Small improvement in passing game would give 49ers a chance to defeat Rams

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Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks was no moral victory. Moral victories don’t exist in professional sports. No one cares the Niners played tough against a good team on the road or that the game was close until the end. A loss is always a loss is always a loss.

But you must admit, the defense played well. And the running game was effective. And the special teams were good, too. Those three gave the Niners a chance to win. If the passing game had been even slightly better than dreadful, the Niners could have beaten the Seahawks.

The same principle will hold true for Thursday night’s game against the Rams. The Niners can win if their passing game is merely competent. It doesn’t have to flourish. Forget flourish. The goal is competent.

Five things the Niners must do to achieve an adequate passing game against the Rams.

1. Find a play that works.

Kyle Shanahan still hasn’t done that. Through two games, he hasn’t established one pass play he knows his players can execute.

Surely, they have to be good at something. He has to figure out what that something is.

When Bill Walsh was stuck, he would call “22 Z In.” Basically, that was a 12-yard hook route to Jerry Rice — Rice would run 12 yards up field, then stop and turn back toward the quarterback. Joe Montana also had the option to throw a swing pass to Roger Craig in the flat or a short pass to Brent Jones over the middle if Rice wasn’t open. Three easy completions.

Of course, Shanahan doesn’t have Rice, Montana, Craig or Jones. But, Walsh didn’t have them either in 1979, his first year as the 49ers head coach. Walsh had Steve DeBerg, who wasn’t Walsh’s quarterback of the future. Still, his offense ranked third in the NFL in passing yards that season.

What pass concepts will Shanahan establish Thursday night?

He should have his own encyclopedia of plays that work even with limited talent. When he coached the Redskins offense in 2011 and his quarterback was Rex Grossman, Shanahan had plays that were successful. His offense ranked 14th in passing yards per game.

When he coached the Browns offense in 2014 and his quarterback was Brian Hoyer, Shanahan had plays that were successful. His offense ranked 20th in passing yards per game.

Shanahan’s current offense ranks 31st in passing yards per game. That’s unacceptable. He’s better than that.

2. Build Brian Hoyer’s confidence.

Hoyer has become the subject of ridicule the past two games. That’s not fair.

He was excellent last season. He threw six touchdown passes and zero interceptions in five starts, and he passed for more than 300 yards four times. In his fifth start, he broke his arm and left the game early.

What was Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains doing that allowed Hoyer to be so successful? Shanahan needs to study that offense, then needs to design plays Hoyer can handle. Give him easy completions. Build his confidence. Build momentum for the offense.

Shanahan chose to bring Hoyer to the 49ers — Hoyer wasn’t forced upon him. Hoyer is his guy. Shanahan has to find a way to make things work with him.

3. Throw to Pierre Garcon early and often.

The best way to lay the foundation for the passing game is to pass to the most reliable pass catcher — Pierre Garcon.

Last game, the 49ers’ first pass went to Marquise Goodwin, who is just as likely to drop the ball as to catch it. The Niners didn’t throw to Garcon until halfway through the second quarter.

That’s backward. The Niners should throw to Garcon first on Thursday, and then keep throwing to him. Use him to get the flow of the passing game going. Trust him to get open and make the catch, even if the catch gains just 5 yards. Don’t worry about yards. Don’t worry about running after the catch. Just worry about completing passes.

If Hoyer completes 13 of 20 passes — 65 percent — the 49ers can beat the Rams.

4. Throw at least one deep pass.

Hoyer doesn’t have to throw 10 deep passes Thursday night. He doesn’t have to go bombs away. But he has to throw at least one pass longer than 20 yards downfield. One deep pass will keep the defense from crowding the line of scrimmage and open up short passes. Hoyer threw no deep passes against the Seahawks.

I asked Shanahan why Hoyer didn’t throw any deep passes. Asked if that was the game plan. Shanahan said no, he called a couple of shots early, but the pass protection didn’t hold up.

Shanahan needs to find the right protection to take a shot against the Rams. He can use eight blockers if he has to, and send just two receivers into the pattern.

If Hoyer throws nothing but short passes in front of the Rams defense all game, they will squeeze and smother those throws. They’ll have no fear of Hoyer throwing over the top of them.

The Niners can’t always throw short and never throw deep. They can’t be one-dimensional. Can’t be scared to take a shot. Opponents can smell timidity. It smells like death.

5. Change the game plan for third down.

Another reason the 49ers need to take a shot: They can’t convert third downs at a respectable rate. They have the worst third-down offense in the entire league.

They have faced 23 third downs and converted only four. That’s 17.4 percent. The Niners have to come up with something different.

Against the Seahawks, Shanahan called a lot of slant-rub routes. That’s when one receiver runs a quick slant, and another receiver screens off the corner who’s supposed to be covering the receiver running the slant.

That’s an effective play on third-and-3 or third-and-4, because it picks up about 4 yards. Shanahan was calling it on third-and-8 and third-and-9 when it had virtually no chance for success.

Shanahan either has to call longer passes on third down, or make sure his offense avoids third-and-long altogether.

If he calls a pass on first down, he should make sure the pass can get the offense to second-and-6 or shorter. Then, he has to call a run on second down to get the offense to third-and-short.

Shanahan knows this. He’s a good offensive coach, even though he coached poorly the first two weeks of the season. I expect he will rebound Thursday night. I expect he’ll follow this basic blueprint and the 49ers will win 16-13.

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

This article has 137 Comments

  1. A great breakdown on NFL Network by Brian Billick and Shaun whatever his name is ex Giants olinemen.

    They clearly show Hoyer not being able to get his eyes down field. Instead he locks onto his first read and then the line breaks down.
    Meanwhile there are 2 guys open all the time down the field.

    Hoyer needs to wake the F up!
    If he can’t get it done against the Rams, I don’t care, you start CBJ next game.

    1. Thanks for the insights Grant and a reference to the GOAT, with the diagram. 49ers at their roots is a west coast offense, and I am patiently waiting for the day when we dominate passing the ball again. PrimeTime I seen the same show with Billick and O’Hara, a superbowl winning center, and was surprised how obvious it was that Hoyer was missing guys. The third down where 2 Seahawk CBs fell down, he had numerous ppl open and held it too long. Thats clearly not the playcalls or the scheme, but a rattled quarterback not playing with confidence or vision. He missed guys in the redzone too, unacceptable. Were not talented enough to leave plays like that on the field, it became clear to me that the 49ers really could have won that game with a better quarterback. I am not giving up on Hoyer yet, but the clock is surprisingly ticking already.

    2. But how long does he have to throw the ball, if he’s getting 2 seconds of protection then theres no way for him to go through his reads.

      This isn’t a one person issue. Oline has to hold up in protection and give him minimum 3 seconds of a clean pocket. WRs have to get a step on their defender to provide Hoyer a place to put the ball. Coach has to call routes that allow the WR to get out of their cuts before the oline breaks down. And Hoyer has to get through his reads quickly, pull the trigger or dump it off.

      If the defense is getting to him too quickly, get some screens going to exploit the fact the dline/lbs are upfield and theres space for the RB to run after the catch.

      But to say its Hoyer is so simple minded.

  2. Hey Grant… What should the defense focus on? Besides keeping the Rams bottled up. You’ve been prescriptive with the offense. What about defense?

      1. on O: keeping Hoyer clean…finding ways to keep Garcon & Kittle open — to keep short to mid routes productive…then run game can start working…then more mid routes, etc., etc…. I would love to see big improvement in T.O.P., 3rd down conversions, and qty. of 1st downs…But- not un-successful throws to Goodwin…if we’re really lucky with items above– we might see those kill shots with Bolden Jr. and Breida…

  3. Grant great information. Can you explain why Chip Kelly’s offense looked better last year and he had less offensive talent. I know we are rebuilding but I didn’t expect things to look this bad. What is the reason?

    1. Did it?

      The offense was 31st in drive length.
      The offense was 30th in plays per drive.
      The offense was 32nd is drive success. (A drive that gets at least one first down or a score.)
      The offense was 26th in PPD.

      Overall they were 31st when all efficiency and effectiveness stats are bundled. And if weren’t for the Rams, we’d have been dead last.

      Anyway, that alone tells you scoring was influenced by some big plays by individual players (like that long TD by McDonald) and that the team simply could not sustain drive efficiency and grind out scoring.

      So I think the answer is: Last year some players made some big plays while the offense was otherwise complete ****.

        1. Right now it’s just two games. My BFF is a Cowboys’ fan and he’s ready to jump after Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. The world is practically ending.

          I’m like ‘it’s just two games, dude.’

    2. That’s a great question. The 49ers scored 55 points in their first two games last season. If the 49ers offense lays another egg on Thursday, this will be something to investigate further.

      1. What’s to investigate? Here is the reason: Brian Hoyer.

        Why can’t we call a spade a spade. It’s the 49ers. What is always the problem on offense, the quarterback.
        I don’t get why we keep looking when the problem is clear as day, #2

          1. How good? 3 wins good?
            My point is when a guy has been on 5 different teams, he is not a NFL starter.
            Brian Hoyer is a back up.

            This is not about coaching, this is not about Kyle Shanahan, this is not about a rebuilding team.
            This is about an organization that thought they could go cheap at the most critical position in all of sports and coach it up.
            It won’t work. You want to talk about the Jets tanking, this looks very similar.

            1. Fantasy land.

              1. No QB worth taking at #2.
              2. No QB worth betting a franchise on in the second-round or later.
              3. No QB worth the cost, or worth a **** for most of them, in FA, I mean here’s your Top-6 list:

              Rank Player Status Age ’16 Team ’17 Team
              1 Kirk Cousins Franchise 29 WAS WAS
              2 Tony Romo Released 37 DAL
              3 Ryan Fitzpatrick Signed 34 NYJ TB
              4 Josh McCown Signed 38 CLE NYJ
              5 Matt Barkley Signed 27 CHI SF
              6 Brian Hoyer Signed 31 CHI SF

              Here’s another:

              Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins. Age: 29.
              Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys. Age: 37.
              Jay Cutler, QB, Bears. Age: 34.
              Brian Hoyer, QB, Bears. Age: 31.
              Mike Glennon, QB, Buccaneers. Age: 27.
              Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers. Age: 29.

              You see anybody worth signing there, besides Cousins who isn’t worth the draft-pick compensation? Romo retired and doesn’t want anything to do with football now. Cutler only came back because of Gase.

              4. No QB worth trading the ridiculous trade value of a possible system product.

              Your criticisms are, like the others in this situation, just BS. There was nobody in the draft that was a ‘must get franchise QB.’ There was nobody available as a FA as good QBs rarely come on the market. Mostly they’re broken in some way or just plain washed up.

              1. They could have given up a first in 2018 for Jimmy Garrapolo and maybe even a 2nd.
                Like everyone is saying they are going to spend a 1st next year anyway and they spent a high 3rd for CBJ last year.
                Or they could have taken Trubisky at #2 and groomed him all year.

                The point is this is a good team without a QB and now we have to spend a high pick next year any way on one or spend through the nose on a aging free agent QB?

                Sorry Moses but I’m not happy with the organization thinking they could get by with Hoyer because there was nothing better out there.

                Look at how far along the Eagles are with Wentz. That could have been the Niners.
                And the sad part is tomorrow night we might see the same in the Rams.

              2. “They could have given up a first in 2018 for Jimmy Garrapolo and maybe even a 2nd.
                Like everyone is saying they are going to spend a 1st next year anyway and they spent a high 3rd for CBJ last year”.

                Not true. It was reported by several high-profile media members that the Patriots would not trade Garoppolo, even if they got blown away by an offer. The Browns, who had more ammo than the 49ers, were denied.

                Beathard was taken late in the 3rd round with the 103rd pick. Not early.

          2. Yeah, but it more of a fluke. I pointed that out when we signed him and thought that we shouldn’t expect more than high-80s, low-90s in his QB rating based on his improvement over time and likely ceiling.

            So far he’s underperforming even his mean which includes those years he was learning to not be a turn-over machine.

            1. Hard to say it was a fluke when he played so well four games in a row. He shouldn’t be averaged 4.7 yards per attempt. His career average is 7.1.

              1. Football is like anything, it’s generally not just one thing. I think it’s a combination of things. If Goodwin doesn’t have, what, 2-3 crucial drops right now what could be different? If we didn’t have Beadles at LG for the first game cld that have helped? We played two of the toughest Ds in the league so far, one game in Seattle! And guess what this Rams D isn’t exactly garbage either. Also, I agree, the offensive play calling has been bad. We spent how many millions on a FB we don’t use. We haven’t thrown a ball to Kittle over 5 yards it feels like, ect ect…. I think it’s a little early to just say Hoyer sucks.

      2. We’ve played two mediocre/bad offenses so far so there haven’t been the blow out losses where we accumulate a bunch of points in garbage time like there was last year.

        People think our defense is getting better, it isn’t, Seattle just has a worse offense then Carolina right now.

        1. Great point and I agree.

          Everyone’s talking about how close that Seattle game was as if it was all due to a huge improvement on D for the 49ers. Niners D incrementally better but it’s mainly because Seattle looked awful. Terrible o-line, dropped passes, meh receivers, no running backs

          1. I dont have a feel for the stats like you guys, but just watching that game on sunday… it was a different D, without a shadow of a doubt. They were faster, they hit harder, they looked enthusiastic, pumped, totally up for it. Every single player. When Saleh talks about ‘kill or be killed’ i’m beginning to see exactly what he means.

            I dont know about Saleh’s history, but I like him. No-nonsense. He is clearly trying to install a nasty, brutish attitude in his players and whatever he is doing is reflected in their play.

            Last year the defensive looked slow, like they were tired all the time.

            Like I say, I have no evidene or stats to back this up, its purely an observation.

            Out of the two defensive units on display last sunday vs Seattle, it was the 49ers one that i’d have been most scared playing against. They looked brutal. Perhaps not polished and as well drilled, but in terms of sheer aggression and attitude they were the clear winners. And that was without Foster and Reid for half the game.

            1. I agree Brit. Last year the defense played the entire game like this years played on that last drive (after having been on the field for nearly 40 minutes). When fresh, they are bringing the hit, swarming to the ball, gang tackling. We rarely saw that last year. Of course it only takes one plays worth of blown coverage or miscommunication to undo all of that, and we will see more than a bit of that this year too.

  4. I think that Hoyer has this Rams game and perhaps the next to turn it around and be the QB he seemed to be in TC. Otherwise, he’s going to quickly be demoted and the rookie promoted, with possibly Barkley getting resigned. No one’s going to put up with such putrid mediocrity at the QB position, we’ve all witnessed enough the last few years to last a lifetime..

    1. Well said. Shanny’s only fault was hitching his wagon to a journeyman QB.
      Did he really think he could coach an average QB to stardom then have to rely on a rookie?
      Maybe Shanny thinks he is better than he is and believes he is a “offensive genius”.
      In the NFL, if you don’t have talent, you ain’t shinola!

      1. Or maybe you’re clueless and haven’t figured out there wasn’t a single ****ing QB worth signing in FA or drafting where we were in the draft. You saw the **** the Bears got for drafting Trubisky. Never mind the trade, the pick itself.

        Seriously, get over it. There was no hope in the draft. There was no hope in FA. Hoyer was, literally, the best option because he had some familiarity with Shanahan’s offense.

        1. No hope in the draft? Trubisky was the most accurate QB in the draft.
          A year sitting and learning under Shanny would have made him starter next year in SF and a darn good one.

          Now what? Wait for next year when you will be using another high pick on a class everyone says is better. Bull!
          You need to develop and he 49ers told their fans this was a nothing year going with Hoyer.
          For the right price they could have had a legit QB in Jimmy G or draft a bonafide guy.

          1. 572 collegiate passes in a North Carolina spread offense, and you think he’d be ready to run Shanny’s offense in one year? Shanny didn’t think so, and neither do I. The Bears incubation plan for Trubiscuit was doomed the day they signed Glennon. The incubator cannot protect the football, and the drum beat for Son of a Mitch grows louder, and louder with every loss. I have my doubts about the competency of Dowell Loggains to groom a quarterback too, not to mention being a competent offensive coordinator. The hire kind of reminded me of when Nolan hired Jim Hostler….

            1. “572 collegiate passes in a North Carolina spread offense, and you think he’d be ready to run Shanny’s offense in one year?

              Absolutely!

              1. Son of a Mitch Trubiscuit has average intelligence with a score of 25 on the Wonderlic. Alex Smith scored a 40 on the Wonderlic. Trubiscuit isn’t even as smart as Kaepernick, who scored a 38, so you may want to rethink your position, or come up with a better reference to make your case….

              2. You’re the one who said Trubisky was Alex Smith smart. Please provide the information that is available other than the Wonderlic to back up your assertion, or I call BS….

              3. Based on how well he is able to master a play book, read defenses and prep.
                All qualities Alex possesses which makes him a good QB as will it with Trubisky.

              4. We won’t know for a couple more seasons, at the very least, whether Trubisky is worth primes accolades or razors scorn. But guys, until then keep it up.

            2. Thats a good point Razoreater…There were just too many unknowns with Trubisky, and too small a sample even for Shanahan to feel comfortable with it. And isn’t that the real issue here? The 49ers gambled on CK, who choked on the goalline costing us a championship, while Alex Smith has been steady and represents a huge upgrade at our current position right now.

  5. I agree with Grant. If Hoyer can make a smattering of plays through the air, the 49ers win this game. If not, they’ll probably lose.

  6. Yep, spot on. This is a winnable game if they can get something competent through the air, and the rest of the phases perform like they did against the Seahawks. My main concern though is that the Rams pass rush may be too good for the 49ers OL, especially the interior matchup.

  7. So did Bill Walsh call “22 Z In” during the 1979 season?

    I’ve been told that Lowell Cohn ripped Walsh and wanted him fired. Said he was a bad coach. Is that also true?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

    Of course, Lowell played and coached as much football as Grant.

      1. I call your bluff: prove it was his go to play in 1979.

        You’ll have a job, my dad was there and says you’re talking out your rear end. His also said Lowell was on bill walsh’s case from the get go. Apple don’t fall far from the tree.

  8. I agree scooter this is a winnable game but this team has me confused. I never thought we would make the playoffs this year but our talent is better than the on field product so isn’t that coaching?Maybe kS is a great OC but not so much HC.

  9. Niners just played against 2 really good defenses. Rams beat a bad Colts team, but just lost to Washington.
    .
    Washington ran against the Rams, so maybe the best way for Hoyer to succeed is to hand off to Hyde.

    1. You know Seb I wanted to ask you, why doesn’t Kap consider moving to WR ala Terrelle Pryor?
      He’s tall, fast and doesn’t have to use his brain.

      1. Speaking of Kaep, he would be wasted as only a receiver.
        .
        Glad you admitted he has a brain.
        .
        Kaep may get an opportunity soon, because some QBs are benching themselves. .
        .
        The NFL is getting a black eye for blackballing a player who was just exercising his First Amendment rights. Other players are still protesting, and another cop who planted evidence is not found guilty, even though the victim’s DNA was not found on the gun. Kaep is right. The system is corrupt, and until there is accountability, there will be no justice.
        .
        Goodell wants to stop the controversy, but until Kaep plays, the controversy will continue. Goodell should ask Jed to accept Kaep back, and hopes he fails miserably, so all the detractors are proven right. Seems like most other teams will not accept Kaep, even though their present QBs are under performing.

        1. I think Kap would make a great WR. Tall, long, has terrible start up speed but good finishing speed.
          Seriously, if the NFL reads your posts, and you love the guy so much, why don’t you post a resume of a WR on his behalf?
          I mean, you are a legend remember and have actual evidence they read your comments.
          Help your brother out why don’t you?

        2. Sebbie and blackballing… It’s all conditional…

          sebnynah says:
          August 27, 2017 at 6:18 pm
          If Hoyer can play like that, I will not mind if Kaep is blackballed. Looks like the defense is playing NINER FOOTBALL.

  10. One thing to look for is fake punts. Rams did that to Washington.
    .
    Maybe the Niners could try a fake punt, especially if near the Rams 40 yard line, and 4th and 3.

      1. Go Pinion! Or… Who lines up in the backfield (as protection) in punt formation? A short snap could work depending on yards needed.

  11. Precisely right! The team needs to invigorate the offensive attack. Bringing in Garçon and getting Juice involved early to establish a flow to the game will be good, especially if they can prove to move the ball efficiently down the field.

    The caveat is the DL of the Rams and the OL of the 49ers. The OL needs to hold up and the Rams need to still be shaky.

    1. I mean if we lose to the Rams tomorrow we are definitely not winning more than 3 games looking forward.
      This is a must win, at home!

  12. It’s all down to improving the game planning/Shanahans coaching and Hoyer and the receivers executing.
    I like everything else I see on this team right now.
    Defensive coaches, Special teams, running backs, Defense as a whole.
    Couple improvements in the O line and a killer receiver and QB and this team would be a serious contender.

  13. Hoyer needs to quit stalling and over throwing receivers, be comfortable taking a hit seems like he was scared. As for the secondary defense Niners need to replace Rashard Robinson he cant cover a wide receiver if his life depended on it. He’s burned often, he’d be burned by a wide receiver in pop warner… Replace Robinson!!!

    1. Rashard Robinson has the makeup and confidence to be a pro bowl player. The guy is what, only 22? He has played reasonably good games as an extremely young, number one corner.

      All this beef but the fact is the tape doesn’t lie. Hoyer was missing wide open people on third down and even in the red zone. That has nothing to do with scheme, or knowing the playbook, or how long the playcall itself is. Whether he played better in the past as a backup is irrelevant, he is a guy that is showing me he can’t handle the pressure of being a number one quarterback. Go back and look up his only start in the playoffs, it was abysmal. Other than the bomb to Goodwin that was dropped in week one, he has not made even one play that makes you say wow, hes better than CK or Gabbert. Hes clumsy looking in the pocket, and almost looks like he knows hes gonna get hurt at any point in the game. Elusive, he is not.

  14. I wonder if part of Hoyer’s problems at the moment are just putting too much pressure on himself. His last few stops he has either been the backup that got called upon or a place holder for a 1st round pick to learn from, rather than the clear cut starter like he is this year. Easier to play with more of a devil-may-care attitude when nobody really expects too much from you. So far this season he has looked overly cautious.

    1. Good observation. Wonder if he had less pressure when he was not the man. Now that it is his job to lose he feels the enormity of the job pressure. It can get to some people.

      Though it has been a trait of 49er QBs of late to hold on to the ball too late and throw late and inaccurate. To throw to the opposition to often. What gives?

    2. I think it might have more to do with getting comfortable in the offense. Staley has yet to master the LT position in it, and Hoyer had some familiarity in it, but that was a while ago. I’d venture to guess he knows most of it, but how much he’s comfortable executing could be limited….

    3. Why when I hit reply on a comment, it is not commenting on the post that I want to?

      Responding to Scooter, and his valid assessment of Hoyer not used to being the guy, I was like Exactly. I hope I’m wrong, and I do believe in Shanahan, but Hoyer seems too shook.

      But then I hit post and it shows up under some other comment

  15. What’s more concerning is he is the guy who set up the pre camp practices, is the leader of the offense and who was suppose to know this scheme inside and out.
    At what point do the boys in the locker room start losing faith in him?
    He’s having a hard time with the pressure? Well tomorrow night is a nationally televised game and last Sunday he publicly admitted to saying he has to better.

    1. Hoyer was supposed to know this offense inside and out? Did it ever occur to you that whoever sold you that bill of goods, was likely the same person that sold you those magic beans….

              1. They signed him because of their familiarity of the offense and working together in Cleveland.
                You don’t believe that?

                This is the NFL, what’s this comfortable excuse?
                He was brought in before a lot of better options and it has not worked out to date.
                Your idea of getting comfortable works in college. This is the big leagues son, do your job and Hoyer has not done his job.

              2. Hoyer is not a qb that’ll rise above other faults on O to “make things happen”
                he’s a system qb, he’s a cog in KS’ complex offensive machine– very important cog, but a cog never the less….
                once other parts work right (OL, etc.) he can perform at a level that makes the machine work, work efficiently, not spectacularly….
                hope we see the machine start working tmro night….

              3. “They signed him because of their familiarity of the offense and working together in Cleveland”. No chit Sherlock.

                It took Matt Ryan two years to know this offense inside and out.

                Tjf has it right. The players around Hoyer have to know their jobs, which will make Hoyer more comfortable.

              4. Brian Hoyer is not Matt Ryan. Matt Ryan is a franchise QB, your comparing him to Hoyer?
                Yeah, ok.
                Like always Razor you can’t follow much.
                Your giving Hoyer a pass because he needs time to learn the offense when in reality, he was signed because he already knew it.
                Stay on task!

              5. Matt Ryan is a franchise quarterback and better than Hoyer? You don’t say! Still took him 2 straight years in it to know it inside and out, which stands to reason that Hoyer will have an even bigger learning curve. No one’s giving Hoyer a pass, but someone has to constantly fact check your disingenuous spin….

              6. So the reason he is struggling is because he has not gotten comfortable in an offense he ran with Shanny in Cleveland and now in SF?

                So if it takes him 2 more years to “get comfortable” as you allude to that good QB’s like Ryan needed to, why did the 49ers only sign Hoyer to a 2 year deal?

              7. dude…Hoyer won’t work till the rest of O works…get it? No getting comfortable for Hoyer till OL works right and run game works right….other 10 guys need to do their jobs, then Hoyer can do his…do we need to break it down further for ya?
                maybe we should post links to the 2015 media stories about fans in ATL calling for KS’ head in 2015…Ryan wasn’t good in this scheme till 2016….

              8. I guarantee you he doesn’t know it inside and out, and the players around him don’t either. Staley admitted to not having mastered the LT position in it yet. As to why they signed him to two years, I think that’s how long they think it will take Beathard to learn it. I don’t think you realize how big this playbook is, and the length of calling one play in the huddle. It’s like a paragraph, and you think some kid from a spread offense that has never called a play in a huddle could master it in a year. You’re delusional….

              9. Hoyer is not getting past his first read. He is holding the ball way too long and can’t even get to his check down.
                This isn’t a getting comfortable thing. This is a he isn’t a good QB thing.

                The sooner you realize that the sooner you can apologize and say you were right again Prime!

              10. it a “do your job thing” for ALL 11 guys —not just Hoyer.
                we’ll see if your “Hoyer sucks” narrative pans out…
                but you might have to put A1 sauce on your fillet of crow if the OL and run game get in sync.
                and they don’t have to play the SEA “D” again for a while…

  16. I have the niners winning this game.
    Against Carolina, Hoyer was one easy dropped pass away from 250 +yards passing. While getting crushed.
    I Seattle he played terrible, but that was in Seattle, against that defense in the pouring rain. Keep in mind Russ didn’t play well either. He threw 3 dropped ints.
    This is the game that should tell us what we have in Hoyer. The interior line shouldn’t have as bad of a matchup because while LA has Aaron Donald he is not sitting next to Starr which should allow for more help.
    The question is… has Hoyer become Jim Everett? A Good QB when everything around him is working right but one who folds the minute he is pressured.

  17. This is “Rams week” — time for Niners fans to cease whining and scream with “extreme violence” (to steal a phrase from Saleh) towards the Rams. Niners will win because they are the Rams. Hoyer will stop being Hoyerific and rediscover his touch and confidence. STY (Shanny The Younger) will find a happy middle between play calling and “head coaching”. Goodwin will hold on to his catches and Garcon will beat up Jackson or whoever lines up opposite to him.

    Watching STY on the sidelines, I think he would definitely benefit from having a “bench coach” by his side if he continues to do the playcalling. He gets so involved in playcalling that he may miss on situation football decisions.

      1. Thanks. I think the next step would be for some Sonoma craft brewery to come up with a STY beer that would be available in small batches right before game time….

        On a general note, Brotha, what do you think of the Niners on-the-field performance overall in the first two games?

  18. Joe Thomas — what a warrior! 10K consecutive snaps — not one snap missed, not one game missed, not one pro bowl missed since getting drafted in 2007. All the while playing for a miserable team. A perfect professional….

  19. Rams game will be tough. Gurley has improved, the O line is improved, Goff has improved, the WRs with Cooper Kupp has greatly improved.
    .
    The biggest improvement is in the coaching. Fisher is gone, so that is a huge improvement. McVay is young, aggressive and innovative, and Wade Phillips is solid.
    .
    Niners need to play efficiently. They should never let the play clock go below 5 seconds. They should forbid Hoyer from walking up to the line and calling a time out.. If he does that, he should just walk off the field and let CJB play.
    .
    Time outs should be considered precious, and saved for legitimate challenges and the last 2 minutes of each half.
    .
    Niners should learn from last game. RW had the TE chip the DE so he could roll out, then the TE should roll out the same way so he can be an easy target for Hoyer. The Seahawks ran the no huddle on the game winning drive. Niners should emulate that strategy.
    .
    Niners should feed Hyde, with Breida as a change up, then do play action, with Goodwin doing a stutter step, then going deep. They should put goodwin in motion so he is at top speed at the snap of the ball, and maybe he can avoid the check at the line of scrimmage.
    .
    Niners should try to get Kittle matched up with a LB and have him go deep.
    .
    Hoyer should vary the snap count, draw them offsides, and morph the free play into a deep strike .
    .
    Niner defense should get to Goff early to rattle him, and get a hand up in the air to tip the pass. The defense must play disciplined, and thwart the third down plays so the offense can get back on the field.
    .
    If the Niners do not defeat themselves, this is a very winnable game.

    1. Seb, I’m telling you man, write a post about converting Kap to WR.

      The NFL GM’s read your posts and it might be a way to get Kap back into the league.

      I’m telling you it’s a great idea.
      Kap to WR!

      1. Prime, you considered drafting Trubisky to be such a good idea, you bet money on it. Your ‘Great’ ideas just define you as a joke.
        .
        You need to bone up on your Football for Dummies book more.

  20. Alright Grant, glad to see you took my advice and steered away from drawing up single plays the offense should run and concentrated more on strategy. Even the play design you illustrated was framed in a way to say find a play that Hoyer is comfortable running without saying that the specific play you picked would be successful. I think the strategy you laid out in all 5 points is very sound and logical. I especially agree with the need to build Hoyer’s confidence. I have serious doubts about Hoyer’s mental toughness so I think it’s critical to find high percentage plays that help him find his happy place early in games. I also totally agree with the need to go deep in this offense. Even if you don’t get it, the deep attempt itself loosens up the defense. You have one of the fastest players in the NFL in Marquise Goodwin. They should go deep early to pull the safetys off the line of scrimmage and then when they creep up again, they should go deep again. Good job on this post. Glad you listened to what I had to say and adjusted your style accordingly.

  21. Thinking 9ers 17, Rams 13. Defense plays well–a bit more rested because the offense manages to stay on the field longer. Too, Rams squander a few opportunities handed to them.

    Bring on the post game piñata!

    1. Would be great but I think it’s going to be more like Rams 17- 49ers 9. Hoyer’s offense goes another week without scoring a TD. Rams will be the best defense they’ve played yet and they couldn’t get a score in those 2 games. Not sure why anyone would think the offense will score against an even better defense. Hoyer is what Hoyer is. A journeyman QB who knows Shanahans offense. He is not a good qb and he isn’t suddenly going to become good this year.

    1. Not sure but I just came up with a great nickname:

      * Australian accent *

      Foster – Australian for Fear

      Never mind the fact Australia has nothing to do with it, it still sounds cool 😎

      1. That is AWESOME! I think the 49ers may have beat the Seahawks if Foster was able to play. What better player to spy Russell Wilson than Reuben Foster? I think Foster shuts down some of those 4Q scrambles.

        1. Definitely think they would’ve won with Foster in the lineup. Hopefully he’ll be full go the next time they play, I’m looking forward to that.

    1. Great video. Thanks for posting. IMHO one of Rice’s best traits was his ability to use his body to shield defenders from the ball while he adjusted his speed and used his hands to cleanly catch the ball without letting the defender anywhere near the ball. Defenders really had no chance for an Int. Their best hope was to commit pass interference. I loved Joe and Steve but Rice made them look great with the ease in which he ran his routes and shielded defenders from the ball. He was simply amazing.

  22. One strategy I think the Niners should employ is utilizing players to maximizing their potential.
    .
    Maybe they should look at Arik Armstead as a TE. Hoyer could throw the ball high, and Arik could out jump the defenders. Arik, being a former power forward, could high point it, and tip it to another team mate down the field.

    1. ha ha ha

      you are the gift that keeps giving

      this idea is more crazy than the “bundle 2-3 players for a trade”

      Please send me your dealers number…….he definitely has that good good….

    2. sebnynah – sounds like a Bill Belichick move, scouring the roster, looking for any advantage he could gain. probably the best coach at utilizing personnel on both sides of the ball since the days of the two-way players

    3. Sebbie… What happened to your rant that the 9ers should not play players out of position? You sound like Trent B. now, playing someone out of position because some genius feels they could max their potential elsewhere.

      Yes, you are the gift that keeps on giving…like a bad rash.

      1. Sebfluenza- a disease of the mind whereby the victim believes themselves superior and invulnerable to logic and cogent thought. Prone to discordant thoughts and opinions, rambling tiresome tirades without basis or historical precedent. Prone to God complexes and florid ideation of past deeds. Increasing displays of narcissistic behavior with likely return to prepubescent displays of defensiveness. Sadly there is no known cure….

  23. It is my belief that Mr. Prime Time is badly mistaken in his criticism of Hoyer and that shows how little he understands of professional football. Mr. Prime Time is unable to put these first two games in their proper context. Hoyer was playing against two of the best defenses in the NFL. Carolina has allowed only 6 points. Seattle held Green Bay to 17 points. Hoyer was the victim of crucial dropped passes by Goodwin. Hoyer is operating an extremely complicated offense, as Mr. Razor has eloquently explained. This offense is new to the team. The players are new to each other. It takes time for the QB to establish a rapport with his receivers. It is not possible to learn to operate this offense at high efficiency in two games. You need a much larger sample size to determine how could Hoyer can be. I suspect that by the end of the season Hoyer will be playing at a much higher level than he has shown, to the point where Mr. Prime Times’ comments today will make him look foolish, and you will find him wiping a lot of egg off his face.

  24. Grant, are you at the stage of your career where you could get an off the record one on one with Shanny over the long week off for SF? You would be able to share your thoughts directly with him re coaching and play calling and get answers.

    Same with Lynch re FA player selections, draft picks, future QB strategy etc.

    In the absence of this kind of face to face exchanges, the rest of the season your articles and our comments will keep going round and round over these issues.

    1. As the Niners let Ahmad go, they don’t have to worry about the linebacking corps of Foster Brooks*

      *if you don’t know who Foster Brooks was, Google is your friend.

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