Jim O’Neil on gap integrity: “I don’t know what you mean by that.”

SANTA CLARA —

This is the transcript of Jim O’Neil’s Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.

 

Opening comments:

“Alright. Hopefully everybody had a good Halloween. You guys didn’t miss me too much over the Bye Week, but it was very productive on our end. It was good to be able to dig into a lot of the self-scout stuff and then look ahead to some of the opponents that we have coming up on the schedule. It was also great to see our guys this morning. We focused on us in our hour and 15-minute morning, just each position group, what we need to do better, what techniques we need to improve on and just kind of look back over the first seven games and just where we can grow and develop as a group and as a defense. Excited to get out on the practice field today. Questions?”

 

I guess the top question is what did the week away, what did you discover that can help you guys tighten up that run game?

“We’ve got to tackle better. We’ve got to do a better job getting off blocks. I think that those are the, if there’s two things that jumped out off the tape, those would probably be the two biggest things. Then the last thing is just consistency. At times we defend the run really well. It’s just not consistent enough for four quarters. You let a 44-yard run out. You let a 45-yard run out. Your run totals are never going to be good when that happens. If it was just one guy, that one guy wouldn’t be playing. It’s just, we’ve just got to tighten everything up as a group and like I said, those three things are the biggest things that we took out of it.”

 

As far as the getting off blocks, when you have two young defensive linemen, tall guys like DL Arik Armstead and DL DeForest Buckner, what can they do to be able to get off those blocks and not get washed away?

“Well, I don’t think the height thing has much to do with it. I think that actually, the more length you have as a player, it’s easier to escape blocks. It gives you more space between you and the blocker. I just think it’s something that everything, at every level of the defense you go through. You learn that if your pads get up in this league, you’re going to get knocked off the ball or you’re going to get knocked back by a wide receiver stalk blocking you. So, it’s just those guys, it’s not like their pads are high all the time. But, you know as the game goes on and the plays start to mount, as you get tired, the tendency might be to popup a little bit and it happened a couple times in the last game and they got knocked off the ball as a result of it. Those guys will learn from those plays and they’ll be better next week.”

 

ME: How do you assess the gap integrity along the D-Line in particular?

“I don’t know what you mean by that.”

 

ME: How would you assess each individual defensive lineman and their ability to maintain their responsibility in their gap? If you ask, say, Buckner, to be responsible for the B-gap. Is he doing that?

“Yeah. Yeah.”

 

The pad level issue that you talked about, is that really tough for young players to break because I know Cleveland Browns NT Danny Shelton went through it last year too?

“Yeah. I think that some of those guys are so big, they’re so strong, they’re so athletic, they’re such good football players, there’s stuff that they can get away with at the college level that when now you’re in the NFL, you’re playing against grown men who have been in the league for eight, nine, 10 years who understand pad level. It’s just something, it’s part of the learning curve. Yeah, I think every young player goes through it. I don’t think it’s just D-Linemen. It’s linebackers when a guard climbs on them to block them, how to sink your weight, how to stunt a guy and then how to get off blocks. It’s DBs, even in their backpedal and coming out of their breaks. If you’re not low and you’ve got to sink your weight before you’ve got to transition, you have no chance to cover an intermediate route in this league. So, it’s every level. It’s all young guys. It’s something that they learn as they come into the league.”

 

Are these the type of plays that are causing the 44-yard runs, when they’re–?

“No. The type of plays that cause 44-yard runs is an outside backer running up field, an inside backer not reading his key and then the DB missing a tackle. That’s what causes 44-yard runs.”

 

So, this isn’t like a prevalent issue, their pad level, that you’re trying to get them to–?

“When you have low pads, it gives you a chance to make plays. When you’re not playing low, obviously, your chance of making plays goes way down.”

 

Were there any guys during the, I know they had the mandatory four days off, but were there any guys who came in on their time off to meet with you guys, to see what they could do better?

“I talked to a couple guys on the phone. There was interaction. Most of the guys that were around were the guys rehabbing, like [CB] Rashard Robinson, [LB] Aaron Lynch. Those guys were here throughout the whole week with [vice president of football operations Jeff Ferguson] Ferg working on stuff. I know some guys came in and got a workout. Sometimes it’s good to get away for a little bit because while you’re here you invest so much and it’s such a mental and physical grind. That Bye Week’s huge for just getting away, hitting the reset button, coming back and being ready to go for the remainder of the season.”

 

There’s dropped pad level, but also one thing that head coach Chip Kelly mentioned was putting the players in a position to be successful. So, when you look at the young players, like let’s go back to DeForest, and he’s in that 3-4, from a coaching standpoint is he in a good position from where he is learning this NFL system right now and the speed and taking on those blockers?

“Well, yeah. He was drafted here to be a 3-4 defensive end. That’s what he is.”

 

No, I understand. But, the NFL with the speed is different. I mean, do you see him just picking that up–?

“Yeah. You’re talking about DeForest?”

 

Yeah.

“Yeah. I think DeForest is doing a great job for us. Are there some plays that he wishes he had back? Sure. He’s a rookie. Are there things that we could maybe do at times to put him in better position? Yeah. But, I’m not down on what we drafted him here to do for us.”

 

I’m not saying that. I’m just wondering when you look at the first eight games, is there positioning that you guys can help him with? That’s all I was wondering.

“Yeah. Yeah.”

 

The lower man always wins. DL Ronald Blair is a player who always plays with good leverage, knows how to get off and stack and shed and knows when to shed. Stacking’s not a problem for him. Why haven’t we seen more of him in the run game?

“He is involved in the run game and he’ll continue to be a part of what we’re doing.”

 

How do you tackle the challenge of facing New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees and giving him different looks? I mean, this guy has seen everything in his NFL career.

“There’s some stuff you can do pre-snap, but like you said, he’s seen a lot of it before. He does a great job getting the ball out. He’s a hard quarterback to hit. They do a really good job protecting him. It’s a great scheme. They’ve been in it together for 10 years. So, there’s been a lot of continuity there. There’s not too many things that they haven’t seen as an offensive staff and personnel-wise with those guys. But, you’ve got to out-execute them. He’s going to know where to go with the ball. We’re going to have that guy covered. You’ve got to make a play.”

 

What are you expecting from CB Will Redmond in practice this week?

“Just for him to take another step, hopefully for him to get a step closer to being back.”

 

Was he here during the Bye?

“Will?”

 

Yeah.

“Yeah. I’m sure he was around working out.”

 

DeForest has played a lot of snaps, I think all but a couple this last game. Is that a concern moving into the second half of the season that you want to make sure that he’s not getting too many throughout the course of the year and he doesn’t hit some sort of wall?

“No. The guys that we think give us the best chance to win, we want them out on the field as much as they possibly can. When they need a blow, we get them a blow. So, we get them a break. But, for us to win football games, DeForest Buckner has to be out there for 80-percent of the plays. Arik Armstead has to be out there for 80-percent of the plays. [LB] Ahmad Brooks has to be out there. [S] Antoine Bethea has to be out there. [DB] Jimmie Ward, when he’s healthy, has to be. There’s guys that we need to be out there for us to win football games and play good defense.”

 

Is there a sense that DL Glenn Dorsey will be, as he gets farther away from that rehab from the ACL, will be increasing his snap count as we go forward?

“Yeah. I hope so. He was a big part of our plans as far as a guy that could help us in the middle of the defense. So, yeah. We hope.”

 

Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins told us the coaching staff met and kind of had a pow-wow. Do you guys ever get the scouts involved in watching the film and what kind of communication is going on with the scouting department?

“Chip more handles that. I think you’d have to ask him. I know he watches tape after the game with the guys upstairs and explains a lot of the stuff from the coaching end. For us, we’re more, bang-bang-bang, get the tape graded and then we move on to the next opponent.”

 

You’ve allowed, after almost every turnover the offense has committed, allowed points. A lot of times is because the opponent’s taking over deep in your own territory. Obviously, you can’t help some of that, but have you noticed, mentality-wise, guys being deflated? ‘Oh, there’s another turnover and they have the ball at the 30-yard line.’ Is that something that needs to be improved?

“Yeah. It’s something we’ve talked about. I think we talked about that two weeks ago. Chip’s brought that up to the team. You can’t ride the roller coaster in an NFL football game. You’ve got to stay consistent. You can’t ride the roller coaster throughout an NFL season. You’ve got to stay consistent. But, our mentality is no matter what situation we get put in, it’s more TV time for us. It’s another chance to compete. It’s another chance for us to take the field and make plays and help our football team win a game. So, that’s the mentality that we’re preaching to our group. That’s what we want.”

 

ME: You said you need to put DeForest Buckner in a better position. Have you considered moving him out of the middle and over to the edge?

“He does play, on the edge do you mean like four-technique on the tackle?”

 

ME: No. I mean like defensive end in sub-packages?

“No.”

 

ME: No? Why?

“Because he’s better suited inside.”

  1. IF there is a coach on this team that truly deserves to lose their job halfway through their first year it’s this guy.

  2. Grant,

    O’Neil said yeah yeah to your question and someone elses question. Was he being a smart azz? It’s hard to detect tone when reading script.

      1. I think it was both. He did not know how to answer your question, so he tried to act like you were an idiot to have asked that question.

  3. The trade deadline has passed and we did nothing. We didn’t try to improve the roster like the Browns did. We didn’t try to move players for draft picks. Another bad day for Baalke.

    Staley is declining. He will need to be replaced within 2 to 3 years and is not someone we can build around. His trade value will never be as high as it was today. Fire Baalke!!!!!!!

    1. I don’t agree with moving on from Staley at all…we have a laundry list of needs and you want to put LT on it as well? I’m assuming we will be adding a rookie QB this off season you want him to have nothing at LT?

      It would be much much different if we had someone waiting in the wings BUT we don’t. I would have been fine with moving Smith but not a LT.

      1. I agree. This is also not the year to do so because the position is expected to be one of the worst in years in the free agency and during the draft.

      2. But you’re willing to move Smith. We don’t have anyone waiting in the wings at WR either.

        This team needs to needs to address the QB position and the middle of the front seven. We need all the picks we can get. We can’t rely on free agency because of Jed and Trent.

      3. 80, I agree with Xavier, but for different reasons. The whole leaking rumors to the media just turns my stomach, and treats the players like they are chattel. No class.

        If the Niners want to win, they must keep their 2 best offensive weapons. If anything, they should utilize Staley as a receiver. He has good hands.

        Trading Torrey would have waved a white flag, and to trade him to a team that just fired Chip, is the ultimate humiliation.

        Thinking about ways to utilize them, since the season is over and there is only politics to talk about, I would like to postulate 3 plays.

        They should put Torrey in motion to run a reverse, with Kaep optioning it if the defense responds in Torrey’s direction. It would get the ball in Torrey’s hands, and he could use his speed to get around the corner.

        One play I would like them to consider since they seem limited, Kaep could hand off to the running back, pump fake or throw the quick slant, or he could roll out to either pass or throw. Every play Kaep could have 4 options, the defense cannot cover them all, and Kaep just needs to get the ball in his playmaker’s hands. This would be their first down play, and could be run in a hurry up mode. I never ever want to see another Niner QB walk up to the LOS, look confused, and call a time out.

        Another play they should consider is the third down bomb. Kaep should put the TE in motion, and have him pinch in the DE so Kaep can roll out to that side. This will buy time, and Kaep should heave it far down the field. Let Torrey fight for the jump ball. If Torrey catches it, and they cannot interfere, it is a huge gain. If they interfere, the Niners get a spot foul and a huge gain. It could get dropped, so just a 4th down punt. It also could get intercepted, but with Torrey fighting for the ball, there should be contact, and it would be like it is a 50 yard punt.

        Maybe they could roll out Kaep more, but what I really want is for them to stop running into the teeth of the defense.

          1. 80, since you are reasonable, I will admit that I am dismayed with not only Kaep, but of the whole team from the top to the bottom.

            It is hard to blame Kaep for a defense that allowed 1000 yards in 2 games, but he was the starter, and gets the blame for the loss.

            Kaep could improve, but it was heartening to see the O line holding up fairly well. However, that one blitz had a player run untouched to level Kaep and cause a fumble. The O line coach should have devised a system where that is picked up, and if it does happen, they should have a code word that will warn Kaep that they saw a blitzer coming. They could yell, for example- penny, watch out, Geronimo, blitz, fudge, pizza or any of a number of code words that only the offense knows. Then after it is used, they switch to another word.

            I am glad they played Harris, and hope they continue playing him. He is a good fit with the Zone read.

            I have kinda been resigned to the notion that Kaep is gone, because I think Baalke will stay, so Kaep will leave.

            Sigh, losing may be rewarding in the draft, but it is contagious, and hard to cure. I long for the Glory Years, when the Niners always drafted near the last, and still excelled.

            1. Seb,

              I totally agree that losing is contagious. I suggested that we sign Norwood a few posts down. You have always suggested ways to improve the team now to help win games.

              I didn’t want to trade Staley and Smith until the leaks came out.Like Kap they probably want to leave ASAP. Since they’re not in our long term plans I think it would be best to trade them before their value goes down.

              Ahh the glory years. Greatest owner, coach, QB, and WR of all time. It starts at the top. Jed has ruined our team.

  4. If I recall correctly , he became the Niner DC out of desperation. No one else would take the job. Until we make major executive and front office changes, no quality coach will want to tarnish their reputation and resume with a stint in SF.

    #TheMuchkinMustGo

  5. ME: How do you assess the gap integrity along the D-Line in particular?

    “I don’t know what you mean by that.” Boggles the mind……

    1. Clearly he didn’t want to answer the question. There’s no possible way he didn’t understand the question.

      1. Or he didn’t feel like answering The question because grant was doing the asking.

        I had coaches who didn’t like terminology commonly used and would pretend to not understand what was being talked about, when clearly they knew exactly what was being said.

  6. You said you need to put DeForest Buckner in a better position. Have you considered moving him out of the middle and over to the edge?

    No.

    Why?

    “Because he’s better suited inside.”

    No reason why, or reference to the fact he is being abused inside, just a simple: “he’s better suited inside.” Hell of an answer Jim.

      1. I thought a better one was:

        “He was drafted here to be a 3-4 defensive end. That’s what he is.”

        So because Baalke drafted him to play 3-4 DE he has to play 3-4 DE? The coaches can’t make up their own minds about where he best fits right now or how he can best be used? Worked out well for Tank…

      2. O’Neill is merely saying what Chip’s pal Azzinaro has decided and he doesn’t want to rock the boat. Azzinaro has zero NFL experience and O’Neill has maybe one year as a DC (which took place over two seasons). This is the blind leading the blind and O’Neill is just going along to get along – – and sometimes that’s the only way to proceed in a clusterf*ck. If you had a real DC he would tell Kelly that first we demonstrate that we have a defense and only after that do we experiment with this New Age stuff. And frankly IMO Kelly shows the signs of an egomaniac by by not coming to that conclusion on his own. O’Neill is a DC only in the sense that he coordinates what the incompetents beneath him come up with and his answer about Buckner proves my point.

  7. Grant – This guy is so over matched it is ridiculous. How can any defensive coach not understand gap integrity. Also, ask him if he teaches a drop step and cross face technique to escape blocks and to pursue??????????? If he does not understand that, somebody needs to buy him a BART pass out of town!

    1. To be fair to O’Neil, I really don’t think he didn’t understand what was meant by gap integrity. There was more to the question than just asking him what gap integrity is. He more likely was confused by what was meant regarding ‘how he assesses’ the gap integrity of the DL. That could be taken a couple of different ways (i.e., does he think the DL is doing well in this regard, or if you take the question quite literally, what process does he use to assess it). Or it was just a deflection.

      1. I explained that I meant the first one, and his response was “Yeah, yeah,” as in the DL’s gap integrity has been good.

        1. Yes, exactly. Once you clarified what you meant by assess (i.e., do you believe Buckner is maintaining his gaps), he gave a response, albeit a terribly weak one. It didn’t really come across to me like he didn’t understand the meaning of gap integrity, per se.

  8. I feel so sorry for the players because this guy is up at the white board and “orchestrating” their destinies, and he has absolutely no clue! If he is there next year, as a player, I only hope I am available to be a free agent. I’ve already had my wife or significant other give the date to turn off the electricity and have made reservations for the Bekins Van to pick up the furniture.

  9. It’s clear that O’Neil should be fired.

    It’s also clear that there many on here who think they know more than O’Neil. I find that hilarious.

    1. I don’t think it’s hilarious at all. It’s obvious we need a DC that can stand up and be heard instead of just going with the flow. I you disagree, please let us know where you think the specific problem is.

        1. Whine,

          Where in my post that you responded to, did I offer any support for O’Neil? I started my post by saying I think the guy should be fired. How much less supportive can someone be?

          All I said is I think it’s funny that so many on here seem to think they know more than a working NFL coach, albeit a horrible one, but an NFL coach, nonetheless. The notion is laughable.

          1. Anyone who understands gap integrity knows more than O’Neil. He is a system coach using someone else’s system. He does not understand the basics of football.

              1. OK, then I have to assume you’re trying to be funny, there’s no way that’s a serious answer.

              2. Ex,

                I think Grant may be right on this one. O’Neill gets up and talks about the same BS week after week and there is no change in what we see on the field. He’s leading a group that will go down among the worst in the 70 year history of the franchise.

              3. Jack,

                I’m not saying O’Neil is any good, but that’s a long way from Grant being more qualified to be the DC of the 49ers than O’Neil.

                Grant, or anyone, saying it as a joke is one thing, but to say it seriously is patently ridiculous. If O’Neil is a guy who convinces people he’s got things down, but doesn’t, what would Grant be if he was DC? A guy who has zero coaching experience, zero playing experience, but has

                No matter how lousy of a DC he might be, that Grant thinks he would be a better DC than O’Neil simply defies logic (if he really does think that he’s better than O’Neil, I’m holding out hope for Grant that he’s being a wise ass). It’s ridiculous that it’s even a topic.

              4. I would take Old Coach for DC.
                I would like to see Grant direct the offense, he could replace Modkins.
                If not Old Coach, then Scooter. I respect their football acumen.

              5. Rocket,

                I said that I was holding out hope, for Grant’s own sake, that he’s being a wise ass. Lest you think that I wasn’t aware that Grant was winding me up, I was fully aware of the possibility.

                Since Grant is a journalist, shouldn’t there be some confidence that he’s being honest and isn’t screwing around? It’s one thing to for one of us to get another civilian going, but a journalist shouldn’t do that, it hurts their credibility. I’m surprised that Grant can’t see that. Although, it doesn’t seem that Grant cares about his credibility, that much. Blog hits seem to be what does it for him. Call me old school, but that’s hard to respect.

                I think Grant is trying to model himself dad or Tim Kawakami. Two very successful writers, who also write to incite (which is essential to good writing, the worst thing is to be boring). Growing up I couldn’t wait to read Lowell Cohn and Glenn Dickey every day. I didn’t always agree, but I trusted that what they were saying is what they really thought, at least at that moment. The same thing is true with Tim Kawakami, today.

                I don’t believe the same can be said about Grant’s writing, and i think that’s sad. I’m sure Grant is a nice guy, but his writing / commenting style is very frustrating, because it’s hard to know the line between Grant’s own, oft times, outlandish opinions, and him going for hyperbole in the interest of blog hits, irrespective of his true thoughts and feelings.

              6. Rocket,

                On the other hand, you might be wrongly giving Grant the benefit of the doubt, he might really think he would be a better DC than O’Neil. There is most definitely a non zero chance of that being true.

              7. ex,

                I have given Grant as much grief as anyone on here over the years but he’s grown into a pretty good writer imo. I get what you are saying about inciting and antagonizing with some of the things he writes and says, but we live in a world where there are a billion opinions being thrown around on social media and blogs along with the so called credible sites, and it’s harder than ever to stand out and be heard. Grant has never been afraid to give an opinion, and while he has often been wrong, that doesn’t stop him from continuing to do it and I appreciate that. So often we have people trying to straddle the fence so they can protect themselves from looking bad if a prediction is off base and that is so disingenuous and boring. I also appreciate the fact he participates in the forum. Communication is a must in todays media and engaging in the back and forth with the participants in the blog really sets him apart from other 9ers writers. Don’t take it so seriously to the point you believe everything he is throwing at you. That is another part of the job he’s really gotten good at.

                One more thing I’ll leave you with, keep in mind that Grant is younger than most of the people who frequent the blog and comes from a different generation in regards to communication. I think at first he tried too hard to show us that he belonged because he was so young, but now he has studied the game, taken in information from the wealth of sources he has at his disposal and can give informed opinions. That’s impressive and I appreciate the effort he’s put in.

                I didn’t mean to write an entry to the Grant Cohn admiration society and he still ticks me off from time to time, but credit where credit is due.

              8. Rocket,

                I realize that it’s death for a journalist to be boring, in fact, this was in my post you responded to, but there is a difference between interesting writing and saying things you don’t really believe.

            1. It doesn’t seem like O’Neill truly even knows the system.

              He seems like that guy who knows just enough to make everyone think he’s got it down, when in reality the person he learned it from left a few chapters out of the book.

              Kinda makes sense considering he was a secondary guy.

        1. Well, telling the team that they should avoid the self inflicted wounds, and others will accuse me of coming up with Pop Warner ideas.

          Still, not jumping offside on third or fourth and 3, and giving the ball back, may seem simplistic in intent, but one finds it occurring with alarming frequency.

        2. Prime,

          The storm was just a sprinkle, enough to make the pit too slippery and when the driver got out to survey the situation the gun fell out of the holster and shot him in the foot.

          1. Bwahahahahaha! And then he slipped on his nunchucks and throwing stars. Then Lao-tzue, Sun-tzue, Bruce Li. And Martin Yan said:
            “What a dork!”
            (And for your REALLY old guys: his secret Green Hornet Ring failed him. Bad coverage in Vegas)

      1. With respect Grant, O’Nieil could be Leonard Bernstein but he is leading a high school band. It is disingenuous to focus on him.

              1. WC, I beg to differ. O’Neil has played Bellore. That is not Azzinaro’s fault.

                On a 44 yard TD run, Bellore moved out of the gap he should have been in, and actually blocked Willhoite too.

                That is all on O’Neil.

              2. We have to disagree on that one Seb. Our OC and DC are just dummies reading the script. Kelly is at the top and he really won’t take any heat because he has a long term contract and can always blame the defense. The rest of the staff is subject to the old truism that credit flows up and blame flows down. I could be wrong but I think I know a dysfunctional organization when I see one. Bottom line is that the winner of the Bellore blame contest is Joe Bowden. O’Neil does not have the gravitas or the motivation to try to change that.

              3. I have to add that I agree that Bellore is bad. In fact, so bad that the only explanation for him playing is complete dysfunction on the part of the staff (which of course includes the GM who also thinks he is a coach).

        1. I wish the Niners could have kept Fangio. I was begging for that to happen, because he would have provided continuity, and he might have kept Cowboy and Willis from retiring.

          Looked like he got that Bear’s defense to play stout.

            1. That’s what I said at the time. Fangio was the no-brainer pick if the Niners wanted to promote from within the staff. But the Niners think he’s too old and too honest. So they’re getting what they deserve.

              1. I agree about Fangio. Too bad Jed would never let a Harbaugh guy take over. Jed would rather lose than have a Harbaugh guy win. Jed sucks.

            2. And then in hindsight we would be blaming Kaepernick’s regression on having a defensive minded coach. Because again, it would have mattered who he hired as his OC but now knowing what we know about Kelly and Kap, nothing would have mattered. This roster,no matter the coach, is terrible!

            3. I was pushing for Gase as HC and Fangio as DC/Assistant HC. To me the loss of Gase is on York and not Baalke. I think Baalke actually wanted Gase. You can tell Baalke had little respect for Tomsula as a HC just by watching the first presser that he and Tomsula did together.

              Just to be clear, I want Baalke fired ASAP, but I don’t blame him for the loss of Gase.

              1. So if I understand your comment Cubus, either Baalke hired Tomsula, a person he didn’t respect, against his better judgement or he finally learned at the press conference, after he hired him, (and after hearing that Jimmy T was not exactly articulate in that environment) that he was not to be respected. Is it fair to say then that the 49ers do not have a General Manager but instead have a Yes man who is the 49ers Chief Scout?

              2. That’s what I wanted to see at the time too Cubus. I was open to some other candidates like Shanahan and Kubiak too, but when the Gase rumor came out that he was the choice and Fangio was going to stay on as DC, it sounded pretty good to me. The situation changed once Baalke came back from their final in person meeting though. That’s when Gase was reportedly given the hire Tomsula as DC ultimatum, which imo came straight from York.

              3. WC:

                Yes, I think Baalke gave into York on the Tomsula hire. I believe that he new before the first press conference that the Tomsula hire was a mistake. Many have disparaged him for this, but how many people would give up a $2M salary for that reason? Again, I want Baalke gone ASAP but for other reasons.

              4. Cubus, I agree entirely. That was my interpretation when it all went down. Gase was obviously a guy Baalke liked. Tomsula was the guy Jed wanted, and in the end Jed is Baalke’s boss.

                Doesn’t matter though, Gase wouldn’t have been capable of making the roster Baalke would have been giving him any good anyway. As you say, Baalke has to go for other reasons than the coaching hires.

    2. Well, since your name- Hit them with Hyde, is actually a good idea, I will say that you have better football knowledge than O’Neil.

    3. ex,

      We’re all armchair critics, but when it comes to O’Neil he deserves no defending. He is an abject failure as a DC, and it’s pretty clear he has no answers to the problems he is having.

      1. Rocket,

        I’m not defending him. He’s terrible. He needs to be fired. I said exactly that above.
        He might be a decent defensive backs’ coach, but, at least right now, that’s it.

        1. ex,

          Yeah I just meant giving him the benefit of the doubt that he is the pro and we know nothing is probably more than he deserves.

          Based on the horrible answers he gave to the questions he was asked, including Grant’s direct questioning of his alignments and how players are being used, he doesn’t deserve that level of respect imo.

            1. Rocket,

              I get that the DC water is way too deep for O’Neil, probably in every way, but he has some ability, at some level of NFL coaching or he would’ve never gotten the opportunity to prove he’s not a good DC, right? I don’t think anyone on here can say that, that was my point. In no way was I defending O’Neil. He should be fired.

              O’Neil is bad enough on his own to secure his firing, but he’s been made to look even worse than he is by injury and lack of roster depth. To be fair, he’s in charge of a defense missing Williams, Dorsey, Armstrong and Bowman.

              Do you think the rushing defense would be as porous as it has been if the 49ers had those four players healthy?

              1. No I don’t think it would be as bad, but it would still be poor. O’Neil has been the architect of the worst run defenses over the past two years and lack of talent is only one small part.

        1. I agree he has no answers. I still don’t get the impression the concept of gap integrity is foreign to him, which seems to be something you are trying to play up on here and twitter – quite frankly I find it too hard to believe a guy is a coach in the NFL without knowing what it is. But he has no idea how to get his team to play with gap integrity. And that is a cardinal sin for a DC.

          1. For what it’s worth, one of the members of the 49ers’ P.R. staff came up to me this morning and asked if gap integrity is a media term or a football term. Said he never had heard it in his life. I explained what it is and how it’s basic to football, and he was not persuaded. “To be continued,” he said.

            1. It doesn’t sound good. If O’Neil hasn’t heard the term gap integrity I am sure he has heard of it under a different name. Too hard to believe he has made it to DC without understanding the concept, no matter what name is used. As I said, the egregious issue is he can’t run a D capable of maintaining it. He doesn’t understand how to get his D to play with it. Which is why he is a terrible DC.

              1. Also hard to believe he made it DC without ever hearing the term ‘gap integrity,’ but that seems to be the case. The P.R. staff defended his lack of familiarity with the term. Of course he should understand the concept, but he hasn’t shown he does. He’s a former DB coach, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the concept is foreign to him. He seems like an enthusiastic guy who got where he is today by xeroxing Rex Ryan’s playbook.

              2. Well, its one thing to understand a concept and something entirely different to understand how it works in practice. As you say, he should understand the concept of gaps and gap integrity. I find it very hard to believe he doesn’t. But what he has proven in his time at the Browns and 49ers is he has no idea how it works. Which is pathetic to think he made it to DC for not just one team but two without understanding how to run a defensive scheme capable of maintaining gaps.

                I’m sure he is a good secondary coach. That’s where he should go work for somebody.

              3. “Gap Integrity” in the context of defensive football is so basic, not to mention self descriptive, that its general meaning should be able to be deduced by anyone who regularly watches football and has a pulse. It’s hard to believe that O’Neil didn’t at least have an idea of what Grant was asking.

              4. Maybe he didn’t understand the integrity part of the equation, or maybe it’s gap responsibility in his vernacular, but whatever the case, the fact he can’t get his players to do it is a big problem.

                I get the feeling he got promoted based on things other than acumen. Previous Coaches who hired him probably liked his spunk and enthusiasm as you eluded to. He’s in way over his head.

  10. Since the Niners are desperate, or should be desperate, they should promote Alex Balducci, who is 6′ 4″, and weighs 310 lbs, and use him as a nose tackle.

    Either that or bring back Darren Lake.

  11. Don’t know much about O’Neill but I think he is part of the problem and not part of the solution. It also does not reflect well on Kelly to have hired this guy. We will need to make some serious change to the defensive staff but then of course the Yorks don’t like paying for a good coaching staff

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