Spying the quarterback

From the Packers’ perspective, the biggest reason they lost on Sunday was their inability to contain Colin Kaepernick when he scrambled.

The Packers’ coaching staff, and defensive coordinator Dom Capers in particular, did not assign a “spy” to Kaepernick in their original game plan. And once they saw him running around and breaking down their defense, they never made an in-game adjustment to incorporate a spy.

Even if they had assigned a spy, the spy has to be able to catch Kaepernick. Maybe the Packers felt they didn’t have a player, other than one of their cornerbacks, who could catch him, although their inside linebacker, Brad Jones, ran a 4.54 at the NFL Combine and Kaepernick ran a 4.53.

The Packers didn’t maintain pass rush lane integrity, either. That means they gave up cavernous paths for Kaepernick to escape the pocket. Edge rushers wildly rushed upfield and lost containment on the outside, or both inside rushers tried to get upfield to sack Kaepernick as opposed to having one interior rusher proceed with a controlled rush to cover escape paths and minimize where Kaepernick could go. You can’t have all pass rushers on the same level and you can’t lose lane integrity against a fast quarterback like Kaepernick, otherwise he can run uncontested.

The 49ers play the Panthers next week. They played each other Week 10, and both defenses spied the opposing quarterback on third down — Luke Kuechly or Thomas Davis spied Kaepernick, and NaVorro Bowman or Patrick Willis spied or blitzed Cam Newton. As a result, Kaepernick rushed for just 16 yards and Newton rushed for just 15.

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  1. I still believe with Mr. Crabs back in the fold, Kaepernick will exploit the Panthers secondary. Iupati should help against that front….

      1. So that means they have to change their running approach. Maybe attack the edges more to keep the ends at bay. Draw plays and quick lead plays will be critical to keep them off balance.
        Crabtree will be the difference as will Davis.
        This game will not that close.

    1. Vernon Davis will also help take some pressure off. He will command speed so one of their “spies” will have to cover this time. Since Capers started spying after adjustments I’d have to think he did because VD wasn’t playing and it gave him an advantage to do so.
      Going to be interesting to watch the chess match.
      Again I’m calling a no huddle offense from us to tire out their defense. Lets see if Roman goes bananas and changes some things for this game.

  2. I think that both teams will have to rely heavily on their passing game on Saturday. It’ll be interesting to see if Rogers will be cleared to play but kept out of the starting lineup.

      1. Thanks Crab. This stupid auto correct on my phone is driving me nuts. I type QB and it replaces it with ABOUT. I type quarterback and it replaces it with porterhouse. Since when can a receiver catch a pass from a porterhouse?

    1. I will worry a lot less in this game since Panthers do not spread the field as much as the packers do. Also their receiver depth isn’t too much of a threat either. We should be able to get it done with Brock/Brown/Cox.

      1. I would rather not see Rogers in this game. If you guys get a chance, watch his tackling effort on the TD from Deangelo Williams in our game against the Panthers this season. He followed Williams for 20 yards without trying to make the tackle. I killed him during the game on this blog for that. It was if he felt like the TD wouldn’t hurt us. As it turned out, it was the only TD scored. Cox played pretty well last week. I don’t want to see Rogers at all in the playoffs.

    2. MWD, Leo – I’m not comfortable with Cox or Carlos out there. Both are weakest link. However, I’d still play Carlos over Cox if he’s 85% or better.

  3. They lost Davis, Reid, and Clerk during the game and didn’t have Crabtree or Patton.

    This is a different 49ers team than Carolina faced 8 weeks ago.

    1. I agree Jack. They also had Aldon Smith back in his first game after getting out of rehab and he played minimal snaps.

      This is a very different team than the one the Panthers saw earlier and even then the Niners likely win if the pass to McDonald is completed down the seam.

      The biggest issue the Niners had that day was trying to deal with Carolina’s pass rush. They had a terrible day in pass protection and if that happens again the passing game will struggle again, but with the willingness we’ve seen in recent weeks to get the ball out of Kap’s hand quickly to the WR screens or to the backs, a lot of that may already be negated in the game plan.

      1. Nail on the head there rocket. There has been a much greater emphasis in recent weeks on getting some quick pass plays out, and clearly someone has had a talk to Kaep about the check down. He doesn’t do it often, but in recent weeks at least he has looked to the check down occasionally – an infinite improvement from the start of the season.

        Against a top pass rush like the Panthers have they should be using more quick pass plays and make use of the check down options. Crabtree is a very good runner after the catch, so is Patton, and Boldin has also made some plays in recent weeks on WR screens. I would be shocked if the WRs aren’t given about a dozen opportunities to make something happen during the game on short passes.

      2. Grant faces quite a quandary here. Scooter just agreed with rocket on the use of quick passes. What does Grant do? Can he find a way to agree with Scooter while simultaneously disagreeing with rocket?

      3. I don’t think I’m underrating Carolina’s DBs – actually I think they are pretty decent. As with the 49ers DBs they are helped out by an excellent front 7, but they are a good group in their own right.

        It is because they are good enough to hold up in coverage for 3 seconds that I think it is important to go with a good smattering of short passes to WRs, hopefully with a little bit of space in front of them, and see if the WRs can get some YAC. Playing for a heavy dose of intermediate and deep passes would seem to be playing into the Panthers’ hands.

        1. Munnerlyn and White are physical tacklers who have missed just 9 tackles combined this season and given up 1 TD. Munnerlyn did an excellent job on Boldin in the first game. Munnerlyn also covered Vernon Davis in the first quarter when the 49ers tried to take a shot. Munnerlyn blanketed Davis and Kaepernick didn’t throw it to him.

          I’m looking forward to the matchup of Crabtree and White. White is big like Crabtree, physical, and can can jump. That’s a big reason why he hasn’t given up a TD catch this season. He’s very good in the red zone.

          Brock and Brown have given up 9 TDs this season.

      4. Scooter
        gold star for you for using the word “smattering” in a different context than its used 99.9% of the time. I don’t think I have ever heard/seen that word used unless its describing several people out of a larger crowd boooing someone. “a smattering of boooos”. Oddly enough when describing people booooing the only adjective used to quantify the amount is “smattering”

    2. Let’s not forget it was also Aldon’s first game back and he only played 12 naps. Aldon/Reid/Vernon/Crab/Celek/McD basically all out

  4. Come on. Is that poll question real? Hardy sacks total are inflated, he had 7 in the final two games. No way he is a better player than Aldon. Sorry.

    1. 8 games in which he had No sacks. Easy to compare his to an Aldon who missed 5 games, but he’s not better. With how aldon is playing right now I don’t think there’s de/olb who’s better. Refer to play number one of the pack game for a reference.

  5. another one of those quotes from Coach Harbaw:

    ” I have not found anything else that makes [me]
    feel like a man…”

    He is speaking about winning a football game
    on the road, playing in difficult weather conditions.

    This sports obsession would seem to explain his antics:
    1. jumping up and down in the postgame locker room
    2. fixing his gaze in a slack-jawed, catatonic stare
    during press interviews, the mouth contortions,
    the grimaces, the puzzled look, the furrowed brow.

    One thing we now know: He feels like a man.
    Thanks for the insight, Coach.

    1. When you spoon your A Smith pillow at night and you wrap your arms and legs around it, does it make you feel like a man?

      1. Bay, you must be darn close to the same age as Lowell ;-) Haven’t heard anyone use “spoon” for donkey’s years. (You also reminded me of my old Shakespeare Prof., an internationally renowned authority on the English Renaissance – and one hell of a nice man: he’d make spoonerisms now and then in the course of his lectures. Never did know for sure if he was doing it on purpose.)

      2. I love it Bay, because this tool feels like a man when he stares at fat head poster of Alex Smith and dreams about seating beside him.

    2. Alex Smith does a post game interview dressed the way you feel a player should dress.

      CK does a post game interview dressed in his casual attire and headphones like you hate.

      Hmmm, I wonder if how a person dresses really is the difference between winning and losing?
      What do you think Alex Smith (I got smacked by Andrew Luck)?

      1. This troll would want a championship team to be in a suit and tie for the celebration. The Armani suit gets champagne poured all over it, but that’s okay because they are dressed like they are going to a social event.

    3. Here is what Harbaugh actually said:
      “Many things. People may disagree, but personally, as a player and what that meant for the players, I was happy and ecstatic for them because I haven’t found anything that makes you feel more like a man than to go, not only beat your opponent, but you’re beating their crowd, and then, the elements, in a playoff game. And both teams have to beat the elements. But, in a playoff game, to beat the elements, to beat the opposing team, to beat the opposing crowd, just nothing quite makes you feel like a man like that, that I’ve found.”

      The mutant parasite turns it into this: “” I have not found anything else that makes [me]feel like a man…”

      I’m sorry that you haven’t found anything that makes YOU feel like a man, but that’s not a topic for a sports blog. Go hang out on Arrowhead Pride and talk about next year.

    4. ‘obsession would seem to express his antics’
      Egads! Methinks you’ve just self-diagnosed! Congratulations! With 20+ years of therapy, who knows how bright your prognosis might be!

      1. I think mr. stalker is just a loser. In his heart he hates winning and success and hates Harbaugh because of it. He longs for the days of Erickson and Nolan so he can console his lovable losers.

      1. Besides the quick fun I had with this idiot, I have to ask the same thing ribico asks. Why feed this troll. 5 bucks says its sitting there with its candles burning for warmth an light laughing at the comments from you guys.

    5. Alex Smith (. . .) is not a man. Alex Smith (. . .) is an alias for DS, who is a woman. @DS: That you are in many ways a very intelligent person is evident. I do wish you’d rejoin the fold (though I understand that in a way you’ve never really left it) and help us cheer on the ‘Niners.

      1. No way. Keep that bandwagon Alex smith jock sniffer away from ANY kind of 49er fan title. And take onelame with it. They’re both chiefs fans now. Off with their heads!

      1. Nah, this is just a troll that goes by the name of Khamozik (currently – but formerly of too many names to remember) on SFGate. He hated Smith, but now hates Kaepernick — but he would hate any QB for the 49ers even if that had been Manning breaking records. This is what he has done for years on 49er blogs. This is not DS.

  6. Grant,
    I have an idea for you to do a piece on if you don’t mind. After the season is over, I’d love to better understand the infrastructure of NFL referees. A break down of their structure, how their 4 man teams are formed, how their performances are reviewed and graded, and finally how they are disciplined today.

    I think that this year was the worst year I’ve ever witnessed in terms of referee performance. This year more than any, referees have critically affected the outcome of games which impacted standings.

    I’m sure the Steelers would like to be in the playoffs right now. I am sure Brady would have loved one more shot at the end zone after the no call on the defensive holding. I am sure the Niners would have loved to have been the one seed had they correctly let Brooks sack and forced fumble stand.

    I could go on and on. Jeff Triplette’s name comes up more than most other refs in terms of bad calls, yet they keep rolling him out there.

    What is the replacement process if an NFL ref is grading poorly at his job? Where is the infusion of young blood? What are they doing to get younger at the ref position and get them the experience they need to get up to speed.

    It reminds me of a saying in spanish. Don’t know how well it translates, but it goes like this, “if the young knew and the old could”.


    1. Its an interesting idea, Bay. The NFL should bring in guys full time, but that’s political & financial fodder for a separate discussion. I will remind us all that despite this year’s goofiness, these guys seem to be the best available. The replacement refs were a disaster. One thing that would help would be if the different teams of refs were more consistent between each other. Oh well……

    2. Bay,

      There is a great piece by Peter King on the MMQB website that details a lot of behind the scenes info on officials. It’s very informative as he spent a week leading up to a game with one of the crews. Search the archives for it, it’s well worth the read.

  7. Reports are saying that Greg Roman didn’t fly back with the team and was possibly interviewed by a team for their vacant HC position. Is a Peterson-Roman combo on the horizon?

    1. I think Roman wants to get hired before Fangio lands a job so he can have the picks of the litter of 9er asst coaches for his coordinators.

      1. old coach:

        How many assistant coaches do you think Harbaugh would let him take? If they are under contract, the 49ers do not have to let them go.

    2. You’re probably right Coach. That said, something is just telling me that Fangio would have the better coaching staff of the two.

    3. This blog post by Eric Branch gives an insight into Roman’s aspirations and desire for wanting to be a head coach and balancing that with his current obligations of being OC on a successful team.

      Here’s a quote from Roman:

      Some people I know that are pretty savvy in the business pretty much told me, “If you win this game, you’re (expletive) out of luck.” It’s a little bit of irony — the more you win, the less chance you have of getting those jobs. I was talking on the phone with my agent, Dave Dunn, and he told me that, and I said, “So wait a second — you’re telling me that if we win, I lose?”

      He can do as he wishes, but I hope he doesn’t lose focus on the task at hand and to get ready for the Carolina Panthers.


  8. As I recall the front 4 used aggressive upfield play to disrupt the run game. Other teams have had some success with that against SF. There are mitigating tactics available and SF needs to keep that threat viable. Hopefully CK is calmer at this point of the season, and the fellas are ready to rumble.

    1. Gore had a pretty good day running the ball, but the passing game was dead in the water due to the constant pressure on Kap. They did it with the front four some of the time, but they also brought the LB’s on blitzes up the middle a number of times as well. Really well played game by the Panther defense along with the fact the Niners were missing key people.

  9. A spy? They tried that week 1. Kaepernick killed them from the pocket. A spy wasn’t going to help GB. Catching balls was how they were going to beat SF and they just couldn’t. The game plan wasn’t the problem in GB. It was drops by receivers.

    As for Carolina, Let them spy Kaepernick. This team has a full arsenal at WR and TE. They can’t man up on SF and win. It will be blitz city and it will be up to SF to dump it off to RBs, Quick passes to Crabtree and Boldin and deep on target throws to VD.

    SF wins this one by 17.

    1. Further, they played a lot of zone week one and didn’t adjust. Thus Boldin ate them up in the zones.

      Teams took notice and jammed/manned up Boldin. He did little from then on.

      Crabtree and VD need to soften up the defense in Carolina. I don’t see much of CK running here. We need to win upfront and CK must make accurate passes. More importantly find mismatch and manipulate his spy…

      1. We won’t be trying to win this game with McDonald I can tell you that. I actually think offensively we are going to score lots more than the last matchup. I see the final score as 27-17 49ers.

        I don’t see Carolina hurting us with their running game or through the air. They couldn’t hurt us with a healthy Steve Smith and he’s gimpy now. Their X factor is Cam. If we can contain him the way we did the first time we should be ok.

        I call their TD run a fluke. Otherwise their running game was average.

        Now on the offensive side of the ball, I hope Roman can call one of his better games. I liked the game plan he called last game. The results were decent considering the weather and the effect it had on the QB’s throwing the ball. Don’t believe me? When is the last time you saw Rogers throw for less than 180 yards in a big game?

        Carolina doesn’t blitz much, but we will force them to this game and I believe that will play into our hands.

      2. They score on the run because of a great offensive call when our defense was i believe in a nickel or dime package and there was miss communication. If we did not allow that TD we would have won that game.

  10. The nice thing about having some
    remaining teams in the playoffs who have already
    beaten the Niners is …
    the chances of them doing it again aren’t very good..

    Should Breese actually show up for his return match in
    SeaChicken-land … there will be a lotta people
    camping out for tickets at The Stick’s box office …

    Carolina Panthers … ?

    We got this one ..

    (right, Grant ?)

  11. Here’s Volume 5 of the weekly “Archive Jive” …This lovely Crabtree/Kaepernick trade was suggested after Giants beat us in NFC Championship back in 2012.
    It’s no secret that Hoferfan was down on Mr. Crabs from the get go.

    1. Hoferfan67 says:
    January 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    The 9ers get JMorg and Byham back from injury this year. The question is if they want to get into a bidding war and overpay. I think not and it’s not TB’s MO to do so. They will need to add playmakers through the draft. Maybe the answer is additional draft choices – trade CK and MC for a 2nd and 3rd pick to add more talent. Not a bad plan.

    Note: Earlier that same day, Hoferfan said Niners should trade Crabtree to Dallas for a 4th round pick.

    1. In Hofer’s defense Crab, Crabtree had yet to go through an entire season healthy and struggled mightily against a weak Giants secondary.

      1. There was no defense of Hofer bud. When the topic of Alex came up he was the most non objective poster on the board except for DS.

      2. No,
        Hofer blamed Crabtree for many of Smith’s short comings. Said he was a bad route runner that couldn’t get open.

      3. He was until last season Bay. I think going through an entire year healthy helped him. His numbers skyrocketed when Kaepernick became the starter but his potential was finally starting to be realized due to staying healthy.

      4. There was no defense of Hofer bud. When the topic of Alex came up he was the most non objective poster on the board except for DS.

        Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, this is pot.

      5. Crabs numbers took off when his foot was finally healthy, which was the 2nd half of 2011 season, with Smith as QB.
        He’s been an absolute stud ever since, and is very underrated. He’s one of the top receivers in the NFL.

      6. I’ll say it again. Crabtree was open tons when smith was qb. He NEVER got the looks and throws. Check downs were the trend. Idk how many times I looked at that only at games, and saw MC throw his hands up, shake his head, and give the get out of here hand gesture. On MANY occasions.

        And Crab…. Do you have a certain day or time for the archive jive? I’ve never seen 1-4.

      7. All you have to do is take it from the horse’s mouth. Crabtree himself said he was thankful to be playing with Kap because Kap trusts him. He gives him a chance to make plays. Alex didn’t always do that.

    2. I have to admit although i was’nt near as down on Crabtree as Hofer, I never thought he would get through a season healthy [i was'nt that far off there hes only done it once] but more to the point i never thought he would be as explosive as he has become. I used to describe him as a great #2 receiver……Boy was i wrong but his long term health still scares me.

      1. Hofer67 was a lot like Hammer in that he always used stats to back up his comments.
        Nothing wrong with that.

        I miss my ol’ bud Hof, he hasn’t been around this season. Hope he’s ok.
        Same goes for MCLemons, 49erGirl, and a few others.

      2. Crabtree was among the best receivers in the league during the second half of 2011. The strong pro-Smith group wanted to blame Crabtree for some of Smith’s problems thus Hofer saying they should trade him.

        1. You can’t blame his 1 catch, 3-yard NFC Championship performance entirely on Alex Smith, either. Crabtree didn’t play well in that game. Some fans were bitter about that.

      3. His first time through the playoffs was definitely a bit rough, but this was a good example of “what have you done for me lately?”

        1. I think some posters thought he wasn’t a big-game performer because Vernon Davis carried the passing game for the most part in those playoffs.

          1. Also, Jerry Rice was very critical of Crabtree after that game, saying he got no separation and needed to lose weight. That’s why when the 49ers drafted A.J. Jenkins, everyone’s favorite buzz word was “separation.” “Jenkins can separate.”

            And then Jenkins failed and the buzz word became “compete.” “Crabtree competes. Boldin competes. Patton competes.”

            Jenkins didn’t compete.

      4. Grant,
        I have that game recorded. Watched it many times. My favorite of all the follies where the passes that were skipped to Crabs in that game….

      5. Mine was the fact Crabtree struggled to get open against the Giants secondary and that Brett Swain was our #2 WR.

      6. I think that it is more that he spreads the ball around more and doesn’t try to play favorites in the passing game Grimey, which can be an Achilles heel at times.

      7. MidWest,
        I think he just doesn’t throw the intermediate and deep routes outside the numbers as much. Except the corner route. Alex throws a mean corner route(one of the reasons he was so productive with Vernon). Usually it’s the slot or TE that runs that route though.

      8. Actually he did through some deep passes but they were either dropped like the one by Avery in the first Broncos game, were overthrown like the one against the Colts that probably would have sealed the game, or his receiver tried to make an acrobatic catch when he should have just let the throw come to him (same play against the Colts that would have won the game).

      9. Grant Cohn says:
        January 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm
        You can’t blame his 1 catch, 3-yard NFC Championship performance entirely on Alex Smith, either. Crabtree didn’t play well in that game. Some fans were bitter about that.

        I agree 100 percent. That game was brutal to watch while watching Crabtree. I honestly thought he may have given up in that game. He got barely any looks all season and I think he had it. Look at his antics this season already. I still see him pouting about not getting balls thrown his way, even though he’s getting touches more then he did with Smith. I will say he had the diva persona

      10. i doubt he would give up in a championship game.

        but that game was a definite reality check for him. he definitely came out of that season and into the 2012 season noticeably faster and stronger.

        He also lost his drop problem.

        Lest we forget, Alex also looked a lot better in 2012 w/ the new Crab than he did in 2011…

        Remember b/c 2011 was so much about turnover differential, there were many analysts who thought the 9ers would regress.

        If you told those analysts about the year Akers would have after 2011… and that they’d get no help from the rookies and lose Hunter midway…

        But adding Manningham along w/ Crabtree’s improvement allowed Alex to improve to the point that it wasn’t a factor.

      11. Did you all see how pissed Crabtree was when he got behind the defense on the throw on 4th and 2 against Green Bay. He was pissed because with a better throw, he would’ve scored. Kap has still been inaccurate but Crab’s catch radius is so large that he makes Kap look good. Look at that 17 yarder in the last drive. The throw was behind Crabs because Kap was rolling slightly to his left but Crabs snared it out of the air.

        Kap is killing me on his deep throws. Had overthrows his guy 80% of the time. He’s got to lay that up and give his receiver a chance to run underneath and catch or fight for the ball. He overthrows it so far that we have no chance for a pass interference call either. It’s maddening to watch that crap. The great QB’s make that throw with ease. He needs more air under the damn ball!!

      12. The great QB’s make that throw with ease.

        No one makes that throw with ease. That’s why even adjusted completion percentages (completions + drops/attempts – throw aways) for long passes (20+ yards) rarely exceed 50%.

        In 2012, only four QBs exceeded 50% accuracy on throws of 20+ yards:

        Kaepernick – 55%
        Rodgers – 53%
        P. Manning – 53%
        Newton – 52%

    3. There was a point (I think during the Singletary years) when folks were posting Smith’s QB rating when passing to Crabtree vs when passing to other WRs. How much worse the numbers were when passing to Crabtree was often used to argue that Crabtree was a bust and to blame for Smith’s perceived shortcomings. If memory serves, there was a stretch where Smith threw several interceptions that first bounced off of Crabtree’s hands.

      Whatever changed since then, I’m certainly glad that Crab has it going on now. Hoping for a big game from him next week.

    4. I always liked Crabtree as a player. He was exceptional in college and from the moment he signed he looked like our most talented WR. There was a lot of talk about how he was just a possession WR, and should be a #2 WR. I said at the time, he was and will be a great possession WR and is fine as the #1 WR – all he needed is a QB that trusts him and a decent #2 WR to take some pressure off him. I was wrong though, he’s actually more than just a great possession WR as he has great run after the catch ability too.

      Alex started to trust him more late in 2011 once his feet healed and he started creating more separation. He’s even better with Kaep as Kaep trusts him to make a play even when he’s covered – exactly the type of QB he needs.

      My only concern with him was regarding his ‘diva’ image, and not signing his contract early combined with ongoing foot injuries that meant he skipped training camps didn’t help that image. But that’s gone now too – diva’s don’t run after the catch the way he does, or come back from achilles tears in 4 months.

    5. ninermd – Thanks for asking, I post “Archive Jive” every Tues between 8am-noon. Here’s volume 1-4 that you missed.

      Vol 1.
      The first ever “Archive Jive” comes from who else? “DS”
      The topic of discussion back in March 2012 was: “should Niners sign Peyton Manning?”

      DS94everXev says:

      March 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm
      In PM last season, the Colts had lost 4 straight games. In one of the plays, PM flinched anticipating a hit because he had been crushed all game long and all season long really.

      The WR was open in the endzone, and PM threw it in the dirt because he saw a pass rush that was not there and closed his eyes as he threw the ball anticipating a hit that did not come. PM panicked. Add on top of that this injury.
      He’s done.

      Vol 2. Moses trade wish of Crabtree and Kap for bag of chips.

      MosesZD says:
      January 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      If I could trade MC and KP for a bag of Doritos I’d do it. What you saw out of KP in pre-season is almost certainly what he’s going to be. All those picks..
      He couldn’t even read pre-season vanilla defenses. Just like in college he couldn’t beat a defense on a team that finished .500 or better… Nate Davis was a QB better prospect than CK. Same with Troy Smith

      Vol 3.
      Here’s volume 3 of the weekly “Archive Jive”….This post was in response to Grant giving Niners an F for their A.J. Jenkins pick at No. 30 in the first round of 2012 Draft.

      Scooter_McG says:

      April 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm
      I really like Jenkins – he’s one of the WRs I’ve been keen on the 49ers drafting for a while. Is the 1st round earlier than I expected? Sure – but he’s a legit threat at all levels of the field including downfield and that shows up on tape, not just running in underwear.
      The film I’ve watched of him he shows very good body control. He has great hands and plucks the ball out of the air over either shoulder. He maintains his speed into and out of breaks, much like Isaac Bruce used to. I think he’ll turn out to be a good WR for the 49ers, and will really help stretch the defense in the same way Lloyd and Wallace do.

      Vol 4.
      Sputnik does not like Anquan Boldin trade and can’t spell names.

      Sputnik says:
      March 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm
      The niners got I guy who is old and six mill a year (one year) and had Success Against the niners I don’t think he did any thing in the playoffs other than Super Bowl I call this a buddy deal or Should I say a brother deal bad Decision some of that money could of Helped Sign Darrell Revis or Dishon Gholdston but what do I know

      1. Crabs,

        I’ve always know what type of player Crabtree was. I always told you to wait until he has a decent QB throwing the ball to him. I also said that I wouldn’t pass judgement this year on Kap until Crabs came back. I’m sure we can all see that Crabs has made this offense much better and has made Kap better in the process!

      2. Crabb!!!! your my freakin hero right now!!! ive been waiting for someone to put some of these fools on blast! What better way that to use their own words in doing so! Most of you fellas are very knowledgeable and a pleasure to interact with. But not everyone!

        Now, if you can use this tactic on Grant, without getting censored………..

      3. Claude
        Crabs said when he introduced this series that he’d get around to everybody sometime, including himself. We can all expect a “Doh!” Tuesday eventually. I don’t think its Pass/Fail. I think the idea is to have some fun with it and keep our sense of humor.

      4. Brotha i think you’re correct Crabs heart is in the right place and we all need a little comeuppance now and then. I think Jshaw was trying to take it to another level.

      5. Brotha:

        Although I don’t see the point in what Crabs is doing, my comment to jshaw had nothing to do with that. I simply was making an observation on his seeming lack of self-awareness.

      6. Another 49ers assistant is taking a job somewhere else.


        Former Washington State head coach Paul Wulff, who has served the past two seasons as 49ers senior offensive assistant, has accepted the South Florida offensive coordinator position, reports WSU website Cougfan.com.

        I will admit that I don’t know anything about Wulff or his contribution to the team. Any reason I should be worried about his departure?

      7. Claude, I believe as long as Harbaugh is the coach of the 49ers, with his established success, he’ll have a stack of worthy candidates with which to choose from…..I remember Simpletary couldn’t find anyone that wanted to join his staff.

      8. Coach, C Balls, Jshaw – …Bro Tuna nailed it. I’m trying to keep it a fun thing. I will discontinue it if enough people complain. Maybe I should find one of my own crappy posts from the past next…..that could take forever though. :-)
        “Cocky Cam” must be destroyed Sunday!! Go Niners!

      9. Lol nice. If you pick me, I did say in this ore season that Brock sucked out loud and that Nnamdi would ball this year. :-0

  12. Better playing conditions in Carolina on Sunday should enhance our offense. Our WR’ should have a great day with CK looking more confident with each game.

    I expect Boldin, Crabtree, and QP to make some big catches and YAC. Also, watch for VMac to redeem himself in this game. VD will get his groove on as well.

    The running game may be stifled at the outset of the game, but adjustments a halftime will create some running lanes in the 2nd half giving us more passing/scoring opportunities.
    I believe our offense will score in the high 20′ to low 30′ but the key to this game will be our defense stopping Cam & Co.

    34-26 49ers

      1. I got mixed emotions with that game. My competiveness wants to go to Seattle and beat them at Century Link Field. On the other hand, I would like to see the Stick hold one more NFC championship game and with a Saints win coupled with a Niner win that would happen.

      2. I’m with you AES. I think the Saints are going to win that game. It’s a payback game for them in multiple ways. Where is Capeheart? I miss that guy.

    1. AES,
      I agree with the outcome that the Niners will win, but I don’t think it will be a high scoring affair. 24-17 Niners.

  13. Gotta admit… I was down on Crabtree ..
    (in the beginning) … but then …
    I was down on Jerry Rice halfway through
    his rookie season …

    Bottom line …
    I’m sure glad neither Bill Walsh .. nor The Harbs
    listened to me !

    1. I was seriously put off by Crabs’ rookie holdout. But when he got on the field I could see right away the intensity and urgency to his style of play. Then because, imho, he’s shy in some ways, he got perceived as arrogant, and fans got impatient with injuries. The criticism made him more withdrawn publicly. I noted that his team mates always were supportive. Now he’s a key player for a contending team. Remember what CK said? He (CK) is seeing different Defensive looks because Crabs is back in the lineup.
      What’s with our fan base, LOL? Sometimes Frank and Crabs get more respect from opposing DCs than from Niner Faithful.

      1. i feel like the 2011 playoffs were a wake up call for him.

        the player i saw in the 1st game of 2012 looked like a #1 receiver. definitely faster and stronger. before that season, he looked more like a #2 receiver.

        turns out he cured his case of the dropsies too. before 2012, he was in the top 10 for drops every year.

    2. Crabs should some flashes in the beginning, but lets be honest it was not until last year where he gave us a true sense of what to expect. No true down field speed, but great intermediate routes. Kind of gets jammed by Sherman and other physical corners, but can still be effective. I like him BIG TIME!

      Loosing him this year was tough, but now he is coming on. I am a fan but I do not want to over pay him. He can go to Dallas.

      If Crabs shows up and gets us a Superbowl then I would like to see him and CK work something out to keep them both. I would sacrifice Iupati. Sign Aldon though…

      Go Niners!!!

      1. Shawnrhod,
        Crabtree got a late start in 2011 because of foot injury sustained in Camp Alex I.

        MC was criticized for not coming to Camp Alex II, when in fact he needed to have foot surgery.

        After all that, he came back to lead the team in receptions.
        Not bad considering we did not have much of a passing offense.

      2. I’ve loved Crabs ever since that Longhorns game. I was so stoked when we drafted him. Yea he was sort of a late bloomer, but that was mainly due to having a QB that rarely threw/throws to his outside receivers. He goes after it and finds ways to get open.

        Now I do think our #1 and #2 priority this offseason need to be Kap and Crabs. We’ve seen how Kap struggles with out him and we all know that Baalke has had little to no success when drafting WRs.

        As far as Aldon or Iupati, i think AS is the better talent, but a lot of baggage. Iupati is a beast who stays out of trouble. But I do think Aldon makes the bigger impact IMO.

        Man I wish we could keep them all.

      3. His slow start was mainly due to a bone fracture in his foot. He was finally healthy mid 2011 season, and promptly took off, posting great numbers with both Smith and then Kaepernick.

    3. The holdout. The dings (blaming the SJSU turf? Come on man). But my view turned 180 last season when crabs was nearly unstoppable on 3rd downs down the stretch. And now this season as well. The Niners look like a completely different offensive team now that he’s back in the lineup.

      1. agreed!

        @ everyone else bringing up injuries -I am not arguing Crabs slow start, my statement is strictly matter of fact. Injury, hold out, AS, play calls…blau blau blau… the fact is Crabs was a non-factor until last year. Yes he came on a little with Alex… yada yada… last year Crabs proved his worth. If he goes down with injury last year and we don’t see him perform. And assume he didn’t really produce this year… I would of let that cat walk. I never saw him play in college..but still that is college… heck I thought Peter Worick (Go Noles!) was going to be a stud…

        Bottom line, I love me some Crabtree… We just need him and CK executing in the red zone…. WTF is going on with the Red Zone for years…!!! Maybe we draft Travis Benjamin (Noles)… now I digress…

        Good night

      2. @ Leo,

        If the choice was there would you keep Boone on the cheap or Iupati on the high… we could in theory develop a young player for RG with a mid to high draft pick. We have too many should really package something to get a solid rookie we can plug in within 2 years…

      3. Shawnrhod,

        I would say Boone no doubt. Iupati has established himself as one of the best in the league and he will without question demand a pretty penny. We just don’t have that luxury to sign the guy. I would keep boone for likely a bargain, not only because he’s cheaper but also his versatility. I love me some boone.

        But yes I agree we should be able to get someone via draft, since we have so many picks. I’m also curious what their plans are for Looney, I’ve heard Center, but he looked good at guard when Iupati went down.

        The good thing about this year with all the turmoil we’ve had, we should be able to get a bargain with Aldon due to all his off-field troubles, and Kap should not be getting anywhere near Flacco or Cutler money due to his struggles on the field. Yes Kap had a great year, but was it anywhere near expectations?

      4. Leo:

        I thought the plan was for Kilgore to replace Goodwin and for Looney to replace Iupati, if the 49ers can’t re-sign him.

      5. Yes i believe you’re right claude.

        I don’t what it is about kilgore but i really dont like him as player. i know we haven’t seen too much of him but he just really seems to be lacking physically, especially considering the way our oline plays.

      6. Yeah, it has to send the wrong kind of subliminal message to Frank when he has to follow Dan’s block.

        Maybe that’s why they haven’t yet promoted Kilgore to the starting unit. They’re waiting for Frank to move on.

      7. Leo, the CK think is interesting. I went to college in Baltimore and stayed in the DC area for years (in Oregon now)… thus i follow the football out there. The Flacco contract was such BS, yes it is structured to help in the long run and can be restructured, but the salary cap hit is killing them. Plus, they threw the season away, even next year.

        Crazy how this QB league is… makes you wonder about Alex Smith or say you get C. Palmer on the cheap… can a team win consistently with a serviceable QB and studs players around him??? Not everyone has the luxury to have a Brandy + super coach…

        I just have a big issue throwing a lot of money to CK when he has many things to work on and showed during the year he can’t take team on his shoulders.

      8. Shawnrhod,

        yeah that deal was ridiculous… the only thing I see hindering a deal getting done would be if we actually do win it all…thats gonna give Kap a lot of leverage. Plus i know his agent and him will be playing the high ceiling card. Its going to be interesting to see how talks go. But knowing Baalke, he’s not going to overpay for anyone.

  14. Funny how Capeman has disappeared. of course if the Seacheats win or the Niners lose, he will be on here, like ants on poop.

  15. Panthers 2013 defensive stats to consider:

    They’ve allowed 4 rushing TDs.
    No.1 CB Captain Munnerlyn has allowed 1 TD catch.
    No.2 CB Melvin White has allowed 0 TD catches and 9.9 yards per catch, which is 3rd-best of all CBs who have played more than 600 snaps.
    No.3 CB Drayton Florence has allowed 1 TD catch.
    F/S Mike Mitchell has allowed 1 TD catch.
    OLB Thomas Davis has allowed 1 TD catch.
    ILB Luke Kuechly has allowed 2 TD catches.
    OLB A.J. Klein has given up 1 TD catch.
    S/S Quintin Mikell has allowed 6 TD catches.
    Kaepernick threw into Mikell’s coverage once Week 10 and the pass was incomplete.

      1. Grant: …
        I suppose you pulled these stats from the regular
        season … right ?

        Well … dis is the playoffs !

        Horse of a different color !

        Ron Rivera is probably not sleeping too
        well this week …
        you reckon ??

        right.. Grant ?

    1. Games like this comes down to coaching a players making a play. The coaches need to scheme and the players once put into position need to make a play. This is playoff football.

      Case-in-point: NO (Sean Payton) called a masterful game. He did the opposite of what the Saints are known for. He ran the ball and had Jimmy G on the sideline. Then he had Jimmy in and Ingram out and ran a rookie. Philly probably studied all week and reviewed personal and formation, blau blau blau.., “JG is in the slot, check TE corner or drag rout to Colston…we go this we got this…” BAM power up the middle. My hope is NO can call a great game like this then hit them with the Breeze effect and keep Seattle on the ropes.

      Niners need to NOT get out coached and the players need to make plays. Carolina is good. But we are a better more experienced team. Losing this game would be a failure on the season.

      1. About 80% of their improvement is due to the best DT in the draft absolutely demolishing the opponent’s running game. Kawaan Short getting penetration 10%. Healthy Thomas Davis 5%. Mike Mitchell playing as fast as he runs, 5%.

        Improvement aside, the linchpin is the MLB… Keuchly is a PWillis-level stud. Their DEs get upfield penetration, their DTs press the pocket, and they can run base defenses and 4-man pressure against any offense. Their DBs aren’t as good as their numbers, but they’re solid.

    2. Very impressive numbers for a very impressive defense. The most amazing story is Thomas Davis though. 3 ACL operations on the same knee and the guy is playing like a Probowler this year.

      You look at the secondary and wonder how they aren’t exploited a lot more, but the reason is their pass rush. They get so much pressure, the secondary doesn’t have to cover very long. That’s why the key to the Niner offense this week will be pass protection.

  16. ‘I Spy’ is the name of this game. Using a spy is great however using a spy deters that player from his normal duties. Offenses need to exploit the decision to use a spy by running routes where that spy plays. I am not at all a Newton fan. All you have to do to beat Newton is get in his head. He is a great athlete but I do believe he is weak between the ears.

    1. The Panthers were clever about how they spied Kaepernick. Sometimes for the first couple of seconds Davis would spy, then he’d drop into coverage and Kuechly would run over to spy Kaepernick. It seemed to confuse Kaepernick.

      1. Good point! But CK isn’t the same confused QB anymore. Should be a good game. It will be interesting to see how CK handles it.

      2. I think you’ll see more plays like the series against the Cardinals where they attacked the edges to loosen up that front. Make them run sideline to sideline and come the 4th quarter see where their conditioning is…..

      3. I thought they should of been running sideline to sideline all year long. I am a firm believer of Chip Kelley’s philosophy of making the defense defend the whole field.

      4. I’ll be watching for that Ace Card Roman has in Quinton Patton being played…..Osgood was also missing on special teams for that game, right? Must do a better job containing Ginn Jr.

    2. Tactics similar to those we used against Arizona could work here, too: streak a couple of receivers long, throw underneath off pass-action.

  17. Kaep knows what he wants.. and he won’t let a little
    thing like the Carolina defense .. or the noise
    at the Clink (if need be) get in his way …

    stats or no stats ….

    if that makes me a homer ..
    so be it

  18. Last week, home teams were 1-3. I predict the same outcome this week with Carolina, Seattle, and New England all losing at home.

  19. Just rewatched the game from Sunday. Whoever said we don’t have the best offensive line in football is on crack! Mike Iupati might have played his best game of the year an whoever said they shouldn’t resign him is also smokin crack!

      1. The guys a beast. Sure he might not be the best pass blocker but he’s young, developing and turning into a great player. He helps out Joe Staley alot.
        The Niners would be foolish to let this all pro guard walk. Most underrated 49er. In fact you could say that about the entire line.

  20. Vernon Davis was on NFL Live just now saying his most painful experience this season was how T.J. McDonald tackled him. Apparently Harbaugh has also stirred up the Panthers by having Rice Flair as the motivational speaker last week.

      1. Just curious, why the FB? Both guys made big contributions to the win on Sunday.

        When you say CB do you mean the #3 guy?

      2. Jack,
        Yes, #3 CB. While Dixon and Tukuafu have played very well, losing a versatile pro-bowl caliber FB like Miller is a step down.

      3. Jack,
        I realized something. After the loss of Miller, it seems to me that the offense has become more unpredictable. Maybe that’s coincidence, but it could have something to do with CK playing better and the offense using less of the “21″ personnel group.

    1. Jack, I think not having another TE besides Davis to throw to has to be up there as a big weakness. But I have a feeling that is not where you’re going with this question.

      1. Space,

        I’m not going anywhere here. Just trying to get a sense of what others are feeling. What makes me nervous is that I don’t see them losing if they play to their potential.

      2. Jack, I guess I was looking for a trick question, lol. But I do agree about playing to potential and am hoping to see VMac do that during the playoffs. I know there were a lot of us expecting a bit more than 8 receptions this season.

      3. Jack:

        I share your concern. I’m not particularly nervous about the Carolina game. I think that the 49ers are playing better ball now than they were back in Week 10, and that the presence of Crabtree and Davis more than make up for the switch in venue.

        The fact that I am not nervous? That makes me nervous.

      4. Claude, I don’t know why, but I’m not a bit nervous as well. Maybe it’s because I’m allowing the “homer” fan in me to cancel out any objectivity for this game. I’m usually not like that, but the few times I’ve gone with my gut, things have turned out well. And my gut is saying the 49ers win this game much easier than should be expected.

      5. Here’s a couple question to calm the nerves fellas.

        1. Can Ron Rivera who was almost fired twice in 2 years in CAR out scheme Harbaugh? NOPE!

        2. The Niners have been in playoff mode since week 10. Whose more battled tested and ready for this huge game? 49ers.

        I am not nervous whatsoever!

      6. Prime
        Carolina’s defensive scheme and execution held our offense to 9 points last time, so they had a good plan. I’m hoping and betting they don’t fool us again, but they also held Seahags to 12 points week#1. I don’t want too much tint on my rose colored glasses. ; >)

    2. Offensive execution when they have a lead – they’ve been unable to grind teams down with long drives to kill off games recently, which has led too leads evaporating late.

      Also, as razor said, play-calling in the red zone has left something to be desired recently too.

    3. Greg Roman’s bad habit of either going too conservative or getting cute in his play calling.
      The secondary allowing big plays on defense.

    4. Jack,
      Did you see the interview with Staley after the game? He wondered aloud why they couldn’t successfully put together drives and scores consistently only when it is absolutely vital.

      I’m certainly waiting for these guys to put it all together.

      Biggest weakness: lack of concentration/consistency on offense.
      Or it could just be our expectations. I feel like these guys should dominate.

    5. @Jack: Biggest ‘Niner weakness: Red Zone TD conversion. Had the same problem with our last quarterback, so am inclined not to fault that skill position. I believe we need another solid tight end for plays inside the Red Zone – which is why I wanted us to draft Coby Fleener a couple years ago.

      1. No worries, we should just move up from #32 to #22 and pick that FSU WR – 6’5 and 230… perfect red-zone threat. Plenty of draft picks to package in a trade

      1. 13 points in the last 4 games in the third quarter.
        And 10 was against atl. I don’t know what the problem is after halftime,but thank God our defense is pretty much shutting teams out in the third also.

    6. Jack Hammer says:
      January 7, 2014 at 2:14 pm
      What do you see as the 49ers biggest weakness right now?
      Depth at wide receiver. .

  21. Grant, straight up, does having Reid, Davis, and Crabtree for a full game for the re-match drastically affect how Carolina plays us? Kevin Seifert (ESPN) feels that the Niners are the best team period right now and Ashley Fox (ESPN) feels that the addition of Crabtree basically counters anything Carolina might have because they have to account and this in turn will affect their play. Thoughts?
    Thanks Jason

  22. Niners will have all their horses for this game ..

    weaknesses, jack ?

    I only have one concern ..
    (and it can wait for next training camp)
    I’d like Kaep to learn and become proficient
    in the touch pass and the pump fake ..

    other than that … it’s all good …

    Cam Newton .. the next niners victim

    1. Yeah, me too, but not just to gloat. I find it funny in a way towards myself too. I don’t think I’ve been sitting down during a 4Q in a while; always pacing! My worst meltdown came in that Rams game with the Fly Sweep Fumble Six Fiasco. I collapsed on the rug with my mouth flopping like a fish out of water, LOL!
      A couple of red jerseys in this Man Cave. Oh and Mr. Meltdown, I hope it was his cave, cuz otherwise he went out about town in those Jammies.

    1. Matt,
      A. Rodgers played his heart out, but he can’t win the game by himself… I knew that the Packers with their less talented players in their defense would struggle against the 49ers team. Especially against the 49ers great defense it will be very tough for the Packers to even win the game even they were playing at GB.

      1. Darren, really? Man, you flip-flop after every game now. I’ll sell you some vintage 49er gear now so you can be with a winner LOL

      2. Sapceborn,

        You know what braddah I expected the 49ers to win the last three games. I didn’t make any prediction that they would lose those last three games.

        Mahalo for the offer anyway Braddah, i’ll stick with the Hawks gears.

  23. Question: What plays more into this game the most? Home-field advantage or playoff experience when two teams are so even on paper?

  24. I was a nervous wreck going into the Packers game. Without having to face Rodgers, and the elements, I’m not nervous at all…..

    1. Razor, I think that is what is going on with a lot of us. After the big focus on facing the Packers, this game doesn’t seem quite the obstacle that the 49ers faced in that game despite what we know about the Panther’s defense. Still, I think most realize that a win in Carolina will end up with a game in Seattle — a game that would cause a bit of a well-deserved case of the nerves.

      1. Razor, I would love to see the Saints win that game, but I don’t see it happening. Some things are meant to be and I think the challenge of beating the Seahawks at home is the ultimate test of how good a team the 49ers are. For myself, there could be no better satisfaction than beating them and the 12th man at home. A back-door advance to the SB, though good for the 49ers, wouldn’t be the same.

    2. I’m not nervous either. I’m fully committed now to the playoff run, and part of that is a healthy cognitive dissonance. We. Will. Defeat. Carolina.
      Seriously though, I think the 49ers are the better team almost across the board. If they (especially Kaep) play to their potential, they will not only win this game, they’ll win the Superbowl.

      note: I will likely be a twitching wreck by Sunday morning….:)

  25. Quick question:
    would it be weird if the niner’s changed their run blocking schemes to more of what the Broncos and redskins do just for a few plays?
    the niner’s are a guard pulling type line where it’s simple for their lbs to follow the guard to find the running back. What if they threw that wrinkle in….? I know the line is bigger and not as athletic, but so are they’re defensive lineman. I think that might throw them off and actually benefit a rb like Hunter or James because they’re one cut runner’s.
    just thinking out loud. what are your opinions?

  26. Take this one to the bank. The Niners are the better, more complete team and will win this game by 7-10 pts. The only team capable of keeping the Niners from their sixth Lombardi, is the one from their own division.

    As good as the Niners are this year, they should actually be better next. Now, that is scary!

  27. Between Fangio or Roman, losing Fangio would be a bigger blow. If Roman leaves, The Niners can promote Chryst and this is still Jim Harbaugh’s offense. Who would be the replacement on defense is Fangio leads?

    What do you guys think?

    1. I’d be happy if the 49ers retained Tomsula. I have a feeling the 49ers have bigger hopes for Okoye then they let on, and Okoye is Tomsula’s project.

    2. Honestly if Roman leaves, they would place mangini there i think. I still think fangio benefited from the talent that was already here. I dont believe his rush 4 and drop8 allthe ttime scheme would work without all pros at linebacker and studs up front. Thats why he was ran out of his other jobs. It didn’twork because he ddidn’t have the personnel. Well im glad hes here. Our players on d and fanfio are a match made in heaven

      1. sorry steele but i disagree with your opinions.

        1) Mangini would be a horrible option to replace GRoman, he does not have a very good pedigree on the offensive side or the track record of success on the offense or the desire to probably stay as a OC on the team. Also your statement about Fangio success is due to having very good LBs discredits his ability to put very good game plans to contain some of the best QBs in the league.

      2. Chicago,.,, i know about his schemes and game plans. But i also know that our ll pro line backers help thaat gameplan out alot. This scheme or gameplan doesn’t work with ulbrich n derek smith as linebakers. Just sayin, fangio and our players are a match made in heaven. And a for mangini, i dont want him, i just assumed thats who they would put in there since hes already the consultant

    3. i’ll disagree. by all accounts, the niners play a very vanilla, “this is who we are, now come beat us” defense (which is what all the best defenses do). When you have great defensive players, I think it’s more important to have good position coaches keeping each unit fundamentally sound… though Fangio definitely dialed up a timely blitz vs Atlanta.

    4. Yea I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Look at Seatte they lost their DC last year to the Jags and may lose another this year but they are still top 3. We have talent and experience on our side, they would undoubtedly promote from with in, maybe Donatell.

      A nightmare situation is if we lose both GRo and Fangio and they pick apart our staff for their own benefit. That would be awful.

  28. Its Joe Buck again for Sunday. Maybe his awful droning will motivate a bay area techie to develop technology that synchronizes radio broadcasts with TV.

    1. Brodie, how funny because Packer fans were suggesting the same thing last week because they thought Buck was pro-49er.

      1. Joe Buck is anti-ear drum. I had mute duties Sunday. I kept the sound off through Fox’s animated robots, right up to the snap of the ball.

      2. to a lot of fans, if you’re not a homer, you’re a hater. that’s why people go crazy about Grant being anti-9er even though (right or wrong) he’s just calling it as he sees it.

      3. >>I had mute duties Sunday.

        Brodie, if you have a 5.1 system, mute your center channel speaker – that’s where the announcers live. You can still enjoy the stadium ambient sounds.

      4. NOOOOOOO!!!!!!! To quote the Plain White Ts, Hate is a strong word, but I really, really, really don’t like Joe Buck.

      5. ribico, great idea but I have to do my Buck muting at a sports cafe. I have no home TV since the DTV switch (converter boxes don’t work). No cable or satellite (trees in the way) either.

        Only dial-up either so I study plays at wifi spots in town.

  29. Congratulation to the 49ers and to their fans. Glad to see that the 49ers beat the lowly Packers. Now you only need to beat the Panthers for a date with the Seahawks at Seattle. Will be keeping rooting for the 49ers comes Sunday. Hope you’ll keep the date with the Hawks, it will be a heck of a game between the most two feared team in the league.

      1. Ahi Po’o,
        I was rooting for the Eagles to lose against the Saints. For one reason, I want the Seahawks and the 49er to play against each other in the NFCC game. The NFCC game between these two teams will be historic one for years to come. The team that wins this game will win the Super Bowl.

      1. Aloha, Capeman! Yeah, I’d like to see a ‘Niner – Seahawk rematch, too. (Love the food court at Ala Moana. And Duke’s is always nice for a gaze at the waves while sipping on a Cuba Libre.)

      2. Nick, that’s what I wanted to say, but I’ve grown timid in my old-age – well, not really THAT timid LOL! I lived most of my life 13 miles from the Pacific, so have seen plenty of beach. First time I hit Honolulu, I hopped aboard the #2 bus and headed, Polansky/Nicholson-like, for – Chinatown, where not everything that happens is bad . . . :-)

      3. Max, have you tried the Duke’s Mai Tai? It has Hawaiian juices with two different rum and orange curacao, very delicious drink

      4. Hey, Capeman. No, haven’t tried the Duke’s MaiTai, but it certainly sounds good. Maybe I’ll order one next time. Thanks for the tip. I also very much like the coffee shops. Can’t remember the name of the place where President Obama reputedly buys his coffee when he’s in town. It’s tucked away in a quaint mall on the corner a few blocks up toward the mountains, in Waikiki. Very much enjoyed The Little Village restaurant along Smith (or Schmidt) Street in Chinatown.

      5. Max,
        Is it the Glazer Coffee shop that’s located at S. King St. it’s just around the corner from the University of Hawaii at Manoa? Don’t you notice Braddah when you were in Hawaii, the time in Hawaii is very slow. That’s why people that lives in the Island doesn’t age fast, they look alive no worries to think about, everything here is all about having fun and enjoying each day. You can see a lot of beautiful Wahine different nationality that come and visit Hawaii. Someday you get lucky and someday you don’t. Hehe… Everyone that visit Hawaii feel younger and alive, it really don’t matter how old you are it really brings a lot of life to everyone that comes to Hawaii.

      6. Ah, Capeman, the philosophy of the islands . . . I love it! Honolulu is somewhat reminiscent of Singapore – though on a smaller and welcomely slower (but not that much slower) scale, of course. Yes, Glazer coffee shop in that small hillside mall on S. King. Didn’t realize I was so close to the university. Would’ve enjoyed checking it out, too. Thanks for sharing your beautiful islands with me! Someday I’ll return and maybe for good since my girlfriend, who lives in Honolulu, is urging me to move there.

      7. Max,
        Mahalo Braddah! Mei kou La,ao I mua, mamua Aku e Ho’omaika’i ( May your days ahead be bless.) Malu, Maluhia, la’i, e Pili oe ( Peace be with you)

      8. Xiexie ni, wo de pengyou! Zhu ni xinnian kuaile! (Thank you, my friend! I wish you a happy New Year!)
        And may your days also be blessed!

      1. Mid, I’m hoping for both the Seahawks and 49ers to win their games this weekend. Good luck to the 49ers and their fans also.

  30. Grant is not the only one who recognizes Kaepernick’s shoddy footwork. Seneca Wallace, backup QB for the Packers, sees the same thing, as reported by Peter King of SI.

    ” Kaepernick still has a fatal flaw, which Packers backup QB Seneca Wallace could see from his vantage point on Green Bay’s sideline. “He’s a playmaker. You look at their big plays, he extended them with his feet,” Wallace says. “But he’s got to fix his footwork.”
    “As a quarterback that is very mobile, you think you can do things differently instead of just playing the position and using your feet when you drop back,” Wallace says. “You’re like, ‘Oh, I’m so athletic I can just do this.’ When his footwork is on time, he throws a pretty good ball. But when it’s not, he doesn’t always get it there.”

    1. So says a player (S.Wallace) who can’t establish himself in the league.
      Mr. Wallace isn’t revealing anything that we already know. Yes, CK needs to learn the proper footwork of a pocket QB.
      This has been bandied around here for a while now.

      I believe that he will continue to work on this during the off season and become a better pocket QB for years to come.
      For CK, the best is yet to come!

  31. Here is something to consider for everyone who complains about the 49ers’ offensive and defensive schemes and play-calling (e.g., those who complain about the 49ers’ alleged red zone problems, those who complain that the 49ers don’t blitz enough, etc.)

    This year, the 49ers ranked 4th, offensively, defensively and combined, in terms of yards per points scored. For the offense, this means that the 49ers were the 4th most efficient team in terms of turning yards into points. For the defense, this means that the 49ers were the 4th best at forcing opposing teams to work for each point scored.

    Here are the numbers for 2013:


    If you click on the “Bend” and “Score” column headings, you can see how the teams rank in terms of defense and offense,* respectively. The Intelligence Index combines the Bendability and Scoreability numbers.

    As you can see there is a pretty strong correlation between those stats and winning. Nine of the Top 10 teams made the playoffs and the one who didn’t (Dallas) was in contention until the final week of the season. The only team in the bottom half that made the playoffs was Green Bay, and Aaron Rodgers’ 6-7 week absence likely affected their performance.

    Collectively, these numbers present a persuasive case that the 49ers are a smart, well-coached team on both sides of the ball. The complaints about Roman and Fangio would seem to be unfounded.

    * In truth, both stats take into account offensive and defensive performance. For example, defenses that force turnovers in the opponent’s territory put their offense in a position of needing to gain fewer yards for a score. Conversely, offenses that limit turnovers in their own territory don’t put their defenses in the position of having to defend a short field, so opposing offenses have to travel further to score.

    1. Thanks claude,

      I was actually thinking about this the other day. Though we me not have a top 10 offense statistically I wondered how efficient our offense is and this says it all. We really don’t need to put 400 yds passing a game. Thats just not the way we play ball, but thats not to say our offense is mediocre or lacking. Our defense and offense work together so well. It may not be the most exciting football we’ve ever seen but it gets points and it gets wins, and hopefully it will get another lombardi in a few weeks.

  32. This is a playoff game against a very good team .I’m nervous but primarily because it isn’t happening right now.I like the feeling actually.Gives me an edge.No Freddy P fans, this is the good times.Pump it up I say.

    1. I’m plenty nervous. Panthers can smother an offense, stay close and win at the end. They’ve shown they wear big boy pants and they play to the whistle and they play to the final gun. Bounce of ball here, bogus penalty there, dropped interception… Protecting a 3 point lead will only aggravate my HyperTension and Red-in-the-face-Bulging-eyes-Syndrome!

  33. Since the 2005 season, a No. 6 seed has defeated a No. 1 seed in the divisional round of the playoffs five times in seven matchups. Go Saints!

    1. I’m a little torn with this game. I want the Saints to win because I would love to see the hawks lose at home right in front of their “12th man” thus giving the stick one more championship game. But at the same time a NFCCG SF-SEA would be huge, although our biggest challenge to date for this season. Either way its exciting.

      1. I’d love to play them again as well, but I’m more concerned with the health of the players, and the Saints are more of a finesse team as opposed to the Seahawks…..

    1. Yea, that was pretty cool…..Just looking at the faces and smiles on some of the players. Justin Smith looked like a kid in a candy shop. You remember Baron Von Roschke? His signature move was the Claw….

      1. The Baron’s Claw yah mon! I hereby summon the ghost of Freddie Blassie “king of men” for the second week in a row to inspire our coaches-”hate a loser love a winner” F.B.

  34. Harbaugh as a player had the nickname ‘Dog’ per Curtis Conway a former receiver with Harbaugh at Chicago and San Diego.

  35. Mr. Crabs caught every pass in that game with his hands. The only other receiver to do that was Rice? Nice.

    Romonoski says Kaepurnicus has world class speed.

    Brown describes his long strides as problematic for defenders to react.

    When you look at the list of MIA players or players that were unable to play a significant amount of snaps against the Panthers, it really is amazing it was that close….

    It’s Kap Time!


    1. That would be a good move for him. It would help him to show he can be the head coach of a major program before an NFL team takes a chance on him to be their head coach.

      1. You’ve talked with him before Im’ assuming Grant, does he have the kind of personality that a recruiting HC needs?

        1. Not really, but these days high school players tend to want college coaches who have NFL experience. That would help Roman recruit.

      2. I personally think Roman has been very good the past 6 weeks. He has put Kaepernick in very good play calls and the offense now seems to be more scaled down which has helped.
        I never like to see coordinators leave. It is a huge transition. When Norv Turner left it was the worst possible thing for the team that year, and since then they have never had a quality OC til Roman.
        People are always faulting him for the short comings on offense but what we always forget is that everything from the call to the structure of the offense always has gone through Harbaugh.

      3. While I agree the offense is Harbaugh’s, it would be much more efficient if –
        it did not blow time-outs,
        it did not have problems with third and short, and
        it did not have probems in the red zone.

        The first I attribute to complexity, the second and third to just not having solutions in the play book. I don’t think Harbaugh has anything to do with this.

        Anyone want to comment? I would love not to think this way.

      4. George I think Harbaugh is directly the cause of the burned timeouts and complexity of the offense. At the beginning of the year they thought Kaepernick could handle the multiple calls and formations, it did not happen. Lately it looks like they have scaled it down and he seems more comfortable.
        As for the burned timeouts and play calls, remember it comes from Roman to JH, who calls in the play. There is obviously a disconnect there in either he changes the play or it does not get in on time and Kaepernick cannot get everyone organized out of the huddle to the line in time. So, a lot of people to blame.

      5. FDM, while i agree that norv’s lost was huge for us at the time you have to look at the circumstances at that time. We had a very young and talent lacking team, an inexperienced defensive minded HC, and a very young and inexperienced QB.

        As of now we are built to succeed for years and have a very firm foundation. So while there will be transition it would likely not have the same impact as it did back then.

      6. You are right Leo, not the same impact as last time but when Norv left, it set us back another couple years. This time it would not be as devastating but anytime you do have a new coordinator it is a huge change, even though it can be someone in house.

      7. I’ve wondered, and Im not at all sure, if Roman would have success recruiting QBs with his run-happy resume. If you’re a Top 25 QB prospect, is he who you choose? Maybe the prospect of a sound ground game would be comforting to a Dad, but kids might gravitate to more Sizzle.

      8. The offense is not scaled down IMO. Our QB is more seasoned after taking his mid season lumps and going through a learning curve. We have our weapons back which makes our offense more balanced and more difficult to prepare for.
        The issue with the play clock is mostly the fault of the system. Harbaugh doesn’t seem to value his T.O.’s and sees much more value with making last second reads to get to the correct play.

      9. It completely is scaled down if you have not noticed with less shifting and varied formations from the beginning of the year.
        The QB is responsible to get the players in the huddle, out, and lined up and Kaepernick has struggled with that. Harbaugh and Roman have struggled with being able to get the plays in a timely fashion. Its a collective f’up that needs to be rectified this week and moving forward.

      10. I disagree as the formations have changed slightly. No more two tight ends shifts, it comes now more from one and the full back. They are also running more 3 WR sets to get VD, Crabs, and Boldin on the field at the same time. Sometimes 4 with Patton lately.
        This eliminates the shifting and in motion stuff we were seeing earlier in the year.

      11. Yes and with that less people in motion and more conventional sets so it looks to be scaled down. Im seeing Kapernick get the line, make one read and call and play is off.

      12. I believe that Rombaugh has scaled down the offense in that they have scaled down the game planning. There are not less plays in the playbook and the plays they are running are’nt simplified, there are just less plays in each weeks game plan. Also the combination of plays they give CK are easier to audible to. Now i will admit this is nothing more than an educated guess on my part but i still believe that CK has ample work to do on his game management skills both pre and post snap.

  36. This may surprise you.

    The Panthers’ offense is fourth in the NFL in third down conversion percentage: 43.75 percent.

    The 49ers’ offense is 18th: 37.22 percent.

    1. Thanks Grant. I did not know that.

      In the context of a single game, however, I don’t think it is as bad as it looks. Assuming those percentages hold and each team faces 15 third downs in the game, the Panthers will successfully convert one more third down than will the 49ers. Assuming 20 third down attempts for each team, the Panthers will convert 1.3 more attempts than will the 49ers.

      The thing that gives me pause is that the 49ers converted on 15.38% (2/13) of their third down attempts in November game. I expect that having Crabtree and Vernon Davis for the entire game will help improve on that percentage.

      Do you know whether the 49ers’ percentage improved with the return of Crabtree?

      1. I got off of my a$$ and did the work myself. The answer is, no, Crabtree’s return did not improve the 49ers’ third down conversion rate, at least not appreciably. Since Crabtree’s return, the 49ers have converted 28 of 74 third down attempts, which is a 37.83% success rate.

      2. Jack:

        No problem.

        I know that I probably have gone to the well too often asking you or Grant to look up certain stats. It’s just that I don’t have access to the PFF premium stats, and I know you do. Anyway, I recognize you are doing me a favor when you provide the requested information, I thank you for it, and I will try not to abuse your generosity or waste your time.

      3. Claude I don’t think you did your math right. Before Crabtree’s return the 49ers were 52/149 on first down which is 34.9% after Michael returned the 49ers were 22/52 in their remaining games with him which is 42.3%.

        So in fact the 49ers third down percentage increased quite a bit with the return of Crabtree.

        1. Actually, this season the 49ers were 55/149 on third down before Crabtree — 36.9% — and are 28/74 on third down with Crabtree — 37.8%.

      4. CfC:

        I probably should have mentioned that I included the wildcard game against GB in my post-Crabtree’s return numbers. The 49ers were 6 for 12 on third down in that game, which is the difference between my 28/74 and your 22/62.

      5. I used the correct set of data but I totally fubar’d the calculation, twice even….ugh. Thought I was better with my 10 key but Im clearly in need of practice.

    1. I think Roman is trying to maximize personal gain from his current name equity. I don’t blame him for that. I just hope that he is fully committed and engaged during this playoff run.

      1. Claude,

        Of-course I can be wrong, however I do believe that Roman will be the offensive coordinator next season for the Niners. I don’t think he will get a top head coaching job in the NFL or College. Although I agree with Grant, if he is lucky enough to get the Penn State job, that would be a good start for him. However I believe that Penn State wants a career College coach, not a head coach that will aspire to be a NFL Coach after a couple of years, which they now have to deal with. Also Roman would probably want a a NFL head coaching position as his ultimate goal.

      2. I am not saying he is dishonest, that is a great line to tell a athletic director, however if he got that position, I would wish him the best, however I don’t think he will be a great coach in any level. Just my 2 cents, we will see, if he gets a opportunity.

      3. I think he is Nick because the more they win, the better it looks for him. The timing of it all is what is not in his favor. Maybe the NFL needs to change its rules about when someone can interview.
        Most teams don’t want to wait till the end of the season. Planning has already started for next season for some teams the moment the final whistle goes week 17.
        If teams can wait and think he is that good, they will wait, if not, its just the way it is.

  37. This season including the playoffs, Anquan Boldin has 27 first-down catches on third down, more than any other player in the NFL. Vernon Davis has caught 11 first-down passes on third down.

    Since returning Week 13, Michael Crabtree has 8 first-down catches on third down.

      1. I asked the same question and MD told me he was a wrestler (Nature Boy) and anyone over the age of 35 would/should know him.

      2. Ric Flair or the dude in the pic? The dude in the pic is Bret “Hitman” Hart…he’s a former wrestler as well, from Canada…

    1. Please elaborate as to how you found the “key” to the ignition of 49er pass defense? Is it whoever or whomever? I can never get that right….

      1. Razor,

        On the season Newton has a passer rating of 106.2 when throwing to his left compared to 86.99 when throwing to his right.

        In the week 10 game Tarell Brown was playing the right corner spot and gave up 7 of Newton’s 16 completions and 68 of 169 yards.

  38. Does the new personnel compensating for the Miller loss have a slight advantage due to less film for the opponents to familiarize themselves with?

    1. Grant:

      What’s up with the site? One of my last two comments appeared in an unplanned place and the other relocated to a completely different thread when I refreshed the page.

  39. Did anyone hear Jennings on Murph and Mac this morning talking about how Cam Newton owes him &25,000 from the ProBowl? Maybe the funniest segment I’ve heard on there in a long time. I miss that guy…

  40. Since the 49ers’ Bye week a couple months ago, Vernon Davis has had just one first-down catch on third down, and zero third-down targets since Week 14. Crabtree and Boldin have become the third-down targets. Roman seems to have been using Davis almost exclusively on shot plays since the Bye.

      1. Play calling. Kaepernick throws to his first read or scrambles, so Roman must not be calling Davis’ number on third downs any more.

        1. No, this is Harbaugh’s offense. Dilfer calls it pick-n-stick — a one-read system. It was the same for Alex Smith.

      2. Sounds simple, yet I hear that the offensive playbook is the size of a phone book and very complex…..Which is it?

        1. A lot of plays, especially in the running game. But the passing scheme is remedial. They don’t ask Kaepernick to do the “graduate level work” of reading two or three progressions, as Dilfer puts it. That may be why Harbaugh’s Niner offenses never have been dominant on third down. If the defense knows it’s going to be a pass, spies Kaepernick and shuts down the receiver for which the play was designed, what can Kaepernick do? He can try to extend the play and make it playground football and that’s about it.

      3. I find that fascinating considering Harbaugh is attentive to the details, and yet he neglects that aspect of his game. Who could he hire to help improve that area?

        1. I think Harbaugh likes the pick-n-stick nature of his passing game. He asks a quarterback to execute instead of scanning the field and making his own decisions. I bet Harabugh thinks his pick-n-stick passing offense minimizes interceptions/mistakes.

        1. Basically, and the Panthers used that against him in the first game. On third down they would show Thomas Davis spying Kaepernick and Kuechly covering Vernon Davis, but 2 seconds into the play Thomas Davis would drop into coverage and Kuechly would spy Kaepernick, so his initial read was incorrect.

      4. Just because Dilfer was a crummy average QB, it does not mean he is not qualify to critique QB’s. Look at Baseball managers, most of them sucked as players. Many football coaches has never played the game at a high level.

      5. So a trade off, lower percentage of 3rd down conversions for lower interceptions/mistakes. Interesting…..Can’t argue with success.

      6. FDM:

        That doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand what it takes to play the position well or that he can’t properly analyze other QBs. Those are distinct skill sets. How many great players have become great coaches or great analysts?

      7. Although Dilfer thinks the Raiders should pick Manziel as their 5th pick. Not so sure about that, they have so many needs, I would bundle, and get more draft picks.

      8. Neal,
        I agree, trade the 5th and draft somebody else like McCarron. One certainty in this year’s draft is that McCarron will be a better QB than Johnny Football.

      9. Good point Claude but when Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, and Jerry Rice talk about what it takes, its believable. Dilfer to me just sounds like a guy at a bar popping off. He has no merit or credibility to his words because he got carried his whole career.
        He may make good points but its just the irony that makes me laugh.

      10. FDM:

        Dilfer to me just sounds like a guy at a bar popping off. He has no merit or credibility to his words because he got carried his whole career.

        Wow. You do realize that it’s not easy to play in the NFL, don’t you? They don’t let just anyone play. And Dilfer didn’t just have a cup of coffee in the NFL; he played for many years. Furthermore, because he wasn’t the most physically gifted QB in the league, he had to word hard on things like fundamentals and reading defenses. He has credibility that no guy popping off in a bar could have.

        Moreover, Dilfer sounds nothing like a guy popping off in a bar. If you pay attention to his words, you can tell he knows what he is talking about. I think you are letting your view of him as a player cloud your judgment of him as an analyst.

      11. FDM,
        You’re way off. Dilfer is actually a great analyst. Not that it matters, cuz it doesn’t, but he was also good enough to reach the absolute pinnacle of QB’ing, taking and holding one of only 32 starting NFL gigs in the whole world.
        Nick, Manziel will be drafted in the top 5, McCarron won’t be in the 1st round. The reason is there is a way, way higher chance of Manziel succeeding at the NFL level than McCarron, who will likely never start an NFL game.

      12. Claude like usual you are too sensitive to words and take out the meaning with your over anal analysis.

        Take it easy buddy, all I said was its ironic Dilfer can’t let his criticism of a good young QB go when he scraped by in the NFL as a glorified backup at best. He was a terrible QB and here he is telling the NFL fans what the QB position entails, give me a break.

      13. I agree with you Claude. The best analysts and coaches are the guys who weren’t superstars. Look no further than the 49ers head coach.

        For the most part Harbaugh had an underwhelming career as a player.

      14. Look at all Dilfer’s collegues on ESPN and clearly he is the low man. Steve Young, Cris Carter, Jaworkski, Schlereath, Hoge, Tom Jackson, Eric Allen. All former players, some good, some hall of fame but at the end your not looking at them saying, what are talking about, you have no idea. I find myself questioning Dilfer a lot because one he has never given Kaepernick any praise. Maybe its because he beat out his buddy Alex Smith for a job. Or maybe he just doesn’t get that QB’s are athletic and he cannot analyze any of that. maybe that’s because he was a statue when he played.

      15. I dunno, FDM. I’ve learned from both Steve Young and Trent. They both articulate what they know pretty well. I think there’s Doing. There’s knowing what to do and when. And then there’s being able to communicate what you see, what you know with others. Immediately in the case of playing; reflectively in broadcasting.
        A rising star on ESPNs staff, IMO, is Jeff Saturday. Again, he articulates what he knows.

      1. Or Roman trusts Boldin and Crabtree more on third down. Davis fumbled trying to pick up a first down on third down against the Redskins. Also, he was targeted on two third downs against the Bucs and got tackled shy of the first down both times.

      2. It sure seemed like he did it last year, keeping Vernon and the read option under wraps for the last month or so of the regular season.

        1. Under wraps until Game 1 of the playoffs. Davis got zero third-down targets in Green Bay a few days ago. Crabtree got most of those targets, and he got the fourth-down target, too.

      3. Grant:

        Well, remember, the 49ers have to play an extra playoff game this year, so that may have set back Roman’s devious plan for a week . Davis’ time is coming.*

        One thing I noticed was that the 49ers’ first drive against the Cardinals was Boldin-centric, and the first drive against the Packers was Crabtree-centric. I hope that was merely a coincidence and not a developing pattern because someone is going to notice that pattern and make plans to take advantage of it.
        * Do I really need to explain that this paragraph was written tongue-in-cheek?

        1. I have a feeling the gameplan against the Panthers will be Crabtree-centric again. Captain Munnerlyn showed he can do a good job against Boldin, but no one knows how Melvin White will handle Crabtree.

      4. Grant:

        Do Munnerlyn and White play traditional LCB and RCB roles or do they stick with one man regardless of where he lines up?

        1. Good question. White plays RCB. Munnerlyn is like Rogers — LCB in base and slot in Nickel. When the 49ers went with 22-personnel — 1 wide receivers, 2 tight ends, 2 backs — the Panthers matched up Munnerlyn on Davis. Kaepernick never tested that matchup.

      5. If they do want to see if the short passing game will work (screens, hitches, slants, rubs, whatever works) then Crabtree would be the best choice as he has the best foot quickness and run after the catch ability.

      6. Defenses have been scheming to take the Vernon Post play away all year. There’s often an over/under coverage to Davis……
        The simple fact is that defensive tactics dictate to whom the 49ers will pass the ball. Stopping the run and taking awayDavis are typically the priority agains the 49ers, leaving the outside receivers as more attractive options. With two healthy, good receivers, that’s perhaps not a good idea any more.

    1. Greg Roman is the man! If Colin only throws to his first read or scrambles Roman does a fantastic job of scheming that first read open so often.

      1. It appears to me, that it is not one and done for Kaep, he seems to look at more then one receiver before he runs to the hills. He has improved some.

      2. Neal, to my eyes they appear to mostly give him high-low reads – basically read one side of the field and either go to the deep or short guy. Even with this he has missed some potential big plays by missing one or the other coming open.

        1. That’s right, thanks Scooter. They’ll give him a high-low read on rollouts, for example — Davis deep and the full back short. But Kaepernick almost never looks or throws deep on those plays. Like in St. Louis, Week 4. He rolled right in the end zone, Vernon Davis was open deep but Kaepernick didn’t throw it to him. Kaepernick decided to run it himself. That’s when Baalke jumped out of his seat in the press box and shouted, “Throw the damn ball!”

      3. Grant,
        To your point about the pick and stick minimizing mistakes, Alex Smith had 23 TD and 7 INTs playing in Andy Reid’s system, which is a multi-read, west coast passing offense.

      4. Grant,
        Colin is way more suited for harbaugh’s system, and Smith is much more of a true West Coast QB. He’s always been very cerebral about the game, where Colin is more physical and intuitive. Regardless of what many like to think, I’m not a Smith lover, definitely not a Smith Hater. Looking back, you can see how the pick and stick was not a good system for him. Take the Giants Game in 2012. You can see Smith double clutch or force a throw because he was trying to make something happen and the Giants probably knew the Niner system and what they wanted to do, and how to take it away.
        I think the Seahawks and Panthers also know what the Niners want to do, so I think Roman and Harbaugh use Colin is the X-Factor, where his gift is waiting for the play to break down, then improvising. Do you think this is a good coaching strategy?
        How many times can Roman guess correctly, versus how many times Kaep can make something out of nothing. Despite the improved numbers with Crabtree back, the Niners still have way too many 3 and outs, which shows Roman isn’t guessing right that often.

  41. A lot of talk this week around how the 49ers were without Crabtree in the first game and lost Davis, Celek. The focus should instead be on Alex Boone. He had his worst game of the season, and if he doesn’t show improvement it doesn’t matter who they have outside.

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