the 49ers being able to extend or resign Aldon.
                In regards to Harold, yeah I don’t see him as a LOLB yet either which is why I think the team will keep hold of Brooks for the remainder of his contract.

              16. No worries Mid, happy to disagree with you on this matter. Where you see evidence of a causal relationship between Aldon’s restructuring/ Brooks being kept and Lynch’s future role on the team, I see a correlation with no evidence of a causal link. Hey, I’m an analyst by trade, I’m meant to be skeptical!

  23. Grant,

    I think you may be right WRT Tartt…they’re coaching him up at both SS and FS, which makes perfect sense. I think both Mike Davis and Eli Harold may also have chances to make a sizable impact. Hyde hasn’t been a starter yet…so the long season could take its toll on him, giving Davis a shot to shine. WRT Harold, if Brooks has to sit out due to legal issues, Eli could have his shot to show his stuff.

    I think Armstead will be a very good player, in time. As Tomsula said, there’s no rush to get him ready to be a starter. All the negative hype about his sack totals is a lot of bull WRT what’ll be expected of him in the Niner’s 3-4. Mike Mayock said it…Armstead’s game suits what the Niners DL does.

  24. Doesn’t anybody understand what a gifted athlete Tartt is? One thing Baalke knows all about is linebacker. He seems able to find them anywhere. I honestly think he might encourage Mangini to teach Tartt some basics about playing inside linebacker. Navorro Bowman never played inside linebacker ever, until Baalke stole him in the draft.

    1. 4-3 OLBs often transition well to the ILB role in a 3-4. Safeties… not so much. Baalke has already said Tartt will stick to safety, and he has been getting reps at the two safety positions. I wouldn’t be expecting any shift to LB in the near future.

      But, I could see Tartt coming in as the dime back, playing a pseudo SS/LB role.

      1. Yea, Wilhoite is still average looking, although I did like what I saw late from Moody. I really liked the Tartt pick and I agree his future is SS/FS, but in certain match ups where the 49ers think he’d be more advantageous is where I think he contributes in 2015….

        1. Both Wilhoite and Moody had college experience at safety, but also played a lot of LB in college. Tartt only ever played safety, and mostly a deep lying safety role at that.

    2. That is a very good point. However Tartt might undersized to play ILB in the NFL, although the skillset is there. I think what SF will do is use Tartt in Nickel and Dime packages, where we will see 3 safety sets.

    1. He typically played a more deep lying role in college than Chancellor does. The expectation may be that he develops into a Chancellor type player, playing closer to the LOS as a SS/LB hybrid, but its not where his experience currently lies.

  25. Like MD I have three as well.
    Blake Bell- Bell is a very versatile TE/HB that can also play QB. He could potentially make not only McDonald expendable but Miller as well if he develops quickly as a blocker.
    Rory ‘Busta’ Anderson- Anderson could make some noise as a hybrid TE/WR if he can stay healthy.
    Dres Anderson- He has the speed and skill set to knock Simpson off the roster and pass Patton on the depth chart.

  26. Ronald McDonald arrested again,this time for violating a restraining order. He needs help before this turns out OJ style.

    1. I have no idea of the particulars of Ray’s case but something is driving him to self destruct before us all. Women can make men do strange things. This one seems to really have a hold on him. To paraphrase an old song.

  27. I had forgotten about Lynden Trail. Apparently went undrafted and signed by the Texans. Not a shock he’ll never be an NFL pass rusher.

    It’s also very interesting that Walterfootball which once had him under the 49ers as not only a team visit but as a “vint” prospect is now no longer even listed. Shady.

  28. Preston Smith will get his first crack at the NFL as an OLB. I was wrong there, I saw him going to a 4-3 team. Although he may ultimately end up on one so far he’s proving me wrong.

    1. Heh, I thought (well, still think) his best spot would be 3-4 DE, so I was even further off than you!

      1. Well you had the right scheme at least. If he isn’t working out they can stick him on end and try him there before cutting him loose.

    2. I remember when we had the discussion on where Smith would fit best and in what scheme, and I don’t believe OLB came up. That is a strange one for me because his body type doesn’t seem like the optimal fit for that spot in the 3-4.

    1. Grant, I like the offensive suggestions. I’d also add…

      – Quick counts. Only about two times a game. Have CK lazily amble up to the line like Ken Stabler. As soon as his hands are under the ball he huts, the offensive line explodes forward for a run play. Later, run play action on the same quick count.

      – A few more designed counter runs. Offenses were crashing towards the initial step of the running back last year. A few more plays where Hyde+fullback takes an initial step, then hits the opposite side of the center.

      – Planned Pump Fakes. Defenses are primed to jump on Colin’s slow release. Receivers making double moves timed with pump fakes from Colin could really burn defenses.

      – Run a few more plays from a deeper I. Hyde’s vision and cut back ability would mesh well.

      1. I love those suggestions. Counter was the Niners’ most successful run play last season. I wonder if it’s even in the playbook anymore. It’s not a zone-blocking play.

          1. Thank’s for that, Jack. Joe Gibbs called the Counter Trey how many times in Washington?
            > Gazillion.
            Also I’m resistant to the notion that adding zone blocking plays to the playbook means that’s all they’ll run. It doesn’t have to be a religious conversion.

            1. Exactly. The counter trey is a perfect compliment. It looks almost exactly like an outside zone run at the snap.

        1. it’s usually part of the stretch run play. a staple. The Niners have usually run a middle zone run play. But teams that specialize in zone running have stretch plays that give the running back the option to cut back, run in the middle or continue to stretch the play outside and turn the corner.

    2. Grant

      Nice piece. It looks like you’re stuck in 2012 though, and it looks like the 49ers have happily transitioned to a new coaching scheme (zone blocking) with a far greater emphasis on team speed.

      Let us know what you think that portends. Definitely be interested to read that too.

    3. along with the emphasis on zone blocking you’ve pretty much described the Shanahan/Kubiak flavor of the West Coast Offense. Actually with even more so with Shanahan and his experience with RGIII.

      I’d add that the offense needs to incorporate more team speed and show the ability to take the top off of defenses that crowd the box to defend the run and squat on short and intermediate passing routes. So how they incorporate Torrey Smith and how effective they are at executing deep pass plays will be important (when in 2nd/3rd and long play action is not an option so the O-line will need to protect long enough for deep routes to develop). Also you can only “move the launch point”/move the QB around so much because it cuts the field in half. Eventually defenses catch up to that and flood half of the field with coverage. So roll outs like the read option should probably be used as a change up.

      1. When SF 1st showed Read Option plays they incorporated the Read Option Pass off of that play action. I wasn’t sure why they shelved that last year.
        Anthony Davis’ availability will indeed be key to the run game, but over-all cohesion on the OL will be critical to running and passing. We’ll have to wait and see how much they employ zone blocking in their play calling, but again that requires coordination of all the pieces.

        1. so you’re advocating a Farve like across the body throw??? I’m not sure many offensive coordinators and QB coaches would agree with structuring across the body read and throws in to the passing game. Kaep has done it before. But I wouldn’t advocate making that part of the offense.

            1. you do know that throwing across you’re body is stupid right? for those that can pull it off it’s a low percentage /high difficulty throw. and it’s not something a single OC or QB coach would design into a play (aside from maybe an across the field screen pass) it’s something done when a conventional pass play breaks down and the QB rolls out and finds a receiver open across the field. but you don’t design plays like that.

              1. Teams do it all the time on partial rolls and partial waggles. It’s an effective home run play. The quarterback only moves a few feet to the side, from behind the center to the inside hip of the tackle. He’s still in the pocket.


                Here Favre waggles back to his right and stops before he breaks contain. His partial waggle makes the free safety flow away from the intended target, Greg Jennings, who’s running a go route down the left sideline. Easy 82-yard touchdown.

              2. Grant, what you just said:
                “The quarterback only moves a few feet to the side, from behind the center to the inside hip of the tackle. He’s still in the pocket.”

                but your article says:
                “The Niners can move the pocket by calling simple sprints-outs, rollouts, bootlegs and waggles—plays in which the quarterback “breaks contain” of the offensive line (runs outside the tackles) and has a run-pass option, meaning he can throw the ball or tuck it and run.”

                the conversation was about moving out of the pocket. which cuts the field in half. staying in the pocket and moving in the pocket is a completely different story in terms of offensive play design. while still in the pocket the QB has the whole field to consider and not just the side he rolls out to.

              3. I talk about partial rollouts and partial waggles in the very next paragraph. The quarterback doesn’t have to break contain to change his launch point and make linebackers and safeties flow the wrong way.

                Here’s another example. This time it’s Russell Wilson to Golden Tate for the TD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Av3Wc79fK0Q

              4. now we’re getting to how well we read each other’s posts. I missed the “p” in your p roll comment it looked like a typo. yeah, a partial roll out/waggle keeps the entire field open. i’m all for that. it’s the roll outs, bootlegs, waggles…that I think need to be used for specific circumstances. they’re tools or arrows in the quiver like the read option. I’d argue that Kubiak was far too dependent on them and play action to manufacture his passing game.

              5. I agree with all of that. Sprintouts also are a good tool for Kaepernick in particular because he’s so fast and can throw while sprinting to his right or left.

                Subtly changing the launch point every few pass plays should keep the pass rush guessing and reduce the number of sacks Kaepernick takes.

              6. That half role has been a staple in McCarthy’s system forever. They still use it quite often with Rodgers.

              7. Yep, and by adding Tory Smith, they have the key element to make it effective on the back end.

      2. affp,

        This is the most encouraging thing about the offense for me. I wanted Shanny or Shanny Jr. to be hired in some capacity so they could bring in this system. The fact it appears they are incorporating aspects of it under Chryst is encouraging.

        1. yeah, the roll outs and zone blocking are all nice. but it really comes down to increased flexibility and adaptability of the passing game (i’d like to see more adaptable WR patterns, the use of adjustments and option routes) and Kaepenrick’s continued development as a pocket passer.

          when it’s 2nd or 3rd and long. play action and roll outs only work so much. they work best when the defense has to worry about the run game. 2nd a 5 or so… play action, read option, boot legs, sprint options…are all nice tools/arrows in the quiver to use at times. But you still need to be a true passer at certain times in the game.

  29. Anybody else catch the nasty stuff Bethe Correia said in regards to Ronda Rousey? Tasteless and uncalled for.

  30. I really don’t know which rookie will have the most impact this season. So many are developmental players. I originally thought it might be Pinion.

    – Mike Davis. Davis and Pinion seem to be the most pro ready of the rookies.
    Running backs seem to get hurt so easily. Hyde already has a leg thing. His upright running style (and tendency to struggle while his legs are caught in the pile) make him an injury risk. Bush is getting on in years. We all know Hunters injury history.

    – Tartt. Can play both spots in case Reid or Bethea go down. Can also play slot vs teams with tall slot WRs. Can be deployed as a TE stopping specialist.

    – Harold. Mangini might find a way to use his speed and athleticism in certain situations.

    – Armstead. Next to Hayne he’s the least pro ready rookie. Dial and TJE are ahead in the depth chart. Don’t forget Okoye. He might not even be activated for several games. But after viewing his film breakdown vs FSU, he has the athleticism to be an interior pass rush specialist later in the season.

  31. Please do not expect Coach Harbaw
    to effectively handle any “off the field”
    behavior problems in Ann Arbor.
    My life is proof: he punted.
    So much for being a teacher and a coach, huh?

    — Ray MacDonald

  32. I could see both Tartt and E.Harold getting in some playing time this year but not necessarily making a defined impact.

    Tartt could be a Whitner who was a banger with discipline or a Golston who was a banger with less discipline. Only time will tell where JT will make his niche with the team. If Tartt could find his groove somewhere in between Whitner and Golston, we could have a special player – a player that I mocked for our team although after the 3rd rd, but happy to have him just the same.

    I’m a little miffed at the player I believe we let get away and that’s La’el Collins. Sure, I know of the controversy surrounding him and the weight of the matter, but investigators always said from day one that LC was never a suspect in the case.

    As an UDFA Collins would have been an absolute”steal” and even if even he is somehow found to be connected to the case it would have been a low risk flier when considered his UDFA status.

    Collins in my opinion would have made an immediate impact on our O-line, but that’s just one man opinion and one man pondering over what might have been.

    1. Because of his love for the Cowboys La’el Collins was never going to choose to play anywhere else. If the 9ers wanted him they would’ve had to make a play for him in the 3rd round.

      1. Grimey,

        Collins agent said they ultimately would have signed with any team that drafted him in any round. The mistake made by the Niners and other teams in the league, was getting scared off by the threat of Collins re-entering the draft the following year. If they had used a 7th on him, he would have been a Niner.

        1. He would’ve been a steal in the 3rd.

          Being a UDFA is more favorable to the player than a last day pick. You get to choose your team and get to your second contract sooner.

          1. No argument there, but Collins’ agent came out and admitted they were not going to sit out the season had he been drafted. It was all a bluff and it worked.

        2. I think you’ll find the lack of certainty he would be cleared as a suspect at the time played a large role. The Bears are finding out first hand how bad a look it is taking a chance on a player and having it backfire on you. And with the 49ers history in recent years, and Jed’s winning with class comment, it was a risk they just couldn’t take.

          Easy to say in hindsight they should have because he was cleared.

          1. Scooter,
            Investigators from the outset (pre-draft) said that Collins was only being brought in to be asked questions and that he was not a suspect in this tragic case.

            I understand that because of the serious weight of this case, Collins’ name being mentioned in the same sentence would have scared off teams, but I agree with rocket that a 7th rd (flier would have given us a potential player who could conceivably lockdown a position for the next ten years) *parentheses mine.

            In any case, I’ll be monitoring Collins at a distance to see how his football career progresses.

            1. Currently Collins is playing at RT for the injured Free but is expected to challenge for the LG position when Free returns.

              1. Mid,
                It would not surprise me if La’el becomes a permanent starter on the O-line at some point during the season.

                Not only will Collins become an impact player due to his talent and skill, but he will also have an extra added incentive to beat the opponent because of how he went from a possible 1st rd pick to an UDFA.

    1. Bro T

      If “40” is the magic number, I guess that I can wait for two more years…My Trailblazers took it all in ’77

  33. I think it would be fun to create some polls so as to try and ascertain everyone’s feelings on team and individual performances this season, and perhaps do it pre and post camp/preseason.

    What rookie will have the greatest impact?
    What 2nd year player will have the greatest impact?
    What non-starter from last year will have the greatest impact?
    Team MVP?
    Team Defensive Player of the Year?
    Team Offensive Player of the Year?
    What position is the teams greatest strength?
    What position is the teams greatest weakness?
    What will the 49ers record be for the season?

    * I, for one, am tired of the media bashing and remain optimistic about the 49ers chances in the West. I think AZ and Seattle haven’t gotten better, even with Graham and think Bowles leaving will have a larger impact than what is currently anticipated, and while StL has made nice additions, the holes in the OL remain (Foles can move around well though and will offset some of that, which Bradford didn’t do).
    Will they make the playoffs, and if so, how far will they advance?

    1. “If you watch film of me, you’ll see a technically sound player.”

      Being last off out of your stance except for every fourth snap isn’t an example of a technically sound player.

      1. I can’t wait until they get him into training camp, meanwhile I hope he’s been in the weight room strengthening his body and following the 49ers nutritional recommendations….

          1. I think the key point is this:

            “The problem is that he is highly unrefined in his pass-rushing skills and still hasn’t quite grown into his frame and strength against the run,” the article read. “If he was able to sit behind a seasoned veteran and learn to polish his technique, this wouldn’t be an issue.”

            Hopefully he just needs time, but I was one of those who hated this pick.

      2. The drafting of Armstead where they took him is all based on potential, which is why the pick is a gamble. He’s had one year as a full time starter and it was just ok. They are banking on him taking major strides under NFL Coaching and weight training. That is putting a lot of hope and faith into a high pick. For their sake, it better work out.

        1. Rocket:

          What you say makes sense and, at the time, I was no fan of taking Armstead with our 1st pick. However, I am still puzzled that so many analysts had the 49ers picking Armstead at #15. This was not the case with the AJ Jenkins pick.

    2. After Parker was off the board, what remained were solid 2nd tier prospects, or boom-bust gamble players.

      Most of the gamble players were behavioral boom-bust guys like Peters, DGB, Ray, Gregory. Armstead’s a developmental gamble prospect.

      “…is highly unrefined in his pass-rushing skills and still hasn’t quite grown into his frame and strength…”

      This can be viewed both ways. He’s strong now. Imagine how strong he’ll be a year from now under Mark Uyeyama?

      “If he was able to sit behind a seasoned veteran and learn to polish his technique, this wouldn’t be an issue.”

      Isn’t that already the plan?

      “Armstead’s rawness may never become refined if he isn’t allowed to study and broaden his skills…”

      And the winner of this year’s No S**** Shurlock award goes to…

      Pick 15 was exactly what Matt Barrows said it was… a “no mans land” with even talent between picks 15-32. Baalke was lucky to get a 4th+5th rounder trading back to 17. I have little doubt he wanted to trade back even more if there were takers.

      This was not the first round most hoped for. I wanted Parker or Gurley to fall to 15, with Baalke taking them… or using them as major trade back bait for picks way more valuable than a 4th and 5th.

      That said, there was little Baalke could do but go BPPA (Best Player Prospect Available) at 17.

        1. Yeah, Gutierrez co-signed the pick.

          While I’m not a huge fan of him he’s certainly better than Bill Williamson was. I still miss Sando’s 49er coverage though.

      1. In the end Melvin Gordon was just as useful as Parker or Gurley would have been to get a trade partner.

        1. Really? I assumed if Gurley or Parker fell to 15 it would have triggered bigger trade back offers. At least a 3rd, possibly a 2nd to move back into the mid-late 20s.

          I also assumed it was a safe bet Armstead would be there at 25 or lower.

          I can’t say for sure. Its just speculation on my part. No matter how much I beg, Baalke won’t let me in the war room to play with the cool multi-button telephones on draft day.

          If the 49ers skipped Armstead, how far do you (anyone) think he would have dropped?

          1. Baalke has said the 49ers were offered another trade back at pick #17 but declined it summarily because they wanted to make the pick. I don’t think the 49ers were open to a big trade down – Armstead was the player they wanted and they would have been happy to take him at #15.

            Just because we believe he should have been available later does not mean Baalke would have been happy to take that risk if he really liked the player, which apparently he does.

            1. I’ve never heard about Baalke refusing a second trade back offer from 17. If Baalke actually did refuse trade-backs from 17, I feel alot better about the Armstead pick. I’ll take it as welcome news.

              I trust Baalke knows 1000 times more about talent evaluation than I do. Refusing a trade-back offer means Baalke didn’t “settle” for Armstead. It means he really loves what Armstead brings.

              If you have any kind of links to him saying he refused trade back offers, please let me know. I do remember he refused a trade-back offer when he chose Tartt.

              1. I must be going crazy, I could have sworn I’d heard in a Baalke presser he said they had an offer to move down at pick #17 as well but they didn’t take it, but for the life of me I can’t find anything to prove it. As we know on this blog, if you can’t link it, it didn’t happen!

              2. Scooter,

                You aren’t going crazy. During the draft Schefter tweeted that the Niners had another trade offer to move down. I’m not sure what it entailed but obviously wasn’t enough to entice Baalke to act on it.

              3. Thanks Rocket and Scooter_McG. That means Armstead was truly a “targeted” pick by Baalke.

                I do know from Baalke’s pressers that the 49ers did extensive research on Armstead. Baalke attended more than two of his games this year and some last year too. Armstead worked with Mark Uyeyama as well as the coaches during pre-draft visit. Spent the whole day with him.

                OK, now I’m excited. He might hide in 2015, but I want to see him crush people in 2016.

    1. Ok, I said it when Reaser was drafted and I’ll say it again; If Reaser becomes a star for us I will call him e-Reaser (ha!).

    2. MWD

      As for that article, not bad, but I never understand it when a writer can’t get players’ names right (Kenneth Acker, not Keith); it’s his job to report properly. I’m also curious as to why, when reporting on Reaser, anyone would ever fail to report that he is Sean Taylor’s cousin. With size, speed, strength, and bloodline to the greatest Safety since Ronnie Lott, there’s no reason to believe Reaser couldn’t become the next great cover corner in the NFL.

      Get excited, fellas.

      1. I was happy when they drafted him, but when I saw him in that video post rehab I couldn’t help but get excited. I’ve known what he’s capable of….

  34. I’ve never been that engaged in this part of the football year, but I’m interested enough in what you guys have to say that I pretty much read most of the time. I’ve noticed an undercurrent to the general themes of roster strength and team strategy.

    That undercurrent, if it exists, seems to suggest that Baalke is involved in planning how much playing time various individuals will be getting. Maybe I’m imagining it. What you you guys think? Is this an extension of Baalke’s role?

    1. He shouldn’t have any say in playing time but I’m sure he’d love to have his draft selections validated.

      1. He shouldn’t but will he? How much will he control the use of his “projects”? He doesn’t seem to have had any the past four years, which I’ve always assumed to be the norm.

        1. HTWaits

          After Harbaw’s legendary mismanagement of, and failure to nurture, young talent on both sides of the ball, it’s no wonder Baalke chose what appeared to be a puppet at the Head Coach position, and now desires very much to see his picks from the last 4 drafts vindicated. Time will tell whether Tom Shuler is, indeed, a puppet (I say not), but I am fairly confident that we will see a more Carrollian approach to young players, involving them more and developing them through positive encouragement. It is well documented what a head case Harbaw was as a youngster, player, and coach, and such personalities do not work well with the young and unproven.

          Thank heavens Harbaw is gone. We’re about to learn just how good Baalke is as a draft guru, and also just how effective Tom Shuler can be as a positive leader.

            1. Grimey,

              E lives in an alternate universe where things are as he sees them and not what truly happened. A number of young players had big roles and playing time under Harbaugh and the team had an unprecedented run, but hey he’s garbage. After looking at the way E spelled Harbaw, I’m also starting to wonder if there’s a link to the fool that spelled it the same way in his moronic diatribes.

              1. Rocket

                The Harbaw spelling was nothing more than a tip of the hat to whomever it was that ranted so fiercely against the guy for so long.

                As for you, if you’re still longing for Jimbo’s presence at the facility, you’re the moron. He is a well-known human repellant, and his staying power never exceeds 4 years. There’s a reason why!

                And as for my assessment of his refusal to play young guys, I stand by it. Harbaugh is a fraud. He’s not as bad as Singletary was, because he at least knew he needed top-notch coordinators, but he’s little more than a drill sergeant who motivates through fear. Was he a teacher? Who knows? The powers at SAP obviously thought not. Did he develop Andrew Luck? Unlikely. Did he develop Alex Smith? Not really, he just told him to protect the football and put him in positions to do so. Did he develop Kap? Not at all; he took the most explosive arm/leg combination in the league and actually caused him to regress.

                Show me some players Harbaugh developed. I’ll wait. Did Hyde get enough reps? Did LaMichael James? Carradine? Dial? Ellington? Patton? Vance? Carrier?

              2. The “alternate universe” folks rarely answer a question as asked. As you point out, there were young players playing for Jim Harbaugh, and a couple of note worthy players who didn’t see the field much. So far neither of the two I’m thinking about are doing much elsewhere.

                In addition to that, Baalke has cut players that did go on to play well for others. None of that is related to the original question about how much influence Baalke will have over playing time going forward.

              3. E,

                Look at the players ahead of the players you mentioned and you will get your answer as to why they didn’t get more snaps. Most of the players you mention as not getting enough playing time, had injury issues which were a big reason for that, and when healthy did get playing time. There’s also the fact that young players did become starters or key contributors right away including: Aldon Smith, Reid, Borland, Marcus Martin, Ellington, Miller, Lynch just off the top of my head.

                You are simply a guy who uses hyperbole when making statements with no regard to how or why something actually happened.


                LaMichael James is the one guy I feel didn’t get a real chance here. He hasn’t done much elsewhere, but he did do a nice job as a K and Punt returner in SF. The rest that E listed have gotten playing time when they haven’t been injured, and are now players the team is counting on to replace those no longer on the roster

          1. E…

            Also (from a distance) we’ll find out just how good or bad Greg Roman is without JH on the sideline changing his plays…that in itself should help the QB to get the snap off in time….I also am thanking the heavens for Harbaugh’s absence…..

  35. I do not think that any rookie will be a starter…other than the possibility of Pinion being our punter and kick off specialist. That being said…I think that several rookies could play significant roles. The biggest being the “Belldozer” in the red zone. I see him getting 6 red zone TD’s, which will be huge for the 9ers next year.

  36. Spokane, I’ve seen you post here before but I just wanted to tell you I think it’s cool that you’re true to your team even though your deep behind enemy lines.
    I am also pretty excited about The Belldozer’s potential for end zone glory. He brings an element that’s been sorely lacking on our team and that lack might have cost us a Super Bowl victory, maybe even two. If Bell plays to his potential, I think VMac’s days on the team are numbered, and if Bell does go out there and start making end zone catches like we hope he will, I foresee a LOT of Bell jerseys being bought and sold around here.

    1. Seadderal fans are the worst and I am in the thick of them. Luckily, the number of 12’s will reduce greatly when their window closes after Lynch retires and the inevitable injuries catch up to them.

  37. Antoine Bethea gave pretty generic answers. A few tidbits. .

    Q: Who is the best looking rookie at OTAs so far?
    AB: Dres Anderson, Jermaine Whitehead, Jaquiski Tartt

    Q: How do you feel bout the secondary this year. With Brock and cook healthy? Wright coming over?
    AB: I think we have the possibility of being even better than we were last year

    Q: How do you feel bout the secondary this year. With Brock and cook healthy? Wright coming over. Johnson reaser and Acker?
    AB: I think we have the possibility of being even better than we were last year

    Q:How does the speed of torrey smith affect defenses
    AB: You can’t really sit down and squat as a defender, you have to always be ready to run deep

    Q: What do you really think of coach tomsula?
    AB: He’s a good coach, but an even better person

    1. So Armstead may not suit up, but instead they plan to have three kickers active on game day. That’s why you write for the Bleacher Report….

        1. To be clear, Lee, Dawson and Pinion will be active on game day, but Armstead will be in a T-Shirt and cap on the sidelines. Genius!

            1. You’re right! I thought it was always nose tackle that he meant. Maybe it was two punters and two field goal kickers. Would that be a four headed monster?

    2. Grant, thanks for the breakdown.

      – If Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams or Quinton Dial get hurt, I’m expecting TJE to be the primary run stuffing fill-in (if he’s not a roster math casualty)

      – As for trading Brooks (or any other player) I wouldn’t be surprised either. I think the 49ers will wait till almost final cut down day to see how the injury situation shakes out.

      – I’d be surprised to see Pinion and Lee both sticking… unless a multi-player trade or injury epidemic cleared at least three roster spots.

      – Bethea said today Dres Anderson and Jaquiski Tartt looked good in OTAs. In Tartt’s case, I don’t think it was the obligatory “praise the guy in your own position group” thing.

      My biggest concerns between now and cut down day are injuries, camp absences and roster space for guys like Busta Anderson and Dres Anderson. We might have 4-5 Winstons this year lost during 24 hour waivers.

    3. 1. You’re saying Armstead won’t suit up and will even have difficulty cracking the rotation yet you have him listed at #5. Hmmm….I think maybe Bell would have been a better option there.
      2. I don’t see the team keeping Pinion and Lee. Lee is all but out the door unless Pinion gets injured.
      3. Brooks isn’t going to be traded because it already would’ve happened if that were the case.
      4. One guy everyone seems to be overlooking is Jermaine Whitehead, a small ball of tough that just needs some coaching.

      1. Armstead probably will play if Ian Wiiliams or Quinton Dial get injured. Injuries happen frequently on the defensive line.

        1. Grant, what happens if Reid (God Forbid) gets another concussion early in the season? Does Tarrt replace him – and if not — who does?

          PS: Really liking the BR articles, but why aren’t you writing like that on this blog. You could, you know, and still not break your rules about not or ever being a 49er fan!

    4. Lil’typo here:

      Aldon Smith clearly will start at right outside linebacker. And either Ahmad Brooks or Aaron Lynch will start at right outside linebacker.

    5. I’m all for Dres to make the team I just have to question why he went undrafted. The injury couldn’t have been enough to knock him off people’s boards. If he was a diamond in the rough that fell because of injury I still have to think someone would have used a 6th or even a 7th on him to make sure they get him. Perfect example would be the 49ers taking Busta with their last pick.

        1. Zallright, you make your point. The injury is sufficient for me for his drop, but agree, musta been some other concern.
          It seems a longshot for him to supplant the vet unless he’s En Fuengo! in returns. IMO, he threatens Hayne the most; and neither are good bets.

          1. The hardest part for rookie WR’s isn’t memorizing the playbook and what their routes are on certain plays it’s reading the coverage and making the same adjustments that the QB is making when he sees the same defense. When you hear a rookie WR talking about “learning the playbook” it’s more often learning all of the many adjustments that NFL offenses make based upon the defense that lines up across from them. The play in the huddle might be for a 5 route but based upon where the defensive backs or even possibly the linebackers are lined up he’s supposed to change it to a different route. The QB knows this too, frequently when you see a ball thrown to a space with no one in it it’s because the QB and WR made different adjustments. Anyway this is the aspect that removes the great college players from the true NFL receivers. If Anderson is able to come in and convince the coaches that he can do this or has the ability to learn it quickly then he’ll have a pretty good chance of making the team. His ability to return kicks or make tackles on ST probably wont help much given the depth around him.

            1. Before you load up the muskets I’m not saying the only hard part or the only thing to learn for a rookie WR is making adjustments.

      1. If I remember right, his knee injury wasn’t given a good grade by the medical evaluators at the draft.

    1. MidWest ..

      Thanx for that link.. it sure does put
      another slant on things ..
      now I’m wondering if that was the same thing
      Junior Seau suffered as well ..

      I met him several times when he was a Charger,
      and found him to be a fun loving guy with
      a wicked sense of humor .. and was shocked
      when he passed away

      1. Unfortunately it was MWN. I never met the guy, but he was one of the first guys I liked that wasn’t a 49er after becoming an official fan of the team.

          1. I think you just want to be negative for attention’s sale. That’s my two cents worth based on it’s not the first time you’ve been negative for no specific reason. Did you have a mulligan on the tee-off that put you in a bad mood? LOL. :*^>)

              1. E,

                I’m not sure it’s supposed to be impressive. It looks to me that it’s to show how much fun and how loose the players are.

  38. what I’d also like to see from the offense is more flexibility. First and foremost a safety valve of a TE or slot receiver. A security blanket. A TE or slot receiver that finds open holes in the coverage in the middle of the field and provides a safe throw for the QB. A TE like Jason Witten (a master of option routes for finding openings in the middle of the field) or a slot receiver like Wes Welker (used to be) who also reads the middle of defenses to get open. Vernon Davis is pretty much a stiff (hopefully still) fast WR (he hasn’t blocked well since 2011 or 12). He’s a match up piece to isolate on slow linebackers and safeties. He threatens the seam. But he’s not a middle of the field baller that fights or sneaks around to find openings in the coverage. Now I’m not advocating that all the WRs run option routes and site adjusted routes. But maybe just the interior receiver(s) like the TE or slot receiver to give Kaepernick his QB safety blanket.

    I’d also like the Niners to start using packaged plays as they are more efficient ways of managing a play book and passing concepts versus defenses and provide flexibility. Here’s some info on the Packers use of packaged plays:

    More recently, however, the Packers have made extensive use of “packaged plays,” which combine run blocking from the offensive line with screens or downfield passes by the receivers, while the QB has the option to hand off to a running back or throw downfield.

    Under McCarthy, Green Bay was among the first NFL teams to begin using packaged plays,….The above inside zone running play married to quick “pop” or seam routes by the slot receivers is straight from college football, and is a simple way to keep defenses honest if they try to crash down on Eddie Lacy and Green Bay’s increasingly productive run game. It’s also a way for the Packers to use Rodgers’s quick decision-making ability without putting him in harm’s way.

    How Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy have blended new-school tactics with Montana-era West Coast offense principles

    1. good one affp ..

      Seems, (at least for me) from what I’ve read ..
      The Geep is incorporating some of these principles
      in the offense ..

      Much as I liked having Harbs .. this was sorely
      lacking in his schemes …

      All the doom and gloom being predicted for
      this team just might be
      a bit premature

      1. I’ll be a happy fan if Geep can just get the plays in with no delay of game penalties and then if Kaepernick wont try to be Peyton Manning changing them at the LOS that cause him to take a costly time out.

    2. AFFP,

      I questioned Maiocco a while back about the offensive approach distinction between Chryst and Roman, and he suggested Chryst is going to have a gameplan that stays 70% the same the whole season, and 30% wrinkles each week. He stated Roman was the reverse (30% the same the whole season, and 70% wrinkles week to week).

      I asked if this doesn’t make us too predicable and easy to defend, and he argued that 70% consistency allows the team to be very sharp on their core concepts, and 30% wrinkles allows for enough deception to keep teams from picking the perfect defense against us.

      A). What do you think about Maiocco’s analysis generally/philosophically?

      B). How might your analysis above harmonize with Maiocco’s (assuming Maiocco is correctly identifying what Chryst generally intends to do)?

      1. I’ve always assumed the limiters to offensive complexity is a team’s ability to squeeze in enough practice reps per play/formation.

        There’s a grainy 90 minute lecture by Bill Walsh many here have seen. It opens with Walsh talking about the limited amount of time there is for teaching techniques in training camps.

        He cited a specific number of reps it takes for a player to get a play/technique down to the point where he can execute it during stressful situations. Then he noted the number of practice reps a team can squeeze in per hour/day.

        He divided training camp time by the number of reps it takes to get a play down. That determined the limit of plays/formations he planned to install. (This is an over simplified example. I’m leaving a few things out)

        Limiters to offensive complexity…
        – Training Camp Efficiency (how long it takes to teach a specific skill)
        – Player Experience
        – Variety of Player Talent

        1. Brodie- He REALLY would’ve hated the current CBA limitations on practice time. I’ve heard that the NFL and players’ Union are working behind the scenes towards mutually acceptable tweaks to some aspects of those limitations, as the young players would benefit from more non-contact practice reps.

          1. I heard one sportscaster say (forget name) say…

            During labor negotiations the NFL concedes more frequently on non-monetary issues. This enables the NFL to take hard line stances on money issues, while saving face for the players union.

            CBA limits on training camp time don’t cost the NFL money. Limits on Thursday games and preseason games do.

            Naturally the NFL concedes more and more on the practice issues. Hence the limited and oddly dispersed training camp schedules.

            Expect things to get even sillier.

            1. “Expect things to get even sillier.”

              Yup, that’s been my experience; and not just in regards to football.

              1. Books like Newton’s Football is they don’t take into account how the increasing appetite for revenue affects games, conditioning, rules, execution.

                They attribute 100% modernity’s affect on player physiology. But the constant reach for increased revenue changes the plays and even the physical shape of the players.

      2. I agree with the idea of having a good part of the offense staying the same throughout the season. Football is a game of repetition and the more you practice the better you are. You have to install new things depending on the opponent, but there also has to be a large number of plays you run effectively no matter who the opposition is.

        1. Rocket, good point. At first I thought Maiocco’s description of Chryst’s plan was problematic because it would allow savvy DCs to simply neutralize our offense because they would always know what’s coming. But if you think about it, they can know all day long that we like to run the toss sweep behind pulling guards, but they won’t know when it’s coming and from which formation.

          I’m guessing the key is to run our best concepts (70%) out of different formations and throw enough wrinkles in (that 30%) such that defenses can’t key in on when we run our best stuff and when they’re getting snookered by a wrinkle.

        2. Rocket, I also wonder if Roman (and Harbaugh by extension) were at their most effective when they were running their core concepts to perfection in 2011. The lockout prevented much of the typical offseason so they were limited to Camp Alex and then the remainder of training camp to implement their brand new offense.

          Yet in 2011, they were pretty efficient and used a lot of creativity in the run game. They ran the same core concepts over and over, particularly on the ground but also in the passing game with Smith. Ultimately the lack of weapons at WR and Smith’s inconsistency at throwing deep passes helped wreck their playoff run. (Kyle Williams and other reasons contributed too.)

          You could argue that in 2012 we still ran a lot of our creative run game core concepts regularly, but we also installed Kaepernick, the read option and other passing wrinkles to compliment the core creativity.

          Finally you could argue that in 2013 we went more into a passing centric, new concepts and moving away from our core running/playaction concepts approach for the first 3 weeks (win against GB, two straight losses to SEA and IND) and returned to a model similar to 2011/2012 in week 4 against the Rams and continued through the rest of the season. Then you can argue that in 2014 we made a wholesale switch away from using our core running/playaction concepts and went to game specific pocket passing plan as our core, with a complimentary run game, to extremely mixed results.

          I might be oversimplifying but I do support the idea of transitioning Kaepernick into a pocket progression reader, but I wonder if this can be done more incrementally than the wholesale approach in 2014 while continuing to rely on the Chryst gameplan model as proposed by Maiocco. Run 70% of our gameplan every week with many staple running concepts, staple playaction concepts, a few core dropback passing concepts, and screens/swings/flats/Texas routes to the RB. Throw 30% matchup specific wrinkles in with read-option, bootlegs/partial rollouts, QB running plays, and slowly integrate new dropback passing concepts.

          1. Adusoron,

            Some great points you make here and I agree with what you’re saying overall. The offense was ground and pound with playaction for the most part during the first 3 years, and while not setting offensive records, it was effective and combined well with the defensive side of the ball. Last year they got off track for a number of reasons including: the Oline issues, the injuries at TE early in the season and late in the season, the attempt to incorporate 3 and 4 WR formations due to the personnel they had acquired. I think it all played a part in the step back they took on offense last year.

            If Chryst goes back to the run oriented attack, with play action and more throws to the backs, it will make them a lot better imo.

  39. The more I hear about where the 49ers offense is going, the more I like it. Yes, we have to see it on the field, but these are all things that needed changing.

    1. Yes, I’m hopeful as well. With a lot of hard work they may be able to have a few games without a delay of game penalty for the entire contest! Just imagine a Two Minute Drill with 2 or 3 Time Outs remaining.
      Of all the things out of media practice I was pleased and relieved to read that they were stressing pace and breaking the huddle. I never understood why/how Harbs could let that problem fester. It was chronic.

      1. BT, this is my inference, but I think Harbaugh hinted that he and his staff valued getting the right playcall to Smith/Kaepernick based upon the defense and matchups, and they were willing to sacrifice speed, timeouts and potentially even 5 yard DOG penalties if necessary. They generally made it work despite the clunky, plodding look.

        I’m all for avoiding DOG penalties, and not wasting timeouts, but speed in and out of the huddle needs to still translate into proper playcalls and adjustments instead mistakes being made because they’re moving too fast. (For the record, I do think they can be much quicker and keep a better tempo without becoming reckless and making hasty mistakes.)

          1. I know I’ve written this before, but why should I let that stop me?

            I expect with CK getting to the LOS with a reasonable amount of time on the clock will result in him making better presnap reads. If CK makes better presnap reads, he should feel more comfortable and make better post snap reads.

            Obviously, this is all hypothetical, but it seems to make sense. Of course, it’s my idea, so it follows that it would make sense to me.

  40. It looks like the sheep are lining up and following the herd. Take your marching orders … sheeple. What a bunch of homers. You have convinced yourselves that these draft picks will be successful. You are cool with Baalke’s disaster of a draft. Now, you are trying to put lipstick on that pig. She’s still ugly, man.

    1. Couldn’t your same point be turned back on you? You’ve convinced yourself the draft was a disaster and the picks will be failures without a single pick having an opportunity to play a meaningful game.

      Labeling folks and using ad hominem attacks undermines your posting credibility. Why don’t we take the “wait and see until the players actually have a chance to play” approach instead of hurling insults towards those who don’t accept your conclusions?

    2. A lot of us “Homers” here were less than thrilled with Baalke’s draft this year, particularly his first pick. But we choose to hope for the best and try to stay optimistic about the talent we have on this team and we continue to root for our team because we’re true fans. We’ve been through tough times before and we chose to grin and bear it and keep supporting our team. You call US sheep, but it’s the fair-weather, band wagon jumping trolls like you that behave more like sheep, only following along when the team’s doing well and it’s the trendy thing to do.

    3. Ya your right Balke did a terrible job building a roster that contended for a SB 3/4 years.. Your prolly one of those clowns who thought haurbagh was responsible for the talent on the team. Win or lose clown a lot of us that post here will still post here. Now you will disappear when the Niners play better then most predict… Enjoy your time now while games are not being played.

      1. Right on genius. First of all, CK is not elite. Second, the team started winning only after Jim Harbaugh came on board. Same roster, same GM, same CEO, same owners. With JH, they won. Before JH, they sucked.

        The silver spoon Jed Dork and egomaniac GM f’ed things up. So, keep rooting for those bozos, sheep.

  41. In other “football” news, Sepp Blatter (Septic Bladder) reelected Fifa president.

    What American sports needs of an NCAA or NFL bigwig to run afoul of another countries banking and tax laws. That countries local law enforcement arrests him while hes on vacation in Europe.

    Worth a try. Countries with the least interest in a specific sport police the other countries sports oligarchs as a new type of international service.

    1. NCAA isn’t seen as corrupt but they make their money off the backs of unpaid labor. As far as the NFL goes, it’s run by billionaire criminals. When it comes to big money and influence, evil is common.

  42. Prince Shembo is a grade A scumbag and I hope he rots in whatever level of hell he ultimately ends up in.

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