Midseason report card: Top-3 49ers

Who are the top-3 players on the 49ers so far this season? Here’s my list and I’d like to read yours’ as well.

1. Colin Kaepernick. The No.3 rated quarterback on ESPN’s QBR system behind only Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers. ESPN’s QBR systems also says Kaepernick’s last two starts have been two of the best starts ever by a quarterback.

2. Vernon Davis. The key to the 49ers’ offense. Without Davis, the Niners’ offense would not be difficult to stop. Davis missed Week 3 with a hamstring injury and the Colts held the 49ers to just 7 points. Davis has been a serious big-play threat, averaging 17.9 yards per catch – best among tight ends.

3. Joe Staley. The best run-blocker and the pass-protector on the team. He has given up just two sacks, one hit and seven hurries this season.

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      1. I agree with you totally Grant, nice piece.
        Kap is…..game managing….but with big play capability be it run or pass. very efficient but unlike most “game manager’s,” he can throw deep or run on it in from anywhere on the field.

        V.D. is the key to the offense ( other than the QB of course) his home run ability keeps the D afraid and unable to stack the box. Therefore the running game is lighting teams up right now ! He is setting up the play-action by setting up the running game, then kills it with 65+ yard td’s. He is also the worst match-up for any defender and is a threat to score on any reception from any formation

        I wont argue Staley, not after watching him get out on the edge running 20+ yards, lead blocking on running plays like a monster ( guys that big should NOT be that fast and agile) against the jags. The pass protection stats look great as well.

        As for a #4

        i wouldnt argue Bowman or Willis. The have held the down the Defense with the losses of Wlliams and Aldon. Even Dorsey, J.Smith and Mcdonald have missed snaps. Those 2 are the glue holding that D together (injury’s in the secondary too)

        Gore could be #4 also. Running game is carrying us and hes the man! YPC might not be great but hes killing the short yardage runs when they count, getting first downs and td’s.

        I wouldnt argue any other O – linemen either. Running game is killing it!

  1. I wouldn’t put Kaep in the top 3. Here are my choices:

    1. Vernon Davis
    2. Eric Reid
    T3. Frank Gore and Joe Staley

    Kaep is #5 on my list.

      1. Kaep hasn’t done enough to warrant being #1 right now. Some of that is through his own fault and some of it not.
        I am also inclined to bump him down to #6 as Bowman has been a real difference maker on defense.

      2. You get hes the number three rated QB un the QBR rating system. Please tell me what other QB would have us at the same record without a number one receiver?
        By the way…. Fitzgerald is being shopped.

      3. I put as much faith in the QBR system as I do in the Obamacare website. Having even the best QBR doesn’t even guarantee a Super Bowl. Also:

        1. Without Davis, Kaep’s numbers wouldn’t even be close to where they currently are. And this is with Davis fighting through a hamstring injury.
        2. The difference between the secondary when Goldson was in it compared to what it looks like with Reid in it is obvious to say the least.
        3. When the team took the ball out of Kaep’s hands and put it in Gore’s instead is when the team started winning again.
        4. Joe Staley is having yet another Pro Bowl worthy season.
        5. It is becoming obvious that if we lost Bowman for the season that our defense would potentially be toast.
        6. Though Kaep has done his job, the fact that he passes only to his first read only and has trouble in the game management area keeps him out of my top 5.

      4. Bay I know you’re going to hate for saying this but if you swop in Alex Smith, the team would be in the same spot. That’s not to say Alex is as good as KAP, only that as of now, he’s not the top 3 Niners.

        My list, which I’m sure you already despise would be:

        1. Bowman
        2. Vernon Davis
        3. Staley
        4. Reid
        5. Willis
        6. Kap

        I hope then when we face the tougher teams, Kap diversifies his skills, and I’m sure he would be top 3.

      5. Not one offensive lineman! Again Baydouche no clue. The best in all of football and you can’t recognize one of them even in the top five, joke!

      6. 1. Kap
        2. Gore
        3. Reid

        Anyone that thinks the Niners would not straight
        B-L-O-W if #7 were not behind center is dreaming. And as far if Alex Smith were here….the throw to VD vs. TEX, his Read option runs the last couple of weeks and pinpoint lasers to Boldin are things Alex has never done and will never do. Kap’s mere presence behind center creates a threat that is not even thought of if he isn’t around. Definition of Salivate: opposing defenses game planning for Colt McCoy.

        Gore made #2 by virtue of everything he does that gets overlooked because he’s such an intelligent and durable workhorse exemplifying Harbaugh’s spriritual praise of him. He’s such a patient runner, can get the 1st down on the 3rd and 3 (or less). He’s reliable in the passing game and there’s no one better at picking up the blitz. He’s the total package.

        I know he’s a rook but if Eric Reid were not our starter, the back end of our Dee would be victimized week in and week out. His mental game-planning has drawn praise from his partner “Hitner” and elevated Donte’s play. He plays the run extremely well, is becoming a ball hawk with his multiple picks and his tackling has vastly improved. He may be just a rookie but he plays like a seasoned vet or just a plain Rookie of the Year.

        Davis was a strong possibility and his absence was sorely felt vs. IND but so was the absence of Crabtree & Manningham and if forced into action for a number of weeks I believe Vance McD would have been further ahead in his development. Still can’t figure out how his role hasn’t increased.

      7. Faith71,
        Alex Smith had with (more or less) the same team, an incredible winning %.
        So….how you can come to the conclusion that the team would B.L.O.W. with him under centre, when in fact, it was one muffed punt from going to the superbowl with him under centre, escapes me.

      8. Because it’s not the same team. First, Crabs, Moss and Walker are gone. If Alex had a tough time getting receivers the ball before, try now with less receiving options.
        Second and most important, this is not the same defense that took the ball away at record pace as Alex’s defense.
        Alex’s defense went until week 15 before it yielded it’s first 100 yard rusher.
        Alex’s defense tied for 2nd in Interceptions
        Colins defense ranks 10th

        Alex’s defense was tied for 4th in recovered fumbles
        Colin’s is ranked 13th

        Alex’s defense was 7th in quarterback sacks
        Colin’s is ranked 22nd.

        See Harbaugh knew the defensive effort was not sustainable and that they needed more from the QB.

        Alex has been good. But he is still Alex. He’s riding the coat tails of a great defense. When they absolutely need him to score, his true colors will show. BTW he is the 5th highest sacked QB in the NFL….

      9. Angus:

        Bah, you, with your facts. This blog is for real fans. We don’t need facts. To tell you the truth, we don’t even like facts. All they do is get in the way of opinions that we formed years ago, and we’re not going to change those opinions! No matter what the facts say!! Because we’re faithful! And that’s better than facts!

        Hey, I need someone to validate my parking pass. Who has the stamp?

      10. Bay,

        Smith and Kap played with the same team last year and had similar seasons statistically and in the win column. You keep saying Smith is riding the Coat tails of the defense in KC, but in pretty much every game he’s led that offense on long scoring drives late in the game to put it away. His game is boring, no doubt about it, but it works and the Chiefs are winning because of that as much as they are from the play of the defense.

      11. Someone conveniently forgot the first half of the 2012 season.

        Someone also just happens to ignore time of possession stats. I’m sure it’s only a coincidence. Or an irrelevance. I mean it’s not like the longer the offense retains possession, the more rested the defense is when it goes back on the field. Oh, it is exactly like that? Hmmm.

      12. Rocket,
        they did play on the same team last year. However that team changed when Cowboy went down in New England. Prior to the N.E. game the defense was yielding an average of 14.1 points a game. After the N.E. game, through the superbowl, that number climbed to 29.7 points per game.

        It had zero to do with Kaep and everything to do with that significant injury and the injury to Aldon.

        Some folks like to point to Kaeps style of play that led to the defense wearing down. Not so. Prior to the injury to Cowboy and Aldon, the defense was only yielding 14.2 points a game in 4 Kaepernick starts. Same numbers basically that they yielded under AS.

      13. “Someone conveniently forgot the first half of the 2012 season.”

        Ah yes. That half-season was so spectacular that Smith was benched again.

    1. It all starts with the QB. He needs the line to block but without a good QB it really doesn’t matter how good they block.

      1. For most teams that is true, but this is a team that passes 42.4% of the time and wins with defense.

        think about how low that is in today’s NFL….. hell, the Chiefs pass 55.2% of the time. Only the Seahawks and Panthers are also under 50%.

        It’s surprising to not have a single defensive player in the top 3, considering how they’ve pretty much carried the team with how many turnovers they’ve produced.

        1. Bowman
        2. Ahmad Brooks
        3. Eric Reid
        4. Vernon Davis
        5. Tramaine Brock / Joe Staley

    2. ESPN’s QB rating scheme is ridiculous. Colin has been playing terrible for most of the season. Yet, they have him and Rivers much higher than Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees? He hasn’t even played as well as Alex Smith, who is ranked 18th (one notch behind Tom Brady and one notch above Flacco). I am not sure where I would place Kaepernick, probably 10th. Colin has thrown costly interceptions (luckily some were not caught) and fumbles (luckily some were recovered), along with errant passes in the dirt, way overhead, as well as so many delay of game penalties. Kaep’s play against the Seahawks and Colts showed how much of a deer-in-the=headlights his poise becomes whenever pressured.

      My top 49ers:
      1. Gore
      2. Bowman
      3. Reid
      4. Staley
      5. V. Davis / Justin Smith

      1. Man,
        do you guys get that if Russel Wilson doesn’t complete that long pass he chucked up, then he is 9-17 for 59 yards. Make him play from the pocket and he is terrible.

      2. Bay, That drive where the Rams got their last FG, Clemmons could’ve ran that ball in and just threw it over everyone’s head. Rams beat them up but just didn’t want to win. Frustrating! Seahawks are lucky and over rated.

      3. Bay,

        Do you realize that if Kaepernick doesn’t complete that long pass to Davis against Houston he is 5-14 for 59 yards? The only difference was that Kaepernick was able to rely on the defense and running game in that game.

      4. Jack,

        The difference is that Russell needed to make plays and could not because they were in a dog fight last night. We had the Houston game under control. We were gnashing them with the run and our defense scored and gave us a short field for another score early. 21-3! We just coasted from there. No real urgency to start chucking it around.

      5. Folk,

        Have you been watching the chiefs games? Alex is just as lucky as the Seahawks! Everything you described about Kap, that’s exactly what has been happening with Alex. Have you read what the QBR for ESPN means? Do you know what factors exist. It’s being a QB that I sinful control of the game and is doing absolutely nothing to hurt his offense. Kap has the 2 highest rated games this year. No picks, sacks or negative plays in those 2 games. No bad plays that hurt his team in those 2 games. He was a force in both games. Alex has not done that in most games he’s played this year. He takes sacks with the best of them.

      6. Jordan,

        You’re right. Seattle was in a dog fight last night and Wilson made the biggest play of the night.

        That’s what good players do. When they are struggling they find a way to help their team win the game.

        This argument that Bay and your are trying to make is exactly like the one many have been ripping Grant for making regarding Gore. If not for this _ _ _. Same thing.

      7. Jack,
        Winners win. Plain and simple. Wilson is a scrappy winner. No matter how bad it gets, he’s always one play away from winning the game.
        I didn’t watch the game, but after awhile it’s not luck, it’s intangible.
        You have to chase him for 60 minutes.
        Colin hasn’t been challenged yet this year.
        It’s either he sucks so bad the team is losing, or the team is way ahead and he manages the game. Which is all well and good.
        He is certainly dynamic and has all kinds of athletic ability. I’m still waiting for him to read the Defense, make that audible, then go to the 3rd progression.
        That’s what I want to see evolve at the end of the season.
        Seattle will drop another game. Maybe not at him, with the exception of NO.
        NO have been Super Bowl champs. They know how to get it done. Seattle reminds me sometimes of the Freddy P softie Niners from last year.
        The team walked around like they were entitled to the SB. Nope. You got to take it from them.
        I do sense a quiet swagger with the Niners this year, which is good.

      8. Wilson couldn’t do much with the turnstiles he was playing behind last night. Seattle’s Oline was a mess which is why they had so much trouble offensively.

      9. Jack,

        Are you telling me that you don’t see the difference between Bay’s argument and mine? I expounded a bit more on the point I was trying to make. There’s a real possibility that Kap could have thrown for ZERO yards in our game against Houston. We didn’t need anything from Kap. If we needed 250 yards that game, I’m sure we could’ve gotten close to that amount. You know that games are called differently by Roman depending on the situation. We get very conservative with big leads. Not all teams do that. Teams like Green Bay and Denver don’t.

      10. Jordan,

        The only difference is that Wilson had to make the play and he did.

        You’re right, Kaepernick could have very easily ended that game 5-14 for 59 yards and it still would have been a blowout thanks to the defense and running game.

      11. That’s my point jack, Kap did what he was asked to do. Control the ball and run the offense without turning it over. Remember the drops also Jack. Were 3rd in the league!

      12. Fan,

        Did you see the Green Bay game???? I guessed you missed that one as well. Aaron Rogers gave Kap a pretty good challenge. Kap threw for 412 yards and how many touchdowns?? I call that rising to the challenge. So obviously, your assessment in incorrect. See, I disputed what you said and gave you fact. On top of that,I didn’t even call you a name! Just said you were wrong and proved it.

      13. 23 Jordan,
        Did you see the Seattle game from this year? How about the Indy game?
        Did you see the game where he was 5-14 for 59 yards?
        I think those were two games where he was going up against a decent QB.

        Oh by the way, I’ve been meaning to ask you, how much was the tuition for clown school? I’m thinking abut taking it so I can entertain my girlfriend’s kids.

      14. Jack

        Saying Wilson made the play of the night last night is a little bit of a stretch, for a few reasons. First, the pass was short, as in off-target. Second, Janoris Jenkins didn’t attack the ball in the air like he is taught to do, so he didn’t intercept a ball he should have picked. Third, Tate came back across Jenkins hard, attacking the off-target ball, catching a sure-fire interception, and making the play of the night in the process.

        Is Wilson good? Yes, but last night he was awful, and that pass was just as terrible as the rest of his game. Luckily, Jenkins was high on Mary Jane and Tate was peaking on Adderall.

      15. Have you read what the QBR for ESPN means? Do you know what factors exist.

        Actually, outside of ESPN, I don’t think anyone does. Since its inception, ESPN has treated the calculation as a proprietary secret and has been unwilling to share it.

      16. Kap did what he was asked to do. Control the ball and run the offense without turning it over.

        But you used to say that …

        Never mind. I’m not getting dragged into that mess tonight.

      17. The difference between QBR and QB rating is that QBR takes more factors into account that lead to winning a game. They look at rushing yards, sacks, passes thrown away to avoid a sack etc., whereas passer rating places huge value on TD’s vs. ints and little else. Neither system is fool proof but I think QBR is far more accurate in it’s representation of rating the play of a QB than the old system.

        Kap had two bad games in Seattle and vs. the Colts. In every other game he’s been excellent in running the offense within the system and doing what is asked of him. The last two games he’s added that running dimension that was so valuable last year as well. If he keeps playing the way he has the past few weeks, the Niners will be in good position especially if Manningham and Crabtree come back relatively healthy.

      18. My top ’9ers thus far….
        #1 Navorrow Bowman
        #2 Frank Gore
        #3 Joe Staley
        #4 Justin Smith
        #5 Bruce Miller
        #6 Ray McDonald
        #7 Mike Iupati
        #8 Vernon Davis
        #9 Eric Reid
        #10 Alex Boone
        Kaepernick is in there, but not the top 10…he’s doing what he’s asked to do….it seems as though JH and GR aren’t asking too much of the QB, though, since they know we have an outstanding defense that can take control of a game…..hmmm….

  2. Interesting. I can’t really argue against these choices although Gore and Boldin deserve major credit too. But what surprises me most is that the Defense has been instrumental in the wins, but the individuals blend more into systemic success. Sure Cowboy and Bow and Whitner and Reid, but it’s more about the unit. Also on offense we haven’t heard Anthony Davis’ name much, and that tends to be a good thing on the OL.

  3. Hard for me to choose …
    EVERYONE has been great …
    (‘cept Kyle) ..

    but any list .. (for me)
    .. has to also include Brock and Reid ..

      1. One Weiner,

        You have been kicked off this site, more times then your Boy Toy rolls to the right and throws the ball out of bounds. Look in the mirror, right above your melon, it has arrow above it, that says MORON.

  4. The 49ers could draft Tevin Reese in the fourth or fifth round. He’s about the same size as DeSean Jackson or Cliff Branch. Reese currently is averaging 25 yards per catch and he has 8 TDs.


    Reese runs a 4.31 http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/college-sports/baylor-bears/20131024-hairopoulos-deep-stats—baylor-wrs-antwan-goodley-and-tevin-reese-have-totaled-1565-receiving-yards-11-tds-of-40-plus-yards.ece

    Baylor wide receivers have had an excellent track record recently, pardon the pun.

    1. Hey Grant …
      s’cuse the off topic, please .. but ..
      I think our secondary needs a nick name ..
      heck .. so do many individuals on the team as well
      (ya see where I’m goin’ here ?)

      It’s just screaming’ for a thread discussion !

      “What nickname would you give who ? .. and why ?”

      (ok .. I have way too much time on my hands !)

    2. I like Cody Hoffman from BYU. He’s big 6’4″ and 4.5 speed. He is breaking their all time receiving records when guys like Austin Collie and Dennis Pita went there. He would have been a 3rd-5th rounder last year but came back for his senior year.

      1. Reese is having a much better season than Hoffman. I think the 49ers should want big-play ability over size at the split end position. The Niners need an outside deep threat Kaepernick can’t overthrow and that’s Reese.

      2. Grant i think the 9ers will take care of that big play threat in the 1st rd. I believe they will package their 1st one of their 2nds and possibly a 3rd to move up close to the top 10 where they will draft a WR. Which one, i’m not sure yet but i will have a pick ready after bowl season.

        1. I don’t think they have to. DeSean Jackson was a 2nd round pick. Cliff Branch was a 4th round pick. Tevin Reese seems to fit the bill and he’ll be available in the fourth round. Get the cornerback in the first round. Trade up and get Loucheiz Purifoy from Florida.

      3. They should take them both. Next year there will Crabtree, Baldwin, and Patton under contract. Take the speedy Reese and the big redzone guy in Hoffman and let them develop. If Patton can turn into a bit of Crabtree and pick up YAC that would be a good yound future for the 49ers.

      4. I would much rather see us resign Brown and Brock [if he is a FA next yr] along with Culliver thats 3 pretty good CB’s, who all know Fangio’s coverage packages.

        1. He’s more of a flanker like Crabtree. The 49ers need speed, they need Odell Beckham Jr. or Brandin Cooks or Tevin Reese. I’m leaning toward Reese because he’ll be the best value and the fastest. Kaepernick shouldn’t be the fastest player on the offense.

      5. True, but there is a good chance that Crabtree will be too expensive for the team in a couple of years. And it also doesn’t stop the team from drafting Reese either. This would allow the team to not only strengthen their WR corps but have a contingency plan in place for Crabtree’s potential departure when his contract ends. Two birds with one stone.

      6. Don’t worry. He’s not the fastest. Kaep ran a 4.53 in the 40.

        So he’s slower than LaMichael James, Kyle Williams, Vernon Davis, Kendall Hunter, Quinton Patton, Jon Baldwin, Marlon Moore.

        Outside of a healthy RG3 and a younger Michael Vick, even the fastest QB’s get run down by the quick LBs.

        His 40 time is 0.01 seconds faster than Anthony Dixon. In other words, being a fast QB doesn’t = being fast at the skill positions. Outside of Dixon, he’s also faster than Bruce Miller, Vance McDonald and Greg Celek.

      7. 49ers should be looking to draft 2 WRs in 2014 – at least one of them early.

        One of them has to add a speed element to the offense, but they also need a reliable bigger bodied guy to replace Boldin and potentially Crabtree down the road.

      8. …After spraining his left knee against Arizona State on Sept. 28, Lee found himself on the sidelines, but was cleared to play on Saturday against Notre Dame. Unfortunately for the Trojans, Southern Cal’s all-time receiving yards leader again tweaked his knee and left the game in the first half, watching the rest of the game from the bench. Lee is an athletic playmaker who projects as a first round pick based on his talent and production, but his durability concerns have gone from a slight concern to a strong red flag for NFL scouts. We’ll see how long this latest setback will keep him on the sidelines, but Lee should focus on getting healthy for the next level and not rush back to action, which isn’t exactly in his DNA. – Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

      9. True Grant – you know I like Lee too. He may not be considered a big WR, but he’s big enough. A guy like Tevin Reece would be nice playing that TY Hilton role for the 49ers.

      10. That will depend on where the team is by the end of the fourth quarter during the Super Bowl Grant. As of right now, Lee is projected to go in the 15-25 range. And Baalke hasn’t ever shown an interest in trading up for a WR, no matter what his potential is.

      11. Whatnot: Sports science timed Kaeps run against GB as the fastest speed achieved by any player last year. Some points to consider. There is a big difference between a time on a track with out gear and a players playing speed on a football field in gear. The NFL combine is a one time and event some players get faster with time and others get slower. Some of this is because of wear and tear and another is the players effort. Colin’s combine was over three years ago. I will bet you that he is much faster now than he was then and that some of the players you mentioned are slower. Not only was he a late bloomer physically but he spends an insane amount of effort in the off season improving himself physically. A lot of players work their tails off to get ready for the combine. They get into the best physical condition of their lives. But they don’t maintain that same level afterwards. CJ of the Titans is an example. His first two years he played lights out but it took him progressively longer each season to get into game shape. His speed has obviously diminished so that he is no where close to what he was when he started. So you couldn’t say that he runs a 4.2+ forty now could you. Those time you quote were what they ran at the combine but not what they would run now and you couldn’t say otherwise. So you see what those players ran during their combines can not really be used as proof that they are faster or slower now on a football field. Sports science says different.

      12. Two years ago this blog was all agog about the speedy little WR who played with RG3; I think he went to Titans but haven’t read much about him since. Then last year it was discussed here how Tavon Austin was going to light up NFL scoreboards like a pinball machine. Remember? The Rams drafting Austin and the Seahawks trading for Harvin were going to leave the Niners in the dust. The Great Slot Corner Debate.
        (Harvin IS a threat looming, I’ll admit).
        Point is, a small guy who can’t get release against press coverage can’t use his speed to get separation. A big guy who isn’t fast cant threaten the defense deep.
        So we need a big guy who gets release, gets deep, has great hands, leaps and can get run-after-catch. I’m sure there will be many to choose from in the draft. ; >)

      13. BT
        The key is to take a medium guy with good speed like Sammy Watkins. Just not in the top 20. I do have to say that the Woods and Jenkins experience has me worried picking a wr in the late 1st round

      14. I guess the Niners passing on Stephen Hill was ok as he hasn’t developed all that much, even though the AJJ pick fizzled. I remember being suspicious of the Rashaun Woods pick. They used the term “makes catches even when covered…” I was thinking, if he’s covered in college, how is he going to get separation in the Pros? Well, turns out the team had to get separation from Woods and Donahue, but the wasted #1 left a hole in the Supply Chain for talent.
        Patton will be a contributor at Z, IMO, but seems like that gives SF 3 good Zs: Boldin, Crabtree and Patton. MM probably sticks. Baldwin probably doesn’t. Can Jacobs beat press? Should LMJ get some time with the WRs like Vernon did to refine his skills? We need to upgrade for Celek. These are offseason moves. Who they target in the draft or FA, I can’t say yet.

      15. I’ve thrown his name out there a few times to the sound of silence but I’ll try it again; Devin Street from Pitt. Looks like he could use some meat on them bones which throws the AJ fear into the equation, can he fight and get free off the line in the NFL? He appears to play faster then his 40 time suggests which is good because it isn’t very low. Anyway, it’s super early but Im going to keep my eye on him as a potential SE.

    3. Reese is a baller, but our style of play is more conducive for a big physical type that can battle the likes of Sherman and Browner. Our running offense also dictates the he must be able to block.

      Mike Evans at Texas A&M would fit the bill, but he will be a top ten pick which puts him out of our range.

      1. AES
        Ding Ding Ding. Just what I was thinking. When he was abusing alabama with the long ball I was already picturing him in the scarlet and gold. He is 6’5 with good vert and hands, he has run after catch ability as well as they like to throw bubble screens and he slaloms his way down the field. He has surprising speed and should be around rd 2-3.
        1a Kelvin Benjamin FSU also a good red zone target not as fast but 6’5 mauler to push browner and sherman around
        1b Rashad Greene smaller but still fast and a playmaker

      2. Correct Grant.
        Manningham is not big and physical and that may very well be part of the reason why he has either sustained injuries or not held down a #2 WR spot.

        We got Manningham at a bargain price which likely warranted his signing.

        I was hoping that Baldwin could become the type of big physical WR that could handle Sherman and Browner but that isnt looking very promising at the moment.

    4. 49ers most immediate need is a massive run stuffing Nose Tackle like Vince Wilfork or maybe like Haloti Ngata. That would be my #1 priority in the offseason. They can get enough out of the WR’s for next year and with Lattimore hopefully ready to help in the run game they can focus on the defense. Too many teams are running freely on the 9ers this year. 9ers are 14th against the rush so far this year and I can see a precipitous decline in the defense next year due to age and wear and tear so they need to infuse some young blood especially on the d-line. Not sure what if anything Carradine will give them but they need a top notch NT to control the middle and reinforce outward from there.

      1. Houston from what i’ve read Fangio’s style of 3-4 needs an active nose tackle as opposed to a huge run stuffer. Ian Williams fit the bill perfectly before he was injured. Dial might be another fit, more in the style of Sopoaga or A. Franklin.

      2. I know it was too early to tell about Williams but there seemed to be a pretty big drop off from what Sopoaga was giving them. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the run defense has dropped off since Sopoaga left. I want to see them reinforce that position as a high priority.

      3. dude, really? Carradine is a DE, not a NT. Ian Williams looked really good until he was hurt. Dorsey is playing great when not injured. Run D is fine. We do need depth at DE

      4. JD I know exactly what Carradine is and all about his collegiate history and where he’s projected to play. The 49ers were using Glenn Dorsey who’s primarily been a 5 technique in his career and they moved him down to play the 3 technique. It’s quite possible they could ask Carradine to do the same just for this year until they can bring in a true NT next year.

        Run D is average at best right now. I think they need to jump on improving that Run D before it’s a problem next year.

  5. My view: which players, if taken away, would cause the 49ers to collapse, or close to it?

    1. Kaep.
    2. Gore. Runs/efficiency, blitz pickup, all around blocking. He’s the meat and potatoes of this offense. Hunter has talent, but I don’t think he can take the pounding as an every down back, and he can’t block like FG.
    3. Boldin. He can be shut down, but he’s our only WR threat. VD is the speed threat that keeps the safeties honest, but if we had lost Boldin along the way, we would have been in deep stuff. And in a pinch, Kaep looks for Boldin.

    1. #1 Losing Justin Smith would castrate the 49ers. They wouldn’t be able to stop the run w/o 8+ men in the box. He’s also the only player providing any inside pressure. McDonald is a shell of himself, but still the 2nd best DL. Maybe it’s the hamstring, but Dorsey frequently gets pushed back 2 yards by a single blocker.

      But whatever, even the most knowledgeable fans gloss over the importance of 3-4 line play.

      #2 Losing Reid and putting in Dahl would probably cripple the 2ndary until Aldon returns.

      #3 As we’ve seen, the drop off from Brock to Nnamdi is huge. He’s basically nullified the fact that they went from Aldon Smith to Skuta/Lemonier.

      Frankly, even w/ Kaep, this offense relies on the defense to force TOs, produce 3 and outs, and field position (3rd best, despite Kyle Williams providing them nothing – or they’d be 1st)

      Thanks to the special teams defense the d starts w/ the 11th best field position. But if their special teams was closer to average, they’d be in the bottom five thanks to their offense.

      The 49ers kill in time of possession, but that’s not b/c of their offense (18th in the NFL per drive). It’s the d (4th). Kaep and VD eventually hit a deep shot b/c they get so so so so so so many chances to do so. That’s true for Gore and his big runs too.

      If they had to go to Dobbs instead of Smith, or Dahl instead of Reid, or back to Asomugha instead of Brock (w/o Aldon), they would be giving up 20+ points per game and the offense would be averaging 10+ points a game. The 49ers would basically turn into the 2013 SF Giants.

      The Giants have some good hitters, but they won b/c of their starting pitching. The 9ers won b/c of their front 7. This year Whitner and Brock have pulled a Vogelsong and overcome the loss of Aldon and Willis. Despite somewhat shaky tackling, Reid has been as much of an improvement over Goldson in coverage as Dorsey has been a downgrade in therun game from Sopoaga and RJF.

      The Giants probably had better hitting this year than in 2010. Thye also managed to contend w/o Posey, their best hitter, in 2011.

      As long as the 9ers don’t lose a guy on d where the next man up is a huge dropoff or if they got a huge upgrade at NT or LDE or slot CB to make up for said loss, they would also at least stay in contention even with lesser offensive players than they have now.

      1. whatnot: In baseball a good defense beats a good offense. Since most games are low scoring and pitching plays such a major role. A good pitching performance can easily shut down a good hitting team. Pitching is the major factor in baseball.

        Not that long ago having an over powering defense could get you a win in the Superbowl. Now because of progressively more and more rule changes that favor the offense that is becoming more unlikely. Now a great defense is not enough to compensate for an anemic offense. Times have changed.

        Oh by the way! The corresponding position of importance to baseballs “pitcher” is not on the defense in football, but it’s the “QB” who plays on offense. Your base ball analogy is flawed.

  6. Left this a few minutes ago at the end of the comments on gameday. But how about a grade for Baalke? Look who just topped the list of all pro rookie cornerbacks through the first half of this season. Why, it’s none other than Marcus Cooper, late of the San Francisco 49ers. And look who remains from that memorable 49ers draft of 2012 — soon to be none. Why, oh why, does everyone seem to give Baalke and company such credence and near universal acclaim? I just don’t get it. And don’t forget B.J. Daniels, who could come back in a few years and terrorize the Niners. C- for Baalke.

    1. Maybe look at what he has done right instead of just focusing on the one that got away, most teams have multiple flops and guys who become successful somewhere else. BJ Daniels won’t be terrorizing anybody but the kids on his lawn in a few years.

    2. Who pissed in your Cheerios? What a shock a #7 doesn’t make a super bowl squad. BJ, give me a break. Get used to other teams picking up our outcasts and doing well because we have 60+ NFL caliber guys to fill 53 spots thanks to Baalke.

      1. Maui,
        it’s how some guys are built. Five game wins streak. Each game we scored 30+. Yet the room still has all this negativity….. I don’t make stuff like that up. People are twisted….

  7. bruce miller for me sneaks into the top 3. Hes been the unsung hero in getting us back on track. Leads the way on virtually every run attempt and the little 2 yard out pattern he runs with kaep rolling to him is their go to play to get Kaep comfortable when hes struggling. Also Bowman and VD are 1 2 on my list with Reid being a close 4.

    1. Agreed – he started out rough but ever since they signed Marecic he’s been one of the best performers every week.

  8. I can not argue against your list Grant. Reid is a better FS than Mr. Goldson, and the difference in personalities is a significant reason for the systemic success of the secondary imho….

  9. Gore, Davis and Reid. Niners went into the toilet when Frank didn’t get the ball, Davis is the only legit long hauler and Reid stepped straight into the defensive backfield and is looking like a perennial all pro with each game.

  10. This is hard! If I tried to do this again later, you might get three different names.

    1. Vernon Davis
    2. Navarro Bowman
    3. Eric Reid

    I want to note that when he was drafted, I thought that long term Reid would be an upgrade over Goldson, but I thought that wouldn’t be until after 2-3 years of development. I was wrong; I think he’s better now. That has been a pleasant surprise and a credit to that young man.

    Guys I debated including and hated to leave off: Gore, Kaepernick, Brock, Staley, Boldin, Boone. Love ‘em all.

    1. Thank you! Considering that football is the quintessential team sport, it’s funny how many columns by Grant consists of ranking individual players. It’s the fantasy football mentality, I think.

  11. 1. F. Gore
    2. V. Davis
    3. A. Boldin

    I believe Gore is the reason why the Niners have turned their season around from a abysmal start. His comments about running the ball after the 1-2 start, returned the Niners to their identity and saved the season. Pounding the ball!!

    1. That is one factor, but their are also others. There are going to be teams where pounding the ball will not work and then there need to be other options. Gore is running really well right now, but what is not being considered is that his lack of carries in the previous games has kept him fresh. He began to wear down towards the end of last year when he didn’t have Hunter to split carries with him They need to not abandon the run but split duties with Hunter so that he remains fresh. Some of us have not said he was done, but only that he is done being a full time all season multi carry running back.

  12. I would have to take staley off and add Bowman. That guy is all over the place and held down the fort very well when his hombre #52 was out.

  13. 1. V. Davis – he’s by far the most dangerous receiving threat and still a very good blocker. I shudder to think what this offense would look like without him.

    2. D. Whitner & E. Reid – the secondary has played well for the most part this year, and a lot of that has to do with how well Eric Reid has slotted in for Goldson. But Whitner is the one that calls the shots. He’s looked much better now he doesn’t have to worry about Goldson missing assignments. Will be interesting to see if the 49ers try to re-sign him now.

    3. J. Staley – he’s a critical cog in the running game. 49ers best on a dominant run blocking OL.

    Close behind are Gore (Roman and Harbaugh turned to Gore when the chips were down at 1-2 – enough said) and Kaepernick (started out hot, looked lost for a few weeks, but has bounced back the past few games)

    Kaep’s the most important piece of the jigsaw puzzle for the 49ers, but the 49ers turn-around has been mostly down to a re-emphasis on the running game and Gore, not Kaep, so I can’t rate him in the top 3 or above Gore.

    1. Good explanations Scooter and I agree with you. We saw what the offense looked like without Davis and it wasn’t pretty.

    2. +1 Scooter, like the picks and the reasons why. We have a number of guys who have played very well. Nobody has mentioned Brooks, who I think is very solid in all aspects. Bowman-Miller-Gore all deserve consideration as well.

    3. ” V. Davis – he’s by far the most dangerous receiving threat and still a very good blocker. I shudder to think what this offense would look like without him.”

      Just go back to the Colts game….it was ugly!

  14. (1) Kaep – keeps opposing Ds off-balance
    (2) Davis – continues to answer the call to ever-expanding duties
    (3) Reid – (underrated) has drastically improved Niners’ pass defense over The Hawk (who was overrated)

    1. Agree with you all. The Niner’s need to get a young #1 go to receiver, rather than an expensive one with an unknown expiration date. Age can creep up at any time. He might still have a long career or he could be totally done in a couple of years.

      1. Double post by accident: still I agree with your list. They seem to be the least replaceable players on the team. Although I might want to put Boltin in there also. I figure it which players would leave the biggest void if there backups had to play. Kaep – Who would want McCoy to run the offense. Davis’s- big drop off to the rookie. Reid also a big drop off to the replacement and besides he makes Hitner better. But with Boltin the drop off behind him would be staggering. So if I had to I would replace and drop Reid. I think with the other defenders they could be compensated for. The LB are strong. The D line is also strong. The cornerbacks are not that much better than the ones on the bench.

  15. Bay mentioned it earlier but Larry Fitzgerald is being shopped around, though it is expected that if he is traded that it will happen during the offseason. Is he worth trading perhaps two round picks for? Or maybe even a first and second?

    1. Midwest i would trade the house for Fitzgerald. The problem is there is no way the 9ers could fit him under the cap. Draft picks come cheap and please nobody give me that tired old cliche that Fitz might sign cheap to play with the 9ers

      1. old coach I agree. As good as Fitz is, he’s being paid like a QB almost and that is near impossible to fit under the cap if you want to be strong elsewhere.

      2. OC

        ImI’m not big on Fitz. I don’t see the speed, he can be defended. There is only one Megatron. Fits is getting old on the field to me. He no longer jumps off the screen like he used to.

      3. They could be able to convince him to take less pay Coach. It may be cliché but that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen.
        I agree 23 but he wouldn’t necessarily have to be the #1 WR here. He might even resurrect his career with a competent and upcoming QB like Kaep throwing to him.

      4. Agree with you all. The Niner’s need to get a young #1 go to receiver, rather than an expensive one with an unknown expiration date. Age can creep up at any time. He might still have a long career or he could be totally done in a couple of years.

    2. Some say Fitz is too slow. Remember how Boldin was too old and slow to help,the Niners? Yeah, me too. I don’t think he’ll take the pay cut to fit here. I’m not sure he should, he should get what he can. I don’t know if the Pats could find a way to fit him.

      1. fitz slow? c’mon now.. he just burned our secondary unit in the game against the cards! i’d take fitz any day if he was able to fit under the cap!!

      2. He will never take a pay cut. Remember who his agent is? The same agent for Crabtree. We all know how that guy is. We said that contract was an albatross. They paid Fitz a ton. That’s why he never complains about losing. He making a Mint!

  16. 1. Kap
    2. Bowman (leads team in tackles by a mile)
    3. Gore
    4. V.D.
    5. Staley

    Honarable mention:
    Reid, Hitner, Willis, Brooks (3.5 sacks) and T. Brock

  17. Leaving Gore off anyone’s top 3 is laughable… In fact, I’d say Kap and Gore are easily 1 & 2. Oh that’s right, ‘he’s done’. Whoops……..

  18. 1. Bowman
    2. Offensive Line- (Every guy is carrying their weight, can’t really just say it is just Staley…)
    3. Gore/Miller
    4. Vernon
    5. Reid/Brock- Together, those two have changed the perception of the secondary. Has made whitner and brown step up their game also.
    6. Special Teams (Spillman, ventrone, dahl, etc…) Been phenomenal this year (excluding the return game).
    7. Dorsey/ J. Smith/ R. McDonald- Rushing yards have been there, but mostly in garbage time (Seattle is the only exception, everybody on this list pretty much has an exception that game.)
    8. Kaep- Hard to say because his dual threat is considered every game and has an impact. However, only in the Green Bay has he truly taken over this year. New Orleans will probably his next opportunity to shine.
    9. Trainers- Getting Manningham, Tank, and Crab ready for the second half.
    10. Boldin- Could be huge once other wide receivers come back and the double teams subside.

    Honorable mentions are wilhoite for stepping up when put in the starter role and mcdonald, who is blocking well just not involved in the passing game yet.

  19. 1. Mike Iupati

    2. Joe Staley

    3. Jonathan Goodwin

    4. Alex Boone

    5. Anthony Davis

    The Niners don’t do anything this year without protecting CK and thru 8 games have protected him well. Without CK this season is done. Who the hell else is more important or has done their job better than this five man unit?

    You fantasy jerk pots keep looking at the highlight reels and QBR rating. No clue!

    1. I’d leave Iupati out. He’s regressed this season to a point that his pass protection shortcomings is beginning to overshadow his run blocking prowess.

  20. 1) Vernon Davis – Without him there is no passing game (See Indy)
    2) Navarro Bowman – Best LB on team with 2 best ILB’s in the game today
    3) Frank Gore – (See Indy)

      1. QB is the toughest position to play in the NFL. Maybe in all of sports. Without a number one wr, no way we are in as good as shape as we are in without Kaep. Period. It’s also why next year he will be our highest paid player.

      2. Who’s game has he elevated? Why can’t you answer that? Because he hasn’t! And don’t say Vernon because his game was already elevated! Highest paid athletes make others around them better. See Magic, Jordan, Montana!

      3. Jack,

        Fair enough, but how good would VD’s stats look without CK?

        To me, the most valuable player, and the one whose loss would be most devastating, is CK. There is no doubt in my mind (I’m not saying disagreeing with this view is unreasonable, just that it’s crystal clear, for me).

        After CK, there are many players who could be on the list, and most, if not all, of them have appeared on the various lists on this thread.

        What this discussion, and the wide variety of opinions expressed (most of the opinions have merit, IMO, aside from CK at the number 1, also, IMO) highlight to me, is just how interdependent each player, on each unit, is with one another; and how interdependent each unit on a team is with the other two.

        As a result, the only player whose place I’m solidly convinced of is CK. If I had to fill out the tip three, I would include NB, VD, J Smith, A Smith, JStaley, Reid, Boldin, Gore, Iupati, PW, Miller………… Wait a minute. One, two, three, four, five……. Maybe it should be a top twenty………

        BTW, Jack, if you really think that was a great throw Wilson made, the only explanation I can come up with is that you just didn’t see it correctly. You should watch it again. That was a slightly underthrown ball, into good coverage, and nine times out of ten Jenkins makes the pick or, at least, breaks up the pass.

      4. Ex,

        I never said Wilson’s pass was great. Only that he made the play that needed to be made along with Tate.

        Regarding Kaepernick’s placement on the list, my response was partly tongue in cheek.

      5. Jack,

        If throwing a ball that should’ve been intercepted or incomplete and was misplayed by the defense into a 80 yard TD can be called making a play, I guess you could say Wilson made a play. You and I will have to agree to disagree on this one.

  21. Problem is that where would the Niners be without like 10 players, some backups…this team is just loaded with talent and depth everywhere. I mean Lemonier, Brock, Reid, Dorsey…where would we be without this guys. Brock might be biggest difference…our secondary got noticeably tighter when he started…just saying, too many contributors

  22. Keep in mind that Kaep has been working thru somethings on his foot/feet over 4-5 games. Thankfully, he seems to be back!

    1. I think Harbs was trying to hide the foot injury, and Kaep’s name appeared on the injury list a week ago intentionally.

      1. What did I tell you Jack. Now we know why Clemons is a backup and why the Shottenheimers are always getting the 2nd place ribbons. What a call on 4th down. Looked like us last year in the Super Bowl! Seattle IS the LUCKIEST team in football However, just when they need to be the luckiest, their luck will run out. It won’t be until the layoffs but it’s gonna hurt when it happens. Remember this message jack.

        At least we have some valuable film on the Seahawks. You need some edge rushers. I bet on the over on sacks tonight. The total number was 5 1/2. Rams sacked Wilson 6 times last year. Total sacks tonight, 11 between both teams.

      2. Jordo,
        the Rams should have run the read option with a WR at QB on third down. They needed to run the ball and stretch the field. Those last two plays were pathetic.

        So when we beat them at home and our records are tied, what is the first tie breaker? I know it’s divisional record. But all things being equal, does it come down to who scored more points against the other?

      3. Bay,

        Seattle takes teams lightly and the blueprint is there. If we keep continuing to run the football the way we are, we will thrash Seattle when we see them again. Pass rush is critical. Clearly, we need 8 in the box to stop Lynch and it’s ballgame.

      4. You are right bay. I was thinking QB draw on 3rd down but you need an athletic QB. Clemons is just not that guy. They faked the end around off of the dive all game. They never did run it. They don’t use Tavon Austin’s speed effectively. He’s not an effective pass catcher, but you have to give the kid the ball in the run game. He has too much speed for the team to waste it.

      5. I just don’t think Gore is quick enough against Seattle. I like Hunter on the edges. I think Miller will be a weapon for us too. Gotta run Kaep like crazy that game. Bury them…. Manhandle that punk Tate too. I would be so fired up if during the coin flip Gore said, ” I must break you”…..

      6. Very good point Bay. I love Gore. His patience is impeccable. It’s just that his quicks and speed are diminished. We need a guy that’s hits the hole hard and fast. Stacy is nice for the Rams. That guy is Lattimore. I wish he were ready. In time though.

  23. 1. Bowman, because he’s playing like the best LB in the game and hasn’t had a down quarter yet.
    2. VD, because so much rests on his shoulders for the entire offense to work. His recognition of defenses and ability to get open has reached an elite level.
    3. Staley, because he consistently wins one-on-one battles against opponents possessing exceptional power, speed and agility.

  24. Bottom 3:

    1. Kyle Williams
    2. Kyle Williams
    3. Kyle Williams

    The 49ers can not justify keeping this guy when the boat load of in actives return from to the active roster.

  25. I frequently go to Comcast sports to see what MM has going on. I saw this on the 49er page, and thought it to be quite funny
    Quote of the Day
    We have the most paranoid staff in the National Football League. We go over things so many times that when you go in the game, you could do it in your sleep.

    – Donte Whitner

      1. Jack – If I could choke-out Pete without doing time, I’d probably do it. I hate that beady-eyed rat bastard. He’s got as much class as …..well, my ass!
        Go Rams!

  26. Wow. Clemons sucks lemons. And these big bad seahaks are overrated. Rams Just continue to run on these holding cream puffs

  27. Although the seahaks are going to win tonight. A got a good laugh at carrol and his cockiness. He tried to run the exact option twice on the goal line and it got nothing twice.

    1. And contain there only threat besides lynch.
      I agree and if there is a team that has a front 7 that tackles and has speed it’s our Niners.

    2. Until Aldon comes back, the Niners don’t have the pass rush to do what St. Louis did to the Seahawks last night. Their midget QB was sacked 7 times and Least Mode was shut down big time. The blue print may be there, but you need the personnel to implement it.

      1. We are talking about the friggin Rams who have pretty much sucked all year. Our personnel is better than theirs. When Aldon gets back and with Tank getting some play to back up McD on pass downs we can get after it. Still waiting for Vic to unleash some blitzes…maybe he’s saving that for RW. Seattle’s O line is suspect.

  28. 1) Staley
    2) V. Davis
    3) A. Davis
    4) Bowman
    5) Gore
    6) Boone
    7) Kap
    8) Reid
    9) Boldin
    10) Willis
    *J. Smith surging

    Who does a “Top 3″ anyway? Should always be a Top Ten.

  29. Rams defense is playing great. Quinn is having an amazing game.
    the Rams offense stinks.
    Seattle’s offense is looking bad.:)

    1. I like how the Rams’ D-linemen ATTACK the Hawks’ O-linemen. Punch ‘em back right off the snap. We need to do more of that in our next meeting with Seattle. Last time, it seemed like we were trying to just hold our ground and read-and-react–and they were pushing us back off the ball.

      1. I also liked how they didnt get out of their pass rushing lanes and left gaping holes for RW to scramble through. Gruden kept harping on the safety “hugging”(spying maybe?) the LOS and not letting RW get out of the pocket, They dont have the WR threats to warrant 2 safeties deep so its stack the box time and just wait for RW to toss it up for grabs (we just have to make sure the Db keeps his feet and deflects/picks it off C’Mon J.Jenkins)

  30. Rams use two speed crusher’s which appears to give Seattle trouble. Need Aldon back by the Seattle game. With Brooks on one side and Aldon on the other we could do some damage.

    1. Thats Notre Dame for you honor respect and all. Like T.Tebow said about his one time backup and golden domer golden boy. “You act like its a hallowed place?? We all could have gone there but we wanted to win”

    1. Is it just me or does Seattle seem to always pull a rabbit out of the hat with crazy chuck & duck passes that somehow become back breaking plays. They seem pretty damn lucky. They got outplayed by the Rams but still got a W. Same old Rams…SMH.

  31. I can’t wait to play Seattle!
    While the c-hawks have looked anything but super over the last few games, we have been on the rise.

    By the time we play them at the Stick we are going to be hitting our stride.
    Love it!

      1. Front four is pretty good. Rams had almost 200 yards rushing against the awesome front four of the Seahawks. 8 in the box and keep Russell in the pocket. Game over.

  32. Jesus the Rams’ play calling inside the 2 yard line was as bad as the Niners in the Super Bowl.

    You seemingly pound it down their throats all night, and then decide to go empty backfield on the last play? Take away any threat of a run and tell the best secondary in football you’re going to attempt a pass? Way to show your hand.

    1. Zac Stacy was injured and their only option was Daryl Richardson who has been downright awful this year. Still, they could have had a back on that final play.

  33. ” Hey, Colin, what is your motto?
    You have no problem with the ugly win;
    just gimme the W….
    that’s all that matters.”

    Russell (7-1) Wilson
    How’s that for a midseason report card?
    (I guess it beats 6-2, cool dude…)
    We will enjoy the home field advantage.
    You’re okay with goin’ wildcard, right?

    1. Sure. You’re OK with being the saddest moron on this blog, right?
      Alex should be charged with Pet Dumping for not taking you with him when he moved to KC. What did he put you out in the back yard and then leave out the front? No forwarding address? Have you no sense of personal embarrassment? Alex is doing great, you’re unravelling.

  34. That game evoked memories of the superbowl and that mon night game against the cardinals 5yrs back…Guess thats why is pisses me off so bad

      1. 23J,

        Ask Crabs about my recent jinx string. Unfortunately it didn’t pay off for the Rams tonight, but they followed the plan laid out above almost perfectly. It’s too bad Clemens was in at QB.

      2. 23J – It’s true….Jack needs to stay far from Vegas. His blog articles are tremendous but he’s off on his predictions and when he praises any team during first qtr of games, they are cursed rest of the game. :) …You’re both slacking in our yahoo pickem league.

      3. Rib another blind whack and slash of 23welchers proclamations.
        Look the Seattle Seahawks are the best team in football. Whether any of us want to admit that, its true. They are on a huge momentum and confidence ride right now pulling wins out they shouldn’t out of their arses. Maybe their bubble will burst by December but right now they are a very good team.

      4. Seriously Rib why even make the comment. The Rams BEAT UP the Seahawks last night. With a crappy third string QB.
        Wilson threw one up and the DB misplayed the ball. That was the difference.
        Had the Rams kicker made his last field goal we wouldnt even be having this discussion.
        As for your comment FDM thst Seattle is the best team in football, all I can say is put away the bottle. They are much luckier than good right now.

      5. @FDM
        Yeah, unfortunately and distastefully I have to agree that Seahags have some Juju and Mo going through this season. We’ve seen it in years past with the Niners.
        A couple of their games I’ve watched things kinda just fall into place for them. Sometimes, and we can hope, that can’t be sustained from Week #1 all the way through the Playoffs. I forget which year it was, maybe ’88 (?) the Niners were positively rolling towards the SB when the Vikings trounced us in the Playoffs. I had to put up a little wooden dog in my yard so that everyone could kick it as they walked to their cars after leaving our “Victory Party”. Somebody had to pay!

      6. Bay maybe you should take off the rose colored glasses. Have you watched Seattle this year? All they do is pull out wins. This is not baseball where you get 162 chances to win so telling me they are lucky to win in only 16 opportunities is idiotic.
        Its hard to win in the NFL and maybe they are lucky, but you have to be good to be lucky. I don’t believe luck wins game in football as every week a game means something, actually everything. Unlike hockey, baseball, or hockey, you can make it up. Not so in football where winning means so much from a game to game basis. They are getting it done. Luck or not, they are the team to beat right now.

    1. Jack, this is terrific. Thanks for all your hard work and insight in producing it. I’m sure you enjoyed every minute, but thanks nevertheless.

    2. nice read jack. I completely agree with you. To beat seahawks you must attack them with the running game even if its just a few yards. I really believe we need a big powerful running back to that can run over people and use him in addition to frank to soften up the defense. Also we must use the screen pass to neutralize the pass rush.

    3. Hey genius,
      Why did you waste your time writing the obvious? And why did I waste my time reading that stuff? In the words of George W Bush, “fool me once and …”

    4. I like the article Jack. Just too much about the last meeting and not enough of how to beat them moving forward. That Thursday night game in SF where they won was an annomaly. I think all Thursday night games are so not much you can take away from it.
      Each time the 49ers lost to SEA they jumped all over them. Attacking them and forcing them out of what they do best. Being patient and running the ball. Give Carrol credit, the college rah rah has worked against the 49ers, frustrating them into bad penalties and uncharacteristic lack of composure.

      Seattle is playing with a high level of confidence. Their defense is for real. And going with a vanilla offense with only 1 WR and 2TE’s makes it easy for them. They get after the passer and stop the run when teams don’t spread them out. The 49ers need to make that secondary cover the entire field. Browner can’t cover deep. Sherman can’t defend the bunch formation, and Thomas needs to worry about something other than the run, like Vernon Davis all day. That will leave a LB or safety on someone like MM or Crabtree or Williams or Baldwin. This is why a true # 2WR is essential. Spreading that defense out is the only way to beat their bully mentality and stop Carroll from chewing his gum with a smile.

      1. Prime,

        Thanks for checking it out. I guess I missed on getting my main point across, which was based on how the 49ers use their personnel they don’t need to make a trade for a wide receiver, and how that use of personnel has been succesful against Seattle.

        When the 49ers come out in 22 personnel, typically a run heavy package, they have the ability to still spread the defense out due to the versatility of Davis, McDonald, and Miller. They did this repeatedly against the Seahawks the last time they won.

        Same thing with the 12 personnel. This allows them to add an extra receiver while still having the extra run blocking from the additional TE.

        This brings me to the second point I was trying to make. While everyone is saying they need to get a true #2 receiver, Kyle Williams was always on the field opposite Crabtree when they were in 12 personnel, and it was about a 50-50 split with Moss when they went into 21 (these were the 2 receiver formations that they used the most).

      2. Fair enough Jack. Im not sure Williams does anything to pose a threat in any formation. This is why Seattle can dictate what they want to do against the run. By all means, running the ball against SEA is priority. I just think spreading them out takes away from their physicality and makes those big DB’s be more athletic which I don’t think Browner is and makes Sherman have to tackle on the outside with sweeps which I don’t think he likes to do by himself.
        A true legit #2 allows the Niners offense to keep SEA honest.
        Again nice article, I get your points but another receiving threat would help. I liken it to having to quality corners. You can do so much more schematically with them.

      3. Prime,

        “Im not sure Williams does anything to pose a threat in any formation. This is why Seattle can dictate what they want to do against the run. By all means, running the ball against SEA is priority. I just think spreading them out takes away from their physicality and makes those big DB’s be more athletic which I don’t think Browner is and makes Sherman have to tackle on the outside with sweeps which I don’t think he likes to do by himself.”

        A couple of things. In this game Gore had 4 runs of 11 or more yards, an 18 yarder out of 22, and then three big ones in the second half of 11, 37, and 20 all out of 12 personnel with Williams on the field.

        I do agree with you regarding spreading them out, and the 49ers can do this with the personnel they currently have on the team. There are a lot of TE’s who are really good receivers, and a lot that are really good blockers, but Davis is the rare one that can do both at a really high level. That type of versatility allows the 49ers to do things that most teams can’t do, and things we as fans don’t see often when watching other games across the league.

        Would it be great for them to have a dynamite #2 receiver? Absolutely. All that I am saying is that it isn’t necessary for them to be successful, and I don’t think a trade at this point, with Manningham, and Patton coming back soon and Crabtree possible later in the year is the best course of action.

      4. They aren’t going to trade for a WR I agree and a few weeks ago I was in favor of that, and really am not going to be upset when they don’t make a trade. It was simply weighing the benefits of having another WR that demands attention vs. not. If Crabs comes back strong it’s a moot point, but my concern is Crabs won’t be back to normal physically until 2014.

        The Niners can beat anybody if their defense plays the way they are capable and the offense can run the ball. The problem is they have not been able to do that against Seattle the past two games and that is who you need to gear your team to beat.

    5. Appreciate the article Jack and I understand your point, but the problem is you are referencing a game that took place last year and since then the Niners offense has been completely dominated by Seattle in two straight games. The Niners have to stay true to what they are but they also have to change some things up if they want to beat this team. They need to look at what teams like Houston and Indy did against that defense, while also trying to figure out how to improve their own style of power running. The Niners have not scored many points against this Seattle defense even in the victories and that is the bottom line as far as I’m concerned. Status quo is not working.

      1. E,

        My point is that the last two games they haven’t been able to run the ball effectively, get behind and then have to throw more than they should. They have to be able to run the ball and instead of running out of the tight formations the majority of the time I think they should try to run out of more spread formations whether it be with an extra WR or the TE’s splitting out.

        The key is being able to sustain drives which they have not been able to do in the past two games. The moment they get down by a couple of scores they are in trouble because they are not an offense that can open it up in the passing game due to a lack of receiving threats/pedestrian passing ideology, and the Seattle secondary being so good.

        They beat Seattle the first 3 games they played them because they were able to run the ball and didn’t fall behind. Since that game at the stick last year, they haven’t been able to run the ball and have fallen way behind. They have to attack it in different ways both with the running formations and incorporating some short passes to the RB’s imo.

      2. Thanks Rocket.

        “They need to look at what teams like Houston and Indy did against that defense, while also trying to figure out how to improve their own style of power running.”

        That is a good point. Houston ran 45 plays in the first half against Seattle, and used 2 or 3 TE formations (12/13) on 26 of those snaps. That’s no surprise since they run 45% of their snaps from this personnel anyway. They also ran 14 plays from 21 personnel, and only 5 from 11.

        Indianapolis was a similar situation. They came into the game running 11 personnel 43% of the time, and ran it 41% in the first half, 9 out of 22 snaps.

        When the 49ers go into 12 personnel, it is very similar to the Colts in 11 personnel because Davis is often lined up as the 3rd WR. That makes sense.

        Same thing with Houston. Their TE’s are very similar to the 49ers, except the second TE is more active in the passing game than McDonald has been to date.

        “The Niners have not scored many points against this Seattle defense even in the victories and that is the bottom line as far as I’m concerned. Status quo is not working.”

        The league as a whole averaged 15.3 pts against Seattle last season, and are averaging 15.6 this season. Scoring a lot of points against Seattle doesn’t happen.

        I do agree that the status quo isn’t working, which is why they need to go back and look at what they did when they won 3 straight against them.

      3. Good stuff again Jack. I guess my biggest issue with the way they scheme against Seattle is they don’t seem to take advantage of the mismatches they have at their disposal. Case in point is Chancellor in coverage against a TE or WR. He is a liability in coverage in these situations yet we rarely see the Niners create that matchup. Another thing is the short passes to the RB’s. They killed the Seahawks with those in the wins and haven’t gone back to them – at least to Gore – in the previous two games. I also look at the Seattle LB core and wonder why the Niners aren’t isolating them in some passing situations. Other than Wagner, I think the other two are really limited as coverage guys. LMJ would be a really great weapon in these situations imo. Ok enough. I’m in full rant now.

        Ultimately I think we agree that the Niners have to be able to run the ball to win and I would just like to see them mix up the formations they run out of a little more if the status quo isn’t working.

      4. That is exactly what I am getting at as well Rocket. They haven’t done those things in the last 2 meetings. Heck the Rams put a similar offensive plan in place last night and almost pulled it off with Kellen Clemens. I would like to think the 49ers could finish the deal with Kaepernick.

  35. Rams had the game won. If their normally reliable kicker makes the 50 yarder, they only need a fieldgoal to win instead of a TD. If Givens catches that ball on the 2 yard line they probably win. Heck, a QB sneak on the last play out of that spread formation might have won it. This was indeed Seattle’s lucky day.

    That TD to Tate would have been intercepted by a better corner. I am not impressed by Wilson at all this year. Seattle is just an average team on the road, the Niners can beat them at home.

    1. seahawks now have won three games that they should have lost: Panthers, Texans and against the Rams. What was interesting the refs actually were calling all the holding and cheap shots on the defense!!!

      1. the teams that the Seahawks struggled against we have blown away. Chicago49er don’t forget their week 1, 12 to 7 win last minute against Jacksonville.

      2. Michael

        That was Carolina not Jacksonville. Close win nineteen less. Their luck will fail them in the playoffs. You can’t keep playing with fire and not get burned.

  36. Interesting stat thats relevant to the conversation that I thought I’d share. Vernon Davis when being targeted 20 yards downfield has caught 8 balls on 14 targets for 300 yards and 4 tds. By far the most yards (next highest is Graham with 193), and the most tds of any tight end in the league. His catch rate, 57.1%, also ranks 2nd of any tight end with >3 such targets.

  37. Man Rams had a huge opportunity to beat the hawks and they blew it! missed field goal cost them the game and the lack of rushing ability at the two yard line. I would love to see them lose a few games in the row.

  38. Hey Grant Great top 3:

    1. CK7 I think CK7 is playing way better than Wilson. 1 Receiver and 1 TE and he just finds ways to play.
    2. Frank Gore Just keeps playing. Been in the League so long he is like Tom Brady of Running Backs.
    3. Staley and the O-line. Seems to just dominate and is very fired up. Has that Bodyguard Mentality when it comes to CK7.
    4. The entire Defense. Doing what they are doing while giving rookies playing times.

  39. There is an interesting subplot to the divisional race that I thought I would bring up, though admittitely it is a long shot. Obviously Seattle is up a game, though they were 5 yds away from it last night. If we were to beat them at home, leaving all else equal, we would have identical head to head (depending on the path up to that game), would have identical division records (tiebreak #2), would have identical win loss in common games (tiebreak #3), would have identical conference record (tiebreak #4), which would take us to tiebreak # 5, strength of victory (combined won-lost-tied percentage of all the teams that a club has defeated).

    Being in the same division, we have very similar schedules. Where we differ is they play the Giants and Vikings, whereas we play(ed) GB and the Redskins. Obviously a ton of assumptions go into this, but there is a scenario where we get the division with the 5th tiebreak, because GB and the skins have a better record than the Giants and Vikings.

    1. Hundley is still No.13 on Kiper and McShay’s draft board.

      It’s really easy to poke holes in a 20-year-old college QB’s game. All college QB’s have holes in their game. Not all college QBs are being coached well and not all are in good systems and not all have talent around them. NFL teams are going to drool over Hundley. They won’t draft a 22-year-old over him.

      Noel Mazzone said after the game that the gameplan was to get the ball out of Hundley’s hands as quickly as possible because of the injuries on the O-line. Mazzone did not instruct Hundley to set his feet and look downfield. Quite the opposite.

        1. He is accurate. His accuracy is not the issue. He is asked to do and read much more than Kaepernick was asked to do and read in college. The issue is UCLA’s coaching and talent on offense, not Hundley. Hundley made a mistake going to UCLA. If he had gone to Stanford or Oregon or Oregon St. or Baylor he’d be the No.1 pick.

      1. I’m not making the comparison but one of the reasons I have a hard time with Hundley is because when I watch him play he reminds me of Nate Davis at Ball St.

    2. Hundley has it all physically but he still lacks the awareness needed to be a top 5 pick. I really think he’d be better off going back to school but if he’s a first round projection he’ll declare for the draft.

      1. He’ll drop because of his youth and his decision making. I expect a team like NE, SF, Az, or even STL to take Hundley. I don’t think any of them will take him in the 1st round though.
        His size is his biggest asset. Everything else is coachable. I expect him to go 33-62.

        1. Sure would. I doubt Hundley falls out of the top-10, though.

          I wonder how high the 49ers choose to draft a QB. There could be some interesting options on Day 3, like Braxton Miller or David Fales or Jordan Lynch.

      2. Grant you were right about AJ but boy are\were you wrong about Kyle Williams. One out of two ai’nt bad.[If you are playing baseball]

      3. You said [and i paraphrase] He would develop if given a chance and with quality coaching. Well he has been given every chance in the world and he received the same coaching as Jenkins . He is not developing in fact if anything he has digressed from his second year. But hey you ca’nt be right all the time.

      4. Grant,

        He’ll get better Coaching but is it worth it for him to enter the draft if he’s not a sure fire high first round pick? Things can change after workouts and the combine, but right now I have to think Hundley is probably looked at as a late first to second round guy, while if he stays another year he could be the #1 QB on the board if he builds on the past two seasons.

  40. Kuiper and McShay give eight QBs first, second or third-round grades: Mariota, Bridgewater, Hundley, Manziel, Mettenberger, McCarron, Morris and Thomas. And they give six other quarterbacks draftable grades: Murray, Boyd, Carr, Miller, Garappolo and Fales.

    1. This could be an all timer of a QB draft. I wonder if all the underclassmen will come out with the high number of prospects available?

      1. True. Hey Claude, yesterday you asked me a question about Gore’s productivity. I updated my info for the 2nd quarter of the season and the biggest reason is a reduction in yards per carry on plays from under center.

        In the first quarter he averaged 6.0 ypc, but in the last quarter he averaged only 3.8. His under center runs increased from 42 to 76, yet the yards only went from 255 to 291.

        The number that stands out to me is Kendall Hunter. He averaged 6.9 ypc from U.C. in the 1st quarter and 7.4 in the 2nd quarter. Big numbers for a guy who is looked at as more of a shotgun/spread type of guy.

      2. They really need to give Hunter more touches. He has a burst that Frank doesn’t and can be used to give Gore more plays off to save him for the later part of the season and playoffs. He doesn’t look like he’s lost any speed from what little we’ve seen of him.

      3. The 49ers need to get back to using Gore in the beginning of games to wear teams down then spring Hunter late for those quick tosses or sweeps outside when the defensive ends are tired. Hunter may not be able to carry a full load but then again neither can Frank Gore. Used in a tandem more often can really be beneficial especially late in the season.

      1. That would be an awesome trade. It would decimate the Seahawks draft next season. It would also decimate their salary cap. They wouldn’t be able to sign any of their stars to long term deals.
        Please oh please take that trade Minnesotta! A conditional 3rd rounder is hardly a price to pay coupled with that huge salary he has.
        I think SF just sits tight. We’re in great position salary cap and draft status.

      2. Matt
        He is a rental player so really won’t hurt the salary cap next year. If I were their GM I would look on offense their D is stacked they are banking on Percey Harvin to save them.

      3. Given that a stud D lineman would have really helped us in the playoffs and superbowl last year, I would have traded a third rounder for the 6th ring.

        I’d do it again this year too. Allen gets all the double teams. Put him on our line along with Brooks and Aldon, and we are in the drivers seat.

    1. Allen is a FA after this season and has about 7.5 million counting against the cap for this year. I’d love to see Seattle give up a high pick and cut some other players to do it.

      1. I called it! Lol….the other day about Jared..during luck vs kap discussion..his salary wouldn’t work for us..so….Next yr..most definitely..32yrsold.. wants a superbowl..he’ll sign wit us for vet minimum..

    2. What I don’t understand is how Seahawks are able to sign all these big name players without concern about future salary cap issues! They have some players that will require huge contracts such as Russell Wilson, Sherman, Wagner , Irving, Thomas and okung!

      1. Chicago,

        ESPN did a nice job last night of showing how Seattle’s success in the draft has allowed them to sign big names to short term deals. They probabaly won’t be able to keep all of their guys past their rookie deals though.

      2. Thanks Jack,this is very impressive! To have all this success with the draft and still being able to sign Percy, avril and all these top free agents.

      3. Chicago
        Its because of the draft success that they have extra $$ to spend on short time free agents. The chart that espn showed had 8 starters all making less than 1 mil a year (some even lower) and when u combined all of their salaries for this year it was something ridiculous like 5 mil which accounted for less that 3% of their cap #. so when 8/22 starters account for only 3% that leaves a ton of money to play with for the other 45 guys

  41. Damn

    I hope we don’t regret not getting Gordon come playoff time. I can’t see anything else stopping us from winning a super bowl other than a setback on Crabs and or Manningham. We can beat Sedately running the ball but we can’t pass on them without healthy weapons or a new weapon! No Gordon, oh well.

  42. Breaking News: Denver had a trade deal in place for Jared Allen, but someone forgot to plug the phone line into the fax machine.

  43. Somewhere back around last Spring or Summer as we were tossing around our thoughts and how some teams would do this season, somebody here was predicting the Chiefs make the Playoffs. I recall arguing against that, my take being returners from injury and A.Smith & A.Reid would make KC an 8-8 or 9-7 at best; they’d been 2-14 after all. Some sage on this blog said: “but Tuna, Indy did it last year!”
    So credit to whoever that was; Razor? Jack? MidWest?

      1. You’ve earned Extra Credit then. You can come bye my house twice on Halloween. (Snickers and Twix)
        My wife is a Card Carrying Health Food Nut (and an outstanding cook; way better than me), so Halloween is as hard on her as July 4th is on dogs and cats. We’d give out Quinoa if she had her way LOL.

      2. I not only picked KC, I put money on KC at +400. I’ve been saying it since the start of the season. Anyone can predict something on a blog. It’s a whole other prediction to actually bet on it.

      3. Matt,

        You could’ve given that money to your favorite charity. K.C.is a great story but they are NOT winning a Super Bowl. I don’t have them Winning a playoff game. After all, they will be on the road if they even make the playoffs. Their schedule starts this week in Buffalo in the cold. Thte bills ans are making shirts that say,”8-1 ain’t bad!” Lol. The bills are extremely tough at home and Mario Wiliams is having an All pro season with a ton of sacks. If K.C can keep winning from now going forward, then I’ll have to eat my words.

      4. Matt,

        Did you mean +400, or 400 to 1? I don’t think they’re the same thing. I believe +400 is equivalent to 4 to 1.

  44. Press conference was a joke today, only boring softball questions for Harbaugh. No questions about Kyle Williams sucking.
    I would’ve asked Harbs:
    Besides Boldin, you’ve been praising all of the other receivers, why haven’t they done diddly-poo in any game this entire season?
    Answer the damn question!

    These reporters need get some balls. The female reporters are even worse! They should all be shipped to New York and forced to
    attend every press conference out there for a month. I guess they are afraid to lose their jobs so they just keep asking wuss questions.

      1. None of them ever get tough with Harbaugh and press him for answers. They’re frightened of him. What’s he going to do….”go Jim Everett” on them?
        Harbaugh owns them and he knows it.

      2. Crab,

        I agree. This is how my blog started. I was ripping the reporters and Hofer told me to start my own blog. If I had a press pass it might last through one or two press conferences…lol.

      3. You guys aren’t wrong, but when I watch the NE media, they’ve been worn down by BB and just go along. Kawasaki and Lowell get feisty every so often, but they never get anywhere with it.

      1. Thanks for posting, Jack.
        “I don’t remember what I ate. Food. Sustenace.” LOL!
        Does that say Harbaugh, or what?

    1. I hear ya too Crab. Problem is Coaches for the most part don’t trust the Media anymore. Most of these PC’s are really a waste of time because you know the Coach isn’t going to say anything newsworthy. Doesn’t matter what you ask; the Coach is going to gloss over whatever he doesn’t want to talk about.

      1. I’m guessing they’ll ease him in initially playing behind Smith and McDonald Jack, but if Aldon doesn’t return, I could also see him getting some snaps on 3rd down. He didn’t play long at FSU but the time he did was pretty impressive. Really looking forward to seeing him.

      2. I am too Rocket. Just trying to think where he fits in. Lemonier has been doing pretty good filling the RE spot with A Smith out, and you have Brooks on the other side. Maybe he takes the snaps away from the rotational guys inside? It will be interesting to watch.

      3. Yeah that could be an option too Jack. Move him inside on 3rd down in place of Smith or McDonald on occasion? He’s big enough to play inside or out and has some really nice pass rush ability so they will have many ways in which to get him in there. I think eventually he moves into a 3 way rotation with Smith and McDonald as the primary focus.

  45. The blueprint is in place for us to dominate the Seahawks offense. Obviously, we need to get our D line back complete with Dorsey and Aldon. I said at the start of the season that our entire defensive line would be the best in the league. I feet like we’d lead the league in sacks. I didn’t realize that tank would be out for a half season. I didn’t realize that Aldon was on the sauce. I didn’t realize that Sweezy from Seattle would cheap shot Ian Williams. However, we are getting everyone back except Ian. With Cowboy, Tank, Aldon, McDonald, Brooks, Dial, Dobbs and Lemonier, we should dominate in the trenches on defense much like we are doing on offense. If we rotate those guys to keep the others fresh, we should destroy the O line of the opponents every game. Can’t wait until Aldon gets back!

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