Kaepernick’s season of regression

Here is my Tuesday column on Kaepernick’s season of regression.

The following play epitomizes how inept the 49ers’ offense has become:

Eight minutes left in the second quarter against the Saints. Play No. 2 of drive No. 6 for the Niners. Colin Kaepernick lines up under center and waves his left arm to silently signal the third-string tight end, Derek Carrier, to shift to the slot. Carrier isn’t looking.

Kaepernick yells, “Go.” Carrier can’t hear him. The Superdome is deafening. Kaepernick leans over and screams as loud as he can at Carrier. Finally, Carrier scrambles to the slot with four seconds left on the play clock. Kaepernick turns to the official in disgust and calls timeout. The official just stares at him.

The 49ers don’t have any more timeouts left in the first half. Jim Harbaugh already used all three of them. Kaepernick just called timeout No. 4.

After a moment, Kaepernick realizes what he has done. Then he actually shrugs his shoulders and raises his palms in futility, and then he wanders back under center as the play clock expires and the officials flag him for delay of game.

Otherwise, the 49ers were all set for that play.

The 49ers currently don’t have a clue on offense. On the play I just described, the coaches made two grievous mistakes. One was putting Carrier on the field. He had never played in an NFL game before. The 49ers activated him from the practice squad the day before the game. He should have been on the bench.

Mistake No. 2: Someone on the 49ers’ sideline – Jim Harbaugh, quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst, the ball boy, anyone – should have reminded Kaepernick before the drive how many timeouts he had. It’s easy to assign this task to someone and make sure this mistake never happens. Most teams do this.

But still, Kaepernick shouldn’t need a reminder. He should have known how many timeouts he had. Every quarterback always should know that. Alex Smith would have known. That’s junior-varsity stuff.

More junior-varsity stuff from Kaepernick against the Saints: He ran out of bounds on third down with 1:48 seconds left in the fourth quarter, stopping the clock, giving the Saints time to get the ball, drive the field and win with a field goal. Had he stayed in bounds, the 49ers could have run another 40 seconds off the clock and almost surely forced overtime.

Any educated player knows you want to make the clock run and stay in bounds even if you have to sacrifice a few yards by going down early.

Are the 49ers educating Kaepernick in Quarterbacking 101?

Kaepernick looks less prepared and less confident this season than he did at almost any time last season. Other than that horrible last series at the Ravens’ 5-yard line in the Super Bowl, Kaepernick has never looked worse.

All of his important stats are way down from last season – completion percentage, yards per attempt, passer rating.

You’ve seen him play this season. He isn’t accurate or aggressive. He looks frustrated most of the time. You can almost see smoke streaming out of his ears. The 49ers are overloading his circuits, putting “a lot on our plate” – his phrase – and he can’t digest it all. It’s enough to cause indigestion in the third-year quarterback who has started just 17 regular-season games. He’s forgetting the basics – when to stay in bounds, how to count to three.

Kaepernick isn’t experienced enough to handle all the decisions he has to make before the snap in Harbaugh’s offense – all the checks and shifts and motions. Harbaugh should give him a break, reduce the complicated stuff for the time being, make things easy for Kaepernick and let him just play the game.

Perhaps it was premature to name Jim Harbaugh “The Quarterback Whisperer” – the best quarterback mentor in the NFL.

Darrell Bevell is doing a much better job developing Russell Wilson in Seattle, and Mike Shula is doing a much better job developing Cam Newton in Carolina. Jim Harbaugh should be taking notes from those guys.

Kaepernick is in trouble and Harbaugh doesn’t seem to have any solutions. He’s too busy screaming at the officials.

We should officially call Harbaugh “The Official Screamer” until Kaepernick starts improving. And that’s official.

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

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  1. The question before us: is Kapernick just not as good as we thought or is the coaching that bad? Perhaps it’s a combination of both.

    A major concern for me is his body language and demeanor after a game, granted no one expects him to be up beat after a loss, but I just don’t see him carrying himself very well in front of the press. I understand it’s part of his generation, but his preoccupation and engagment with social media is indicative of immaturity. A quarterback, a leader, leads on and off the field.

    1. He was humble last year. Now the pressure is on. If he continues to regress, goodbye big contract.
      He’s s one hit wonder.
      Or maybe he can suck it up, look at cam newton now.

    2. I think its just a down year for this guy. He has all the tools, but lost a lot this season: Crabtree, MM, his confidence, his swag, etc.

      I think we are in the midst of a sophomore slump. Even with Crabtree back I think its over-optimistic to think Kap will show drastic improvement.

      I think its time to hit the drawing board in the off-season. It will be the responsibility of the Coaching staff as how to further develop Kap and the best way to utilize this great talent.

      As for this season. I think we will fall short of playoff. It way too close of a race for those last 2 spots. CAR has all but claimed the 5th spot. We will likely lose to hawks, and at this point Rams and Cards are definitely not sure wins as they once were.

      1. I agree with a lot of things you mentioned but claiming we will fall short of the playoffs is dramatic and I would ask you to check your “fanhood” my friend. Niners have played the Saints and our so called “lock to claim the 5th spot” panthers very tough, and they did this whilebeing in the midst of a struggling offense and key injuries to significant contributors to this team. The coaching has been up and down on the offensive sid eof the ball since Harbaugh took over but they usually aren’t the team that makes mental mistakes. That has been a major concern. If, and that’s a big if, they can clean up the offensive sid eof the ball and come out of this slump, then I believe they are as dangerous as any team because they have been battling through a lot this year. That builds character in men and in this team. Have some faith man!

      2. Being realistic does not mean I am not a fan. What makes me a fan is that regardless the outcome I will continue to support this team. Do I hope the Niners make the playoffs, of course. Do I believe without any question in my mind that they will??? Well that a whole other story.

        Having an opinion is okay you know. You do not necessarily have to believe without doubt that our team is the best team in the league. Yea they got talent, but with an anemic passing game it will be tough.

      3. Amen to that, Leo, defend your opinion and of course you are entitled to it! Way too much of this extreme one side VS the other on the internet. Nobody should question someones fanhood over an opinion, right or wrong.

        That said, I disagree. I think we’re still good enough to get to, then get knocked out of the playoffs. The Niners have six weeks to get things in order and get hot. It doesn’t look like our year, but plenty of teams have had up-and-down seasons, got hot at the end, and went on to win the Super Bowl.

    3. The 40Whiners have scored a GRAND TOTAL of 19 points over 3 losses to the Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers; and their winning record has dropped to 6-4

      There appears to be a problem, and I know what it is, to much bicep smoochin by Kap when he lifts his arm to throw the ball and not enough eyeball concentration down field to find the open receiver.

      1. The 49ers fan were saying that Kap is a very humble person, the way I look at it, it’s the opposite. Kap has too much loved for himself and he thinks he was immortal from last year short success. He thought everything would be the same this season from last year, he didn’t realize that good things that happens there’s always an end to it.

        Just tired hearing all this excuses that his regressing and his entire struggle is a part of his growth and he was missing his receivers like Crabtree and Manningham. I highly doubt when Crabtree comes back this weeks or the week after that the 49ers offense would be different and be more productive.

        The law of average just caught up with C. Kaepernick. Kap had a lot of success against lowly teams with fewer talents, because of the 49ers superior defense and Gore and their running game…

        Against a quality teams with a good defense its a question mark. He struggles big time and it seems he looks like a bewildered rookie out on the playing field.

  2. “Any educated player knows you want to make the clock run and stay in bounds even if you have to sacrifice a few yards by going down early”

    Jordan and I mentioned this after the loss to the Saints. Poor clock management is something that happens more often than it should and i’m not just taking about the Niners. Situational football that separates the great from the rest.

  3. Jim used to call Alex an expert in the system, and I’d have to agree – he knew what needed to be done and loved working within the bounds of a clearly defined system.

    Kaep on the other hand is still learning the system, and while he’d probably ace a written exam, he’s failing the practical at the moment. The problem is the offense is so reliant on the pre-snap movement, read and audibles to trick the D they probably can’t afford to dumb it down for him. Kaep just has to get a handle on it, simple as that. There is little chance of the coaches throwing out the playbook and drawing up a new one at this point in the season.

    1. I disagree. It’s hard to be optimistic about the team when the offense has been so dysfunctional, and given Harbaugh’s great results in his first two seasons, I think it’s fair to ask what exactly has been going on.

    2. If you want to read articles that make you feel good, ESPN’s Bill Williamson has lost my attention for that reason, you should check it out.

      Grant is doing an awesome job, with insight no other beat writer is coming up with. He’s tough but he’s also at the surgical level on details.

    3. Sorry CG, but it’s your comment that’s garbage. Maybe the reality is too much to handle, but the numbers, and pretty much ALL of the analysts agree that the offense on this team is sucking right now. I’m glad you can find optimism in all of this, but it’s fair to tell the truth – the Niners’ offense straight-up sucks right now, and they need to make changes to address the problem.

  4. Nice theory piece. You are mostly incorrect though. You are correct about Kaepernick being frustrated and not handling it well. He hasn’t found that calm center of the storm to operate in yet. It will slow down for him.

    The coaching staff is doing a poor job this year in several areas.
    Error 1
    They knew early on what they had in regards to receivers and they talked themselves into working with what they had.
    Error 2
    In game adjustments. Now that teams have had two seasons to see our system, they are better prepared. And when they throw something different at us, our coaches have that, ” I haven’t been in this position” look in there eyes and we get to see it almost every game now especially if the running game isn’t working. Remember last year when the Rams played us and it was as if they knew what what coming before we snapped the ball? We have become more predictable to more teams now period.

    Error 3
    Situational play calling and time management.
    Last year Harbaugh mismanaged the clock during one of the Rams games. We were in the red zone down by one point with roughly three minutes to go. He called a pass which Kaepernick threw to Walker for a TD, but Walker dropped it. It stopped the clock. They called one more pass it was also incomplete. We settled for a field goal but our lead was short lived, we left too much time on clock and the Rams came back and won. THIS GAME HARBAUGH DID IT AGAIN. On our last drive starting at the 20 Harbaugh had to know that he had to run clock by running two of three plays. And not to have Kaep drop straight back. Harbaugh did neither. He passed out of a straight drop back. While Kaep did screw up by not staying in bounds, the coaches are doing a terrible job of putting young players in positions to succeed.
    Had the 49ers run twice, the Saints would have burned the one timeout, the second run would have run clock and the pass could have netted a first down, or we put and Brees has roughly a minute to do his thing. Trust me, the moment was too big for these coaches and yes the QB. We all know the obvious, we are missing NFL calibur weapons, I’m not focusing on that right now.
    Error 4
    I mentioned in a post yesterday that Kaepernick changed plays at the line and on 4 occasions the receivers, tight end or RB were not looking at him. Sign of an unprepared team. Put an extra receiver out there holy hell, a rookie in that stadium at that moment? It’s like throwing Kyle Williams back out there again in the NFC Championship after he already fumbled once.
    Grant maybe you are trying to generate blog hits, but you are pointing the finger in the wrong direction. If I were Kaepernick I would truly be asking myself if this was the offense that was suited for me. I would sit with the coaches at the end of the season and ask, “What is your plan”. Kaep is in the drivers seat right now and could get some things changed. He is the face of the Niners right now and they will not rock the boat the year that they are opening the new stadium…….

    Crabtree. Young man can you hear me? We need you.

    1. Or maybe Kapernick isn’t what we thought he was, and he’s not ready and now he’s been thrown into the fire. Can’t go back in time. How do you not know that you’re out of time-outs, and then take a penalty?

      He looks lost out there, like he’s on an island. You gotta feel for him.
      But this is football. Man up. get better or let the next guy give it a go.

      1. Fan,
        I identified you as a douchy troll last year. I don’t interact with you anymore, do me a favor and do the same. Move on……

    2. Bay,

      These are all a bunch of excuses for Kaepernick. He played terrible on Sunday.

      There were a number of samples to choose from, but let’s take that last possession from Sunday since you brought it up. On the 2nd down play the Saints dropped everyone back, and Kaepernick had a clean pocket and Gore over the middle as his check off man and no Saints defender within 10 yards of him. Instead of stepping up and throwing it to Gore to give them a more managable 3rd down play and keep the clock moving he takes off to his right for no reason and we all saw the result.

      Anyone that has the all 22 film can check it for yourselves.

      Here’s a gif I posted earlier today from ninersnation that again shows Kaepernicks inability to find an open receiver.


      1. Hammer,
        Nice film work.
        But I as watch the replay it seems that CK is doing something that this blog-site has been harping on for a while here: Going through his progressions.

        Also, although he never looked on the flank at LMJ, it would have been a difficult pass to make since LMJ came open at about the time the DE was in the direct path of a possible pass.
        With CK running forward and the pocket collapsing and a DE standing between CK and LMJ, it would have had to be a touch pass with an arc just high enough over the DE’ reach to get to James.
        Even if CK makes that pass because of the soft touch trajectory, James only gains a few yards before the defense is on him.

      2. AES,

        By his second hitch that ball should be out to James. This gif doesn’t show how simple this read should have been because you can’t see what is happening down field like on the coaches film.

      3. Yep I saw this as the play was happening and I was screaming at my tv and then me and another fan on this blog talked about it. If we’re seeing open receivers on the telecast then theres gotta be open receivers on the all-22.

      4. Bottom line is this…Kaepernick isn’t quite ready for prime time. He gave all of us the impression last season that he’s the real deal…unfortunately, that was last season, with an entire offseason between then and now for the rest of the NFL to get a grasp of his game….he was a ‘novelty’…can he become a good NFL Qb that will win a Super Bowl or three? Yeah…but spening time on twitter and other social media networks isn’t gonna get it done…..become a student of the PRO GAME…
        Let’s not forget that football takes 11 men on the field doing their jobs to achieve success, and that really hasn’t been the case this season….Does the coaching staff have some culpability in all of this? You bet they do…their job is to put the best players, in the best possible position to be successful, and they’ve failed at that….we call all spit out stats from last season, from different QB’s and teams, and make comparisons, but it makes no difference in the here and now…truth is, CK needs seasoning, and maybe, just maybe, he got thrown into the mix too soon, and was annointed the new savior of the franchise….. I really don’t think he’s mentally (in the NFL sense) mature enough at this point.
        As far as a new contract for him is concerned, I really wouldn’t break the bank for him…make him a fair, comforatble offer, loaded with incentives. If he takes it, great…if he doesn’t, so be it…but, I doubt there are going to be any other suitors in the NFL willing to dump a boat load of cash in his lap after his performance this season…..he has potential, but so do 1st round draft choices in the 2014 draft, and they’ll be less expensive.

    3. Bay area, I was mentioning the same thing yesterday. This offense is what we’re seeing now. A new real sustainable offense that is QB friendly, kubiac, holmgren west coast offense type is what he needs.

    4. I recall Boobie Dixon running out of bounds last year and stopping the clock in a similar situation. He came to the sideline and received an earful of screaming from Tom Rathman. Colin does this and no one got in his face. Why the double standard? Perhaps Colin will react to this kind of in your face feedback and snap out of his funk and get back to taking charge, kicking ass and taking no prisoners like last year.

      If BayArea is right, and his excuses are spot on, then perhaps Colin won’t negotiate with the Niners and move his talent to somewhere closer to Wisconsin and make mega dollars in the process.

    5. Last year these same coaches adjusted and we were an awesome second-half team. Why is it that this year they can’t do it? So frustrating. I think that your comment is spot-on, but I also agree with Kohn’s assigning some of the blame to Kaepernick. I love Kap, and Harbaugh, and I really hope that they can get this together by the end of the year – teams can get hot late in the season, we just need to get a ticket to the dance!

  5. “Kaepernick looks less prepared and less confident this season”

    That’s because he doesn’t have Crabtree to save him.

    1. Funny isn’t that what happened to Mr. $20 million a year Matty Ice? Julio Jones goes away and they can’t win. Wake up Jack, even the top tier QB’s grow to rely on their number one. Only the top 5% can make due with a lesser replacement.

    2. Jack,

      He didn’t save Kap last year but he certainly helped himself and the team. You have to admit that the connection the two of them have is special. They are on the same page. I’m looking forward to having Crabtree back, if he makes it back.

    3. I agree. Quarterbacks need saviors…

      Look at Super Bowl Raven’s QB without Bolden, or the player who was supposed to replace him, then was injured at start of season.
      Heck at times, look at E. Manning with Cruz out and a gimpy Nicks, plus they had zero running game.

      The ‘team’ on offense is playing (understatement coming), sub-optimal.

  6. The offense as a whole has struggled, because everybody’s playing the run. Mr. Crabs is the missing component. When he comes back, things will begin to change real quick….

    1. Razer,
      I agree. What I was getting at with my post is that the Coaches are to blame as well. Operating with a vanilla passing strategy is ok when you have a killer running game and a reliable number one receiver. This last game we had neither and were still one bad call away from winning.

      1. All the sudden within 8 months Roman, Harbaugh, Morton, Mangini, Rathman, Drevno, Scolari all became incompetent coaches. All of them!

        But wait, maybe Kaeprenick is just not that good? No way right Bay?

      2. They call what the QB is capable of running. It’s like what Greg Cosell used to say about Alex. The coaches are telling you what they think of him with the plays they call.

        When you’re stuck with a gimmick, 1 progression “QB,” who can’t read defenses, needs everything defined for him all the time, is afraid of being hit and refuses to dump it off, there’s not a whole lot of pass plays you can run. As a passer, he’s in the Tim Tebow/Vince Young class.

      3. Whatnot,
        That’s exactly what it’s looking like. Tebow had a bad throwing motion. Same with Vince Young. VY was a phenomenal athlete.
        But Colin is who he is, and it’s up to the coached to either coach him up, or find ways to win with what he does best. Right now he’s holding up the bus because he hasn’t evolved for whatever reason. It can all change against the Redskins. I would love to see him throw to his 3rd receiver, someone not named VD or Boldin for a change.

  7. Gee Grant, changing Harbaugh from the “QB Whisperer” to “Official Screamer” and making it official?
    Wow, what’s next, taking credit for Roman moving the pocket against the Saints for a TD pass to VD?

    After what Harbaugh did for Alex Smith’ career I have absolutely no qualms with the “QB Whisperer” title.

    But more to your point regarding CK’ regression. It’s apparent to me that Harbaugh and Roman have limited CK by design.
    The fact that we have not had Crabtree and Manningham (until just recently) would be a reasonable cause for regression. Also, if Harbaugh releases the reins and allows CK to ‘be himself’ and he gets injured, do we really expect Colt McCoy to deliver?

    Let’s face it, CK is not in the same convo with P.Manning and T.Brady. He is not able yet to put the team on his back and still run an effective offensive scheme regardless of who and which WR’ he has on the team.

    The bar that CK set for himself by virtue of his play last year is over-inflated. I venture to say that unless CK wins a Superbowl this year he will be considered a total failure.
    We are still a very good team even with CK having his obvious issues.
    Matty Ice loses key players and the Falcons have folded like a paper plane.
    CK loses some key players and we are still playoff contenders.

    Yes, CK has regressed for the reasons I mentioned, but I firmly believe that this team will still be playoff contenders for years to come.

    1. AES, thank you for being a voice of reason on this blog. So many Chicken Littles, bandwagon-fans (rats leaving the ship) and gun-jumping lunatics around here. So many just want to dump on somebody (anybody) for losing. Few actually take the time to step back and try to see the forest for the trees.

  8. I don’t think it’s premature or wrong to say Harbaugh is an excellent QB coach. What he did with Alex Smith was amazing. Kaepernick is a young QB with less than 20 career starts. The problem as I see it this year is that defenses had the off-season to study Kaepernick and take away what he likes to do best. Maybe this process began last year in the Super Bowl where the Ravens had two weeks to figure out some tendencies after 1/2 a season of film for the Ravens to study, and showed the league how to best defend Kaep. Ravens did a pretty good job the first 3 quarters of the Super Bowl. Add that to the O-line not being as efficient this year, a couple of last year’s weapons missing, plus the 49ers front office and coaches whiffing on developing WRs, and you have a young QB and his offense struggling against good defenses.

    Sophomore slumps happen to lots of QBs. Didn’t Joe Montana have a rough year following the first Super Bowl? Lots of things didn’t go right that year. Some were wondering if Walsh and Montana were one-hit wonders. Yes, I know Kaep is not Montana and Harbs is not Walsh. I’m just pointing out sometimes challenging years follow successful years. As a fan, I just have to hope the Niners have the right coaches and players to turn it around. Following the very successful first two years of the current leadership, I still have faith they will turn it around.

    1. By comparison, Montana’s second season showed a 64.5% completion %; 15 TDs for a 5.5%, higher than 8 other seasons; 9 INTs for a 3.3%, lower than in all but 2 seasons; and a QB Rating of 87.8, only 3 other seasons where he had a lower QBR.

      Statistics aside, the main concern appears to be that CK is not progressing sufficiently in field generalship and in managing the game, one of the attributes which Steve Young ranks up in the top 2 or 3 elements of successful QBing in the NFL.

      I worry mostly about maturity, too.

      1. I worry about the maturity issue as well. But back to S. Young, when he became a full-time starter, he was struggling to become a game manager. Weren’t there people wanting Steve Bono because he was more steady than Young? Only time will tell with Kaep.

        I was bringing up the ’82 season for the 49ers as it seemed the league had caught up with the 49ers and the west coast offense. But then the rest of the 80′s (and 90′s) happened, and ’82 became just an asterisk.

  9. Great QBs generally come from universities with some semblance of an academic reputation in a power conference, not the University of Nevada, Rejects (California’s mainly). Krapperdick obviously is in way over his head: on a good day he appears to have the intelligence of a lab rat & the rat’s turd most others. His 30 second windup makes it easy for defenses to read him yet he appears to not have moved beyond doctor suess level in reading defenses. In 2011 I wanted my 9ers to suck for Luck now we are stuck with this dumb$&$$!

      1. At the end of the 06′ season, we were stinking pretty bad, I wanted reggie bush so bad I cheered for our losses, quietly. ….. .we ended up drafting Vernon Davis instead.

  10. I agree wholeheartedly that Kaeps regression is largely due to whatever the coaches have asked him to do. Thsi offense is “thinking” way too much and thus they are not reacting and just playing football.

    I think part of this is the Pavlovian response of “we almost won the Super Bowl, we gotta get back” where the coaches think that more complexity is the answer, when instead they need to dial things back and just play. The delay of game penalties bear this out.

    We know Kap has the talent, I think the coaches piled way too much on and are too ego-centric to swallow their pride and admit they screwed up. Happens with people in charge everywhere and is acute in NFL coaching circles.

    1. Bill Walsh used to say that when the offense struggles and nothing seems to go right, it’s time to simplify and shorten things up. Like you said the delay of games are evidence that things are to complex.

  11. The entire offensive system from coaches to players are not performing up to expectations. Same story different QB. I think it will work eventually and hopefully in time to salvage this season. CK is raw and needs lots of more time in the film room with coaches doing nothing but dissecting defenses. However the time for that is in the offseason. I too, am not entirely happy with how the season is going but there is still lots of football to go. Last time the Niners lost two in a row they then reeled off five straight wins. See what happens. Like with Alex before him, CK is taking the brunt of the storm.

  12. It rots from the top,all of you stat nerds,compare Joe Montana and John Elway stats after 17 games to Kaep, Kaep stats are much better. I believe Kaep got issues but Harbaugh and Roman have shown regression too.

  13. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who saw this …. “why was Carrier on the field?”

    I’m convinced the offensive coaching staff is completely in disarray and the 49ers unlike the defense, don’t have a clue about coaching offense. I think they’re calling plays in the running game that are simple to understand and the “tinkering” that happened last season was essentially due to coaches not being as prepared to stop the Stanford Power Running Game. Once Moss was lost as a decoy, no defense even respects the 49ers wideouts deep.

    No adjustments and certainly not a QB-friendly offense that asks your QB to stand there and hold the ball waiting for someone, anyone to come open off of play-action.

    Roman and Geep need to be upgraded.

    1. Have people forgotten the days of Jimmy Raye? We’ve come so far in such a short time! We divorced ourselves from Jimmy Raye and got Greg Roman. Now we think we can land someone better because as we all know, those super star Offensive Coordinators grow on trees. Good grief.

      Niners have needs. WR, duh. An OL that needs to improve its pass protection. A QB that needs to be more patient in the pocket. A developing TE that needs to step up when All World Vernon gets hurt. And continued health for Frank Gore. With all those needs, I for one, am happy that we are 6-4. None of these aforementioned items are Greg Roman driven.

      I remember Jimmy Raye and all the other boobs before him. I would rather stick with Roman during these “needs” than with a new guy who will need time to get his system installed.

  14. Kaep calling that timeout when he had none summed up this season thus far to me. Kaep is ill prepared mentally and the coaching staff isn’t managing the game well enough.

    1. Amen to that. Straight-up bush-league right there! Alex was a great QB coach last year, I think Kap misses him on the sideline. Not a knock against Kap, but he was obviously better with Alex there.

      1. I have thought this all season when Kap started to struggle…. Last year I thought Kap was a great talent but something about his emotional play worried me. Last year you could always see Alex on the side line right at Kaps side. Even Kap admitted he was helping him in the QB room. Now that’s gone… And it just seems he not yet mature enough to handle it. Wilson is so calm and cool at all times… Never a moment of panic in his eyes…. Him and Luck are also VERY professional off the field. It always seems to be the ones who are graceful under pressure off the field are also the same way on the field. Till I see that maturity level from Kap I will continue to hold by breath every single game.

  15. Now that’s funny Grant, but last year I called Kap HS QB because of some of his mistakes. I got a lot of flack for that because we were winning.
    Yahoo Sports just called; ” 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been the NFL’s worst passer since Week 2″
    Now you are on the band wagon?

      1. I agree Dee. It seems that is the missing element from last year. Say what you will about Alex’s talent… He’s a great game manager and I think his input to Kaps success was way underestimated.

  16. Grant,

    Kap should have stayed in bounds…but if he did, the Saints use their last TO right there and 40 seconds does not run off the clock. If you are going to rip Kap for his timeout usage, you should know how many TO’s the Saints had at that time.

    1. Thanks for posting that. Most of the time I don’t care to correct Grants obvious blunders but when he’s bashing somebody about number of TOs and he makes the same error he just looks stupid too.

      1. you still want the saints to burn the time out then rather than have it when they begin their drive, so either way it is a major screwup by kaepernick..particularly maddening since he did the same thing last year late in rams game in st louis, going out of bounds rather than staying in bounds

    2. the point is to make the Saints use their last time out so that they don’t have one in their back pocket when they get back the ball. you want to save yours for when you need them, but make the opponent burn theirs.

      1. Some of these mistakes are inexcusable. This is his 3rd year in the league.
        The way it’s playing out now, Colin and Harbaugh were all hype, all smoke and mirrors, and champions find a way to die trying. That’s why you have to respect Russell Wilson. He bails out the Seahawks so many times. There was a post on ESPN from a neutral fan, he said you replace Colin Kapernick with Johnny Nobody, and the Niners go 10-6. You replace Russell Wilson with Tavaris Jackson and the Seahawks are 6-10.
        Colin has not elevated his game, has not elevated the offense. In fact they went so far back to basics that it’s barely functioning. A lot of people think Crabtree will save the day. But it really comes down to Colin evolving quickly, seeing the whole field. Getting everyone involved.

      2. this game vs saints was reminiscent of the rams game in st louis last year–not only did kaepernick repeat his mistake of not running out of bounds, he almost repeated his mistake of giving the saints a fasty by grounding out of the end zone…unlike last year he couldnt lead the team downfield in the end

  17. Jack Hammer says:
    November 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm
    “By his second hitch that ball should be out to James. This gif doesn’t show how simple this read should have been because you can’t see what is happening down field like on the coaches film.”

    At which point in the game was this gif taken?
    If it was early in the game perhaps CK has a little more leeway to make this pass.
    If it’s late in the game when a big play was needed, than I can understand CK following Roman’ play-call to look down field which is what CK seems to be doing.

    You are correct in saying I can’t see what is happening down field like on the coaches film. But what I can see is CK looking down field for an open WR that evidently never got open hence his running forward I the pocket.

    So why didn’t CK just throw to LMJ on his second hitch?
    Again, it seems obvious to me that he was following Roman’ play-call (perhaps to a fault in this case).

    1. AES,

      It was the 2nd quarter, first play after the interception that was fumbled through the end zone.

      It’s a simple flood concept off play action with Davis on the outside running a streak, Miller to the corner underneath that, and James in the flat.

      This was a simple read, but as was the case through the majority of the game Kaepernick could not execute it.

  18. Grant,

    I have disagreed with you many times in the past, but this time you are very correct. Seems to me Harbaugh and his coaching staff believed all the hype about how talented and good they are, but everyone has caught up with their lame offense and Harbaugh has not adjusted. Also, what is so disturbing to watch is how the 49ers offensive line is getting manhandled on almost every series.

    This is a passing league, and it looks to me that Harbaugh and his philosophy of run first even when the box is stacked does not compute.

    Not having Crabtree is a poor excuse, because all eleven players on offense need to execute, and that includes the quaterback who is supposed to know the offense.

    I love the 49ers, but keep looking fans and you’ll see on Sundays the 49ers have the dumbest coaching staff, which includes being too conservative, and a quarterback who cannot think on his feet.

    The ownership is part to blame for our offensive fiasco, as they keep hiring coaches who talk loud but can’t deliver because they do not have the guts to stretch the limits of their players.

      1. Where is CK taking the top off defenses? When is he threatening all areas of the field? Where is the leadership?
        No where! I see timidness, lack of confidence and confusion.
        Even a break out game over the next 6 games won’t mean much. We need consistency, confidence and play making ability from him to do anything. I have not seen any of that this year on a game to game basis!

      2. Prime,
        That’s the worst part of CK’s game, the lack of confidence. He’s frustrated. Defenses smell blood, and they’re going to keep doing the same thing over and over until he figures it out.
        Crabs is coming back but it won’t matter, he’s not physical enough to handle the tough man to man either, and doesn’t have to the speed that if they miss the press coverage, that he can burn them deep.
        The Niners Offense was geared towards the two TE set like NE a few year back with Gronk and Hernandez anyway, only they are versatile enough to create the mismatches.

      3. Fan77,

        Crabtree isn’t tough enough to handle press coverage. Why doesn’t anyone else call you out on the lies you create? When has Crabtree EVER had problems with press coverage. Look what he does to Patrick Peterson. He plays press on Crabtree every game. He doesn’t have to get deep, just needs to get open.

        I’m sure you’ll tell me that Crabtree doesn’t get open next. You are killing me the crap you post. Your hate for Kap won’t even allow you to just post the truth. Hilarious!!

      4. Have you seen Crabtree against Richard Sherman? Or what about against the NYC Giants? Oh yeah, it was Alex Smith’s fault, even though everyone who watched the All-22 said no one was open during those games.
        The book is out on Colin, so they will defense Crabs like they do Boldin. In his face, press coverage, double VD. He will make some catches but it’s going to be hard sledding until Colin learns how to throw to other receivers. You even wrote about it in your own post when you watched the All-22!
        You and Bay are the biggest hypocrites on this site, calling everyone douchebags and trolls, and then you say the exact same thing.
        How can any true Niner fan find Colin’s play acceptable? And despite the ineptness, the team could have won. I’m not saying I’m right, it’s observations and food for thought and you prove me right by your own comments. Thanks man!

      5. Well bs Sherman last year he had 4 catches for 65 in Seattle. Which isn’t a bad game. And vs Patrick Peterson, one of the so called “best press corners” he had 250 yards and 4tds In their two matchups. And what you fail to realize is that most likely when crab comes back he won’t be the #1 WR so he will line up off the line off scrimmage, making it harder to press. And with crab back expect more bunch formations and wr motions, they love doing that with him. Crab will help the pass game at least some, you’d be an idiot to say the contrary.

      6. Fan77,

        Find one time when I called you or anyone else on this blog a douche and I will leave this blog. When is the
        last time you’ve seen that I’ve called you anything other than Fan77. It’s been a while. I can talk football without calling names. I’ll continue to call you on your slanted falsehoods on Kaepernick. You hate the guy because Smith is gone. Smith is not coming back and JH wouldn’t want him back. Get over it.

  19. If LMJ was is first or second read, Kap made a bad play because LMJ would have gained at least 10 yards on the play…Kap didn’t play well. But in both losses to two good football teams, there was also two drops made that would have at given the Niners a better chance to win both. If those catches are made, the Niners could very well be 8-2 and no one cares about Kap’s stats.

    Also, Grant..it’s obvious neither you or your father like Harbaugh. But, your criticism of him comes from your personal dislike for him. You can’t honestly say that Darrell Bevel is a better coach than Harbaugh. And Mike Shula for that matter, That’s just silly.

  20. A well-written article Grant. For me, the first sign of trouble was when he scored a TD on the run that put us within a couple of points of knotting it all up during the team’s comeback in the Super Bowl. What bothered me is that he kissed his bicep while we were still down. That to me lacked any form of maturity. What has followed since then has just been the formation a melting sundae with a rotten banana shoved under it. I’m not giving up on Kaep yet, but I think Harbaugh and Baalke need to invest in a QB who has the capability of becoming a starter with one of their second or third picks. I think doing this would cause Kaep stop worrying about bulking up even more and concentrate on Football 101.

  21. Gotta call it like I see it. Kaepernick is showing that he is not as prepared for the NFL as we thought he was. It’s obvious that even the coaches don’t have confidence in his game. The play calling we had during that 5 game win streak tells the story. We took the football out of his hand and went back to our running game. Clearly, he has regressed but there has to bearers on for that.

    The unfortunate part is that we won’t know why he lost what he had last year becuse we made no attempt to replace all the pieces he had last year. A true deep threat at WR to go along with VD is killing us. Also, we underestimate the value of Delaney Walker. For as many passes that he dropped last year, he was big in the run game and he did make some big catches last year. Look at his contributions this year for the Titans. We couldn’t afford to keep him but we needed to replace him with a decent player. Moss is clearly missed. He didn’t like the way he was being used because he was a decoy last year. We sure could use that decoy this year. Look at all the busts we had at wide receiver this year. Three of them aren’t even on the roster anymore. I still have to find out if Kaps game changes when Crabtree comes back. At least we know that Kap will have at least 3 receivers he trusts on the field at one time. He will definitely throw it to one of them. He doesn’t trust anyone else.

    Our lack of speed at wideout has me wishing they would activate chuck Jacobs off of the practice squad. We should’ve done that when we were playing the softies during the 5game win streak. At least we know Jacobs can get deep. He managed to do so in the preseason. He actually even held on to the football. Time to get rid of Baldwin. Just like we did the rest of the bums we had at wideout. Give Jacobs a shot. At least he will find and compete for the football.

    Get us a new WR scout. The guy we’re using is destroying the franchise. Give Jerry Rice the job!

    1. Thanks Mid,

      I just looked at the all-22. Once against ugly. Our young QB is a bit out of sorts. He needs to slow down a bit. He thinks the game is faster than it is. This week was just the opposite of last week. That Carolina pass rush was real. The Saint pass rush was not a factor.

      In this game, Kap rushed too many throws. If he had given himself anothe second to make a decision, there were so many other options available on several plays. He committed to those short 2-3 yard passes way too quickly. He missed VD on a few occasions crossing the middle of the field. He got rid of the ball like he expected pressure on every play. The pass rush was not the issue. The play design was for a lot of short passes but he had more than one option. He often chose the 1st option. That option may or may not have been open. When it wasn’t open, he often tried to force it anyway. He didn’t give the 2nd option a look very much. He did a few times but was clearly more concerned about the pass rich as opposed to his receivers. His pocket presence wasn’t nearly as good as it was last year. He didn’t have a lot of running lanes because the Saints often played press coverage and our our receivers were running 5-7 yard routes. He needs extra work with Manningham for sure. Baldwin needs to be cut yesterday. He’s done.

  22. Just a hunch but not a question I have not seen asked that often here.. Is there any chance that Kap is too prepared and has lost the edge/excitement of having to operate more on instinct? Not so much the volume of the playbook…but the concept…And if so…how to get that back. I spent a lot of my teens and twenties running in the woods whenever I got a chance. Feels a lot different than running on the track. There is a certain sense of the unknown in that. Jerry Rice anyone? And then there is golf…than fine line between focusing on doing everything right and just letting your mind and body go. I wonder if that battle has a little bit to do with the 2nd year challenges that many starting quarterbacks go through. Crammed with information so much so that there is a brief hesitation to let instinct take over. So a defender that is a tenth of a second slower than Kap or the receiver has a chance to make up the difference either as a defensive back or line backer?

  23. To me , I think that mistakes have been made….the worst being replacing Alex with Kap two or three years ahead of his time. That’s not Kaps fault, JH put him in that fire. Now the only questions remaining are when are we going to bench him, and let Colt see if his time has come, and will Geep be allowed to teach Kap how to throw a catchable pass. We’ve got a bloody nose, but did we learn what caused it? We’re still dangerous….

    1. Oregon,

      The answer is not on our bench. Colt would get demolished. When Crabtree comes back, Kaps game will change. You need weapons to succeed. Crab is a trusted agent for Kap. Nobody on this blog can say that Crabtree won’t help this offense. Everyone knows he will. We lost 2 games by 4 points to 2 of the top 4 defenses in football. In both games, there was 1 pay that could’ve made the difference. We all know that Crabtree can make several plays in a game. I believe he will. I think even you have to admit that Kaps play will improve when Crabtree comes back.

      1. Jordan

        “Colt would get demolished” Try to remember that Colt has more experience as a starter than Kap…what we need right now is experience in getting through his reads and not freaking out in the rush. Yeah, Kap is a hell of an athlete, what is needed is a hell of a QB. They are NOT mutually exclusive.

  24. Well once again my fellow 49er fans, I’m right about where the 49ers ship is heading to. It’s only because Kap is not going to be the gun slinger type QB that the 49ers need. I know on the bench we don’t have a ‘Nick Foles’ or the ‘Raider no. 2 McGlonkin(?), but it’s obvious Kap is not the QB of the future. It’s more then just a need of Crab/Mario/Boldin/V Davis. Look at how many people Brees threw to. Look at how many people other Qbs throw to. For whatever reason, Kap has failed to utlize the entire team. I’m not going to say outright replace him, but we need better options if Kap is not going to be the QB.

  25. grant–good pickup on the failure of kaepernick not staying in bounds to keep the clock running on the last drive—-and you may recall he did the same thing last late in the rams game in st louis

  26. Grant, good article, but I think it’s growing pains for C.K. When crabtree comes back, I think we will see more of a passing game. That said, I don’t think the 49ers are running that great of an offense around Colin. The Niners offense has no rhythm and it’s hard for them to get their rhythm if the running goes away. I wish I could go back to the Bears game last year and rewatch that, I remember that to be amazing. I was at the Packers game this year and Colin was on freaking fire!!!! Colin was so confident and he was throwing beautiful passes. Too bad Quinten Patton went down early this year, he would be developing a nice relationship with Colin. If they were lacking in WR’s why did they let Ted Ginn go? HARBAUGH AND ROMAN BUST OUT THE OLDBILL WALSH WEST COAST OFFENSE VIDEOS AND WATCH THEM!!!!!! I only hope that the 49ers keep improving. If the offense can get better the team can go a long way. It will be interesting if Marcus Lattimore gets to play. Dixon may be let go.

  27. Since you brought it up Grant, did you know that Alex and Kaep both have 5 delay penalties this season? Obviously not *superior clock manager myth destroyed*. Your welcome. How do the 7 dropped passes and 9 sacks over the past two weeks factor into his regression?

    1. JJJ,

      You’re right, he’s gotta sell out and try nd get the 1st down or he’s gotta slide. Under NO circumstances can he elect to go out of bounds. That is a mistake an NFL starting QB has to know he can’t make. I have no excuse for him. He blew that and he needs to be criticized for it.

    2. Maybe CK was confused on the distance and thought his scramble was a first down and he was saving time for the offense?

      OK, I got nothing. lol

  28. Kaepernick being made to look bad by his OC Greg Roman and his “deer-in-the -headlights” looking coach Harbaugh is by design. The NFL is a business and don’t think for a minute the owners aren’t in it to make MONEY. If they let Kaepernick play his own brand of ball, they would have to pay him a fortune after this season. It’s not hard to imagine them holding him back so that they can pay him $5 or $6 million instead of $12-$15M. That way they only risk this season and insure that they have the extra money to pay a few more players. The owners think this is in the best interest of the team. I think it sucks and is not fair to Kaepernick nor to the 49er fans. Your article is a convenient hit piece. How much did they pay you to write it???

    1. I could almost believe that Al except I see Colin’s body language. Getting hit in the NFL is much different than getting smacked in NCAA. Colin found that out last year. He hates the contact. Can you say kitty or a similar word?

    2. absurd… and loose playoffs chances for that? the more i see it, the more I guess is not the choice behind the Alex/Kaep change, but the failure of the phylosophy behind that. I am Harbaugh, the qb whisperer, . First year, with a nationwide and fans banged #11and the strike I reach a winnning record, a playoff berth and lost due to muffed punts… then 2012 , a bright start with some failure…… Ok now up to me. Me, the qb whisperer! I can’t be wrong! I put qall of myself in replacing my #11, I explain that he is not enough . All the team will follow me and believe! This is the way!!!…5yds away and Kaep changing plays …. NO SB. Oooopsie maybe some part of the team lost that inside deep faith in JH? ok, they are professionals, they keep play and fight, but that intangible component of a winning team, since this is still a team game, start missin, probably even in #7 because of that claim. We will be better with Colin. And it did not happen…..could it be a reliable guessing?

  29. What’s really wrong with Kaepernick???

    Kaepernick is nothing but a over rated over hyped selfish money hungry punk that is purely thinking about his pockets.

    As the saying goes, he got his mind on his money and his money on his mind. The reason why he isn’t running and playing to his own strength and winning games and carrying the team on his back like he should is exactly that! He doesn’t want to get hurt. He saw what HarBaalke did to Alex Smith when Alex Smith got concussed. They took his job, put him on the bench and traded him the following season to save money.

    If Kaepernick gets himself hurt, he would have no guaranteed money, no insurance for the big contract he is yet to sign. He’s not a 1st round pick that has already gotten his millions out of the gate. He tried in the off season to milk up as much as he could by doing all the commercials, magazines and selling his face. Now he’s thinking about his big contact and guaranteed money (if you were his agent or his parents, you would advise him the same). He’s not worried about winning or putting himself in harm’s way for a win each week or even a 1st down if it comes to it. Unlike for example Russell Wilson, whom every time the game is on the line, the kid (even with the best defense in the league) works his butt off for a 1st down with his legs. Do you see Mr. Kaepernick doing the same for the 49ers?

    Case in point, SF vs NO, game is tied 20 – 20, with 1:56 left in the 4th Qtr, 3rd and 19, Kaepernick would rather ran out of bounce (stopping the clock for the Saints, which lead to the punt and winning FG for the Saints) and gain only 16 yards and come 3 yards short so he won’t get hurt than risk it going for the 1st down taking some hits and win the game for the team!!!

    This is the kind of over rated over hyped selfish dolphin hat wearing “you can all hate me” punk loser you have as your starting QB.

    Funny though, it’s all karma, because you can blame part of this on HarBaalke as they and their double talk double face dealings (since they have taken over the team) have lost trust on the players. Though the players have not spoken out publicly, they all know what they’re dealing with now.

    1. Many posters here have tried to name one or another poster as the return of DS. Many here hated DS i had no malice towards him although i did regularly disagree with him. For the first time since last year i now think DS has returned, this last posting really sounds identical to DS’s past posts. Lets see if anyone agrees with me.

      1. 23 Jordan,
        I think you’re DS. I also think you’re deezybee. I also believe in unicorns and Santa Claus.
        I also think Kap stinks to high heavens right now and he’s the reason the team will be one and done unless he starts playing better.
        I also think you’re one of the most amusing people who post on here, because I find clowns very entertaining. Can you make balloon animals? How much do you charge?

      1. @ original commenter, not you, OC.
        “over rated over hyped money hungry punk…” blah blah blah. I disagree and don’t respect the point of view.

      2. @Jordo
        Yeah, to be ignored. Funny thing is if you click the empty name-space it takes you to the 49ers website. Maybe its the QB Coach LOL!!!! jk

  30. you are right Grant, the thing you’re leaving out is that last year Kaep had Alex on the sidelines keeping him in the game, giving him the “master of the game” view which was an absolute winner when combined with Kaep’s athletic gifts. I think we would have won the superbowl if Alex had played. Not because I love Alex, but because at that point we needed someone to hit someone other than Crabtree.

  31. Cut La Michael James and bring in Jewell Hampton. This guy can barely play and is a bad teammate and he is shaming the organization.
    So he wants to be back in Texarcana? Give him his wish!
    Undermining either Kaep or the playcalling or both, acceptable for a fan, not a teammate. Dumb little creep

    1. He’s not saying anything wrongs football players are humans as well. He just gave props to an ex teammate. Nothing wrong with that. That was a great effort by Ginn to score on that play. Ginn killed us too. Ginn signed elsewhere because he wasn’t going to get the reps as a wideout that he felt like he deserved. There was also a small issue of $$$ as well. About $500K.

  32. I heard that H&R put in 120 new plays for each game. That’s insane. With a TOTAL of 25 passing plays and 25 running plays, the 49ers would win a heck of a lot of games. The players are always going to be the ones who win games… the coaches can only lose them.

  33. Every NFL QB has a ridiculous amount of information on their plate each and every week. It’s no more of an excuse for Kaepernick then it is for any other QB.

  34. 23Jordan and Lee9er if you don’t make picks again this week I will assume you have quit. I hate to delete your teams though because that will put my arse in last place. Oy vey what a season this has been.

  35. Here’s a theory for you: Mangini was hired to help Roman. But what this has done is made Roman even more conservative and at the same time more complicated in his approach. He is coaching not to lose and believes part of the way to do that is to use trickery to advance the ball. Grant, your article is well written and undeniable, but in the year or so in which Kaep has run the offense, it has never looked more Neanderthal. Aside from the shifting and whatnot, you would think that the offensive coordinator is Mike Singletary.

  36. Saw a good picture of the saints D on twitter today. At time they stacked 10 in the box, and Kap ran the ball to gore. The defense was saying “you’re not going to run, you have to pass” and the niners just couldn’t. I remember a big issue for some with Alex at qb was the fact that defenses were stacking the now and daring us to beat them with te pass. Well we are in that same boat now, and it’s working for the defense. Time to focus in Kap.

    1. Time to find a receiver that can catch the ball, has the speed where he can run away from guys and get to the end zone. Calling Mr. Crabs…..

  37. CK and the offense are complicated. A lot of moving parts. Diagnosing what is wrong is tricky. Many little bits and pieces have been mentioned here, some good points made.
    Something that became apparent this season arethe formidable analytic powers of coaches around the League. The Pistol new wrinkle was dissected and adjusted for. No team is running it with the success of last year. But let’s think about the entirety of the H/R offense. It was causing the most ruckuss in ’11 when it was new and defenses hadn’t jelled after the shortened summer due to Lockout. Gradually defenses have found ways to adjust and make it more difficult for that system. With CK not in full mastery as Jack points out, it’s harder. Injuries make it harder still.
    Roman/Harbaugh aren’t changing their system; not in the off season,
    let alone mid season.
    CK appears to me to feel constrained within that system. Coupled with lack of success, that saps confidence which negatively effects performance and leadership. Add in a lack of buy-in to the sense of constraint and CK may feel like its out of his hands. That’s how I read the body language and expressions on that No Time Out play.
    Sophomore Slump? Yeah, hard to argue that, but the NFL has caught up a bit with the offense and with CK. Simplify? It’s tempting to think so, but it’s not just that.

    1. He looks lost out there, and that’s not helping. Defense smell blood. 11 games in and now they have a ton of film on what he can and can’t do. That’s why they’re stacking 10 in a box. The don’t fear an WR and they don’t think Colin can make the throw. The book is you shut down Gore, and the Offense isn’t going anywhere. And yet the D has played well enough to win both games. The knock on them, according to Grant, was that they didn’t make the play when they had to. It’s a Monday Night game coming up. Last year he had his coming out party against Chicago, so maybe we see the same thing. The Redskins are horrible, a team with a losing record! Let’s hope they open it up and let him develop a rapport throwing to the 2nd or 3rd read.

      1. Fan77,

        So you’re supposed to throw to your 2nd nd 3rd read just because. You throw to the 2nd or 3rd read if the 1st one is not open. You don’t just choose other options because you want to get in practice. Just know that your offensive line allows you to scan the field by adequately protecting you. If he has time, I’m sure he’ll look for other receivers. Ones that might catch the ball. The only reliable receivers we have are Boldin and Davis. We thought Manningham would help but he’s dropped passes since he’s been back.

      2. 23 Jordan,
        Can you see beyond your ignorance for once? The problem with Colin is he locks in on his one read. And he’ doesn’t adjust. When the one read is taken away he doesn’t consistently go through his progressions. Let me simplify it for you: Colin. Him suck.

      3. 23 welcher the reason you use your 2nd and 3rd receiver options is to keep the defense guessing. You eliminate the predictability of your offense when you spread the ball around to different guys.
        So yes, you do throw the ball to the 2nd and 3rd reads just because. Because then you don’t become what the 49ers offense currently is: a one trick pony.

  38. Grant the problem is’nt Harbaugh its CK. Its also lack of viable receiving threats which limits the passing game tremendously. Coaches are’nt on the field Players have to be responsible for their own actions. The two examples you use, calling a nonexistent TO and not getting out of bounds are the kind of situational football that has been drilled into CK since peewee through HS and college. I do’nt know whats going on with CK right now but he has no concentration, no rythm he is playing very tight and if there were a simple solution it would already be taken care of.

    Its alot like a hitter who is in a slump if its happening because he is inside his own head there is’nt much a coach can do. I know you never played football but from what i understand you were a pretty high level soccer player so blaming Harbaugh for CK’s mistakes would be like you on the soccer field making the most simple rudimentary mistake something that you had mastered as a JV high school player and then you blaming your coach for not making every single decision for you on the field.

    1. Old Coach,

      I agree. I have seen Kaep play smart football to keep the clock going. I have seen him possess incredible on-field awareness. I have seen him play his hardest when hope seems lost. Unfortunately, I have seen hardly any of those things this year since the first half of the Seahawks game.

      I agree with others above who state that he looks lost out there right now. Even when he is looking downfield, he is either not seeing the receivers or not trusting what he sees (or both). When he runs, he runs cautiously. He appears to be overthinking and second guessing everything. His decisions are made a tick slow and with trepidation. His seems to be focused on not losing, not making mistakes, not getting hurt. That is a bad attitude for a quarterback – that attitude snatches defeat from the jaws of victory, breeds mistakes, and leads to injury. And if a quarterback cannot overcome it, it ends careers.

      1. JPN its what i describe as being in your own head. QB slumps in football, hitting slumps in baseball and shooting slumps in basketball if there is no mechanical problem they are very hard for coaches to disect.

  39. I keep reading all of you, lovers haters of one qb or the others exchanging opinions, followed by some neutral comment, all based on ONE MAN. the qb.
    Regardless of who is in charge, something in the whole system is not working, we all agree about that, from coaches plans to field mistakes.
    So, the more i see it, the more I guess is not the choice behind the Alex/Kaep change, but the failure of the phylosophy behind that.

    I am Harbaugh, the qb whisperer, . First year, with a nationwide and fans banged #11 (and the strike) I am able to reach a winnning record, a playoff berth and lost the SB due to muffed punts… then 2012 , a bright start with some failure…… Ok now up to me again, Me, the qb whisperer! I can’t be wrong! I put all of myself in replacing my #11, helped with the concussion thing… And to all my players coaches, I explain that this is because #11 is not enough . All the team will follow me and believe! This is the way!!! Some upand downs, the new system….But 3 plays with Kaep changing one and 5 yds away …. NO SB.

    Then the obvious reaction to my new system from other D coaches, so I change it again, somehow I want to make my athletic #7 playing as #11
    But they are not the same person… different skills and brain, (again, please note that I am not grading one or the other, just the kind of player)

    But…a lot of things went wrong

    So, maybe some part of the team lost that inside deep faith in JH? ok, they are professionals, they keep play and fight, but that intangible component of a winning team, that is not in the numbers, defense or offense values by specialists… since this is still a team game, that peculiar -I don’t know how to call it_ that give you the edge, even if you are the underdog, start missin.

    Wortst of all , that bug is probably in #7 mind because of that claim. We will be better with Colin. And it did not happen…..could it be a reliable guessing?

  40. I find it truly astonishing just how many people are ready to drop Kap like a bad habit after two losses to two very good teams (four losses to very good teams, even). The guy is just as talented as he was last year and his time at Reno (remember: 2000yds passing, 1000yds rushing for 3 seasons!!!!). He’s still fast as lightning with a cannon-arm. He’s still an incredibly intelligent player. Why does it shock anyone that he’s having trouble going through progressions after spending his formative years as a one-read, option QB? He’s in his 2nd year (just barely now qualifying as a sophomore slump) as a starter. Before this season he’s always used his legs as a compliment to his arm (where’d it go, G-Ro?). Before these last two games against the best the NFC has to offer, he put up the highest QBR numbers of any QB this season! These aren’t excuses, they’re facts.

    Maybe a lot of the backlash and trolling we’re seeing now is due to Kap’s perceived over-exposure during the off-season. I can’t help but agree to some degree. He presented himself as elite and now that he’s not performing on the level of some the best ever (P. Manning, Brady, Montana, et al), he’s a bum. Logically ridiculous but emotionally understandable.

    Step back and breathe, 49er fans. The guy can still be great. Be Faithful.

    1. Some of the criticism is warranted and comes from knowledgable posters. Some criticism is warranted and comes from the Alex Smith camp.
      Pick your poison.

      Truth is, CK has not been the player he was last year. Another truth, he basically only has one full season as a Starter.

      If he continues to play bad, then we have an issue.
      Me, well I’m staying on board and not going anywhere because I believe the kid will be our QB for now and the future.

      1. AES i believe the same as you but i have to admit that each week i’m a little less sure than the week before. How long will you give him to start showing improvement before you no longer believe?

      2. I have no problem with warranted criticism. He’s a player on our favorite team; we will crow about his great play and complain about his poor play. Seems reasonable. What’s killing me is just how much some folks are overreacting. Of course some are just trolling, but some folks actually believe what they’re typing. I just want to say to them, “Where have you been the last 10 years if you thing THIS is how a poor team plays?!” smh

    2. Auto,
      I remember Alex’s first full season under Norv. I had scaled back expectations. I expected him to struggle. Expected him to make mistakes. Knew that the season was about gaining experience and that there would be a learning curve. Alex had 16TD’s and 16 INT’s that year. But as fans we took that in stride. I remember that universally the Niner fan base was being patient knowing that we were developing our QB.

      This year I don’t see any of this. I see lots of blame pointed at one guy. A guy that is playing in a watered down offense and missing some pieces.

      There is quite a bit of light coming out of the end of this tunnel though. First, our QB is gaining invaluable field and life experience. For starters, off season self promotion went overboard. The Miami dolphin hat thing was a terrible decision. Magazine covers, special appearances and cold Harbaugh like press conferences alienated him from a portion of his own fan base. They don’t like him. No two ways about it. For this reason, I think the struggle he is going through is a blessing. No one needed a slice of humble pie more than Kaep and he’s eating it right now.

      Also he will get Crabtree back and if Boldin still has some left in the tank next year we will be solid for 2014.

      What worries me beyond that is who is responsible for developing Vance McDonald and who is responsible for identifying our WR draft picks and WR development next year and beyond. This needs to be identified.

      Anyway my point, put personal bias aside and have the patience with a QB that is insanely gifted. A little perspective. Steve Young said that it took him three years as a Niner starter to comfortably go through progression. Some of you guys are expecting that to happen in a years worth of starts from CK on a team that is missing weapons. Patient Jr. Jedi’s, it will happen. Niners by 14 points this weekend.

      1. Bay I’ll ask you the same question i did of AES how long will you give CK to begin showing improvement before you start doubting him. End of the year? 3 games into next yr? end of 2014 season? Also how soon should the 9ers wait to draft a QB to compete with CK for the starting job?

      2. Problem is Coach, this is a championship team ready and able to compete with anyone at all levels in the NFL. Unfortunately not very capable at the QB position at this moment. Other thing is waiting 3 more years for the game to slow down for him is hopeless. The window to win in this sport closes very fast!

      3. OC,
        they should draft a QB this year. No one player is bigger than the team. For me, the gets until the end of next year. If he’s not cutting it by the end of his second FULL season, then the competition begins.

        Remember last year Cam Newton’s second full season, he took all kinds of flack. From fans and media. Even average Alex took a shot at him in the media. Now look at him. The game has slowed down, you can see it. And his name is being tossed around for MVP honors.

        Real NFL fans understand this progression. We have seen too many examples over the years not too.

    3. >>But as fans we took that in stride. I remember that universally the Niner fan base was being patient knowing that we were developing our QB.

      So what happened to that patience when that QB finally turned the corner, the team was winning at an .800 clip and you and every other hater on this board were $hitting on him daily?

      Beleive me, if we applied your AS attitude towards CK, it would be merciless around here.

      1. Rib, not trying to speak for Bay, but a lot of things occurred to sour moods on Alex between his rookie season and him being traded to KC.

        OC, each player is different. I don’t know that you can put a specific time on Kap… I also agree it’s reasonable to anticipate an upswing in ability after the second full season. QB’s, on average, if they’re going to make it in the league, seem to need at least a couple off-seasons and full seasons played before they become consistently good.

        Bay, I almost wish the bandwagon fans would just jump off already and let those of us who supported the team through the Erickson-Nolan-Singletary years be fans without all the negativity. We’ve seen what real sh!tty 9ers teams look like… this team has issues, but they’re correctable, imho.

  41. I’ll take issue with Cohn’s assertion that Carrier shouldn’t have been on the field. The coaches should know far better than outside observers when a player is ready for his first action. If he made a mistake, does that mean he doesn’t belong in the NFL? Perhaps our best special teamer, Kassim Osgood, committed a horrible penalty on the final punt – should he not be on the field? BTW, that penalty was pure misfortune; replays show at the exact moment the returner signaled fair catch, Osgood looked up to track the ball. Just terrible luck. Anyway, Carrier blew that play. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t belong. It’s Kaep’s lack of composure at that moment that’s more alarming.

    1. Agreed. Though it didn’t look like it game time, this was obviously a play that was practiced with that personal grouping. Crabtree false starts the first play of the SB and some have blamed the playcalling for that. Not a coach’s deal, it’s just a particular player’s lack of concentration in the moment.

  42. Nice post by bayareafanatic. I agree 100%.

    Two points to add–Coach Harbaugh, repeat after me-a 5 yard delay penalty in the 3Q is better than being short a time out in the 4Q.
    Put a low-end coach on the line of scrimmage when on defensive and tell him not to move until the pass is throw. He’ll know if over the line.

  43. Hypothetical:
    Its the third quarter and you’re down 14-0. There’s time left to make that comeback, but you’ve only made one first down in 40:00 of play. NOW you’re going to flip the switch on the offense and overcome a 2 TD lead? What’s different now?
    Its Week#11, they’re 2.5 games back in the division and jogging along with other Wild Card contenders at 6-4 due to lack of offensive productivity. NOW they’re going to flip the switch? Crabs is going to make all the difference? At 75-80%? What’s different now?
    CK and the team are talented. This offense will succeed again. This season? I’m not at all confident in that. I’m hoping everybody has some epiphany and the offense gets it going; we’ll see. Shut us all up Kap! LOL!

  44. I think a big part of the problem is that he is distracted. Last year he had that spark and determination to prove himself. In the offseason and beginning of this year the media made him into a superstar. Then theres the magazine covers, naked photo shoots, commercials, etc. Look at his twitter feed it is full of crap like videos of him buying new shoes, pics of himself, tons of women telling him how great he is…it goes on and on. It’s all a huge distraction. He is immature and can’t seem to focus.

    1. I’m not convinced all that stuff has anything to due with what’s transpiring on the field, but he left himself open to those questions. If he was rocking it on the field these days nobody would wonder about the other stuff.
      My question is more about his ability to listen, to accept coaching. Does he? If it isn’t working, something has to change, I know that. Am I smarter than CK? Better not be, he’s the one getting paid. (We’ll ignore my complete lack of marketable physical talent!!)
      Is Jack Hammer smarter than Chryst-Roman-Harbaugh? Can he see things they can’t see? Better not, they’re the ones getting paid!
      They can’t simplify the offense much more to make him get comfortable. Joe was cool and calm under pressure. He extended plays with his physical skills, stayed poised and aware, and made plays with limited arm talent. Steve was emotionally hyper but intellectually methodical, extended plays with his physical skills, stayed poised and aware and made plays. CK has the skill set and potential to do it too. SY had to learn to calm down. He did.

    1. In this image:
      of the 15 yard out play for Davis where he has separation but Kaep throws to Gore for a 6 yard play. I see 3 defenders between Kaepernick and where he would have to throw the ball for VD to catch it. At only 15 yards down the field that’s pretty much either a soft lob which would have given the defenders either time to get over to VD or the ability to jump up themselves for it or a frozen rope and it again looks like at least two of those defenders are in position to intercept that type of pass.

      Rather then force it into what looks like a highly dangerous pass I think the pass to Gore was the right one.

      1. Coffee,

        There is almost 10 yards between Davis and the linebacker between him and Kaepernick. This is a throw that any good NFL quarterback should be able to make without having to lob it up.

      2. Jack, Have you noticed anything wrong with Colin’s long wind-up delivery? Can that be part of the problem, why he bails on plays because he doesn’t have the quickest release. He does fine when scrambling, but you don’t see him stand in the pocket, and flick his wrist like Kurt Warner used to do. He would stay in there at the very last mili-sec, then place the ball spot on as the WR made their break.
        I haven’t seen Colin do any of that. He just guns it in there.

      3. It really looks to me if he throws a laser it gets batted down by the guy in his face or the number fifty something LB that is in between them. If he lobs it the defender on him or the LB or even the CB on the outside might have had a chance to get to it. It’s a lot of speculation I agree but I’m not sure that play is clear cut proof of him making a bad judgement.

      4. Scratch the CB on the outside getting the lob pass, I looked at the original photos and see there isn’t one there, I mistook the defender on Gore at first.

      5. Jack,
        From your blog:
        Against a 2 deep man under defense Kaepernick has Vernon Davis one on one over the middle with no defender in front of him. Instead of taking the easy throw to his best receiver Kaepernick throws the streak to Baldwin down the right sideline. Incomplete and another 3 and out.
        When you look at this photo, this is the type of coverage the Saints play on VD in the 2011 game, and Alex throw the ball over the middle and had the big games.
        Alex was extremely flawed as a QB, but he had his moments, much like Colin did last year.
        This year Colin is not reading the D at all, just looking at your blog you can see open WRs, or if waited just a step, someone was about to clear out. Take the Fade to VD in the 4th quarter. Boldin is coming free, so is the outside WR who is about to cut underneath the pick. I’m sure the coaches are seeing the same thing, which is why they are trying to give him those easy defined looks. But the other teams know this. That’s why they need all the shifting pre snap, to hide what the defined look will be.
        It’s clearly growing pains now on the champion caliber team. He has 6 games to figure it out.

    1. OFC He’s the worst passer and the team’s passing is rank last at #32.

      Cause KraperNOOB/KraperCHOKE’s head is on his MONEY, NOT on playbook or winning or the team for that matter LOL!!!

    2. THIS is the most important stat we are not part of:

      6 – Playoff teams from last season are not above .500 in 2013 – Atlanta (2-8), Houston (2-8), Minnesota (2-8), Washington (3-7), Baltimore (4-6) and Green Bay (5-5).

  45. The NFL fined Ahmad Brooks $16,000 for his hit on Brees.

    The initial contact may have been to Brees’ chest, but then Brooks contacted Brees’ neck and chin and that always has been a penalty. If Brees were 6’4″, that wouldn’t have been a penalty. But a strike zone always has to take height into account.

      1. I used to watch 9 hours of football every Sunday. I used to watch Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football. No more. The only NFL Football I watch now is 49er. Why? The No Fun League has destroyed the game.

      2. Razor i agree but do’nt give up on football. I watch about 6 hrs or more of college ball every saturday because they do’nt have the stupid NFL TV rules there is always a great game on at any time. The NCAA playoff system will do alot to close the gap between the TV ratings of the two games.

      1. They should cover the fine with play money. I just saw highlights of that tackle on ESPN. The contact occurred with the neck as Brees was going down. What was Brooks supposed to do? Hold Brees up so that he could complete a pass?

        1. That is Brooks’ problem. You can’t hit a QB in the neck and chin. Kaepernick had a INT called back in Tennessee because Akeem Ayers fell into his legs from behind. What was Ayers supposed to do?

    1. He didn’t get fined for the hit, he got fined for complaining about it. Ray Lewis called it the worst call since the tuck rule call. Lets see if Ray pays half the fine like he said he would.

    2. In a contact sport that is played at full speed how in the hell is Brooks supposed to make that play and not draw a flag? The system is currently broken.

    3. Crux issue: Brooks hit him right. Brees fell into a position with his neck in the crook of Brooks’ arm. Exactly how perfect a hit can be regulated? I don’t blame the Refs that much. When its that close in today’s games, the Zebras throw the flag. Its what the NFL wants. The League could’ve shown discretion in the review and upheld the flag (because its how they coach their Refs) but not fined Brooks. The other point for the NFL to check itself, is the sack of CK around the neck wasn’t called. How about Equal Protection Under the Rules? Equal enforcement? That would be easier to accept.

      1. Since each team only gets two replays each game just make every single play and penalty reviewable. With the limit of use it’s highly suspicious that the league continues to allow certain situations to not be reviewed.

        Because it clearly affected the outcome of the game the NFL is holding the line that it was the right call but I’m not 100% sure that the penalty wouldn’t have been overturned if it had been looked at again during the game.

        1. Since when does hitting a QB in the neck and chin not draw a penalty and fine? It doesn’t matter that Brooks initially hit Brees in the chest, and it doesn’t matter that Brees is short.

      1. Grant,
        if UCLA was in a National Championship game and they were nursing a 3 point lead with under 4 min to go and had the EXACT same play, you would not call it the same. And this whole room knows it.

        1. I’m not a serious UCLA fan, but I wish them all the best. I’m a sports writer. I have to be objective, even about college sports.

      2. “since when does hitting a QB in the neck and chin not draw a penalty?” I do’nt know ask Matt Barrows he thought it was the wrong call.

      3. Objectivity escapes you from time to time. He didn’t hit him in the head or neck. His momentum carried his neck into Brooks’s arms after the hit. Brooks almost cradled him.

    4. Who cares? That play did not lose the game for the 49ers. That possession went on, and both teams possessed the ball after it.

      Instead of using the referees as an excuse how about taking a look at Kaepernick being totally unable to find a wide open Frank Gore on the ensuing possession?

      1. Whiners! That’s what you’re doing if you think that one play cost the game. There was plenty of time to drive down the field and kick a winning FG.
        Didn’t happen. Just like the week before the Carolina.
        No clutch play from the QB. You live for that situation. Doesn’t he want to kiss his bicep?

      2. Who cares? That play did not lose the game for the 49ers.

        That doesn’t change the fact that it was a pathetic call Jack. The officiating this past week was horrendous, from this pitiful call to Bowe constantly being hugged by the Denver secondary (I thought that phone numbers would be exchanged after the game) and the penalty flag pickup on an obvious pass interference on the Patriots’ final drive.

      3. Good call, bad call, it was made. Suck it up and make another play. It was a sudden change part of the game and the 49ers couldn’t get it done.

      4. Jack if the call had happened in the first 2 minutes of the game i would agree with you but since it happened near the end of the game it does’nt give a team much time to overcome a horrible call. I used to have this same discussion with basketball referees they would tell me a call in the first quarter was as impactful as a call in the 4th quarter and i would tell them they were full of crap.

      5. Coach,

        Those refs were right.

        Even after the penalty the Saints still needed to make plays to get into field goal position and they did.

      6. Jack i disagree if a call creates a 4 pt swing [in basketball] and i have 30 possesions to make up those 4 pts no problem but if i only have 3 possesions and still have fouls to give it would be a major problem. I think a basketball example also applies to football

      7. I don’t think the fans here are whining. Are Steve Young and Trent Dilfer whining? Speaking for myself, that call itself did not cost the 49ers the game, but if Brooks was not called for roughing and the 49ers had recovered the fumble, the 49ers chances of winning the game would have gone up, likely significantly.

        It is a terrible rule because the league is penalizing a good, hard, tackle on semantics. How else could Brooks have hit Brees? He appeared to avoid the head area, but when the QB is falling, that’s when contact was made. The Niners might have been better off if Brooks had just fallen down and not hit Brees. How stupid does that sound in a tackle football game? This is not whining. I think a lot of commentators who have played the game have just hit their tilting points. That was a ridiculous call.

      8. In a web full of “Advanced Football Stats”, individual player rankings, DVOAs and other noise, there must be a metric on how much weighting is given to a particular play or blown ref call on the final outcome of a game.

        If not, then come on qaunt nerds, get to it!

      9. Jack, while I agree with your suck-it-up and make another play sentiment (I mean, what else are they gonna do? Run to the sideline and pout?), I think you’re being overly analytical in this instance. On the field, the emotional swing from “We have to make a play or we lose” to “We just made a HUGE play and saved our game!” to “We just got screwed for 15 yards and a first down at a critical moment in this game!” absolutely affects the players and, as a consequence, the game, itself. Proof is in the pudding.

    5. Horrible call and subsequent fine.
      The initial hit was to the chest region and Brees slid down Brooks’ arm while on the way down.

      Brooks’ body motion and momentum did not allow for him to adjust his arm leverage on the play.

      1. I do’nt believe Grant has an anti 49er agenda. His agenda is the same as all writers to entertain to create intrest in his blog and to stay gainfully employed like the rest of us. If he only wrote articles that we all agreed with many would stop reading him but by staying slightly controversial he keeps us all coming back.

      2. I agree old coach, it’s sensationalism not anti-Niner. While occasionally it gets on my nerves [take away this play and you have___] that’s his job and it seems to me most of us have been here a while and at least read\post multiple times per day. Nobody would read if he was down the middle all the time.

    1. Brooks hit Brees in the chest and then raked his arm across Brees’ neck and chin. That has been a penalty forever.

      The NFL doesn’t want punt fests.

      1. Grant, the only way to be fair is to put a skirt on the quarterback with a belt holding a flag on each hip for the defender to grab. Do that, and you will protect her without any further grey area that ruins the outcome of a game…..

      2. Did you ever take a Physics course? Do the terms inertia and momentum sound familiar? Brooks absolutely did not rake his arm across Brees’ neck. Brees crumpled sideways and winced downward under the force of the collision lowering his neck into Brooks’ arm (see under: retrograde descending arcs in gravitational field ballistics) as their combined masses fell to the turf.

        1. Contact was made to the QB’s neck and chin and that has been a penalty for decades. I love how some fans are trying to make this issue about the NFL not being tough enough for the 49ers. No one said anything about changing the NFL’s rules when Akeem Ayers fell into Kaepernick’s legs from behind and the refs nullified an interception and gave the 49ers 15 yards.

      3. Contact to the neck and chin was not initial and in no way was detrimental. The violence from the hit was initiated to the shoulders across the body. The fact that he touched his chin and neck as he crumpled like tin foil should have been incidental and not penalized…

        1. There has never been any such thing as incidental contact to the neck and chin of a quarterback. I don’t know what league you’ve been watching the past few decades…

      4. The contact with the neck occurs as Brees is going backwards. It happened because Brooks was upright through most of the tackle. There is no way that he could have adjusted that sack.

      5. Like I said earlier, the league wants the game to become a flag or touch football league. But I’m sure that they would find a way to penalize a player for pulling on the flag too strongly or tagging a player too excessively.

      6. @Grant

        Exactly, but there should be. If a quarterback ducks into a defenders hand in the pocket and it hits his head, under the current rules, that would be a penalty. Dumb.

      7. The league pampers certain QBs. It bothers me that the league is looking into even more protection for the QB this offseason. What next? A penalty assessed for a defender sneezing on a QB?

      8. Actually, the 49ers would have been better off if Brooks had taken Brees head off and got him out of the game. Brooks would have been hit with the same 15-yard penalty, and the 49ers D would have had to face the 2nd string QB. But alas and alak, Brooks tried to play by the rules and still got nailed. This is the absurdity of it all.

    2. Grant:

      You might want to actually read the relevant NFL rules before lecturing us.

      Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9 covers roughing the passer. From subsection (c):

      In covering the passer position, Referees will be particularly alert to fouls in which defenders impermissibly use the helmet and/or facemask to hit the passer, or use hands, arms, or other parts of the body to hit the passer forcibly in the head or neck area (see also the other unnecessary roughness rules covering these subjects).

      Brooks didn’t hit Brees forcibly in the head or neck. He hit him in the shoulder. Since the rule refers referees to “the other unnecessary roughness rules” covering the subject, however, we have to look at them.

      Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 covers players in a defenseless posture. Subsection (b) discusses prohibited contact against such players and (b)(1) covers hits to the head and neck area.

      (b) Prohibited contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture is:

      (1) Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder, even if the initial contact of the defender’s helmet or facemask is lower than the passer’s neck, and regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him.

      Again, Brooks didn’t hit Brees in the head or neck. His forearm hit Brees in the shoulder and then slid up and made contact with Brees’ neck and perhaps chin.

      I think Brooks has grounds for an appeal that have nothing to do with the pussification of the NFL. Although the initial hit to Brees’ shoulder was indeed forcible, it’s not so clear that the subsequent contact with Brees’ neck/chin was forcible. I would think that the contact with the had or neck is what has to be forcible for the hit to be roughing. And while the rule expressly states that a forcible hit with the helmet or facemask that starts lower on the body and then slides up to the head or neck is a penalty, it doesn’t make the same statement about shoulder or forearm hits. This strongly suggests that shoulder/forearm hits starting lower on the body aren’t a violation. The rulemakers obviously wanted to treat helmet/facemask hits differently from shoulder/forearm hits in this situation.

      If I am Brooks, I appeal the fine.

      The relevant part of the NFL rulebook can be found here:


      1. Brooks absolutely hit Brees forcibly in the neck and chin, Brooks just hit him forcibly in the chest first. Brooks carried the force of the blow from the chest to the neck, clotheslining Brees to the ground.

        The NFL does not consider initial contact the only relevant contact. It says it right there: “Even if the initial contact is lower than the passer’s neck.”

      2. Grant

        Most people interpret the neck contact that happened to Brees to be of Brees’ own doing. Of course, Brooks crushed Brees in the chest, then Brees collapsed from the hit and it was Brees, not Brooks, who initiated contact. So essentially, under your reading of the NFL rule, a QB in the pocket could launch his head into Ahmad Brooks’ arm any time he’s around and not only would there be a 15-yard penalty, but Brooks would be subject to a $15K fine.

        Is that how you read it?

        There’s Grant, stirring the pot.

        Where were you, Grant, when Drew Brees, the phoniest player in the NFL, defended Greg Williams in Bountygate? That would have been a good time for you to speak to the truth, would also have been a great time for you to have realized what a charlatan Brees is.

        1. But Brees didn’t launch his neck into Brooks’ arm. Brooks launched his arm into Brees’ chest and then into Brees’ neck while clotheslining him to the ground.

      3. No, he made contact with Brees’ chest. That was Brooks. Then Brees collapsed, and because Brooks didn’t pull his arm back, Brees’ neck came into contact with Brooks arm.

        1. Call it what you want – Brooks forcibly made contact with Brees’ neck after forcibly making contact with Brees’ chest. Brooks pulled him to the ground by the neck and chin. That’s the way the NFL feels.

      4. They also doubled down on their feelings about that ‘TD’ by not awarding the Packers the game that only Seahawk fans believe that Seattle rightly won.

      5. “…even if the initial contact of the defender’s helmet or facemask is lower than the passer’s neck, and regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him.”

        Straight from the rule book, and exactly what happened.

      6. Jack:

        Sorry, but your comment is ambiguous to me, so I am not sure how to interpret it. That said, it looks like you are saying the referees correctly applied the rule.

        If so, I disagree. Brooks didn’t make forcible contact with his helmet or facemask. I’m not sure he ever made contact with either. The only forcible contact he made was with his forearm to Brees’ shoulder. The rule says it’s still a penalty if the initial contact of the helmet or facemask is lower on the body; it does not say it’s a penalty if the initial contact of the shoulder or forearm is lower on the body.

      7. Grant:

        And I’m sorry you can’t read the rule as it is written.

        The rule doesn’t say “Even if the initial contact is lower than the passer’s neck” as you pretended to quote it. The rule says “even if the initial contact of the defender’s helmet or facemask is lower than the passer’s neck”. (Emphasis added). Neither Brooks’ helmet nor facemask made such contact.

        Following your fictional “Brooks wrenched Brees facemask” and “Brooks clotheslined him” assertions, I have to conclude that you are deliberately misquoting the rule. The only question is, “Why?”

      8. Claude,

        The rule clearly states that it is a penalty “even if the initial contact of the defender’s helmet or facemask is lower than the passer’s neck”

        Based on the way the rule is written it was a penalty. T

      9. Jack:

        If Brooks had hit Brees with his helmet or facemask, that portion of the rule would be relevant. But he didn’t, so it’s not. He hit Brees in the shoulder with his forearm.

      10. Grant:

        That would be an appropriate response if you had presented actual facts supporting your position or had accurately quoted the rules. But, you did neither of those things. In fact, you did the exact opposite. From the very beginning you have made up facts about the play (would it be gong too far to say you lied?), and tonight you deliberately misquoted the rules.

        Don’t get me wrong. I half expect the fine to be upheld. But, if it is, it won’t be because the rules were applied as they were written.

      11. Jack:

        That may be, but that’s not the same thing as saying the referees applied the rule as it is written.

        I’m not predicting that Brooks will win an appeal. I’m just saying that he has a strong argument that what he did not violate the rules as they are written.

      12. The problem here is that Brees’ neck made contact with Brooks’ arm because he was coming back down from being lifted up by the hit. Never once did Brooks go straight for the neck.

      13. Grant:

        You didn’t want to rub it in? It’s interesting that you would accuse me of being in denial when you’re the one who has resorted to multiple inconsistent misdescriptions of fact* and to misquoting the rule in order to support your position.

        Look, I recognize the league’s interest in protecting defenseless players, particularly QBs, and how it has changed the rules to further that interest. I also am realistic about Brooks’ chances of winning on appeal, if he decides to appeal. (He’d be better off with Cottrell than with Birk). I’m not saying he would win. I’m just saying that Brooks has a strong argument that he did not violate the rules as they are written.

        * On different occasions, you have claimed that Brooks wrenched Brees’ facemask, that he clotheslined Brees, and that he raked his arm across Brees’ neck and chin. None of those things happened. Moreover, your misdescriptions are inconsistent with each other. You need to pick one fiction and stick with it.

  46. will the 49ers finally break down and hire grant cohn as offensive consultant–after all they finally followed his advise and rolled kaepernick out of the pocket–at least that is what grant wrote–when did you confer with harbaugh and roman to covney this advise–over clams at Emerils in New Orleans?

    Remeber Grant, a person who truly knows doesnt have to tell everyone that he truly knows

  47. Does anybody know who the 49ers challenge coordinator is in the press box. The two lost challenges by Harbaugh in this game were the worst I have ever seen since the challenge system was put in place. It was 100% obvious that Baldwin did not maintain control of the catch on the first challenge. It was equally obvious that Brees was not over the line on the second one. I find it hard to blame Harbaugh since he has to rely on what they tell him from the pressbox. I want to know who was the idiot in the pressbox who told Harbaugh to throw the red flag. That person should be fired.

    It is obvious to me that this unknown person does not know the rules. The Niners need to hire a retired NFL or College ref to be the challenge coordinator. Someone who knows the rules.

      1. I think Eric Mangini is employed by two teams, the 49ers as a facade and the Seahawks as a primary. Everything he’s doing seems to undermine what the 49ers offense is all about. I think he’s intentionally sabotaging our offense!

        Okay, I’m joking…but seriously, Mangini’s hiring seemed suspect at the time and has proven to not only have been suspect but also a very “negative addition” to the team. I don’t think he fits in with JH’s original staff. One thing that I’ve noticed is that we seemed to have gotten MORE conservative than last year. How the heck is that even possible!? I’m sure there’s some schematic problems primarily, but there is definitely also a philosophical problem going on right now.

      2. What ever problems anyone has with Roman they are’nt going to change under a new OC. When your HC’s expertise is O then he is running the show on that side of the ball meaning if the 9ers change OC’s he will still be a reflection of Harbaugh. Anyone with a problem with Roman really have a problem with Harbaugh.

      3. In a perfect world Norv Turner would completely abandoned any thought of ever being a HC ever again and come be our OC until he retires from the league.

        OK not perfect for everyone but it would work for me.

    1. Grant, do booth guys like Mangini have another replay system (other then the broadcasters) to review a play?

      We’ve all heard of the “home field clock.” I think a number of bad challenges happen from home field replays, where the guys in the booth get little or no time to decide because isn’t being replayed shortly after whistle.

  48. There are many more problems with the Niners then blaming the refs. A good football team is good enough to overcome bad officiating. There has been bad calls from the time the game was invented. Last Sundays game was riddled with players/coaches mistakes – you play like that your not going to win. The Niners did everything they could to give the Saints that game and they were quite successful. By the way the Saints were not very good either so………..

    1. I think so, but the Seahawks are playing better now than they were a few weeks ago and I think they smell blood in the water in terms of the NFC seeding.

      1. You better get use too seeing the Seahawks beat the 49ers anywhere any place. The Hawks is getting better and healthier each week.

        The week the hawks come to candlestick they’ll be in full force. It won’t surprise me a bit if they beat the 49ers again. The bottom line is the pressure is on the 49ers, trying to get in to the playoffs as a wild card team.

        The way the 49ers offense is playing it’s hard to see them making the playoffs; there are a lot of teams that are also contending for one of the wild card spot.

        It’s going to make it a little tough for the 49ers to make the playoffs. If they lose to the hawks at home and to the Cardinals who are momentarily tied at 6-4 record in the west.

        The Road to the NFCC is through Seatlle, not only Kap and the 49ers knows how tough it is to play in Seattle with their crowd noise.

  49. old coach says:

    November 20, 2013 at 10:06 am
    “AES i believe the same as you but i have to admit that each week i’m a little less sure than the week before. How long will you give him to start showing improvement before you no longer believe?”

    It’s been a very bumpy ride with CK so far, but when Harbaugh signed on as head coach, I said at that time that I would trust his judgment and decisions on all players.

    I have not changed my commitment to that mindset.
    I will trust Harbaugh’ judgment regarding CK as well as his decision on CK if one is forthcoming sooner than later.

  50. Niners need to get a QB next season, to put pressure on Kaep to perform, similar to Montana and Young, although we are not going to get that talent level. Also if Kaep wants Flaco money seeya later, unless he comes on strong next season.

  51. Hey Grant-Why don’t some of you reporters use the info you just wrote about and ask the coach and the QB 1 tough question about their ineptitude and what they are doing about it. I listened to Harbs press conf on Monday and I was embarrased for the reporting profession as a whole. Not 1 tough question about the 32nd pass offense in football when all the rules are geared for passing. 1 idiotic female reporter asked him about McDermott for crying out loud!!!! Who frickin cares when he hasnt had a bad snap all year. Talk about a waste of a bullet

  52. Grant, did CK have a problem following through his progressions while attending UNR and it was “masked” last year or are these issues something that is truly new to him and the 49ers?
    Thanks Jason

    1. J-Dog, I have watched a great deal of Nevada football, and I saw the development of the pistol formation and the Pistol Offense by Coach Ault. Ault’s offense does not often involve multiple reads. The passing game was mainly built off of play action (Ault considers play action to be more important to the Pistol Offense than the read-option).

      Because of Nevada’s prolific running game, especially when Kaep was there, play action was incredibly effective. This was especially true in 2009 and 201o, when teams focused on stopping Kaep from running only to have him pass on them (2010, Kaep’s best year as a passer, was also the only year he had a true #1 receiver). Then, when the success of the play action forced opposing team to commit more bodies to pass defense, Kaep and the running backs would create havoc on the ground.

      Interestingly, the Chiefs have been successful with play action from the pistol formation this year, and Ault is there as a consultant.

  53. The Redskin will put up a good fight against the 49ers at Washington. But seeing the up and down Redskins it’s hard to gauge which Redskin team will show up against the 49ers.

    The St. Louis Rams arn’t the same team the 49ers face; they’ll give the 49ers trouble at the Stick. But I see the 49ers winning in Tampa against the lowly Bucs and they’ll beat the Falcons who are struggling. The Arizona Cardinals will beat the 49ers in Arizona.

      1. 23Jordan,

        What are we wagering; my perspective the way the 49ers season is going to end? What do you have to offer for a wager? I stand by for what I said on my comment. Bring on Jordan. I’m all for it, what’s your bet…

      2. Prime Time,

        I doubt that 23jordan would make that kind of a bet with me. I don’t play little child game, I intend to collect what’s owed to me, never less I’ll make damn sure that he pays up or else.

      3. Basically, your saying you don’t know which Redskins team will show up,
        Rams will give Niners trouble at the Stick, Niners beat the Bucks but lose to the Cards in a AZ. That’s like some whacked out parley card!

      4. Fan 77,

        The reason why I’ve said which Redskins team is going to show up for the game is because this team is inconsistent. If a good Redskin team shows up then the 49ers have their hands full at Washington.

        I’m pretty sure the Rams will give the 49ers a run for their money at the stick. As I’ve said before the Seahawks are going to beat the 49ers at the stick, no question about it.

        I’ll give the 49ers the game against the Bucs at Tampa. The 49ers will beat the Atlanta Falcons at the stick and say Farewell to Candlestick Park.

        But you know what buddy the Cardinals are showing to everyone that they’re a good team with a good solid defense and their offense is putting up good numbers lately, and they’re tied with 49ers with 6-4 record. The Cardinals might be the team that keep the 49ers making the playoffs.

      5. What are you prepared to lose? You name it. I trust jack Hammer. We can ask him to hold it in a PayPal account. Or we can bet that if we lose to the Redskins, I’ll never return to this blog. If we win, you never return. Shouldn’t hurt you, seeing that you’re just a troll anyway.

      6. Capeman,
        It’s hard to see the team losing 3 in a row. It’s going to be another grind it out game. They won’t dominate, but I think they’ll win. Colin will play a little better but he’s still going to be a work in progress.

        They’ll beat Seattle. Too much pride, and the game in seattle was close until the 4th quarter.

        I think they’ll lose to AZ. The Rams game could be tougher then then think too.
        Bucs and ATL should be wins if the D shows up and the Niners start Colt McCoy! Go bet that clown! Even if you win, he’s still going to come back on this blog anyway.

      7. 23jordan.
        Instead, let’s bet on the Seahawks game? If the 49ers lose, you’ll never returned to this 49er blog, the same thing with me I’ll never returned to this blog, if the Hawks lose on December 08.

        Is that a deal, honestly can you keep your word of honor? If you’re not afraid to bet against the Seahawks, let’s make a deal?

      8. Capeman,
        Wow I can’t believe I’m going to say this but I’m going to root for the Seahawks in that game if you guys bet. The Niners are going to be a wildcard anyway. If they are truly a championship caliber team, then they’ll have to go win it in Seattle to get to the Superbowl. Meanwhile Seahawks win and it’s 23 Jordan Be Gone!!!!!!

      9. 23jordan,
        You’re pretty clever friend, thought you had balls? But I guess not, you’re so scared of the Seahawks and you know for a fact that they have a very good chance coming away with a victory at Candlestick Park.

        If you happen to read my first comment about the Redskins, I’ve said they’re inconsistent and nobody knows which Redskins team is going to show up. I didn’t say I was going to put a bet on the Skins? You must be out of your mind if I would put a wager on that game. You’re one funny guy friend.

        You’re pretty damn good at twisting words around, just say so if you’re afraid? I’ll understand you don’t have any credibility here in this blog anyway.

      10. >>Or we can bet that if we lose to the Redskins, I’ll never return to this blog.

        Woah. I’m almost tempted to take that bet. But I, unlike “real fan” Jordo himself, never bet against my team.

      11. 49lite,

        It would be good to know how to spell the word LIAR before you decide to call someone by the name. So now tell me who the loser is. You certain didn’t win many spelling contests in school son.

      12. Seahawkman,

        Why are you even here on this blog. Are you not welcome on the Seahawks blog?


        Any more false assertions? I’m always looking to shot the garbage down you post. You hate Kap enough to make me think you must be related to Alex a Smith!

      13. @3Jordan,
        You sound like a broken record that keeps on playing the same tune over and over. Jordan so what’s your answer to our wager Seahawks vs. 49ers? It seems you change your mind after all. I guess you’re too scared to bet against the Seahawks? Good call, which you’re not betting against the Hawks, you know you’re going to lose friend.

      14. Please refer to 23jordan by his blog name, 23welcher who promised to leave the blog in 2011 if the 49ers were to resign Alex Smith. Well, they did and he seems to forget his bet. So, 23welcher lives on and please address him by this tittle, he earned it.

      15. FDM,
        23jordan failed to fulfill his word of honor. Wow! He surely deserves to be called “23Welchair. “ That’s sad; I would be embarrassed to still show up on this blog.

      16. Fan 77,

        You know 23jordan well, he won’t make that wager his too scared to. His twisted mind probably figure out that he’s going to lose the bet. If Jordan knew that he‘d has any chance winning the bet, he would’ve already made the bet…

  54. When you have Alex Smith as your backup it would stand to reason that a team, a coaching staff, can feel a lot freer to open up the offense and let your takented young QB go nuts and run all over the field.

    When you have Bupkis for for a backup, it goes a log way to explain why the play calling is so much more conservative.

    This predicament is not purely about Harbaugh, or Roman, or Kap suddenly losing their mojo. This is about not having depth at QB a million other places on offense.

    It doesn’t bode well for the 9ers suddenly getting their groove back, and therefore it doesn’t bode well for the season.

  55. Harbs & Roman think they’re great. They haven’t proved sh– So, study the film. We pass the ball efficiently. F— your Michigan offense!

  56. I am also very frustrated with our offenses anemic productivity, but, let me remind everyone that we could be 8-2 if MacDonald catches his pass against Carolina and Gore catches his. As bad as we look, thanks to our defense we are basically 2 plays away from being 8-2. We need players to start making their plays!!! Catch the friggin ball guys, please!

    1. 49erman,

      You can’t base the 49er losses to one play, if one player should’ve done this, it would’ve change the outcome of the game. You’re right, if it weren’t for the defense, the 49ers would’ve not been competitive on all their games. Basically, the opposing defense is out playing Kap and the 49ers offense. You can see from their last two previous games and their 5 game winning streaks that the defense propelled the wins for the 49ers struggling offense.

    1. Hey Jack, looking at this piece and yours, can I assume that CK’s issue that we’re seeing now has always been there except that we have more play makers last year that it kind of “camouflage” the situation?

      1. how about Moss and Walker? I know they didn’t have a monster year, but I thought they helped a lot in creating favorable spacing for our offense. And it looks like we haven’t found their replacement either.

    2. Thats a great article.
      Really convincing that CK is not playing as aggressive as before, which is also supported by that story of Baalke yelling “throw the damn ball!” during a game. I wonder what the lack of aggressiveness is about. Do you think he is being coached to do that?

      It also shows (what we already knew ad nauseam) that CK needs to improve his ability to read a defense and go through progressions.

      1. Something smells fishy about this regression. I have some T-Shirts for sale with Throw The Damn Ball on the front if anyone is interested….

  57. There is a serious problem with the 49ers in that we’re too dependent on certain personnel to be successful. I get that losing your QB might mean losing your season- a lot of teams have to deal with this. But losing your TE or best WR shouldn’t mean you’re relegated to absolute mediocrity.

    I’m not buying that when Crabtree comes back (even if he’s 100%) that all of a sudden Kaep is going to be the monster he was last year. To me, the blame lies both on Kaepernick and the coaching staff. Kaep needs to take this upcoming off-season and work on his game, including whatever else the defense will throw at him in 2014. Visiting the weight room all day every day isn’t the way to be a good QB. And besides, I have yet to see where his extra time in the weight room last off-season has made him quicker, stronger or better passer. He has regressed in the physical abilities as well.

    From the coaching angle- Jesus, we saw this coming with Alex as well did we not? These guys keep coddling their QB and never allow him to grow, make mistakes and open up to new experiences. They seemed to want to take chances and grow Kaep’s game last year, but now this year they’re game planning as if Alex is still the QB.

    I see how Russell Wilson has grown leaps and bounds from his first few games in the NFL, when Carroll also coddled him. I just don’t see what good we’ve done in forcing Kaep to learn the skills required to be a great QB in this league. And I think Kaep has done nothing on his end to learn to be a better QB. I just saw where R. Wilson mentioned last week that he is planning on spending a bulk of his downtime at home during the Thanksgiving break watching film in prep for his upcoming games.

    The blame goes both ways. Right now the faith in Harbaugh/Roman and in Kaep is seriously waning. It’s a tough world.. you have very small windows to keep a good group of players together and make a run.

    1. Absolutely you’re right; I’m not buying on that when Crabtree come back from injury, suddenly kap will be back to the same kap from last season. The one problem the 49ers have, Kap is having terrible time reading good defense, he doesn’t read the defense very well and if it weren’t for Gore and the 49er good defense, the 49ers records would’ve been a lot worse than it looks right now.

  58. Some of you guys are going in hard on Kaep ok he made mistakes and took bad passes, but you cant say that he is isnt a professional cuz every official report is about Kaep his professionalism.
    He has a sophomore slump and nothing gels after our 5 game winning streak and our coaching is also out of clues, so everyone has to take there act together from coaches to players.

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