Grant talking free agency on KRON 4

I sat down with Marty Gonzalez to talk 49ers and free agency Sunday morning. Here’s a video.

  1. Nice interview. Forgive me for asking a trivial question, but it comes from seeing your dad’s picture over a very long hairless period of time. Is your hair (curls included) from your mom’s side of the family?

    1. Yeah, no factual errors, and yet it reminded me of hunting Moose from a helicopter…..
      It also seemed like I must have missed Miller’s arraignment, trial, and conviction during all the free agency hubbub. My bad.

  2. What is with all the negative. People make things all the time to look like they are in the know. Go Niners!!!

      1. I’m perfectly happy if the writers in Wisconsen, and national media and the league in general choose to underestimate Jim T. and bury the Niners prematurely. Is SF on an inside track to the SB? Doesn’t seem like it, but I think they’ll be able to do some smashing next Fall.
        Grant & Kawakami & Killion are helping them out with the Niners Suck Campaign.

  3. Grant – “I can’t imagine whoever broke this story just made it up.”

    Really? Because that would be a first? I’m pretty sure there are many unknown/lesser known people in the sports media biz who are not above making s#@t up to get their names out there.

    1. KY49ER – Thank you. I’ve been saying this since the Torrey Smith signing.

      Baalke is trading a small amount cap capital for a larger about of draft capital. It’s all about flexibility.

      “Needs” are not eliminated, but they are less severe. If someone offered Baalke a extra 2nd or 3rd rounder to trade back, the signings will enable him to do just that.

    2. Signing Bush doesn’t mean Baalke won’t draft a running back.
      Signing Torrey Smith doesn’t mean Baalke won’t draft a receiver.
      Signing Wright doesn’t mean Baalke won’t draft a corner.
      Signing Docket doesn’t mean Baalke won’t draft an interior lineman.
      Signing Pears doesn’t mean Baalke won’t draft an offensive tackle.

      These moves enable Baalke to take BPA or and trade more aggressively.

      1. B2W – I like the post! Niners have the option to select BPA now but I think they still should target Kevin White or DeVante Parker with their 1st pick. Baalke should trade up a couple spots if needed. We have more offensive weapons now but we should not let studs like White or Parker get away. Draft one of those dudes to replace Boldin when he retires (think ahead).
        By the way…Dockett has 2 T’s :)

        1. Crab15 – Agree. I’m all for trading up. My worry is the shakedown price.

          Team …. Trade Up Cost (by standard chart)
          6 – Jets … 2nd, 4th, 5th
          7 – Bears … 2nd
          8 – Falcons … 2nd (perhaps getting their 4th along with 8)
          9 – Giants … 3rd, 4th, 5th
          11 – Vikings … 3rd
          12 – Browns … 3rd or 4th
          13 – Saints … 4th + late round picks
          14 – Dolphins … 4th rounder

          But as long as White/Parker are on the board, teams will demand way above trade value chart. I can see any team between picks 9 to 14 demanding a 2d rounder. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

          1. B2W – Thanks for taking the time with the chart. Yes, trading up is a steep price but sometimes you have to go Joel from “Risky Business” movie. “Sometimes you have to say”what the #*€@!” ;)

  4. I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t more to the Willis retirement, meaning the 49ers had given him some news that “helped” him with the decision.

      1. Jack has speculated previously that the 49ers would cut or trade Willis this offseason. It is possible he was tapped on the shoulder.

        1. I remember him saying that now. But if Willis still thought he could play, he would have asked to be released, don’t you think?

          1. George,

            Maybe, but it might be that no team that he would’ve wanted to play for wanted him, or was willing to pay a salary commensurate with Willis’ estimation of his worth.

          2. Maybe a more realistic scenario is the 49ers didn’t try too hard to convince Willis he shouldn’t retire.

              1. That’s right, if Willis had spoken to other teams, it probably would’ve leaked. That was an unlikely scenario I came up with… Damn, I hope Grant isn’t rubbing off on me…

          1. Grant suggested that Willis would’ve sucked it up and committed to another year if he thought the Niners were legitimate contenders. That he packed it in proves that the team is FUBAR.
            When one has an agenda it isn’t too hard to bend speculations into assertions.

    1. If the 49ers had put together another long playoff run last season and Harbaugh was still HC, I could see the logic in the decision to retire being harder for Willis. However if you’ve been paying attention this offseason, Willis has constantly been posting religious and motivational material on his Twitter page and I think that is the other key reason he’s retiring. He wants to work with troubled youth and be a mentor of sorts. The main reason is due to his health though, and I doubt anything was going to bring him back this season.

      I think the Niners were completely blindsided by the decision due to the fact they were reportedly shopping Wilhoite a few weeks ago. They wouldn’t have done that if they thought Willis might retire.

  5. I don’t know how much influence Jed will have with Trent, but I suspect that due to the tumultuous off-season they have administered, and from learning from an acquaintance who is friends with Jed that he wants to have home field advantage at the Super Bowl, that Jed TB may be aggressive in the draft. I would anticipate perhaps trying to at least move up to get additional picks in the second………. just a guess, and a hope.

  6. I recently purchased Football Outsiders Almanac 2014. I thought I would post some of their “precepts” resulting from their research. The first one is “You run when you win, not win when you run.” Here is what they say:

    “If we could only share one piece of anti-conventional wisdom with you before you read the rest of our book, this would be it. The first article ever written for Football Outsiders was devoted to debunking the myth of “establishing the run.” There is no correlation whatsoever between giving your running backs a lot of carries early in the game and winning the game. Just running the ball is not going to help a team score; it has to run successfully.

    There are two reasons why nearly every beat writer and television analyst still repeats the tired old school mantra that “establishing the run” is the secret to winning football games. The first problem is confusing cause and effect. There are exceptions, but for the most part, winning teams have a lot of carries because their running backs are running out the clock at the end of wins, not because they are running wild early in games.

    The second problem is history. Most of the current crop of NFL analysts came of age or actually played the game during the 1970s. They believe that the run-heavy game of that decade is how football is meant to be, and today’s pass-first game is an aberration. As we addressed in an essay in Pro Football Prospectus 2006 on the history of NFL stats, it was actually the game of the 1970s that was the aberration. The seventies were far more slanted towards the run than any era since the arrival of Paul Brown, Otto Graham, and the Cleveland Browns in 1946. Optimal strategies from 1974 are not optimal strategies for 2014.

    A sister statement to “you have to establish the run” is “team X is 5-1 when running back John Doe runs for at least 100 yards.” Unless John Doe is possessed by otherworldly spirits the way Adrian Peterson was a couple years ago, the team isn’t winning because of his 100-yard games. He’s putting up 100-yard games because his team is winning.”

    1. “Just running the ball is not going to help a team score; it has to run successfully.”

      Bingo. And that is where the 49ers struggled last year – running successfully early in games.

      Greg Roman got lambasted a few times for “abandoning” the run, and to some degree rightfully so, but he was also correct that opposing teams were set up to stop the run so conventional wisdom was to attack them through the air. There were a few times he really should have lent on the running game a bit more, but for the most part the issue with the 49ers last year was the passing game just wasn’t up to snuff, for whatever reason.

      1. So what you’re saying is that unless you can pass the ball and the opposing team respects your ability to do that, you won’t, with few exceptions, have a successful running game. This is because teams will gear up to stop the run by stacking the box. Isn’t that part of the old axiom, the pass sets up the run and the run sets up the pass?

        1. I guess the underlying fundamental in the run game discussion is ball control. Control the ball and the clock and the chains. Rest your D. Pay attention to field position.
          Run to control the ball works fine. The notion that it’s outdated is fad-based and incorrect imo.
          Walsh showed you could be ball control with passing too. He made the opposing D defend the whole field all day, and wore them down in a different way late into the game.

        2. Pretty much, cubus. Even the Cowboys and their exceptional running game last season benefited from having a strong passing game, and vice versa.

          The old saying is you need a balanced offense. A balanced offense doesn’t need to be one that has a 50% split between run and pass. A balanced offense is one that has the ability to keep a D guessing and can take advantage of what the opposition gives them either through the air or on the ground.

          1. I’ve always believed that, Scooter. But what I found interesting about this precept is the phrase “establishing the run”. I assumed that the unwritten word “successful” was implied in that statement. FO doesn’t seem to think that it is.

            1. I think the big issue with last year’s game planning was they went away from what made the team unpredictable in the past – play action. Under Harbaugh they always used the run to set up the pass, but last season they appeared to go away from faking the run.

              It appeared to me that opponents were guessing correctly when the team was passing and when the team was running. Too predictable.

              1. Good point Scooter. The amount of play action dropped considerably last season and that played a part in the struggles of the passing game. I also think it might have dropped because the Coaches didn’t trust the pass protection to hold up at times.

                Your thoughts on defenses guessing correctly is interesting because I felt the same way watching them at times last year. We know in the past they had tipped off defenses as to what they were going to do, so this might have been a case of history repeating itself.

  7. Grant,

    Ah, I see.

    Jones Drew (Raider) couldn’t play any more and you had no problem with him retiring.

    Jake Locker (Titan) retired because he “wanted to walk straight when he’s older”.

    Patrick Willis (49er), on the other hand, retired because the 49ers roster is so depleted of talent that it wasn’t worth it for him to go through the pain of training, practicing and playing.

    Right, there just isn’t any other plausible explanation. Hmmm, or maybe there is an alternate theory. I know it’s kind of nutty and way out of left field. I’m a little embarrassed to even mention it, really, but here goes: he couldn’t perform up to the level he was accustomed to performing, he wasn’t healing properly, he was in pain, and he retired because that’s what he thought was best for him and his family, and he wanted to move on to the next stage of his life? I know, that’s just crazy. Especially when that’s exactly what Willis’ gave as the reason for retiring.

    You should also think about why you said Willis would be willing to risk another concussion if he judged the 49ers to be legit SB contenders. That comment seemed odd, at best. Why would Willis, in particular, be willing to risk his brain health?

    You really are something else, Grant. You just wiped out the good feelings mustered by your curve ball article with that biased interview.

    Finally, as BT alluded to above, while it might be expedient to suspend Miller prior to his indictment (should it happen), it isn’t right. All that was required for Miller to be arrested was a complaint. The team shouldn’t suspend a player until he is indicted, or enough evidence of wrongdoing is available before an indictment.

    BTW, if it turns out that Miller was violent towards his girlfriend, then the 49ers should cut him.

    1. What do you expect from a raider fan? He has insider info……yeah right. The funniest thing is being described as a beat writer for the 49ers. That got me to laugh out loud. If there were a water boy, that would be more appropriate

    2. I have to agree with you exgolfer. Maybe I’m missing something, but I really don’t understand why it’s so unbelievable that a man would choose his own health over a physically taxing sport like football. I’ve seen that notion suggested a few times (the one about Willis retiring because the 49ers aren’t contenders) and I’m having a hard time getting my head around that. Let’s just say Willis didn’t want to be here anymore and he thought another team gave him a better shot at a ring, wouldn’t he just go to management and ask for a trade or release? I’m sure those guys would accommodate him. If that were the case, why take the extreme measure and retire?

      I don’t know, it just seems kind of unfair to put a decision like that on the 49ers.

  8. Here’s another “precept” from the Football Outsiders Almanac 2014. It seems obvious, but I’ll bet most of us have been guilty of making a comparison and not actually double-checking strength of schedule.

    “A team will score more when playing a bad defense, and will give up more points when playing a good offense.

    This sounds absurdly basic, but when people consider team and player stats without looking at strength of schedule, they are ignoring this. In 2004, Carson Palmer and Byron Leftwich had very similar numbers, but Palmer faced a much tougher schedule than Leftwich did. Palmer was better that year, and better in the long run. A similar comparison can be made between Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III in their rookie years: Wilson had a higher DVOA rating because he faced a more difficult schedule, even though Griffin had slightly better standard stats.”

    1. I don’t expect there will be too many more FA signings before the draft. Of the guys you listed, the ones that would be of most interest are Richardson and Bryant.

      Richardson I think could be worth a look if he can be signed on a 1-year deal with minimal (if any) guaranteed money. I’m not sure how much interest he’s going to get in FA, so maybe such a deal would work. My main concern with Richardson is would he sulk if he doesn’t win the starting job? My guess is yes. My preference would be just to get a RB through the draft.

      Red Bryant I think would be a solid addition. Shore up the LDE spot, have him rotating with Dial. He’s still got a few years left of solid play in him. I doubt this move happens though, I think the team will be happy with Dorsey, Dial and TJE as LDE options.

      Vince Wilfork will get a decent offer somewhere. At this point in his career he’s pretty much strictly a NT, and the 49ers are pretty set at NT.

      Freeney as a pass rush specialist a few years ago would have been great. But he’s not the player he was. He may get some pressures, but he doesn’t get to the QB much these days. And I disagree with you on who’s spot he would take on the team if they did sign him. If they keep Brooks and Freeney then that is two backup OLBs of which neither plays STs. Freeney would need to be a replacement for Brooks. And I think Brooks offers more as both a solid run defender and a decent pass rusher (when fit and motivated).

      Kuhn isn’t needed. Bruce Miller will be kept and I highly doubt he gets suspended out of this. And they have Millard waiting in the wings.

      1. Good points Scoot.

        I thought about the Bryant addition as well, but I really do think our depth looks very solid on the D-line. I think if we added a Red or Wilfork it may be over-doing it a bit. On base downs I like the thought of Dial, Dorsey, Docket (maybe rotating with TJE and Williams). On passing downs I’m really excited to see Docket/Tank combo. I think we should go with youth, and possibly add through the draft.

    2. What I find most interesting about this list is what is omitted. You’ve been talking up how OG is the team’s biggest need the past few days, but didn’t include any interior OL as one of the best remaining free agency options?

      What about Blalock? Or Sims? Or even De La Puente? Or how about Wisniewski and add Kilgore to the OG competition?

        1. Yeah, but that means they need to draft an OG. The point of signing these other players you’ve mentioned I assume would be so they don’t need to draft a player at that position. So why not OG? Pears is more of a swing OT that can also fill in at guard.

    3. Interesting list but I don’t see the Niners signing anymore FA’s at this point. I don’t think any of the players on that list really give them much more than they already have on the roster, and Baalke is all about the draft, so those compensatory picks will be really important to him.

      I’m not overly enamored with the CB group, but they obviously feel they have some young talent they want to get a good look at. Other than that, they are pretty much set every where else and will be in a position to look BPA on draft day.

  9. I’ve always been bewildered by the signing and now re-signing of Gabbert, but I think maybe Colin is behind it. Right? With Gabbert as back-up he can’t be demoted, fired, cut or suspended.
    It’s like when Nixon had Agnew as his VP; he’d NEVER be assasassinated.

    1. BT

      could be a backfire inall of this….Gabbert was a 1st rounder; Ck was a second. Gabbert has paid his dues behind a dogfood line, Ck has not excelled behind a very good niner line. If there is a competition….let Gabbert have an equal opportunity to win it

      1. I’d be delighted if Blaine made me shut my mouth by playing well. Not just by prior reputation, but I’ve been underwhelmed by his play. Show me.

      2. Gabbert is Joey Harrington at this point. Just trying to hang onto a job as long as possible before he’s out of the league entirely.

  10. So you admire Jake Locker because he sucks and decides to retire but Pat Willis quit on his team even though he has played through almost every injury? You’re an Idiot.

    1. “You’re an idiot”…Don’t be a taerd…no one’s opinion on here is worth more than anyone else’s…..very sophomoric…be real

      1. Get real… Grant states his opinions like they’re facts. He’s an absolute joke in the Bay Area media. And to 49er fans.

  11. I thought the Bleacher Report article was interesting, but I suspect Freeney and Bryant are looking for more snaps than the 49ers might afford, and what price would they require to be had?
    Trent Richardson didn’t look good last year, but who knows…….. nobody wants to be a bust and he may not have many more chances.
    Sadly, we have loads of potential, but the myriad of question marks really makes it hard to assess next season, albeit I remain forever optimistic (too my own demise last year).

    Thoughts on the article by others?

  12. I actually liked the suggestions. As long as the contracts allowed the 49ers to cut the players if they could not beat out someone else to earn a spot on the 53 man roster. I doubt at this stage in their careers any of them, with the exception maybe of Kuhn, could beat out the incumbent back ups that are already on the team, but the competition in camp would only be a good thing.

  13. So I’m going to take it back to the old question who is winning free agency. I forgot the Colts also signed Duron Carter. Their WR corps is Andre Johnson, T.Y. Hilton, Duron Carter, and Donte Montcriff. That’s a decent receiving corp.

      1. Hull is just a depth player. I’ll probably replace him as my second with a more athletic choice.

        1. I’d like to pick up R. McClain on a 1 year contract. he was busted with weed I think. So not all that bad depending on what NFL does. He needs to play special team though. He could prove to be a good back up in case Bowmen is set back. Moody played well at times but was also out of place. I think that comes with experience. Then draft as practice squad guy. I’m not refuting the need to draft an ILB but I think we can add depth elsewhere and fill in a vet back up for now. A risky one…

          1. I gotta disagree. McClain is a throw back stuffer who can’t run well enough to cover or to play STs. He has a long rap sheet of mostly minor stuff that demonstrate attitude problems; he’s a head case. I’d pass.

  14. Can you guys imagine if Greg Roman was still our OC and Baalke consulted him about signing Reggie Bush?

    Baalke: What are your thoughts on bringing Reggie Bush on board?

    Roman: Why would I have any use for him?

    Baalke: Well, when healthy Reggie has proven to be an excellent pass-catching running back. Something we have been lacking….Reggie can do special things after the catch and he could be tremendous on screen passes.

    Roman: What’s a screen pass?

    Baalke: A forward pass to a player that is protected by a screen of blockers.

    Roman: Oh yeah, I think we ran 3-4 of those screen things the last 2 seasons.

      1. X Golfer – The 49ers attempted a whopping total of 5 screen passes last year. I couldn’t find the total for the previous season. Looks like Roman called way more screens than I thought he did. ;)

        1. Don’t you feel like a jerk, now that you found out the 49ers called a whole 5 screen passes last year, alone? That’s an average of .3125 screen passes per game.

  15. X Golf – My H.S. football coach used to call 5 or more screen passes every game. He was old school and extremely predictable. On 2nd and 10 he usually called a draw and on 3rd and long a screen pass was called about 40% of the time. It was hard to believe. The poor old guy passed away about a week ago. He was a very nice man.
    How is your daughter doing with her golf game these days? Was it 2 daughters? Sorry I forgot

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