Five questions for 49ers

This is my Saturday column.

These are the top-five questions and answers every 49ers’ fan needs to know:

QUESTION: Why is Colin Kaepernick getting sacked so much?

ANSWER: Jim Harbaugh’s offensive scheme.

NFL defensive coordinators figured out Harbaugh’s offense lacks a way to beat blitzes consistently. Defenses are sacking Kaepernick on a league-high 9.1 percent of his drop backs and, when defenses blitz, they’re sacking Kaepernick even more frequently – 12.5 percent of the time. Harbaugh’s offense doesn’t have “sight adjustments,” a core blitz-beating concept every other NFL offense has. I’ll explain.

On the 49ers’ final offensive play in overtime against the Saints a few weeks ago, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called an all-out, overload blitz. It’s called an “overload” because five defenders blitzed to the center’s left and three defenders blitzed to the center’s right – a three-by-five blitz. The side with “five” was the overload. The 49ers had only four players to block those five, so the Niners couldn’t block every blitzer – that was obvious before the center snapped the ball. In situations like this, most NFL offensive coordinators ask the receiver on the side of the overload to make a “sight adjustment” – to look and then adjust his route on sight of the blitz. Break off the route so the quarterback can get the ball out of his hands before the blitz takes him down.

Michael Crabtree was the receiver on the overload side against the Saints. He did not break off his route when the ball was snapped. He strolled downfield like the blitz wasn’t happening, and Kaepernick went down before Crabtree turned his head back to him. If Crabtree had made a sight adjustment and run a quick out route, the play would have resulted in a catch and possibly a first down instead of a sack.

But Crabtree was not at fault. The 49ers don’t coach sight adjustments. Mostly, they ask Kaepernick to run for his life when trouble comes. Kaepernick is his own outlet under pressure. Sometimes, they put one “hot receiver” in the pattern – a receiver who runs a shallow “hot route” no matter what. It’s a predetermined sight adjustment. It is popular in college, but doesn’t work in the NFL against sophisticated overload blitzes. You can’t predict which side the defense will overload. If it overloads the left side and the hot receiver is on the right side, he is useless. The defense still has more than enough players to cover him on that side of the field.

Almost every other NFL offense uses sight adjustments for a reason. They work. Time for Harbaugh to catch up with the times.

QUESTION: How many NFL coaches currently run the West Coach Offense?

ANSWER: Two — Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy. Reid coached in Green Bay under Mike Holmgren, who was Walsh’s quarterbacks’ coach Walsh’s final three seasons coaching the 49ers. McCarthy is a former offensive coordinator for the Niners, and he coached at the University of Pittsburgh under Paul Hackett, who was Walsh’s quarterbacks’ coach before Holmgren.

The Jets run the West Coast Offense with Marty Mornhinweg as their offensive coordinator. Mornhinweg also is a former offensive coordinator of the 49ers, and he learned his trade on the Packers under Holmgren. Mornhinweg, Reid and McCarthy all coach sight adjustments. Jim Harbaugh does not run the West Coast Offense. Harbaugh’s offense is nothing like that.

QUESTION: Who is the most important person in the 49ers’ organization: Trent Baalke or Jim Harbaugh?

ANSWER: Vic Fangio.

Forget Baalke and Harbaugh. Harbaugh has nothing to do with the defense. Baalke gets the players, but Fangio creates an elite defense every season no matter which players Baalke gets. The 49ers better hope Fangio doesn’t get the flu.

In four seasons with the Niners, Fangio has become one of, if not the best, defensive coordinator in football. Maybe Bill Belichik is better, but he’s a head coach.

Belichik was Bill Parcells’ defensive coordinator on the Giants. They won two Super Bowls and Parcells got most of the credit. Belichik eventually got his own head-coaching job, and Parcells never accomplished anything without him.

It makes you wonder. How many games would Harbaugh win if he didn’t have Fangio?

QUESTION: Is Frank Gore a Hall of Famer?

ANSWER: Yes. Gore and O.J. Simpson have almost identical statistics, and O.J. is a Hall of Famer. He played 11 seasons and rushed for 11,236 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and 61 touchdowns. Gore is in his 10th season and has rushed for 10,615 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and 62 touchdowns. No one would say Gore is better than O.J., but essentially they had the same career.

Can you imagine what the 49ers would be without Gore?

QUESTION: Do the Redskins have any chance against the Niners on Sunday?

ANSWER: Yes. If the 49ers’ offense plays the way it played against the Giants last week, the Niners could lose. The Redskins are better than the Giants – better running game, better defense, better defensive coordinator. Jim Haslett is one of the most creative and aggressive blitz-callers in the NFL. Believe me, he knows the Niners don’t use sight adjustments, and he knows how to exploit Harbaugh’s college-style passing game.

Will the Redskins win? Extreme long shot. It would be a devastating, crushing loss for the 49ers. Don’t count on it.

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

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  1. QUESTION: Why is Colin Kaepernick getting sacked so much?

    ANSWER:
    Could be due to the injuries along the O-line
    preventing the “cohesion” needed to maintain
    a good pocket

      1. At best this only explains some of the sacks. I don’t understand the constant desire to blame coaching when players are the one playing the game.

        1. People blame coaches because its the easiest thing to do if the team appears to be talented. In football, make no mistake about it, coaches mean a lot (see Mike Singletary). This isn’t to say that players are not important but more to point out that coaches have to find a way to maximize their players abilities.
          For Coaches, football is like playing a game of chess with unequal parts. Maybe their team has two queens but the opponent has 4 bishops. How does a coach maximize the ability of their two queens while neutralizing their opponents bishops?
          Its easier to blame the players if the talent isnt there, but if it is, people will start blaming the coaches. Maybe they are getting out coached or their message is no longer getting through, but in either case the blame will fall on the coaches. fairly or unfairly.

    1. Obviously, you missed the statement that the Saints sent more pressure than the Niners had players to pick up the overload. Doesn’t matter how healthy your o-line is if you are short one player. Ryan sent 8 and the Niners only had 7 to pick up. Do the math. You are short one no matter how you slice it. Ergo, throw the sight adjust or take the sack.

  2. Eerily similar to the copyright series, 5 Burning Questions, by J. C. Hammer, but I digress. I think you’re putting too much emphasis on “sight adjustments”. I’m not saying they don’t work, but they’re very difficult to execute, and when they go wrong bad things happen. Receivers run hot routes they shouldn’t, and/or they don’t run them when they should have, consequently passes go sailing into empty patches of grass and frequently become part of the interception graveyard….

    1. According to Dwight Clark, almost every route run by receivers under Bill Walsh contained a “sight” adjustment. My sense is that Stevie Johnson instinctively makes them in his regular routes and thus his problem fitting in with the system.

        1. Poorly worded, please forgive me. He is definitely not producing up to his potential IMHO, and he’s not the only one. Maybe you have better reasons why.

      1. Makes sense to me.
        It is frustrating to have such immense talent and still lose games because the offense cannot score often enough to even climb into the mediocre category.
        I think Dwight Clark is right, and I think Cohn has a valid point. Other teams make plays when being blitzed; the 49ers are lax in that category.
        Harbaugh is not the greatest coach ever. He came in and solidified a disjointed and dispirited team, but he is faltering badly this year. The offensive team is not a well-oiled machine, it is again disjoined and ineffective much of the time.

  3. A loss to the Redskins…
    devastating…crushing…
    However, if Washington can blitz
    and Colin takes a serious hit…
    might the Niners lose without
    Kapurnicus in at QB…??
    abso-stinkin-lutely they might.
    Season ending for him = the same for the team.

  4. QUESTION: How many NFL coaches currently run the West Coach Offense
    Answer: …Jim Harbaugh does not run the West Coast Offense. Harbaugh’s offense is nothing like that
    ——————————–
    What makes that a top 5 question and answer that all 49er fans should know?

    1. Because this team is built for WCO. Has the kind of receivers a WCO team needs RB, FB and tight end built for the WCO.

      Honestly, watching the 49ers puke their way around the field in Bo Schembechler’s offense makes ME want to puke. I remember when Harbaugh was hired, everyone made a BIG deal about him spending all that time with Bill is the closing months of Bill’s life, but sure as sh*t, none of that philosophy rubbed off, from dealing with players, to dealing with the media to offensive philosophy.

      This is the make or break season for Harbaugh. If they fail, York will let him walk, and either bring in Holmgren or Mike Shanahan, either of whom would be an upgrade and a return to the WCO. If he succeeds, he STILL might be allowed to walk, maybe not next year, but soon.

      That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

        1. You’er living in a fantasy world if you think Kaepernick will succeed. He’s been found out. DCs have found out how to make him suck and they’re doing a very good job of it.

      1. You must be new to watching football. When Harbaugh was hired the expectation was to get back to the winning ways. It was not to be Bill Walsh. How could anyone follow that legacy?
        Harbaugh has done everything expected of him. The only remaining thing is to win a Super Bowl. Who says that someone else coming in can do that with a new offense or new system?
        Careful what you wish for. Any remember what happened after a very good coach in Mariucci was let go?

  5. QUESTION: Why is Colin Kaepernick getting sacked so much
    ————————–
    Because he makes poor decision in the pocket.

  6. Grant is correct. This is a MAJOR problem with our offense. But it’s not THE major problem. The major problem is that the league has figured out a lot more than about our disjointed offensive tendencies and the shortcomings of our quarterback. (They all have ’em, BTW)

  7. Speaking of questions. My friend, a Jets fan, always asks me, ” how many games would Colin Kaepernick win without that defense?
    I never have an answer for him

    1. For the newbies and Kaep haters .. I pose this question:

      How many times (this season) have you seen opposing
      defensive players just about take the hand-off from Kaep ?..

      Dunno about you .. But, I’ve seen that quite often ..
      and why is that ? … Well.. it’s because of the injuries
      to the guys on the O-line …

      Common sense tells you that you need those 5 guys to
      “gel” .. before you can have any stability, there..

      Off the top of my head.. I recall we have a rookie center.. who..
      by all reports is doing pretty good … but he’s no Kilgore ..
      or even Jonathon Goodwin, for that matter…

      and even tho Jonathon Martin has started.. and has been
      serviceable in his starts .. he’s no Anthony Davis ..

      Now you can blame G-Ro’s play calling … or Kaeps lack
      of a speedy development ..or whatever you want .. but
      no O-line stability = no O-line cohesion … and that, in turn
      causes more busted plays, sacks, incompletions and just
      poor general offensive performance …

      1. Newbies and Kape haters? OK, I’ll bite. Your excuses for Kaep are the same excuses for Alex Smith’s play we used to read around here. Do you equate any criticism of Kaep as ‘Kaep hating?” How old are you, 5?

        It’s not a black and white thing. Kaep is under-performing, the OL is under-performing, the offensive coaching pretty much sucks as usual, and if not for the defense there would be no chance for this team to make the playoffs.

        1. ” .. You give them eyes .. and they still cannot see ..”

          (Oh btw .. when I was 5 .. chances are … your parents
          weren’t even born yet)

        1. Coffee ..
          I meant that figuratively, not literally ..
          but how many times have you seen opposing
          defenses in the backfield ?

          there .. fixed it

          1. I knew how you meant it which is why my response doesn’t change. I’m having a hard time thinking of the last time I saw it happen which makes me inclined to think that either my memory is really bad or it just doesn’t occur that frequently. There have been more then a couple games where the pocket has been short lived but defenders being right up in his grill right at or shortly after the snap I just can’t recall seeing it very much.

  8. Grant, I have a question: How do you know the Niner offense does not use sight adjustments? This is so obvious a strategy, I find it hard to believe they don’t use it. I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that I find it hard to believe.

      1. Thanks, Scooter. Very good article. If the guy is right, though, there are other strategies to beat the blitz which Harbaugh does use, as you obviously know since you know the article. Plus these worked for Alex Smith.

        1. That’s right George – the “hot route” and the “check-release” are both commonly employed by the 49ers. But as Grant pointed out, the hot route can be of little use if the blitz isn’t coming from the same side of the field the hot route is on, while the check-release leaves the RB in pass protection to help pick up the blitz, but as we’ve seen this year that doesn’t always help if the defense still sends more blitzers on one side of the field than there are blockers to pick them up.

          1. If the QB can see that the blitz is coming and he knows the play doesn’t have any adjustments that can be made it’s his job to call a time out or an audible if he has the option. In the most recent case he could have called a time out and saved the sack.

              1. Wilsonm73—There is just too much confusion and problems such as the TO, delay of games, players not in the right formations and missed assignments on a team of mostly Vets who have been running the same offense for this length of time to have it rest mostly on the players. I suspect there is more going on beneath the surface that we are not privy too which would explain a lot of those problems.

    1. George asking Grant to explain or back up his point of views is like asking Roman to discuss scheme, it isn’t going to happen.

      1. Coffee- He actually provided a rational explanation for his view. What do you want? Stats? A Quote? Not everything can be broken down into numbers. Those that think otherwise are defining the limitations of their own abilities to reason.

        1. Willtalk you argue for the sake of doing it. My point was that when pressed to expand or provide further explanation Grant rarely if ever does so.

          Please try and keep up.

    2. Oh me, me me me!! (Hand raised while shaking violently)
      Can I answer??? Ooo ooo ooo…

      Because Grant has seen some plays where the players didn’t execute their job. And it’s all the coaches fault.

  9. Every team has a chance to beat the niners if they can score a fluke TD (pick 6 , blocked punt) and hit some fgs. The sad reality is 13-17 points is very conceivably enough points to beat the niners.

    Burning Q 6/7. Why is crabtree getting more snaps than SJ?
    WHy is vance mac getting more snaps than carrier.

    1. A great question. Other than one play last week, Crab rarely has yards after the catch. Sneaky Stevie Johnson is the only Niner receiver that gets wide open. Crab is a lesser version of Boldin. Sneaky Stevie should be getting the snaps.

      1. Regarding Carrier; he should be splitting snaps with Davis. Carrier is the next Brent Jones; great hands, acrobatic catches, runs solid routes.

        1. Sounds unthinkable, but I have this fear that they might even activate Celik and try to sneak Career on to the practice squad. They seem to have a real blindspot when it comes to recognizing any receivers abilities. Very dense in that respect.

        2. Whoa, there. I’d like to see Carrier get more opportunities too, but comparing a guy with all of 9 catches for 104 yards to one of the best TEs in 49er history is more than a little premature.

          1. Hey Euc, just a wishful prediction on my part. I like what i see though when he’s in, and Vernon isn’t getting it done right now

  10. Fangio makes lemonade with what he has, and makes in game adjustments.
    Hard to say the same with GRo and Harbaugh. Try more roll outs, qb draws….something…anything to lighten the blitzes. STOP being so stubborn in the approach.

  11. Hate to admit it, but Grant has been on fire lately.. he’s DEAD ON with the “sight adjustment” analysis, and probably “college-level” passing offense, too.

    I love Harbaugh, but Roman has GOT to go.. if that means Harbs too, so be it. If the new guy ain’t Fangio, we can only hope the new head coach brings in an offensive coordinator/or is his own OC, that knows how to construct a NFL-level passing offense.

    1. Its a pick your poison situation. A new coach most likely means 8-8 even with our defense who knows without Fangio. Who would you replace JH and crew with? 10-6 with an under performing offense might be better.

      1. >’Who would you replace JH and crew with?’
        HC= Grant
        OC= Fan77
        DC=none. With Grant & Mud running the show the Offense will put up so many points there will no need for a Defense.
        GM=Mud
        PR Director=Mary

  12. I don’t hate Harbaugh rather I feel he is better than the average coach and the Niners could do worse. That said I think everyone because of the 2011 perfect storm seemed to have overrated him early on. He does a good job in a lot of area’s but has some serious flaws/blind spots in others. Much like TB whom the Niners could do worse than as well. I really get the feeling that Harbaugh isn’t quite as bright as people perceived him to be. It’s probable that the area’s he excels in are the area’s where he has excellent assistants and where he falls short they are deficient. Problem is that he needs to be able to tell the difference.

    There are some things that he does that leave you just scratching your head. Like most of his challenges. It gets to the point when if he challenges it’s almost a given it won’t be overturned. It thus wouldn’t surprise me if their are many area’s that we are not privy too where the same sort of deficiencies flounder. So I think Grant is probably correct about the lack of adjustments in the offense. This is another reason I tend to question those that blame everything on Kaep. I suspect that he and yes Alex were the one’s that usually ended up taking the rap for some coaching deficiencies. One of the examples being the problem with getting the plays in on time. Who would have even imagined that it would take them years to even address a problem that existed for since their first year. Much easier to put it on a rookie QB. I suspect there are other similar things in respect to other aspects of the offensive problems they are having. That does not absolve players for their personal bad play since there has also been plenty of that as well. It just makes it hard to attempt to discern responsibility for problems especially when Jim is not very candid and keeps things relatively secret. According to him every player is always operating at such a high level. lol.

    1. You just mentioned the two essential things a head coach needs to do and classified them as faults. When in reality Harbuagh has done them and could be the very reasons they are back in the playoff picture again. Also, considering every thing that has happened this year, he’s doing a heck of a job.
      1. He has hired great coaches. Fangio, Leavitt, Donatell, Rathman, Tomsula, Mangini, Solari and yes, even Roman form one of the best staffs in all of football. Why is that true? They’ve been to the playoffs each and every year.
      2. According to him, every player is always operating at a high level.
      Yeah it’s far fetched but he has this us against the world mentality and its galvanized the team. You watch them on Sunday and there is still a lot of guys who would run through a wall for him.
      You say he is overrated. Well the results say different and the results themselves say he is not. 6-4 and getting better every week. It’s not perfect but I’d be worried about playing SF in the playoffs!

      1. Prime– We are in agreement as to what good coaches need to do. I did not classify them as faults. I just stated that it appears to me that the area’s that the team excels in is due to the assistants coaches he has in those area’s and the area’s that they are deficient in are a reflection of the deficiencies in those area’s.

        Lets be real. The 49er’s have some really excellent coaches, but they also have some real stinkers. It is just that the excellent coaches have been mitigating the negative effect of the stinkers. Who could say with a straight face that the receivers coach excellent. The special teams coach leaves much to be desired as well. Harbaugh may be loyal to them. Coaches trend to be that why. Or he may just not realize their deficiencies because he is clueless himself in those area’s. I tend to go with the later.

  13. 1) Why is Colin Kaepernick getting sacked so much?
    Scheme is a major factor, but Colin’s slow reads+release are a close second.

    3) Trent Baalke or Jim Harbaugh?

    I’d lean toward Baalke, but Fangio is amazing. A defense riddled by injuries but still chugging along. If there was a Coordinator of the Year award, I’m pick Fang.

    4) Gore a Hall of Famer?
    Yes. He’s quietly the most respected RB in the game (by other RBs). Perhaps the best blocking RB in history. Despite his dislike (or inability) for glib chatter, many 49ers consider him the smartest man on the team when it comes to the game.

    5) Do the Redskins have any chance against the Niners on Sunday?
    Yes. Its the curse of Santa Clara. Could have been a jewel in the China Basin area, but are now in a (weirdly sedate) “Erector Set Meets Holiday Inn” 35 miles south.

    The 49ers should win by 17 points, but there is something seriously wrong with the second half offense that’s keeping opponents in games.

    1. I think a good scheme can mitigate, compensate or hide a team or players weaknesses. When the scheme doesn’t work it magnifies and exposes those weaknesses but it doesn’t create them. I think those are the seemingly opposite points of those who criticize the scheme and others the players ( Kaep, etc) are each trying to get across. It is not always possible to change players so I tend to fall on the side of the problem being the scheme. The question is if the scheme they are running brings out the strengths and compensates for the weaknesses of the players who have to run it, That is also part of the problem of changing from a power running offense to a more balanced one necessitated by a change in personal requiring a parallel change in scheme as well.

      Is the offensive co-ordinator too in love with his schemes at the expense of the best interests of the team?

    2. B2W,
      I too am not a big fan of the new stadium (at least the design). There are older stadiums in the league that have better aesthetics than Santa Clara.

      Although Candlestick was old and decrepit, it had a certain character built on hero’s like Montana, Young, Rice, Lott, Walsh, and before them, my old baseball hero’s like Mays, McCovey, Jim Raye Hart, Juan Marichal and Bobby Bonds.

      The paying fan experience does seem very good as attested by my granddaughter who has attended a couple of games. The one complaint she had was the 2 hr traffic crunch getting out of the parking lot after the game.

      But to be fair, the new stadium does offer more and much better weather. But it’s character will need to have a fresh set of hero’s and big games to equal that of the old girl which was Candlestick Park.

      1. AES ..

        The Stick always was a crappy place to witness a game ..
        be it the SF Giants or the Niners .. but..
        having said that .. it was our crappy place …

        I have fond memories sittin’ in the stands … (with my eldest son)
        78º .. everywhere else in the Bay Area … and it felt like -10º inside !

        And who could ever forget those “tubes of death” … smothered
        in Candlestick’s famous industrial mustard and relish ?

        Always got a kick out of other teams complainin’ about
        the field during high tide ..

        Yeah … the old girl served us well .. and I confess …
        it’s gonna be an emotional day, for me .. on the day
        they blow her up ! … but before they do that …

        I’d love it if Grant did a column on The Stick ..
        (Kind of a tribute piece, ya kno ?)

        And the rest of us can post our experiences there

        Whaddya say, Grant …??

        Izzit in the cards ?

        1. I tell you guys this. I started watching and being a fan of the niners around 89′ – 90′. Watching the niners during that time was great. When I found out last year was the last year for The Stick, I had to make the trip. To me, the Stick, was like the Mecca of football. Lots of great players graced that field. So my girlfriend and I made that trip. I loved every single bit of it. I got chills reading the ring of honor. That breeze MW is talking about is real. That visit to San Fran was my first time to the West Coast. I loved every bit of.

      1. MWN, KY, s.c.,

        I live in South City (Serramonte area) for about 8 yrs beginning in 79 and would take kids to the Giants baseball games at the Stick. We were there for some brutal Giants/Dodgers series’ that would extend into the parking with fans milling around.

        My son and I were at the Stick when Barry Bonds stroked 3 home runs into the upper deck.
        My family and I were at the game when Frank Gore ran for over 200 yrds against the hated C-hawks.
        Great memories indeed.

        I don’t know about you guys, but one thing I miss now when watching the 49ers on TV are the beautiful camera shots of Fisherman’s Warf and shots of the Bay with Golden Gate Bridge peeking above the fog.

        I’m sure the Santa Clara stadium will make it’s great history, but the old Stick will always have a special place in my heart.

          1. AES ..

            I’m a 2nd generation SoCity native ..
            Grew up a downtown (Grand & Linden) kid ..
            but when Serramonte was built ..
            I hung out at Pacific Stereo …

            My mom always referred to So city as ..
            “Pneumonia Gulch” …

            1. The Grand Ave area was nice and just enough distance from the Tanforan Mall and busy streets of El Camino. We lived in the Buri Buri area near Avalon St.
              My favorite breakfast place was Millbrea House of Pancakes – best French toast to date!
              Toto’s Pizza in Daly City was some of the best in the area and became a family affair on Friday nights.

              Moved out of the area and to the Central Valley when my job closed its doors. Nice slower pace out here in the Valley, but I still miss my cool Bay Area summers.
              And I miss those times at the old Stick!

              1. Milbrae House of Pancakes is a must stop
                everytime we go back … and it’s always packed

                (I can remember when Tanforan was a race track)

            2. I’m not a San Franciscan. I was born in Marin in 61, raised in Sonoma County…. but I have cousin’s in the Sunset. Brother lived in the 40’s off Taraval.

              They can N-Judah to a Giants game, but Santa Clara’s an ordeal. The old timers had a big connection to the 49ers because of Kezar… it was like a Europe. They’d spill out of the Irish bars and stumble straight into the stadium. Not now.

              My stick memory… camping three freezing nights in a VW bug outside the Stick in 81, to get tix for the NY Giants playoff game. Several thousand campers morphed into a kind of Mad Max tribe, ready to repel anyone who dared take cuts. Guitars and amps were set up. We survived off a 5 gallon jug of picked artichoke harts. Next week, Dallas in the NFCCG…

  14. Every team plays us with 8/9 guys in the box and challenges Kaep to beat us w their man coverage. Receivers aren’t getting open quick enough, and Kaep isn’t making reads fast enough, and Roman can’t scheme us out of it…..yet

    1. If Roman hasn’t done it by now, I have no confidence he’s all of a sudden going to be possessed by the soul of Bill Walsh and become a competent OC. At this time, he is NOT a competent OC. You tailor your system to the players, not the other way around.

    2. Actually, teams are reluctant to play man on passing downs because of Kaep’s running ability. But because Roman’s run calls are so predictable, they load the box with impunity on obvious running downs (such as 1st down, because Roman figures the 100th straight time he runs up the middle on 1st, they won’t expect it).

      1. Ironically, CK is ranked 17th among starting QBs with only a 35% completion % on first down. One would think that his completion % would be much higher because of the loaded boxes the Niners see because of GR’s propensity to call so many runs on first down.

  15. This article was actually a joy to read and explained the source of many of the Niner’s offensive struggles. Well done Grant!

    I just wonder why the Niner lack of sight adjustment is only catching up to them now. Did it really take the rest of the league 2-3 years to figure out the Niner blind spot on offense?

  16. Stipulated, the Harbaugh-Roman passing attack is simplistic and ineffective no matter who the receivers are (let this year’s versatile, deep, and talented corps be the final proof of that), and Vic Fangio has coached his backside off. But to deny utterly crucial importance of Baalke is simply nonsensical. Just a crazy statement. Makes no sense. Compare the Niners’ roster to just about any other in the league. That’s just silly to not give Baalke the credit he so obviously deserves.

    But I will start doubting the guy if Roman is here next year.

    1. Tend to agree. It’s been a work in progress that can fully be assessed end of season. Then decisions have to be made

  17. Rocking my red 16 jersey today and watching Pats/Lions, and Brady showing that magic that makes me think of Joe Cool. Their games are pretty different but TB has that command and sense of purpose, and enjoys the same unlimited faith by his teammates that he can pull it off. It can sometimes be a self-fullfilling prophecy in the two minute drill.

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