Godfather of deception is waiting

Here is my Friday column previewing the 49ers’ upcoming game against the Saints.

SANTA CLARA – Greg Roman made the Sonny Corleone mistake at his press conference on Thursday.

Sonny Corleone opened his mouth in front of Sollozzo in “Godfather I,” expressed interest in dealing narcotics without consulting the Don. So, Sollozzo knew there was discord in the Corleone family and used it against them. Sonny broke the omerta, the mafia’s code of silence.

Roman didn’t come out in favor of drugs. But he broke the 49ers’ omerta on Thursday. All week, reporters had been asking Jim Harbaugh, the Niners’ Don, what is wrong with Colin Kaepernick? Is he regressing? Is he having trouble going through his full progressions?

“We don’t think anything’s wrong with Colin,” said Harbaugh, defiant. “We feel like his progression’s been very good. He’s played winning football for us and that’s what we expect.”

Harbaugh did not blame Kaepernick for the passing game’s problems. He praised Kaepernick.

Cut to Roman on Thursday. A reporter asked him how well Kaepernick is developing.

“Colin is progressing very nicely,” Roman said, and then he broke the code: “There is still an element of, ‘I’m seeing something for the first time.’ Obviously, there was a lot of that last year, and very similar this year.”

Let me translate that for you: Roman was saying something like: “Don’t blame me that the offense has disappeared in big games this season. Blame the novice quarterback, that’s who. Half the time he doesn’t know what he’s seeing when he looks at the defense, so what can I do?”

I imagine Harbaugh dropping his head in disgust after hearing that, calling Roman into his office and saying, “Santino, never tell anyone outside the family what you’re thinking again.”

Does Roman even realize it is his job as the offensive coordinator to anticipate the different looks Kaepernick will see in the game, and then present those looks to him on film and on the field during the week of practice prior to the game? That’s what Roman is paid to do. When he calls out his quarterback’s ability to recognize defenses, Roman really calls out his ability to teach.

And Greg, if you think there’s “an element” of Kaepernick seeing things for the first time, hold onto your hat in the Superdome.

Kaepernick never has faced a defensive scheme like the one he faces this weekend. Rob Ryan is the Saints’ new defensive coordinator. His scheme is unique to the Ryan family. Rex Ryan runs a version of it with the Jets, but no other teams run it.

The “Ryan Defense” thrives on confusing a young, inexperienced quarterback. What you see is what you don’t get. Rob Ryan will show Kaepernick a variety of fronts and coverages only the Saints and Jets run. Rob Ryan will have a way to take away Vernon Davis, if he plays, and Anquan Boldin using coverages from unique looks other teams simply don’t show.

And Rob Ryan probably has concocted brand new looks just to confuse Kaepernick. Rob Ryan lives to make a young quarterback’s life miserable.

Good luck, Colin.

Greg, you picked the wrong week to admit your quarterback is struggling to read defenses. Rob Ryan is probably doing a dance right now.

On passing downs when his Nickel defense is on the field, it will look like gumballs to Kap, players bouncing around, prowling the formation, confusing the offensive line – Who should block whom?

And it will confuse the quarterback. Rob Ryan’s defense disguises its coverage before the snap. Where the defenders are when the quarterback is going through his silent cadence is not where the defenders will be when the center snaps the ball.

To make matters worse, the 49ers like to line up Kaepernick in the shotgun on passing downs. Meaning, he has to take his eyes off the defense and watch the ball fly into his hands before he can raise his eyes again and see what’s going on. Stuff happens when he’s looking at the ball. The defense reveals its coverage. But Kaepernick can’t see it right away because he has to catch the ball first.

I have zero confidence in Roman’s ability to work around these issues after making the Sonny Corleone mistake. The passing game will be as dead as Sonny at that fateful toll booth for the second week in a row and Roman will deflect blame to Kaepernick.

The 49ers scored 17 offensive points last season against the Saints. The 49ers will score fewer than 17 on Sunday, and they will lose by more than a touchdown.

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. The 49ers have one effective running back and he’s averaging just 18 carries per game. The 49ers can’t just run to win this one.

      1. They can and they will. They will hamburger train the Saints and execute their play action passes. Another 150 yard rushing performance and victory over the Saints….

        1. How do you figure the Niners score more points against the Saints this season than last season? No Crabtree or Walker. The Saints have Keenan Lewis now and he’s having a top-notch season.

      2. They have the hamburger train up front. They do not need those two to grind on the front seven of the Saints. The play action will be there. The 49er defense will come up big in this game.

      3. The last two games they rushed for over 140 yards against the Saints. I could of sworn they scored 31 points against them last year…..

      4. Don’t forget it’s the ultimate Team game, and although the defense might not score 14 points….I believe they will have a couple turnovers to put the offense in good field position to score….

      5. Heck, I feel honored to have watched it on TV. That 4th quarter was wild.

        Hey, if Atlanta can keep it close in the Dome the 49ers might be able to as well. This one may play out different than you and I think.

      6. Greatest game I ever attended, right in front of the NYG comeback wildcard game. The loudest I’ve ever heard candlestick after the Vernon post.

      7. Jack,
        Considering the Saints turned the ball over five times that day, it’s actually pretty sad that the Niners had to come from behind twice in that game.

      8. NO-SF That is one the best 9ers games I watched.
        Alex drilled that final ball like it was no big deal.
        I was hoping for the same in last year’s SB……….

      9. That game was awesome. I was there with my cheaply made voo voo zella. I blew that thing for every snap Drew brees took. I cut the crap out of my upper lip blowing on that horn to the point where it gave me a Charlie chaplain type mustache/scab under my nose. I also had to deal with all the “who dat” fans during the crazy last 4 minutes.
        ps. I did call that naked bootleg by Smith out loud to the point where this lady sitting behind me leaned over and kissed me on the cheek.

      10. If the stinking Jets can beat the Saints…. With a lousy 140 yards passing no less (vs 366 for Brees), I’m not throwing in the towel on this game.

    2. I think the premise of this article is just wrong. Just because Roman admitted that Kaepernick is still learning that gives the Saints and edge? Yeah right. I don’t believe a quality NFL coach like Ryan didn’t know that just by watching film. Had Roman not said that, Ryan wouldn’t know to try to confuse Kaepernick?? I guess this makes for “clever” writing, but I bet this is the kind of thing that causes NFL coaches to shake their head and conclude the media is a complete joke.

  1. Yep, Niners regroup and win this one. They keep the Offense on and Brees and Co off. I am even calling Pierre Thomas gets knocked out again.

      1. Cohn Senior is Captain “I guess I’m getting too old for my job. Too grouchy. Can’t stand the aggravation” McClusky. Can still throw the sucker punch though.

        Grant is his crony, The Turk Sollozo – “I am the hunted one” (for picking the Cowboys).

        A word of advice Grant, don’t accept any dinner invitations from the 49ers “organization”

  2. Apparently Grant got pants’d by Roman. Yet another negative article that feels a little too personal than professional. Such a negative nelly! What does the PD see in you?

    1. That is exactly the question i asked my self after reading this article. However, sometimes Grant displays his ability as a professional writer by posting a very good article so i am not sure what is happening here!

    1. Ditto thanks for another good link, Mid West. I have to say I too was touched by Tolbert’s concern at that time. However my reaction was more like man this must be really bad. Instead it was a class act by a classy player leaving me both relieved and impressed.

    1. Broken record here but have to say it. Tomorrow’s game is a perfect opportunity for the flex full house diamond formation. Extra blocking and balanced run threat (inside and outside) against a D better at pass defense than run.
      So Niner offense dose not allow Ryan to dictate, instead Niner O dictates. Furthermore it dictates the power run first, outside run second and pass third.
      Use the diamond to take Cam Jordan out of his rush to Kap by both forcing him to worry about the run first and by offering Staley some blocking help from the box of diamonds.
      Imagine Gore in his favorite spot 3 to 4 steps off line spot, Miller or Davis parallel to him for blocking and other threat, LMJ or Hunter at the tail to run left or right for outside threat (plus pistol threat and blocking help to tackle) and finally Kap under center with pre snap shift to short pistol if desired and you have confused a Ryan defense that is supposed to do the confusing. Further you have forced a weak run defense into a long horizontal box to stop the run and meanwhile the one maybe two easy read receivers are in single coverage.
      Lastly, the diamond power with option, runs the clock keeping the ball out of the hands of Drew and gang.

      1. Excellent tactical arguement for the Diamond. Although I would think it would be problematic to try to install something new headed into a hostile stadium. It would be nice to spring some surprises on the D, but it’s dang loud in there. The unfamiliar might be hard on the offense too. If they’d installed it during TC I’d be happier about it.

      2. Brotha,
        The diamond is not actually new to the Niners. They were successful with it last year and used it at least once this year.
        What I am suggesting is some small changes to the diamond they are familiar with.
        First a personnel change. They currently run it with two TE in blocking back positions and Gore at tail (not a good place for him). I want them to move Gore down from tail into one of those split “blocking” back spots. The other can be Miller or TE. I then want to put LMJ or Hunter in tail back spot where he / they offer off tackle threats to both sides, pistol back, short or outside pass target, outside blocking, etc.
        Second a slight variant to diamond that takes it to a small shift flex diamond. Kap is mostly over center in a full house (four point) diamond but can choose to step back into a pistol (3 point) if so desired. In the latter he can still hand off to a comfortable Gore or he can hand off to a hidden LMJ as the true pistol back. Or he can keep to run or pass with that extra blocking to assist.
        I see this getting enough yards on downs one and two so that the diamond can remain in 3rd at short. Thus the diamond can stay on the field for a multi dimensional threat through out the downs.
        Then the noise can be better dwelt with because of less O complexity at the front end, a condensed offensive box to better hear calls and play action and no huddle options. If it is deafening this offense allows them to ignore the WRs and rely on the variety of weapons in the offensive box.

  3. Rob Ryan has been living off his last name. He had a top 5 D once in his years as a coordinator otherwise he’s been middle of the pack, at best.

  4. From a creative writing perspective, an excellent crafting of drawing into the piece the Godfather scenario. Who knows how the game will turn out, but that’s why they play the game on the field and not in the papers. Regardless of which team you like for tomorrow, you have to appreciate the creativity in the piece. After alll, there is no denying that GR said what he said.

  5. A lot of IFs going into this game. If the Niners defense rises to the occasion and puts constant pressure on Breeze from the opening kickoff to the end of the game; if the Niners special teams constantly put the Saints in bad field position and put the Niners in good/great field position; if the offense sustain drives (many first downs) and scores touchdowns; if the coaching staff puts in a hell of a game plan and has the team fired up and prepared; if all those IFs happen then the Niners win. That’s an awful lot of IFs but that is what its going to take to beat the best team in the NFC.

  6. 49ers are starved for production in the passing game yet thru 9 games Gore has 10 catches, Hunter has 2 catches, James has 0 catches and B. Miller has 14 catches.
    49er tailbacks have 12 catches on the season combined yet our fullback has 14 catches ????

    Maybe Roman should spend less time analyzing Kap and more time analyzing himself and his offensive philosophy and involve the tailbacks more in the passing game, I know how bout Gore & hunter/James in the backfield at same time or how about all 3 tailbacks in diamond formation and motioning 1 to the slot but what do I know !!!

    Nobody has mentioned that because Roman/Harbaugh have a hard time getting plays in timely causing almost every play to be snapped with 1 sec on play clock has easy it has made it for other teams defense to time there get off on the snap count and also time there blitzes to perfection so basically Roman has eliminated the “surprise” of the snap count and might as well be holding a sign saying WE ARE SNAPPING THE BALL PLEASE ATTACK

    64 million dollar question, Balke and Harbaugh preach competition and if not up to par you will be gone (K. Williams) so would they make the hard decision Jims brother made last year and fire there o-coordinator ??

    1. That is what I am preaching 4 life.
      First:
      LMJ or Hunter with Gore on the field at the same time and every down for fully balanced run attack. Then add primary blocker to make a diamond formation. The outside tackle box runner (LMJ or Hunter) is at the tail. Gore takes a blocking back spot where it is his favorite power run launch point and parallel to him is the primary blocker to hopefully hit the hole just in front of a Gore launch. If the primary blocker is Davis he is a big threat as receiver option as well. The tail protects the backside in Gore launch or offers a faked threat to east west run or pass. We are a run first offense the diamond further expands on that by making us an outside run threat as well while giving us extra blockers. Further it brings back the short pass option.

      As for your points about getting plays off in time and lack of surprise, that is largely due to changing formations every down.
      Getting play off:
      Constantly changing formations only works with offenses where all things click and you have a Manning type veteran at QB. As they say, keep it simple for the offense, stupid. It does it not work for hurry up and not so well for last moment adjustment. You are often stuck with a more specialized play. A specialized formation may better match a yardage situation but it is often one dimensional and the D has time to adjust accordingly. Instead pick one formation that best fits the personnel, that gets your best players on the field all the time and gives you lots and lots of options with your best weapons. If it is long yardage on 3rd then move a runner up and out as a receiver but keep the run threat intact for multi dimension threat.
      And by the way the diamond has proven to be a very effective formation for no huddle (remember one formation with lots of options) (see college and NFL examples)

      Lost surprise:
      In the Niner’s case (because of team characteristics) our formations telegraph our intent. We show run or we show pass because Kap is comfortable in one and Gore (and rest of O) is comfortable in the other. The flex full house diamond offers both players there comfort zone so one formation for surprise element. Kap can shift between under center and pistol with 3 steps keeping his eyes on the defense the whole time. Gore is 3 steps from the line even when Kap shifts to pistol. Gore is along side as split back while tail back LMJ / Hunter becomes the hidden pistol back. Imagine that smallish LMJ hiding back there and then having Gore and Miller as blockers; can’t get better than that. Oh but it does as Kap’s preferred read option set is back for two more threat options. After all we want him to tie up a spy defender. Man on man is key to getting those WRs in single.

      One formation with many options not only keeps it simple for the O but also brings back the element of surprise to the opposing D. Simple for us complicated for them. The diamond is the preferred formation because it plays to Niner strengths and down plays (d-emphasizes) the weaknesses. If they were a different team with less running talent and a lot of good WRs and a veteran pocket statue QB with great progression and reads then the diamond would not be a good fit.

  7. Please Roman, throw LaMichael James and Baldwin along with Frank, Anquan and what ever tight end we have left standing, at the Saints. The saints will complete passes to at least 5 different receivers. We can try and do the same……

    1. Norbay,
      Put LMJ in as tail back, Gore and Miller/Davis as split backs in a diamond formation, Kap at center with 3 steps to pistol and you have what you are asking for. Run at these guys first and foremost until the passing game opens up because it has too.

      $Okay it is beginning to sound like I sell diamonds for a living.

  8. It is obvious, other then then the Perv State, head coaching position, which he interviewed,Roman can not get a sniff,in the top college or NFl level. We could be last in passing for the next 5 years and Harbaugh will say he is doing a great job.

  9. It is fun to have Grant write these little vignettes to make a point, and we’re all looking to read and react, so good. A little imagination in how to frame it is good. I think there’s some exaggeration going on here, but I note that exaggerating to the ridiculous is a long standing way to make a point and to tell a joke. The point made that Roman spoke out is truly an exaggeration. I think Grant would love the intrigue if he were right about JH’s reaction. I have to note too how Grant went hyperbolic on his “translation” of what Roman ‘really meant’. No Grant, he didn’t say that or mean that. No. It isn’t the hidden meaning; its your projection. If offered more gently and tongue-in-cheek it might’ve worked better for me; a la exag > ridiculous.
    Does Roman slip up or mis-speak often? When? He’s actually quite thoughtful and organized in his Pressers, and always has been more forth-coming than his boss; so has Vic. That didn’t slip out. Neither was it a dagger of blame in CK’s back. This reminds me of your characterization of GR’s play-calls as being self-serving to him. Something in your craw?
    Let’s look at what he said. We (you, me, Roman, everybody) sees hesitation in CK. Roman’s statement speaks to that. It does NOT cast the blame. Earlier in the same session he points the finger at himself. That missed this narrative, eh? Everybody sees the stats and score and lack of productivity is empirical. Despite the team’s culture, he couldn’t sit up there and not acknowledge something. When The Emperor has no clothes, you can say what you want, but… Kaep is in a productivity slump. If Roman had completely refused to address it wouldn’t you have ridiculed him for that?
    I don’t know how this game is going to play out. I’m hoping for but not confident in a win in NOLA this week. But sometimes I wonder if you, Grant, aren’t “Alex(Feeling no )”. You get so excited by your ideas sometimes, and so enjoy throwing bombs at ‘Harbaw’ and Roman. Is it personal? The blog era is new-ish and evolving. I don’t expect objectivity or Edward R Murrow Journalism. Putting words in people’s mouths is off the mark for me.

    1. Brotha, I watched Roman’s presser live yesterday and my take was he meant Kaepernick was seeing defenses he has not seen before because of limited starts. Could that be the same reason Russell Wilson has struggled at times this season? I would think that’s just part of the process of becoming an NFL QB as a young player.

      1. @Space
        Yep. Part of the inevitable maturation process, and therefore, IMHO, not Roman throwing Colin under the bus or deflecting blame from himself.

  10. Nice try Grant. I watch the NFL network as well, get some original material. I think you want the 49ers to lose so you can gloat the next time you “spar” with Harbaugh or Roman because that’s what this is all about isn’t it. Even if they do lose this weekend, are we to think since Harbaugh arrived the team has not been successful? I think Harbaugh pissed off your dad to at some point; reminds me when Glenn Dickey took everything personal with Bill Walsh.

    1. + 1
      Grant and Lowell are friends with the acid tongued Mr. Dickey, and I presume they like his professional body of work, but I don’t want to put any words in their mouths. ;>0

  11. you’re not gonna throw 7′s on every roll..
    and in the NFL .. you’re not gonna win every game, either ..
    (Just ask the Pats)

    Sure … I’ll be disappointed (and maybe a little depressed)
    should the Niners lose manyana …but I believe
    in them … and I’m thinkin’ it’s gonna be a close one..
    but Aldon should be back to form .. and he’ll
    make Breese chew on some of that plastic turf ..
    (a couple times) ..

    … and that will be the difference ..

    21-17 Nners

  12. 4:25 p.m. ET, Sunday…
    the game which defines your season, Mr. Harbaw.

    Ya gotta wonder
    will the Niners score on their first drive?
    If they get the ball second, then we expect
    to be down immediately by 7 points.
    Will the Niners score at all in the first quarter?
    Will the Niners score at all in the entire second half?
    hope-a, hope-a, hope-a

    Will Colin run the ball more and then get hit
    with a “welcome to the NFL style tackle”…?
    Is Colt McCoy ready to step in?
    (Some of us would like to find out.)

      1. Only as a tease. I brought it up in my over-long diatribe above that comment. You can browse for it if you have the patience. 8:55am.

  13. This is an interesting game and so far a fascinating season. I didn’t think KAP would be this — hate to say it — ordinary. Oh screw it, a little pathetic. Something is very wrong when you’re QB can’t get passed his first read. It was the issues I had with the final drive in the SB. he just stared at Crabtree the whole time.
    That’s not a functioning passing offense. And yes please throw to someone besides Boldin and VD. I was complaining about that during the 5 game win streak.
    Last year the Niners had that 3rd game loss syndrome. Where they would play great for two games as a team, then lay an egg.
    Let’s split last season between the two QBs, not for controversy, but how the offense was run. When Alex got hot, there was a mix, mostly check downs, but at least it felt like an efficient offense. When Colin came on, it was more down the field, bigger, more explosive plays, read option stuff.
    Now this year all that is taken away by D and personnel, and now we’re left with — 41 yards passing. 3 and outs. Colin is not taking what the D is giving him and there lies a big big problem.
    It’s up to him to check down to Vance on a Five yard hitch, or Gore in the flat.
    WRs don’t run hard routes because they know Colin won’t throw it to him.
    Colin needs to scramble, run like crazy, go all out, because if he gets hurt, is he really that valuable when we’re only getting 41 net yards passing? I don’t mean that I want him to get hurt, only saying his QB passing below standard and Colt McCoy and do just fine. Heck, look at one Tolzien did and he was on the practice squad.

    Said my peace. Go Niners. Go Colin. Give us reasons to feel good about the team…

  14. The 49ers offense is, and always has been far more of a Jim Harbaugh production than a Greg Roman feature film. It’s lazy to look at the production of the offense and blame it all on Roman.

    The 49ers pass offense has been around the bottom 1/3 in the league since Harbaugh took over in 2011. A big part of that is due to the fact that their offense is based off the run, they’ve runt the ball on 53% of the plays in the last 2 1/2 years.

    This has been the case in Harbaugh’s offense since his days at Stanford, even before Roman joined his staff. In 2008 with David Shaw as the lone coordinator, the Stanford offense ran the ball 63% of the time. Roman then came on board for 2009-10 as a co-offensive coordinator handling the run game while Shaw oversaw the pass game. During those two seasons with Andrew Luck at QB they ran the ball 63% and 59% of the time.

    A lot has been made on this blog about Roman’s history being with the line and that being why they run the ball so often. Well, even after he left Stanford the Cardinal have continued to be heavy in the run game, running the ball 56% and 57% in the two years after he left. And when Shaw was tasked with finding a new offensive coordinator this past offseason guess who he turned to, yep, the guy who had previously been his run game coordinator and is still the interior offensive line coach.

    Feel free to shoot your arrows at Roman, just know that you are off the mark when you do. This is Jim Harbaugh’s offense, alway has been, always will be.

      1. I am confident Kap will have you eating your narrowly targeted blame. He just is not ready (for a variety of reasons) for everything and the kitchen sink being thrown at him – of late.
        Is he part of the blame – probably. Maybe could have spent a little less time on the imaging thing especially before the job was done.

      1. It seems like the O has taken a step back in order to hopefully take large steps forward that they didn’t think were possible with Alex. Unfortunately, some fans weren’t expecting to see games like the 3 losses. It was supposed to be 16 games like the opener vs the Packers.

    1. Good point Hammer; fits right in with your history lesson in your past article.
      I would add that this team was a run first offense that Harbs inherited and I am sure felt good with. Nolan and Sing built it as such. Problem is it was built as a mostly between the tackles power run team and that is dividing a one dimensional offense down to a one half dimensional O – in my opinion.

      Excuse the tedious repetition but the diamond offers the opportunity to take the run game to a full and balanced run game– a full lateral field dimensional threat. Plus it further elevates the power run with extra blocking. And when that works the passing targets open up. All those back field backs offer short pass opportunity’s as well — now we are multi – dimensional.

      That is what this team is both built for and coached for so lets go there on all available cylinders and a turbo charger and pound at all possible points along the line. Jump into the Mississippi waters with eight fast and powerful feet.
      What do you think?

      1. As the window for the SB becomes smaller before our eyes, keep in mind that Mr. Harbaugh and crew have their finger prints all over this teams struggles. From the play calling , personnel decisions, where are the play makers/Wrs? And just maybe putting a not ready for championship QB in the line of fire.
        Is this a good team? of course it is. The real question , is this a championship team ? As of this moment… the jury is out.

    2. No, this is an offense by committee and it’s time to end that crap of an approach. Johnny Morton, Geep Chryst, Mangini, Roman, and JH. How many cooks can there be in the kitchen?

      1. This is Harbaugh’s team and he has run his offense this way dating back to at least his Stanford days, and that crap has won over 70% of its games.

        It will change once Harbaugh is no longer here.

      2. I think it was McBT that said red zone game planning is done by Chryst, passing is done by Morton, run game done by Roman, and god knows what Mangini does. I don’t mind the offensive philosophy, I take issue with the coaching by committee approach.

    1. I underestimated the loss of Mr. Crabs. It’s been huge for Kaepernick. The confidence is there, and it will rear its head against the Saints….

    2. There is nothing more effective than a 3 to 4 TD game for CK. GO NINERS. I truly believe he is over thinking it. Jim H should tell CK just go out there and have fun.

  15. harbaugh is the worst coach in the NFL. THEY WILL NOT WIN ANYMORE GAMES.

    Coach idiot was lucky the last two years be prepared to have a clown for a football team bye bye niners good to know you losers.

  16. Grant you surprise me with your schizophrenic blogs. I like how you put fuel in the fire for a fan base that is never happy period, even going back to the Steve young days. So you have no confidence in GRow and suddenly Mr Ryan is the god of deception that is going to destroy 49ers offense! Can you please tell me about your rationale on how Ryan became this amazing defensive mind?

    Also, i do not believe GRow said anything to throw CK under the bus by stating that he is still seeing thinks for the first time. That is the reality of the game and regardless of what people think Ck is a young QB that is learning the game. He definitely has the potential and the ability to take his game to the next level. Go Niners

    1. Roman is just frustrated. As he is serving up too much for essentially a rookie QB. This QB was fine in his college offense last year. Now this year because of a number of circumstances he is suddenly faced with welcome to the NFL college boy.

  17. 49ers have until 1pm today to decide to activate TE Carrier or WR Jacobs for tomorrow. Do they activate either one or stay pat for this game?

  18. Does Roman even realize it is his job as the offensive coordinator to anticipate the different looks Kaepernick will see in the game, and then present those looks to him on film and on the field during the week of practice prior to the game? That’s what Roman is paid to do.

    Grant–do you know for a fact that Roman doesnt do this? Maybe he does and kaepernick just doesnt get it. Seems to me you should know something like this before attacking a guy in his performance.

    Im sure you wont answer this though, based on past experience

      1. There is no logic at all! this is all speculation just based on the poor offensive performance in some games. it is easy to make assumptions when things are not clicking with out any facts. The offensive struggles this year is too dynamic to just blame it on Grow or the QB without knowing all the facts. This blog has become a Jerry Springer show! I am not blindly just supporting this coaching staff or the QB, they have to perform much better, but we are still 6-3 this year!!! It would be nice to have a blog where all potential issues were explored and analyzed rather than just pointing fingers or stating personal opinions such as “i have no confidence in GROW”. I believe such statements for a beat writer is unprofessional since it does not focus on the issue. In the business world, there is a saying attack the issue not the person or you will become positional which ultimately will limit your ability to succeed.

      2. I hear you Chicago. But the logic (deduction) part comes out of a long string of disappointing clues. Some of us have just not been real enamored with the play calling for quite some time. Too many formations, too complicated and with little surprise. And the QB problem should be fixable unless Kap is a complete looser in disguise. And I don’t believe that to be true.

        But rather than whine about the problems I prefer to talk about the solutions.
        The fix is not so difficult. Use just one or two formations to simplify the offense and speed up getting the play off. One formation makes it easier on a young QB. Choose a formation that offers lots of options and possibilities to constantly confuse and surprise the defense. Start with a simple base and add options in as team is ready. Formations telegraph intent, options can be hidden and disguised. Pick a formation that fits this team. Choose a formation that fits the run first goal. Choose a formation that favors downhill power running to specifically match this offense. Find a formation that gets you the balanced running (currently missing but you drafted and have the players for it). Find a formation that gets your best players on the field. Find a formation that relies less on current weaknesses (passing game).
        Choose and customize if necessary a formation that helps this particular young QB play better and grow. Make sure the formation is balanced and with lots of tools to offer many options to grow into and expand upon.
        That is some coaching 101 stuff that could be a big help at this point. I am convinced the problems are not only fixable but this offense could be really good again.
        So my base offense formation is the full house flex diamond what is yours?
        I wish there was a fantasy football league where you could plug in strategy — now that would be fun.

      3. Chicago,
        Would you be okay with fuzzy logic.

        Turns out I apparently drastically over valued BJ Daniels so I am guilty of too much speculation on assumptions from a couple of games as well it seems.

      4. you make a good argument about simplifying the offense. I am just not sure what is happening behind the closed doors. For example, how much control has been given to the QB coach (geep Chryst) for calling the passing plays! how much Mangini is influencing the play calling? Is the 49ers coaching staff asking CK to look for specific designs and play within a certain frame work that is not allowing CK to play lose!

        I constantly hear from experts around the league that our wide outs do not get open and losing Crabtree is hurting ck. Also, i have notice CK is just not playing ball just by looking at his body language! Jack provided us a great picture of how he was not even set in the pocket with his foot work to deliver the ball accurately! So the question is whats contributing to these issues rather than attacking one person in the team. GROW is responsible but the offensive issue is much larger than Grow or CK!

  19. “Does Roman even realize it is his job as the offensive coordinator to anticipate the different looks Kaepernick will see in the game, and then present those looks to him on film and on the field during the week of practice prior to the game?”

    Do the Cohn’s realize that it’s their job to write about the 49ers and a positive article once in a while would be nice?

    1. We all need to talk about the Niner defense a bit more — that is a big positive. Even as banged up as they are and as much time as they are on the field they are still doing their job and more.
      This game will be a test for a banged up defense. Offense help them out.
      Special teams has been pretty good too. Sure hope the special teams does not have problems with new returners.

  20. NinerNation is reporting that Mario Manningham will play a limited role on Sunday because of a knee condition.
    Due to this, Jon Baldwin is expected to see more action tomorrow.

    I would love to see JB get his share of passes so that we get a better idea what we have in him. With AB probably getting double coverage and VD perhaps utilized more for pass blocking its a great opportunity for Baldwin.

    Of course, Baldwin will need Kap to throw is way, which has not happened much for secondary receivers this season.

    A win tomorrow, given the fact that we are not at full player strength will speak volumes to the character of this team.

      1. Hammer,
        As you know by now that is what I want to see. More that two hbacks and less the two TE.
        A two running back set featuring Gore and LMJ together for inside and outside simultaneous threats is a must for this game (if they have been practicing it).
        I would also put one primary blocking back in the O box as well (Miller or Davis) because I want to pump up the run and short pass and throttle down the deep passing game for awhile (especially now with Manningham out). And LMJ should be in the tail back position so that he can see the whole field and so that he can run east or West for complete balance. Gore should be in split or 3 steps from the line for the bread and butter power run.

        Okay so it is starting to sound like that diamond again. And, sorry but in order for all this to work it has to be the diamond formation. LMJ or Hunter as the outside runner needs to be in that I / tail position
        to see the field and be able to run to either side. Gore needs to be in the split for his best spot. Kap preferably should be in the pistol to hand off to LMJ / Hunter tail back for quick and best angle outsider run. He can also then hand off to Gore for dive or he can keep for read option.
        Otherwise if he stays under center it is a toss to the outside (LMJ) runner to maintain speed at mesh and good outside angle thus a little slower, trickier.
        The one who can move to the line (out of diamond) is the blocking back especially if it is Davis or other TE for that extra receiver off the line.
        Really though this is a team where I want to keep that blocking back in (full diamond) as much as possible because stopping the run is the weaker part of this defense. So that is where to attack with everything. Dictate to the defenses weakness. And take the clock away from the Breeze. That is the formula that could win big and easy in Orleans.

    1. Wow! My first thought is I over valued that guy and Niner staff knew something I didn’t see — no surprise there.
      Second thought lets grab him and put him on our PS now.

      1. The fact that Seattle released him show be an evidence that BJ is nothing like Russel Wilson and might need a lot of work! I agree that he might still be a good option for the practice Squat. Having Scott T on this team really hurt us in developing another QB behind CK.

  21. The 49ers follow the common business practice “Praise employees in public, Criticize employees in private.” Nothing to get bent out of shape about.

    1. Brodie, how do we know what goes on in private? Not even Dad claims to know, lol.

      “I have spent thousands of hours in football locker rooms. I am in those places all the time and I still don’t know many things — most things — about what goes on behind the scenes, about the nitty-gritty of NFL culture. And I’m a guy who is there.”

      - Lowell Cohn in a recent article

      1. Good points, guys. As to Lowell’s quote, it figures. Good on him for painting a true picture. Having a physical presence in a place isn’t necessarily being part of the group. Those guys know who is who.
        Coaches. Media. Management. They know who they want to open up to, and who they don’t.
        I’ve been Backstage at Rock Concerts, but being allowed back there ain’t being in the band; or even Roadie status.

    2. I have no idea what goes on in the 49ers private player/coach conferences. I’m assuming like any good manager, if/when there is criticism, they don’t use the media.

      Baalke, Harbaugh and Roman take enormous pains to avoid saying anything negative about a player. They don’t care if they look ridiculous as long as team harmony is intact. That’s why I love Fangio. He’s not especially critical, but he won’t sugar coat things.

    1. Peyton Manning is putting up even better numbers. More yards, better %, eight more TD’s and one less interception than Bree’s. They are both playing unbelievable football, though.

  22. Anyone remember that dipsh!t “Who dat from Mandeville?” How come he’s not in here flappin his toothless gums like in Jan 2012 (before Niners/Saints playoff game)?

    1. I remember that guy. There was a different dude from down NOLA that I respected. Jacked us up before that Playoff game, then game back after to pay some due. I like a guy that cowboys up. Gotta drive on.

  23. So Hofe is MIA. Clem is AWOL. Grant & Lowell are on the road. For any Oenophiles out there: did a Vertical Tasting Lunch at Miramar Estate Winery with The Duchess today. If you like Pinot Noir and/or Chardonnay, you’ve got to check this place out. Had a 2005 Pinot and a ’92(!) Chardonnay, (1.5L) that amazed.

  24. note to Grant:
    we can both see the humor (can’t we?)
    when Brotha Tuna (8:55 …above)
    postulates that you are ghostwriting as me
    (or vice versa, huh?).
    Does that mean it is time for us to place a side bet
    mano a mano (eyebrow to eyebrow)?
    You pick the category:
    A. number of times Colin gets sacked (+/- 3)
    B. the running yards total for Colin (+/- 50)
    C. the passing TD ratio of Brees/Kaep (2-1 or 3-1)
    D. margin of victory for the Saints (7 to 14 or 21+)

    My name is Alex Smith and I approve of this message.

  25. Former 3rd stringer Scott Tolzien making his first start for the Packers against the Giants on the road. Game might be worth keeping an eye on …

  26. It seems to me there are some flaws in your reasoning, Grant. By saying Kaepernick is seeing things for the first time, Greg Roman isn’t tipping anyone off. If it’s true — and I think it is — that Kaepernick is unfamiliar with many defensive looks, that would be obvious ON FILM to any defensive coordinator.

    As to Roman’s need to show Kaepernick on film ALL the looks the Saints may throw at him, I’m not sure that’s really possible. And in any case, is seeing a look on film really enough preparation? I’m not sure. Kaepernick may need to go through the real deal — blitzes, disguised coverages and all the rest.

    None of this is meant as a defense of Greg Roman. I don’t think he’s taken enough advantage of Kaepernick’s mobility, period. I loved the reference to the “Godfather,” though. One of the great films.

  27. BJ Danieks was released by the Seahawks today. Interesting, I guess he wasn’t as high in demand as everyone thought.

  28. The funny thing about GRo is that once he was given instructions to stop the barrage of pre-snap movement, he proved he didn’t have any real substance in base offense.

    The man needs smoke and mirrors to be successful, but in the NFL you simply cannot afford multiple drive killing delay of game penalties.

    We’re learning a lot about Roman here. Put aside the sometimes absurd creativity in design and there is no foundation underneath to support the structure.

    1. Disagree, Bob. The Harbs/GR sets, resets, formations, and motion are just deceptions to hide a series of very traditional running plays. It’s Old School repackaged.

      1. I’m not that smart, and I figured that out last year. Imagine what the NFL coaches have done since looking at the film. There’s a philosophy, but no scheme after the running game. No design that make you go, wow, that was a smartly designed play called at the right time.
        It’s smoke and mirrors with 7 lineman, Staley sneaking off into the flat to catch a pass.
        Now the offense is really, really boring to watch.
        Either Kap really sucks, or Harbaugh is hiding something.
        Neither has done anything. Both have ZERO SB rings.
        Until they get one, the pressure is on.

  29. It seems that we have two game plans for each game, one for the first 1/2 and a new game plan in the second 1/2. Case in point, we do fairly well in the run game with the Colts and Carolina in the first 1/2, second 1/2 Gore runs a total of 7 times in the second 1/2 for both games. Harbaugh will never can Roman, and Roman will never get a significant head coaching position. All eyes on Roman today, this will be a important statement for his career.

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