Did the 49ers consider drafting Fleener? “Yes, of course,” says Harbaugh.

SANTA CLARA — Jim Harbaugh spoke in the media tent Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a transcript courtesy of the 49ers.

 

You were with Colts QB Andrew Luck for three years, three seasons. What did you teach him that helped him become the football player he is now?

“He came in with a lot of talent and a lot of things taught by his mother and father, and other God-given ability. But, he’s one of the top players in the league, which is no surprise. He does so many things extremely well and it’s going to be quite a bit of a reunion this week with some of the guys that played at Stanford that we know well. Not necessarily a good thing.”

 

Why?

“Because they’re good.”

 

How often have, in the last couple of seasons, have you talked to Andrew in this last year?

“I don’t know exactly how many times.”

 

You’ve stayed in touch?

“Yeah, we’ve stayed in touch.”

 

He said today that you’re a big reason why he is where he is and playing for the Stanford program, being part of that turnaround. Do you feel the same way, that where you are today, he had a nice hand in that?

“Well, that’s very generous of him to say and there’s no question that the association with Andrew, I feel like we all drew the long straw in his contributions to the Stanford University, not only the football team, but everybody that he came in contact with.”

 

How do you confuse him on the football field?

“That’s an interesting question and a good one. The answer isn’t a real good one because there’s not a lot that confuses him or rattles him. So, more than he doesn’t handle well and he’s just that kind of player.”

 

He joked today that he didn’t have the athleticism to run the read option like so many other quarterbacks are doing now a days. Do you buy that and did you guys ever think about that or tinker with that at Stanford?

“Yeah, we did, we did do it and no, I don’t buy that he doesn’t have the athleticism. He is a, for lack of a better term, a freakishly good athlete. He’s a lot faster than you think he is and he’s really fast. Stronger than he looks, but then you see the evidence on the tape where guys are hitting him pretty solid, pretty hard and he’s able to just flinch it off, kind of [Steelers QB Ben] Roethlisberger-like. He throws with a lot of velocity even though it’s a throwing motion it’s pretty smooth. Ball comes out a lot faster than you think it does and with a lot more velocity than you think. Just very, very blessed athletically is Andrew.”

 

Does S Eric Reid continue to make good progress from what you told us Monday?

“Yeah, he’s been good, no setbacks and pretty much what he said after the game, that he felt good, felt clear without any symptoms and that’s remained the case.”

 

You mentioned his ability to absorb hits. He’s taken quite a few sacks in his one-plus seasons. Did you see that toughness at Stanford as well?

“Yeah. There’s never a sign that it does affect him. When you get hit hard he’ll pop back up and pat somebody on the shoulder or helmet and say, ‘nice hit.’ He’s got the ability to extend plays. I saw the game-winning touchdown against Oakland in the opener. Over and over, examples of his ability to extend plays with his feet and also with his strength. Very much like Roethlisberger does.”

 

In his rookie year, it’s tough enough to come into the NFL as a rookie, but to also lose your head coach for the season three games in. Did you talk to him at all last season about that just as a support or friend? Did you guys, were you in touch at all during that time?

“No. Just a few texts and congratulations here and there and that type of thing. But, he’s a guy that doesn’t need a lot of advice.”

 

That’s just an unusual circumstance.

“Yeah it is, and I think everybody in their entire organization handled it. It was commendable.”

 

Was he that mature from the get-go at Stanford? Did you see that from the moment you met him that level of maturity?

“I did.”

 

What were the signs of that, that you can point to this many years later?

“Of his level of maturity?”

 

Just what your first impressions of him were?

“Plus-plus. A-plus-plus. It was similar to [QB] Colin [Kaepernick] with their enthusiasm. How they interact with their teammates and coaches, really everybody that they come in contact with. Real gentlemen, both of those two young men. That was my first impression when I met Colin was how much like Andrew he was from the personality standpoint.”

 

Do you recall after that Manning Passing Academy talking to Andrew about Colin?

“Uh uh.”

 

What was said? Had you heard of Colin Kaepernick before that?

“Yeah, I’d heard of him. When Andrew came back from the Academy, just asked him what quarterbacks stood out to him, who was good. And then I asked him who he got along with, and then he kind of, he lit up talking about Colin, was the first name out of his mouth. I thought that spoke volumes. Then when I met Colin in person I could see why. I could see the similarities in the two.”

 

Why would you ask him, just curiosity or what?

“I was just kind of interested, yeah. Just making conversation.”

 

What role do you see for FB Owen Marecic?

“Backup fullback to FB Bruce Miller, and then a special teams role. Probably a backup position at first, but we’ll see where it develops.”

 

Why not sign a nose tackle to replace a nose tackle?

“We feel confident with [DT] Tony Jerod-Eddie. Somebody that’s worked extremely hard going on two years now. We feel like it’s his time to step up and he’s the next man up and deserves that opportunity. And we feel good about it too.”

 

Going back to Bruce Miller, how much more comfortable is he and what strides have you seen from him a couple years into this?

“Plus-plus across the board. Someone that has a very special place in my heart and with the team as well. He’s always about being the disciple of the team, what helps the team win. A great team player.”

 

That place in your heart- -.

“He’s a football player.”

 

Does that also go to him making the switch and taking that challenge on and–?

“Yeah. I mean one of the real lead stories on our team. He made that switch coming out of college and I couldn’t be more pleased with Bruce.”

 

It’s been well documented you were a big fan of Owen’s in college–.

“He’s got a close place in my heart too. Yeah, he does.”

 

For whatever reason it didn’t seem to work out with Cleveland. Do you think this could be just a needed change of scenery, being back with familiar faces, get things headed in the right direction again for him?

“It certainly could. And hopeful for Owen and us that that’s the case.”

 

Do you think he’ll have a two-way ability similar to how TE/DT Demarcus Dobbs in the past has been?

“I don’t anticipate that right now, no.”

 

Will TE Vernon Davis get the chance to go out there against his brother? There’s a lot about that matchup too, them getting on the same field together. Is his leg going to allow that?

“We’ll see. It’ll be day to day.”

 

Can you imagine that there’s that side story to this reunion you were talking about?

“Yeah. That would be wonderful for the two of them. Have they ever played against each other before?”

 

No. Any advice having gone against your brother that you’ll offer to Vernon?

“No, not really that I can think of right now. Everybody’s got their role, their job and go out and fill that to the best of your God-given ability.”

 

Colts TE Coby Fleener looks like he’s going to get more action in that offense. Was he in the conversation in 2012 when you guys were thinking about who to draft?

“Yes, of course.”

 

What is he good at? What can he bring to that offense?

“I think you saw last week the contributions that he makes. He’s got real good ability to go downfield and stretch defenses. Post, corner, big catch radius, good speed and strong, he’s tough. He’s a very versatile player.”

 

Do you have more ticket requests this week from your buddies at Stanford, head football coach David Shaw or his staff? Do you expect a lot of those guys to be at this one?

“It could be. [Former Stanford OL] Andrew Phillips had texted me and I think they got something brewing where quite a few of the fellas that played with Andrew and [Colts WR] Griff [Whalen] and [Colts S] Delano [Howell] and Coby are kind of orchestrating something to be at the game.”

 

How come you hired Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton?

“Just very impressed with his resume and interview, and he did not disappoint. He did a fabulous job.”

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  1. Much like cherry picking stats to support an argument, the title of this blog is misleading. The Colts are in trouble with Allen out for the season. Fleener will be lucky if he makes it past game six, the dude is fragile.

      1. The conversation wasn’t about Fleener, but I just like to mess with you about him. I do think he’s fragile, though. I think the loss of Allen is huge. He is significantly better than Fleener and was one of their best run blockers. If Fleener can hold up, he should be able to put up some numbers. Big if.

        1. I pick the quote that is most interesting or one that will spark a conversation, not necessarily the quote that sums up the interview best. Interviews are about so many different topics.

      2. Grant,
        I hear you. I got you engaged in conversation by doing the same thing. It’s all in good fun. How do you think the loss of Allen will impact their offense? If Luck loses some of the balance between the run and the pass, I think the Colts could take a step back.

      3. I don’t think Richardson is the player people thought he was coming out of college. Like many of the Alabama players entering the NFL, he seems to have more mileage on him than expected.

      4. It could work out for the Colts, but trading a 1st round pick for a RB when your offense revolves around Andrew Luck doesn’t seem like a great trade to me. Not to mention you can find RB’s all over the draft that can play in this league and Richardson hasn’t looked all that special yet. We’ll see, but that is a lot to give up.

      5. The Richardson trade is a big time statement by the Colts. People knock Richardson for not living up to expectations, but he’s shown flashes of why he was picked 3rd overall. He’ll be a stud for years to come in the Colts offense. They now have legitimate threats at QB, WR, RB, and TE.

      6. The Colts have played the Raiders and Dolphins while the Niners have played the Packers and Seahawks. There is a big difference between those offenses Jack.

      7. The first opponent of the Dolphins was the Browns. The second opponent of the Raiders was the Jaguars, an inept team not only on the defensive side of the ball Jack.
        Sorry Jack, but those two teams alone guarantee the Dolphins and the Raiders better offenses as opposed to the Seahawks who have faced an underrated defense in the Panthers and then the Niners.

        1. Yes. The Colts had a horrible game plan against the Raiders. Won’t happen on Sunday. Pagano will be ready. He’s faced Harbaugh and Roman before.

      8. The Colts have barely beaten the Raiders and lost to Miami both at home. They look like a middle of the league team right now. Richardson will help but they have serious Oline issues and a leaky defence.

      9. The Raiders only run game was Pryor. Did you see the play where Oakland had the free rusher on Luck, he hits him square in the chest, bounces off and Luck scrambles for a first down? His ability to hang in the pocket and deliver the ball is top notch.

        1. Luck did that a few times against Miami, too, especially on the final drive. He’s a great scrambler as well. He’s incredible.

      10. >>The Colts defense has given up fewer points than the 49ers this year.

        So have 25 other teams. How about this – can we at least wait unti the quarter season mark before expounding on “trends”?

      11. 15 of the 29 points the Seahawks scored were basically given up by the offense and ST.

        That’s over 25% of the points scored against the 49ers, so far this year.

      12. Jack,

        Glad to hear you finally have seen the light and agree with me that the 49ers defense didn’t play that poorly against Seattle. Semi Colon / Closed Parentheses (sorry, I’m philosophically apposed to using emoticons)

      1. Agreed BigP. He’s had injury troubles and hasn’t performed like they thought he would. The Browns just cut bait and will now focus on landing a franchise QB in the draft next year.

      2. What has Trent Richardson done? He’s the new poster child for first round RB reaches.

        Oh nothing much. He just had 1,055 yards and 11 TDs in the seventeen games that he has played in.
        Don’t take the man lightly. This was a big pickup for the Colts and could end up being one of the worst trades by the Browns ever.

      3. Midwest,
        He didn’t have a good average per carry and he got beat up with his physical style of running last year. He isn’t at Alabama anymore. Bama uses those guys up and spits them out. They always have several productive backs on their roster. He’s a good player, but like Jim Brown said, “He isn’t special.” The YPC and productivity of the Bama RB’s seem to back that up.

        Glenn Coffee: 1383 yards, 5.9 ypc, 10 TD’s
        Mark Ingram: 1658 yards, 6.1 ypc, 17 TD’s
        Trent Richardson: 1679 yards, 5.9 ypc, 21 TD’s
        T.J. Yeldon: 1108 yards, 6.3 ypc, 12 TD’s
        Eddie Lacy: 1322 yards, 6.5 ypc, 17 TD’s

      4. That may be true but it doesn’t dismiss the what he did in the passing and running game despite being about the only true weapon on that Browns offense last season Nick. He is now in an offense that won’t have to constantly rely on him for results either. I expect to see his numbers increase across the board.

  2. Stop the presses! Harbaugh said he considered drafting Fleener! That’s the major takeaway from that interview. I’m sure all the other blogs have some variation on the same headline.

    Is the purpose of this blog to give the fans 49ers news, or to prove that Grant knows what he’s talking about?

    1. We all do that. Heck, it’s fun to be right about something. It’s even more fun to be able to point it out. Relax a little bit.

      As for Richardson, I doubt he’ll have much impact this week as he learns the playbook. However, moving forward, it seems like a great fit.

  3. Well looks like this weekends game just got exponentially more difficult. Trent Richardson for a 1st rounder. No wonder the browns are te laughing stock of the league

      1. Best move for them now is to do their best to land the #2 pick. Select teddy. The. Use the colts 1st for a RB. But whatever RB they get with that pick couldn’t hold Richardson’s jock. Which is why this doesn’t make sense

      2. Ballard’s production was actually comparable to Richardson’s. His yards per carry and yards per catch are actually better. He was a fifth rounder.

      3. 6 of one, half dozen of the other.

        Richardson had 1317 total yards and 12 TD’s in 15 games last season, while Ballard had 966 yards and 3 TD’s in 16 games.

        It was a good move for both teams. Cleveland has set themselves up to possibly draft a QB in the first round for the 2nd time in 3 years, and Indy gets a tough inside runner that fits Hamilton’s offense well.

      4. Jack,
        Richardson also had 90 more touches than Ballard. He has talent, I just think the Colts panicked and gave up too much for a RB that hasn’t lived up to his hype. Coffee-Ingram-Richardson. Something about those Bama’ backs.

      5. That’s true BigP. The one thing that I think might play into Richardson’s favor in Indy compared to Cleveland is that he should be getting better rush lanes and fewer men in the box with Luck at QB instead of Weeden.

        It will be interesting to watch it play out.

        1. Whether Richardson is worth the first-round pick or not, he’s a big upgrade over Ahmad Bradshaw this week.

          And the weapons in the Colts’ 11 personnel package are top-notch – Richardson, Wayne, Hilton, DHB and Fleener. They can run or pass out of that grouping.

      6. Jack,
        I hear you, although I thought Richardson would be a great fit in Norv’s offense as well. Gore was a beast in Norv’s system for the one season he was here. Most RB’s do very well under Turner.

        1. PFF gave Richardson a +1.5 grade last week and a +9.9 grade in 2012 in rushing and receiving. Gore’s combined grade for rushing and receiving in 2012 was +9.9 as well.

      7. There is nothing top notch about Richardson, Fleener or Heyward Bey. Wayne and Hilton are both very good, as was Dwayne Allen. Luck is as advertised.

        1. I meant it’s a top-notch group, not that they’re all top-notch. No team has top-notch players at all five skill positions.

      8. How Richardson plays with Indy will be very interesting to watch, as well as who Cleveland picks up with Indy’s pick next year. Lets not forget that its Wednesday evening. I don’t see how Richardson will be a factor in Sunday’s game with basically 2 days of practice. I would be surprised if he’s even active on Sunday.

      9. Grant,
        Gore had 2180 YScm in 2006 under Norv. He was a great fit in that offense. I thought Richardson would be a great fit as well with Norv in Cleveland this year. I wasn’t comparing the players, just their fit to the offense scheme.

      10. I wouldn’t say it is a top notch group, but with Luck at QB that group is plenty good enough to cause teams problems.

        I’m interested to see how Hilton goes this week. 49ers struggle with those little, quick guys, and Hilton is a good one.

      11. If Richardson can stay healthy, they will be ridiculous next season with Allen coming back. I think the loss of Allen is huge for this team this year. I just don’t view Fleener as a complete tight end at this point and would be surprised if he made it through the season healthy.
        Luck
        Wayne
        Hilton
        Allen
        Fleener
        Ballard
        Richardson

      12. Atlanta – Jones, White, Douglas, Gonzales, Rogers/Jackson

        Denver – Decker, Thomas, Welker, Thomas, Whoever (one of my favorite RBs)

        New Orleans?
        Dallas?
        San Diego?

        1. Jackson is hurt right now.

          Lots of teams have a good four or three-man unit. How many teams really have five good skill players?

      13. Ultimately they are all 3 or 4 man groups. Its not like DHB or Fleener is really established.

        Now here is a nice all time group for you:
        Rive, Talyor, McCaffery, Jones, Waters
        All went to at least one pro bowl.

        1. Sure, but that was pre-salary-cap.

          DHB had 975 receiving yards in 2011. He’s established. He’s a good No.3 receiver. Fleener currently is the 8th-highest graded tight end on PFF behind Ben Harstock (great blocker, apparently), Jordan Cameron, Julius Thomas, Tyler Eifert, Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis.

      14. 1994 was actually the first year of the cap….they lost McCaffery due to the cap and lost Watters because he wanted more carries.

        I would still put Atlanta and Denver as the top skill position groups. DHB has 15 more career receptions and about 450 more yards than Douglas in about the same # of games. They are both decent #3 receivers. White/Jones are better than Hilton/Wayne. Jackson will be back and if you would rather have Fleener than Gonzalez for this season, more power to you but you are crazy.

        I don’t subscribe to PFF, but I did watch the Seattle-Carolina game week 1 and Olsen absolutely killed Carolina with bad drops in the first half. Looks like he had a better game against Buffalo, but I would still not rank him as the 6th best TE in football.

      15. Teams I would say have better offensive skill position groups:
        - Falcons
        - Broncos
        - Saints
        - Texans
        - Bengals
        - Lions
        - Packers

        There are a bunch that are pretty close with the Colts talent-wise as well. The Colts have a good group, but its not top-notch.

      16. I think Richardson will do very well once he learns the playbook and if he can stay healthy. He did play most of last year with broken ribs and Cleveland’s craptastic offense. I don’t see how Richardson will have a big impact Sunday with so little time to learn Indy’s plays, especially in the 11 personnel where he will have blitz pick-up responsibilities.

    1. I like the deal for Cleveland more than I do for Indy. If a team is willing to dump a player in year two (see Jenkins, AJ) then that should tell you something. In this case Richardson hasn’t looked like a top 5 pick and getting a 1st in return for him is a real coup for the Browns imo.

      1. Rocket,
        From Mike Florio of PFT: “When the status of former Browns coach Pat Shurmur and former Browns G.M. Tom Heckert was in doubt, one of the primary sticking points for new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner came from their failure to move from No. 4 to No. 2 in the 2012 draft to get quarterback Robert Griffin III.

        Instead, the Browns unnecessarily traded up from No. 4 to No. 3 to get running back Trent Richardson. And the new regime provided the ultimate indictment of the old regime by already giving up on Richardson.

        Per a league source, the new Browns management didn’t have high regard for the oft-injured Richardson, who rushed for 950 yards in 2012 and 105 through two games in 2013. His career average is 3.5 yards per carry.”

  4. Coach Harbaw sez: Colin and Andrew are similar.

    Andrew went to Stanford and Colin turned down Dartmouth.
    Keep talking; we’re listening.
    Stanford is the academic long straw.
    The University of Nevada, Reno is….. a straw.
    Let’s see if there is any correlation between the academic long straw
    and the winner of Sunday’s game. I put money on it.

  5. Grant,
    In retrospect, Fleener would have been a much better pick than A.J. Jenkins, but that ship has sailed.

    Having said that, I’m still not sold on Fleener. He reminds me of Eric Johnson a 7 rd draft pick in 2001.
    Johnson was converted from a WR to TE and had some formidable numbers for us when he was healthy.
    What I believe became EJ’ eventual downfall was his lack of physical play.

    I see a little bit of this in Fleener’ game. I believe that Fleener’ true NFL position is WR. His combination of size and speed gives him a plus in todays NFL. As a TE he seems to lack NFL level blocking as well as getting jammed at the LOS.
    He’ already being used in some WR sets, but he could prosper if given the opportunity to concentrate on the WR position only.

    In any case, with the loss of Allen, Fleener will get the opportunity to either succeed or become the next Eric Johnson.

  6. Grant. Matt Barrows tweeted that Crabtree looked surprisingly healthy in pre practice drills he was doing. Did you happen to see anything

  7. Vernon Davis Tweets 11:03 PT Tuesday night”No need to worry y’all My leg is feeling great just need a little rest til kickoff according to the docs.”

  8. Here’s the practice report:

    49ers Practice Report
    Did Not Participate In Practice
    Wednesday TE Vernon Davis (hamstring), RB LaMichael James (knee), DT Ray McDonald (ankle, ankle), DT Justin Smith (shoulder)
    Limited Participation in Practice
    Wednesday LB Navorro Bowman (wrist), S Eric Reid (concussion), LB Aldon Smith (back)
    Full Participation in Practice
    Wednesday G Mike Iupati (shoulder), QB Colin Kaepernick (foot)

    Colts Practice Report
    Did Not Participate In Practice
    Wednesday TE Dwayne Allen (hip), S Antoine Bethea (toe), S LaRon Landry (ankle)
    Limited Participation in Practice
    Wednesday LB Pat Angerer (knee), WR T.Y. Hilton (groin), WR David Reed (quadricep)
    Full Participation in Practice
    Wednesday LB Kavell Conner (ankle), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (ribs), C Samson Satele (elbow), WR Reggie Wayne (shoulder)

    Here’s my question: Could Iupati’s shoulder injury be affecting his game? There must be a reason he’s played horrendously the first two games of the season.

      1. Thanks for finding that link Nick. I mentioned both of those plays in my film review updates on my blog yesterday. The Iupati is just one of many through the first two weeks where it appears that the linemen are just missing their assignments.

        Has Gore lost his legs? I want to give Gore at least the 1st quarter of the season before saying yes or no. Even Jeff Garcia on KNBR yesterday brought up his lack of carries in Seattle.

  9. Will the Browns draft a QB with their own first rounder or the Colts’ first rounder next year? And which QB will they take? Traditional or dual-threat? McCarron and Boyd and Murray and Miller probably will be available with the Colts’ pick. The Browns could take Bridgewater, Hundley or Mariota with their own pick.

    1. Their own most likely, it will probably be a very high pick. I’m intrigued to see who picks Manziel. He isn’t an ideal pro prospect by any means, but he is fun to watch and is a baller.

      1. Dual threat is the future. I like Hundley and Bridgewater. I don’t like McCarron, he reminds me of the USC QB’s of the Sneaky Pete era. Too much talent around him. I would go Hundley, but he would benefit from another year in school.

        1. McCarron is controversial. I like him. He reminds me of Eli Manning.

          And do QBs really benefit from spending more years in school? Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson did not.

      2. Hundley would benefit from it, but there is always the possibility of injury. He gets NFL caliber coaching at UCLA, which should greatly aid his development. Barkley would have been exposed during the draft process had he come out early. I’ve heard many scouts say that he was never the prospect that he was hyped to be. He had below average arm strength and athleticism and probably ended up being drafted where he should have. Baby Favre passed through waivers, so I tend to feel the same about him in terms of being overhyped.

      3. Haha…I couldn’t resist. Fortunately for the Raiders, the comparisons don’t extend to wearing Crocs and text messaging pics of their under carriage to cheerleaders/game day hosts…..I think.

  10. It makes me laugh that 65% of our fanbase can’t see that Gore’s done. Marcus Lattimore was a huge mistake to draft. We need help now. Kendal is great, LaMicheal is too small. That’s not enough. We’re stuck with Gore.

    A lot of people have been complaining about the 49ers’ offense, me in particular. But one thing’s for sure, Greg Roman and Jim Harbaugh have changed the offense a ton since being in SF. Remember Alex Smith and the fly sweep? Power runs with seventeen O linemen? On the one hand, it’s good that Harbaugh and Roman can change the offense because they need to go to an offense that’s more 60/ 40 in favor of the pass. But on the other hand an ability to change the offense can be bad if the change confuses players too much. If I had the keys to the city, I’d be playing Jon Baldwin over Marlon Moore, but the 49ers’ playbook, because of all the change, is too complicated for a guy to come in immediately and just produce. That’s a huge problem, and honestly, I think that’s why the Bucs fired John Gruden. I think Chuckie’s playbook was too complex, and I think Jim and Greg’s offense is approaching that level of stifling complexity.

    One thing’s for sure – You don’t run a power read option / pistol game with a 30 year old running back whose legs are gone. Give me a lot more Kendal Hunter! And put Kaep either under center or in an empty backfield, shotgun formation. Forget all this foolishness at the line. Throw the damn ball. Colin Kaepernick is a superstar. You don’t build a power run game around Dan Marino in his prime.

    ~ Jim Harbaugh: The only man who can keep Colin Kaepernick under 200 yards passing ~

  11. Interesting read regarding Richardson. The sense I get with the move is that Cleveland wants a shot at the Johnny Manziel sweepstakes.

    Weeden is not the long term answer, and Richardson will lose years on his football career by becoming the only offensive talent on the team.
    Cleveland is essentially calling this season a wash.
    A good QB (Manziel or someone else) has a better chance of bringing a winning culture to a team than does a good RB.

    On another topic.
    I have an inquirers interest in the KC/Philly game tomorrow night for a number of reasons.
    1. to see if the KC defense can slow down the much hyped Eagles offense.
    2. to see Andy Reid’ return to Philly.
    3. to see a couple of my favorite players: DeSean Jackson and Mychal Kendricks (ok, I’m a longtime Cal Bears fan).
    4. to see Alex Smith play (yes, I want to see him do well).
    5. to see if A.J. will play (call me a masochist, lol).

    Actually, I believe that it will be a good game.

    1. He’s spent 5 years in the league so far and has managed to make it to all 16 games in a season only once, his first year.

      Let’s hope they aren’t entertaining thoughts about picking him up, he’s a oft-injured headache.

    1. Matt,

      One that can’t throw for one. Just being funny. Alex has always been a soldier and a team player. Even though I hated his game, I had to give him his props as a man. He is a good man. A team player.

    1. Not really surprising. The Colts plan to utilize the one offense that has the best chance of besting the Niners D, and that is a balanced offense.

    1. Jack, that sounds like what we’re probably going to see Sunday. I don’t think they’ll give up on the run this week even if they don’t have early success. But do you think Hunter might get some more carries this week? And that’s not a knock on Gore, really, but just to give Hunter a chance to see what he can do.

      Also, since there was some talk after this last game about blocking schemes and since you have the all-22, what were you seeing? There seemed to be complaints about too much zone-blocking, but isn’t Solari known as a zone-blocking guru? I really don’t know Drevno’s background as far as scheme preferences. What’s your take on the 49er blocking schemes?

      1. I do think we will see Hunter get a few more carries this week Space. That’s part of them getting back to the ground game. On their bounce back games last year there was always a good mixture of guys included in the run game. I don’t think Sunday will be an exception to that.

        Like everything else, it is a mixture of things. I don’t think it is just too much zone blocking. On one play it is a pulling guard missing his man who makes the tackle. On the next one it is Staley just getting beat by his man, or Boone not being able to get around to cut the linebacker off on time, or Gore running it outside the tackle when the lane is open inside.

        As a group the entire interior of the offense is out of sync, from the line to the blocking back, and even the running back.

        Teams are stacking the box, daring the 49ers to beat them because they don’t fear the pass. The Packers did it throughout the game even though they were giving up tons of yards in the air because their offense kept them in the game. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter when they had the lead that they backed off a little bit, and as soon as they did, boom, a 20+ yard run by Hunter and an 8 yard burst by Gore inside the 10.

        We saw the same thing in Seattle, but the difference there was the Seahawks have the personnel to get after Kaepernick up front and their secondary is so physical that anytime they wanted to they would just get up in their face and the WR’s couldn’t handle it.

        I think Seattle is the only team in the NFC that can pull that off though, but we’ll see.

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