Kaepernick’s brilliance masks issues for 49ers

Here is my Monday column. Enjoy.

SANTA CLARA – Let’s focus on the good after the 49ers’ Week 1 win over the Packers, a very good team, probably not a great team.

THE GOOD

After just 11 starts, Colin Kaepernick probably is the best quarterback in the NFL. You could say he singlehandedly beat the Packers. His defense gave up 28 points, he had no rushing attack and still he put on one of the best passing performances in franchise history. He made Anquan Boldin look like Jerry Rice.

Kaepernick made up for 11 penalties, eight missed tackles and Jim Harbaugh’s time-consuming play-calling system which puts Kaepernick and the 49ers’ offense up against the clock on almost every play. Kaepernick’s sheer brilliance masks almost every area of concern on the 49ers’ roster.

Perhaps “area of concern” is too strong. With Kaepernick, the 49ers are one of the best teams in the league. But he has to mask a few things that could prevent the 49ers from winning the Super Bowl this season.

Now, let’s monitor what Kaepernick is masking. You can bet the 49ers and their opponents are monitoring these things as well.

THE RUNNING GAME

The 49ers didn’t have one on Sunday. The Packers made sure Kaepernick didn’t run, and then they stuffed Frank Gore like a teddy bear, holding him to 44 yards on 21 carries.

Harbaugh didn’t seem concerned about his rushing attack at his Monday morning press conference. “They were playing it to stop the run,” he said, “and then we passed.”

Fair enough, but this isn’t a one-game slump for Gore. Over the past 13 games, he’s averaged 3.8 yards per carry, below average for an NFL running back and almost a full yard per carry worse than his career average of 4.6. He’s 30 years old, so it’s tough to imagine Gore reversing this trend.

On Sunday, he couldn’t run out of the I-formation, the Pistol or the Shotgun. And neither could his backup, Kendall Hunter. He had one carry when he ran through a hole the size of a crater and picked up 23 yards, but other than that he gained just one yard on five carries.

THE SECONDARY RECEIVERS

Against the Packers, Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis caught 70 percent of Kaepernick’s completions. That needs to change. Kaepernick can’t consistently beat teams with his arm if he’s passing to just two receivers.

Tom Brady won Super Bowls passing to less talented receivers than the 49ers’ current group, but he spread the ball around. He didn’t throw it to one or two guys over and over again.

You can bet the Seahawks will try to force Kaepernick to pass the ball to Kyle Williams or Vance McDonald or Marlon Moore or any of his unproven receivers.

THE PASS RUSH

Two seasons ago, the 49ers had arguably the best pass rush in the NFL. Justin Smith was an MVP candidate that year. But last season, even before he injured his elbow, he had become almost a non-factor as a pass rusher recording just three sacks. And as a result, the 49ers’ pass rush was just so-so.

Against the Packers, Justin Smith never touched Aaron Rodgers, and neither did Ahmad Brooks. The only pass rusher who played well was Aldon Smith, and he was facing a rookie fourth-round pick at left tackle.

The 49ers wanted to improve their pass-rushing depth this offseason, so they spent a second and third-round pick on the position taking Tank Carradine in the second and Corey Lemonier in the third. Carradine is injured and may not play this season. Lemonier is healthy, but he played only special teams on Sunday.

The 49ers need more pass-rushing production from Brooks in particular. It may be unrealistic to expect Justin Smith to be more than a run-stopper at this stage of his career.

THE CORNERBACKS

This group is the 49ers’ biggest weakness. In the past they’ve been masked by the pass rush and the explosive offense. They were double-masked. Against the Packers, the 49ers’ top-three corners – Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown and Nnamdi Asomugha – got exposed.

According to Pro Football Focus, Asomugha gave up a 105.3 passer rating, Brown gave up a 118.8 rating and Rogers gave up an abysmal 158.3 rating.

Those numbers are particularly alarming when you consider the 49ers knew the Packers were passing practically every play. The Packers abandoned their running game in the first quarter yet the 49ers’ corners still could not cover the Packers’ receivers.

DEFENSE IN GENERAL

Sunday’s game was a perfect representation of what the 49ers’ defense has become. They gave up 28 points and 385 net yards to the Packers’ offense. Over the 49ers’ past seven games, they’ve given up 27.4 points per game and 387 net yards per game. So, the 49ers’ defense didn’t underperform on Sunday. It played like it normally plays.

If those averages had been the 49ers’ averages for the entire 2012 regular season, they would have ranked 30th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed.

Defense used to be the most important part of the 49ers. Now, it’s what Kaepernick must mask and overcome.

This is not an alarm call. The Niners are very good. But they have issues. As long as Kaepernick continues to lead the offense to more than 28 points per game, consider the issues masked.

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

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  1. Good read Grant, I agree on most points, especially agree on the over complicated offensive system. Looks like the same issues and clock management.I will give the Niners a benefit of the doubt, since this was only the first game.

    1. Grant makes controversial comments to generate hits which supposedly makes his blog look important. Too bad being outrageous gets rewarded instead of rebuked a la Clay Matthews. BTW does Clay Matthews remind anyone else of Bill Romanoski? No Gore and Justin are not old and washed up. Statistics that support that claim, only prove that stats are overused in analyzing football prowess. It isn’t baseball, it’s about matchups. Roto leagues have many pundits and fans thinking stats are more important than scores.

    2. I agree, but what I see is, I believe the niners were winging it. Had to disquise plays because of Tolzien, all audibles had to be changed, At no times during preseason did they have problems with the play calling, Plus this gives seahawks less to go on, I believe we have had a plan in place for hawks, and they wanted them to have less to study, plays looked new? They kept rotating defense, to keep fresh for hawks game, we seen pass rush during preseason, We keep our def healthy during packs game we go into seattle and can do damage, hawks struggled against panthers, I will bet we bring it sun night!!!!!!!

  2. I’ll give the secondary a pass for the most part this week because they won’t be facing Rodgers and the Packers offense every Sunday but Rogers does appear like he is close to done. Eric Wright might have to play a factor in the slot as this season goes on.

  3. I’d say there is insufficient data to reach any firm conclusions….other than Kap is a stud and we’ll likely be fine even if the other areas don’t improve much…..pass defense will be better against anyone not named Rodgers, and I expect Gore will be fine.

    1. Couldn’t agree more with your Take,

      It’s the 1st game of the season where you’re not going to see anything close to a Finished Product by the 49ers & yet beat 1 of the best QB’s in the NFL.

      There’s some rust that needs to be shaken off especially “tackling” & being more efficient in calling in the plays so the 49ers aren’t wasting precious Time Outs.

      It’s going to get better in every phase as the Season moves on. I’m happy the 49ers are 1-0 getting ready to go up to Seattle and avenging that embarrassing loss from last Dec.

  4. Sour Grapes Grant the niners beat the packers (fudge) we are off to a great start bring on cheatn’ pete and the seahags! We have arguably the best team in football to cheer for at least your cowgorls sqeaked out a win thought you would be in a better mood plus fabio looks like a fool trying to slap someone Staley’s size lmao

    1. Lets let Harbaugh and Grant change spots and see how that works. I know that Jim could take Grant’s spot. Grant you think you are the football expert. Maybe Jim will let you stand on the sidelines and let you show him all that football knowledge.

      1. Let’s get real! It does not take afootball guru or Harbaugh to understand fully what the issues are after the game Sunday. Yes,the Niners won, but as Joihn Madden always has said, “Winning is a great deoderant.” Play calling and the 40 second clock will be issues up in Seattle. Wilson will be tougher to contain and throws extremely well on the run.

  5. Grant,

    We just played #12 for the Green Bay packers. He’s pretty good. Remember that when you look at our defensive effort. We stopped them when we needed to. We stopped them with the game on the line. Are we expecting our corners not to give up any catches at all?

    Our defense will be fine. I do feel like we need to rotate our pass rushers just like our D tackles. Lemenier should be getting some d- end snaps as well. We couldn’t afford to blitz #12. He’s too good for that. We will get better. All good teams do. It’s gonna be a good one this weekend!!!

  6. It’s the first game, I’m far from worried. As good as Kaepernick was, he will rarely have to be that good for us to win. The running game and defense will bounce back quickly.

    1. Actually, they gave up 53 points combined in the two games.

      30-22 in the regular season.
      45-31 in the playoffs.

      26.5 points per game, about the same as yesterday.

      1. I said defense. The Packers scored 14 points last year on a punt return and Int return so it was actually 19.5 points per game. A difference of over a TD.

        The Smith boys are back at full strength yet the defense is still playing about the same as the last 6 games of 2012.

        It’s early, but something to watch.

      2. Jack,
        The Niner’s were playing against AR, who is excellent against the rush. He can pass on every down and get rid of the ball quickly and accurately. Those QB’s give the Niners fits. They give everybody fits. Brady, Bree’s and Rodgers are just very good.
        I understand your concern, but the Niners are in their third year of being a good team. Everybody wants to take them down. The Packers just spent the entire offseason preparing for this game and it wasn’t enough. I guess I just expect those teams to score between 24-31 points against us because of their offenses and QB’s.

  7. Great article as always Grant.

    Any word from Jim as to why Quinton Patton only saw four snaps this game? I think a bunch of us were surprised by the lack of field time given the excitement leading up to the game. Heck, maybe he will be a big key to a potential 49ers win in Seattle if they try and take away Boldin and Davis (easier said than done).

    Totally agree on the pass rush as well. I even thought Aldon got handled pretty well by the rookie most the game. I loved the 1 1/2 sacks which easily could have been 3 with the pressure he put on Rodgers but I still thought David B. did a fine job for a rookie starting his first NFL game lining up against a set of all-pro Smith brothers…

    Last question…What’s the word with Tank? I don’t think any of us on the outside looking in could have guessed he would be out all season like we knew Lattimore probably would. This would be really frustrating and would really put the onus on him to contribute HUGELY in year two if he sat out his entire first season as a second round pick with top 15 talent potential as referenced by multiple scouts.

    1. My guess is all the rookies on PUP/NFI will stay there until someone else gets injured. Even if it means that they remain inactive all year.
      I think part of the strategy is to just stash them till next year when the niners lose some veterans to free agency (or as leverage on those veterans to reduce their salary demands). Meanwhile they make up a nice little reserve force and spend a year making as much of the adjustment to the NFL as they can.
      If the Niners activate them they have to cut someone. And I think they really like the guys on the team now. And they will already have to do some cutting when Manningham gets healthy.

  8. I think saying Justin Smith wasn’t his dominant self is a little bit of hyperbole. The left guard for GB was called for holding at least 3 times. Plus they kept a back in to help and chip the Smith brothers. Justin is still taking up blockers to allow Aldon to pressure the QB. Proven, winning combo

  9. Dumb assessment. Any team with a decent defense can stop the run of any offense if they devote enough people in the box. What this showed is that you can stop the run, or you can slow down the pass, but you can’t do both.

    Did you see any holes for the running backs? I sure didn’t. Nobody including Jim Brown would have had much luck running the ball. Gore was consistently getting hit at or before the line of scrimmage and did well to get even a yard or two. Wait and see what the running attack is when we play someone who uses a more balanced defense.

    Some missed tackles but think back on the game. The 49ers receivers usually were wide open. The Packers receivers usually were pretty well covered, and Rodgers zipped the ball into narrow windows, and the receivers made great receptions. We’ll see how the defense does for the rest of the schedule but I’m not discouraged.

    1. “Did you see any holes for the running backs? I sure didn’t….. ”

      ummm…. isn’t this why Grant is saying the running game may be a problem? Are you not supporting his point with this dumb comment? Why am I responding to a troll…..

        1. Pro Football Focus puts the blame on Gore as well. They gave him a -1.7 rushing grade against the Packers. The lowest run blocking grade PFF gave a 49ers’ O-lineman was the -0.9 they gave Joe Staley. They gave Anthony Davis a -0.4 run blocking grade, and they gave Iupati, Goodwin and Boone positive run blocking grades.

      1. Blocking grades don’t accurately show how the run game was. O line can only block 5 guys. If a team has 7-8 men in the box that leaves people running free. Or missed assignments from TEs or FB.

      2. I guess PFF has the ‘best’ grading system, but I still can’t picture how they can decipher blocking assignments against the play called according to the front the defense showed prior to the snap versus the actual defense played. This simply cannot be gleaned from looking at tape, you must talk with coaches and most likely the players themselves.

        I’d like to see how teams grade out their own players each week, not a 3rd party without detailed insider info of techniques used for certain play types. You can’t just plug in numbers for these types of analysis.

  10. Grant,
    I agree with most of your take on this. You have to consider the fact that they were playing Aaron Rodgers, who is unbelievable. Greg Cosell was on KNBR earlier. He said that despite giving up 28 points, he thought the defense played well. I tend to agree considering the opponent. Following up on your CK comment, his rise to stardom has been amazing. He’s hip-hop and old school at the same time. He has a style and swagger that younger people love and the work ethic and desire to be great that old timers love. He is quickly becoming the face of the NFL, for all of the right reasons.

    1. Awesome point, for much as he is hip hop to the younger crowd, he knows not to say stupid things, involved in important causes, and most importantly for football, a grinder, can not believe how calm and smooth he is finding the best option, also he channels the best real “rocky” impersonation! Aka if intimidation is your……., could almost see him going up to clay and the packers as they continue to puff up, spout off with all kind of threats, and Colin only states ” Go for it! Love this kid and the influence the coaching staff has had on him!

  11. If you leave out the longest run for Adrian Peterson, his ypc yesterday was 0.88 yards per carry (15 yards in 17 carries), which is less than half of Gore’s 1.8 yards per carry (36 yards in 20 carries). So what are we supposed to conclude from that beyond the fact that any team in the league can shut down the running game of any other team on a given day if they really make an effort to do so.

    Grant’s “analyses” appear to be meaningful strictly from fantasy football viewpoint and not much more.

  12. Great article Grant. You nailed almost every point. The one that I didn’t see was tackling which is another area that needs cleaned up. I saw too many plays that went from a negative to a positive for the Packers due to some sloppy tackling technique on our defense.

    1. I watched a lot of games in week 1 and almost every team was “sloppy.” Look at the all the dumb plays, penalties..etc that cost teams games. The Dallas/NY game was exponentially sloppier for example. Even reliable guys like Welker fielding a punt inside the 5 and muffing it. Week one jitters will go away, we are a good tackling team. Clean up the penalties & game clock issues and we are in good shape.

  13. Grant, it sounds to me that you realize now, what a lot of fans already new (and/or hoped), that Kap IS THAT GOOD ! This has been the foundation for such a difference of opinion between you and I. Where you get overly-worked up about talent in the secondary, or the age of JS and FG or the talent at WR, my take has been that “kaps talent will overcome those issues, and those issues are not as big as you make them seem anyway”. After week one, i hope you (and the nation) realize how much better Kap is than: Russle Wilson, RG3, and Cam Newton (and probably Luck). This critical error has led to all the SeaHawks hype that has them winning our division.
    The packers prepared to stop the run. They picked their poison. They prepared for Kaeper-Vick, and instead got Kaeper-Mannining’ed! The packers have a great QB and 3 really good WR’s and a food TE. That passing game alone can put up 40-50 pts on people. We put a little pressure on the QB ( 2 sacks and some bad throws from result of pressure), we didnt give up much on the ground and we did not get torched on a bunch of huge passing plays (unlike Dallas)…a couple big ones, but no long TD’s! In other words, nothing came easy for GB, they had to work for it.

    Its a start Grant, respecting KAP, but you still dont respect anyone else, seeing how this article criticizes every other position with that good ‘ol ” the sky is falling, glass half empty” mentality.
    We just beat a great team that has a great QB and offense as well as an improved defense! Quit trying to gear us up for an ” i told you so”!

    1. I agree that we just beat a great team. The Packers really impressed me. They might be a top 4 team (with SF, Seattle, and Denver). It was like a playoff game.

    2. The Seattle – Carolina game had some similarities to SF – GB in that Carolina did a good job of taking away the run and forcing Wilson to beat them through the air, which he did…barely. He did most of his damage scrambling and creating plays. Carolina did a good job of keeping him in the pocket but RW is clutch and came a way with the road W which is all that matters.

      This is the blueprint for the Niners who I believe have a better D than the Panthers. Stop the run, keep RW in the pocket and tackle. Basic football and easier said than done but I suspect the Niners will be extremely motivated to rinse the last game in Seattle from their mouths and have one of if not the best front 7s to get the job done. I’m not sold on Seattle’s O line out playing the niners D line.

      On O Kap is no Cam Newton. He has learned to take what the D is giving and has the talent to do it. Seattle’s D is good but they are missing a few guys. We will be able to move the ball & score.

  14. A better idea for an article would have been how we have a 3 game winning streak against the packers. Unlike Dallas, but similar to the Giants, this is a franchise that not only gave us fits back in our heyday, but still tormented us into the new millennium. How many times did Favre knock us out of the play-offs in the ’90′s? All the way to Aron Rodgers whooping us time and time again, reminding us that we chose Alex Smith over him! Now, since the Harbaugh era began, we own the Packers, who have been owning the NFC North, as well as a play-off spot for the past several years.

  15. I’m not worried about the defense at all. Here are my top two reasons:

    1. Like others have already commented, they just played Aaron Rodgers. He was getting the ball out really quick. I think they called a lot of quick passes that don’t take too much time to develop, to make up for their offensive line playing a defensive line like the niners.

    2. Regarding the corner backs, yes maybe it wasn’t their best game ever, but I think it was better than it could have been. That one back shoulder pass to Nelson on the sideline, the corner back (forgot who it was) had great coverage. Not too many people in the league can make a throw and catch like that. Also there were a few more missed tackles than what’s typical from the 49ers. Those missed tackles turned into some big plays which helped inflate the total yards allowed. I’m sure a lot of the missed tackles will be cleaned up by next week.

    Solid win from the 49ers!! what an exciting time to be a niners fan.

  16. There is not a defense in the league that is going to hold Rodgers, Brees, Brady, P.Manning….or even Kap to under 20 pts! Look at the pats, played like $h!t against the bills and still put up 23. You have to be able to consistently score 30+ if you want to beat those guys more often than not! This is where Kap steps in…..as Alex Smith did not have what it takes to do so consistently. (yes i know he beat Brees ONCE in the play-offs, but we all know the stat line the following week: one pass to a WR for 3 yards!)

  17. Some interesting notes i had to get off of Barrow’s blog, that resulted in the win: the defense forced 2 turnovers (another plus that i did not mention above). But most importantly, our offense had a 3rd down conversion rate of 50%!!!! Yes, half (9 /18)! As great as we were the last 2 years, we averaged around 30% or less! Again, the Kaepernick factor. It would have taken 2-3 games for Alex to to get 9 3rd down conversions!
    And we did not commit ONE turnover on sunday.

  18. I dont buy the PFF rankings. Remember Antwoine Winfeild, supposedly the #1 slot CB in football last year, who got cut by the seahawks and is now out of football? To me, its a bunch of stat geeks grading who knows what, who knows how. Like last year at this time, when stat geeks were trying to argue that Mike Trout should win the AL MVP over Miguel Cabbrera, because they made up a new stat that “said so”. That was a joke!

  19. Grant,

    If you want a team to keep an eye on, look no further than your Dallas Cowboys. The average margin of victory in the NFL when a team is plus five in TO differential, as the Cowboys were on Sunday night, is 21 points. 21!

    On top of that the Cowboys were gifted two defensive TDs. Without either one, the tipped screen pass, for instance (even you have admit that was a prayer TD), the cowboys would’ve lost.

    They may prove to be somewhat better that they played on Sunday, but they better do so quickly or the losses will start piling up.

    Unless, of course, you think they can end up plus 80 in TO differential for the season.

  20. Grants a idiot. Why don’t you go ask coach another dumb question. Green bay spent all of 8 months studying how to stop the read option, coach harbaugh and Roman knew this hence the 400 plus yards by Kaplan. The defense played against Aaron Rodgers, was there missed tackles yes, but its the 1st game of the season with a rookie free safety they will improve, as for your articles they will never improve dummy.

  21. Why don’t you go ask coach another dumb question. Green bay spent all of 8 months studying how to stop the read option, coach harbaugh and Roman knew this hence the 400 plus yards by Kaplan. The defense played against Aaron Rodgers, was there missed tackles yes, but its the 1st game of the season with a rookie free safety they will improve, as for your articles they will never improve dummy.

  22. The running game will continue to be a problem so long as the offensive line doesn’t open up any holes. Gore and Hunter got hit behind the line of scrimmage too often on Sunday. Gore may or may not be slowing down, but I don’t think any RB would have looked good playing behind the 49ers OL on Sunday. On the positive side, their pass protection looked very good.

    Regarding the WRs, if Kaep doesn’t hang that ball to KW that let Shields make a play on it, all of a sudden it looks like the 49ers have a triple receiving threat. That would have been a lot of yards, possibly a TD, if he hit him in stride. Regardless, there is no masking the fact the 49ers don’t have any established receiver depth behind Davis and Boldin. At least one of those guys needs to step up, preferably two. Like many others, I’d love to see Patton getting some more snaps.

    The pass rush is definitely a concern for me. Yes, the GB OL did some holding. But so does every OL. Even so, I don’t think they need to change things up dramatically. I’d just love to see some more variety in who they send after the QB. Sending the same four guys almost every time means the offense doesn’t have much stress on their protection calls.

    The CBs aren’t great, and without a pass rush they will get exposed by good passing teams. But as pointed out by a few people, GB are more than just a good passing team. The DBs may not be great, but they are good enough for if the pass rush is good.

    So yes, there are some weaknesses to the team. The 49ers aren’t the best at every facet of the game. But that is why it is a team game – play to your strengths and hope they are good enough to mask or overcome your weaknesses.

    1. Rogers and Manning and Brady are just too smart, too quick to have any success blitzing. I like your comment, but I think we will see more variety in the pass rush this week.

    2. On the pass you’re discussing, the GB DB chopped down on the arms of KW a beat early and should’ve been called for PI. It would’ve been a close call, but it was clearly PI. Of course, the 49ers didn’t many, if any, of those calls on Sunday.

      The GB Oline was holding on practically every play. I guess their theory was that the refs couldn’t / wouldn’t call them all.

  23. This may be over-stating a few of these concerns. I think the running game was non-existent on Sunday because coach let it be non-exsistent. They knew that the Packers were coming to stop the run, so they let them, but then they torched them for 412 yards in the air. I recall on numerous plays where the Packers basically brought everyone into the box even though they were at mid-field. So what would any smart coach do? Pass the ball. I think running Gore and Hunter was mostly to keep the defense committed to the run. They were so scared that Kaep was going to break a big one, that simply running the ball every once-in-a-while was enough to remind them of last year’s playoff game. Next time we meet we’ll see more balanced offensive production.

    Other receivers stepping up, when you’ve got one guy who’s open all day long, you keep throwing him the ball. Why would you not? If every team keeps letting Boldin get open like that, then we keep throwing to him. The other receivers will need to step when they NEED to. On Sunday they didn’t NEED to.

    As for getting loooong play calls in quick enough, I think coach feels that the risk-reward works in our favor enough to justify sticking with the play calling complexity. Just like he said, “if you listen to what people say publicly, you get an idea of what they’re saying privately.” They think it “gives us the best chance to win.” That whole “we may pare it down a bit” comment was pure gamesmanship. He knows the challenge that we face against the Seahawks IN Seattle, and he wants them to think that we’re going to simplify our offense because of the noise. Never going to happen. If Harbaugh hasn’t simplified things after all these years, why would he do it now? We didn’t NEED those timeouts at the end of the game so big deal if we used them to buy more time, that’s what they’re there for. If anything, the offense will keep evolving and getting more complex than not.

    Defense overall, I’m concerned about the defense only a little, because let’s be honest, Rodgers had a GREAT game. He was near perfect all day. That’s not our secondary’s fault nor the pass rush’s fault. He gets the ball out there quickly and accurately. That’s why he’s considered one of the best in the game. The truth is Aaron Rodgers gave us his best and our defense held him to just enough for us to win. They deserve credit for that…as long as they don’t let it go to their heads and they continue to try and get better.

    I think we’ll see a slug fest on the ground AND in the air against the Seahawks. More over, I wouldn’t be surprised if we ran an uptempo offense to start the game and make some quick strikes into the end zone. Coach knows that we need to get out ahead early 1) to shut up those d@mn Seahawks fans, and 2) to control the flow of the game. Not to mention, coach (and the whole team) want nothing more than to blowout the Seahawks IN Seattle. Expect another big game from Kaep. He wants to be great, he wants to win, and the fact that Russell Wilson get’s more respect than him irks him. He’s not saying publicly, but you see it in his face whenever the conversation turns to him competing against other QBs.

  24. Grant was almost poifect with a few minutes left and the Niners up by three 31-28. Grant called 30-27. Then Dawson ruined it with a FG. Lol, putz… DRTY49 had the Niners winning by 7 which was closest to actual point differential.

    So, Seahawks. Who you gonna call?

    Grant:

    Exgolfer: 27-17 Niners. Can’t wait. Early prediction: 49ers 27 Seahawks 17

    Phil Fan: 27-20 Niners. Close back and forth dog fight but barbequed seahawks at the end

    Larry Rowe: 28-10 Niners I am sure that the Jim is ready and willing to serve his Old Buddy Pete, up some Humble Pie. I believe this game will set the tone for the season. 28 9ers – 10 Seachickens.

    AES: 33-17 Niners. I don’t believe that the ‘hawks’ defense can stop CK and Co. This game will come down to our defense stifling Wilson and Lynch, which they are more than capable of doing.
    Early prediction (reserve the right to change, lol). 49ers 33 – 17

    1. I think the 9er coaching staff has been scheming for this game against the Seahawks since last season ended. I’d bet the farm the 9ers coaches schemed more for this upcoming game than they did the Packer game.

      49ers – 20
      Seahawks – 17

      1. I agree. This game is the most important game on the Niners’ schedule in the first half of the season. Considering it’s the second game, I’d think that Roman and the Niners’ offensive brain trust have been working all summer in coming up with a game plan. I’d expect to see a rebirth of the running game, with some added wrinkles.

      2. Mood,

        I think you’re right on about how important this game is. With a win, not only is the 49ers’ season set up, the Seahawks will be in a hole and under a lot of pressure.

  25. Correction- DRTY49 had the Niners winning by 13 not 7 so scratch that. Matt had the Niners winning by 4 (20-16) and Phil Fan had Niners by 8 (38-30).

    I plead a lack of coffee

  26. The Niners use the first few games to get truly ready for the season. Unlike the Seaturtles who want to win summer games at all costs, the Niners use the pre-season to install concepts and see what’s going on with their very, very deep squad.

  27. Agree.

    I’d give the credit to Boldin (still can run, amazing hands and toughness) and Kaep together. OL had good pass blocking. DL mostly good against the run.

    But then you have this:

    *Offense was completely one-dimensional
    * Kaep was good but not great. Missed throw to KW down sideline and missed throws to others, altho some bailed him out with catches. He ignored open receivers to target Boldin – bad for lots of reasons.
    *Nnamdi got away with a lot of handsy/grabs outside the 5 yard zone – worried about his speed and his tackling
    * Almost non-existent pass rush. You give a good NFL QB that much time, you’re going to give up lots of yards, period. It’s not just Aaron Rodgers – fricking Christian Ponder will burn you (as he did last year)
    *Reid played well for a rookie FS – but let’s not get carried away. He has a long way to go to fill the shoes of Goldson, who intimidated receivers, was a solid ballhawk and sure tackler.

    This team is capable of more, we know that. But we are dangerously thin at WR and have an old (but great) RB. The old saying about the Niners was “so many weapons”. This game was Kaep to Boldin. I grade this team as a playoff contender – eg I was tough on Alex and I’ll be tough on Kaep. I think we’re a very good team but we don’t even slightly resemble the great Niner teams i’ve followed since the 60s. I think we may get there, but there’s a lot of work for Harbaugh et al to do.

    1. Goldson is not a sure tackler in the open field. He blasted ball carriers and intimidated receivers (when he actually hit them), but he whiffed, way, way too often.

      It may be that Whitner looks a lot better this year, now that he doesn’t have to cover up for Goldson’s shortcomings at FS.

      The idea of having interchangable safeties is fine, as long as one is a true FS and the other is a SS/FS hybrid.

      Last year the 49ers had two SS’s, with Goldson possessing some FS ability. I don’t think that was ideal and resulted in too many big plays.

      1. Good call ex, ive been saying the same thing for a while. Goldson was an enforcer. He smashed people near the lin o scrimmage. He was huge liability in deep coverage. Reid might not be the enforcer Dashon was ( but Reid isnt soft either) but Reid is an asset in deep coverage.

  28. Chip Kelly has an answer to all the delay of games in SF. Flash Cards. Those flash cards look to be the answer to the noise in Seattle as well. Philly had 53 offensive plays in the first half last night. This is a copycat league. So, let’s hope that SF has already implemented the flashcard system to get plays in faster and deal with the noise they’ll face in Seattle.

      1. What has Harbaugh done in 2+ years to make you think he would copy anything?

        The fly sweep and the read option, to name two. I think Harbaugh has no problem implementing others’ ideas if they improve his team’s chances of winning.

      2. Harbaugh ran the fly sweep and read stuff while at Stanford. He ran the read stuff out of the Wildcat with Tyler Gaffney as the QB.

      3. Jack:

        I understand that, but he still borrowed/copied those from someone else. He had the high school coach come in to teach his Stanford staff the fly sweep plays (yes, I know those plays go way, way back, but the high school coach was the guy who had the idea to use them them in current times), and he sent Roman to Nevada to learn the pistol (I mistakenly wrote “read option” when I meant “pistol”. That was sloppy.) The point is that Harbaugh isn’t too proud to use someone else’s ideas.

        That doesn’t mean he will adopt on the flashcard idea, but if he doesn’t, I don’t think it will be because he has an aversion to copying someone else’s idea.

      4. That’s true Claude. Good point. I just don’t see him doing any copy catting from other NFL teams. He likes being different.

        The flashcard thing is an interesting idea that I’m not sure they want/can implement. The Eagles didn’t seem to change personnel groups on offense very much, which makes it easier to go so fast. The 49ers do a lot of personnel group shuffling so not sure how that translates.

        The other reason they might not go that way is that I believe Harbaugh wants to slow things down to run the clock, until he absolutely needs to.

      5. Jack:

        Yeah, I don’t see it either. It seems like Harbaugh likes to study things thoroughly before adopting them. I am not sure he has enough time to do so during the season or enough data at this point. I also don’t know how he’d feel about borrowing something from Kelly. Was his relationship with Kelly as antagonistic as his relationship with Carroll?

      6. I don’t know if there was enough time for Harbaugh and Kelly to develop animosity as they only faced each other twice, and the Ducks weren’t at the top at that point like USC was.

    1. I don’t think Harbaugh saw the flashcards last night and all of a sudden is scrambling to implement them this week. I think in the off season while coaches were learning how to stop the read option, 49er coaches were learning how to address the noise in Seattle.

      Flash cards just happen to be a solution to the problem of noise. I don’t think he will use them to speed up the game. I think they can be used solely to address communication. This was a suggestion I had 3 days ago and not because I watched the Eagles game last night.

      I don’t pretend to be an NFL coach, scout, or anything other than a fan. I posed a solution to a problem I saw and posted it as such.

      In regards to Harbaugh and copying, Um, a variation of the flash cards were used at Stanford. Every College team uses them. This isn’t anything new to Harbaugh.

      He didn’t come to SF and reinvent football. He came in and took what was already here and made them winners . He is using systems that have worked in the past at other organizations.

      Flash cards are theoretically the best way to beat Seattle’s noise. Communication through headsets to helmets is not feasible. It’s failed regularly in the past and will continue to be an issue. They can be used a number of ways. Personnel shifts. Play calling. They aren’t static in their use.

      1. Matt,

        One thing I’m learning: You love flash cards.

        It’s not a bad idea, but I wonder if the 49ers’ play calls are too complicated to reduce to flash cards.

  29. I think the coaches would agree that there’s a number of things to work on. Grant pointed them out pretty well. Regarding coverages, it seems to me that there were several times the pressure got near Rogers but he escaped, extended the play, and connected late.
    An interesting side detail as week#2 approaches is that both the Seahawks and Niners got zilch from their ground games in week#1.

  30. The running game was a problem in pre season, except everyone was blaming LaMic for the problem. So Gore and Hunter and LaMic had problems running the ball, looks like to me its more of the line play or the defensive scheme that is the culprit. Last year I was already complaining about the defense, the so called stat picture told me I was wrong but my eyes told me I was right. This year my eye test tells me the defense is going to be fine, once again the stats are telling me I am wrong. After playing/watching football for fifty years I will trust my eyes over the stat mania that seems to behold most fans. The problem with stats it doesn’t take into account the many variables that the game of football presents. Defenses will continue to stop the run of the Niners, CK will blister them with the pass. When defenses decide they are tired of being passed to death they will react and try to stop the pass, thus the run game starts. Its like one said “pick your poison”.

    The biggest game of the season is next week against the Hawks. A win here would be a huge win. The Hawks will have to play better to beat the Niners then they played against the Panthers. The Niners will have to play better then they did against the Pack in order to beat the Hawks. I like our chances to win this game. Playing the Hawks at Century Link field is always hard but one nice thing is the Niners are playing there at this time of year. The weather forecast is dry and should be in low to mid 60′s at kickoff.

    Much to early to worry about the possible weaknesses the Niners have. If the Niners beat the Hawks, the Niners will be hard pressed to lose any games this year.

    1. Good thing, too, considering JH is totally right. There’s not a whole lot McCarthy can say.

      I mean, who’s would buy McCarthy saying that 52 cheap shot wasn’t ill advised and dangerous? How could he claim that it was the right call for Staley to be penalized?

  31. A couple of things about our much-maligned-by-Grant pass defense.

    This game, Rodgers had a 56.8% completion ratio, compared to his career 65.6%

    We gave up 333 yards passing, Rodger’s 5 year average 275.

    At the same time we gave up 63 yards rushing, compared to the 5 year Packers average of 107.

    Packers 5 year average total offense 381, we gave up 396 sunday. In other words, we held the predominant NFC team over the last 5 years to their just about their average and came away with the 3rd straight win.

    But what would the Inside The 49ers be without new handwringing issues?

  32. Numbers can be deceiving. Niners defense played very well. You are never going to completely shut down the Brees, Mannings, Bradys, and Rodgers of the world. But they forced numerous of 3-and-outs, 2 turnovers, and got off the field in clutch situations while going up against one of the best QBs and WRs corps in the league. I think penalties such as the offsides that took away Eric Reid interception, and big plays can and will be fixed.

  33. Had a long debate with some friends and what your guys’ take on the matter. If say the Niners are 8-2 or 9-1 by week 12 do you think Crabtree should come back, I say week 12 because that’s what everyone is projecting as his return. Or should he wait it out till about week 15 and make sure he is 100% or right near 100%. I think he should wait unless we need him. Having him 100% for playoffs would make our offense the most dynamic in the league, barring no injuries (fingers crossed). What is anyone else’s view on this?

    1. Tend to agree but it’s a pure hypothetical. Also, if the team is 11-1 then they would probably be meshing pretty well on offense. It’s a danger to bring in a guy who may screw up the mix even if it’s a player as great as Crabtree.

    2. Adam- If he’s going to come back this year, my understanding is they’d have to activate him by week#11. He’d take a roster spot until ready to play. So there’d be a judgement made of if he could help in the Playoffs. Once healthy he’d have minimal ramp-up time to get worked into the offense.
      I hope he’ll talk to Jerry Rice though, he once came back too soon and suffered a re-injury.

    3. I’m just interested to see of he can return to what he was. I am always critical of players coming off big injuries. Like RG3 last night, I know it’s a diff injury but he looked bad last night. I’d like to see him be 100% when he returns. But you are right Brotha he would take up roster spot. Maybe they ease him into it. If he can return 100% and his and Kaps chem is near what it was last year I feel sorry for the defenses we face.

  34. This just in: Aaron Rodgers is pretty damn good. His group of receivers is pretty damn good. Give them some credit for making plays.

    Do the 49ers have issues? Sure, every team in the NFL is trying to mask their weaknesses. It was the first game of the year. Let’s see how we’re doing in a few weeks before we start saying the defense is terrible.

    1. “Aaron Rodgers is pretty damn good. His group of receivers is pretty damn good.”

      They are, yet the 49ers defense limited those guys to 15 points last year in the season opener.

      1. The Packers scored 31 last year in the Divisional round of the playoffs against the 9ers and then spent 9 months scheming a revenge game on both sides of the ball. I’m not too concerned about the 9ers defense at this point. They may not be as good as the last 2 years but they are still really good.

      2. They scored 24 on the defense in the divisional round, and according to most on this blog that had more to do with injuries to the Smith brothers causing a lack of pass rush, thus exposing the secondary. 8 months later, the Smith’s are both fully healthy, and the defense just gave up even more points.

      3. Ok. Fine. The defense isn’t as good as last years defense. I’ll concede that point after 1 game if that’s what you need. There ya go.

        The 9er offense is better.

      4. It was the first game of the season after a pre-season in which the 49ers didn’t play their starters very much. The team is working in two new starters and a new third CB. Maybe we could let the team play a few games before we draw any conclusions about its strengths and weaknesses or compare it to previous teams.

        But, that’s just me.

      5. The Smithers will say that it’s because Kaepernick’s drives don’t consume enough time thus leaving our defense more tired in games…… SMH.

        Speaking of Smithers, where is Hof? I hope he’s alright. Check in on him Grant….

      6. Oh look, its the “real fan” who virtually disappeared from the blog after Alex Smith left. It seems like you only post a comment when you’re trying to settle old scores or continuing arguments that no one else is interested in. For example, the 49ers just beat the Packers in a regular season game, and all you are interested in is arguing about Alex Smith vs. Colin Kaepernick.

        By the way, Jack was the one who pointed out the 2012 drive time data and its possible correlation to the defense’s performance. Are you seriously calling him a Smither, or have you gone back to labeling as a Smither everyone who doesn’t agree with your disproved opinion?

        Are you looking in the mirror when you shake your head? You should be.

      7. Oh wow. Just had flashbacks to the old toxic days of the Alex Smith battles. Now all we need is an irrational, unhinged post from Oneniner or Adam claiming Alex Smith is the most accurate passer in the NFL but he’s held back by receivers who don’t catch the ball or lineman who don’t block well enough.

        Good times, good times.

      8. Claude,
        if you miss your friend Hof, then just say it. As for my comments, they run deeper than just Smith vs Kaep comments.
        This week alone I’ve touched on the lack of looks to any other receiver not named Boldin. I said I would like to see more looks to VM. Touched on the subject of watching the distribution of carries between Gore and Hunter. Touched on Lattimore and when he will be ready. I’ve touched on a lot.

        You seem to focus on me anytime I bring up Smith, or the Smithers. Why so obsessed with me?

        If Jack brought up that insignificant stat, that does not surprise me btw.

        Now back to my original question. Where’s Hof?

      9. Yeah Houston, all we need is some poster to give us irrelevent week-by-week stats comparison between our old and new QBs. Oh wait, we do have that.

        Some people still want to wallow in the toxic muck.

      10. Hey Ribs, what do you think of Quinton Patton? I was a big fan of his in college. A friend of mine’s son plays for La Tech so I went to a game last year. Patton had something like 20 receptions for 200 yards. I was completely excited the 9ers picked him up. I really think he can be a solid compliment to Boldin but it will take many weeks before he can gel in the offense. I like Kyle Williams but there just seems to be something missing with him. He and Kaep just don’t always seem to be hitting on all cylinders.

      11. Houston, judging from the limited action we saw of him in pre-season, a huge upside.

        Hopefully Williams can stay on the field this year. A couple more yards under that bomb from Keap on Sunday, we’d be singing a different tune :)

        I would like to see the ball in either Pattons or Williams hands more and I’m sure we will once opponent DCs see the game film from week one and try to figure out old man Boldin.

      12. Houston:

        You may be right about Williams, but it isn’t like he and Kaepernick have had much of a chance to gain familiarity with each other in game situations. Willaims suffered a season-ending injury in Kaepernick’s second start last year, and the 49ers held him out of the preseason.

      13. BayTimex,

        You seem to be quite focused on “what the Smithers will say”, all the while nobody is saying anything of the sort.

        Maybe these are things you might like someone to say, so you could be right for a change.

      14. Yeah, it’s difficult not to be optimistic about Patton. He gives off the impression that he wants it as much as, if not more than, anyone else.

      15. BayTimex,

        No one is obsessed with you (narcissistic, much?), it’s just that you can’t be allowed to get away with your nonsensical garbage. It’s just that simple.

      16. Houston/CB,

        Had the deep ball to KW led him a bit more, it probably would’ve been six and KW stat line would’ve been 4 catches, approx. 100 yards and a TD. Not too bad.

        I also really like Patton. He may not have the greatest measurables, but he seems to just knows how to play. He’s going to be good.

        About how long it will take until he contributes, it may be true it takes him a while, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if he comes up with one or two big plays against the Seahawks. I also think Vance McDonald will get more targets.

      17. Thanks for the effort claude but that’s not nearly hysterical or absurd enough. See if you can come up with some measurement on the vector of every pass thrown by every QB in the history of the NFL with variables for wind speed, time of day, pre-game meal, and hotness of wife or girlfriend that somehow proves Smith embodies the pinnacle of human achievement. You must shout it in capital letters with multiple exclamation points. Then I would be transported back in time to the good old days.

        Again, thanks for the effort.

    2. Agree with Houston. This is not some middle of road passing offense we are talking about and comparing this game to last year’s opener is redundant. Last year was last year, no bad blood between teams, no idea what each others gameplan would entail, etc. Even then the yardage numbers were pretty damn close for GB between that game and this one.

      The difference in this game was clearly the missed tackles. I’ve watched the game twice now and the coverage by the secondary was generally really good. What wasn’t good was the missed tackles on short completions that went for long yards. What also stood out was that the Packer receivers – especially Nelson – just made some plays you can’t defend. The other guys get paid too and with Rodgers you have to defend every square inch of the field.

      In regards to Patton, I’m a big fan too. The kid just seems to have that “it” factor people always seem to talk about. He’s got a good feel for soft spots in coverage and has an aggressive mindset. I think he has a bright future personally.

  35. What I love most about Kap is he shut up all the idiots that compared him to QBs like Vick Newton RG3. All the so called experts claimed he was a guy who needs a run game to open a pass game. But he showed that he can be a pocket passer and beat a team with his arm if a team is dedicated to stopping the run. The fact he was the 6th QB taken in his draft shows that kiper and Mcshay shouldn’t be employed. Sky is the limit my friends.

  36. Niners vs Seahawks;
    both Wilson and Kaepernick will be running the ball.
    One or both may get “dinged up”… or worse.
    Roll the dice. Another must win, huh?

  37. As long as we are pointing out the weaknesses, let’s note the following:
    1. It wasn’t so much the lack of coverage, but the lack of tackling that killed us. Had a few tackles been made, several GB drives, especially the one before the half would have been stalled. This needs to be fixed as much as anything.

    2. VD made a huge mistake following his fourth quarter 1st down conversion by RUNNING OUT OF BOUNDS with just over 3 minutes to go! I can’t believe, neither the commentators, nor anyone on the blog has pointed this out! You can’t give AR time to come back and they did have a chance.

    3. Dove tailing off the previous point, if the Niners don’t convert on 4th down to AB who doesn’t believe the Packers don’t come back and at least score a field goal? That was gutsy by Harbs and Kap/AB delivered, but if they didn’t…again, who beieves the Pack doesn’t come back and score?

    It was closer than it should have been requiring play after play by Kap (to Grant’s point) to secure the win due to the mistakes of others.

  38. I’d agree with grant and say we definitely do have a concern with our secondary. We were torched by Every above average QB we played in the 2nd half of last year. And opened this season with another one. Granted we have new additions to the secondary, we didn’t start out as strong as I had hoped. We played Rodgers much better last year when he had more weapons (Jennings, and jones was an actual factor). I know it’s only one game but its something we need to be aware of. Luckily outside of Ryan Brees luck and Wilson (twice) we don’t play any real good passing qbs. But come playoff time we will face nothing but great QBs. Our secondary will need to step up.

    As for our run game. It will open up, there is no worry on that front. Teams will now not be able to focus 100% of their game plan to stopping the run and holes will open. Gore still has some left on the tank.

  39. Grant i disagree with you on one point. I do’nt believe the team has a problem with getting the plays in. I know Harbaugh said the delay of game penalties and wasted TO’s were the coaches fault but i think he was protecting CK in the media. We heard the same kind of protect the player at all cost regarding A. Smith for the last 2 yrs. My observation is the plays are getting in early enough and the team is breaking the huddle with plenty of time the problem begins when CK gets to the line of scrimmage. He panics he loses his cool and the team mirrors his demeanor. Look back at tape of A.S. in 2011 and the first half of 2012 with the same offense and same coaching staff Smith had no problem getting the plays off in time [before 2011 Smith had the same problems CK is having but not under Harbaugh]
    As to the other issues I believe they have a lot to do with Harbaugh’s reluctance to play his starters in the exhibition season and the new [as of 2011] practice rules. The Team just was’nt as ready to play the opener as teams who played their starters more in the preseason were. I believe that by game 3 we should see much improvement in your areas of concern.

    1. >>The Team just was’nt as ready to play the opener as teams who played their starters more in the preseason were.

      Agreed there, OC. But what ranked team didn’t have “issues” opening weekend? Chalk it up to the training camp rules IMO.

      1. Jack, considering the stakes for and preparation by GB, I don’t this win was any less impressive than last year’s.

        How do *you* explain the opening day duds laid by teams such as Houston, Atlanta, Seattle, New England… ?

      2. I don’t know I think preseason playing time is overblown personally. Kap didn’t play much and then went out and threw for 400 yards, so how rusty was he? The time clock management has been a problem even when Alex Smith was running the offense. There may be something to Old Coaches point about Kap not being completely comfortable with the line adjustments but I think it’s more the plays not getting in on time or too much verbiage costing them before they break the huddle. The often break the huddle with under ten seconds on the clock and you can’t do that. Something has to change with the playcalling because to have this problem continue in year 3 of the system is ridiculous.

      3. “How do *you* explain the opening day duds laid by teams such as Houston, Atlanta, Seattle, New England…”

        Duds? New England had to come back from down 21-7 at Buffalo last year to win too. Wasn’t surprised that Seattle had a tough time with Carolina, the Panthers defense was in the top 10 last season. Atlanta had the best record in the NFC last season yet went into NO and lost. The only surprise was Houston struggling so much, but even they came back to win.

        Do you want to compare the 49ers to everyone else or hold them to a higher standard? Also, I never said the win was unimpressive, only that there are definite issues with the defense that seem to have carried over from last year. They won, so not surprised most would rather gloss over it.

      4. *That wasn’t clear. Although Atlanta had the best record last year, they split with NO, losing the road game as they did Sunday.*

      5. >>Do you want to compare the 49ers to everyone else or hold them to a higher standard?

        I want to compare them to likely playoff opponents. And none out of the starting gate looked like world beaters. Except Denver. But Manning’s problem is at the end of the season, not the beginning.

    2. The fact that both Alex Smith and Kap had trouble getting off the plays in time points to an institutional problem – most likely Greg Roman being slow to decide what to call next but maybe also some excessive complexity of the play calling scheme. Last year part of the problem seemed to be that almost every play the QB had to decide between one of two plays at the line of scrimmage depending on the defensive alignment. I didn’t see any indication of that this first game – and they still had clock issues.

  40. I don’t think the run game is quite as bad as it seems. I wrote this post over at Niner’s Nation about the Niner’s run game performance against the Packers. I fully admit to having little evidence other than my initial first viewing of the game to support my analysis but here it is anyway:

    The Packers D-line was firing into the gaps and disrupting the blocking and the reads by Gore and Kaepernick.

    Caper’s Changes His Gap Containment Scheme
    Caper’s base 3-4 defense has traditionally been run as a 2 gap read and react scheme that allows the linebackers to flow freely behind them. The problem with that approach against the 49ers is two fold.

    #The Niner’s O-line is to powerful to hold up and read blocks and too mobile for those gaps to stay stationary for 2 gap reads.
    #Kaepernick is too fast for most linebackers to contain while reading plays from behind their 2 gaping linemen.

    Caper’s strategy was essentially (to use a hockey metaphor) was to bring the goalie out of the crease to meet the shooter. The Packer’s penetrating linemen got into the backfield before plays could develop. Before Kaepernick and Gore could read the defense and blocks developing.

    Niner’s Run Game Wasn’t Tactically Prepared
    The Niners shifted their Fullback and TEs around to basically get an overload advantage against a 2 gap zone defense. They weren’t prepared for a penetrating single gap attacking defense. The Niner’s run plays were some variation of a slow developing I Formation where by the time the blocking was supposed to develop (pulling linemen and such) the defenders were in the backfield making tackles.

    Minding Their Gaps At All Times
    Capers also obviously coached his front seven to mind their gaps at all times. I think this is one of the reasons that on almost all pass plays (aside from the Mathews read-option sack) that Kaepernick had an eternity to pass in the pocket. The Packers D-line never “pinned their ears back” and came after him in the pocket. They wanted to make Kaepernick beat them in the pocket (which of course he did). But back to the running game, it’s a little harder to run block a defender that isn’t even considering having to honor threat of the pass.

    All In To Stop The Run & Scrambles
    Capers has usually ran his defense from a Cover 3 shell which has the added advantage of bring up the Strong Safety closer to the line of scrimmage. So Packers were essentially playing eight man fronts against the Niners which makes running against the Packers even more difficult.

    20/20 Hindsight
    From a run game tactical stand point, if slow developing run plays weren’t working then the obvious solution is call quick hitting run plays. The problem is that I’m not sure the Niner’s offense is geared or at least prepared to run them.

    Strategically Sound Plan of Atttack & Hope For the Running Game
    But from a strategic stand point, the Packers committed to stopping the run and containing Kaepernick which left them with basic zone coverages and little deep help (remember that often times the Strong Safety was not playing deep). So that allowed Vernon Davis to exploit the seams in the zone coverage and Boldin to run roughshod underneath the deep Cover 3 zones. The Packers dared the Niners to beat them with a pure pocket passing game and they did. I’m sure the rest of the NFL took notice. So maybe the Niners will see less 8 man fronts with linemen and backers fully committed to stopping the run at the expense of their pass rush and coverage. If so, then that will hopefully reopen things up for the Niner’s rushing attack again.

    1. affp:

      If you are correct about Capers going against prior tendencies in order to stop the 49ers’ run game, it worked in the 49ers’ favor.

      And although I obviously don’t have any evidence to support it, I wouldn’t be surprised if Harbaugh’s pre-game talk about protecting read-option QBs was designed to keep GB’s attention/game-planning even more focused on stopping the read-option while the 49ers developed a gameplan geared towards the passing game. If that was the case, that would be some heavy Sun-Tzu strategy from Harbaugh.

      1. Exactly, if your opponent is attacking in a certain way, encouraging that and then using it to your advantage is genius.

        The scoreboard doesn’t care how many rushing or passing yards led to a TD.

    2. That’s a pretty good analysis, AllForFun. Not being an expert, I don’t know how accurate it is, but it sounds right. I noticed that when Kap was flushed out of the pocket, there was never an open lane to run. So obviously Green Bay was either having a player dedicated to follow Kap to either side, or they kept somebody on either side in place, out of determination to prevent those long runs by Kap that embarrassed them so much last year. If Kap had been less brilliant, it would have worked. Be interesting to see what other teams do defensively going forward. It proves what I said before about stopping the run option – you can stop it, but only by weakening yourself in pass defense.

    3. Great analysis. My eyes told me the same thing. The Niners run plays were painfully slow unfolding. You call out most run plays in advance and then watch the Packers front 7/8 shooting into the gaps. Matthews was very effective at this. Plus they brought in 330+ pounders to clog up the middle – lot of beef to move.

      The flip side is the Packers got almost no hard pass rush and Kap took advantage. Their front line was playing off and clogging lanes to stop the run first. The game had kind of a slow motion feel to it because of this.

      The Niners run game will be better. In yesterday’s game when Hunter got to the second level he had plenty of burst and downfield blockers. And Gore starting getting that familiar second push for yards when he got past the initial line in the 4th quarter. I just don’t see the run game as a “5-alarm” concern here.

      Better tackling and crisper play calling timing will do a lot for the Niners – and these are areas which can be coached up.

      1. I agree, the 49ers’ rushing attack will produce more yards. Playing defenses not solely geared towards stopping both CK and FG might have something to do with that, though.

  41. It’s a question of trends here. Has Gore lost a step or did the Packers just overplay the run, or some of both? The same question with our corners. I have no problem giving them a pass because it was Green Bay. Let’s see how they handle Russell Wilson and the Seattle defense. I don’t think that Kaep is going to get 400 yards against them so they’ll need some kind of ground game.

    1. Gore is still a strong inside runner, but of course he’s lost a step. Just like every RB his age. That’s why we drafted Hunter and LMJ. Those guys aren’t producing right now, so our run game will probably be pedestrian except against the really soft run defenses.

    2. I don’t know why everyone keeps giving the excuse on not having to face QBs like AR every week. The QB play in the NFL has risen considerably and besides Russell Wilson twice, Luck next week, Brees, Matty Ice and maybe to a lesser degree Cam Newton, we will have to get through the best QBs in the playoffs, so it definitely needs to be fixed.

  42. The Niners need to streamline their offensive verbiage for some calls and packages. The Oregon Ducks and the Patriots sometimes switch to a one word play calling system when they want to hurry up. you can fit a lot in one word. you code the position assignments and adjustments in the letter and letter combinations of the words.

    Maybe more hand signals and less yelling out a line call 3-4 times which eats a a few extra seconds. They’re going to need those hand signals anyway for playing in Seattle.

  43. I agree with Grant’s general point.

    In last season’s opening game the 49ers offensive and defensive lines dominated the Packers. If it were not for awful scab officiating, it would have been an early blowout.

    I was expecting something close to that. If someone told me Kaep would have 400+ yards, 3TDs, 0 INTs I would expect a three touchdown victory.

    TV doesn’t show the wide view, but it seemed like Green Bay stuffed the run without loading the box. Greg Cosell said the same thing on KNBR yesterday.

    I’m hoping its all an aberration. After all, the Packers were obsessed with the 49ers the entire off season.

    I wonder if the 49ers reduced the physicality of the training camp to keep the veterans fresh later in the season. Teams that do this tend to start seasons slowly.

    1. Cosell used to drive me nuts. He was unfamiliar with the 49ers, always stating the obvious like “I think the 49ers have a good front 7.”

      Now he’s much more familiar with the team. His observations have alot more more value for me compared to a few years ago.

      1. Agreed, when I want to listen to in depth 49er analysis Cosell is the man. I can’t stand listening to former players give their thoughts, they really don’t have any insights. Brent Jones is the worst offender, Jeff Garcia is a close second.

    2. they loaded the box by bring the Strong Safety up a bit in a Cover 3 Shell. The SS wasn’t a run first stuffing strong safety with gap responsibility but he was up closer to the line of scrimmage to support the run.

      1. That’s good news! Green Bay’s base D-line has alot of those bowling ball shaped guys like Raji.

        I was wondering why the 49ers didn’t run wide right more behind pulling guards. It worked in last year’s opener and did again late in the game.

  44. It’s obvious to everyone in the league and on this board that our corners are well below average in coverage. But that’s on our FO. They want large guys who are better at pressing and hitting than covering.

    For example, free agent CB Brent Grimes is killing it in Miami. He’s a coverage-first guy. Namdi is a pure press corner who in the past had just enough quickness to stick to guys through their routes–obviously, not any more.

    The change has to start at the top. So far our FO has been stubborn on this point, as over the last three years they’ve done nothing to alter this strategy.

    We just have to hope Tank can get into the mix by the end of the season, so we have that little bit of extra juice on the pass rush that can put us over the top.

  45. Running & Passing Game:

    The Niners run the ball (PERIOD) This is what every team schemes against, stopping the Niners run. Those fat guys in the middle of the Niners run offense plus the LBs cheating up for the the run made it near impossible for us to run between the tackles. Thus, we need Hunter and James to stretch some of these runs. I don’t think we showed everything. Needed to hold cards to chest as it relates to Seattle. The Niners adjusted and CK and the receivers (WR, TE) stepped up and said we will win it. I suspect we will pass to set up the run in the future AND these fat guys in the middle will be in effective.

    Did you see how much time CK had to pass??? No pressure up the middle. The only pressure was Mathews on the edge and he is a stud. BTW, I think Staley did a good job against him.

    We have something special happening in Niner Nation fellas/ Gals. CK is the truth. He will make other WRs look better. I don’t have wide camera so not sure why Boldin got all the passes. I suspect if they double Boldin and/or VD CK will exploit with McDonald and Patton and Moore and Williams…. Seattle and more so the Indy game will tell us a lot about our offense synergy going into this year. Very exciting.

    1. “Did you see how much time CK had to pass???”

      The pass blocking was outstanding. Mathews big sack was happened because of lack or coordination between Staley and Iupati. One on one I was happy with Staley’s pass blocking game vs Mathews.

      1. The fact that nobody had thought of pairing Wilson and Kaepernick in any form of advertisement prior to this is what surprises me.

  46. Grant you make good points, on a very small sample.

    Aaron Rodgers is/was the best QB in the league.. his receiving corp is one of the best, with that combination, it’s not hard to see why our secondary would struggle. The F’Packers run a timing/rhythm offense where they get the ball out quickly, and Rodgers is skillful enough to get it where it needs to go. The Niners finished last year’s regular season one of the best in pass coverage, they wore down and it showed up and cost us a title.

    The pass-rush will come, Aldon Smith is going to be Aldon Smith. Cowboy ain’t what he use to be, but he’s still pretty good at what he does and hopefully Brooks will come around. The good thing is the Niners won’t be facing the caliber of Rodgers every week, he gets the ball out as fast as anyone.

    The running game will take care of itself, the F’Packers were committed to stop the run, they did and the Niners found another way to win. Next week if the Seacocks are committed to stopping the pass, we’ll all see that our running game is just fine.

    The F’Packers are an elite team, if we absolutely crushed them it would be a great shock to everyone. It was a hard fought win over a Super Bowl-caliber team, it was going to be a struggle.

    1. If Dawson makes a FG that he would have made last yr we win by 9. winning by 9 is not crushing the other team but when you beat a playoff caliber team by 9 its certainly a very solid win.

  47. I still need to know who the participants of the Quest4Six fantasy football league are. I am planning on posting the results of Week One on this blog, but in order to do so, I have to know which screen name is associated with their team name in the league. So far I know who Razoreater, Coffee for Closers, and Chess GM are but I need the identity of the six other participants. Please leave which team you are in this thread.

  48. You’re being disingenuous in this blog entry Grant.

    Where did the last 13 games for Gore come in to play? Why didn’t you look at his season as a whole or look at the last 13 games including the playoffs where he averaged 5.1 yards a carry? Even doing it the way you did it, I had him averaging 4.3 yards a carry counting the final 12 regular season games of last year and the first from this season. Either way you are really painting a false notion here imo. The Packers keyed on the running game and held it in check; that is why Kap was able to pass for over 400 yards.

    Your point about other receivers needing to step up is valid, but the fact is Kap kept throwing to Boldin and Davis because they were open. If they are going to continually give you these guys as options you are going to keep throwing to them. If a team takes them away and you keep forcing it to them to the detriment of the outcome, then you have a valid point, but in this case you really don’t because they were open constantly.

    I agree with you that we need to see a better pass rush than we did on Sunday but to conclude that maybe Justin Smith is only a run stopper now is serious overreaction which you have been guilty of often. He doesn’t get many sacks in this defense and often his contribution is holding up blockers for Aldon. We’ll see how things progress but that is a seriously flawed assumption to make after on game.

    I want to highlight this next section because there is a lot of accusations that need to be addressed here:

    This group is the 49ers’ biggest weakness. In the past they’ve been masked by the pass rush and the explosive offense. They were double-masked. Against the Packers, the 49ers’ top-three corners – Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown and Nnamdi Asomugha – got exposed.

    According to Pro Football Focus, Asomugha gave up a 105.3 passer rating, Brown gave up a 118.8 rating and Rogers gave up an abysmal 158.3 rating.

    Those numbers are particularly alarming when you consider the 49ers knew the Packers were passing practically every play. The Packers abandoned their running game in the first quarter yet the 49ers’ corners still could not cover the Packers’ receivers.

    What’s alarming is how inaccurate you are with your conclusions here Grant. First off, GB didn’t abandon their running game after the first quarter and in fact ran the ball more in the second half than they did in the first. Secondly, while I understand PFF’s ratings they don’t always paint a clear picture. In this case, the coverage was actually pretty good by the CB’s all day long. The problem was tackling as a high number of yards were picked up by the receivers based on missed tackles. That is very different than poor coverage. Another point you fail to address is that Cobb had a 38 yard reception on the second last play of the game which grossly affected his overall numbers for the game. That reception was given to him in a prevent defense. You cannot hold that against the DB’s as a negative as that is what the defense is allowing to happen. Without that play, Rodgers is held to under 300 yards and Cobbs average per catch goes way down. I’ve got news for you: holding Aaron Rodgers to under 300 yards and the total offense to 350 is a big time achievement against one of the best offense in football. You never like to give up 28 points, but these guys made some great plays and were aided by a number of 15 yard penalties against the Niners too.

    You are trying way to hard to find negatives here Grant and fudging numbers to do so in regards to Gore and Cobb. The team was not great by any means, and need to improve both their tackling and play clock management especially, but your lack of factual information in so many parts of this entry is really bush league I’m sorry.

      1. Exactly. If he insists on actually holding the rest of us to the actual facts, I may be forced to start calling him FAKIA-checker.

      2. “You never like to give up 28 points, but these guys made some great plays and were aided by a number of 15 yard penalties against the Niners too.”

        This actually balanced out. The 49ers defense gave up 2 15 yard penalties in the game, a roughing the passer penalty on Brooks and the unsportsmanlike on Bowman. Meanwhile, the Packers were flagged for holding on a 10 yard run from Lacy, illegal use of hands on a 7 yard run from Starks and another holding call on a 4 yard run from Kuhn.

      3. Jack,

        The Niners took 15 yard penalties on two of the 4 Packer TD Drives. On one of those drives Sitton took a holding call but that was after Brooks penalty gave the Packers a 1st down in Niner territory. The Packers had no penalties on the other drive where SF picked up a 15 yard penalty.

      4. I understand Rocket, and both of the turnovers came following a holding call by Sitton.

        After the holding call wiped out Lacy’s 10 yard run, he fumbles on the next play and the 49ers are set up in scoring position and they cash in with a TD.

        Then after a holding call wiped out Stark’s 7 yard run, Rodgers is intercepted on the next play again setting the offense up on GB’s side of the field. This time they can’t move the ball and Dawson misses a FG.

        The penalties had a way of balancing out.

  49. Grant,
    You cannot build your premise that GB is a very good team, but probably not great.

    GB still has to be considered as one of the elite teams in the NFL. They may actually be better than last year’s team because of a younger defense and better RB.
    Also, their O-line did an above average job considering the of Bulagua and the insertion of a rookie.

    C.Matthews’ boneheaded penalty on CK may have been the only thing that kept the Pack from winning the game.

    If not for the lamebrain mistake by CM, today we may talking about how CK threw for over 400 yrds/3 TD’ and still lost the game.

    So, I would not put GB in the very good, but not great category.

    I do agree that Gore/Hunter did not amass substantial yrds, but the O-line must take some responsibility on that.

    Justin/Aldon (and defense) will progress as the season rolls on.

    Clock management needs to be addressed. Poor tackling gave GB life on drives that should have been squelched.

  50. The coaching staff had better simplify the crap out the game plan this week. Dealing with the noise in seattle is very difficult. I wonder if there is anything to the rumours that on top of the crowd noise that seattle pipes in extra crowd noise?

    1. When I heard those rumors I figured someone has to know. There has to be an investigation and make this illegal if it isn’t already. Clearly it’s gaining an unfair advantage.
      In fact, it seems like there should be fines involved because it would clearly be an unsportsmanlike conduct…on every play so to speak.

  51. Grant, a couple of comments to get your thoughts on please. GB D line up front had a lot of “beef” with Raji, Jolly, and the other fellow. I think if I am not mistaken they are much bigger up front that Seattle’s D.

    1) Do you think we will have a more successful time running the ball Sunday night?
    2) Do you think Roman will switch and have Kap run a lot more since they have such a tremendous pass D and maybe expecting the pocket passer approach?
    Thanks Jason

  52. Anquan Boldin faced the Seahawks in Seattle Week 10, 2011. Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner held Boldin to two catches on nine targets for 22 yards and no touchdowns.

    In four games the past two seasons, the Seahawks have given up 10 catches for 127 yards and no touchdowns to Vernon Davis.

    1. Boldin didn’t have Kaep throwing to him then. He probably won’t have near the same results as the Packers game, but I still believe that Boldin will be effective against the Seattle secondary.
      I think the main concern will be if we can get the run game going. If we can’t, then I think that we will leave Seattle with a 1-1 record.

    2. The Seahawks have the best secondary in the league. Niners only have 2 receiver threats in AB and VD. If they can cover those guys one on one, or feel they can bracket them, then they can stack against the run.

      KAEP is off to a great start. 412 is nothing to sneeze at. But to beat the hawks he will need to spread the ball around and someone else has to step up, or it’s going to be a long game.

      Maybe Niners play a lot of 2 TE sets, with AB the lone WR and just pound those guys.

      9er D is not at that elite level. I know it’s AR, but they don’t have that suffocating presence like they did in 2011.

    3. I believe the niners will plan for the hawks to try and take away Boldin and VD. Thus why I think we are all hoping to see more from Patton/Moore/Williams and get McD in some space.

      1. I watched the Seattle game. The refs called the Seahawks DS’s twice for holding at the line. Maybe the rules committed decided enough was enough with that group….
        Also, Seattle’s oline looked terrible last week.

      1. Don’t have the line on that, but considering he was with the Seahawks in 2010 and they need DT’s right now, I wouldn’t doubt he goes there. Still, he was waived/injured because of a supposed knee injury from what I read from Barrows.

  53. PFF gave Randall Cobb a +1.2 grade on Sunday. PFF gave Tavon Austin a +1.6 and Doug Baldwin a +2.1.

    Offenses will be going after Carlos Rogers in the slot early this season.

  54. PFF gave Robert Alford a +2.0 pass coverage grade on Sunday. It seems like the Falcons got a steal in the second round.

    PFF also gave Janoris Jenkins a +1.9 and Byron Maxwell at +1.8.

  55. PFF gave Robert Quinn a +8.2, Chris Long a +4.4, Aldon Smith a +2.0 and Ahmad Brooks a -2.7.

    PFF also gave DeMarcus Ware a +5.4 and Shaun Phillips a +5.7.

  56. Good article for general consumption.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323864604579065393813492078.html#articleTabs%3Darticle

    “They ran a handful of plays in the same “pistol” formation, where one running back lines up behind Kaepernick and a fullback or tight end lines up diagonally in front of him.

    Instead of tipping their plays from the formation, the 49ers instead put on a master class of diverse play-calling. On the team’s last four drives alone, the 49ers ran the backfield formation 11 times and featured two passes to a wide receiver, four running-back runs, two passes to a tight end, two spontaneous quarterback scrambles and a pass to the fullback.”

    1. It’s possible that Kaep had a choice of many play options to choose from the same formation. Maybe that’s it took so long to get the snaps off.

      1. Good point. Once Kap gains a command of the offense, they can introduce another element to the offense: unpredictable tempo. Mix in no-huddle into the scheme and have the defense backpedaling.

        Thanks for the article, Rib.

    2. Thanks for posting this article. this is another reason i love Jim H and GROE. We never had this type of coaching for the past 9 years.

  57. Grant, thank you for the article and sharing your observations. I like to share my point of view below:

    THE GOOD

    1.We are 1-0, by beating one of the best NFC teams and Aaron Roger which to my opinion is one of the top 10 QBs in the league and a great offensive system that produces points consistently. Keep in mind Green Bay specifically focused on learning how to stop the option and neutralize CK and they still lost the game. In matter of fact 49ers dominated the time of position with a lead for most of the game.

    2. Despite lack of game time for the first team during the preseason we still were able to do enough damage on offense and defense to win the game!

    3. CK proved to the NFL, non believers and the world that he has the skill set to become one of the best QBs in the league by carrying the team on his shoulder. Every time we needed to score, CK produced and end up with over 400 yards passing and 3tds. Now NFL has to be aware of Cks passing ability. It will be tough for teams to just focus on stopping the run!

    4. The chemistry between VD and Mr. Boldin the beast was excellent and it will only get better with time. Our offense was productive despite not having crabtree and Manningham in the rotation.

    5. Defense gave up 28 points however we truly had so many holding calls ignored by the refs and they still showed up when it counted!

    Now lets break down all your concerns:

    Running Game:

    With two years of tape on 49ers offensive system/specifically running game scheme, most teams have developed a strategy to stop the run therefore they are bringing more people in the box and this coaching staff has been very good to still stay committed to the run game. We might not have the past success in the running game however we will have enough success to keep us dangerous and the defenses worried!

    Secondary Receivers

    It is a shame to lose Crabtree and Manningham at the same time this season however thank god for Trent for signing Boldin the Beast! If other teams try to take away Boldin he still will get his catches since Boldin likes the coverage and excels catching the ball in traffic. Also due to an amazing production by Boldin and VDs against the packers other WR such as KW and Patton will have opportunities to produce! I just have a great feeling about our receivers this year and CK has a bit more experience.

    Pass Rush

    Is it me or did you guys see the packers OL just holding on to Aldon, Brooks and Smith all day LONG! regardless we end up with two sacks and enough pressure to keep Aaron Rogers from scoring more points than our offense. Was this a great defensive effort! Maybe not the best we have seen but come on! Its the first game of the season and these guys are probably just getting in game shape to play the whole game. Also, we have some rookies that will contribute in the future.

    Cornerbacks

    With such a tough schedule our cornerbacks will have their hands full specially since we lost Culliver and Dashon. It will be hard for the secondary to shut down some of these QBs that we have to play against. Also, having a rookie Safety will require more time for the secondary to mesh and play faster.

    Defense

    Our defense might not be as dominate as a few years ago base on their past several game performance (Superbowl and now the first week of 2013 season) but now we have a QB that is capable of scoring points, therefore as long as the defense keeps us close we have a chance to win against anybody. Hopefully, once a few of our rookies get into the rotation we can become more aggressive and produce better defensive results as well.

    Keep the faith niner fans and GO NINERS

  58. Grant,
    have you heard anything regarding Eric Mangini? He’s more than gotten his feet wet at this point. Curious what role he’s taken on at this point and who he spends the lion share of his time with.

  59. Colin after 11 starts is the best QB in the league. He will show that against Seattle. Hes consistent unlike Alex Smith. Just wait and see. Colin, Colin, Colin!

  60. Overall PFF team grades:

    Offense:
    1. Chiefs (+13.1)
    2. Lions (+11.3)
    3. Eagles (+9.6)
    4. Patriots (+9.3)
    5. Bengals (+7.9)
    6. 49ers (+6.5)

    Defense:
    1. Chiefs (+27.8)
    2. Cowboys (+19.3)
    3. Lions (+15.5)
    4. Rams (+11.8)
    5. Broncos (+11.0)
    22. 49ers (+0.3)

    1. This does seem suspect, given the Niners offensive production, but I assume it’s like total QBR and it’s taking into account how ineffective the rushing was. However, there were no turnovers, so it still seems like a low grade.

      The defense seems about right unfortunately, but it would have been much worse with no pressure on AR and would have been much better with a few made tackles.

    2. Considering the Jags didn’t even get past their own 37 yard line until well into the 4th qtr, I can see why the big numbers for the Chiefs D.

    3. I saw that chief game. The Jags with Gabbert wont win a game this year. The Chiefs will get smoked by the cowboys next week. And yeah Smith didnt complete a pass over 12 yards in the air. Haha!

  61. If you look at Grant’s poll question politically.
    Those who vote Kap is not the best qb can say it’s an even split vote. Those who vote Kap is top qb can say he is comfortably ahead by 4 points (52%-48%).
    Politics do really suck.

  62. Another area of concern is the NFL officiating against the 49ers.

    Why are most calls consistently going against the 49ers, even at home? What about all the holding non calls on the Green Bay o-line? That would explain the pass rush issues. On the long pass play to Nelson, Justin Smith was clearly held. No call. Bowman gets called for unsportsmanlike conduct, but Goldilocks/Fabio is not called for throwing punches (well, girly ones)?

    1. The league classically has been favoring the opponents as far as calls! Maybe we are all bias but honestly as a football fan i just do not understand it! Specifically every time we play the packers they get a free pass! Jed, please do something about this by putting pressure on the league. Go Niners

  63. Problem with your premise is that if teams focus on taking away Kap’s favorite targets, ie Boldin and Davis, that takes their focus off of the run game, which in turn, will give the 9ers oline, Kap, Gore & Hunter better numbers and angles to work with inside the box.

  64. Agree with Grant that every team the Niners face will go after Carlos Rogers. Not based solely on his GB performance but rather his entire work.

    I disagree with the analysis’ conclusions on the weakest links based on the GB game. It’s not what we saw on the filed but rather what’s standing on the sidelines. Our back-up QBs. As Grant says, CK is outstanding. The weakest part of this team is the CK contingency plan.

  65. “He made Anquan Boldin look like Jerry Rice.” Grant, did you forget the
    catch Boldin made when he leaped in the air between two players and came
    down with a catch 95% of receivers would’ve dropped? Or the catch he made by the goal line with one hand that Kaepernick threw too far to his right. Thus the quote by Kaep, “He made plays he shouldn’t have made”.

      1. I am curious as to how that translates in Kaepernick making Boldin look like Jerry Rice? Shouldn’t Boldin get some credit for getting open?

  66. I’m still confused over the the Carradine draft pick. Niners knew that he probably wouldn’t have an impact this season, so why waste such a high draft pick on him? Niners could’ve moved that pick and drafted someone like the Honeybadger later on in the draft. Heck, the could’ve used that pick and draft best available WR or CB. Not a big fan of using multiple picks on the future because the Niners are in a “win now” mode. I do, however, like the Marcus Lattimore pick though.

    Speaking of which, Gore has no speed to get outside the tackles. There were some holes on Sunday, but Gore doesn’t have the speed to hit them. Best way to use Gore is to get him the ball in open space with screens and check downs. Would love to see the Niners implement this more especially with Hunter.

    Last observation….Ian Williams was getting blown off the ball. Dorsey isn’t much better either. I didn’t even know Brooks was playing until the had batted down a pass. Would like to see the Niners rotate in Lemonoir and Sutka a little more.

    1. You like the Lattimore pick but don’t like the Carradine pick? Is that just based on where Carradine was picked?

      I look at the Carradine pick like having traded the #40 pick for a 2014 1st rounder that will come in already understanding the playbook and having a full off-season with the 49ers trainers. They had heaps of picks, so they could afford to do it. No guarantees a 2nd round WR or CB would be contributing much. 49ers don’t typically start rookies – Reid is an exception.

      Also, the “win now” idea is a misnomer when drafting. How many rookies do you think are going to come in and be major contributors for a championship team? The draft should always be with an eye to the future.

      1. It remains to be seen what Tank will do but if he comes back at 100% which is likely considering how ACLs are performed now, it is like we got a solid #1 pick. He is the heir apparent to Cowboy when he retires. Definitely a smart gamble. You can never have too many studs that can get after the QB and the really good ones are usually gone in the early part of the draft. If Lattimore comes back as well it’s like 3 1st rounders and Gore’s replacement. What I find amazing is that again we have 13 picks in the upcoming draft. TB is a magician.

    2. Having Carradine on NFI does not count against the 53 man roster. It saved the team a painful roster cut while giving Tank time to develop. They can activate Tank when an existing player gets hurt/traded/cut. It’s Baalke’s sneaky way of circumventing the roster limits.

      Same with Okoye. He can’t practice with the squad, but he can do everything else including meetings, film study and sidelines during games…. without counting against the practice squad limit. The perfect red shirt year. (notice how chipper he was after the knee “injury”)

      Same with Dial. That’s 3 valuable roster spots for developmental players.

  67. I would like to see Kendall Hunter win the starting RB job over the next few games, getting over 4 yards per carry. Even though neither back did well on Sunday, Hunter has explosiveness at this point that Gore lacks. It’ll be a plus for this team to have the younger back with a higher ceiling and Gore to reduce his workload and be more effective when he does play.

    Gore may be 30, but Singletary made him 40.

    Remember Singletary? Grant, how would you like to be writing about this team under Singletary again? Isn’t it amazing how we went from that to this?

    1. Gore is still better at short yardage than Hunter. He has the patience, vision and power to make something from nothing. the performance this weekend was much more on the line and/or scheme because the backs had no chance no matter who was in there.

      Don’t forget Singletary made Vernon who he is today. Plus, he gave us plenty of sound bites! He served his purpose. ‘-)

    2. I’m not so sure that Gore is washed up…he gets that every year for the last few years. He is still the best at picking up blitzes, can catch the ball, and when there is a crease he finds it and makes positive yards. He never was a break away runner although he can pop longer runs. The D has to respect him. I do agree that mixing in Hunter & LMJ when he comes back is a smart move…keep everybody fresh & healthy.

  68. Alex beat the pack last year by nearly the same margin .,.lets see if Kap can handle Seattle in their house (like alex)before we anoint him. Our running game will get better

    1. Alex beat the Pack in their house???? Enough with that garbage. Our defense beat them plain and simple. Terrell Pryor could have won games with the defense that Alex played with.

      Carolina got tons of pressure on Wilson without blitzing. We will have to do the same if we want to win.

      1. It’s a team game, when will you learn? Did Kaepernick single handily beat the Packers? Before you answer that Bayhate, consider the games Boldin, Justin Smith, VD, Reid had and the other guys who suited up.
        See dumba$$, it’s a collective effort!

    1. 8-Ball? Magic Crystal Ball? Whispers on the Wind? Where are you guys getting this stuff? I don’t doubt you, just haven’t seen it.
      Also, anything on Boone? I saw Snyder in the game late.

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