OTA Notes: Kaepernick misses open receivers, Lloyd impresses Harbaugh and Willis, Johnson beats Johnson for a TD, and more

SANTA CLARA – This is what stood out to me at Tuesday’s OTA.

THE GOOD

1. Brandon Lloyd: Best receiver on the field by far, although Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, Stevie Johnson and Quinton Patton weren’t there. Lloyd made the catch of the day. He was running deep toward sideline and Blaine Gabbert threw the ball behind him. Lloyd jumped, twisted, caught the ball and landed both feet in bounds. Harbaugh yelled, “Oh, nice catch!”

After practice, Patrick Willis said this about Lloyd: “I was watching us going against the offense, and I remember telling Coach Levitt. I said, ‘Coach, this guy is still fast. He’s like a rubber band or something.’ I remember we played against him a few times – he got behind our DBs. I don’t know how he comes off his start as fast as he does. And then during the lifting part, the early phase of these OTAs, this guy was bounding. I swear, I would have thought he was bending his knees and jumping. His bounds were almost as high as most people can bend their knees and jump. He’s very athletic. It doesn’t look like he has missed a year of football at all. I’m glad to have him on my team and I know he’s going to make some plays for us.”

2. McLeod Bethel-Thompson: Threw four touchdown passes, including one to quarterback Josh Johnson.

3. Josh Johnson: Lined up at flanker for the second-team offense during a red-zone drill because so many receivers were absent. On one play, he beat rookie cornerback Dontae Johnson to the inside and made a beautiful catch in the end zone, reaching out for the ball and snatching it away from the other Johnson.

Josh Johnson also threw a touchdown pass in a red-zone drill. He dropped back and looked to his left for Chuck Jacobs at first, but he was covered. So, Johnson looked to his right, found Kassim Osgood running across the back boundary of the end zone and hit him for six.

4. Carlos Hyde: Took more reps with the first-team offense than any other running back except Kendall Hunter. Frank Gore did not practice.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD

1. Colin Kaepernick: Not accurate. He threw one pass behind Garrett Celek, he threw one at Chuck Jacobs’ ankles, he threw one past Brandon Lloyd in the back of the end zone, and he sailed one over Kassim Osgood’s head. Not Kaepernick’s best day.

2. Blaine Gabbert: Fumbled twice trying to hand the ball off to Bruce Ellington in the backfield at the beginning of practice. Gabbert generally was inaccurate and indecisive. Twice he scrambled out of the pocket and held onto the ball for about six or seven seconds. Harbaugh blew his whistle and killed both plays before Gabbert made up his mind whether to throw or run.

3. Dontae Johnson: Gave up a touchdown catch to a quarterback.

THE REST

1. Tank Carradine: Lined up at left defensive tackle – Ray McDonald’s position in the 49ers’ Nickel defense.

2. Demarcus Dobbs: Lined up at right defensive tackle – Justin Smith’s position in the 49ers’ Nickel defense.

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  1. “During team drills, Tank Carradine lined up at left defensive tackle – Ray McDonald’s position in the 49ers’ Nickel defense.”

    Well, shows what I know… :-P

        1. Tank was moving well from what I could tell. Dial, too.

          Lattimore currently is buried at the bottom of the depth chart with James. Lattimore has terrific hands but he seems to struggle changing direction.

          1. hopefully just precautionary…working him in slowly… it will be very interesting to see how he does once the pads come on

        1. I don’t recall James ever runnning those. G-Ro always puzzles me!!! But none the less I think you are right about James…

    1. Jack, do you think they’ll look to use Ellington out of the backfield similarly to how the Packers have in the past with Cobb?

      1. I don’t think they’ll use Ellington that way Scooter. He’s a slot guy, and could be a perfect fly sweep guy because he give you the dual threat they missed last year without Ginn.

          1. He has to get on the field first. This team has a much better WR depth chart than it did when Ginn was here.

        1. Yeah, that would seem to be his most likely role, but I would love to see the coaching staff try and use him in a variety of ways. As razor points out, he was used different ways at South Carolina. He’s got good versatility, and is built like a RB.

          1. If they’re keeping Crabs/Boldin/Johnson/Lloyd/Patton/Ellington, wouldn’t it stand to reason they’d utilize that depth with 4 WR packages as part of their arsenal?

            1. I don’t see them keeping all of those guys Razor. And I also doubt that the team will utilize the 4 WR packages much given that they drafted Vance McDonald last year and that Harbaugh and Roman prefer to use packages that involve having two TEs on the field.

          2. As razor points out, he was used different ways at South Carolina. He’s got good versatility, and is built like a RB.

            That still doesn’t mean anything unless he can get on the field, and I don’t see Ellington surpassing Boldin, Crabtree, Johnson, Lloyd, or Patton on the depth chart.

            1. Depends on if they create a specific role or specific plays for him or not. You won’t want one of Crabtree, Boldin, Johnson or Lloyd running fly sweeps, for instance.

              1. Can Ellington pass? I think I heard he used to play QB in high school but I am not sure?That might come in handy on those sweep plays. They could run it as a run/pass option.

              2. Ellington was a QB in high school. Led his team to a state championship in 2009, but he was more of a runner than thrower.

  2. Patrick Willis said this about Lloyd: “I was watching us going against the offense, and I remember telling Coach Levitt. I said, ‘Coach, this guy is still fast. He’s like a rubber band or something.”

    First there was Randy “Freakin” Moss.
    Now there is Brandon “Gumby” Lloyd.

    Maybe Lloyd still has something left in the tank which bodes well for us.
    Didn’t CK have some bad days in OTA’s and TC last year as well?
    No worries.
    Let’s see if he fairs better when his prime WR’s are back on the field.

    1. I think when your 3rd string QB is playing WR than you may have some issues… timing and chemistry issues. He’ll be fine. All those receiver need to find their way back to the field asap.

      That’s ridiculous.

    1. I think you nailed it…. I think its just a numbers game and Lloyd unfortunately will be the odd man out….We really could have used this guy last year

  3. Why exactly did we trade for a guy that sees ghosts in OTAs? Hopefully Johnson can be a capable backup and replacement if need be (knock on wood) or else we’re screwed.

  4. Grant, have they been doing any practice on punt returns that you’ve seen, and if so, who has been taking reps?

    1. Scooter,

      Punt returns were being handled by LMJ and Devon Wylie. Doesn’t appear they are phasing LMJ out as the main KR.

      1. Or they are making it appear that way to give the appearance that they are not as desperate to trade him. Gives them a little more leverage.

        1. Giving the appearance to who? He also has little to no trade value regardless. If they truly want to dump him they wouldn’t be using him as the sole return man with somebody who isn’t going to make the roster like Wylie. If anything they’d be sitting LMJ and lining up all the other options they could use to replace him to see if anybody was capable.

  5. I wonder if Grant and Maiocco went to the OTA. Here is what Maiocco wrote about Kaepernick, “Kaepernick was generally accurate on his short passes, which appeared to be a focus in Tuesday’s session. But he badly overthrew one deep in-route intended for Osgood”. This is not quite consistent with what Grant is writing.

  6. I wonder if Grant and Maiocco went to the same OTA. Here is what Maiocco wrote about Kaepernick, “Kaepernick was generally accurate on his short passes, which appeared to be a focus in Tuesday’s session. But he badly overthrew one deep in-route intended for Osgood”. This is not quite consistent with what Grant is writing.

    1. Probably because Grant is generally biased against Kaep and his running argument is that Kaep has poor footwork and is an inaccurate passer thus Grant needs to accentuate Kaep’s inaccuracies to bolster his argument. Maiocco generally just reports facts and doesn’t really editorialize too much. He’s also much less biased.

          1. I’ll jump to Grant’s defense. Maiocco saying “generally accurate” on short throws doesn’t make it sound like Kaep is throwing consistent darts, wowing the observers the way an $18+ million a year guy should be. I’m not for or against Kaep–like everyone on this board I just want to win. And yes this is just one day. But it also sounds a lot like certain days last year, when Kaep was busy compiling one of the worst completion percentages in the league.

            We’ll see…

            1. … And i’m sure this had nothing to do with it: although Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, Stevie Johnson and Quinton Patton weren’t there.”

            2. Well okay Sully, I knew one of the usual Grant defenders would, but I expected Jack, MWD or Leo, not you. I just want the Niners to win too, but I’m very weary of the negativity towards our franchise QB constantly being barfed up from certain people on the blog. If you all dislike the Niners QB so much, there’s a new Matt Schaub fan club forming across the bay and it needs new members.

              1. i have no problem calling out Grant for his often overly biased analysis and misinformation.

                But in this case, he’s just calling it like he sees it. Kaepernick missed open receivers. Said it wasn’t his “best day”. That’s an opinion but I’d sure hope it wasn’t Kaep’s “best day”.

              2. Bar none,

                Leo is a pretty straight shooter. He doesn’t belong in that group. The other two are fair game.

              3. thanks rocket…

                Barnone’s just mad b/c I defended Grant when someone called him an idiot… All I said was no need for name-calling or getting so angry about a blog…. I would have defended anyone here not just Grant…. I just think it’s hilarious when people take this stuff personally….

                You would think Grant said something about their Momma the way they get angry.

              4. Leo,

                Yeah at the end of the day it’s Football. People get into it a little too much at times, me included. Love the sport but keep it in perspective.

              5. All this is a tempest in a teapot. It’ a bit too early in the season to become too concerned with accuracy and timing QB issues. That’s what the OTA’s and Training camps are for.

            3. Wasn’t his completion percentage about 60%? Not great granted, but not one of the worst either.

              He just finished his first full season starting. He’s still learning. We probably won’t see a finished product for another three or four years. Which in today’s society is so unacceptable, but in reality it’s just the nature of the position he plays.

  7. Don’t worry, I’m certain Grant’s little boot licker will be along soon enough. He comes running as soon as he hears his baby crying.

  8. “Brandon Lloyd: Best receiver on the field by far, although Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, Stevie Johnson and Quinton Patton weren’t there.”

    You might as well have said. Lloyd was the only receiver on the field today and he clearly looked like the best one out there. Does the PD realize they’re paying for this quality of work?

  9. This isn’t meant to be a knock on Grant or Maiocco I just sometimes don’t understand how they see things so differently.
    From Matt: “Kaepernick was generally accurate on his short passes, which appeared to be a focus in Tuesday’s session. But he badly overthrew one deep in-route intended for Osgood.”

    1. A couple of characteristics of eye witness testimony are relevant here: First, it is very rare that any two eye witnesses to the same event give identical testimony, and second, eye witness testimony, despite how legal dramas on TV and in the movies portray it, is hideously unreliable.

      How does that translate to Grant and Maiocco giving what appear to be contradictory accounts of the same event? Well, even though journalists are usually better observers than the average person, and further often bolster their observational proficiency through note taking, they are still subject to the same factors that lead to differing testimony from witnesses of a given same event.

      Witnesses, trained as observers or otherwise, operate within the confines of their unique experiential matrices. Unlike a recording device, human beings are constantly comparing, categorizing, and analyzing events simultaneously (or near simultaneously) with observing those events. These concomitant cognitive processes help us adapt and react to the world around us very quickly, but they also impact later recollection of events because we cannot separate our interpretations of what we observed from the observed events themselves.

      Thus, it is not only possible but likely that Grant and Matt Maiocco are both giving us true and accurate accounts of what they observed. These accounts incorporate not only the observed events, but the focus and interpretation that each of them placed on those events. We may call this bias, but in so doing we need to realize that everyone brings bias to an observation, and to the recollection of such observation, and that therefore both accounts are biased. Only a recording device is an unbiased observer (and even with that, the viewers of such recordings will bring their own observational and interpretative biases with them when viewing a recording).

      Bringing this back to eye witness testimony for a moment, one of the things we aim to do when using eye witness testimony in court is to put on witnesses with convergent testimony. They do not witness everything the same, but they also do not contradict one another on major aspects of the observed event.

      This is how I try to reconcile differing OTA/Training Camp/Practice reports — I look for convergence. In the instant case, a seeming contradiction becomes a convergence when we take into account (1) that Grant’s criticism and Maiocco’s faint praise (‘generally accurate’) are not incompatible descriptions but rather different foci, and (2) that Maiocco at the end of his comment qualifies his already qualified assessment further by choosing to highlight now a success, but a failure — the overthrow of Osgood with which Grant also ended his comments with respect to his observations of Kaepernick.

      1. hmmm…I think I just wrote the same thing but with less legalese sounding structure.

        but yeah…everyone has bias. personally, i like to play devil advocate with myself to keep me as objective a possible. but then I start to sound a little crazy arguing with myself.

        1. AFFP ..

          Arguing with yourself is ok .. but when you start
          to lose …the argument ..
          That’s when you should start worrying !

      2. Well stated as always JPN. It’s also a difference in what is accentuated in the report. Maiocco started by focusing on the fact Kap was generally accurate but then missed a wide open Osgood. Grant as is his nature, jumped on the negative angle and didn’t mention anything positive. Maiocco gave a balance; Grant gave us the unflattering portrayal and nothing else.

        It’s a clear indication of how each individual goes about reporting information.

      3. JPN001

        A great explanation! One person sees a terrible car wreck, but the person next to him only saw the blonde…

        I think that all of us are guilty of taking someone else’s statement and critique them only because it conflicts with ours.

    2. It’s simple. Grant has been painting a narrative that CK is generally inaccurate, has poor footwork, and is simply not worth the $18M that he’s seeking. His “reporting”, if you want to call it that, continually shows this bias and helps backup the narrative he’s been putting out all offseason. Matt Maiocco and Matt Barrows don’t have an agenda, and generally report what they see in an unbiased fashion.

      That’s why you’ll see Grant hone in on every single possible mistake that CK may have made, while every other reporter will talk about the good and the bad (if there is any). I’m sure we’re all positive that Peyton Manning or Aaron Rogers NEVER over-throw a WR or mis-place a ball in an OTA PRACTICE without their top 4 WRs.

      1. we have the Matts to give us positive info and spin and Grant to give us the negative. Nothing wrong with that as long as it’s accurate. Together it helps to give us an objective view of the 49ers.

    3. the two observations aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

      They just have different spins.

      Grant focused on the missed passes and didn’t mention the completed passes.

      Maiocco focused on the positives; the completed short passes with a nod to a badly missed deep pass.

      Both observations can be (and are probably) true. It just depends on how you want to present the information. It also highlights how utilizing multiple sources of information is the best way to obtain an objective account and analysis of things.

      1. He missed three short passes, two of them badly. I don’t agree that he generally was accurate on short passes yesterday. He really struggled to hit guys in stride on shallow crossing routes.

        1. missed 3 short passes out of how many? Maiocco mentions a 5 yard TD pass to McDonald. How many completed passes went to running backs?

          interesting, we were discussing spin.

          you’ve mentioned the incomplete passes. but what about the completed ones? did he miss 3 out of 4? that would be pretty bad. 3 out of 10 would be 70%…not great for short passes. 3 out of 15?

            1. so 70% for short passes is not “generally accurate”? it’s not great. but then what would you expect? is 80% good enough? and how does 70% stack up to the other QBs?

              1. what’s average for short passes in OTAs? your OPINION would carry more weight if you provided some context in terms of the relative performance compared to the other Niner’s QBs or other team’s QB’s performance in OTAs (that’d take a little bit of research).

                OTAs is where you shake off the rust. and get your timing down with players you haven’t always played with. you could call these mitigating factors or excuses depending on your point of view.

              2. Read the LINK.

                Poor ball placement is poor ball placement. It’s just one day in early June, though.

              3. i just chose to ignore the link. it’s incredibly ridiculous to compare college QB short pass accuracy charts to OTA practices. interesting in comparing the rookie QB prospects…but that’s about it. you should feel silly for even posting that in this context.

                qualitatively..yeah ball placement is a problem. as you say it’s one day in June and as I keep saying it’s OTAs…so expectations shouldn’t be that high for a polished performance.

              4. Completing 70% of your short passes after having been in the offense for 3 years, and facing no real pass rush, is not good. Most college QBs during their pro days complete a higher percentage than that–all over the field.

                Look, I know we all want Kaep to play like a franchise QB. But he had a ton of similar-type incompletions last year. There is no positive to this story at this point.

              5. i’m not defending Kaep. I have my own criticisms of him.

                I’m defending basic common sense and logic.

                Being in the offense for 3 years has little to do with completing passes in OTAs. It’s not like it’s a complicated play that requires knowing the play, the defense and making the correct read and progressions. For the most part it’s about simply throwing the ball accurately to a receiver.

                QB Draft Prospect Pro Days are not equivalent to OTAsthe whole point of a Pro Day is to put on your best show under optimal circumstances. QBs practice with the receivers they are most comfortable with running routes that show case their strengths. OTAs are about shaking off the rust and getting in synch with receivers (especially the ones you don’t usually throw to). LIKE THE PRACTICES THAT LEAD UP TO THE PRO DAYS.

                was this a good showing by Kaepernick? No. was it bad? eh…within the context of early OTAs…not so much.

        2. Ball placement is where Peyton, Brees, Brady excel the most. And Montana was the best at that in his day. It’s how you not only keep the chains moving, you rack up the YAC. It’s probably the most important thing for Kaep to improve upon, so that’s why it’s an issue even on the first day of OTAs.

          And to those who say, “oh, OTAs are just to shake off the rust.” Well, we’ve been somewhat led to believe that Kaep has been working on these issues prior to OTAs. Isn’t that what Harbs was referring to when just last week he was singing Kaep’s praises?

          And to those who say, “give Kaep a break, he’s still a young QB.” According to his bio, he’s been playing the QB position since the age of 8. That’s plenty of time to hone in on your ball placement.

          All I’m hoping is that we don’t hand over the $18+ mil until Kaep proves he’s an accurate thrower.

          That’s all. I will no longer belabor the point.

          1. It’s OTAs! you work on things like ball placement in OTAs so that you have good ball placement during real games.

            uh..yeah…shake off the rust. OTAs are the first official practices of the season. everything else is simply working out and playing catch with various receivers.

            i have no idea where you got the “young qb” stuff….

            If Kaep didn’t improve much..as it is, he’s probably worth close to $18M/Year on the open market. Irrational people are fixated on the elite QBs and their compensation. They don’t take into account that there is a tier of QB’s below them that are still pretty good that will get paid a PREMIUM (that means being paid more than if we simplistically ranked QB’s and paid them accordingly) for being available. Plus, most don’t understand NFL contracts. Not all $18M/Year are the same. It has to do with the amount of guarantees. and they type of guarantees and the timing (ie. guaranteed salary in 2019 isn’t much of a guarantee now).

      2. Grant has an agenda. Blog hits. While not a total homer, Maiocco just presents it with more of a positive spin.

    4. I think the difference is in what they choose to emphasize. Grant is more of a “rabble rouser” than MM. I like MM, but he is not sensationalistic. That’s probably one reason why most people like him, including, apparently, his “sources.” I’d say the same about Barrows.

      However, Grant was specific about the misses, so I don’t doubt they happened: “He threw one pass behind Garrett Celek, he threw one at Chuck Jacobs’ ankles, he threw one past Brandon Lloyd in the back of the end zone, and he sailed one over Kassim Osgood’s head.”

      Personally, I don’t care if Kaepernick misses passes in the OTAs. During the regular season, Kaep can take us there.

      1. I was composing this when AFFP posted his. We make similar points. I like his point, ‘It just depends on how you want to present the information.” Like I said, Grant likes to stir us up, that Son of a Lowell.

        1. While I have also defended Grant when I thought he was unfairly targeted, I think in this case the criticism is valid. The key in evaluating objectivity is evaluating intent. The fact that Grant’s headline for this blog was ” Kaepernick misses open receivers” implies that this was the most salient aspect of Tuesdays OTA’s. Come on now Grant. This is just an early OTA and a bit to early to start pushing an agenda. If the agenda is valid there will still be plenty of time to make your point and it won’t seem as obvious. Doing so this early will ruin your credibility in respect to objectivity and would hinder your making the same point at a later date. Even allowing for the fact that each person see’s and gives a different value to events based on their individual perspectives, the fact that Grant chose to focus on a negative aspect which to MM didn’t seem as glaring, puts Grants focus in question. Had he not used it as the lead headline it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. Your intent in this case is quite suspect.

          Grant I ask you to remember that in the case of reporting OTA’s and other events that are not open to the public, you have a responsibility to be more objective and to focus less on your own conclusions about an early season OTA. Remember we are taking about a specific event that the rest of us are not privy too. Granted you have the right to your perspective. But in these types of case’s it is very easy to prevaricate since you become the only source of for the information. It is easy to create any reality you chose by focusing on certain events while leaving out others. If it were not that MM gave a different perspective this would have been so. His simi-contradictive report puts your objectivity in question.

          Think about this- Every time your objectivity is put in question the focus of the discussion on this site becomes about that perceived bias and not andy of the subjects under discussion. This could be a really superior forum if it were not for that distraction. I actually think your a really smart guy who brings and adds different perspective than most of other writers. But the constant focus on “Grant vs the posters” can be a very goal displacing distraction. There are so many knowledgeable posters on this site that the discussions could be simple amazing.

    1. I posted waaaaaay back in February that Mangini was brought in to teach the TEs how to read defenses. I further speculate that it may be in an attempt to add some option routes for the TEs in the offense. Harbaugh used option routes under Lindy Infante while in Indy. Infante first noticed option routes being used by Kellen Winslow and the Chargers. In order to run option routes, the receiver needs to be able to read defenses.

      1. I think we’re going to see that Willis is as good as ever when he plays Bowman’s role. His position change has made people forget just how good he was playing this spot before Bowman arrived on the scene. Willis was the guy with all the tackles at one time.

    1. my admittedly basic understanding of the inside linebacker position is that traditionally the “TED” backer who plays on the strong side of the formation often has a blocker to deal with more so than the “MIKE” who plays on the weakside. In a traditional 3-4 defense gap control is “force and contain” meaning the outside backers and Ends try to funnel the ball carriers into the middle where the Nose creates a pile up and he Inside Linebackers make the tackle (the Niner’s defense does not always play this way..they’re flexible but I think more often than not they’re schemed this way). So it’s usually the MIKE that has more opportunities to make tackles. He usually is the faster of the two while the TED is usually stouter at taking on blockers. Back when the Niners had Takeo Spikes, it made sense to have the faster Willis play the MIKE position. But when Navarro Bowman was put in as the other ILB, Bowman is a former outside linebacker who is pretty fast but not as used to taking on blockers so it made sense to move Willis to “TED” and have the speedy Bowman play the MIKE position.

      1. That makes sense…as I mentioned before Wilhoite has a similar build and athleticism to Bowman… I think its his spot to lose

        I wonder if they did go with Borland if they would switch PW back to Mike and Borland as Ted, due to his style of play and lack of speed.

  10. This makes sense. As I mentioned before Wilhoite has similar build and athleticism to Bowman. I think its his spot to lose.

    I wonder if they do decide to go with Borland if they play him as Ted and PW as mike due to Borland’s playing style and lack of athleticism.

    1. Geez it’s about time they got rid of Roman numerals. I haven’t seen any romans around here ever. Oh, except our bumbling O Coordinator.

  11. One thing that is standing out in all of the reports from the people who watch the practices is Brandon Lloyd looking like somebody who is going to be hard to cut. My first reaction to the Stevie Johnson trade was that Lloyd was a goner after preseason, but now that may not be the case. If Lloyd can give them the same level of performance he gave the Pats a couple of years ago, he may force the Niners to keep him at the expense of another position.

    1. Yep we could have a full blown wide receiver controversy. But seriously, after last season this is a great situation to be in. Too many real receivers to choose from?

    2. Very true Rocket….But there is no point in keeping 6 WRs on this Roster, especially when he offers no ST value. As good as he may be its all about numbers, and more specifically dollars. You know Crabs, Boldin, and Stevie will be the top 3 Wrs. WRs 4 and 5 will hardly ever see the field regardless of who it is. It just doesn’t make sense.

      The only way he stays IMO is if Crabs is traded or there’s an injury.

      1. Funny you should say that when Patton seems to be having foot issues again.

        I agree that 6 WR’s on a team that barely uses 2 is excessive, but if Lloyd gives them an element they don’t have they could be tempted.

        1. Yeah I saw that…looks like that foot could become an issue, assuming its the same foot from last year’s injury… another scenario I see Lloyd staying is if they’re really unpleased with Patton’s progression

          1. We could also see Patton start out on the PUP if his foot injury lingers at all. That way, we don’t have to cut someone who deserves to make the team, and we’re covered if one of our other WRs gets injured during the course of the season.

    3. I just wonder how Lloyd and Johnson will handle 2nd and 3rd receiver roles. Flanker is usually the primary receiver in many offenses. So it’s easier to be focused and put up numbers when you’re the primary focus of the passing game. It’s easier to have a game day rhythm and stay in sych when you’re involved in more of the plays.

      Being the 2nd or 3rd guy means being able to turn it on when called upon. To go a quarter with out being looked at and then expected to make a critical catch. j

      That’s one of the reasons John Taylor was so awesome. Rice was obviously the focus of the offense. But when defenses rolled their coverage to him to shut him out, Taylor just turned it on and could take over. Boldin has also moved back and forth as a #1 and 2 receiver when he was with the Cardinals and played with Fitzgerald.

        1. Is there really going to be room for Morris?

          Culliver, Brock, Ward, Johnson, Cook, Cox, Wright are likely all ahead in the CB pecking order. I suppose they could keep him as a ST’s ace, but they have other options including Costanzo as Jack mentioned.

    1. I’m still confounded on why fans are so irrationally down on Roman for the offense’s problems. As if another OC would magically make things any different.

      1. The play calling has been questioned numerous times and not just by fans. Roman does not seem to be able to overcome his own mistakes. He’s had two different QBs now and neither can run an offense inside the opposing 20 yard line. Time to look at the game preparation and play calling.

        1. Roman has had some specific wonky calls at times. That’s for sure.

          There are a number of factors that have to be considered when discussing the red zone offense.

          The ability of the QB to make quick decisions that anticipate receivers getting open…which is even more necessary in the tightly confined red zone It’s not one of Kaepernick’s strong suits. So you’re kind of limited with play calling.

          The over arching philosophy of the offense (which goes above Roman) is conservative. So a field goal is okay if it prevents a turnover.

          Niner’s receivers aren’t great redzone targets. They don’t have any big/tall bangers or super crafty route runners (hopefully Johnson will help fix that). Boldin is a banger but he’s not big (tall).

          Defense know most of this so they gear their defensive schemes to shut down the run..making running less effective than it could be with a more balanced attack.

          Roman pieces the plays together and calls them but Johnnie Morton crafts the redzone plays each week and submits them for inclusion in the game plan.

          Harbaugh has overall say and input in all aspects of the offense.

      2. A better coordinator would utilize his players to the max.put his players in better situations in crunch time..or just plain game management..more scoring opportunities..more td’s in the redzone than field goals..That’s really the reason holding us back from championship these three yrs..we can’t score enough points..rely on three and rely on the “D”

        1. Roman is simply carrying out Harbaugh’s conservative offensive philosophy. Little would change if the Niners got a new OC.

          1. So either Harbaugh is not as smart as we think he is..Or he’s even more stubborn than we think he is..but it all boils down to coaching basically..If Harbaugh sees nothing wrong with alot of three and outs,playcall sequences and playing for field goals..What can u do?lol..Him and his offensive staff are joined..tied..handcuffed at the hip..It’s really a shame tho..Cause it might Harbaugh holding us back from a championship..He’s on notice with the front office..

            1. it’s also Harbaugh and his conservative philosophy that got the Niners to the NFC Championship twice and the Super Bowl once.

              don’t you think it’d be better to tweak the conservative philosophy than to simply throw it (Harbaugh) out? Harbaugh’s stubborn. But he also thinks of new wrinkles to throw into his conservative offense (fly sweeps, pistol/read option, heavy unbalanced formations..etc…).

              btw. Given that the Yorks (Jed included) have hired Nolan, Singletary and now Harbaugh; I’m thinking blue collar physical/conservative (midwestern/Ohio) football might be their personal football philosophy too.

              1. Bottom line allfor..The game has seen alot of successful coaches that couldn’t get over the hump..levys,schottenheimers,andy reids,bud grants,they have a formula for regular season sucess..but yknow how that goes..If u say it’s Harbaugh philosophy..then results arent gonna change much til he’s gone..after 3yrs of his body of work and looking back..he’s made alot of curious decisions in gametime..All these nailbiters..all comin down to a single play..you think he’d learn by now…. but as for the front office..u could have a point there..eddie d had a say in coaches hired up to mooch..Everybody else after mooch was brother in law and nephew..they’re standards mite be the conservative blue collar approach..mike nolan to singletary and now harb..fired one bear then hired another.lol.harb is just getting more outta this team than sing..but this was what singletary’s vision wanted to be..of a rush based attack and great d. He just have a good staff around him

  12. ‘What was Ellington doing in the backfield? Fly sweeps?’
    .
    .
    This is awesome news!
    .
    I was hoping they’d use this kid for Fly Sweeps.
    .
    This is what I wrote in last month’s ‘New Concepts’ thread:
    .
    May 20, 2014 at 10:57 am
    .
    ‘It’s not new, but I love that Fly-Sweep play.
    .
    I think Ellington could run that bad boy.
    .
    I mean…Delanie Walker ran it a couple of times, didn’t he?
    .
    Ellington is faster, yet still tough with the ball in his hands.’
    .
    .
    I can’t wait to see it on the field!
    .
    .
    .
    ~ALOHA~

      1. Ginn ran it too.
        .
        My point was that if Walker can run it, and he did in 2011, Ellington should flourish in it.
        .
        .
        .
        ~ALOHA~

  13. AllForFunPlay, you mentioned a suspicion that Mangini/Harbaugh are desiring to teach our TEs to run option routes. It appears based upon that interview with McDonald that you may be correct. What do you think the impact will likely be on our offensive game plan if our TEs can run option routes? How will it impact opposing defenses and how will it help Kap?

    1. it’ll open up the middle more. at the most basic level, the TE would run something like a skinny post against a cover 2 shell (splitting the safeties) and something like a button or square in against a single high look (in between the deep safety and the linebackers).

      the master of option routes in today’s NFL is Jason Witten. He catches lots of passes and is Romo’s security blanket. If Kaepernick gets comfortable with his TEs to the same degree (vs. thinking/using them/Davis as big play options)..maybe it will provide Kaepernick the same degree of security and confidence in his other receivers beyond his primary read (which is usually the Flanker Crabs/Boldin).

  14. @AdamSchefter 1m
    Colin Kaepernick and 49ers reached agreement on 6-year extension worth over $100 million tying him to team through 2020, per sources.

    1. Looks like that dinner date in that cute little corner diner meant something after all. Colin, may you be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against Carrolls’ schemes…..

  15. Ian Rapoport ‏@RapSheet 6m
    More
    For #49ers QB Colin Kaepernick: It’s a 6-year extension worth up to $126M with $60M guaranteed, source says. Under contract through 2020

    1. the devil is in the details. I’m curious about how it’s structured. How much is signing bonus (the real guarantee). How much of it is roster bonuses (which aren’t guaranteed until that year comes around)…and how much of it is inflated salary at the back end that will be used to renegotiate int he future for more guaranteed money.

  16. I said when we first got Brandon Lloyd that he is the best talent among all of our WRs and Patrick Willis seems to echo that thought. People fail to realize how great of an athlete Lloyd is. He still holds his high school’s high jump record of 7’2″ and has an amazing knack for separating from his defenders. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3XbN3iNEs8

    1. Well then…. I wonder why he doesn’t lead the league in TD’s and yards. You’re crazy if you think he’s higher than 3rd on our wr chart.

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