The 49ers’ system for replay challenges has been a topic of discussion this week. After all, coach Mike Nolan has experienced the least success of any coach in the league this season. He is 0-for-4 on replay challenges.
But Nolan and the 49ers have fared well in previous seasons. Nolan was successful on 12 of 25 (48 percent) replay challenges heading into this season.
Last year, the 49ers were successful on 4 of 9, tying them for ninth-best in the NFL. In ’06, Nolan got 6 of 11 challenges overturned for a 54.6-percent success rate for third in the league.
A lot of attention has been focused on director of football operations Paraag Marathe, who is the team’s chief contract negotiator. A couple weeks ago, Ralph Barbieri and Tom Tolbert asked me on KNBR who is the person in the booth who helps Nolan with the replay challenges. My answer – Marathe – surprised a lot of people.
Nolan said last season that Marathe provides statistical information from the coaches’ booth. Marathe is also there for clarification on rules and helps on replay challenges.
“He’s always right on it,” Nolan said last season. “He’s probably the best I’ve ever been around.”
Marathe is still in the coaches’ booth this season. He is the only non-coach in the booth. Let’s be clear: Marathe is not in charge of challenging calls; he merely offers recommendations to Nolan. Of course, Nolan has the red flag. It’s his final call. Sometimes he heeds Marathe’s advice, I’m sure, and other times he may not.
According to his bio in the team’s publications, Marathe also “manages the club’s research and development efforts and assists the coaching staff with various strategic projects through the regular season and offseason.”
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Speaking of stats, here are a few for you to digest:
–Since Nolan took over as coach, the 49ers are 3-15 in games that begin at 10 a.m., Pacific time. Their early victories have come against the St. Louis Rams (twice) and the Detroit Lions.
–The 49ers have converted just 5 of 14 on plays of third-and-1 or 2. The 49ers are just 3 of 7 on those rushing attempts, and 2 of 7 on passing attempts.
–The 49ers’ defense has not fared well on rushing plays off left tackle. Opponents have run 31 times to left tackles for a 5.7-yard average. That ranks 29th in the league. That’s the right side of the 49ers’ defense, mostly where Justin Smith and Aubrayo Franklin generally lined up.
–When I covered this team during the Steve Mariucci era, I remember that it seemed as if they would always run the ball on second-and-10 after an incomplete pass. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the actual numbers. This season, when it’s second-and-10, the 49ers have thrown the ball 83.3 percent of the time.
–When the 49ers have a first-and-10 in the opposition’s territory, the 49ers have thrown 66.13 percent of the time and rushed just 33.87 percent.
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