All-Star Game’s stakes rob the game of its fun

This is my Tuesday column.

Tuesday’s All-Star Game should be fun. The best baseball players from the National League and the American League playing a light-hearted exhibition game. Putting on a show.

But Tuesday’s All-Star Game will be more than just a show — it will be a competition with consequences. The winning league will receive home-field advantage for the seventh and final game of the World Series.

Major League Baseball’s least important game will determine its most important game.

All because Bud Selig overreacted in 2002. Remember what happened in 2002? The score was tied 7-7 in the 11th inning, and both the American League and the National League ran out of pitchers. Guys typically throw between 10 and 30 pitches in an All-Star game — throwing any more would mean risking injury.

So, after the 11th inning the 2002 All-Star Game ended in a tie. Fans booed. Selig, sitting in the stands in Milwaukee, his hometown, took the boos to heart. He raised the stakes of the game the next year, designating the All-Star Game as the basis for home-field advantage in the World Series.

He probably didn’t realize just how high he raised the stakes. Of the past 29 World Series Champions, 23 had the home-field advantage — almost 80 percent. So there’s a four-in-five chance the outcome of Tuesday’s All-Star Game will decide the outcome of this season’s World Series.

Good going, Bud.

Was it such a tragedy that an exhibition game ended in a tie? Do people even watch this game to see who wins and loses? I know I don’t. Do you remember the final score last year?

I went to the All-Star Game in 2007, the one at AT&T Park. Sat in center field with my dad. Don’t remember which team won. I had to look it up. The American League won 5-4.

But I remember Ichiro stole the show. It started before the game when he was shagging fly balls in the outfield. He’d get ready to make the catch, hands above his head, and then he’d duck down as if inspecting a smudge on his spikes just before the ball arrived. Then he’d catch it behind his back. He did this over and over again, a showman grabbing the spotlight.

When batting practice started, some of the best sluggers in the game — we’re talking Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Manny Ramirez, Chase Utley, Vladimir Guerrero and Carlos Beltran – took turns blasting baseballs into the bleachers.

Can you guess which player slugged the most home runs during batting practice?

Ichiro. By far. Almost every ball he hit cleared the big brick fence in right field. Not by much — he didn’t reach McCovey Cove — but a home run is a home run, and I’ve never seen someone hit so many so effortlessly. Ichiro probably would have won the Home Run Derby every year if Major League Baseball had invited him to participate.

The 2007 All-Star Game hadn’t started, and I felt I had gotten my dad’s money’s worth.

In the top of the fifth, Ichiro came to the plate with a runner on first base. Ichiro hit a rope off the first archway in right-center field, Griffey Jr. misplayed the bounce off the wall, the runner scored and Ichiro did as well — a two-run inside-the-park home run.

The best player on the field seemed to be having the most fun.

That’s the spirit of an All-Star Game — players enjoying themselves. They’ve earned the privilege to have fun. They shouldn’t have to compete seriously and potentially suffer a serious injury that could affect real games.

That’s why Pete Rose’s full-speed collision with Ray Fosse at home plate in the 1970 All-Star Game was so awful and needless. Rose was the only person playing hard. Everyone one else, including Fosse, was having fun, as they should have.

Fosse didn’t brace for the hit — he probably didn’t expect it. Rose barreled into him, fracturing and separating Fosse’s shoulder, which affected the rest of Fosse’s career. He never was the same. What an unnecessary tragedy.

Baseball is asking for another one by making a mere exhibition game competitive. Home-field advantage in the World Series should alternate every year between leagues like it used to. The All-Star Game should determine nothing.

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


This article has 421 Comments

  1. The All Star Game wasn’t fun before they added an incentive of sorts. The incentive is of no value to the viewers, and the best solution is to cancel ALL such events in sports.

  2. There should be an incentive for all-star games in my opinion. Baseball is similar to Basketball in that they have their all-star games mid-season. Football has their all-star game after the regular season and its become a joke.

    The NFL tried to change the venue a couple of years ago before taking the game back to Hawaii when the players made a pitch to spend the week in Hawaii leading up to the game. The NFL recently made a change by allowing players to cross over AFC and NFC boundaries in an all-star game where they can actually play against a teammate.

    I personally believe that all the fun should take place before the game. Pre-game activities like home-run derby’s, slam dunk and 3 point contest make for fun activities, but when the game starts I don’t want to a see a basketball all-star where scores run well over 250 points between both teams.
    BTW, I have an idea for Basketball all-star weekend:How about a one on one game between players. I would love to see a one on one match between LeBron and K.Durrant, Curry against T.Irving.

    But in the end, the athletes will not play these games at full speed because there is to much to risk if they are injured. And that is something that the league offices of the NFL, MLB, NBA can’t change.

  3. I disagree with you Grant. The things you described seeing before the game still happen, the players also enjoy the experience. The difference now is there is actually something to play for, and you don’t see as many players not giving a crap as there used to be because of it. All star games in general have ceased to be entertaining or necessary imo, but at least Baseball understands the entertainment value is better when there is something to play for.

    1. The only area I’d say I strongly disagree with is TE. I’d be very surprised if they only keep 3 TEs. Replace either Jerome Simpson or DeAndrew White with Vance McDonald or Trey Millard, and I’d say that is pretty much how I see it (though I personally think both McDonald and Millard will make the team, with Busta Anderson out).

      1. Grant: What did you see from Busta during the minicamps that make you think he will make the 53? Are you basing your pick solely on spiting the Cardinals? Didn’t they sign Carrier to an extension last year?

      2. I concur. Vance Macdonald is a good blocker.
        I hope Millard can be stached on the practice squad, if he does not win a spot on the 53.

        1. I think Millard can make it onto the 53, though I’m basing this purely on what I saw from his time at college. He was an excellent STs player in college, with good all-round ability as a blocker, pass catcher and runner (though maybe not great in any one area). I like the versatility he provides as a FB/H-Back/TE.

          As you say, if he doesn’t make it onto the 53 he could be a good one to try and stash on PS.

      3. I think the Niners will keep just three tight ends, and I think they’ll trade McDonald. This offense seems less tight-end-centric than the previous one.

        1. I wonder if Scot McCloughan would be a good trade partner for power oriented 49er players like McDonald. The Bills, Panthers might work too.

        2. I like Joe Staley, Alex Boone, Daniel Kilgore, Marcus Martin and Erik Pears
          to start the season.

          It puts the most experience on the line while they learn a new system, especially on CK’s blind side.

          Below is a Steve Logan chalk-talk on using the fullback.

          At about 3 minutes the play has the LT and LG playing man, while the C, RG, RT block zone. It fits the projected O-line nicely. Staley, Boone and Miller block specific defenders to the left, while Kilgore, Martin and Pears form a zone wall.

        3. Someone (Grant? MM? other?) mentioned even if the 49ers value Millard over Busta Anderson, Millard still goes to the PS because he’s less likely to be claimed off 24 hour waivers.

    2. Playing gunner in the NFL isn’t conducive to a guy that has difficulty staying healthy playing college football, so not sure that’s an advantage for White.

      They’re going to keep 4 TE’s, so someone is getting traded. My guess is VMac.

      Don’t think Kilgore will be completely healed and Martin wins the job.

      I agree 6 D-Lineman, but Armstead will be better than Dial in camp.

      Bellore seems like the one who gets the Osgood treatment, release and catch.

      Wright may not have been a big deal with the Chargers, but he’ll be playing with better talent on the 49ers. I’m going to take the wait and see approach.

      I thought Dawson just nailed a 65 yarder….

    3. I hate to say something has no chance of happening but that TE chart has no chance of happening.

      I also don’t see more than 5 WRs, but overall I agree with most of the roster.

    4. I hear Tony Sparano leans toward TEs that can block well. If that’s true I think McDonald sticks.

      Though Carrier and Bell are listed as tight ends, the 49ers might view them as a H-Backs in the Delaney Walker role.

      I don’t know how much pull Logan has with the offense, but his WRAL chalk-talks are loaded with H-Back schemes. He tends to line them up in two back sets, but always splits them out to move defenders out of the box. A role Millard and Bell might adapt to nicely.

      On the other hand, I don’t know for sure what Chryst will install. The D-Walker role might even be diminished. Another reason predicting the TE this early is a crap shoot.

    5. Good prediction, but I disagree with TE, OLB, and S. I see the 49ers having Davis, Bell, Carrier, and Anderson at TE while Brooks, Lynch, Smith, and Harold will be our OLBs. I also believe there’s a good chance that they cut both Dahl and McCray, going into the season with just three listed at S with the option of sliding Ward or Johnson over if need be.

  4. Wow, some football; yay.
    Acker vs Cook will be interesting. I thought maybe more beef at TE; at least one bulldozer. I’m intrigued by Hayne and Millard, but the numbers are tough. If White is real good, Simpson might not be a lock.

    1. Hey Buster, Im a GIANT fan. I am MAD about them. I like to see them Belt one out or Brandone. I am a Pagan worshiper
      I am Pens-ive about their chances, and I am AOKi with them.

      1. Seriously though, I would just allow players to be utilized more than once, so players could come back to play after being pulled from the game. This way, they would not run out of pitchers.

            1. Since the Giants won the World Series, and the Warriors are World Champs, I just hope the Niners make it a hat trick with a Super Bowl victory.

  5. I think in respect to the NBA All Star Game it should be played between the US born All Stars against the International All Stars. That would be a good game that would have some bragging rights attached to it.

    1. Willtalk,
      That is what they do in the Olympics every four years. Not casting shade on your idea but I’m not so sure that the NBA can field a team of foreign/international stars that would make for an even match.

      Here’s a small list of current NBA foreign/international stars (I’m sure that I’ll miss some) that could be starters:
      1. Center – Marc Gusol
      2. Well ok, the entire San Antonio Spurs which won championships could field a team, but against the likes of LeBron, K.Durant, S.Curry, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, R.Westbrook etc will make for a large order.

      1. AES– You make a good point. I sort of came to that same conclusion right after I posted. It was an idea I thought of some time ago when the list of foreign born players included far more quality players. It would surprise most fans to realize how many players were not born in the USA. I am not talking US citizen but those born outside the continental US. I believe in years past there were times when the star level actually was in favor of the foreign born.

  6. Interesting that Lott advises Pierre-Paul how to live with 9 fingers. Remember Lott cut of an injured finger so that he could play in a game without taking time off to heal. I wonder what he would advise those that have suffered concussions to do to get back into the game?. Maybe that is why Borland retired after talking to Lott. lol.

      1. htwaits– Still even just amputating the tip of ones head would be quite a drastic solution for playing immediately after suffering a concussion.

    1. 19R
      I almost can’t imagine the satisfaction
      I would get if that happened. WOW!!
      No trippin’ on Harbs, I just was offended by the ignorant treatment of Tomsula. OMG that would ROCK!!!!!

      1. BT,

        You can say that again.

        Besides how great it would be on its own, I’ve got so many Seahawk fan in laws, that talk so much smack…

  7. Grant, the roster makes a lot of sense. I think you’re right that the 9ers will hope to deal a TE, but if I were constructing a roster, I’d keep Carrier on there given his recent contract extension. My guess is one of the rookies develops a mysterious injury to get stashed for a year (i.e. The Baalke Special). Having 2 of 3 TEs be rookies would be a risky move.

    I’m also not sure I see them keeping Lemonier over Tony JE. I think there are more question marks at end than OLB. Tank’s unproven, Dockett’s injured, AA’s an athlete who missed some camp due to the UofO calendar.

    Agreed on your take on the All Star game as the game 7 decider; it seems like a heavy handed response given the importance.

  8. It seems like a total of ten LB’s is a big number. I would think lemonier or bellore, if not both, don’t make the final 53.

    I do like the safety group. It’s possible that mangini will play defenses that have up to four safeties in the field at one time.

    1. I think a STs specialist like Bellore could be expendable if they kept another STs ace like Millard, that also offers potential as a FB/H-Back/TE.

    1. I agree with your point. I think we’ve got a very good roster, with a couple question marks. Injuries were a big issue last year.

      While losing both our DE’s is a huge loss on paper (particularly Cowboy), I think we’ve got some young talent.

      The RT position has the potential to cost us dearly again this year. Hopefully Pears is the real deal.

      Are we still a power football team under Geep? I’m hopeful Hyde is the real deal because he is about to go from 5 carries a game to 15-20 along with the increased blocking responsibility.

    2. When you check out the roster, the 49ers have a lot of good players.
      If Erik Pears is actually a good tackle and Michael Wilhoite is actually a good inside linebacker, as the coaches believe, this team can make the playoffs.
      Tomsula is going to let Kaepernick be Kaepernick, and that’s going to be the key to winning— along with more imaginative play calling and a more aggressive defense.
      I believe Tomsula and his assistant coaches are making the 49ers more interesting, exciting, and productive.

    3. I think Baalke has done a good job to sign veteran FAs to compete against all those rookies. I just hope they can survive the cuts to make the PS and give the Niners good depth to cope with injuries.

    1. Really good stuff, George. Thanks for posting this. I’ve said this before, but I like Kurt’s emphasis on CK making the easy throw on a consistent basis – the layup as Kurt calls it. I think if CK can do that, we’ll see significant improvement because defenses still have to be wary of his athleticism.

    2. Even tho he beat the Niners, I like Warner.
      Going from bagging groceries to MVP of the SB, thats the American Dream.

  9. I think a major key to how well the Niner’s do this season will depend much more on avoiding injuries than in past seasons. They just don’t have the depth of the past teams. Talk about a string of bad luck in respect to injuries! The amount of key injuries that seemed to start with Ted Ginn in the 11′ season playoffs ( cost them trip to the SB ). It just began to snowball towards the end of the 2012 season continuing and hitting a ridiculous peak last season. Hopefully the team has used up their share of bad luck in that respect.

    1. Is it a matter of not having the depth or not having the star quality at the top of the roster? Personally I think it is the latter. There is plenty of depth this team has built up over the past few years, but the team has lost quite a few starters. The 49ers need some of the young guys to step up and become the next generation of stars.

      1. I think that’s reflected in the general opinion that the 49ers have a “good” roster. There was no one that filled a star role in the 2014 season. Gore came the closest but he really wasn’t above the “good” level. On the defense, there doesn’t seem to be anyone that can be looked at as a star going into the 2015 season.

        If they find some life will be much improved.

        An example of star power might be a game in a cold New York against the Giants. Young wasn’t getting it done, and Montana was not playing because he was banged up. Wash sent in Montana for what amounted to the last gasp from around their thirty yard line. A simple all go pattern to hold the safety for a beat in the center, Montana to Rice on the side line, and you’ve got a winning 70 yard touchdown pass. Three stars, one play, and it’s a winner.

        We need some star power.

        1. You missed Novorro on D. From all accounts of OTAs (no pads, I know) he’s ready to star again. Aldon and Reid could re-establish themselves as stars.
          Offensively, there’s reason to believe that both Anquan and Vernon >could< return to star status. Kap and Torrey and Reggie have got some Hella talent.
          It's definitely a "Show Me" Moment, but stay tuned.

          1. Oh,….and yeah…..I do agree there’s no Montana or Rice on the roster…… But let’s see what this bunch can do.

          1. If they are dynamic as a group, then they will add a Star unit. Nothing wrong with that. I like the game change HC to the best ever QB to the best player ever stars better. The defense has to be dynamic.

            I would rather see the defense go for dynamic and blow up than watch them bend slowly to the same negative result.

            1. Last year, Cowboy was playing with one arm, and RM imploded on and off the field.
              Losing the 2 CBs is not a catastrophe, I just remember the 81 Niners and their rookie DBs.
              Even with the injuries, they were a top 10 defense.
              Niners drafted 3 defenders with their first 3 picks, so I am hopeful.

              1. The 81 defensive backs were taken high in the first(8th), second(12th), and third(9th) rounds by Walsh. The fourth member of that group was a low cost free agent also found by Walsh. The defensive backs coach was some guy called Seifert. That’s nothing like where Baalke is finding his defensive backs. I, at least, don’t know how the new defensive backs coach is going to do. If he’s as good as Seifert, that would be a real blessing.

            2. We don’t need no stink’n respectability. We need to create chaos. But you’re right, that’s what I expect too. Maybe that’s what I hope for.

              1. I think Mangini agrees with your approach, HT. So you may enjoy the defensive play calls this season; let’s see if the fellas can execute. Arrows Up Baby!

              2. That was just how I feel tonight. I’ve been reducing my sugar intake for a while and it’s making me feisty.

              3. I am glad you feel comfortable enough to challenge my ideas.
                Life would be boring without something to spice it up.
                It feels good to disagree without being disagreeable.=P

        1. I’m not sure, LG or RG. I’d guess RG except for the OTA work at LG…….? He still is probably option#1 at OLT.

          1. Agree, I think Staley at LT, Thomas will play LG, Martin at center since Snyder is not 100%, Boone at RG and Pears RT.

        2. But there are pluses to Boone at LG.

          – Protects CK’s blind side with the most experience.

          – Staley, Alex Boone on the left fits this play very well. (at 3 minutes)

          As soon as I saw this the value of putting experience on the same side became clear, especially for a team that’s going to use both gap and man schemes.

          The experienced Staley, Boone and Miller execute a typical gap scheme. The less experienced C, RG and RT zone block on the right to seal pursuit.

          1. “Protects CK’s blind side with the most experience”

            Typically the center shades to the QB’s blind side on passing downs, which makes the RG job harder and more important than the left in passing situations.

            I’m concerned about Pears. He moved from RT to RG in Buffalo, and then wasn’t particularly good at G. I think there is a 25% chance Boone will end up playing RT for us, particularly if Marcus Martin and Brandon Thomas look capable of starting at G.

          2. Agree, but I also like Thomas, and he played some LT in college, so he could move over if Staley goes out. He also held his ground 1 on 1 versus J Clowney, IIRC.

    1. If Kaepernick can improve over 2013 then the other four guys become very important. If Kaepernick is no better than 2014, it won’t make a difference how the other four’s rehab goes. There is no back up plan for a Kaepernick stagnation.

        1. Thinking that the absence of Roman will, on it’s own, bring about better offense is probably the delusional part.

              1. Maybe I was thinking that it might be delusional to expect Logan to coach up Kaep to All Pro status.

    2. Martin is the future at Center and he looks like he’s primed to take ownership.

      Armstead isn’t stuck at the bottom because he’s yet to begin his ascent.

      Bowman has conquered the physical challenges. It’s the mental aspect that he has to overcome now….

    3. Docket starting the season on NFI would also free a scarce roster spot for 6 games. Bubble players like Millard and Busta Anderson would have a chance to stick.

  10. Here’s my pre-camp 53 prediction:

    Offensive line:
    Joe Staley
    Alex Boone
    Marcus Martin
    Daniel Kilgore
    Brandon Thomas
    Erik Pears
    Trent Brown
    Joe Looney

    Colin Kaepernick
    Blaine Gabbert

    Running Backs:
    Carlos Hyde
    Mike Davis
    Reggie Bush
    Bruce Miller
    Trey Millard
    Jarryd hayne

    Anquan Boldin
    Torrey Smith
    Bruce Ellington
    Quinton Patton
    Jerome Simpson
    DeAndre Smelter

    Tight end:
    Vernon Davis
    Vance McDonald
    Derek Carrier
    Blake Bell

    Defensive line:
    Arik Armstead
    Glenn Dorsey
    Ian Williams
    Tank Carradine
    Quinton Dial
    Darnell Dockett
    Tony Jerod-Eddie

    Navarro Bowman
    Aldon Smith
    Aaron Lynch
    Eli Harold
    Michael Wilhoite
    Ahmad Brooks
    Philip Wheeler
    Nick Moody

    Tremaine Brock
    Shareece Wright
    Jimmie Ward
    Dontae Johnson
    Keith Reaser
    Kenneth Acker

    Antoine Bethea
    Eric Reid
    Jaquiski Tart
    Craig Dahl

    Special teams:
    Pinion Bradley
    Phil Dawson

    1. Thanks, Coffee. The enevitable quibbles:
      McCray maybe over Dahl
      Smelt?(NFI)? vs White?
      Millard maybe ST ace
      Hunter makes team or is traded
      Hayne makes team as Returner? Grant’s roster didn’t show a returner other than Ellington (as best I recall), who may be dinged early season, so maybe…………….

    2. Nice one CfC.

      I reckon if they keep Millard as you suggest (and I think they will too) they will only keep 3 TEs, with Millard filling as a FB/TE.

      As much as I hope Hayne makes the 53, it will be a tough task ahead for him. But there isn’t much competition at PR/KR which might well give him an edge.

      I think the only other area I’d quibble would be 7 DL and 8 LBs – I reckon it will be 6 DL and 9 LBs.

      1. I think the only other area I’d quibble would be 7 DL and 8 LBs – I reckon it will be 6 DL and 9 LBs.
        That’s funny because I had it 6 and 9 to begin with but then I remembered where the new head coach came from and thought I’d even it out a bit.

      2. In regard to Millard the other thought I had was if you do remove Hunter from the list then the only two backs with any experience are Hyde who’s playing his second season and Bush. I realize he’s a FB/H-back but still, having a player then can carry the ball and is already familiar with the system(if there’s much carryover) wouldn’t hurt.

        Now of course Mike Davis is going to be fantastic but just in case, it wouldn’t hurt to keep Millard around in the no Hunter scenario. If Hunter’s good to go then Millard will have a harder time making the team this year.

        1. I’m going to sound like a broken record, but I think Millard will be tough to cut as he’s an excellent STs coverage player that also offers great versatility on offense as a lead blocker, in-line blocker, ball carrier (as a FB or HB – could be a nice option for short yardage back) and pass catcher (out of the backfield, from an in-line position, or split a bit wider).

          1. I’m a fan of keeping him but as the old saying goes “it’s a numbers game.” It could simply be a matter of him being #54.

            1. True, but I think the versatility he provides puts him in a good spot when choosing between a bunch of roster bubble players. To me he’s the sort of guy they could keep just as a STs ace, but he also brings some useful skills to the offensive side of the ball.

              1. Would help to know what the “new” offense is going to look like. Which position is going to hold more value the TE or the FB/h-back? There are teams in the league that don’t even carry a FB and for the 49ers to have two of them(i know he’s more then a FB) the offense needs to utilize that position to justify carrying them. With the Rombaugh offense having two FB’s or players like Miller and Millard carried more value to the team then pass catching TE’s. However that could be different now.

                Anyway, I’m over speculating especially since I’ve already put the guy in my own 53 and have said I’m hoping he makes the team.

              2. I must admit, whenever I refer to Millard I refer to him as one of the TEs. I see him as a bit like Delanie Walker. More an H-Back type player than a traditional TE or FB. I’m not sure where he’s been spending his time in minicamps and OTAs working out though – with the RBs/ FBs or the TEs.

          2. Scooter:

            You’ve been beating the drum on Millard. I don’t recall any writeups from beat writers specifically singling out Millard for great performances during mini-camps. So are you basing your prediction that he’ll make the 53 solely on his college play?

        1. Why do teams specifically have a LS? Why can’t the regular center and/or his backup learn to be a LS? That would save a roster spot for an important position, wouldn’t it?

          1. It’s a specific skill. To perfectly snap the ball to the right spot at the right speed every time and still block is pretty damn hard. Plus it allows the center to focus on being a center rather then having to spend time long snapping. Also, I’m sure there’s something to do with injury prevention to your starting center.

            1. Hey just ask the Raiders. Remember that game recently when their long snapper was injured and the back ups couldn’t keep it out of the dirt?

              1. Thanks for providing the video to support what you and Scooter are saying.

                So, based on the game film that you provided, who’s the 9ers backup LS? Scooter mentioned VM as a possibility.

              2. Woah, that was 2012. Man once you pass 40 “recently” takes on a whole new meaning.

              3. Well, if Kilgore is the backup LS and let’s say he’s the backup center as well (i.e. Martin wins the job), then I’m not so sure the Niners couldn’t at least consider having Kilgore as the main LS with somebody like VM backing him up. I know you linked a video that showed the Raiders having problems when their LS got injured, but how often do you hear that a LS is injured?

              4. It only takes the one time, what if he gets injured in the NFCCG or the SB and we have happen what happened to the Raiders? Not saying it can’t happen but there is a reason that all 32 teams employ a full time long snapper.

              5. The fact that all 32 teams have one is certainly a strong argument. But I like to challenge assumptions and ask if they are still valid given the changing nature of the game. There are now hybrid FB/TEs and Pinion will be taking on the kickoff duties for Dawson (which I assume will keep him fresh and possibly prolong his career). So, it doesn’t seem unrealistic to me that a guy like Kilgore, especially if he loses the center job to Martin, couldn’t be the main LS with someone like VM as the backup. Just a thought which I’m certainly not going to argue any further unless I can find some support for the possibility.

              6. Also, I mentioned a few days back that I thought Carrier could be switched over to WR. I think he would be an interesting guy to keep on the team as a WR and TE. Again it could save a roster spot for another position. If you have guys that have unique abilities to play multiple positions, why not consider having them do it, especially if they are backups.

              7. Certainly wasn’t trying to shut down the topic with that statement. When making roster decisions ultimately my guess is that it’s simpler to employ a player at near minimum salary that is skilled in the position. It allows you to not be bound to more expensive players like Kilgore.

              8. No, no CFC. You certainly didn’t shut down the topic, I did. I don’t like to argue a position ad nauseum especially if I don’t have any solid support. I was throwing out an idea. I have this sickening feeling that we’re going to be losing some quality players as the team gets down to 53.

              9. Yes but it’s always interesting to see how many players that you just know are going to land on another team and have HoF careers slowly disappear into obscurity. Plus there’s always at least a couple, usually receivers, rookies that have great pre-seasons and get cut and the fans throw a big hissy fit only for the guy to end up flipping burgers in only a couple years.

                Since none of us have any control it’s much easier to just ride it out and try, as hard as they make it, to have a little faith that those in charge actually belong there.

              10. Cubus,

                You’re not alone. Every year many of us agonize over the loss of players we fell in love with in the offseason and TC, only to realize over time that these guys were end of roster decisions for a reason. I don’t see anybody the Niners have released over the last number of years that’s gone on to stardom or even been a big contributor somewhere else. We have to remind ourselves that every team in the league is in the same boat. They all have these good young talents trying to make it, and teams usually hang onto their own rather than claim from other clubs to put on their active roster.

                The guy I’m most concerned about losing this year is McDonald. I see no way they cut him, but if he is traded due to the number crunch, I would be disappointed. He reminds me of Wesley Walls in that he was drafted with a lot of talent as a receiver, didn’t get much of an opportunity and then went on and realized his potential somewhere else. I don’t want to see that happen again. I may be overvaluing McDonald, but he is an athletic freak who became the best blocking TE on the team in one year without doing much of it in College. There is nothing this kid can’t do if given the chance imo.

              11. Rocket:

                I was actually wondering about players we’ve cut to make the 53 and how they are doing. I don’t think Marcus Cooper did anything outside of his rookie year. Then there was the other CB, Darrel Morris, at Houston; not sure how he’s done. You’ve always seemed to have a good handle on trends and history, so I’m sure you’re right with regards to the impact of losing these guys. I was actually thinking more of Tukuafu and Dobbs being picked up by Seattle

                Agree with your take on VM. I hope he gets at least this year to show that he can be a good receiver. He was a high draft pick and has become a very good blocker despite concerns that it might be an issue for him. He’s had some bad luck with fumbles after catches. I still remember the 2014 championship game when Vernon went over to him to get some clarification on a play call as they were walking to the LOS. Till then I hadn’t realized just how big VM is. As you say he is an athletic freak.

              12. Tukuafu and Dobbs were minor impact guys for Seattle and certainly didn’t play much of a role in their success. Obviously any player you get rid of could possibly wind up on another team, but for me it comes down to what they do with the other team, and if the Niners held onto somebody who wasn’t as good as they guys they cut. There really isn’t any blatant examples I can think of where a final cut went on to play a big role on another team. I mean last year it was Glen Winston everybody was fawning over and getting angry about when he was cut, and I don’t even think he was active all year for the Browns. End of the roster players aren’t worth getting too worked up about is what it amounts to. They rarely play much of a factor in the overall success of a team.

              13. Nathan Palmer is the player I always use as an example. He was a receiver that did very well during TC and pre-season and everyone lost their ish when he was put on the practice squad and subsequently signed to the Colts roster. There was much teeth mashing over that but what kind of career has he had? He has 1 catch for -4 yards and he’s been on two teams in 3 years including sitting out the 2013 campaign unsigned.

            2. Randy Cross did it. Chuck Bednarik did it. Dick Butkis did it I. College. Jim Otto did it. Forrest Blue did it. Jesse Sapoulu did it. A dedicated Kilgore or Martin could do it.
              Offer the challenge!

              1. Frankie Albert also played line backer and strong safety for the 49ers, but I don’t think he ever did any long snapping. It was so simple then. Eleven guys played the whole game in leather hats unless they were injured.

              2. Great list, do you have any players that have played in the past two decades that have done it?

          2. As with anything it takes practice to perfect, and the snaps to the punter/ holder need to be perfect. Your OL have a lot already on their plate learning the team’s blocking schemes, blocking technique, etc. Doesn’t leave a lot of time to also be perfecting the LS duties.

            The punter/ kicker has a very short time to get the punt/ kick off. A snap that is just a little off target holds the P/K up for precious fractions of a second.

            1. As long as we’re talking about the kicking game, here’s something I’ve often wondered about. Is there a requirement that for a field goal, the ball has to be placed a certain distance behind the LOS (I think it’s seven yards)? I’ve often thought that for a game winning field goal that is inside the twenty and the defense is going all out to block it, why not just snap the ball back a few yards further. It also lessens the possibility that it will be blocked.

              Same thing for punts. Is there a requirement that the punter has to stand a certain number of yards back from the LOS?

              1. I can’t find anything that speaks to a requirement but what I would guess is that most NFL long snappers have been snapping to the same spot their whole career. Most placeholders and punters stand in the same spots, 7-8 yards behind the line for the PH and 15 yards for the punter are the common locations. Again I can’t find anything that specifically mentions the legality of changing it but it sounds like something that would have to be practiced for the coaches to be comfortable letting happen in a game.

              2. Yeah, I think it would be worth practicing a few times for very special circumstances which probably happen a few times a season.

              3. The further the distance from the Goal Line, the (even though slightly) lower the angle of the kick, thus the vulnerability of a block/deflection. The ‘steepness’ of a near proximity kick helps it’s elusiveness.
                (Yes, I worked ANGLICO back in the day/Scout) Haha!

              4. Cubus, I think you are underestimating what it takes to be a long snapper. Also there is a lot of Geometry involved in kick and punt protection.

                The mathematical argument for never fielding a punt is quite strong, but I don’t think it’s ever been tried at the high levels of football. We should have tried it in 2011.

              5. I was referring to a specific case where it’s the end of the game, the ball is inside or close to the 20 and a field goal wins it. It just seems like placing the ball a few yards further back could lessen the odds of a blocked kick.

                I think I understand the geometry. If the angle is 45 degrees, then if the ball is placed 7 yards back it will be 7 yards vertically above the field at the LOS. But if the angle is only 30 degrees, then the vertical height at the LOS will be about 4 yards which is 12 feet. Blockers coming in from the side, though are probably a bigger problem.

                With regards to punts, it seems like blocking at the LOS is virtually never an issue assuming the punter gets the ball in the usual rhythm of the punt. More of a concern is defenders who come through unblocked. If the offense knows it will be a jailbreak by the defense towards the punter, I would think a few more yards back couldn’t hurt. But at the same time, if the LS isn’t used to snapping back further, then it could cause more problems than it solves.

              6. Cubus,

                Nice trigonometry skills there on the example with the 30 degree launch angle example.

    3. Sorry, needed to watch my latest episode of Mr. Robot. Really enjoying that show, only 3 episodes in but liking it quite a bit.

      Ok, first and foremost regarding most changes let me throw out the default “after TC and preseason is under way I’m sure there will be many changes to this list.”

      Now more specifically:

      Regarding Hayne over Hunter. I want to see Hunter play first. If he’s full speed and can cut without problem then I’ll punt Hayne to the P/S. However with Hunter’s recent injury and the current stable of backs If Hunter isn’t 100% I could see the team move on from him.

      As far as no long snapper, that was just a brain fart. In this scenario I’d replace TJE with Nelson.

      Smelter, we’ll see. I don’t want him to play this year but if he’s healthy enough to play I think they’ll put him out there. This could end up being White.

      I still think they keep 4 TE’s even with Millard. I don’t think the team is comfortable with Vance’s back health.

      McCray over Dahl? Ok, Im not sure but I wouldn’t argue against it either.

      You all know Busta is my boy but even I know he’s P/S material his first season. The Cards are not threat to pick him off because they’d have to put him on their 53 and even they know he’s not ready for that and they don’t have a roster spot to just stash him either. He’ll be ready to take his shot at replacing VD next season but this year he needs to learn to play the position first.

    4. CFC, a good nights sleep will de-bonzo things in the morning. Nice roster predictions. I agree for the most part. Good call letting Lemonier go while keeping Tony Jerod-Eddie. My 2 cents

      – Hunter over Hayne. Hayne to PS. He’s a safe bet to clear 24 waivers.

      – McCray over Dalh. I haven’t seen enough of McCray to be certain. At this point Dalh is probably the better safety. But McCray’s body and style are very close to Tartt. I think the 49ers are building towards a type of interchangeable safety that McCray and Tartt personify. Big. Good range. Can hit. Can play SS and FS.

      – Nick Bellore or “Busta” over Wheeler. The way Baalke skipped MLB in the draft makes me think he decided to gamble with MLB in 2015. Baalke only carried three OLBs in 2011. He’s rolled the dice before.

  11. If we get back to our 2013 point production. will that be enough to contend? That would be a solid improvement for the offense, but it probably wouldn’t beat Seattle.

  12. It was well documented that Jimmie Ward was a Harbaugh guy. What I don’t know is how much Baalke shared his enthusiasm for the player. Given the “split” not to mention Ward’s struggles as a rookie I wonder if he has a shorter leash then what other first round selections would get? You could argue that Baalke was already planning on Harbaugh’s exit when he drafted Ward in 2014 and that he’d have no reason to throw Harbaugh a bone and take Ward over a player that Baalke wanted more. It could also be argued that Baalke was on the fence about whom to use the first pick with and was persuaded into Ward by Harbaugh. There were a lot of reasons and still are to justify the 49ers using that pick at the time on Ward.

    It’ll be curious to see, if he stumbles again this year, if he was more of a Harbaugh or Baalke pick based upon if/when the team cuts ties with him. Not prognosticating anything here just throwing out a little conjecture.

    1. Oh crap, bed time for bonzo. I totally mixed up Reid with Ward. Nevermind then.

      /bonk see you guys tomorrow.

      1. Reid was as much Baalkes guy as Harbaughs. He never would have traded up to get a guy he wasn’t completely on board with. You can say that about all the players truthfully. Baalke has never been shy about making it known the final call in the draft and on the roster is his.

    2. Question for the room – would people have been happier with Jimmie Ward last season if he rode the bench rather than being the starting nickel back?

      All I ever hear is how he wasn’t great last year. To me this comes back to the discussion we had yesterday about unrealistic expectations placed on rookies. Ward had one game where he was terrible (Bears), some games where he was closer to bad than good (Cards, Saints) and some games where he was ok (the other five games he played). But in general he did look like he was improving as the season went on until he got injured.

      What was the expectation people were placing on him? What would have constituted a good rookie year for him?

      1. It may be Alzheimers talking, but I remember Ronnie Lott getting burned, and I think I remember him needlessly putting his hands on someone who was out of the play and it cost us a last chance for Montana to win us a trip to the Superbowl against Washington. It gave them three more chances to burn the clock.

        Even I have has a bad day or two.

        1. Think that was Wright. Anyone know for sure?

          The Redskins were supposed to roll over the Niners that afternoon. People had been writing about that Redskins squad as being maybe the greatest team ever, plus the game was in DC.

          Instead we were on our way to beating them, and then they got dismantled by the Raiders.

            1. Anyone West of the Mississippi who didn’t smell ‘money’ on those two plays was in the kitchen when they occurred. The most egregious (IMO) was Wright’s PI…’took me years to get over that one…hell, I’m still pissed…

        2. HT,

          Lott didn’t put his hands on the Washington WR. The WR ran into Lott, Lott didn’t give ground, the WR pretended to try to dislodge and that he wasn’t able to, the idiotic ref bought the soccer like flop job and threw a flag.

          There were also two critical PI calls on deep balls down the sidelines that were clearly uncatchable the screwed the 49ers, as well.

          The 49ers didn’t play great in the first half, but the refs really screwed them over, too.

          Not that it bothers me anymore, or anything…

          1. It doesn’t bother me anymore either. The PI call on Wright was just before the Lott call. What I remember was Wright giving the receiver a little nudge out of bounds after the ball sailed 100′ over their heads.

            It doesn’t bother me at all that if we give up a field goal with two minutes to go, Montana would have sliced through the Washington defense like a hot knife through butter. It doesn’t bother me a bit that I just used a trite analogy either.

      2. Great question. Fangio just doesn’t put rookies out there unless they show something in practice. Rookies have to win the job in Fang World.

        That tells me Ward was starting to gel, but got burned in bad match-ups vs big receivers.

        It seems he was drafted to counter the Tavon Austin and Percy Harvin types, but didn’t really get a chance to show what he could do.

        My concern is he’s still taking a while to get over his foot operation. What I’m hoping for…
        Ward remains the slot specialist. He alternates with Tartt or Johnson depending on personnel. He provides value in a single high safety scheme because of his speed and range (if Mangini decides to gamble with the SS down low). He should be a pretty good gunner.

        I would have liked more from the 30th pick, but if he can play Slot Specialist, Safety Depth and Gunner he will provide solid value for years.

        1. Ward in the Earl Thomas role playing center field withTartt and/or Bethea hammering down low just might work.

        2. Maybe Ward will be on the injured list and allow the Niners to put a bubble player on the 53 man squad, and Ward could be activated once a DB gets injured.

      3. Also, if a guy is a hard worker and takes coaching, but performs below his draft status, that’s one the GM. A lot of people I knew at the time labeled Rice a bust before he had played 11 games. One of those guys never did come to like him.

      4. I remember being surprised when Fangio more or less indicated that the slot CB role was Ward’s to lose. I don’t think Jimmy played badly. He did get burned in the Chicago game, but I felt that Fangio was stubborn in not giving him any help. Also, Eric Reid admitted several times that TDs that looked like Ward’s fault were in fact Reid’s fault. I’m more concerned about Ward’s foot issues.

      5. I’d like to point out that although I had the wrong guy my intention wasn’t to bash Ward, I like the guy and haven’t once harped on his first year performance. I was mostly posturing whether or not he’d have a shorter list being a Harbaugh guy but that turned out to be in error. Anyway, I like Ward and think he’ll be just fine.

          1. I realized my tone might imply that but I wasnt taking it that way Scooter but thx for mentioning it. :)

      6. Ward was one of two or three guys I had targeted for SF to take there, so I was happy with the pick. But I knew Ward would have some transition time defining his role in the Pros. I didn’t know if he’d sit to learn, or learn on the fly, but I expected growing pains. In hindsight I’d guess he learned more faster by having been thrown in.
        I’m disappointed in Ward’s current injury as it robs him of reps.

        1. I also really think as I mentioned earlier this morning that the immediate impact that Reid had ruined it for Ward. There was an expectation by many for Ward to repeat the same success that Eric experienced. ‘

          1. Agreed, which is part of what I’ve been saying the past couple of days regarding fan expectations for our rookies. Having Reid come in as a day 1 starter and play pretty well was a bonus. That shouldn’t be the expectation. And he followed it up with a less impressive sophomore campaign, which combined with his concussions now has some people questioning his long term role with the team.

      7. No. He looked promising to me, however I’m concerned about his bad wheel being a chronic issue hindering his development….

        1. The injury concerns are fair enough. But I find it kind of funny that guys like Dontae Johnson and Keith Reaser have gotten quite a bit of discussion as potential guys to take over the nickel CB role from Ward, largely because they have been healthy and practising. My understanding is there hasn’t been a set back with Ward’s recovery. To me he’s a guy people should be excited about, excited to see what he can do in TC after being given the time this off season to fully recover.

          1. There’s a lot to be excited about with this secondary, and that’s why I was one of the few that didn’t feel the need for a corner. The reason The Reaser File has eyebrows raised is because he’s unlike all the others. He’s got real speed and change of direction quickness….

      8. Scooter with the salient points as usual. Ward was drafted from a small school and was coming off of foot surgery. What exactly should be expected from a rookie under these conditions? He had some struggles, and he also improved as time went on. The biggest issue is whether his foot will heal properly and if not, does that threaten to end his career before it gets started?

      9. No. Ward was having a good but not great season with one major hiccup against the Bears, but expecting a rookie who was switching positions to be lights out is ridiculous. I expect him to keep getting better, but as Razor mentioned, his foot injury is something to keep an eye on going forward.

      10. For me you could answer yes to most rookies we bring on board. Unless they absolutely have to fill a position right away for whatever reason I’m always on board for sitting any rookie for their first season. Now there are some that are just so natural that it would be silly to hold them out; RB’s, LB’s tend to fall into this group. There are also many that would be just as well off sitting for the first half of the season and then getting their feet wet towards the end of the year. However by default I would say that I prefer most rookies to sit at least half if not all of their first year. I believe in the long run you the benefits are a higher success rate overall for rookies as well as the obvious benefit of having stronger(mentally) players on the team. Without the pressure to perform the young kids will have a better shot at absorbing and learning their position while making their mistakes on the practice field rather then on game day.

        1. I very much agree with this CfC. There is certainly some value to the idea of throwing a rookie out there and let them learn on the job, but that is often a sink or swim outcome. Confidence is an important component of playing your best, and throwing a rookie into the action before they are ready can have significant negative impacts on their confidence both in the short and long term, which can end up holding them back quite a bit.

          My preference is to let rookies sit and learn, or limiting their snaps in some way. Give them a taste of it, without letting go of the rope. If the player shows well then gradually increase their exposure. Kind of like what they did with Aaron Lynch last year.

          1. Scooter

            I agree, but last year was difficult because of Harbaugh’s penchant for getting a lead and then taking the air out of the ball. We needed a larger lead to where some of the younger players could be rotated to keep the vets from exhaustion. Hopefully, we’ll see some of those early, larger leads this year….

    3. Well, I will speculate that Armstead was a Tomsula pick because JT was the former D line coach. However, Baalke made the call and selected him, so he also liked AA and his long arms.
      That Ward pick was a head scratcher that few people called.I thought there were lots of other better choices at the time, even a WR or TE.

      1. I don’t think that Baalke hands out picks to anyone on his coaching staff. I feel that he listens to his coaches and scouts and then makes his choices based on the action as the draft plays out.

        At least that’s how I think he has publicly described his methods.

        1. Baalke heavily scouted Armstead for two years, attending more than two of his games in 2014. I’m sure he got input from Tomsula, but Armstead’s a Baalke pick.

          I wonder if Taylor Mays being a Singletary pick was true? Baalke was only on the job for two weeks. Singletary could have had more pull at the time.

          1. I think that Baalke “balked” at picking Mays (pun intended) but Singletary threatened to hit him on the head with that big cross of his.

            1. The (unsubstantiated on my part) rumor was there was table pounding by Baalke as he tried to talk Singletary out of the pick.

              On the otherhand, when I was 12 I thought Alice Cooper and the guy that played Eddie Haskel in Leave it to Beaver was the same person.

      2. Ward was a total surprise pick, but after I saw his college footage and realized (at the time) the 49ers had Harvin and Austin in the same division he made more sense.

        I was really hoping for a trade up for big name receiver or Aaron Donald… or a trade back from 30 choosing Garoppolo or a receiver with one of the 2nd rounders.

        20/20 hindsight I think there are about 20 teams that wish they drafted Carr. Carr was on my radar, but not a very big blip.

  13. I know that the original topic have morphed into football talk, but I just wanted to go back to the MLB all-star game for a few moments.

    I know that this is after the fact (from Grant’ pre- all-star game topic), but last nights game was good as far as these games go.
    Mike Trout is by far the best baseball player on the planet and last nights effort sealed the deal imo.
    I enjoyed watching the SFGiants representation of Posey, Bumgardner, Panick, and Crawford even though they did not play any role in the outcome of the game. Was hoping to see my personal Giant favorite Hunter “psycho” Pence but his early wrist injury kept him away to long.

    Met’s pitcher deGrom is a flat-out beast and will win a few Cy Young’ before he’s through. deGrom is the type of player a team like the Met’s can build around for future success.
    Speaking of pitchers, as a Giants fan it was nice seeing Kershaw get knocked around in his short but unmemorable stint.

    All in all, not a bad way to spend an evening enjoying a great game of great players.

        1. Just teasing about going back to the actual topic — a kind of reverse rude. No, I’m not a Dodger fan. Enjoy.

          1. htwaits,
            All good ht. Certainly glad to hear that you’re not a dodgers fan, my son-in-law is a fervent dodgers fan. Wish I would have known that when he was asking for my daughter’ hand in marriage (lol).

            1. He asked?

              I imagine you enjoyed three out of the past five years. Now it may be his turn. The next month will tell a lot. Just stay close.

              1. Yup, August will determine who makes the playoffs.
                But dodgers just don’t worry me in the playoffs. Kershaw is the equivalent of Tony Romo in post season play and I make sure my son-in-law never forgets it!

  14. Interesting discussion between rocket, cubus and CfC regarding letting young players go and the risk of then having them become good players. As pointed out, despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth, overwhelmingly these players we curse about losing go on to do not a whole lot in the NFL.

    It got me to thinking though, who are the success stories? Which players have the 49ers let go that actually went on to be good players in the NFL? And I’m not talking about guys that were already showing signs of becoming good players and were traded away or let go due to salary cap issues, but cheap, bottom of the roster guys that never really got a go at the 49ers.

    Wesley Walls was mentioned by rocket. He certainly qualifies. Harvey Dahl had a good period at the Falcons after the 49ers let him go. I’m sure there must be others. Can anyone think of any?

    1. That’s a fun question Scooter. Right off the top of my head no one jumps out of my memory. I’ll look a little deeper I’m sure there have to be at least a few. What about players that we picked up off of other teams’s P/S that ended up having a good career?

      1. Well, I have been gnashing my teeth over the fact that Seattle has been poaching Niners for years, and they helped them get to the SB. Michael Robinson. Ricardo Lockette, Tukuafu, Dobbs and even BJ Daniels although he did not do much. Lockette came within inches of helping them win their second.
        I just hope the Niners can return the favor and get a couple Seahawks so they can pick their brains for intel.

        1. This is exactly what I meant during my earlier discussion with Rocket; except that I couldn’t remember Lockette and some of the other guys.

          While none of these guys have become stars, I sometimes wonder if Seattle’s strategy is to pay their stars and then if they have holes in the roster scour through the cuts to pick up players. The 49er’s strategy is different: Few stars, just lots of good players that all can’t be kept on the 53. However, since Seattle and SF have similar strategies for winning football games, the 49ers effectively become a farm club for the Seahags (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea). Further, since we’re in the same division, there’s the possibility of picking up intel as Seb noted.

          Maybe this line of thinking is a bit exaggerated, but I feel pretty certain that the squawks do closely watch for opportunities to “poach” niners. Now, they’re not looking for stars per se, they’re looking for good, inexpensive players to fill roster holes.

          It would be interesting to know how many players Seattle has picked up over the last three or so years from other teams and how many of those were 49ers. It would also be interesting to see how many players the 9ers have picked up as well. It could be that I’m way off base and I could certainly be convinced the other way with some statistics. Not sure that information is readily available.

          1. SF and Seattle take each others cast offs on occasion, but it never leads to much. Seattle doesn’t win as many games as they do from picking up guys like Dobbs or Lockette (they cut Lockette before he went to the 9ers remember). It’s because they have a strong nucleus of players and don’t need to find much more than average talent to supplement the rest of the roster.

            If this little exercise teaches us anything, it’s that there is little reason to worry about the final cuts and their effect on the roster.

            1. Or more importantly, that the final cuts will go on to great careers and be “the one that got away”.

        2. I appreciate that Seattle is a good team, but its not guys like Lockette, Dobbs or Tukuafu that make them good. None of those guys have gone on to be good NFL players since leaving the 49ers, though you can argue that Lockette is a good STs player. If that is the future fate of the bubble players that don’t make the 49ers roster this year then I don’t think there is much reason to be moaning about losing them.

          Michael Robinson was a good FB for Seattle. But I don’t think he fits the idea of a young guy that never made it at the 49ers. He was more of a salary cap casualty. He’d been our starting FB at various times, and was a STs standout, but made more money than the team felt was justified at the time (another demonstration of how he wasn’t like these other young guys is he was on his second contract). A mistake though.

          1. I think I was pretty clear in saying that the players picked up by Seattle were not great. But here’s another thought. When Seattle picks up a cast-off from the 49ers, he’s usually a player that has been well coached and will be ready to play if needed. I believe Dobbs played a fair amount when he went to Seattle as I saw him playing in the playoffs. So my point is that there is less training required.

            However, you guys have pointed out that at least for recent history none of the cast offs have made it big and that seems to be the case. Still, as fans we get excited about a player during minicamps and training camp and then feel dejected when he is cut. Last year it was Glenn Winston and this year it might be White. I’ll let it go now :)

            1. I get what you are saying about the 49ers cast-offs being better than some of the bottom of the roster guys on other teams (thus why teams pick them up). I guess I just don’t see that as a big issue. It just shows the team has good depth, and means it when they say they want good competition for places in TC.

              Its when you let a guy go that go on to be good players for another team that it is annoying. But as has been pointed out, that doesn’t happen very often. And I’m sure it isn’t just the 49ers it happens to.

              1. I’m wondering if you can draw any conclusions from our discussions and the way teams go about building a roster. For example: contrast teams that have big name stars and then bargain basement players with teams that have a lot of good players but few stars. So, for example, Green Bay and Seattle versus SF. So where I was reaching is that these teams with stars are looking for the well-trained, bargain basement players which SF cuts. Do you think you can form any conclusions with regards to which method is better for building a roster. I suspect that it largely hinges on the QB (although Seattle could make a case that having a star secondary mitigates the need for a star QB). But if you Luck into a star QB because of draft position (and quality of college QBs) or a draftee performs far better than anyone expected, then maybe that by and large sets which method you use to build the roster. However, if you believe all the chatter, it looks like Seattle might not meet Wilson’s demands and may have to let him go at some point in the near future (as soon as next season).

              2. The success of New England over a long period of time and recent success of the 49ers is a good advertisement regarding the benefits of having and using a lot of draft picks each year, building the depth at the bottom of the roster, creating competition, and having more chances of finding really good players.

              3. I only remember one big one and that was in 1959. See the post at the end of this thread.

              4. Found this on Football Outsiders:

                “By and large, a team built on depth is better than a team built on stars and scrubs.”

                “… because teams need to go into the season expecting that they will suffer an average number of injuries no matter how healthy they were the previous year. The Redskins went into 2006 with a Super Bowl-quality starting lineup, and finished 5-11 because they had no depth. You cannot concentrate your salaries on a handful of star players because there is no such thing as avoiding injuries in the NFL. Every team will suffer injuries; the only question is how many. The game is too fast and the players too strong to build a team based around the idea that ‘if we can avoid all injuries this year, we’ll win.'”

    2. Seems as if there is a “darling” player in TC each year that make a little noise.
      QB, Nate Davis
      WR, Nate Palmer
      RB, Glenn Winston, just last season.

      I fell for the hype with G.Winston because he was not only having a strong TC but he seemed like a logical player to make the team Hunter went down.
      Lo and behold, Winston couldn’t even get on the field for the woeful Browns.

      Looks like the coaches know much more about players than we sometimes fail to give them credit for.

    1. Tony Sparano likes tight ends that can block, but I don’t know how much pull he has. I see McDonald staying on the 53, but Bell can challenge for snaps.

      I wonder if the 49ers see H-Back as unique. Competition for TEs, but not direct competition. Bell has the light feet and backfield experience to play the complicated Delaney Walker role.

      I can see Bell and McDonald pairing the same way Walker and Davis has. Carrier might be the odd man out.

      1. I’d guess on base downs the better pass rusher would be RDE. I think that might be Dial if you go by Fangio’s “Dial has untapped pass rush potential.” But I’ve seen Dorsey hit gaps nicely too. They might flip flip depending on matchups.

        No matter what,it will be fun to watch Williams, Dorsey and Dial start. All have played NT and know how to leverage.

        There was a nice interview today on the 49ers website with Ian Williams. He hinted they are keeping changes in defensive scheme hush-hush so they can surprise opponents early in the season… like they did in 2011.

        I think it was Grant that noted they were playing a straight 3-4 (no under fronts) in mini-camp. I hope once the season starts they still flash under fronts once in a while.

      1. Does participating in minicamps and OTAs mean another CB should be ahead of him? Wright is the veteran, he’s being paid like a starter, and TC hasn’t started yet. I think it is fair to think it is currently his job to lose.

        Same goes with Ward and the nickel CB job.

        1. I can’t agree with that notion Scooter until Wright actually shows that it’s his job to lose. Being compared to Rogers and paid like a starter should not mean that Wright is the favorite.

          1. Are you suggesting they paid him like a starter with the expectation he’ll be a backup? Or without any expectation of him at all?

        2. Same goes with Ward and the nickel CB job.

          Ward has shown that he can be a decent NCB. Wright meanwhile has yet to show that he’s a decent starting CB.

          1. “Wright meanwhile has yet to show that he’s a decent starting CB.”

            Unless you have a direct link to Baalke’s thoughts on the matter, I’d suggest everything the 49ers have done this off-season regarding Wright (salary they are paying him, comments they’ve made about him) strongly suggests they disagree with your opinion.

            1. It’s OK, Mid is just going “Missouri” on you. (Missouri is the ‘Show Me’ State.)
              Baalke scored pretty well on Rogers, let’s see how he does on Wright.
              If the front seven gets pressure, the secondary will be geniuses. If not, they’ll be bums.

            2. That neither supports nor negates what I said Scooter. Paying a CB $3 million or comparing him to Rogers doesn’t give him the lead in the competition.

              You’re right in a way Brotha. I want to see Wright show that he can defend the pass better and won’t get penalized as much. The preseason will help show if he’s worth the hype and money.

              1. Forget for a second that it is Shareece Wright. If they signed another team’s starting CB the past two seasons, paid him $3M for the year, and compared him to a good starting CB they let go for salary cap reasons a couple of years ago, what would be your impression of how the team considers that player’s chances of starting? Especially on a team with a lot of question marks at the position?

              2. I would still base it on how the CB looked with the other team, if he is injured, and his competition is impressing. I’m not basing my view on it just because it’s Wright Scooter.

              3. “I would still base it on how the CB looked with the other team”.

                “I’m not basing my view on it just because it’s Wright”.

                These statements are somewhat conflicting. You are basing it on how he looked for the other team, ergo your opinion is based on it being Wright. As I said above, I don’t think Baalke agrees with your opinion on how Wright looked.

              4. You’ re looking for something that isn’t there Scooter. The first part is in reference to your question and the second part was added by me because even though I have stated that I don’t care for Wright, I am not basing my viewpoint on that fact. We probably wouldn’t be having this discussion if Wright hadn’t missed any time due to an injury.

              5. What are you basing it on then? Why would you not think the signing of a player that has been an NFL starter the past two years to a contract that is in keeping with a starter’s salary would not be seen as a front runner for a starting spot on a team with an opening at the position? Who is the front runner if not Wright?

                He has missed some time at minicamps and OTAs. Honestly, who gives a rats? Why do you consider Ward a front runner for the NCB spot but not Wright on the outside? You said earlier it was because he hasn’t shown he is starting quality in the past. You’ve made a number of comments about your concerns with the player. That would seem to very strongly suggest you are basing this on your opinion of the player, and not much else.

              6. You’re grasping at straws here just to keep the discussion going Scooter.

                What are you basing it on then?

                I’ve already answered that.

                Why would you not think the signing of a player that has been an NFL starter the past two years to a contract that is in keeping with a starter’s salary would not be seen as a front runner for a starting spot on a team with an opening at the position?

                Because it doesn’t always work out that way. Injuries can cause one player to hump over another one regardless of how much money or amount of experience the one has.

                Who is the front runner if not Wright?

                I like what I am hearing about Reaser, but honestly neither him, Wright, or Johnson have a leg up in the competition until all three are healthy and can put on the pads.

                He has missed some time at minicamps and OTAs. Honestly, who gives a rats?

                Because it has given both Reaser and Johnson an opportunity to showcase what they can do with the results so far favoring Reaser. Does that mean Reaser is the better of the three? Of course not, but if he keeps his current upswing going, then he could possibly win the starting position opposite of Brock, no?

                Why do you consider Ward a front runner for the NCB spot but not Wright on the outside?

                Again, I have already answered that.

                You said earlier it was because he hasn’t shown he is starting quality in the past. You’ve made a number of comments about your concerns with the player. That would seem to very strongly suggest you are basing this on your opinion of the player, and not much else.

                You’re simply over analyzing an afterthought in order to make your point here. Yes I don’t like what I have seen from Wright during his time with the Chargers, but I am not basing whether he is the favorite or not for the position on that.
                He could come back from the injury that sidelined him during OTAs and show that he is capable of being the starter. I have no qualms about that. But you’re trying to base that he is favorite on his being compared to Rogers and getting $3 million. So what? Last time I checked, a one-yeat deal like that is nothing more than the ‘prove me’ kind. If Wright was being paid more or had signed for more than one year, then I would agree with you. But he didn’t. His signing is just another example of Baalke taking on a low-risk high-reward player, which hasn’t always worked out for him. But I disgress from my main point, and that is that I don’t care who the CB was. Not if was Peterson, Brown, Wright, Sherman, and so on. I wouldn’t classify any of them the favorite to win the position if they played poorly prior to coming here and couldn’t participate in OTAs due to an injury.

              7. Scooter:

                Yes, the $3 million and the Baalke talk would suggest that Wright might be the favorite. However, if you look at 2014 performance using PFF stats, D. Johnson is rated significantly higher (51st overall for Johnson and 105th out of 108 for Wright). In 2013, Wright was rated 103rd out of 110 by PFF. Those statistics certainly don’t inspire a lot of confidence in Wright. And the fact that Wright hasn’t been able to show anything at the minicamps can’t help; although I will admit this is a bigger factor for fans than for the coaches.

                I suppose the scouts might have watched every game Wright played last year and found that in most games he played well or maybe was hung out to dry by the rest of San Diego’s secondary. To pay the 105th rated CB that much money seems to indicate they really feel that they’ve found a diamond in the rough. OTOH, if Wright is cut, the dead money hit for 2015 is only $1.5 million with no subsequent year dead money.

                Once TC gets here, it should be full and open competition.

              8. I think Wright was signed as a vet who could start for a year in the event none of the second year guys is capable. I would agree that he is the likely starter at this point, but by no means is he a lock. He is a one year insurance policy is how I look at it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is surpassed in TC by one of the second year guys, but it will likely take an exceptional performance to take the job away.

              9. Cubus and rocket, I agree with everything you said. Wright is by no means a lock for the starting job. And I agree he was signed as insurance if one of the young guys can’t step up and take the job.

                However, I do think a statement that he is the front-runner or its his job to lose is a fair enough statement at this point in time. If he’s fully fit come the start of TC I’d be quite surprised if he’s not getting first team reps. It will be up to the young guys to outperform him. Personally I think they will.

                Mid, you can say I’m over-analysing your comments all you like, but I’m just trying to understand your point. And to be honest, while I appreciate that part of what you are saying is there is no front-runner, I find your point is quite confusing.

                Perhaps we just have a different understanding of front-runner. I 100% agree there will be a strong and open competition for the starting CB spot, and Wright is just one of the guys competing for it. My understanding of front-runner is I think Wright will be the guy that starts TC with the first team unit (if healthy) and is the one that needs to be knocked off that perch by the young guys.

                But I think one of the main reason we disagree on this topic can be brought back to your comments about missing time at minicamps and OTAs, and allowing the young guys a chance to get reps. Based on your comments you think this will have an impact on his standing with the team. As you said, if he didn’t miss time we probably aren’t having this conversation. To me what they did in minicamps and OTAs without pads means very little. I would be very surprised if they change their TC depth chart based on what happened in minicamps and OTAs.

              10. Happens every year. Fans get excited about stand outs in mini’s and OTA’s, only to be let down when the pads go on….

              11. Sure does razor. I don’t mean to trivialise the importance of minicamp/ OTAs, because they are important mechanisms for beginning to install structures ahead of the start of training camp, working into football fitness, and developing technique (especially for the younger guys). But they are the pre-cursor to the main event. The competition for spots really begins in training camp.

              12. I’d compare it to a typical walk through prior to the game and then actually playing the game….

              13. I guess the main difference is that as fans we have been deprived of football for so long that by the time mini’s and OTAs come round we get very excited about them, and are happy to just have something, anything to talk about other than the draft!

    2. I do not see Gabbert being cut. The Niners will hold onto him until other teams become desperate for a QB since theirs suck so bad, and the Niners will get a decent draft pick for him. Thompson should clear waivers and be put on the PS. If Gabbert leaves, then DT could move up as backup, but he will have to clearly out compete BG in order for the Niners to make a move like that.

      1. Gabbert was acquired by trading a sixth round pick to the Jaguars, so I’m not sure we could get a decent pick (if any) for him.

        1. Only if another team like Buffalo have all their QBs injured or under performing, and are desperate for a QB.

          1. They would have to be pretty desperate though seeing as every head coach probably knows how inaccurate Gabbert is.

            1. Since I am interested in seeing how Roman will do, I have browsed the Bills site. In their OTAs, Cassel could not hit the broad side of a barn.

  15. Running Back – If Hunter is healthy I see him getting the 2nd most snaps behind Hyde… even if Bush is the better 3rd down option. I sense the 49ers like Hunter more than press/fans realize (Ian Williams fits that description too).

    Corner – Agree on Wright to start the season. He has the most experience. The young guys will challenge for snaps as the season progresses. If Reaser and Brock ever get 100% healthy I see them as the long term starting bookends.

    Left Defensive End – Dial of course. I can also see Dail/Dorsey flipping spots depending on match-ups. Armstead has a long way to go. I wonder if Uyeyama set up a program for him to work on already.

    1. Easy there B2W. Let’s not jinx our boy KHunt. If I remember correctly, you and I were very high on Hunt last year right before he got hurt.
      I’m refraining from giving KHunt any hype until he actually makes it through TC ;- )

      1. Kendall who? There’s a guy named Kendall? What position does he play?

        Seriously, the way the “deep” running back group melted before the start of last season makes me think having 10 in TC might not be enough. “If Hunter is healthy” is key.

        1. B2W,
          Ah, well played my friend.
          Actually my affinity with KHunt started when he was playing at Ok.St.

          He was one of my draft crushes and hoped he would be picked by the 49ers. When he was drafted I was beside myself because I felt that we were in store to see an exciting RB that had the stop and go running ability that reminded me of a young Barry Sanders.
          Two major injuries later, now we will have to see if Hunt can even make the team.

          Here’s a off the cuff question for you B2W.
          Which NFL player (past or present) devastated you the most when they got injured?
          Mine – Gayle Sayers

            1. Or LT when he broke Joe Theisman’s leg. Did not help for them to replay it a thousand times. Made me cringe.

          1. First – Jerry Rice – It was a blatant face mask by Warren Sapp. Imagine what the record books would look like if JR wasn’t nailed by a cheap shot?

            Tie For First – Ian Williams – Not merely a cheap shot, but a deliberate, planned, practiced, coordinated attempt to break his leg.

            Game one of that season barely uses the NT. Game two vs Seattle was Ian’s coming out party. The biggest day of his career after glowing training camp reports and beating out a very good Dorsey for the NT spot.

            And they deliberately broke his leg before the game really got going.

            I handle injuries that happen as a natural consequence of a football play quite well. I’m bummed for a short period, then occupy myself trying to figure out how the team will adjust. Its the cheap shots that stay with me.

              1. Sapp literally tackled Jerry by his face mask. He grabbed the face mask with his outstretched arm and pulled JR all the way to the round. Any receivers knee would have crumpled.

                Sapp had no chance at a clean tackle on an end around. He was out of position. He knew exactly what he was doing when he tackled JR by the face mask.

              2. Yup, all the 4ers injuries were painful for me as well. Gayle Sayers was my first football hero so watching him being carried off the old Kezar stadium field was heart wrenching.
                Never will forget Sayers running to the left and being tackled low by Kermit Alexander.

                Recently caught an old espn 30 for 30 special in which Butkis and Sayers were featured. Sayers lamented how he wished he would have had the advanced medical technology when he played in the 60’s.
                Had Sayers been as lucky as todays players are with our modern technology, he may have been a top 2-3 all-time RB in the NFL. His cut-back ability has yet to be duplicated.

    2. Armstead after meeting with Mangini several times. “Their defense is similar to what we did at Oregon. That’s going to allow me to pick it up even faster.”

      I’m not sure Dials’ experience playing the position is that big of an advantage over Armstead….

      1. I’m guessing Dial’s edge is conditioning, pad level and experience vs NFL O-Linemen. I’m assuming (there’s that word again) Dial’s year at NT helped him learn pad level and leverages.

        On the other hand, guesses+assumptions+$2.25 will get you what Jerryd Hayne calls a “rubbish” cup of coffee. I can’t wait for the season to start so I can have fun seeing how full of baloney all my July assumptions were.

        1. Hayne should just come to my place. I like my coffee strong enough to float a horse shoe and its darker than sin.

          1. Alot of rookies don’t get a chance to explore the bay area as much as we think. Its possible Hayne’s had nothing but hotel swill and training camp drip that was sitting on a hot burner since 4am.

            Someone has to get Hayne a groovy cup of single origin Flying Goat or Aroma roasters. Of some Blue Bottle from the city.

        2. Brodie, lots of people assume Armstead will exceed Dial, but I have my doubts. Dial was a fifth round pick, yes, but this is what I am considering —
          1. He was a JUCO transfer to Alabama, so was used as a backup.
          2. At the time Baalke drafted him he had a bad toe injury.
          3. Baalke may have drafted him in what I think of as the “sweet spot,” my term for the time in a player’s career when, due to his natural ability and intangibles, all he needs is a little more coaching and playing time to blossom into a steal.
          4. This year’s draft was quite weak, in my opinion, so it advanced the better players into earlier rounds.
          5. Dial played in the SEC and not the Pac 12.

          I think Dial is a monster on the field getting better and better. Hopefully Armstead will grow into the player we all hope, but much is left to be seen with him.

          1. Let’s wait until the pads are on to have an opinion on armstead. What I do know for fact is that physically and athletically speaking armstead is a monster. Let’s put it this way, if Tomsula can help develop guys like Dial, Jerrold eddy, Franklin, Dorsey, McDonald, and turn Justin smith into a top D lineman in the league and he is able to develop armstead, this kid will be a premier D lineman. He is a rare bread.

            1. CK=E, it’s not that I have a bad opinion about Armstead. I don’t. As you can see from my comment, I think Dial is steadily improving. I would be happy if Armstead became as good as Dial is now. If he exceeds him, so much the better.

              1. Look at how Dial’s body has changed since his rookie season. The rookie season belly has mostly melted away.

                I’m really looking forward to what Mark Uyeyama can do with Armstead.

              2. B2W:

                I was hoping that I might find somthing on AA’s Twitter account regarding working out. However, all I’ve seen is that he spent a week in Maui at a bastketball training camp. Let me be clear: this is not an indictment against AA, but a Twitter post might have provided some confirmation that he is working on his conditioning and need to add muscle. Maybe somebody else has found some posts or information that he is working on that. Anybody?

              3. cucubus – I have been wondering the same thing. I’m hoping Uyeyama set up a routine for him.

                I’m unclear on working out at the facility rules in July as long as its not a scheduled practice. By the time the next Maiocco chat rolls around, it will be a moot point anyway.

                In Ian Williams interview on the 49esr website, Ian (seemed) to indicate he was working out at the facility. Maybe he meant he was working out “here” as in California.

              4. I’m hoping Uyeyama set up a routine for him.

                Is he allowed to do so under the current CBA or would that result in a fine?

              1. Used to be nynah. Posted on SFblog, but Klynch and EBranch banned me for calling them too lazy to post about Niners making the Pro Bowl, and being too formulaic to just generate blog hits.
                Also, I fully admit engaging the trolls and Alex Lovers. Learned my lesson, and have eaten humble pie, and do not even try to talk to GC.
                I also like the posters on this site. Many are insightful can can articulate their thoughts in an intelligent manner. I learn things, and just hope they can take my 2 bits without too much pushback. I fully admit that I can be belligerent, bombastic and bellicose, but that is usually after too many beers.

              2. My advice: Stay polite and you can say just about anything you want here. Good bunch of people. Lot of open minds.

      2. The biggest advantages that Dial has over Armstead is that he’s more experienced and less raw. Although I do have to ask why we’re comparing Dial to Armstead since Dial was playing RDE in OTAs and Armstead is expected to compete for LDE.

        1. Excellent point MWD

          I believe that both Dial AND Armstead will be controlling the niner D-line for many years…they are both so long and strong, Bowman and Wilhoite should be licking their chops….

          1. Baalke is clearly building towards a type. DL and Safety are two examples.

            Long+Strong – Armstead, Dail, TJE, Okoye
            Rangy+big+hitters – Tartt, McCray

        2. I beg to differ. I think they will play multiple positions and be platooned to keep the line fresh.
          However, I do see the logic in designating a position so he gets comfortable playing there, especially for a young player.

  16. As an aside, I watched the pilot episode of Mr. Robot tonight (USA Network). Amazing. I know one of you mentioned it recently. I had been thinking of giving it a try and your comment helped sway me. Thanks. Looking forward to watching more.

  17. Earlier there was a discussion about training camp cuts that went on to big carers.

    “Lowe played for the San Francisco 49ers during the 1959 pre-season.”

    “In 1970, the Pro Football Hall of Fame named Lowe as a halfback on the All-Time All-AFL Team. In 1979, the Chargers inducted him into the Chargers Hall of Fame.”

    The story at the time was that he wasn’t big enough for the NFL. As I tended to do back then, I went nuts when he was cut.

    1. Good. Every team and every pundit have the Niners floundering to a 4 win season.
      In the Art of War, one strong tactic is to feign weakness, so the other side is surprised when the lamb led to slaughter becomes a fire breathing dragon.

      1. Every team and every pundit have the Niners floundering to a 4 win season.

        Most are expecting a similar record to last season from what I have heard.

    1. I agree with this assessment. I think Haynes will be allowed three years at the most to prove that he can make an NFL roster, and even that might be too lenient of a time period.

    2. Hard to disagree with Grant’s take. If Hayne is The BOMB on coverage teams AND is a effective returner, and there’s no other strong returners, then maybe he could sneak onto the roster. I like a Cinderella Story as much as the next guy, but…………..

    3. What if one of those top 3 backs is injured during TC or what if one of them has lost his step because of injury, that would certainly open the door for him to be the #4 and that isn’t all that far fetched of a scenario. The other point I would bring up is that although Im’ certainly not saying it’s easy the running back position is still a position that rookies often come in and have success at. Yes Hayne is a rookie with no football experience and I’m not looking past that but if lowering his shoulders is the biggest obstacle he has to overcome then I think he’s going to be just fine.

        1. Millard being kept as the 4th RB for short yardage situations makes some sense. Similar to what they did with Michael Robinson before switching him to FB. Also Anthony Dixon.

          I too would like to see Ellington used in creative ways (including some snaps out of the backfield) like the Packers do with Cobb. Though it is worth keeping in mind that Cobb actually was a RB/WR in college, so he had a lot of experience lining up in the backfield before he got to the Packers.

            1. Cobb had 228 carries in college and rushed for 1,313 yards in 3 seasons. Ellington had 25 carries in college and rushed for 148 yards in 3 seasons. Quite a difference.

              1. Less experience doesn’t nullify the fact he actually was a RB/WR in college. He just thought he wanted to be a basketball star….

              2. Not wanting to quibble, but Cobb was a true RB/WR. He played a lot of snaps as a true RB. He even played some QB, mostly as a freshman.

                Ellington was a WR in college that had a few carries. And 17 of his 25 carries came as a freshman. I think calling him a RB/WR in college is being pretty generous.

              3. Scooter, you are aware Spurrier tried to recruit Ellington out of high school as a wildcat quarter back right?

              4. Ellington was never going to get many carries with Lattimore and crew. I think he has a very similar skill set to Cobb….

              5. I am aware Ellington played QB in high school, yes. And that he was a running QB and ran for quite a few yards from the position.

                Please accept that I am not trying to suggest Ellington cannot run the ball or take snaps as a RB. I’m of the belief he can. It is why I would like to see them use him in such a way more often.

                All I am saying is that unlike Cobb when he came out of college, he is a few years removed from playing in the backfield regularly. And the point of me saying that is it may take a little bit of time for Ellington to adjust to such a role, on top of learning his role as a WR for the 49ers.

              6. I completely agree Scooter and part of the reason I think he can become that type of player sooner rather than later is in part due to being fully committed to football and having developed a love for it that rivals his first love of basketball, and his skill set….

              7. You are probably right. I’m likely making more out of it than there is – the role Cobb plays is not really as a RB. He may line up in the backfield but he is still rarely asked to carry the ball. He’s a receiving threat lining up in the backfield. The only real difference is the route tree may change subtly. I think you are correct that is a role Ellington could probably play sooner rather than later.

                If they envision him being a bit more of a typical 3rd down back, say a Danny Woodhead type player (which given his skill set he could probably do), then that would probably take a bit more transition time as it would require getting used to running in tight spaces as well as receiving out of the backfield.

            1. I’m sure he will continue to be used for those, but I was thinking more of having him line up in a RB position on occasion as a nice run/pass option. It could be interesting having both he and Bush out there at the same time in the backfield on a read-option play.

          1. If I remember correctly, I believe one of his TD’s against the Chargers was from the backfield wasn’t it?

    4. I think Hayne will be one of the last cuts, and the first to join the team once a RB is dinged up.. He and Okoye will be stashed on the PS so the Niners can retain more players on the bubble. I think Hayne will see some playing time this season. He has quick hips. He can catch the ball, and playing rugby has toughened him up. Tape on him shows that he can take a lick, and also dish out some smackdowns.
      If he can score a couple TDs, he will earn his place on the team.

      1. Sebny,
        As much as I like to cheer for an underdog to win, I think that Okoye will be hard-pressed to make the team this season.
        Armistead is the antithesis of Okoye in that he is virtually the same size with the exception of having played the game since he was a young boy (as someone recently pointed out) and Okoye learning the game over the past few years.

        I know that Okoye is a personal favorite of Tomsula, but Tomsula will need to decide if Okoye is worth keeping for another year especially given the current young players like Dial, Carradine, TJE, and the possible return of injured rookie Kaleb Ramsey that could play at the DE position as well.
        Okoye will need to impress the heck out of the coaches in TC to have a chance imo. And although he has the physical size needed for football he just doesn’t have the football chops and I have to wonder how much more patience the team will have.

        1. Well, I guess we agree. I said he would be relegated to the PS.
          However, if a player goes down, he may have the opportunity to join the roster.

    5. Even if they really like Hayne, players like Bellore, Busta or Millard have a bigger chance of getting signed off the 24 hour waiver wire. Hayne’s a safe practice squad stash. Might as well make room for another player in 2015.

      1. Something I’ve been wondering about Hayne. He’s 27 years old. How many years do you think he has at playing RB? The usual rule of thumb is that once a RB is over 30 it’s downhill from there. But that rule I believe assumes a fair number of hits over I would think at least a ten year career. Hayne hasn’t had that. So if he becomes a good RB, then he should be able to play longer and will probably be limited by the point in time when he just naturally start to lose a step. On the other hand, his lack of experience might also result in big hits that shorten his career.

        1. Good question Cubus. Rugby is a pretty tough sport as well so his body has taken some punishment, but not to the degree somebody playing football for ten years likely has. Physically it will all depend on how long he has before his natural athleticism starts to wain. In terms of his chance for success, it’s going to come down to how rapidly he can adjust to the nuances of the game. It’s not just about running with your pads low. It’s also how well you can follow a blocking scheme, how strong you are after first contact, whether you can pick up your assignments in pass protection etc. Hayne is a world class athlete, but he’s a novice in the world of pro football. He’ll be competing with players who have been playing this game most of their lives and at a very high level. That’s why I don’t see him making the roster this year. It’ll take at least a year or two on the PS for him to be a serious contender for a roster spot imo.

          1. I agree. I’ll be very surprised if he makes the 53. But as Brodie’s been saying, it shouldn’t be hard to stash him on the PS.

        2. I may be out in left field, to mix sports metaphors, but I predict that Tomsula will utilize the unique skillsets of Hayne, and think there will be laterals, even on punts and kickoffs.

  18. “……stay polite and you can say just about anything…”
    Yeah, I’ve got some Southern relatives who think they can say anything about anybody and get away with it as long as they preface it with:
    ‘Well bless his heart, BUT………’
    Makes me laugh.

    1. Reminds me of my Uncle Frank. He’d whip someones ass and then apologize for it afterward. Used to crack me up….

      1. I have an aunt that can insult you to your face yet do it so sweetly and subtly that it takes someone that doesn’t know her a couple of days to realize that’s what happened.

    1. I found this article to be succinct in highlighting salient issues confronting the 49ers, but his conclusion had me questioning his syllogism….

      1. Ah, the word of the day. From Wikipedia:

        “A syllogism (Greek: συλλογισμός syllogismos, “conclusion, inference”) is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true.

        In its earliest form, defined by Aristotle, from the combination of a general statement (the major premise) and a specific statement (the minor premise), a conclusion is deduced. For example, knowing that all men are mortal (major premise) and that Socrates is a man (minor premise), we may validly conclude that Socrates is mortal. Syllogistic arguments are usually represented in a three-line form (without sentence-terminating periods)[citation needed]:

        All men are mortal

        Socrates is a man

        Therefore, Socrates is mortal”

          1. Beg to differ. Socrates is remembered, but he’s deader than heck and his bones have returned to the dust. Therefore, Socrates was mortal.

              1. Well, THAT coffee might raise the dead! Besides, there’s a bunch of dudes around Sebastopol that look like Socrates; check out Whole Foods, LOL!

      2. Oh give me a break Iv’e got a $1000 that he never had even heard the word salient before Rocket used it in a post the other day.

  19. I would think the bigger topuc is Pete Rose and in/out Hof. On All-Star any comments on Larry Baers interview on knbr!

  20. Scooter, you see this? Carlos Hyde had the 7th-lowest % of runs of 2 yds or less (38.6%) despite being hit in backfield the most of any RB. This could bode well for the play action passing game, especially with the planned incorporation of the ZBS that he’s more familiar with….

    1. Plus he’s lighter this year. From a Barrows article in June:
      “Hyde also has deceptively light feet and the ability to cut and go. That he has lost about 10 pounds from last year’s playing weight ought to make him even more nimble and a better asset on the stretch plays that Morris ran with Washington.”

    2. I hadn’t seen that. Thanks for the info razor. It certainly suggests he does a good job of gaining extra yards after contact.

      I just wonder if he is partly responsible for the high % of getting hit in the backfield. Based on what we saw last year he lacks some patience which can lead to him running into the teeth of the defence or spaces where holes haven’t developed. Perhaps the ZBS will help with that, not sure.

      1. Hyde showed lack of patience sometimes last year, but I sure remember Frank getting hit in the backfield a lot too. Too much DL penetration.

        1. Brotha, I think every NFL team has ZBS concepts within it’s system. Every time you see the offensive lineman take that first step in unison left or right, that’s a ZBS. You’re trying to get moving gaps and make the defense make the wrong read. Once the gap is revealed, the back needs to hit it hard. Maybe that’s why Mr. Hyde seemed impatient in the 49ers PBS, because he came out of a ZBS at Ohio St. He can do power, but he’s gonna be much more comfortable when they run their ZBS. I’m really anxious to see how he does, because I am expecting a breakout season….

  21. There was all this rhetoric prior to 7/15 about how Dez was going to sit out games and blah, blah, blah and then 30:00 before the deadline, lo and behold, a long term deal is struck. Really?
    Now there’s media chatter and quips from Russell Wilson and yada, yada yada. I truly can’t imagine that Seahags & Wilson can’t work out a deal in both their favor’s; seriously. I hear “Oh, they’ll franchise him and trade him in 2016.” Really? For what? A rookie phenom (crapshoot) to try to develop as their roster ages? A game manager? Hmmmm, well, OK.
    And RW wants to walk away from that stout D, big home field advantages, a power run game and good team chemistry? And which teams would be in the market? Houston? Cleveland? Maybe Chicago in 2016? Careful what you wish for.

      1. George,

        I think you’re joking, but I do get the impression that Wilson has got himself believing that he is a “chosen one”, and whatever he wants to do is what god wants him to do (as if god gives two sh-ts about sports). He might get himself believing that if the Seahawks don’t pony up record breaking money, it’s a sign that god wants him to move on from the Seahawks. It would be very funny to see him fall flat on his face in Cleveland.

          1. Wilson might be disappointed if god is as good at being an agent as he is at keeping an eye on things on earth.

          1. George,

            Yep, you nailed it. Very clever how Wilson uses his religion to cloak his narcissism. He acknowledges all of the great things he’s doing, but dishes all the credit to off to god. “No, no, don’t praise me for being so wonderful, all glory goes to god. Um, but you did notice how good I am too, though, right?”

    1. Here’s what I posted earlier, that might now be hard to find, so I’ll post it again as a possibility:

      Found this on Football Outsiders:

      “By and large, a team built on depth is better than a team built on stars and scrubs.”

      “… because teams need to go into the season expecting that they will suffer an average number of injuries no matter how healthy they were the previous year. The Redskins went into 2006 with a Super Bowl-quality starting lineup, and finished 5-11 because they had no depth. You cannot concentrate your salaries on a handful of star players because there is no such thing as avoiding injuries in the NFL. Every team will suffer injuries; the only question is how many. The game is too fast and the players too strong to build a team based around the idea that ‘if we can avoid all injuries this year, we’ll win.’”

      With Sherman and Graham and Thomas and most likely Wagner being paid star salaries, if you add Wilson to the mix (at the compensation he wants), it may lead to the star/scrub scenario.

      1. Seattle is in the same position the Niners were last year after having gone deep into the playoffs for three consecutive years. And injuries hit us hard. We might see the same thing this year with Seattle. Playing an extra three or four games a year starts to add up and Seattle’s secondary was already a walking MASH unit in the Super Bowl.

        1. The difference will be that there will not be an anonymous campaign to justify getting rid of their head coach.

      2. That is why I like Baalke’s methodology. He stockpiles draft picks because rookie contracts are not too expensive and they are locked into contracts for 4 years.
        GB also does not pay big bucks for FAs,and relies on home grown talent.
        Yet I also like when he pulls the trigger to fill a huge need when he signed Torrey Smith.

  22. Anyone else think the 49ers ZBS will match up well with what Gregg Williams likes to do upfront with Brockers and Donald?

    1. Washington gave the Rams all those draft picks and then sucked so those picks were high first rounders, and the Rams have built a monstrous defensive line.
      The weakness of the Rams are in the secondary, so if the Niner O line can give Kaep a little protection, he should be able to complete passes to his new weapons. If not, they may sack Kaep 9 times like they did last game they played.

    1. I guess the one upside of having a raft of retirements on the back of letting a few players leave via FA is they will have plenty of cap space available to re-sign their own players.

        1. They’ll likely keep some. If Aldon stays out of trouble they’ll likely re-sign him. If Ian Williams can stay healthy they’ll likely re-sign him, and if Wilhoite plays well this year I expect they will look to keep him too.

          Boldin probably won’t be back, but if none of the young WRs look good this year they might try and keep him for another year. Boone and Vernon are likely goners.

          Some of the 1-year deal players they brought in this year could get extended if they play well this year too, like Wright or Bush.

          Some of the cap space could also be used to extend some of the contracts for the 2013 draft class at the end of the season, if they show well this year.

          1. I think Aldon’s price tag will be too high for Baalke to be okay with. At most the front office will franchise him but even that might be too high for them to endure.
            Williams will definitely have to make it through the season healthy, but his fate may also depend on the health of Ramsey and whether the team believes that he is the better long term option.
            Wright could be extended if he stands out amongst a crowded CB group, but Bush is most likely a stopgap option given his age.

            1. Just my opinion, but if Baalke was willing to make Willis and Bowman two of the highest paid ILBs in the NFL with their contracts, Vernon one of the highest paid TEs in the NFL with his last contract, give Brooks the contract he has, and hand Kaep the contract they did last year, I think it is fair to say he doesn’t flinch at paying for players he thinks are worth it. And Brooks’ contract shows he is willing to pay good money for OLBs, that he realises the position is an important one.

              I think the only real stumbling block would be the guaranteed component of the contract.

              With Williams, it wouldn’t surprise that even if he doesn’t necessarily make it through the season healthy they could still look to re-sign him, but it would obviously impact on what they’d be willing to pay for him. I don’t really see Ramsey as impacting on his status much as Ramsey isn’t a NT. He’s a DE/DT.

              I take your point on Bush, but it didn’t stop them with Boldin. If he plays well this year he could be a guy they look to re-sign as he does offer a slightly different skill set to the rest of the RBs. All comes down to how well he goes. If he doesn’t get used much then yeah, he’ll be one and done.

              1. Willis and Bowman were interchangeable at the ILB position (a rarity), Davis is a versatile TE in that can block and be an effective pass catcher ( not as rare but still are to come by), and the market played a factor in what Brooks and Kaep both received. Meanwhile the cost of a pass rusher is fairly and will be getting higher. I’m wouldn’t doubt that Aldon was estatic about the deal Justin Houston just received from the Chiefs and will probably set that as low-end option if he is able to return to his pre-suspension form. If that happens, then I expect Baalke to let Aldon once the season ends.
                What you say is true aboue Ramsey; however that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t be a factor. Keep in mind that Tomsula loves versatility on the the line and if Ramsey can be that, then Williams could very well be playing in his last season with the 49ers.
                Comparing Bush to Boldin is not a good argument because the shelf life for a WR is better than one for a RB (with Gore being the current exception). Bush will need to make a pretty significant splash this season if he wants to come back afterwards.

              2. All of your statements about Willis, Bowman, Davis, Kaep and Brooks are true, but then Aldon is an exceptional talent as well, at an important position that Baalke has shown he is willing to invest in.

                Yes the cost is high for a top end pass rusher. Around $17M a year based on the Houston deal. But then Houston has 43 sacks in his last 43 games. You pay that kind of money for a sack a game player. If Aldon returns to that kind of form this season he’ll be worth it. Based on Baalke’s history giving top end deals for exceptional players at key positions, I disagree Baalke would let him leave.

                Versatility on the DL is key, and with Dorsey and Dial capable of playing NT the 49ers won’t feel compelled to re-sign Williams. So you could be right they let him leave if he wants a big pay day. 49ers won’t pay big money for a NT. But I think unless Williams is lights it up this year he can be had at a reasonable price. Maybe wishful thinking, but I think if they can get him on a deal similar to Dorsey, around $2.5M – $3M a year, they keep him.

                Agree on Bush. Which is why I have been saying only if he plays really well this year. If he does play really well this year, and doesn’t look like he’s slowing down any, I think they could look to bring him back again next year on another short term deal.

              3. Aldon is an exceptional pass rusher no doubt, but I think the determining factors will be if he can show a better propensity as a run blocker and a pass defender when asked to drop back in coverage. If he can play at a high level in all three phases, then I agree that Baalke would resign him. If not, then expect Baalke to not hesitate in letting Aldon sign elsewhere for $17-$20 million a year in free agency.

              4. If Aldon Smith gets back to Pro Bowl form, Baalke resigns his golden boy. No doubt in my mind, and I would expect Smith to be flexible in his contract negotiations for the support the franchise extended to him through his childish behavior that was detrimental to the team….

              5. I don’t know about that Razor. If Baalke believes that he can get better all-round production from Harold as opposed to Aldon, then he will let Aldon walk.
                Another demerit to Aldon is that he isn’t considered a team leader like Harold is. That may become a factor with the retirements of Willis and Cowboy.
                Bottom line is that I believe Aldon won’t be back unless he shows that he’s not only a pass rusher but also a run stuffer, someone who can be effective when dropping back in coverage, and a leading voice with the defense.

              6. Whoa there Mid! Harold is a leader already? I agree Aldon has to earn the right to say to Baalke, “show me the money”, but Baalke has the right to “call in a favor” with respect to the amount. I’ve read where Aldon is Baalkes’ draft pet, so if his play warrants it, I fully expect Baalke to endorse it….

              7. Whoa there Mid! Harold is a leader already?

                I’ll clarify my comment. Harold’s draft profile listed him as a leader on the field and a voice in the locker room. If he shows that is true, then he could gain favor with both the coaching staff and front office.
                You’re right that Baalke could ‘call in a favor’ with respect to the amount, but Aldon can also tell him no thanks and see what he can get via free agency.

              8. As I said in my reply to Brodie, I think you are forgetting about the 49ers ability to use the franchise tag Mid. If he plays really well this year the 49ers won’t allow Aldon to test the market. They’ll maintain exclusive negotiating rights.

              9. I did include the mention of franchising him in my 10:59 P.M. post from yesterday and that the cost of it might be still too high of an investment for Baalke to make.

              10. I was referring more to your comments that Aldon could just say no thanks and hit FA. If the 49ers want to re-sign him and it looks like they can’t get it done prior to the start of free agency they would just franchise him. The article you linked to suggested they’ll have around $35M in cap space. They can easily afford the price of the tag, especially as it would allow them extra time and exclusive negotiating rights to get Aldon signed long term.

            2. If Eli Harold proves his worth, Aldon may be expendable. However, if Aldon can average a sack per game, he will be worth every penny the Niners give him.

              1. I expect Aldon will have a big season this year if he stays healthy. And if he does it will be tough to let him leave when they have the salary cap space to keep him.

              2. Aldon Smith is a generational talent. His productivity the last few seasons hasn’t been anything close to generational.

                I think the 49ers decide on an extension offer based on which Aldon we get in 2015.

                A) Truly elite Aldon, before his off field issues and torn labrum from the 2013 Patriots game.

                B) The Aldon we have had the last season or two.

                If we get the (A) Aldon Smith, Baalke will make an offer. I doubt it will be the biggest offer, unless its laced with de-escalators like Brooks’ contract. But even that might not be enough if a cap wealthy team dangles a huge signing bonus in front of Aldon.

              3. Brodie, if they get A from Aldon, the 49ers will just place the franchise tag on him then work out a deal. They won’t need to worry about another team offering him more. The only question will be if a team tries to woo Baalke with lots of draft capital.

              4. I wonder to what degree contract expiration dates affect a players trade marketability.

                What would a one-year-rental fetch? How common are sign-n-trades?

            3. Baalke has never been a fan of the franchise tag Scooter and I don’t expect him to utilize it on Aldon either. My belief is if Aldon isn’t extended during the season, then this is most likely his last year with the 49ers.

  23. I have 2 plays for Mangini. One is for the DBs, When the opposition throws a deep ball along the side line, the Niner DB defend the pass, but if not, he should allow him to catch the ball, but also pick up the receivers’ leg and drive him out of bounds so it becomes an incomplete pass.
    The second is inspired by Ronnie Lott. A defender should grab the ball carrier and slow him down, but let him progress so the play is not blown dead. The ball carrier should be stood up, and held so a safety can build up a head of steam and bludgeon him to separate the ball carrier from the ball. I remember when Lott was going to plaster Icky Woods, so IW took a dive, and he was ineffective for the rest of the game.

    1. The first one could result in a penalty for unnecessary roughness while the second would most likely result in a passing interference call. A DB can’t get away with either one unless they play for the Cheathawks.

    2. Yeah, I think the game has changed too much. Ronnie wouldn’t be able to play that way today, but he’d still be a force on the plays that are legal. He often liked to lead with his helmet, but he’d adjust to current rules as needed.

      1. They should not drive them out of bounds while out of bounds. I want them to keep them elevated so both feet cannot land in the field of play.
        I would just follow Tomsula’s instructions- they should legally and safely tackle as hard as possible.

        1. Are you aware that driving receivers out of bounds, after they first touch a bass, is a standard technique throughout the NFL? In Lott’s day, the officials had to decide if the receiver would have landed inbounds for a completion — a judgment call. Now the receiver is either in or out as long as the hit doesn’t come before the ball it touched.

          You can rest assured that every pass defender is trying to do just that. If you’re making a different point, I’m missing it.

          1. “I want them to keep them elevated so both feet cannot land in the field of play.”

            I get images of long drawn out struggles between receivers and the defenders over who gets control of one of the receiver’s legs – a kind of hopping duel.

          2. I just want them to concentrate on making an incomplete pass. They could slap the ball away or even intercept it, but many times they were contesting the ball while the receiver would catch it and tip toe his feet in bounds.
            I just want the defenders to practice shoving the receivers out of bounds, and not worry if it was caught or not.
            I agree, that is pretty standard thinking, but I have seen too many completions that could have been defended better.

            1. I want them to win all individual battles on offense, defense, and special teams in 2015 which will guarantee winning the Superbowl.

  24. Training camp is about to begin. Its been a long offseason with many changes some expected and some not expected. One thing about a new season is that my expectations are exactly the same as all other previous seasons, I expect the Lombardi Trophy to come to Niner land, I don’t expect the team to lose a game. Some things I will be looking for in the upcoming year.

    1. Establishing home field advantage at Levi.
    2. Continuity throughout the entire organization.
    3. On field decision making – Coaches and CK
    4. Energy level
    5. The absence of a kinder – gentler team.

    1. ” it’s been a long off season…..”
      Yeah, you can say that again. Or I will:
      ‘…what a long strange trip it’s been!’

    1. What’s your take on Ward Scooter? Do you think he’ll have a bounce-back season or could he possibly lose his starting position to Johnson or Reaser? Also, do you think the coaching staff should consider switching him back to strictly being a safety?

      1. Mid-
        This guy at NF started out critical but then finished hopeful for Ward. I’d think Ward has the inside opportunity, but the slot job is up for grabs. If Ward and Johnson and Reaser play at the same level in TC, Mangini can pick his match-ups, both within game situations and from game to game.

      2. So long as his foot holds up during TC I agree with what they say in the article regarding his prospects. I think he’ll win the nickel job and play well. The team may rotate in bigger players in certain situations, but by and large the role will be his.

    1. Keena Turner. He was the first Hybrid type that I saw who could stuff the run while covering RBs and TEs in the passing game. He helped make the Niner system work, so they could get pressure with only 4 rushers, yet stymie the passing game with blanket coverage.
      I never saw him out of position, and he seemed to whiff only a handful of times in his whole career. He also played big in the Super Bowls. One of my favorites.

      1. I recall they sat Keena his rookie year so he could transition from DE. He was steady when he played and he had classic tackling technique (with extra mustard.)
        There were a few others who could do it all. Dave Wilcox, Wayne Walker, Jack Ham, among others.

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