Boldin’s intensity can carry 49ers, but not every week, not this week

Here is my Friday column about the presence and absence of Anquan Boldin.

SANTA CLARA – Anquan Boldin is like a hero from an Elmore Leonard novel, a modern-day cowboy.

On Thursday he marched through the locker room from the shower to his locker, head high, eyes forward, and said hello to no one.

He’s like a cowboy entering a saloon with the brim of his hat covering his eyes. He’d sit on a stool at the end of the bar. He wouldn’t order a drink but the bartender would serve him whiskey anyway.

In the locker room, Boldin sat on a mini-stool in front of his locker and laid a folded towel on the floor under his bare feet. To his left, 10 offensive linemen were shooting the breeze. Boldin never acknowledged them. He leaned forward on his stool and stared at his feet. They were wet. He took the corner of the towel and dried the skin between his toes. At this moment his universe extended to his toes and no farther.

Compare Boldin to Colin Kaepernick who walks through the locker room like the president, meeting with his constituents, smiling, laughing. Making sure everything is smooth.

Boldin is a loner who hardly smiles and doesn’t talk when he doesn’t have to. When you interview him, he stares at you blankly. He gives you no reaction while you ask a question, no look of encouragement or annoyance or understanding. Just a dead-fish stare revealing nothing. While you ask your question, you feel like you’re pleading with a loan shark, “Please, can I give you the money tomorrow? I promise I’ll have it tomorrow.” And he just stares at you.

He cocks his head to the right and leans toward you like he’s trying to show you his soul through his eyes. Do you understand who I am? Do you understand who you’re talking to?

He looks like death staring at you from the depths of his hooded cowl.

And then he lets you off the hook. His shoulders relax. His head eases back. He answers your question earnestly, thoughtfully, patiently.

But you know you saw something, an intense side, a scary side, you saw it. You get the feeling he reserves this scary side of his personality for his opponents.

In an Elmore Leonard novel, Boldin is the guy who always is a step ahead of his enemies, calm and poised for any situation and he gets the girl and the money at the end.

In football, Boldin is the ultimate pro, the kind of player a team needs to win a Super Bowl. He can make the do-or-die catch. That’s what he did with the Ravens in the playoffs last season. He was their best player when it counted.

“At times, it’s almost like he wills things to happen,” offensive coordinator Greg Roman said about Anquan Boldin Thursday afternoon.

If the 49ers make it to the playoffs this season and Boldin is healthy, they have a puncher’s chance to go to the Super Bowl.

But if Boldin goes down, so do the 49ers’ Super Bowl chances.

Boldin is the only healthy wide receiver on the roster who scares opposing defenses. The 49ers rode him the first five weeks of the season and he has accounted for 78 percent of the 49ers wide receivers’ yards and 100 percent of their touchdowns. The 49ers have not developed any of their young receivers because they’re riding Boldin.

But this is the week to change that for a couple of reasons.

One, Boldin faces Patrick Peterson, one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said Peterson will be covering Boldin most of the game. There is nowhere the 49ers can line up Boldin to avoid Peterson. Peterson will follow him.

Two, the 49ers will beat the Cardinals. The 49ers can afford to take the burden off Boldin’s shoulders.

The 49ers would have to tank it to lose to the Cardinals this Sunday. The Cardinals’ quarterback is Carson Palmer. You know about Palmer. He throws picks.

This season, he has thrown one pick every 20 pass attempts. And since the Cardinals’ running game stinks, Palmer has to throw, and that means he probably will hand the game to the 49ers sooner rather than later, just like Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub did last Sunday.

This is the week for the 49ers to throw the ball to anyone but Boldin. They don’t need Boldin to beat the Cardinals.

They need to call pass plays for the other receivers – Kyle Williams and Jon Baldwin. Call plays for the rookie tight end, Vance McDonald. Get the ball in their hands on short routes and build their confidence now so they can become big-play deep threats in the future.

Give Boldin a break. Don’t run this cowboy into the ground before the bye week.

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


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  1. Grant, you should email Coach Harbaugh and Roman a link to this post. Who knows, they probably do. Hope they’re able to do everything you stated here on Sunday.

  2. Grant you give way too much credit to the 9er receivers other than Boldin. CK can throw to the others but he will be forcing it and will throw ints and will get blamed. I do’nt believe you can scheme them open or throw them open, unless Davis comes up big i see a 9-7 9er victory.

    1. The Colts schemed short passes for T.Y. Hilton last season to get him going. The Cowboys schemed short passes for Terrance Williams this season to get him going. Antonio Brown is another classic example. You’ve got to build young receivers’ confidence with easy catches first before hoping they can be a consistent big-play threat.

      1. Carson throws picks. If the Niners don’t capitalize, it’s a long game. They will have a hard time running.
        I have a feeling we’re going to see some read option because Roman has ADD. He’s not going to stick with the run.
        It seems like the Niners are a gimmicky offense, going back to the first year of the Harbaugh. It’s clever and gets the team excited.
        But now they’re an SB contender and they need to be more imaginative in how they exploit mismatches traditional offensive schemes.

        We never seen any creative route running in the Harbaugh era. I think this does go back to his relationship with his brother. He’s always out to prove he’s tougher, but there are times when you want to show you’re smarter, like a fox.

        Que the viral video!!!!

      2. Yes but those receivers are far far far better than the 9ers. You might be able to throw it up to baldwin but thats it. A coach ca’nt scheme for bad players and the 9er receivers are just that. untill they get healthy they have to win with running the ball, defense and special teams

      3. Fan…. Didn’t you say we would have a hard time running on stl.. n Houston. We beat their run d down. The same will happen this game. At least 100 on the ground n 1 td…

      4. Steel,
        I don’t think I said they would have a hard time in Houston. I think the AZ is underrated. Grant showed a stat that outside a few long runs, Gore was 13 yards on 14 carries. It wasn’t until the end of the game that KH and LMJ broke a few long ones.

        That’s an idea — use LMJ like Darren Sproles.

      5. You guys never look at quality of opponents. Arizona has a high ranking against the run because they are getting thrown on. They just got a decent team on the field last week when darryl washington came back. They are not underrated. They are weak. We will dominate this team this week like we always do. Alexfan2005 always hypes anything against Kap. The Cards are getting beaten be 14-17 points this week. Even if Palmed does not throw a pick, we are kicking their azz.

      6. Watching the way the Cardinals play their secondary there should be opportunities for Williams and Baldwin on the other side against Powers to get some easy short catches early on.

      7. @Fan..77
        We never seen any creative route running in the Harbaugh era.
        Please explain further, if you can.
        Took Vernon awhile to grasp the playbook.
        Without Crabtree, the coaches are losing a lot of flexibilites. MC can line up in any of the wr positions and when he goes in motion, it creates confusion for the D and mismatches.

      8. 45 Jordan Jockstrap sniffer,
        You are so sensitive to Colin’s performance these days. I don’t even mention him, or the fact that Alex Smith went 18-19 against that pass defense and Patrick Peterson.
        All I said was that the AZ defense was underrated and you merely proved my point by taking them lightly.
        They beat Carolina 22-6. Cam Newton is similar to Kap’s skill set, and he has no receivers. They picked up Carson Palmer three times and still won easily.

      9. “No one on this blog thought anything of T Williams until last week.”

        Can’t speak for everyone else, but I raise my hand in the affirmative there. In saying that, I don’t think he’ll ever be more than a complementary WR – the Alvin Harper to Dez Bryant’s Michael Irvin. Certainly not saying that is a bad thing, suits exactly what the Cowboys need (and 49ers for that matter – in fact, one could say he’s exactly the type of WR the 49ers could do with right now, big and fast that can stretch the field).

        I think the 2013 draft will result in quite a few starting WRs in the NFL by 2014, Quinton Patton included.

      10. AlbertS,

        Fan77 just makes blanket statements with nothing to support them. Don’t hold your breath waiting for that information. He made it up. He misses Alex so he’s somewhat disoriented. Heroes not like our offense because he does not like the QB.

      11. Albert,
        Unlike 45 Jordan Jockstrap sniffer, I actually know how to read and use the internet to hear what others have to say outside of these Bay Area blogs.

        Many have said the Niners Passing offense is very vanilla. They don’t do anything in creating schemes, that shows creativity or ingenuity. Look at all the various run formations they like to run.
        You rarely see the Niners WRs running well designed routes to get a WR open.
        You don’t see plays designed where even the RB runs routes out of the back field.

        What would you say is the main reason the Niners are 31st in passing offense?

        A. Niners better at the run. That’s the identity. Why mess that up?
        B. We don’t decent receivers.
        C. We don’t have a pro style QB who knows how to read Defenses.
        D. We have unimaginative coaching staff that doesn’t know how to design plays to get the players open and instead runs an the way 45 Jordan Jockstrap Sniffer runs when he plays Madden 2012. (Yes he’s too cheap to buy the new version so he has to play the one where Kap was just a rookie. And Alex has a rating of 10. That’s why he hates him so much!)

    2. Kyle Williams is better than people are giving him credit for. He is being forced to be someone he’s not on this team. Put him on the Patriots or the Giants or the Broncos as a slot guy and he would blow up. Doesn’t help that Williams has had two QB’s in a row that haven’t attempted to build chemistry with him….

      1. Give him credit for what? What has he ever done in SF besides one big catch against the Bears and two costly turnovers. He’s one dimensional. Those other slot guys in NE and Den can also play outside the numbers. Williams just gets man handled whenever he is pressed at the line. He’s not even a threat no matter where you put him.
        You still have no clue!

      2. If AS hits Williams on the deep route in the NFC Championship game, we are in the superbowl and he Williams would have been a hero. I’ve counted three times already this season where Williams was open deep and Kaep never even looked his way.
        I repeat primeslime, Williams could be much more productive if he got the occasional look. Maybe your Canadian reception sucks and you don’t see what I see.

        What the coaches don’t realize is that if they hit that shot a couple of times deep with Williams, it will force defenses to keep an eye on it and it. They we could run decoys with him….

      3. Bay,

        “I’ve counted three times already this season where Williams was open deep and Kaep never even looked his way….What the coaches don’t realize is that if they hit that shot a couple of times deep with Williams, it will force defenses to keep an eye on it”

        If Kaepernick isn’t looking at him, why are you blaming the coaches? They can only call the play, but it is up to the player to execute it.

      4. Lameareafanatic nobody sees what you see cause your blinded by ignorance. Every WR is open in your world, wether it’s Alex, CK or the Pope, throw the ball right, he’s open! Give me a break. Maybe the reception in your head is full of static.
        If Williams is getting open pretty sure CK would give him a chance. Fact is the guy is tiny and he is getting mauled at the line and cannot create separation. What’s Kap suppose to do, throw it in there any way? Then you would be crying about something else.

        Your daily excuses just show how much you don’t know about football. I told you, stick to baseball. It’s simple, hit catch run. Sport for the slow!

      5. Jack,
        get out your reading glasses. Look at the first post in the thread. I did blame the QB. A little comprehension….

      6. Bay- I agree fully, I’ve witnessed KW open for 6 at least 3 times this year. I wish I knew if they have Kap reading high-low or 1-2 for his reads. It sure seems that they could hit him on the deep flag when Vernon or Boldin drags across the field pulling the safety with them.

      7. I’m sorry Primeslime,
        I am supposed to take football advice from someone who welches on bets, posts under multiple names so that he can show that someone other than himself agrees with him, calls young boys names and gets banned multiple times from the blog by Grant.

        Yeah, that logic is sound, I think I’ll start listening to you.

      8. Bray,
        something happened this year that has Kaep exiting the pocket early. Otherwise he’s got to hit that route. Every time it’s been single coverage too.

      9. I saw that Bay, but I am asking why you are blaming the coaches. Are you going to just blame everyone involved with the offense for Williams’ lack of production?

        FYI, for all the discussion regarding the lack of targets to WR’s Williams has been targeted just under 5 times per game this season, 4.75 to be exact. That is a larger number of targets than they gave their number 2 WR last season when they targeted Mario Manningham 3.8 times per game.

      10. Don’t worry about takin any advice, a donkey holds the equivalency of your football knowledge.

        What’s funny Bay is every day you come on here and people call you out and you look small and then turtle away into oblivion, why do you think that is?

      11. Jack- I’m not sure where that stat is from, but it cannot be correct. There is no way KW has 5 targets a game. VD barely gets that. I’m gonna check that one out.

      12. Jack I am lumping the coaches in there because of the way they are utilizing him. At least he ran a reverse this week. That showed some type of creativity.

      13. I see 19 total or just less than 4 per. Even that number surprised me. It just seems less because the passing game has struggled so much the last 4 games.

      14. Bayarea says “If AS hits Williams on the deep route in the NFC Championship game, we are in the superbowl and he Williams would have been a hero.

        And if he doesn’t fumble (X2), we also might have won.

        “And I should have done the 11th, but I didn’t”-Pauly Gualtieri, Sopranos

      15. You’re right Bray, it is 3.8, the same as Manningham last season. My mistake, thanks for correcting it.

        I agree with that Bay. That is the type of stuff they did a lot in the first year with Harbaugh/Roman. The Fly sweep package was progressing along to the point they had started running the inside runs off it and then they just abandoned it.

      16. So Jack here is my question, why all these “gimmicky” plays like the pistol, fly sweep, and innovative ways to get these guys involved. It is my opinion that the talent is not there so they have to mask it with deception. Again I’m not a football coach but trying to be sneaky almost shows a lack of confidence in the personnel.

      17. FDM,

        The Pistol and Fly Sweep aren’t gimmicks. The pistol is simply a formation that many teams across the NFL are running quite successfully. Watch the Broncos or Chiefs for examples of that.

        Same thing with the Fly Sweep. It’s a good way to force teams to have to cover the edges, which is tough to do when you have a guy who is already running full speed at the snap of the ball. To me they are missing the boat by not utilizing James and Williams this way. Once teams start to over play the sweep you run the inside trap.

        If you can, go back and watch when they played the Cardinals in Arizona in 2011. In the weeks leading up to that game the 49ers had a lot of success with the sweep. Against the Cardinals they ran the trap off it to Gore for a long run that was almost a TD.

      18. I knew I would get some heat for saying gimmick, that’s why I ” ” it.
        My point is the coaching staff is trying to get these guys involved through deception when really they cannot get it done from traditional sets. The ironic thing is the 49ers are better in traditional sets. This is why I blame the non-production on guys like Kyle Williams and anyone else they brought and has not stepped up.

      19. Bay I agree with your comment that we have not utilized kW effectively. Great example was last week with the reverse play to kW and he was explosive with a great run. Coaches must come up with specific plays for others such as kW, VM , JB and LMJ to get them involve and establish a rhythm or pace for ck and the offense.

      20. When comparing Williams targets this season vs Manninghams last season, one must take into account that it was Smith passing to Manningham last year vs Kaep this season, and you can not argue that Smith was much more open with the ball to all the receivers & backs, he’d be hitting 7, 8, 9 different guys in the games, but still only throwing ~25 passes per game. With Kaep he seems to be more conservative with his throws; Boldin/RB/Miller and maybe a 2nd TE or Wr.

      21. I’m sure Williams has gotten free deep a couple of times, however, I think he needs to be getting open more regularly to build trust from Kaep that he is worth looking in the direction of and staying with. Yes, a more experienced QB making the right reads would probably find him more often, but Kaep isn’t there yet.

        Kaep trusts Boldin, I assume because he can make tough catches even when not open. He seems to trust Davis to a degree because he gets open more regularly than the other receivers. He used to trust Crabtree a lot, and would watch his route develop, because he knew he would work himself open often.

        I think for Kaep to start throwing more regularly to the other WRs they have to show Kaep they can get open more often than not (like Crabtree), or that they will make the tough catch in traffic (like Boldin).

        If the coaches want Kaep to start spreading the ball around, maybe they should start giving the other receivers routes that will get them open quickly (I’ll leave the how to other more knowledgeable bloggers to come up with suggestions), and start building that trust.

      22. Exactly chicago and scooter! Get them specific plays for them in the game..Go to them early..We gotta give defenses somethin else to think about other than Boldin,Gore and Vernon…But bay’s right..This Coaching staff is hardheaded..And ” content” wit their gameplan week in and week out..Which goes back to me sayin on one of my other posts..They dont know how to use their personnel..It’s frustrating to watch..cause i know this team can do more than what its doin..Complacency can be a killer..If they dont try to be more innovative and more creative..

  3. Forgive me for stating the obvious… the season hinges on the emergence of ball catchers not named Boldin or Davis, and pass rushers not named Smith.

    Even if Manningham and Crabtree return, can they play at a high level?

    With the absence of a deep threat, a two TE offense (like the Pats a few years ago) sounds perfect, but McDonald plays a complicated position and will take time to develop.

  4. G Money, great post. I also believe if boldin goes down we are doomed but since we have an outstanding running game i believe we would still make the playoffs n cud win with our d n running. Great job grant

  5. You sure his middle name isn’t Sue?
    Johnny Cash would have loved Boldin’ demeanor.

    I do agree with you that its time to incorporate our other Receivers.

    Where has VMac been the last few weeks? Why not use KWill and JBald in some fly routes just to stretch the field?

    I’m seeing to much of a “take what the defense gives you” approach, and I’m waiting to see what we can do in an full out attack “stop is if you can” approach.

    In any case. 31-10, 49ers

    1. Aes.. we shouldn’t have a problem with the take what they give us approach. Let the d make the mistake. If they zone, run down their throat, if they stack the box, blow the doors off the coverage with kyle. Regardless of the fact, the man is fast, real fast. He should be able to get deep. Let him show it. Kap has to hit him in stride though, because kyle isint good enough to go get it

    2. “Where has VMac been the last few weeks?” Great question. He’s physically a classic TE, but currently playing Walkers H-Back/SAK role.

      Next to QB, SAK is perhaps the most complicated offensive position. They line up all over the place. I suspect he’s focusing on learning complicated blocking schemes. VMac will get some nice catches (plowing over some hapless DBs) from time to time, but he’ll be more of a blocking TE until things become more automatic.

      I’m expecting a catch here and there… then a late season breakout game. After that, look out.

      Gravy if Chris Harper develops as the SAK, freeing up VMac for the traditional TE role next season.

      1. Good call B2W,
        The question is how far is Chris Harper (who I really liked in college) away from making any significant contributions?

        I think that JBaldwin might have the edge as far as offense assimilation at the moment. But I would like to see Harper at some point this season.

      2. My guess (just a guess because I have no idea how he’s doing) is the 49ers see Chris Harper is a long term project. His role depends on adding a few pounds and learning all those inside wam and trap blocks.

  6. I don’t know – although the 49ers should win the game, the game against the Cards is not going to be the cake-walk that everyone thinks it’s going to be.

    1. No game has been a cake walk. As u see in abovve posts, our fans think we will barely get by every game. So no cake walk.. just im hoping fred p soft has left for good

      1. I’m glad to hear someone else say that. We always seem to lose a game or two a year that we all know we’re gonna win. Arizona was that team in 2011. And it always seems or division rivals can be really tuff. No Freddy P. Soft.

  7. Didn’t really care for the Boldin/Cowboy comparison, but I do agree with your point. I don’t think the 49ers have a choice on whether to involve Boldin or not, Petterson is too athletic and too fast for Boldin. The 49ers will have to go to Baldwin, Vernon, and hopefully some more McDonald.

    I hate to push some buttons but has anyone noted how Mcdonalds backup in college, drafted by Seattle, is putting up way better numbers? The rumor is the 49ers jumped right in fron of Seattle to get McDonald cause Seattle wanted him. So Seattle traded out of their pick and eventually took Nelson (I think that is his name). He is tall and fast but needed to develop. McDonald had the skills and development but for some reason he isn’t doing much right now.

    1. Dude, VM production has been limited due to the complexity of G-row offensive scheme as well as lack of play design to get the ball in his hand. VM has the upside to improve but it will take time as he gets more comfortable with the offense and builds chemistry with ck.

    1. Slow learner? Still figuring out how to earn minutes by practicing hard and well? Still getting up to speed (as per Fangio)?

  8. Good post, Grant. Agree that targetting Boldin with Peterson covering is questionable. Arizona will probably use only Peterson on Boldin, enabling others to focus on our other receivers. Williams, Davis, Baldwin and McDonald will have to step up big. The key is establishing our ground attack. The Niners don’t need huge stats from Kaep. BTW, when was the last time you saw decent screen play? Aloha from Honolulu Paul.

    1. It was an interesting perspective. Now we know what Grant does in his spare time… reads Elmore Leonard novels, and watches old Clint Eastwood Spaghetti westerns.
      Kind of a stretch when writing a football blog, but I can think of worse ways to spend your time!

  9. I keep saying every week since Seattle….

    When are the other 49er WR’s going to step up & start EARNING their pay?

    The Media & fans alike have been burying these guys every week & you would think they would take this as a Personal Challenge.


    1. Nah,
      the coaches are hard headed. They know the WR corp is weak. Instead of working them into the game plan, they are going back to creative run formations and running a boring offense until Crabs and Manningham get back….
      The only meaningful reps these receivers are getting is in practice…

  10. Some people don’t get it. Just like Boldin said, the 49ers game plan based on the opponents strengths and weaknesses.

    This week, Arizona brings the 15th ranked D in the NFL – that’s middle of the pack. They’re 19th against the pass and 3rd against the run in yards given up per game. Their run D is not as stout as the 3rd ranking suggests, however. They are giving up 3.3 yards/rush. That means, they can be run on.

    Look of a balanced attack from the 49ers this week. They will pass and run the ball with ease and keep the Cardinal D off balance all game long.

    35-10 Niners.

  11. When I heard about Michael Crabtree’s injury last summer, this was the game I was immediately worried about. Patrick Peterson is one of the Cardinal’s best players, and Crabtree has had his number, handily winning their head to head matchups so far.

    Without him, how well Boldin can get open against PP will be an important factor in this game. I also agree with Grant; this would be a good time for some other receivers to get involved.

  12. Nice story Grant, but you leave out a very important receiver in your analysis: Bruce Miller. In the game against the Rams he caught more passes than Vernon Davis. When Kaep rolls right and Miller swings out into the flat he is always open. I think Kaep needs to get the short passing game going, and I think it will start with Miller, and then hopefully, Baldwin on the quick slant.

  13. Well written, well thought out. I don’t always give out grades, but if I did, I’d give you a B+. Stay writing my friend…

  14. Patterson’s pretty overrated. Of course he makes some outstanding plays; but he’s high cut and can be burned with good routes. Boldin won’t dominate him. But I wouldn’t avoid throwing his way just because Arians calls him the best CB in the league. Patterson’s far from that.

    1. Sentimental? Rightfully so! That was one of the top 10 plays in the NFL EVER! I’d never heard any of the guys talk about it, and really enjoyed hearing their takes. Thanks for the link, MW!

  15. Off topic but it’s a sad day for football fans. I cannot believe the tragedy that happened today. Adrian Peterson is a class act and a great player. It’s a damn shame what happened to his son. Can’t believe how pathetic some “men” are. I know this is non Niner news but it’s just sad.

  16. One of you’re better columns Grant. Love the comparison which is you’re father’s trademark, although he compares athletes mostly and like how you did it in a fictional character.

    1. Yep, Neal..
      but .. Grant’s pappy kinda always reminded
      me of Barry Goldwater ..

      … While I disagreed with much of either of them said ..
      I couldn’t argue their passion …

      Nice to see that the art of prose .. isn’t dead .. yet ..

      Good genes, there, Grant !

  17. Grant, can you tell me why Niners dumped Skelton one week after signing him? I read part of Greg Roman transcript regarding Bethel and he basically says they don’t know how good Bethel is until they get observe him in practice. What happened with Skelton…

  18. Excellent piece, Mr Cohn. The characterization of Boldin was worth it alone, but the angle on the freedom to target other receivers in this game makes it simply excellent.

  19. Grant – I’ve said it about your father, and I’ll say it about you: you are by far at your best when you’re writing positive things. It brings out the great writer in you.

    And I totally agree. This is a great week for a few bubble screens to Williams and deep balls to Baldwin.

    1. Sure, don’t write about negative things…….. I for one follow Grant because he is not a Homer sportswriter blowing sunshine up everybody’s backside. If I want that, I’ll go read the Chron.

  20. Bolden won’t matter. We have a certified cardinal killer on this roster, and his name is Vernon Davis. I hope they continue to show the pre game chatter between him and Dockett. I always want to get home after the game to see if they panned in on it.

  21. Grant,

    Brilliant! From the beginning of the article until you mentioned the novel I felt I was reading Peter King of the Press Democrat in the 90′s- Brilliant. Very descriptive. I felt I was inside the 49ers locker room, the same way I felt at Hogwarts, when reading the words of J.K. Rowling. Keep up the amazing writing!

  22. Good writing, you tantalize with your writing and disappoint with your analysis. Yet, it seems this year is better than last. Gotta hunch McD and LMJ get some looks this week to take doubles and rolled coverage off Q and Vernon. Roman also needs to get something besides Kap’s running on film for upcoming defensive coordinators to worry about so that they won’t stack the box against Gore.

  23. Great post Greg. This weak pass attack will kill us if we make it to the playoffs. We shouldn’t be this reliant on Boldin’s greatness if we are a complete team. All elite teams would provide him with a counterpart. In theory our dual threat would comprise Crabs, but why would a committed front office base everything on the healing process of his foot.

    However, for this week, we should follow your prescription and see what we have in Moore and Baldwin. Last year showed that Kap has a tendency to fixate on only one receiver, and that is no good regardless of how great the target is..

  24. Ummm, ummmm, I think you forgot a regular TE named VERNON the freak DAVIS. Yes I believe the niners can throw the ball to him as well

  25. I just don’t know about Peterson. All I hear is that he’s a great CB. I don’t see it. Especially with the 49ers. He has never been a great shutdown CB against the 49ers. I know we don’t have Crabtree but he couldn’t cover him. Crabtree made Peterson look like a high school CB.

  26. Great article, Grant. I’ve been critical of you in the past but I have to give credit when it’s due. If you would like some unsolicited advice I’d recommend that you make this style/format your calling card. You’re a better writer than you are a football analyst (no offense intended) and you do a nice job of capturing the locker room dynamics. I’d say better than anyone I regularly read, including national writers like Peter King. You could really go somewhere if you focused on illustrating players’ personalities and relationships.

    Again, kudos!

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