Improving 49ers defense ready for Titans’ challenge

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SANTA CLARA — Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t the only reason the 49ers are beginning to win.

For the past four games, the 49ers defense has been one of the best in the NFL. It ranks fourth in yards allowed per game, fourth in rushing yards allowed per game, tied for sixth in points allowed per game and seventh in passing yards allowed per game since Week 10.

In related news, rookie linebacker Reuben Foster has been healthy the past four games. He missed six of the first eight games this season with ankle and rib injuries.

Is Foster the main reason the 49ers defense has improved, or are other factors involved?

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This article has 150 Comments

    1. He should be. I love Fangio and would choose him over RS in normal circumstances… but RS has done very well with what he was given. He should be retained as you don’t change horses mid stream unless one is drowning.

  1. “The whole mindset of our scheme is to eliminate something first,”

    That made me smile, and should be the primary goal of every defensive philosophy.

  2. An edge rusher and a cornerback opposite Witherspoon would really complete this defense. Maybe a veteran Sam/Will linebacker to go with Foster. (Malcolm Smith might be that guy, but not really sure, not a lot of people gave the signing a good grade)

    I know some people will be peeved about drafting another D-lineman, but Chubb/Key would be great picks. Still got my eyes on Quenton Nelson though, should the Niners drop to around #6-7.

    1. Grant…

      Pretty good article, this time around .. full of
      some much needed optimism .. but .. I can’t wait for
      the day you write …

      “…. 49ers OL dominate the LOS…”

      Any chance of you predicting .. if / when that’ll
      ever happen .. ?

  3. “For the past four games, the 49ers defense has been one of the best in the NFL.”

    Playing the Giants, Bears, and Texans help that stat for sure but the 49ers do look better on defense. Curious how the 49ers time of possession has improved under Garoppolo. I’ve got to think playing fewer plays on defense helps keep the players fresh.

    1. Playing the giants, bears, and Texans help that fact???? Jesus, do y’all just look for ways to kill a vibe. U know who else’s defensive and offensive stats looked better when they played us last year and the better part of this year? EVERYBODY.. They went out and out competed those teams and their stats prove it. Just like every game we lost we were out competed and the stats proved it. But I don’t see u saying, the reason their stats look so good is because they played the Niners.. Some people!!!

      1. The 49ers TOP has been over 30 minutes the last 3 games and against NY was at 29:00. A definite improvement.

        Their average over the last 3 weeks ranks 3rd best in the league.

    2. That’s the problem with snapshots of a season. They can lead to false positives (or negatives). Its really just a matter of sample size… we need larger samples to see if there is real improvement or not.

  4. At the beginning of the year I felt the defense should of been a top 10 defense due to all the high draft picks on that side of the ball. They are not. Three reasons for the failure, rookie DC, injuries (lots), offensive ineptitude. I like Saleh’s attacking defense, sure Saleh has made some questionable decisions but all in all he has done a good job and he is still learning.

    Week 1 Starters
    Armstead
    Mitchel
    Buckner
    Carradine

    Harold
    Bowman
    Foster

    Robinson
    Tartt
    Reid
    Johnson

    Week 14 Starters

    Bumervil
    Mitchel
    Buckner
    Thomas

    Harold
    Coyle
    Foster

    Witherspoon
    Colbert
    Reid
    Johnson

    Five different starters, I believe Colbert was 3rd in depth, Reid has had to play different positions. Also seems like every week there is a new defensive starters.

    1. Wow! The 49ers defense was historically bad in 2016. To think they would make the jump to a top 10 defense in a year was wishful thinking IMO. I expected they would be improved but still not in the top 15 this year. The d-line was very weak in 2 spots, the secondary was unproven and they had 2 cornerbacks starting that would be backups on just about every other NFL team. Reid is a good player but Ward can’t stay on the field and Tartt was unproven. That Saleh has patched together a team that plays competent defense at this point is a minor miracle.

      1. Yes Houston, the defense was historically bad, but with all the number one and two picks on defense surly the expectations should be high. Its quite disappointing that they suck and its more on the Niners offense that the defense is looking better these last four games.

        1. UC,
          Help me understand your argument?
          Are you stating that a historically bad defense, given 2 firsts should suddenly be good? If so, I disagree.Players performing based on draft position which is unrealistic. Armstead can’t stay on the field and is “ok” when he plays. Foster was gone for half the year as was Ward and Tartt, and Thomas is well…good against the run.
          This doesn’t shore up the fact that the team has no real pass rusher or corner.
          Maybe I’m completely misunderstanding your statement, and if so I apologise. But in my opinion given what he had to work with, Saleh has done a masterful job.

          1. Shoup – there are six first round picks on this defensive team, granted Armstead and Ward are once again injured – my expectations shouldn’t be high? It was scheme last year and this year….You don’t believe with six first rounders’ the team shouldn’t be a top ten defense? That’s a lot of capital invested for little return. I do really like Saleh aggressive scheme, but yea I think a top 10 expectation is not out of line.

            1. In theory that sounds ok but in reality doesn’t. If those 6 players you named were not thought of as 1st rounders and only as players, the expectations wouldn’t be so high. To be top 10 in D teams need a few pro bowlers and this team has 1 proven pro bowl calibre player. Buckner.
              Going into the season we knew we didn’t have a pass rush and last year’s backups were starting as our corners. That combination alone would make doubtful of a top 10 defense. Couple that with teams resent run D woes and I would be shocked to have the d as top 10.
              I very happy just to see the run D I’m the top 10. That’s a remarkable improvement.

        2. I guess draft picks is one way to set expectations but I think if you’re going to do that you have to also look at who drafted them. Trent Baalke got fired because after many years on the job the 49ers had the worst roster in the NFL last season. IMO Ward and Armstead are very very close to being total busts. Eric Reid is a good player but he has his issues. Foster and Buckner both look like really good players. Jury is out on Solomon Thomas but honestly I don’t like what I’ve seen so far. High motor guy who just doesn’t have the speed to be an edge rusher or the minimum size needed to play inside on the d-line in the NFL. Teams have successfully blocked him on many occasions one on one with a TE. That shouldn’t happen to the 3rd pick in the draft. I prefer to set preseason expectations looking at how many players have already made an impact in the NFL and how has the unit played together. I could absolutely see the 49ers having 6 new starters on defense next year.

          1. Thomas does deserve props for run D numbers for his position…
            OTOH, watching AA get into the O’s backfield and then stall out is baaaaad….

    2. Undercenter

      I agree…too many injuries on D affects their performance…Ward is talented, but can’t help if he’s on IR every year…I think that he gets replaced…too vulnerable in the D backfield…I’m still not convinced that Solomon Thomas is better or even as good as Blair and should be traded…Guy and Marsh were good pickups…Saleh is a very good DC …he’s performing minor miracles, and now is looking to challenge opponents…I’m tired of the metaphors, if the O is on the field 50% of the plays, The D is going to shine…get Jimmy some big, strong , fast and tough WRs (more than one)…rebeef our CBs …Kick some Butt Niners….

    3. Undercenter

      I probably have missed it; all season I’d been hoping to see a glimpse of DeAndre Smelter, WR. He was big (6′ 3″) 223 lbs, very fast, and ‘rumored’ to have great hands….he was on our PS for 2 years, but never got to see the field….What happened to him…? Traded, waived, released, or just got lost in the shuffle ? I have been checking on him, and now cannot find him at all on the roster….what did I miss ?….Anyone…?

      1. Smelter was waived on the final cuts and then signed to the practice squad . He’s still on the practice squad as far as I know.

    4. Says way too much about a defense when Eli Harold is your starting edge rushers base D. We need to address an edge in the draft if this D wants to compete for real next year.

    1. Reid and Ward don’t play the same position . One is a SS/LB and the other is a FS/NCB.

      They already have Tartt at SS so it’ll likely be tough to hold on to Reid who will probably want more money and a starting role.

      1. Saw some speculation (can’t remember where) where the Seahawks might sign Reid as a FA to replace Chancellor if he hangs it up.

      2. They need to hold on to Reid…..His experience on defense is very obvious………also noticed he has been part of the special team….

        If Ward played like Colbert he won’t last a season……..move Ward to CB would be the best move

        Colbert is signed for the next 3 yrs and I think Tart for 2 more yrs………

        1. So if Colbert is the starting FS and Tartt the starting SS, does Reid want to stay as a LB or get more money as a safety elsewhere?

          1. Colbert starting FS……Reid starting SS……..Tartt backing up both positions…..

            The anthem protest could have an impact on him “getting big money” in FA…….

              1. really Jack?…..Tartt yes did show flashes….but cmon Reid in his first year was way better……

                I understand Reid’s play fell off after his concussion, and he has been playing smart since……no doubt Tartt is good but seriously does he have the experience to lead the defensive backs….

                and Reid only played LB in 1 or 2 games….he has been playing the SS position in the last 2 games

                https://www.ninersnation.com/2017/11/28/16712250/49ers-depth-chart-starting-quarterback-cj-beathard-jimmy-garoppolo

              2. I think they have to let Reid walk. The problem is he goes to Seattle to replace Chandler.
                Colbert gets a 3 game audition to win the job at FS. He keeps creating turnovers and laying hat and he will.

                I’d like to see a secondary next year of Tartt and Colbert as the safeties, with Ahkello and Minkah Fitzpatrick as our corners.

              3. “Tartt and Colbert as the safeties, with Ahkello and Minkah Fitzpatrick as our corners..”

                ….would be nice to have that young talent to groom for the next couple of years…..

                The lack of experience bothers me …..I hope they resign Reid….

              4. The coach playing Reid at LB could also mean they value his presence on the field…..or else why not just sign or play a natural LB

                They did cut Bowman, so they could have traded or cut Reid if his presence on the team didn’t bring that much value…..

              5. The only reason Reid is playing SS now is because Tartt go hurt.

                I’d like them to keep Reid because he’s a talented player, but if he’s offered an opportunity to start someplace else or more money he won’t be back.

              6. Well, technically I believe the reason Reid is playing SS is because Ward got injured- didn’t Tartt move to FS after that? Tartt’s injury is the reason Colbert is playing.

                But yeah, Reid was not the starting SS anymore when all safeties were healthy. Tartt had supplanted him, and Reid had been moved to LB. Don’t see the 49ers shelling out big $$$ for a guy that is the 3rd safety.

  5. For the season the 49ers have given up the 5th most explosive plays in the league. That’s 116 plays that are either a run of 11+ yards or a pass of 15+ yards.

    Over the first 9 games the 49ers D gave up an average of 11.6 explosive plays per game. Over the last 4 games that number has been reduced to 5.5.

    In 3 of the 4 games, NY/Sea/Hou, they gave up 7 in each. The Bears are absolutely miserable on offense and managed only 1, a run of 11 yards.

    If you take the Bears game out and just go with the average of the other 3, which is 7, the 49ers D jumps up to 5th least so definitely improvement in that area as well.

        1. I dont like taking games out… but that’s because it doesn’t take into account every other team that played against that team or divisional the teams that played them twice.
          I get anomalies ie the starting qb’s car broke down and he didn’t make it to the stadium… but otherwise??? You have to take those games out for everyone.
          I feel the same for plays as well, unless it’s something like they ran 150 yards total on 30 rushes but 90 came on one run.

    1. By “doing right” towards Jimmy, BB also created positive moral inside his locker room, since the team genuinely liked him and wanted him to have success. Brissett was less fortunate….

        1. I agree…I’m confident Seb is combing through the posts. He indicated such in his abdication address.

          In time it’s likely he’ll post here and there with a new moniker and an adjusted blog personality (adjusted, not radically changed). Imagine counting down the days leading to the 2018 draft. He’d suffer multiple aneurysms if he avoided postings. All those mock drafts…

          1. And the various trade down scenarios which he always swore he is the first to propose though to be fair, he was the only to propose the multiple trade downs for a single pick to garner something like 4 picks. He was a great case study in delusional narcissistic self indulgence.

    1. 1. Frank Gore is not human.

      The Colts running back became only the second player in NFL history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards in 12 consecutive seasons. Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith accomplished it 13 seasons in a row.

      Gore, 34, needed 59 yards from scrimmage to reach 1,000. He left with a left knee injury in the second half after gaining 46 total yards.

      But Gore returned for the start of the second half and finished with 37 receiving yards and 31 rushing yards on 13 touches. He did that four days after carrying the ball 36 times for 130 yards against the Bills.

      1. imagine if Frank were able to time travel from 2008 back to 1990, imagine what effect he’d have vs. the ‘boys in those showdowns…perhaps another Lombardi from that period????

    2. For me, I’d rather just bring him back after he retires for a FranK Gore Weekend. He’s due the respect, recognition and love to be honored here, but I’m not sure about turning back the clock on him as a RB. Yes, he’s still contributing, but SF needs to move forward, not backwards. Just IMO.

    1. I think if Seattle falters down the stretch they might go into a small rebuild.
      The reason I think that is that they have some cap issues and might want to get back to drafting and developing.

      It would be nice if both Seattle and AZ went into a little funk while the Niners amd Rams take over the division.

      1. Yeah, I think Sherman and Graham are gone so that would save them some space. Guys like Sherman have had and still do have a hard time with the fact that the team is now Russell’s team and no longer known as a team that rides its defense to wins.

    2. Good player, poor attitude. Got paid and his real work ethic showed up in full. Good thing 49ers didn’t listen to me on that one!

      1. I was thinking of you Scooter on this one. But to be fair to all of us, we fans mostly only see the performance on the field. You were right that his performance at the time was off the charts. But if his attitude problems aren’t published, how do we find out about them? Teams via their networks probably have more information and maybe that’s why our team didn’t go after him.

        1. Yeah, as fans we rarely get to see the full picture of what goes on behind the scenes.

          Lynch is proving to be a good example of a guy that doesn’t appear to have the natural work ethic required to maximise his potential. I suspect wherever he ends up next year he will end up having a pretty good year as he will be motivated. But I can almost guarantee that if he ever gets signed to a long term deal with good guaranteed money he will coast and underperform.

          I have fears that Brown may also fall into this category. His draft profile was littered with flags about his effort and work ethic. Now we are hearing stories of the team being concerned. Will be interesting to see whether they sign him to a long term deal, and if they do, what his attitude is like thereafter.

          1. I’m reminded of La’el Collins. During the 2015 draft, I was pushing hard for the niners to draft him (near the end of the draft). I know there were issues with his agent threatening to pull him out and wait until the 2016 draft if he wasn’t drafted by the third round. I also know he was scheduled to talk with the police, but I’m old school in that I don’t believe a person should be “convicted” in social media. As far as I can tell, he’s been a good find for the Cowboys. In this case it looks like I was right but it was totally based on my convictions not on available information. Could have easily gone the other way.

    1. It looks like he will miss OTAs. Since he has had weight issues, he’ll probably get out of shape fairly rapidly. Whether or not he is in shape for training camp might be an indicator of his motivation.

    2. well, it’s too bad but the signs were there for the last few weeks…
      if he did hold himself back/out of contact outside of team MD opinion, he’ll be replaced soon anyway…
      better they find out this year about Trent…another draft priority to add to the top of list…
      JG is really gonna earn his keep the next 3 games…
      he’ll need to channel his inner RWilson…
      think this adds a whole new dimension to the Jax game concerns…
      I’m even more dubious of Benton now…

    3. I think OL just became an even bigger priority this off-season than it already was. I have been on the Nelson train, but perhaps an OT that can play OG for a year or two is the smarter choice long term.

      1. Can Connor Williams play guard or is he too small? I starting to favor him over Nelson because of the Brown situation.

        We need a more athletic T for OZ anyway. Same with Garnett, unless his body transformation pays off.

        1. Exactly the guy I was thinking of. He’s a good athlete for the position, similar to Staley. What better place for him to get up to NFL speed than playing next to him for a year or two?

              1. Yea, me too. I just wanted your thoughts on Okorafor if they missed out on both players by trading down.

              2. Hmmm, tough one. In general I think Nelson and Williams are top 10 talents and the 49ers shouldn’t trade down and miss getting one of them. But if they did then Okorafor could be a nice consolation later in round 1. There is plenty to like about him.

            1. He checks a lot of boxes for me. Athletic, smart (book and football), powerful, plays with a nasty attitude, coachable, tough. I like him.

              1. Yeah, but I really liked that he reviews film and makes notes on every play on how he might improve. I’ll bet the number of players who do this is in single digits. With this kind of attitude you don’t have to be the most talented guy to be the best guy, imo.

      2. Scooter:

        I’ve been rethinking how I would plan to revamp the OL. Sure I’d like the best stud at every position; who wouldn’t. But given the number of injuries that seem to happen to OL on just about every team and, just as importantly, given the ability of Jimmy G to get rid of the ball quickly, maybe we really would be better off having 8 to 9 good OL than a few great OL and multiple below average OL. We talked about this a month or so ago, but that was before we saw Jimmy play. Now I’m thinking that this might be a better plan. Of course if a great OL falls in your lap and the price is reasonable, take him. Just maybe the focus should be on maintaining line consistency pretty much irrespective of injuries.

        1. This is very much an opinion based on no research to support it, but my belief is that for any unit on a team to be very good it needs to have at least one member of the unit that is elite. If you have five good NFL starting OL then the best you can hope for is a good unit. Not a great unit. But to make it a great unit you only need one or two elite guys. Importantly, elite players make those around them better. So if you have one elite OL and four good ones, the unit as a whole has a chance to be great. Even one elite OL, three good OL and one average OL can be very good.

          The reason for this is an elite level player on OL can not only neutralise an opponent, but dominate them. In the run game that can lead to big impacts on gap integrity, meaning the other guys just need to do their job for the RB to have a good gain. In the passing game that can completely take away one area of concern for the QB, meaning they can feel fairly confident they have a space to manoeuvre somewhere if another player is getting beat.

          So, in short, I think in order to have a really good OL it is important to have at least one elite level OL on the unit. You still need to surround them with some good players as well – they can’t make up for a whole unit of bad players – but you can get by with decent backups.

          1. I see what you are saying and my plan doesn’t preclude having 1 and if they’re lucky two elite players.

            “The reason for this is an elite level player on OL can not only neutralise an opponent, but dominate them. In the run game that can lead to big impacts on gap integrity, meaning the other guys just need to do their job for the RB to have a good gain. ”

            I’ll take some issue with this statement in that DCs simply move their DL around especially if they play out near the edge. Look at Clowney. They purposefully matched him up against Beadles. It seems like it is easier to move DL up and down the line than OL. Interior DL seems less easy, I think, but I’m not really sure.

            OTOH: Elite players often have an elite attitude which can be infectious for the rest of the OL.

            1. What you can’t have is below average players. They get found out.

              I agree it is easier to move defensive players around to create matchups, but in the run game an elite OL will create holes for the RB. If he gets matched against lesser players those holes will be there all day. Being able to run the ball consistently slows down the pass rush, making everyone on the OL look better.

              In the passing game, knowing one of your OL can consistently be left 1-on-1 means the OC/ QB/ centre can be calling and adjusting protections to give help to wherever the defense is trying to create a favourable matchup.

              1. Good points and I was never advocating for below average OL but the opposite. On a chart it would be more of a straight flat line with little slope as opposed to peaks (elite) and valleys (below average).

    4. I was hoping Williams would get the start at RT. We already know what we don’t have in Beadles. Guess Williams must not be showing it in practice.

        1. that’s unfair to Snyder…he was a better O-lineman at any of the positions he played than Beadles has been at any one of the positions he’s been reluctantly plugged into…

        2. I recall him starting at LT, LG, OC, & RT. He may have a start at RG I’m not remembering. Jack of all trades, master of none. I guess his experience is valued.

            1. Right now he’s the best Guard. Need a plan to replace him. I’d say they resign him but no guarantee (if an excellent off season) that he makes the 18 roster. I think Lynch has to look to FA, as bringing along even a blue chip rookie to start in Shanny’s system will be a challenge.

              1. waaaaay important to spend $$$ on top available Center & Guard (with appropiate OZ blocking references) in FA period…
                Kilgore, Fusco, Beadles should be backups, if on team at all…and this is assuming Garnett’s “body transformation” is:
                A) for real, and
                B) effective in OZ work
                and don’t forget near term replacements for Staley and now possibly Brown…Oy Vey!
                and some want JL to pick Barkely…

              2. IIRC, Tomlinson grades out lower than Fusco, Kilgore, or even Beadles…not sure he’s gonna be much help next year…

              3. Jack:

                I’m a bit surprised to hear you say that. Just today, I was thinking that you use “stats” in the large majority of your posts. I guess the difference is that the stats you use are more hard facts (ie. TOP has increased, number of explosive plays has gone down, etc.). PFF stats attempt to use hard data but its difficult for them to filter out interactions between players and even systems. Still, I could swear you’ve used PFF stats in the past (albeit not the recent past). What made you change your mind, if I’m correct in what I’m saying?

              4. Cubus,

                PFF does a great job with their actual stats and data, it’s the grading that I don’t pay attention to any longer.

                There’s no way that those grades should be used to compare players when they are subjective numbers provided by different groups of people.

                You are correct that I used the grades in writing, but I pretty much stopped even doing that about 3 years ago.

              5. PFF grades aside Jack, have you been happy with how Tomlinson has performed and would you be fine with him being a starting OG next season?

                For mine that’s a no to both questions. I don’t mind keeping him as depth in case of injury and let him compete for a spot, but certainly would be looking for an upgrade. I think he is worst of the five starting OL this year.

              6. And you feel comfortable going with that? He’s an unknown quantity that didn’t perform too well in his only season and has been asked to transform his body to fit a system he has little experience playing in. For me he’s a guy I am happy to let compete for a starting spot, but would like a decent fall back option if he isn’t any good.

                And who is the other OG?

              7. I see. I thought you were saying Garnett and Tomlinson meant they didn’t need to bother trying to re-sign Fusco.

                My take is they should be looking to sign a starting calibre interior OL in FA and draft one pretty high. The interior OL needs a pretty big revamp imo.

              8. it’ll be a bidding war for Jensen, but this would be a BIG piece of the puzzle…pay up Jed!
                remember how Mack worked out for KS in ATL….another standout OLineman from Cal

              9. Razor: Nice link. I agree that center is a top priority on the OL and I prefer guys with experience as opposed to rookies at that position. Jensen has that nasty edge. Like I posted before, the Raven don’t have a lot of cap space for 2018, but probably enough if they really want to keep Jensen. Let’s hope they let him test FA.

  6. https://www.ninersnation.com/2017/12/15/16780376/adam-schefter-browns-wanted-jimmy-garoppolo-patriots-49ers-bill-belichick-john-lynch

    I’m posting this because of the picture. It got me thinking about another reason that JG will probably sign long term with the 49ers. Simply put – John Lynch’s charisma and the fact that players matter to Lynch (in other words, he hasn’t designated labor as a commodity in the “profit” equation like most business schools would teach.)

    1. That was complete BS by the Seahawks at the end of the Jags game. When a team is in victory formation, you lost. There is no way around it. Deal with it! The Hawks are the biggest sore losers in the league.
      Cant believe they were not fined for that!

  7. Wow! I just got back from 2 weeks on the big island to find out Seb is gone? What happened? Cassie, BT, Tom, Prime, East, Razor? Fill me in!! Are you sure he’s not hiding behind another name, not that it wouldn’t be easy to distinguish!! Look for key words, like snarky or snark, pollyannaish, verbose, and other language normal humans don’t use regularly! Seriously, I have three older brothers and if I had used the word “snarky” in a sentence when I was younger they would have tackled me, stripped me and put a dress on me. My wife and I have a pact to go primitive when we go to Hawaii so other than sneaking a glimpse at the news, I haven’t had a chance to see the Niners. Fortunately there is tevo and I’ll begin watching soon. Hope all is well with all here. Happy Holidays!!

    1. I didn’t see the post but apparently the wisest, smartest guy on the blog made a boo boo and posted under his real name.
      He said his family feared for their life as someone might now come after them.

      It’s all horse crap! The guy is a coward thick and thru. Good riddance once and for all!

      Welcome back Juan. Jimmy G has been a pleasure to watch!

    2. Well, apparently Seb was letting his wife post for him, so your comments about snarky and the dress….

      She used his name on a post and he tunneled. Short story.

    3. Juan
      Your wife’s rule is a good one. My sister and b-I-l have a home in Waikoloa, and old time running partner has a place near South Point. Maui is entertaining, but Big Un is country peace and quiet.
      The team has shown some pep since Jimmy G stepped in. In a phrase East and Reb might recognize: they’re meandering towards middlin’.
      Happy Holidays

      1. Winning makes everything that much better.
        Great players make others around them better and Jimmy G has come in and exuded confidence that’s become contagious.

  8. http://www.49erswebzone.com/articles/112623-kyle-shanahan-wants-49ers-have-intensity-playoff-team/

    “To be in this situation, I think it’s pretty cool to play against three teams that are all fighting for everything,” Shanahan said. “All three of these teams are fighting for byes or divisions, wildcards, and possibly not to even make the playoffs.

    “I really, on Wednesday, tried to stress to our team, anybody who’s been in that situation, they know the intensity of those buildings. I tried to explain to them every time I coached a team that we were in the hunt for the playoffs and stuff, when you get up there and you just look at a team and you start to coach, every person is just locked in, looking at you right away. They’re writing everything down. I mean, people are playing for their lives.

    “Our goal, and what we expect, is to be in that situation next year.

  9. Thanks Prime! Unreal! Hey, I’m headed to Levi Stadium this Sunday for my first time there and my first Niner game in person since the playoff game vs the New York Giants at the ‘Stick. Free ticket invite from a close friend so I had to swallow my pledge of not going there after giving up my tix at the ‘Stick after 38 years and not getting so much as a “Thanks for all your years of support” from Jed and Co. Can’t wait to see Jimmy though. I noticed the line started at +2 1/2 SF and has gone to +2 SF so a little money is going towards the Titans, which isn’t surprising. It’s a must win for them at 8-5 if they want to continue to compete for a playoff spot. I think it will be a close one but I’ll say the Niners squeak out a nail biter, 19-17. Thanks! Have a great one!

  10. LOL! I did some reading back to catch up on what you guys/gals where talking about over the last two weeks or so and to see if I could find Seb’s last moments. I find it ironic that it appears his last day of posting was December 7th! I guess that is truly “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy”! After reading his last post or two I’m speechless. All I can say is “WOW”.
    The line has changed again today. It’s now SF +1 1/2 (opened at +2 1/2) which is good for me since I think they are going to win by 2, 19-17. The O/U has increased from 43 to 45 1/2. Nice day, dry field, though it’s going to be windy as hell I’m told. Calling my bet in now. SF covers the 1 1/2 with the under. Thinking about taking the Jets -15 1/2 (opened at -10). Why the dramatic change? Did they sign Kaep? ;>}

  11. Interesting stat.

    49ers 3rd down conversions in last 2 CJ Beathard starts 13-28, 46.4%

    49ers 3rd down conversions in last 2 Garoppolo starts 12-29, 41.3%

      1. True, but his 5-15 against Seattle is also better than the 2-11 put up last week against Houston.

        It backs up something I’d mentioned earlier this week about the offensive improvement starting prior to the insertion of Garoppolo,

        I think people forget that they were up 7-6 against Seattle in the second half.

        1. then the HOU game should be a warning indicator of D’s that now have game film of JG in this offense, and are finding tendencies to stifle, like the lead up to the next Grant piece– option/roll-out plays now are grounding out…loss of down…

        2. Nothing happens in a vacuum in team sports. The coaches are calling plays that are more favorable to their play callers. This leads to some success. The receivers are catching and OL blocking better. This opens up opportunities. On D everyone is jelling and playing more cohesively. Additionally there are less banged up bodies and people have learned to play a bit more along the way, both in the system and in the NFL.

    1. Very interesting. Didn’t know. What it does point to is steady improvement by the offense.

      The OL has been fairly decent in recent games and receivers have caught and not dropped balls. Additionally, the drive killing penalties have largely disappeared. This helps retain the ball, 3rd down conversions and time of possession. The team needs to start scoring in the red zone though if it is going to improve its record in a substantial way.

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